Fun at Actorfest 2011 in New York

I had a good time this Sunday at Actorfest 2011, sponsored by Back Stage.  Even though I prefer the actors convention on a Saturday as in previous years, the new venue, the Metropolitan Pavilion, worked out fine.  The new place seemed more spacious and the cafe area was a huge improvement from the last few Actorfests I attended.  The workshops and panel discussions as usual were excellent (although I recommend they invest in some more comfortable chairs and maybe some stage platforms for the presenters since the audience seats weren't raised and it was sometimes difficult to see the speakers' faces.)

The day started with the excellent Career Panel, "Filming in NY: Getting Cast in Gotham."  Moderated by Back Stage's Senior Features Writer Simi Horwitz, I had the chance to meet and hear terrific advice from some renowned casting directors -- Tiffany Little Canfield of Telsey + Company, Marc Hirschfeld of Marc Hirschfeld Casting, Kimberly Hope of Boland/Hope Casting, and Paul Schnee of Barden/Schnee Casting.

Next, I enjoyed "Auditioning: I Really Need This Job!", an entertaining discussion moderated by Back Stage Columns Editor and New York Reviews Editor Erik Haagensen, with casting directors Jodi Collins of JLC Entertainment Group, Stuart Howard of SH Entertainment, Stephanie Klapper of Stephanie Klapper Casting, Paul Russell of Paul Russell Casting, and David Vaccari of Telsey + Company.

I next participated in an informative Focus Session, "Your Best Picture and Resume" with Manager Elena Berger of JLC Entertainment Group, Photographer Jinsey Dauk, and Casting Director Sig de Miguel of S2 Entertainment.  They liked my headshot and gave me some very useful tips on how to strengthen my resume.

After I quick lunch, I attended "30-Second Spotlight: Casting for Commercials," a joint lecture by casting directors Erica Palgon of Erica Palgon Casting & Beyond and Scott Wojcik of Wojcik/Seay Casting.

I then grabbed some free shots of Venom, Snapple's energy beverage, and went to "Warming Up Your Cold Readings," a workshop moderated by Back Stage Executive Editor David Sheward and led by director, author, filmmaker, and teacher Karen Kohlhaas and master teacher Deena Levy.

Other lectures/workshops/panels included:

"Marketing the Actor"

"Acting as a Business"

"The Working Actor"

"How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Book the Job"

"The Art of the Talent Agent Interview"

"On-Camera Technique"

"Working with Representation: Getting an Agent or Manager"

"Improve Your Improv"

"Secrets of Voiceover: Breaking In, Staying In"

"Spotlight on Kids: Careers for Children and Teens"

"Declaring Your Independents: Working in Independent Film"

"Master Class with Top Casting Director"

Fun times as always.  It was a great networking opportunity with inspirational programming and a wonderful chance to mix and mingle with fellow New York actors following a dream.