Thursday, November 29, 2012




“Love what you are doing and do what you love.  Then you will be a successful.”  Dr. Melissa Caudle

Now that I have to go on a diet thanks to "THANKSGIVING" I also have to start spending money.  Sometimes, I just hate the holiday season.  I get really perturbed when they have Christmas decorations out before Halloween, and on Thanksgiving Day that play Christmas music.  It was never like that when I was a kid.  And, no, I never walked 20 miles up a hill in the snow to get to school.  I did walk, but because of where I was raised, snow wasn't an issue.  So, the 20 miles stands.  Just kidding.  I took a bus, and at the age of 15 my parents bought me a used HOT PINK Honda 120 motorcycle with black pin strips.  Needless to say, I was a "Hot Chick" in high school.  Or, should I say, attractive to the boys because of my motorcycle.  Oh, did I mention I got it for Christmas.  That's how I started this whole blog today.   Holidays and gift buying.

Where has the true meaning of the holiday spirit gone?  Does Christmas really have to start before Halloween.  I can't help it, but I simply refuse.  I won't shop in any store that displays Christmas items and decorations before Halloween.  And, probably to no surprise to anyone, I am now limited to shopping for all of my Christmas presents this year online.  All stores and the malls violated my code of Christmas shopping.  The good news, it did keep me out of the stores resulting in my budget not going overboard.  I simply did without and my husband, by the way, the greatest of the husbands in the world, does all of our grocery shopping and cooking.  Therefore, I didn't have to worry about boycotting the grocery store for displaying Christmas decorations before its true time of calling.

Most importantly,  it seems, as I get older, the less important material things are to me and more important is my family.  Unfortunately, my children and grandchildren haven't aligned their thinking with mine and still want me to play Santa Claus on Christmas morning and for tons of presents to be under the tree.  There goes my boycott budget I worked so hard on.  It will be shot right out the door since I gave in and started Thanksgiving night shopping online.  This will make my grandchildren happy as well as my girls and their husbands.  However, I simply refuse to give in this year and go overboard as I am known to do.  Why???  Thanks to KSK, A.D.A.M., LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP, and West Nile Virus, I don't have the time.  I don't have the time to go shopping or wrap the dozens of present my family is used too.  I have warned them.  But, you know what.  My girls and their families don't care.  They relish in the fact that we can be together, we are healthy, and we love each other.  Now we are talking as we move toward celebrating December 25th this year.

I strongly urge everyone who reads this blog to do a self-check.  Make sure your priorities are aligned with your family and friends and please, do not spend money you don't have on presents because you think you have too.  Be creative and do something else.  Make things.  Write a special reflection letter to your mother and father or children letting them know how much you love them and what they mean to you.  Share a home-made treat with them.  Get inventive.  That is what I plan on doing too.  Yes, there will be presents under the tree.  But, this year, it's going to be about family.  My youngest daughter hasn't been home for Christmas in two years.  She is coming home along with her husband.  For me, that is all I want for Christmas is my family.  OH, and GIRLS!!!  I DO WANT MY LEATHER ROCKING RECLINER!  I have to have something to sit in as I read It was a Night Before Christmas to my three wonderful grandsons.  Now on with tonight's blog.

By Dr. Melissa Caudle

Okay reality show producers and creators; I am listening.  Yes, you are right and I am wrong.  I admit it, so mark this down in your calendars the day Dr. Mel admitted she was wrong.  How?  I have been neglecting my followers who create and produce reality shows by giving actors so much information on auditioning, getting agents, updates on casting BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!   So, I have decided to give reality show creators some information.  But, the good news is, that the same principles will apply to successful A-list actors.  I know this for a fact, as I have worked with the best including Academy Award winner James Woods.  Therefore, if you're an actor, don't skip reading this section as it does pertain to you and what you do as a professional.  Also, Jack Curenton, casting director for A.D.A.M. and our Los Angeles talent scout for LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP as saved the day with his article specifically for actors.

Thanks Jack!  Now everyone knows why you are so important to me.  So, not only continue reading, but if you are an actor, read his article.  It is a valuable source of information.

Now, for a little background.  For those of you who only know me as a producer, director, or talent agent, I am also a writer.  I write books on things I know.  For example, my next book coming out in seven days, Thumbs Up!  How to Nail Auditions, is about auditioning.  But, I also have books for screenwriters and reality show producers.  The biggest seller in my collection is The Reality of Reality TV:  Reality Show Business Plans

This book is the only book on the market of its kind.  Trust me.  I know.  The reason is when I started producing reality shows I needed help.  I wanted to read and find any and all information on creating reality shows that I could.  Guess what?  There wasn't anything out there.  So, after stumbling my way for five-years and figuring out the process, I wrote the book.  

So, what is tonight's reality show topic?  Reality shows of course.  However, I am going to share with you what I find that makes reality show producers successful.  That way, if you are thinking about creating a realty show or you are a part of one, you can compare and contrast these fundamental ideas.  Here is information on the book.


