Thursday, February 28, 2013



FEBRUARY 28, 2013

Dr. Mel's Weekly Message

In just one week's time I have been so busy I cannot even think straight.  Whew!  My head is spinning now just trying to process it all in my mind.  For starters, my new record label, Garage Band Record Company is official.  Thank goodness it is just one of many of my companies as I have someone else running it.  In fact, this person has also come aboard LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP as a Jr. Agent in charge of booking bands and musicians that Laca Nola represents including Tuesday Knight, Gypsey Elise and the Royal Street Blues, Bruce Simmons with 2 Fresh, and Rockin Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters.  So, let me introduce you to him.  His name is Noah Dreifus and he lives in Mississippi.  He has already been busy booking bands and lining them up for a recording session. 

If you are a musician or a band and you are interested in a booking agent or a recording contract contact Noah at:  Be sure to send along a link or two of your music for him to review.  We look forward to hearing from you.


Also this week Laca Nola Talent Group signed some very talented actors who will add to our current clientele.  I already mentioned Tuesday Knight, who is not only a musician, but is also an actor.  Tuesday is known for her role in A Nightmare on Elm Street, on General Hospital, and her role in the television show FAME.  Tuesday also just released an album called "Faith" which is currently for sale.  We also signed four male actors with a wide variety of talent.  These men are Bill Pryor, Trace Schroeder, Phillip Trudeaux, and Jack Teague.  Within one hour of signing Trace, he was submitted for a role in Vampire Diaries.  Now, that is a fast turnaround that Laca Nola is known for and will continue to strive to meet.

Speaking of meeting standards, I have been preparing and putting together the AUDITION WORKSHOP, based on my new book, THUMBS UP!  HOW TO NAIL AUDITIONS.  I will be covering a great deal of topics in just a short time.  I really feel this workshop will make a difference in your professional acting career as it already has changed many lives.  "It's really is the best book on the market," Roger Molina says.  "I read the book.  Then I went to my first audition.  Guess what?  I got the role.  Then I went on the second audition of my career.  Guess what again.  I got that role too."  You can look for Roger in an upcoming new series to be aired in September.

The workshop is divided into two parts - Beginner's Level and Advanced Level.  The reason for the division is that some actors don't need the introductory stuff, such as slating, formatting a resume, Actors Access, etc.  Why make an advanced actor sit through that unless they just want a refresher course.  Because, anyone who knows me, no matter your level you will learn something new.  

Topics for the beginner's workshop include:
  • Resumes
  • Head shots
  • Actor's Access
  • Expectations of an audition
  • A practice audition (with a cold read and feedback) and more.
Topics for the advanced workshop include:
  • How to Break Down a Script
  • Getting into Character
  • Acting Through an Audition
  • Nailing a Callback audition
  • Cold Reading
  • Monologues
  • The Actor's Wheel and more.
For more information on the flier see the following flier.  One thing you really need to know is that the class size is limited to 20 actors.  And, all LACA NOLA CLIENTS SIGNED WITH US get a huge discount.  Each actor also gets a one free copy of my new book as well.

DATE:  MARCH 9, 2013
                       3500 North Causeway Blvd., 14th Floor Conference Room
                       Metairie, LA  70002


$125.00 if not a LACA NOLA CLIENT

$125.00 if not a LACA NOLA CLIENT




$175.00 of not a LACA NOLA CLIENT

If you have already purchased a copy of my book we'll discount your registration fee by $15 dollars.  That way, you can start reading the book prior to the class.  I strongly recommend that you do purchase the book in advance and read it.  That way the information will really sink in.

TO REGISTER call Robby at 504-301-8000.   You can pay the day of the workshop.

WORKSHOP WILL BE COMING SOON TO LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK, MIAMI, HOUSON, ATLANTA, GULF SHORES, AL, and many more cities.  If you want a workshop in your city contact Dr. Mel's agent, Robby Cook Stroud or call 504-301-8000.

By Dr. Mel Caudle

I can't think of a single profession that offers the potential to either make or break your career in the film and television industry than a casting director.  That is how important they are.  You never want to get on their bad side and you always want them to remember you for your GREAT performance.  Often, it is very much the opposite - you are remembered by the bad performance or your attitude after receiving constructive criticism, or if you are not cast in a role and your beg and plead for the job.  Actors need to avoid this at all cost in order to get ahead in this industry.  That is how important casting directors are.

