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What's happening on the acting scene in New York City

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The acting scene in New York City is alive and well with plenty of educational and fun events to attend every week. If you are looking for something to do in the upcoming weeks or months then keep an eye on this column and take a look at what’s coming up.

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We hear from Scott Powers Studios that they will be producing their 173rd Forum since 1987. April’s Commercial Forum will feature a panel of five highly-respected industry professionals: 2 Commercial Casting Directors, 2 Commercial Agents and a Special Guest Commercial Director. This is the first time that any event has given actors the opportunity to meet with a Commercial Director as well as audition for and meet 1-on-1.

With an emphasis on education, actors get to hear and see first-hand how the commercial industry moves and operates. It also gives the attendees the chance to start a long-lasting relationship with some of New York's best connections. Prior to the night of the Commercial Forum, Scott Powers Studios provides three nights of free coaching and a video greeting so everyone puts their best foot forward.

Attendees also receive five pages of honest written feedback from the panel, so they can continue to grow after the event is finished. Set in their midtown studio, these Forums provide a comfortable and supportive experience for all actors - from those just starting, to the veterans and everyone in between. For more information go to: www.scottpowers.com or call 212-242-4700.

The Actors Corner NYC (www.theactorscornernyc.com) has alerted us that they have acting classes on Monday evenings starting April 21 for TV, Film and Theater. On April 23 Legit agent Danny Prather from The Talent House will be featured. Visit their web site for more information or call 201-540-9566.

Actress Jessica Cannizzaro just informed us that she is in an upcoming show, The Mysteries, at The Flea Theater. The Mysteries is a new theatrical event directed by the Drama Desk nominated director Ed Iskandar, who conceived These Seven Sicknesses andRestoration Comedy. The Flea embarks on an extravaganza with 48 playwrights and 54 actors retelling the entirety of The Bible in a single night.

Fifty World Premiere plays telling the entire History of Man’s Salvation from The Fall of Lucifer through and including Judgment Day. "With the largest ensemble the Flea has ever featured, plenty of dance and the occasional fight scene, the show literally shakes the building.” - The New York Times.

For more details visit their web site The_Flea_Info.

Happening tonight is Kelsea Baker’s sketch comedy group Nerds On Fire. They will be performing on the Main Stage of the People's Improv Theater at 8:00 PM. The group was founded by Desmond Thorne and consists of Kelsea Baker, Jack Fellows, Kelsey Glass-Johnston, Harrison Greene, Zak Kamin, Alyssa Lott, Kate Shine, Desmond Thorne and Teddy Yudain. They write, direct and produce all of their sketches and have been performing at the PIT for over a year now every six to eight weeks. Here is a link to reserve your ticket now! Nerds_On_Fire_Tickets.

And last but not least, writer / director / producer William Norton is finishing up his first feature film False Colors in Los Angeles. Set in 2003, it's the story of a weapons inspector in Iraq who discovers something no one was supposed to see, propelling him into a shadowy world where truth is deadly.

Check out the trailer he just posted on-line at False_Colors_Trailer. There's still a bit of filming to go and William is currently casting for white males over the age of 50 with gravitas to play politicians. As he does his own casting, he also maintains a database of actors of all types for future roles and is always keeping an eye open for talented actors. He may be contacted on the industry networking website Stage32.com.

In My NY Acting Scene Travels

And some news from me. I’ve been traveling around New York City testing out some of what is out there and will be doing some upcoming features. My latest venture was taking a Stage Combat Workshop with the Working Actor Studio. While I’ll be bringing you more details in a separate article the one thing I want to mention now are their incredibly reasonable fees. All their classes start at $20.

They also offer Commercial Workshops, Improv, and Technique and Scene Study. Check them out at www.workingactorstudio.com, email info@workingactorstudio.com or call 347-770-7039.

I also did an interview with Elena Shpak, who produced two spec commercials that I appeared in. She’s been doing amazing things and has a real vision. You’ll get a chance to learn more about Elena and her quest to locate Russian actors in an upcoming article.

I’ve been testing out some products lately as well. There’s been a lot of buzz about a product called NeriumAD. There are a number of people who swear by this anti-aging product. My sister tried it out for a week and said she noticed that her skin felt softer.

Even men can use the product and one such man is Sam Adedeji, who was the one who told me about the product and now uses it regularly. “I noticed those dark spots on my face gradually diminished in 2-3 weeks. Also, the dryness on my face was totally gone and my skin feels very hydrated. I just love the fact that is easy to use and the simplicity is phenomenal,” he told me.

Anything to do with the anti-aging process is something most of us think about so if you want to check out NeriumAD the real results are backed by a third-party clinical trial that proves NeriumAD is a breakthrough product. The best way to learn about this product is straight from the clinical trial participants themselves! For more information, go to www.dermsified.nerium.com or e-mail: dermsified@gmail.com.