You have an idea for a reality show.  Great news!  So now you have to create and produce it.  This costs money and lots of it.  You bought my books, The Reality of Reality TV:  Reality Show Business Plans and 150 Ways to Fund a Reality Show, created your show and raised your cash.  Now what?  Producing is more difficult than you might think.  It’s not easy.  

Producing a reality show requires a great deal of planning, making deals, hiring your cast and crew, setting up your production office and more.  Adding to the complexity, no one believes in your project like you do.  Trust me.  Your job is to get people around you as excited about your show as if they created it.  This is only one of the many characteristics that make successful reality show producers successful.  Let’s take a look and get you started on the path to producing a successful reality show.


It is my experience; successful reality show producers are successful because they all have certain characteristics that make them that way.  I have worked with numerous well-known and respected reality show producers and have conversed at length with them.  I’ve  made it a point not only to observe them in action but to also identify characteristics they all have in common.  In essence, I used a qualitative statistical analysis approach and studied successful reality show producers.  I coupled these characteristics with those of film producers that I had the pleasure to work with side-by-side.  I discovered the following characteristics they all share.

·         They believe in themselves.
·         They always seek improvement in what they do.
·         They don’t make excuses.
·         They are accountable for their actions.
·         They take responsibility for what they say and do.
·         They have and maintain integrity adhering to a professional code of conduct. 
·         You don’t have to second guess their decisions. 
·         Their actions equate with the words they speak.
·         They operate on a high standard of work ethics with established work times.
·         They set time for personal reflection. 
·         They have balance in their life.
·         They are persistent.
·         They never give up.
·         They are creative and use their imagination.
·         They are a leader and a follower.
·         They surround themselves with great people.
·         They are visionary.
·         They set goals and objectives.

Each characteristic enhances a producer’s ability to produce their reality show because they instill confidence in what they do.  With their confidence, comes enthusiasm for their project.  Others witness this confidence and the characteristics they portray and ultimately recognize them for such.  These characteristics mark the difference in any producer’s level of success.

Believe in Yourself

It should be understood; to be a successful producer you have to believe in yourself.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  You would be surprised how many times I have come across someone with a fantastic idea for a reality show only to discover he or she lacks the confidence to go forward.  They come to me and pitch their idea but lack the belief that they can achieve a final product.  They would rather take the easy way out and turn their idea over to me or some other production company to produce their idea.  Maybe it is because of their own fear of failure.  I’m not sure.  I only know that often reality shows never see the light of day.

I don’t understand this philosophy.  Why turn over your project to someone else?  Getting someone to co-produce with you is different.  You are not turning over your project.  Rather, you are smart enough to get additional people involved.  We all could use an additional person to share your dream and make your reality show reality.  Completely ridding yourself of it makes me question your own dedication and belief in your project’s potential success.  Think of it this way, why would a production company want to produce a show that you don’t want to be a part?  If you believe in your show, then you must totally commit to producing it.  When I question a creator who wants to sell his show concept and not produce it.  I receive a dozen or more excuses explaining why they can’t produce it themselves.  Mostly, I hear that they have never done it before and don’t know where to start.  This doesn’t build confidence in me for the project.  Making excuses has never gotten any anywhere in the business world. 

The word “can’t” needs to be removed from a producer’s vocabulary.  Instead of saying, “I can’t” or “I don’t know how,” seek information, obtain the necessary skills, or attach your project to someone that does.  The best example I can think of is Dustin Weeks, my co-producer on the reality show That’s Game:  The Paintball Crew.”  Dustin is a successful businessman.  His family owns on of the largest paintball fields in the South just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana.  He created the show’s concept, but didn’t know the next step.  His wife researched online and came across my book The Reality of Reality TV:  Reality Show Business Plans.  She bought the book.  After reading the book, she asked Dustin to contact me about their reality show.  You see, in the book, I provide a way to contact me with a business plan if the reader follows my advice given in the book.  She encouraged him to take his chances with me.  He contacted me and I was indeed interested in the project.  I signed the nondisclosure form and he sent me his business plan.  Needless to say, I was impressed enough and loved the concept of the show that I agreed to come on board as the Executive Producer. 

Another example came when I was working on the new T.D. Jakes film, Woman Thou Art Loosed:  On the Seventh Day.  Dallas Montgomery, one of the drivers in the transportation department, had two reality show concepts but wasn’t quite sure of the next level.  Fortunately for him, Robby was the transportation coordinator on this film and she gave him a copy of all of my books.  Little did I know, he brought the books to work and read them during his down-time.  Every time I got into his van, to go to set or back to base camp, he’d ask me a question directly from one of my books.  To him, he had a private audience with me and spent his time wisely during our rides.  The end of the story ends great – he pitched his two shows to me, wrote the business plans for them based on my method presented in my book, and the next thing I knew I was producing River Kings and Deep South Paranormal.  Both of which are reality shows. 

Both Dallas and Dustin proved to me that they had what it took to be successful as reality show producers – they believed in their projects 150 percent.  It didn’t take much from either of them to convince me that they were willing to do whatever it took to make these shows a success.  Without a doubt, they believed with conviction in their projects; which made me want to believe.