Here are ways to impress acting directors to get on their BAD LIST.
  • Arrive late to an audition
  • Don't bring a head shot or resume to your audition
  • Try to bypass your Agent by putting personal information on your head shot, resume, the audition form, and during your slate.
  • Interrupt them when they give you feedback
  • Over selling yourself.
  • Begging for a job.
  • Bugging the crap out of them after an audition
  • Calling them to find out if you got cast.
Do what you can to impress NOT distress a casting director.  That is my words of wisdom for all actors.


If you are going to be represented by an agent or agency make sure you know how to pronounce the name.  Don't butcher the name of your agent or agency.  So, here you go.  Here is the proper way to pronounce LACA NOLA.

To pronounce our name correctly - All “As” in LACA NOLA  are short “As,” as in the Christmas carol Deck the Halls.  For example, sing the following chorus:

“Fa… La… La… La… La… La…. La….”
Therefore, La Ca NO La.

It is not LACK A NO LA because we do not LACK in anything. 

Our name LACA NOLA stands for something.


We came up with the name as both Los Angeles and New Orleans are the hottest film markets to book talent.  We have bridged the gap from L.A. to LA.  Get it?  From Los Angeles to New Orleans market.  Maybe we should have a sing off and see who can come up with a THEME SONG for LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP.  UMMMM?

By Dr. Mel Caudle

As a crew member or cast, the Call Sheet for the production you are on, is considered your daily bible.  The 1st A.D. is the one who completes the CALL SHEET and notifies actors of their reporting time and the location of the set.  Everything you need to know about what is going to happen on the set that day, is found on the CALL SHEET.

Get to know the 1st A.D. and any of the other A.D.s working in that department.  They will be your best friend or worse nightmare on set when it comes to getting your CALL SHEET for the next day.  It is also this department who will usually be handling your paperwork once you arrive to set so it is that important.

Now, let's breakdown the components on a CALL SHEET.  Take a look at the following example first.
There are many sections on a CALL SHEET which includes:

  • Producer, Director, and often the Screenwriter
  • Day and date of the shoot
  • Weather Information
  • Lunch Time
  • Shooting Location
  • Call time for Cast, including pick up times, reporting to set, reporting to hair and make-up
  •  Crew call time
  • Emergency Information
  • Transportation
  • Background Extras Needed
  • Wardrobe Info
  • Prop Info
  • Scenes to be shot that day
  • Number of pages that will be shot that day
  • Upcoming scenes for the next day
Learning to read a Call Sheet is very important as it keeps you the actor or crew member from having to ask many "stupid" questions of the A.D. department and the director.  Also of note, remember to always keep a copy of each day's Call Sheet so that if there is a discrepancy on your paycheck you will be able to verify days works etc. from an official document supplied by the production company.  It is also very important for crew members to keep them if they play on getting into the union or DGA.