Another product of a different sort that I’ve been testing relates to the fact that I am a professional photographer. My photography takes me to family celebrations, small and large functions, coverage assignments in New York City and events around the world. I’ve already covered seven summer Olympic Games. This year I’ll be covering my seventh Alltech World Equestrian Games in Normandy France where I’ll be from August 23 to September 8th.

Photography is not just about the cameras and lenses but also about the bags you transport them in. So, I’m going to be testing a few of the Think Tank bags to see how they hold up. I’ve got the Airport Navigator now which is good for when you do or don’t have to carry a lot of equipment. So far, my New York City coverage assignments seem to be a good fit for this bag. I’ll talk more in detail about it at a later time but if you are a photographer I’d like to hear about some of the things you want to see in a good photo bag.

A couple of things I really love about the Navigator is that you can reach your equipment from the top. So often if you are in a setting where you need to be discreet or there’s not a lot of room that’s a real plus. I can quietly unzip the top of the bag and pull out my camera and flash, capture a few pics and then return it to the bag.

The bag also has a bunch of sections that you can reach by unzipping the front. This works out in multiple ways. If you have more lenses or bodies you need to carry you have the room. However, if you don’t but have other things you want to use that space for (like a snack or sandwich) then you’ve got a place to put it so you can fit everything neatly in one zipped up bag. Plus there is a front pocket that unzips where you can put a laptop (or two) or an iPad and some reading material.

To see pics and for more details visit their web site at www.thinktankphoto.com. And if you are a photographer I really want to hear from you as does Think Tank because they make bags for all levels of photographers and because of that they need us to tell them what works and what doesn’t.

So now let's change gears and move on to some of the fun stuff I am doing. A few months back I took part in a music video with Nicholas Megalis called Gummy Money. Initially I wondered what had I gotten myself into but I have to say it was such a fun day. The group of 14 people did their own silly things. There was a jogger, a magician, a santa like character, a farmer, and others. I was the dancer dressed in a crazy leopard outfit. I’m seen mostly at the end of this video (Gummy_Money_Video).

Nicolas, an American singer-songwriter, artist and comedian, gained instant fame for his works on Vine that went viral and so from that he created this Gummy Money video. You’re either going to love it or hate it but with over 114,000 hits by the time I’m writing this (after a little over one week of being released) his song is something you just might want to take note of.

Dancing has always been my thing so anytime I can dance I’m game. So, if anyone out there needs a dancer for their video here I am. I’ve already been in the Useless Beauty Video called Agnes and in a Naughty Boys video as well as danced with Coco on Entertainment Tonight.

Now, moving on to my next adventure. I along with a couple hundred others tried out for a program that will air on Brooklyn TV called SubUrban Underground. It’s the creation of Brian Wade and it was something I really wanted because it has to do with a few things I really like. There will be Brian’s band (which is soul, r&b and jazz oriented that does both covers and originals), some comedy sketches, a panel (similar to The View concept) and some street journalists. I was one of the principles that interviewed Brian and chatted with the other actors.The first show was taped but hasn’t aired yet. I’ll be sure to let you know when it does.

The next topic I want to focus on is SAG-AFTRA. I’m a part time actress and also a fairly new member to SAG-AFTRA. Once I joined the Union I immediately noticed that not only was the pay better but so was the way I was handled on set.

While that was all clear to me I never realized how much more SAG-AFTRA offers its Union members. Then one day I went to a New Member Orientation and was blown away with the wealth of information. I left that meeting feeling re-energized and overwhelmed at the same time.

It was hard for me to absorb all that this organization offers its SAG-AFTRA members. So, I’ve started to wear my journalist hat with a series of articles which I have titled “Demystifying SAG-AFTRA.” The first one can be seen right here on another one of my Examiner columns with more to come.

With that said, my first meeting was with the NY National President Mike Hodge and the Executive Director Jae Je Simmons, who both made it clear that their goal is to make sure the members are being served. So, if you have something you’d like to ask them or request feel free to do that and I’ll work on getting the answers for you.

My final thought for this column is about a session I attended at NY Castings which went over all the things you should know about taking advantage of their online casting site. It was time well spent because the presenter, Phillip gave some really good insight on setting up your profile, responding to gigs and preparing yourself for auditions.

This was all free but if you want to sign up as a member it’s only $10 a month and that includes up to three videos, three audio tapes, 20 photos and your profile information. As Phillip indicated it’s all inclusive and they don’t nickel and dime you. They do also offer creating a reel or headshots for an additional fee. I’m going to be working with Phillip to do a series of articles about NYCastings.com and how you can improve your chances of being cast. For more information visit their web site at: www.nycastings.com.

So, that’s it for this month. If you have something you want to pitch that I can actually do or try or cover and write about then send me your suggestion at dderosa1@optonline.net. I want this column to be about viewing the acting world from the inside out.

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