Seek Improvement

There is a huge difference from not knowing something and learning it, than not knowing something and give up.  If you lack the necessary production skills or knowledge then do something about it.  First, admit it and acknowledge the area that needs improvement.  Take classes, do your research, read books, or do an internship for another production.  Don’t just sit there and give up.  Take control and improve your skills.  Knowledge is worth its weight in gold and can’t be supplanted in this industry.  Believe me, it’s not a fake it until you make it type of business.  Maybe this is the educator in me coming out, but I firmly believe that everybody can improve their standings by obtaining knowledge and skills.  With knowledge and skill comes the confidence to become a producer and achieve.  This is one area setting successful producers apart from those that are lack luster.

Be Accountable for your Actions

Often people get into situations and don’t understand the ramifications of their actions.  Instead of facing the situation head on they turn and run.  It’s the flight versus fight mentality.  Nothing ever gets resolved in this manner.  Becoming a reality show producer you must have the opposite characteristic and face everything in an upfront manner.  Stay focused and instead of looking at problems, look at everything as a situation that needs resolution.  Don’t run from them or give up - face them.  Then no matter what, when you respond, own your actions and be accountable for them.  Don’t make excuses.  Others around you will recognize this characteristic in you and will want to be a part of what you are doing.

It is also very important that your actions match the words that come out of your mouth.  When you tell somebody to their face that you will do one thing and then do the exact opposite it raises doubt about your integrity.  It makes others distrust what you say in the future.
I found in this business, people are often very mischievous and tell you anything to get you on board their ship so to speak.  Then, they make a complete reverse when they approach others in order to benefit themselves.  This is neither the way to conduct business nor the way to raise any funds.  People won’t contribute to your fundraising campaign if they have doubts about your integrity.  I could write pages of these examples but I feel like I would be preaching to the choir; therefore, I will only provide one key example.

In October 2008, a reality show producer came to me and asked me to come on board with the project as a co-producer.  My team assembled to consider the project and to discuss the pros and cons of the project as we always do.  Without exception, we as a team were 100% in agreement not to get involved in this project as a team or as individuals for fear it would damage our reputation. 

Then, one of my team members, who had zero experience as a producer; and up to that moment had only served in a smaller leadership role on one of my documentary films, decided that she wanted to become a producer.  Without my knowledge, not that she needed my approval or permission; she approached the reality show creator to become the producer and was turned down by him for lack of qualification and experience as a producer.  Word spread quickly within our reality show production community of what had transpired.  People were shocked that one of my team members went behind my back and tried to acquire the project.  In reality, she was free to do so and had every right to try to obtain and produce any project on her time and terms.  We all have that right as individuals.  However, when the next project came my way, I was asked by my current team to exclude this person from participation.  They felt that she couldn’t walk the walk that she talked.  They all remembered that she was the leader of the pack so to speak that spoke with conviction that the project wasn’t right because of the nudity involved; yet, she did a 360 and tried to obtain the project for herself.  In fact, she was one of the most vocal about not proceeding with the project because of the nudity.

Her decision to compromise her belief impacted her credibility and integrity in the eyes of my team.  The lesson to be learned is that you can’t say one thing with conviction and then reverse it for your own gratification.  People question your motive.  Was she wrong to try to acquire a project that we turned down?  I don’t think so.  She was free to do such.  What she failed to recognize was the fact that she said one thing and did another.  Her words didn’t match her actions.  They felt they couldn’t trust her. 

Another example came from a cameraman that I used for one of my projects.  He is great at what he does.  However, he, like the above example wanted to be more than a cameraman and become a producer.  I admire his aspiration.  What I don’t respect is when I brought him into a meeting with me with a potential client, behind my back, he attempted to obtain the client for himself and become the producer.  In this line of work, that is poaching.  It inherently demonstrated to me an unethical practice.  His plan backfired.  The client told me what happened and asked I not use him for the job.  Was he wrong for wanting to get ahead?  I don’t think so.  However, the method in which he went about it was unethical.  Do you think I’ll ever use this cameraman again or for that fact recommend him for a job? 

People in film and television production have long memories.  They don’t easily forget how you conduct your business affairs.

Successful reality show producers maintain a level of trust with their production team and clients.  They walk the walk and talk the talk in alignment.  They are accountable for what they say and what they do and others want to be a part of that.  This is even more evident when you are trying to get somebody to give you money for your cause.

Reality Show Code of Professional Conduct

Reality show producers represent a creative group in performing arts that have the right to freedom of the press.  Investors or financial contributors to our projects have the right to informed choices and full disclosure of how funds will not only be raised, but how they will be used.

Adhering to a Professional Code of Conduct

In 1906 Walter Williams, a journalist, issued what he declared was a professional code of conduct for his fellow writers.  He made it clear that like medical doctors and attorneys, journalists had to acquire similar tenets in which they conducted their business affairs.  I believe that we as reality show creators and producers should also abide by a professional code of conduct especially when we are trying to raise funds for our project. 

