I have had the privilege of previously meeting and interviewing casting director Danielle Eskinazi - a genuine and kind individual. And it is an absolute pleasure to feature Danielle a second time for a follow-up here on “Behind the Sign”!
My first interview with Danielle Eskinazi for About.com took place over 1 ½ years ago. Danielle provided lots of important information for actors and members of the entertainment business, including discussing her background and how she originally became involved with casting. Since our last interview, Danielle has been very busy, and I asked her if she would update you, my awesome readers, on some of the things that she’s been up to and what she’s been enjoying most about her work!
Danielle’s response: “I’ve been up to the continuation of my career that I love and am so passionate about. I’ve been casting tons of commercials and sneaking in a few short films which are always fun for me. No real changes have happened in the process. What I enjoy? Every single part of it. When you find the perfect job for yourself it’s a joy going to work every day. I love the whole process from soup to nuts. My favorite part is giving a hard-working actor a job.”
It is evident how much Danielle truly enjoys her work, and she shares this love of her career with everyone around her, including through the use of social media! Social media/ new media has become an important part of the entertainment industry, and Danielle shares her thoughts on the usefulness of this powerful tool. Danielle said about social media:
“Not only has it impacted my role as a casting director, but I can also help actors on a daily [basis by sharing a] positive message on Twitter to keep their spirits up and to never give up and to motivate themselves. I remind them to be patient and not worry about the end results, but to enjoy the process as well. When I have positive actors walk into my session, it’s a whole different [environment]. I don’t want them to feel defeated before they walk into my room. Social media should be an important part of their business life.”
Danielle goes on to share more advice for actors about how important and helpful is it for actors to be involved with social media in terms of networking and creating their own projects, such as a YouTube Channel or a web series. She said:
“Social media makes them speak out loud about what they’re going through at that moment. My timeline is very, very special and everyone on my timeline is so supportive of each other and I remind them to not compare themselves to other actors. Everyone has [unique] DNA, and why we want to hire you is because we want you [specifically] to represent our product. If you don’t book it and someone else books the job, it wasn’t your path yet. Yours will come. Continue the work and continue the passion that drove you where you are right now. Social media is a kind of branding. You can create your own content - what you’re especially good at - and that’s something we didn’t have 10-15 years ago.”
Be You and Impress!
As Danielle points out, “everyone has unique DNA,” and it is incredibly important to be you. (Your individuality is the key factor that sets you apart from every other actor! Read more here!)
Danielle elaborates on the importance of being you: “Being authentic and grounded is what we look for. Honesty in your audition is what sells the product. No showing off, no overacting. Be yourself without over-compensating. [And] if it’s a character piece, be that character in your own way. Meryl Streep once said, ‘Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.’ I love that quote.” (I absolutely love this quote too, and I include it in many of my articles!)
In addition to being yourself, in order to impress a casting director it is vital that when we audition, we actors need to be prepared. Danielle explains:
“The way to impress a casting director is easy - it’s a no brainer. Come in on time, be prepared and do the work. It’s a 15 minute audition at the most. There’s no excuse to come in late and ask if there are any sides. When you come in prepared and happy to be there, we will remember you. We want you to book the job. We’re on your side.”
Finally, I asked Danielle what she believes to be the most important piece of information for an actor to remember. She replied:
“Never give up and be patient. If this is deeply what you want to do, then work hard for it. Don’t wait for the phone to ring; go out and get it. Don’t derail when you get those 'NOs.' those 'NOs' eventually will turn to 'YESs.' And that’s your time of glory.”
Thank you again, Danielle, for another wonderful interview. You are an inspiration to so many!
Halloween is almost here, and for many of us, that means that it’s time to watch some of our favorite horror movies! This year, you can add one more great horror flick to your list: “House of Purgatory,” set for release THIS Friday, October 21, 2016 on multiple entertainment platforms! (See below for information on where to watch the film.)
“House of Purgatory” is a chillingly awesome film with an exciting plot line, written and directed by Tyler Christensen. The film includes multiple talented actors, several with star names, including Anne Leighton, Laura Coover, Aaron Galvin, and one of my all-time favorite actors, Brian Krause, best known for his role as “Leo Wyatt” on the hit TV series, “Charmed.”
From the moment that the film begins, the viewer is brought into the story of a typical Halloween night that becomes anything but typical. Throughout the course of the film, each character’s journey represents and highlights just how paralyzing fear (in many forms) can be. (Be sure to check out what happens for yourself, reader friends; I can promise that you’ll enjoy it!)
I had the amazing privilege of interviewing writer and director Tyler Christensen, and it’s an honor to feature him here on “Behind the Sign!”
I asked Tyler if he could tell me a little bit about his background and what originally motivated him to pursue a career in entertainment. Tyler explained that ever since he was young, he loved to scare people, which is ultimately what has led him to his career path!
“I grew up in Green Bay Wisconsin, and from a very young age became obsessed with scaring people. My poor younger sister can attest to that, as she took the brunt of it for years. I have always loved telling stories - whether that be writing or making little movies with action figures and dad's old video camera. But it wasn't until high school that it really clicked with me that telling stories in this capacity was a viable (if difficult to obtain) career path.”
Tyler brings up a great point: pursuing a career in entertainment can be difficult. However, it is absolutely possible to achieve success in this industry if you do something every single day toward your goals, and if you do not give up. It requires a lot of effort and self-motivation to make your dream your reality. Tyler elaborated on this when I asked him how his work on his horror film, “House of Purgatory” came to be. He said:
“’House of Purgatory’ came about after I had been living in LA for about five years. I was working regularly in television, but realized that I wasn't truly happy with what I was doing. I had moved away from all my family and friends to pursue this crazy dream, and I felt myself getting stuck in the monotony of reality TV. That wasn't what I wanted to be doing, and nobody was going to hand me my dream job on a silver platter, so I decided to quit my job and make it happen for myself. It was those early days after I had decided to take it all on myself that were some of the most challenging. As anyone who has ever made an independent film will say, it is more work than you even realize you're capable of doing. The other side of that coin, however, is that it is that same work that is the most rewarding.”
Tyler points out that some of his most challenging yet most rewarding experiences occurred after he had stepped out on his own and decided to pursue his passion independently. He goes on to offer the following advice for anyone who is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, which can be very challenging at times:
“I can't even count how many times over the course of this project I said to myself, ‘Well, I don't know how to do that.’ But I never let that be an end-all. There is nothing you can't learn from just doing it or talking to people and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. You have to be willing to work your ass off and be a problem-solver. I always remind myself that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
In terms of upcoming projects, Tyler is very busy! Regarding his future projects, Tyler explained:
“There are a couple [of] projects I have written that I am looking to get produced in the near future. I've been lucky to work and make friends with a lot of great people throughout my time in the industry. I feel like you're constantly building this team of like-minded people around you, and eventually all the pieces come together and we will be back in the ring, making more stories on film!” (Tyler, I’d love to be one of those people that you work with on one of your future projects!)
Finally, I asked Tyler where “House of Purgatory” can be seen!
“’House of Purgatory’ is available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Vimeo, Google Play and YouTube. Later in the year, we will hopefully spread to include Netflix and Redbox and all those platforms. ‘House of Purgatory’ has a Facebook page, and can be found on Twitter @PurgatoryMovie. And for the little ones, I have also written a children's book entitled Bryan the Scarecrow Who's Scared of Everything that is available on Amazon!”
Thank you, Tyler, for your wonderful insight and advice! And congratulations on a wonderful film!
Jesse Daley is an actor and a writer who lives and works in Hollywood, California.