And so, “You” want to become a Film or TV Actor!
By Jack E Curenton
10 (NOT SO) Easy Steps to Becoming an Actor
Have you ever dreamed of one day becoming a famous Hollywood actor? If so, the first thing you need to realize is that this dream can become a reality if you're willing to put in the time, training, dedication, passion and patience required to make it in Hollywood….AND HARD WORK FOR LITTLE PAY, RECOGNITION AND ACCOLADES!
If you've always wondered how to become a film or television actor, then here are ten basic steps that may not get you the role of a lifetime, but they will help you to treat your acting career as a career and not simply as something you choose to do for fun….because it’s not always fun…some days are not a day at the picnic!
Keep in mind that if you're hoping to become a theater actor (a whole different kettle of fish), some of these may not apply to you. However, all ten steps are good to keep in mind no matter what type of acting you decide to pursue.
Step 1: BASICS….Learn How to Act...Duh!
Seems like a given, doesn't it? But I can't tell you the number of people that come here to Hollywood thinking that all they need to do is get a job as a waiter at some popular restaurant, meet an agent, get "discovered" and then it's nothing but champagne and caviar from there. Uh...nooooo!
Acting is first and foremost a craft. The best of the Hollywood/New York actors understand this and no matter how far they have come in their careers, they are constantly looking to improve their craft/skills. They take classes, work with acting and dialogue coaches; they study life experiences (those who come to acting later in life bring their own. I’m able to bring a lot more to the table now than when I was in my 20’s), etc. They know full well that even after a lifetime of work and study, they may never reach absolute perfection. But then again, I always say, “Acting Isn’t!"
So, it's imperative that you take a wide variety of acting classes, workshops, scene study groups. Work in a wide variety of styles with as many different groups of people that you can find. Try it all. From Shakespeare to comedy, from Improv to Cinema Verite -- the more you know, the more well-rounded you'll be and ultimately, the better prepared you'll be for whatever roles/opportunities come your way.
Step 2: Like Realestate, It's All About Location, Location, Location
I hate telling people this, but if you hope to work in film and/or television as an actor, you need to go where the work is. Now, that doesn't necessarily doom you to living in Los Angeles or New York. After all, there are plenty of acting jobs in Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, etc.
The newest BIG markets are Atlanta and New Orleans….the reason is simply ECONOMICS!! It’s easier for production companies to produce projects in these markets and a whole lot cheaper.
But, New York and Los Angeles are where most of the casting directors work and live(why do you think LACA-NOLA Talent Group has opened an office in Los Angeles?). So, many of the shows that are shot in Canada or other cities within the U.S. are still cast in LA or New York. So, even though you don't necessarily need to move here, keep in mind that it is where most of the action is.
Step 3: Be Willing to Do Whatever it Takes!
No, that doesn't mean what you think it means. Don't worry about the "casting couch." But you must be willing to do what it takes for the sake of your craft. You might ultimately have to sacrifice certain aspects of your life to ensure that you will have success as a working Hollywood actor.
You must take the time to master your craft. If that means sacrificing a relationship or a few friendships along the way, so be it. I know that sounds rather harsh, but acting is not a 9-5 job by any stretch.
If you're lucky enough to land a role in a major film or television production, realize that this is not the glamorous Hollywood job you might've thought it would be.
It's a lot of work, often 14-20 hours per day, in all kinds of conditions and at least initially, for not much money.
Even actors who make millions of dollars per picture still must "work" to earn their keep. They are on location for months at a time and every day they commit themselves both emotionally and physically to their roles. It can be extremely exhausting. You must prepare yourself both mentally and physically for this type of challenge.
It's one of the many reasons why Hollywood stars have trainers, psychologists, plastic surgeons, nutritionists and divorce attorneys at their beck and call. Their job is hardly an easy job on your health, psyche, marriage, relationships, Day-Job!
Step 4: Commit Yourself
I’ve actually heard people say to me that there are no bad actors, just actors who aren't willing to "fully commit" themselves to their craft. Hmmmm well, I’ll get back to "that" in a minute!
Just as I mentioned above that you have to make certain sacrifices to make it as an actor in Hollywood, one of those is your ego. If you're about looking cool, or trying to maintain a certain image, then acting might not be for you. Because your EGO will get you into more trouble than just about anything! It’ll Break Rule #3….”Don’t Piss Off The Casting Director”…or anyone for that matter!
The best actors are those who are willing to let themselves be 100% consumed by the role they are playing. They physically become the person they portray.
If you're in the middle of delivering your lines and suddenly you let yourself drift back into your own life, you are not fully committed to the role and your performance will show it. You have to literally "become outside of yourself" to help ensure the quality of your performance.
That doesn't mean "Forget" Yourself or "Lose" Yourself in the character....I feel that you should be aware and in control of who you are, who you are portraying and what you're doing at all times!  Remember….Acting Isn’t!
And as for getting back to "that"....actually there are some who may be better off not pursuing a career in acting....but I'll never tell a person that, ....because their dream and persistence might just push their butt to do genius work. So, when you do an acting job, try to WOW yourself. If you don't, then you didn't push yourself. Whether you think you can, or you think you can't....You're Right!
Step 5: Be Nice, Karma is a Bitch!
Hollywood is all about helping those you know because they might one day be in a position to help you as well. So, you need to remember this steadfast rule -- be nice to everyone. From agents' assistants to fellow cast members to whomever you meet in Hollywood. Remember, that assistant you treated poorly two years ago might one day become a casting director, film producer, talent agent or whatever. And trust me, they'll remember those who stomped on their toes on their way up the ladder.
Conversely, they'll remember those who were nice the whole way up and they'll be that much more inclined to help them achieve their own goals.