There is nothing worse than leaving a bad reputation by misuse of money you received from a fundraiser.  When you lose your integrity you can never get it back.  People don’t want to be around others that don’t have integrity or that don’t abide by a professional code of conduct. 

In fact, when others stray and break a professional code of conduct, it hurts the rest of us in this business.  Once a person gets “burned” they are more than likely not to contribute to another fundraising campaign.  That is why it is so important to abide by a professional code of conduct in all business dealings as a producer.  Embodied in what I call The Reality Show Producer’s Code of Professional Conduct are eight tenets I created that set forth guiding principles for reality show producers.

  •      Producers must adhere to standards of confidential communication.
  •     Producers must possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific   purpose of fundraising and distribution of funds.
  •      Producers must at all times demonstrate respect to others and their money.
  •      Producers must at all times maintain ethical business practices.
  •      Producers must at all maintain accurate records and documentation of the fundraising process.
  •     Producers must avoid engaging in activities that are considered a conflict of interest or unethical.
  •     Producers will not mix personal funds with funds designated and received during fundraising events.
  •     Producers must advise contributors and investors that to engage in the production of a reality show is risky and that are no guarantee that there will be a return on the investment.

Maintain a Solid Work Ethic

Work ethic and professional code of conduct are not the same things.  Whereas a professional code of conduct guides you as a professional in the manner in which to conduct your business affairs, work ethic is the manner in which you conduct yourself to get ready to do business.  For instance, as a writer I have a work ethic where I am committed to writing every weekday for a minimum of three hours.  It is my business.  It is the first thing that I do after I have my cup of coffee in the morning and after I check my e-mail.  I am committed; and have set those standards for myself for my production company.
Likewise, I also set aside the hours for producing my projects.  Other work ethics include answering phone calls, making new contacts, updating my mailing lists, increasing my network.  All of these activities have a direct influence on my outcomes.  It is that important to establish your work ethic when you begin to raise funds for your project.  You have to be willing to commit the time, effort, and resources.  Otherwise, outcomes fail to come to fruition.  Successful producers know this and adhere to their own self-established work ethic.

Successful reality show producers usually have strong work ethics.  Work ethics are intrinsic in nature and are a common core set of work values.  They come from within one’s moral character.  They tell people who you are as a person and how you conduct your daily affairs in business transactions.  Work ethics tells others how you would act in situations.  They will tell others whether you are an above board person or one that is underhanded and conducts deals under the table.  Successful reality show producers share the following work ethics.
·         Get up early and begin their routines.
·         Report to the office first and are usually the last to leave.
·         Maintain open communication.
·         They are reliable.
·         They are above board in all they say and do.
·         Take initiative where others don’t.
·         Demonstrate a positive attitude.
·         Gets along well with others.
·         Avoids gossip in the work place.
·         Demonstrates positive influence with actions and words.
·         They maintain integrity.
·         They conduct business in a straight forward manner.
·         They are honest and refrain from lying, stealing and cheating.
·         They do their job to perfection believing in quality versus quantity.
·         They are humble in their business dealings.
·         They are loyal to their production team.
·         They are trustworthy.
·         They are self-disciplined.
·         They are motivated.
·         They self-assess in order to improve.

Without question having a strong work ethics are essential.  Like I said before they are intrinsic in nature and I believe they are a part of us and have a direct impact on our ability to raise funds. 

Reflection Time

Many successful producers take time to reflect on their projects as well as themselves.  They look within themselves with a critical eye with the goal on gaining a perspective on how they can improve, what they could be doing better, what relationships need to improve, where their priorities lay, and much more.  Setting aside time to reflect is very important for a producer.  Often, our day is filled for at least 18 hours with no time for ourselves.  However, not finding “Alone time,” could hinder you.  It drains your inner-self and often producers who don’t take reflection time end up with heart attacks or other serious illnesses.  Successful producers understand this and take the time for reflection.

Be Persistent

Persistence is a very strong and key characteristic for all producers.  Without it, the will to accomplish is void and leaves room for someone else to take over in your place.  Likewise, without persistence, you give up and your reality show will never see the light of day and make it to the line-up on a television schedule.

Be Creative and Imaginative

It is one thing to have an idea, but to see that idea come to life is the producer’s responsibility.  To accomplish creating a final product of a reality show a producer must tap into their creative side and use everything they have and imagine the outcome.  Walt Disney was to me the greatest at this.  He used not only his creative side and skills but his imagination.  To be successful as a producer, you must share these two characteristics with Walt Disney.

Be a Leader and a Follower

It’s true – you can’t lead unless you have followers and you can’t be a follower unless you have a leader.  Wow!  Where does this leave you as a reality show producer?  What it means is that in order to lead others you must first be a good follower.  Why?  Because as a producer you won’t know everything and you will have to rely on those that do.  You will have to follow their advice and trust them. 

Likewise, you will have to have those around you be willing to follow you to complete your dream and they will have to be willing to share their talent and skill with you.  Thus, the personal characteristics of leadership and being able to follow are essential for all producers to possess.

