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Tuesday, 6 October, 2009 6:44 PM

Laurie Meeker to host Film Auditioning Workshop at Wayne State, Oct. 10 - 31


Workshop instructor Laurie Meeker

by Jason Rzucidlo


DETROIT -- Wayne State University will host an intensive workshop for people looking to get a job in the film industry. The continuing education course will take place for four consecutive Saturdays from Oct. 10 through 31. There will be 10 hours of training each day by Screen Actors Guild (SAG) member Laurie Meeker. The class is open to the public. Students will perform mock auditions and will get coaching from Meeker. So far, 15 spots are filled out of 20. There is still time to register.

"Getting cast in a professional film demands a considerably different approach and preparation than stage acting, namely: the ability to present a skillful audition in 30 seconds," said Steve Peters, Associate Dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at WSU. "This workshop is designed to provide that training, a 'how to' course in auditioning for three different kinds of job opportunities in the southeast Michigan market: feature films, commercials and industrial films."

Laurie Meeker is a professional actor and the instructor for the workshop.

"We're going to have students learn the different techniques for auditioning," Meeker said in a phone interview. "One for training industrial or training videos, one for commercials and one for motion picture. We're going to cover all three of those in addition to talking about what it is to be in the business, what it is to be a professional, what is expected of you, how you need to be prepared."

Students who go through the workshop will have the necessary skills to audition for a film, commercial or training video.

"We can't promise them that they'll get a job, but there's no promising that," the instructor said. "You can give a perfect audition and still not get the job. You might not be the right type. You might not have the right hair color, eye color. We want people to know what is expected of them in a professional audition. That would be a success onto itself."

Meeker is part of the Wayne State alumni. It was an easy decision for her to select WSU as the location for this workshop.

"I'm the past president of the Detroit branch of the Screen Actors Guild," she said. "We did some workshops with Wayne State. Because I'm an alumnus, it all just seemed to work out that it would be the place that I would want to do the workshop."

What is the most common piece of advice that you give at your workshops?

"I don't know if there is a common piece of advice," Meeker answered. "Learn what it is to be professional. To act responsibly. There's a lot of advice and it all has to do with behaving like a professional."

Meeker believes Michigan's tax incentives for the film industry should be expanded to include commercials.

"I think it's a great thing," she said. "I hope we can continue with the incentives and encourage other people to film here. I would also like to see the incentives include commercials. That's what we always did in Michigan for years and years. A lot of that went away with the automotive issues. I would like to bring a lot of that commercial shooting back to Michigan."

What is the best method for graduates to get a job in the film industry?

"The first thing is go get yourself an agent," the instructor said. "Because you get calls to the auditions by your agent and by casting directors."

Would you recommend graduates to try to get a job here in Michigan or move to California and work there?

"It's probably easier to get your Screen Actors Guild card in Michigan because you're competing against less people," Meeker said. "That's what a lot of people do. They will get their Screen Actors Guild card in one of the branches where they live then perhaps they'll move to California. It all depends too on what kind of career you want. If you're happy doing commercial and industrial work and small film roles here and there, then you stay in Michigan. If you're looking for something big, then you probably need to go to California."

Besides a head shot, what else should people bring with them to an audition?

"A head shot and resume," she responded. "In some cases, you don't even need to bring. Because there are several casting websites where you put your head shot and resume on and all that other stuff. Sometimes, the casting directors will put your audition on that website so the director or producer can see all of your stuff right there."

Looking back at your career, what were you most successful at?

"I made a living doing commercials and training videos and voiceovers," the instructor said. "So I would say all of those things. Aside from that, I'm also a singer. Although I have done a few commercial jingles in my time."

Meeker shared some extra information on what to expect at the workshop.

"Part of what they're going to learn also is what their type is," she added. "That's really important in film. In the theater, you might not have to look like the character because you're far enough away with make-up and costumes and everything. On film, you have to look like what they're expecting you to look like. They're not going to mess around with too much make-up or anything like that. You have to be very sure of what you're type is. Don't waste your time on being a different type than what you are."

Registration for Auditioning for Feature, Commercial and Industrial Films is $195 (non-refundable), payable via credit card (with valid ID) or exact dollar amount in cash, 10am–1pm, Monday–Friday at Wayne State University’s CFPCA Linsell House (under Buildings at Registrations are being accepted on a first-paid, first-served basis. Contact David Romas, CFPCA Information Officer, or 313-577-5448. The workshop is not offered for Wayne State University credit.




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