I’ve recommended people who I’ve worked with in the past, to a project I’ve been on and they got cast. (NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE FRIENDS!! BUT BECAUSE THEY WERE EXCELLENT ACTORS) conversely, friends have done the same for me... and I got cast. We both benefited from the excellent work we brought to the projects and that reflected positively on us to the CD/Director who remembered our dedication to the project...REMEMBER THIS!!
Step 6: Focus On The Craft -- Not the Agent
There are many actors I know who spent years worrying more about getting an agent than becoming a well trained actor.
Agents are a necessary evil, but they do not make you or break you (as much as they like to think they do). As many actors will attest, simply because they have a powerful agent does not guarantee their success.
The happiest actors are the working actors. And just because you might not be getting paid for your acting, doesn't mean that you can't be a working actor. Every experience is experience. So, spend less time seeking out an agent and more time seeking out acting opportunities yourself. For the beginner, from small plays to student films -- you'll be happily surprised how many seemingly insignificant opportunities are the ones that make your entire career better.
Besides, when the time is right, an agent will come and seek you out. And if not…..GO HUNT ONE DOWN!
QUICK NOTE ON AGENTS: If any agent makes you pay for their services up front than don't walk, RUN away from these guys. Legitimate talent agents only get paid when they get jobs for their clients. After all, what incentive do they have to find you a job if you've already given them their share in advance? No matter what they try to tell you, or however they try to validate charging you up front (e.g., personalized service, guaranteed jobs, mandatory they take your head shots, mandatory attendance to their workshops and classes etc.), DO NOT under any circumstances fall into that trap.  I repeat RUN!  SAVE YOUR MONEY and don't pay these individuals a cent.  Look for another agent that is above board.
STEP 7: Take Some Improv
Regardless of what you may think of Improvisation Theater, it is one skill that most actors that I've worked with count on in a time of need. Especially for you theater actors who might be stuck with someone who freezes midway through their lines. Trust me, when you’re across from someone goes up on their lines, you’ll thank me for telling you about STEP 7.
Beyond a crisis situation, improv is one of the few styles of acting where you have absolute freedom to discover what things you're good at, and which things could use some work.
Improv is a way to discover your range as an actor while at the same time, it forces you to explore new territory while having to commit wholeheartedly to the situation at hand.
So, where you can find an improv class, consider adding it to your repertoire.
Now, personally….I HATE IMPROV! The reason is I’m a stage actor from way back and expect the script to be the road map I use to impart the character/story to the audience/camera. Also, at that McDonald’s Commercial call I doubt they’re gonna spend a GaZillion Buck$ for me to make up something the day of the shoot!!
However, since I also like to WORK!! And over and over I walk into an audition and those folks behind the desk say….Uhhhhh….mmmmmm improv the scene…. I continue to hone my skills at being able to pulling something outta my ahh, err the "Air" to appease/impress them and you should learn to also! You're a salesman, you only have one product to sell YOU!! So make it so appealing that they HAVE to buy you!
STEP 8: Know Your Range, Then Break Through It…or Breaking Out of The Type Cast Mold
We've all seen those actors who seem to constantly be working in a particular range of roles. For years, Clint Eastwood epitomized the "tough guy" image, Meg Ryan, the "cutesy, girl next door" even Tom Hanks was once the "goofy, nice guy." These actors made their name playing certain roles because they found a range they made work for them and stuck with it.
But then, as many of the better actors will often do, they decided to challenge themselves and break through the mold that audiences, producers and their agents had put them in.
Initially, it's somewhat important to find a range that works for you. It helps people (meaning, casting directors) know who you are and often when you're starting out, it's those memories that get you paid work.
But that doesn't mean you stop developing as an actor. Use the character traits you've discovered to get yourself working. But continue to learn new facets of your person. From voice characterization to exploring a wide variety of acting techniques, you will find that everything you learn in the acting realm will be put to use someday.
STEP 9: Be Persistent
There is one general rule in Hollywood (as in LIFE) -- talent won't get you there, but persistence just might. If you are like a dog with a bone, then Hollywood and New York are the towns for you. Those who are gritty and willing to give it their all day in and day out will have a much greater chance of success than the Classically trained Diva who waits around in his apartment for opportunity to come knocking.
The trick is you have to get out there. Meet people and let them know what you are doing, how well you do it by taking action on stage or set. It's absolutely essential to your success. Don’t hide your light under a bush….nobody is going to beat a path to your door….until you have the cred’s of a Jack Nicholson or Meryl Streep!
STEP 10: Have Patience
Rare is the true "overnight success." Sure, there are those actors that seem completely unknown one day, only to dominate the limelight the next. (The American Idol Syndrome) But the reality is that there were years of hard work and preparation that led even them to that "sudden discovery."
Hollywood and New York are strange towns. There are actors who have literally been working for decades when all the sudden, they're in a role that gets a bit of attention and suddenly, they're famous.
Patience is not only a virtue in acting it's an absolute must to keep from going insane. So develop your patience and you will enjoy the process of rising to stardom that much more even if you never end up getting there.
I’ve been cast in a lot of work in just the past year, and have had fellow actors tell me how lucky I was to get this role or that commercial….I’ve found that the harder I work, the luckier I get. Daily, I spend at least 2 hours going over the postings in Actor’s Access, Backstage, LA Casting and Casting Frontier…hoping that those folks on the receiving end will call me in after seeing my head shot or Demo reel for the part they’ve posted. Today I went through over 57 on LA Casting alone…..and just before I started this sentence I received a call for an audition tomorrow. Trust me….It Works, If You Do!