Surround Yourself with Great People

Another characteristic of a producer is surrounding themselves with great people.  This not only includes a great crew and cast as mentioned above but also mentors, consultants and affiliations with professional organizations and groups.  A successful producer will need a complete network of people to produce a reality show.  No one can go it alone nor try too.  Surrounding yourself with other successful people will instill confidence from investors.

Be a Visionary

You also have to be a visionary and see beyond all negative factors in raising money.  You have to be able to set yourself apart from the rest of the world that just thinks about producing a reality show and actually do one.  It is a mindset and only you are in control of that.  Unconditionally, although I may provide you techniques and strategies, if you don’t put your mind to it, it won’t get done. Raise the funds and get started. 


Now that you clearly understand what it takes to be a successful reality show producer, if you want more information, you might want to consider purchasing my book THE REALITY OF REALTY TV:  REALITY SHOW BUSINESS PLANS available on  You will find all of the necessary forms you need for your show including sample contracts and production forms.  Since I am not an attorney, the contracts are for educational purposes only and you are advised to seek legal counsel from an entertainment attorney when executing all business affairs and legal documents.  The same holds true for the accounting forms, seek the expert opinion of an accountant, as I am not one.

Acting Advice For Survival
By Jack Curenton

- BELIEVE: One must believe in oneself in order to be in show business because despite what it seems; it's not easy to break into or sustain longevity in. 
The truth of the matter is most actors’ career lifespans last for only five years. Yup, that's it! Only a five year career.  Ouch!  
It doesn't matter whether you're on a T.V. series or whether you're in movies on a major feature film by Sony, it is still five months.  That is unless you have the power of an agent.  Avoid the five year and 15 minutes of fame with a powerful agent.
If you think this is bad, most R&B singers or rap artists have less than that. How many times have you witnessed an individual hit the charts and then you don't hear from them anymore? (The 1 Hit Wonders...Where are they NOW?!!) To quote Dr. Mel, "Eliphono!"
It's the same with actors except the catch phrase is... "Your only as good as your last job." That is if you are the lucky one to get a last job.
There are exceptions (so, take a deep breath) and knowing what the truth is and that it's a real obstacle will help a lot. Now since you have this information, you can do everything you can to prepare and fight against it the five-year fifteen minute rule.
Start by believing that you can and will be the EXCEPTION TO THAT RULE.  How?

- EMBRACE WHAT MOST DON'T: If you go into an audition saying how much you hate the audition process, you've already lost. I love auditions. It's fun to me. I believe it's another opportunity to create another character. So don't hate something that is part of the occupation you've chosen. I believe if a role is not meant for's not meant for me but I go into every audition with one thing in mind...I want to win a fan in that room.

- DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL: It may not be ones artistry or the lack thereof that hinders one from landing a job. The writer could have a certain, "type," in his mind when he wrote it or the studio may have someone contracted to work with or the director has a "star" that he sees specifically for this role. There are a host of reasons a person may not get a particular role. You may not have the hair color or you may be too tall. Whatever the reason is, don't look at it as a rejection. Look at it as if you're getting closer and closer. At some point, Johnny Depp will be busy....will you be ready?

- IF YOU'RE NOT READY SHAME ON YOU….NOW GET READY: Yes, some people have a natural God-given talent but I have found that if one wants procure, sustain, and progress in ones field of choice, this being acting, my suggestion is to get your butt in a class!!! Knowing all you need to know and mastering it can only give one an advantage. One may also learn the art of acting organically by way of the theatre. Growing up, I did a lot of theatre and was blessed enough to get lots of roles in High School, College and Community Theatre… Yet, prior to that I couldn't afford acting, singing, or dance classes. So I utilized every source I could find. I studied certain individuals I admired in the field. I used books, television, movies, etc. If you can't afford it find other resources the study your craft!

- REHEARSE, REHEARSE…OH YEA, AND REHEARSE SOME MORE: My grandmother used to say, "You must be extraordinary in order to be considered average." That meant I had to be better than good in all my ventures. It's not enough to just mutter through your lines or give half a performance in rehearsals. Even when I'm alone studying for an audition or a role, I study hard for hours on end. I never wanted to just be considered average. I want to be BETTER than average. I want to be the best!

- BEING THE BEST: Know that you are a BEAST! When I go into an audition I am kind to my fellow thespians, Honestly, I am happy to see people when I get to auditions and I embrace them with so much love because, although the business is small, we all rarely get to see each other because we are all on our on personal hustles. At the same time...I'm HEAD HUNTING. I'm trying to be the BEST period. I've come prepared and as ready as I can be so that when I get into the room with the director, producer, studio, Network and casting I will leave an impression. If they don't want me for this role my philosophy is... "They will remember me for the next." Additionally, when I'm hired to play a particular character, I work just as hard, constantly challenging myself. I try to be as on point and as professional as possible. I go as far as to hire a kid from an acting class to run lines with me on the set. I promised myself that I will always strive to be the Best Me…that I can be!

