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Going to Network: Navigating Pilot Season and TV Series Casting
With the influx of cable programming and mid-season debuts, is there a true Pilot Season anymore? How often do unknowns get considered for pilots and series? What's involved when an actor is called in to "go to network"? How can an actor turn a guest-starring or recurring role into series regular? Casting directors and industry experts demystify the process. Moderated by Michael Kostroff.
-- G. Charles Wright, casting director
-- April Webster, casting director
-- Marisa Ross, casting director
-- Alyson Silverberg, casting director
-- Chris Barrett, CEO and President of Metropolitan Talent Agency
G. Charles Wright
G. Charles Wright's television credits include the series 3rd Rock From the Sun, That '70s Show, and That '80s Show, as well as pilots for The Emancipation of Ernesto, Starting Under, Dan's Detour of Life, Sid the Science Kid, Hackett, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, Union Jackass, and many more. He cast the short features Tranny Mcguyver, A Day in the Life of a Bathroom Key, and A Whiter Shade of Loud, as well as the features Kalamazoo, Home Room, and Food for Thought. Wright earned a B.A. in communications with an emphasis on television (critical studies) at the University of Southern California.
The winner of an Emmy and two Artios awards, April Webster has been a casting director for 30 years. Her first credit was the original Knight Rider series; her most recent is the latest Star Trek film, now in postproduction. Her other credits include the TV series Lost, Alias, Criminal Minds, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and The Nanny, as well as the films Mission: Impossible III, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Patriot.
Christopher Barrett is CEO and president of Metropolitan Talent Agency and MTA-Interactive. A 35-year veteran in the entertainment industry, he has turned his attention to new opportunities in Internet and digital media technology. He began his career as a performer, working with the likes of Liza Minnelli under the direction of Martin Scorsese. But he began to feel there were broader horizons for him to explore in show business and accepted his first job as an agent with the Los Angeles office of the J. Michael Bloom Agency.
Within the next seven years, Barrett moved to take sole control of his own company, which in 1989 evolved into Metropolitan Talent Agency and MTA-Interactive. He has been a consultant for the last three years with PermissionTV, 25 years with Datagenics, and more recently with Tropist and Twistage. He has been involved with dozens of companies in the video space and had direct or indirect relationships with such customers as Adobe, Disney, Fox, Regent, and Porchlight, and says his experience leads him to see solutions for companies and content owners. He has competed with video suppliers such as Maven, Brightcove, Move, Narrowstep, Roo, and others. He and his wife, actor Anne Schedeen, live in Hancock Park.
Marisa Ross and Alyson Silverberg
Marisa Ross and Alyson Silverberg are partners in Ross/Silverberg Casting. Among the current series they cast are How I Met Your Mother, Greek, and Tracey Ullman's State of the Union. Other of their many TV series and pilot credits include The Winner, Single White Millionaire, The Beast, Hollywood Residential, Drive, Campus Ladies, and American Body Shop.
Michael Kostroff (Moderator)
Michael Kostroff is best known for his five seasons as unscrupulous gang lawyer Maury Levy on HBO's highly acclaimed The Wire. A busy television actor (Without a Trace, Studio 60, The Closer, Life, Eli Stone, etc.), he also spent two years on the road with The Producers and Les Misérables. He is the author of the book Letters from Backstage, a humorous chronicle of his time on tour. He teaches a monthly workshop titled Audition Psych. 101, and he co-writes Back Stage's advice column The Working Actor.
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