By Robby Cook Stroud

Dear Diary,

It has been a great week. I bought a new car for my birthday and I am packing boxes getting ready for the drive out to Los Angeles. I am still looking for a room to rent within 20 minutes to the office which is across the street from the SAG office on Wilshire Blvd. 

We are on a roll here at LACA NOLA as we have submitted over 121 projects this week, so we are on track with that. All of my actors are doing a great job on keeping our spoke intact. We have also signed up several new  actors. If you haven’t visited the website lately you should take a look at our new family members.

I am still doing a few inspections a week for FEMA. Which is crazy since it has been 6 months since the disaster was declared. Tornadoes and snow storms are everywhere. Luckily I have been able to work with FEMA and with LACA NOLA as well. It amazes me that some people can be so creative with their repairs as they wait on insurance and FEMA to help with there needs. One family I went to see this week had half of their house closed off and still manage to live there safely.

We are getting ready for our audition seminar and let me tell you, you will walk away with more knowledge on how to make your auditions right and make all of us look very professional. As you know we will not submit or send out any video auditions if they don’t meet our standards as each actor represents each other.  Casting directors look for a continual quality from a talent agent and if we submit one sub-par audition, we all get a bad rap.  

Lastly, I will be spending next week in Franklin with my mom and dog sitting for Caylen. I will need the time to get organized for the move to Los Angeles. I have started to mail boxes to the office so I don’t have to rent a truck. I will be traveling very light since my new car has minimal space.  OH, did I mention that my new car is a Jaguar X8 two-door convertible.  Dr. Mel keeps telling me that I simply couldn't stand it that she had a Jaguar and I didn't.  Not!  I'll just let her keep believing that.  But, she does have one valid point - her Jaguar is bigger than mine, but mine is a convertible which is perfect for the beautiful weather that Los Angeles is known for.  I can't wait to get there and take a drive along the coast, one small blessing in many my new state will offer me.

Until next time, take care, and go break some legs,



This week we have selected two actors to be highlighted as our actors of the week.  Both Vito Viscuso and Leah Stoltz are deserving.  First, Vito was booked on Criminal Minds and Grey's Anatomy.  Way to go Vito.  And, do me a favor.  I love that show.  Please get me a copy of an autographed script for my script collection.  I'll love you forever.  Okay, I'll love your forever anyway.  Congratulations to Vito.


Vito Viscuso PictureVito is known for his professional demeanor on set and has an instant "Likability Factor." He is a true artist of his craft. He has numerous credits to his name. He is the perfect actor to portray a variety of characters. He can be a rugged detective to medical doctor. He makes the perfect "All American" news caster, or the perfect mysterious lover and father.

MARKET: National
Category: Film and Television



The next deserving actor is Leah Stoltz.  Leah is a winner in all accounts, her acting, her inner and outer beauty, and her compassion for the industry.  She brings life to any character that she takes hold.  Congratulations Leah.  We love you.