- BE PROFESSIONAL : Having good work ethics is an essential element to having good relationships and sustaining a job. Acting is not just mastering one's lines; it's also being on time, it's being well practiced in rehearsals, it's being proficient in front of the camera, and when the camera's not on you, being just as professional for the other actors, it's being competent with your props, it's keeping your personal problems away from the workplace. Being professional makes the long hours you have to spend with the many people (which consists of the cast and crew) more bearable and a lot of fun. More importantly, those around you would feel comfortable riding in an elevator with you in a 150 story building. That I call “The Elevator Test”.

- THE BUSINESS OF SHOW: Have passive income. It is a business! The advertisers have to make their money. The film industry has to make their money and YOU have to procure other income to allow you to do what you love. Unless you're retired or independantly wealthy, you gotta eat and have a place to live...SET PRIORITIES!!!

- UNDERSTANDING THE GAME: Remember, "LIFE IS A GAME," just like football or chess. Playing ball is not easy to do. It comes with challenges; people are fighting you and pulling out all stops to stop you from winning. 
There are other factors and elements that are demanding too; yet, as hard as it may be we love the game. It's fun. 
Now, with that said, it's necessary in any game to have a goal to win but it's just as necessary to have opponents, obstacles and problems or there wouldn't be a game. For example your GOAL is to win a role. Some obstacles or problems you run into may be having other actors contending for the same role or you may be stereotyped, you may have no money to get to your audition or get back home, there may be an offer on the table for someone else and it's up to you to change their minds. 
All of these are examples of the barriers one may have to grapple with when trying to reach your goal. 
Yet, again it is absolutely necessary in order for us to play this game. Your viewpoint on the entire game is all about your perspective. You can look at it as if it's difficult and arduous or you can look at the game as if it's stimulating and enjoyable. 
The problems can either be brick walls that you couldn't possible break through or mere barriers like an obstacle that you could jump over. Make it fun!

-Whether You Think You Can…Or You Think You Can’t…You’re RIGHT!!!! SO NEVER GIVE UP!!!
Note by Dr. Mel -  Well said Jack!  This is T.I.T.  "This is True."  Believe this, engage this, think this, BE This!


Dear Diary,

Today is the last day for Louisiana residents to apply for FEMA assistance.  As this disaster comes to a close I am so thankful that I am in New Orleans instead for New York or New Jersey.

I had an app apologize to me today because he had  two flights of stairs for me to climb. That made me think back to last year when I was in the north working and every house had at least  three flights. I was doing 10 inspections a day and that came up to about 450 stairs everyday.  I think I can handle 30.  

I am so glad FEMA decided to keep me here close to home.  I had a friend call me the other day and with all the electricity out all over the city he has to climb sometimes to the sixteenth floor to one apartment, and then getting stood up on top of that.  

The work is slowing down for FEMA , but I am busier than ever with our LACA NOLA Group.  The breakdowns are coming in fast and furious and we are sending out audition requests by the hundreds everyday.  I hope everyone can keep up because this is at lightning speed.  

This has been such an exciting ride and we are thrilled to have all of you on this journey with us. We will work very hard day and night to make this work.   We have a great crew here and also a great team in all of ya’ll.  With that said, I need everyone to check in on  and make sure your photos and resume are up and that we are  listed as your agent.  There is only one actor who has not created their Actor Access Account so Dr. Mel and I applaud the rest of you for taking care of this spoke.  There is a lot of work out there, and we want everyone of our talent to succeed.  And, as we have said many times before, we don't see other agents or managers as our competition.  In fact, we welcome the opportunity to work with them and share what the Southern hospitality is all about.  We are "rockin and rolling" at LACA NOLA.  

If you haven't signed with LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP and you are interested in representation, just go to WWW.LACANOLA.COM and submit your information.  We will take a look and see if you are a great fit for us.  Let’s go break some legs!!



Congratulations to our feature talent of the week Chris Swirles.  I have to admit that he is one of my favorites as I can't to this day get his Milo audition out of my head.  His audition was beyond, "You Nailed it!"  It brings chills to me and I know the script inside and out having written it.  Take a look at Chris.  If you are interested in booking Chris, contact us at:  You won't be disappointed.

One of the freshest undiscovered talent in the film and television industry today is Chris Swirles. His portrayal of Milo Evans for "The Keystroke Killer" left the producers and director speechless as the audition garnered hundreds of instant views. He also has been in several films and can be seen in the Carl's Junior/Hardee's commercial.

Chris has portrayed a cowboy in "Buzzard's Trail," and German Officer in "The Pianist," which is his most notable role to date. His acting ability can send chills up an audience's spine and have them holding their breath waiting for the next moment. Chris is a captivating actor who is ripe for numerous dramatic roles in leading and supporting situations. His name won't be one you'll forget very easily.

IMDB Market; National Category: Film and Television

DEMO REEL 1     DEMO 2                  DEMO REEL           COMPOSITE DEMO REEL 4




How do you find readers for you online auditions?  Easy!  Call LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP.  We have professional actors from Los Angeles, New York. Miami, Dallas, and New Orleans ready to bring your online auditions to life.  Just give us a call and we will set it up!  You will get the best audition READER ever!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


NOVEMBER 22, 1012
Autographed football from Drew Brees after the
Super Bowl win and being name the MVP.
Lions, tigers, and bears.  Redskins and Cowboys.  Turkey and dressing.  Family and good times.  All of these are what today represents to us.  It really isn't a Thanksgiving without being able to watch The Macy's parade in the morning, the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins in the afternoon and The Wizard of Oz at night.  I would be remiss if I didn't throw in a good game of Pictionary. 
Needless to say I wasn't disappointed as my day was complete being with my family, getting as stuffed as the turkey, watching football, and taking a much needed nap. 

Then, somewhere between all of this I found time to write the blog, Skype with my family who weren't with me, walk the dogs, and get in the hot tub.  And, did I mention I did all of this at my beach house in Orange Beach, Al.

The weather is absolutely beautiful and the Gulf of Mexico is blue.  It really doesn't get much better than this.  So, as I sat on my balcony watching the surf I reflected on all of things that I am truly thankful. 
Last year at this time I was fighting the oral cancer and just had four implants, this year a perfect Hollywood smile.  Also, last year I wasn't that busy because I had to put a lot of  things on  hold while I recuperated. 

This year, busy, busy, and busier than ever.  I have a new book coming out in the next two weeks, called You Nailed it! How to Audition.  I am also thankful for my family and friends which includes all of you. 

With that, I hope this blog finds you amongst family and friends enjoying the company of each other and sharing a laugh or too.
By Dr. Melissa Caudle
Have you ever wondered why some actors get all of the auditions and bookings and no matter what you do you seem to stay in the same place?  I bet you have.  After last week's blog on The Actor's Wheel, I hope you did some own inner searching to get you to the next level.  If you didn't read it, please revisit last week's blog as the information is very valuable to help bolster your career.

This week I am tagging onto the concept of The Actor's Wheel to really help you isolate the areas on the wheel to help you move forward.  Because, sometimes, it isn't the spokes on the wheel keeping you from moving forward, it could be you in committing one of the Seven Deadly Sins of an Actor.  This is what I mean.
Last night, we went to dinner at a seafood restaurant called Wentzels.  This eatery is known for two things:  great seafood and the sayings on the walls.  Every inch is filled with sayings, some famous and some not so famous.  On of my favorites is, "Men are like parking spaces.  The good ones are are all taken and the rest are handicapped." 

Another one was of the Seven Deadly Social Sins written by Ghandi.   When I read it, I immediately thought how Ghandi's principles apply to the actor and their career. 
The television and film industry is full of politics at every turn.  You know it and I know it.  It isn't sometimes how talented  you are but who you know.  I have to caution each of you as your career  progresses stay away from the politics and make sure you make all of your decisions with your "Principles" in tact.  Don't fall for the casting couch or get sucked into a "He said, she said," game.  It will only hurt you in the end.
Don't ever expect to be wealthy and famous without having to pay your dues and working hard at it.  Nothing comes easy and you really have to work on you and the spokes of your career.  Keep up with industry standards and always hone your skills.  Do what you can do to put your best in front of the casting directors.
Acting is fun.  If it wasn't why would people do it?  However, there is a fine line with getting  pleasure for pleasures sake and not caring what it does to you and your reputation.  The only thing you need to concentrate on is your integrity.
I think this one coincides with pleasure without conscience.  The difference is how you proceed to the top of your career.  Obtain knowledge about your unions, about how the industry works, and of course your own skills.
Along the way you are going to be asked to do something that you are not comfortable doing.  My recommendation is stay true to yourself and your morales.  No this going into an audition.  Some actors refuse to do films with nudity in it.  While others may have a moral issue with the plot or something that a character must do or say.  Simply tell your agent and manager your limitations and restrictions.  This is a good thing.
You might be asking how in the world does science without humanity have to do with acting and your career.  Well it does.  Acting is a science.  You get to experiment with what works and what doesn't.  If you find that one headshot isn't doing it for you, change it.  The same goes for your demo reel. 
Again, as an actor there will be sacrifices that you will have to make.  One huge one is the time away from your family you spend auditioning and taking classes.  Then, of course, when you land the role of your dreams, the time on set which averages 12 to 14 hours a day.
There will be other sacrifices as well which includes having to budget to make ends meet or not driving a new car.  Just remember, everything worth having and obtaining is worth waiting and working toward.  This includes making it in this industry.  My advice, comes from Ghandi.  Ghandi expressed that it was his life that was his message.  May your life be yours on this Thanksgiving night.
By Robby Cook Stroud
Dear Diary,
This is one Thanksgiving I am truly thankful.
It has been a very long time since I’ve been at home on this day with my family. I am still deployed , but I am at home spending quality time.
Last year I was in Pennsylvania.
Today I look back on the many Thanksgiving days that I have spent in the field.  The great thing about this is I get to spend the day with many different  type of families and see how they celebrate. Plus, I get to eat many dishes I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to eat. It seems, none of them let me leave hungry.
I hope that all the inspectors in the field today get the same opportunity,  especially my peers in New York and New Jersey who are working endless hours in some of the worse conditions. May the victims of Hurricane Sandy find peace, love, and security and find away to be thankful.   Just remember there will be a light at the end of the dark tunnel.  It just may not seem that way right now as you face devestation in the holiday season.
As I looked back on the many holidays that I have been deployed,  I can think of many memorable stories and those that I am thankful. How about the one where I go to a house and the little ole granny has fixed a feast and had no one to share it with until I came along. It really made her day that I came over on this special day.  Then, the next family I went to see didn’t have any money for "turkey day," so I immediately went to the store and purchased  one already cooked and took it back to them.  The children were ecstatic, it was like Christmas to them. 
It is a blessing to be able to help those in need whether it be a gift of a turkey or just a shared moment in time.  I am very thankful for all of those special moments. 
Now, I want to wish all of you and your families Happy Holidays and if you can make the difference in someone’s life today,    DO IT!
This week's spotlight actor is Bill Ensley.  We first came across Bill during the auditions for THE KEYSTROKE KILLER.  If you are interested in booking Bill for your film or television project contact LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP at 504-301-8000 or email:  Congratulations Bill for making this week's spotlight

Bill Ensley PictureBill is an intriguing actor with hazel eyes that have the ability to look through the soul of the audience on the big screen. Having studied the Meisner Technique of acting under John Ruskin, Bill taps into his experiences to bring all of his characters to life.

Special Skills: Billiards, Boating, Bowling, Boxing, Rifle, Skeet, Snorkeling, Impressionist, Cooking, Fishing

LOS ANGELES MARKET available Prestige Talent Agency (Nathan) - we can connect you.

If you are like my family, you have an entire refridgerator full of leftovers.  Sit back with joy knowing there are delicious ways to use your leftovers.  Here are a couple of mine.
Christmas Holiday Brunch Egg Bake
3 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
8 oz. cooked ham, cut into fine julienne strips
1/4 cup of margarine, melted
1 3/4 cups of milk
8 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup of sliced green onion
2 tablespoons of fresh snipped parsley
1/2 cup of flour

In a large bowl, lightly toss cheeses together. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture in an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In medium skillet, cook mushrooms and green onions in the margarine, until onions are tender. Arrange vegetables over cheese. Arrange ham strips over vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese over ham. (To make ahead, prepare to this point, cover and refrigerate.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl using a wire whisk, blend flour, milk, parsley and eggs; pour over layers in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 12.

Delicious Turkey and Apple Bake
1/4 cup chopped onion
1Tbsp butter or margarine
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
3 cups cubed cooked turkey
1 large unpeeled tart apples, cubed
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (9 inch) pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Over medium heat melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Mix in the soup, turkey, apples, raisins, lemon juice and nutmeg. Be sure to mix all ingredients together well. Heat until just heated through. In a large ungreased baking dish place soup mixture. Roll out pie crust on a floured surface. Place rolled pie crust over top of soup mixture being sure to tuck sides of pie crust down sides of dish. Cut slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape. Place in oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is brown.
Thanksgiving Leftover Pot Pie

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 package (9 oz.) frozen chopped spinach
3 cups cooked turkey
1/2 cups country or baked ham
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) canned cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 cup milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Cook onion, sliced carrots and celery with a little bit of vegetable oil in the skillet under just tender. Stir in the spinach and pour it all into a shallow baking dish (at least 3 quarts or bigger). Spread the chopped turkey and ham cubes evenly over top of everything in the dish. Next, in a medium mixing bowl blend together undiluted soup, 1 cup of milk and ground pepper. Pour this evenly over top of everything in the dish. Now mix together the flour, grated cheese, butter (or margarine) and remaining milk until nice and smooth. Pour this over top of everything in the dish. Bake 45 minutes to one hour at 400 degrees F. The top will be golden brown when done.

Yummy Leftover Turkey Soup

1 leftover turkey carcass
3 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
3/4 tsp pepper

In a large kettle place leftover turkey carcass and cover with water. On high heat bring water to a rapid boil. Lower heat, cover and allow simmering for an hour. Remove turkey carcass and allow cooling to room temperature. Strain broth into large bowl. Reserve strained broth. Be sure to save any piece of turkey meat before empting strainer. Remove any turkey meat that remains on the carcass. Cut meat into bite size pieces or shred. Place butter in clean kettle over medium heat melting butter completely. Add unions, carrots and celery. Sauté until onion is translucent and carrots and celery have softened to your liking. Lower heat to lowest setting. Blend in flour until completely moistened. Add 1/3 of the reserved broth to kettle stirring to mix all ingredients together well. Bring to a rapid boil and cook uncovered for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens. Add half and half, rice, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon and remaining broth. Bring back to a rapid boil. Add turkey meat. Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.