Leah is a compelling actor with natural beauty who is originally from British Columbia. She now lives in Los Angeles, CA and works full-time as an actor. Her insight into the her characters gives her an added advantage to bring her dramatic skills to the big screen. From playing a powerful and insightful private investigator to a a Prada executive, Leah offers her charisma and charm. Don't let her looks fool you into thinking that she is just another "Pretty Face" as she has the acting skills directors long to have in their films.

Leah knows how to captivate her audience through her dynamic portrayals. She is best known for her roles in the films "Delusional" and "Last Tango." Also, she has appeared as a guest star on several television series including, "Airbourne," "Fly Girls," and Crash and Born.

Special Skills: Golf, Fencing, Equestrian, Snow Skiing, Voice over, Singing, Firearms and Ballroom Dancing. She also speaks French.

Manager: Hollywood Creative & Production Management, LLC  

To book Leah in your upcoming production contact Sr. Agent Robby Cook Stroud at 504-301-8000 OR EMAIL ROBBY COOK STROUD AT:  ROBBYCOOKSTROUD@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, February 21, 2013



                      THIS WEEKS BLOG SPONSORED BY
                      By Dr. Melissa Caudle
                         (Available on and at Barnes & Noble)

FEBRUARY 21, 2013


Dr. Mel on the set of
OMG!  How time flies when your having fun.  I have no idea where the last seven days went as it all seems like a huge blur to me.  Most of my time this week has either been spent editing footage for the sneak peak of my new film A.D.A.M. or filming scenes for it.

I have been very busy with meetings with screenwriters and producers.  I met with Kristopher Hoffman, writer/producer/director, of the PROJECT Z, and his fabulous team.  I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but soon, my production company, ON THE LOT PRODUCTIONS and SAVAGE LIGHT STUDIOS are teaming up on a project to be filmed in New Orleans.  You'll just have to stay tuned for that as it is going to be very exciting.  In the meantime, if you haven't seen PROJECT Z series, be sure to check it out.  It is really amazing and one of our LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP actor's, Sabrita Gordon, stars in it.  Go to:
BLIP.TV/PROJECTZ .  You can thank me later for introducing you to this wonderful series.  Also, join them on Facebook and tell them Dr. Mel sent you their way.  Just Kidding about the last part.  Just enjoy the series.


And, speaking of filming, this last week we filmed all of the Stephen Stone Diamond scenes, who is a famous radio talk show host, played by Challa Sabree, for my film A.D.A.M.  It was a great deal of fun working with Challa which only excited me more as I soon will be filming with Challa again as he takes on the role for The Keystroke Killer.

I also filmed Tina Rubin this week in the role of Rebecca Newland.  And, speaking of this filming, I finally got a cameo appearance in one of my films as I played her best friend who she confides in me about Dr. Sandra Bradford, played by DH Lewis and the research findings.  Other cast who have filmed include Stephen Beal, who plays Dr. Gregory Peterson, and Jamie Alyson, who plays Jessica Parker, Dr. Bradford's quirky research assistant.

Anyway, I can't wait to get everything edited so you can take a sneak peak into the characters who will be in the feature film.  We really had a great time filming both in Los Angeles and in New Orleans.  At the end of this blog, take a look at some of the special moments Ivan Hoey, our still photographer as well as the Producer's Assistant.

Before you rush off and take a look at all of the pictures, I want to welcome DH Lewis into the writing arena.  I asked her if she would write an article about her experiences with casting director workshops.  DH provides some wonderful information below and insight worth knowing.

My Experience with Casting Director Workshops.
By: DH Lewis 
(2013) copyright DH LEWIS

When I returned to the acting profession just over two years ago to Los Angeles, I very quickly learned that a LOT had changed in the nearly 18 years that I had been away from the ‘biz’.
Besides everyone using color head shots, I discovered that actor’s can now self –submit for acting jobs. When I left you had to be submitted by an agent for everything being cast, and I like that we now have a bigger hand in our career, and if you have no agent, you can still find work. The biggest eye opener though, was The Casting Director Workshops. When I left this industry in about 1997, Casting Director’s did ‘Generals’ to meet new talent, now they do workshops. When I left, workshops were very much like a condensed acting class given by a working Casting Director - they are NOTHING like that anymore.
After wasting 100’s of dollars to get a ‘class’ with various Casting Director’s to re-boot my career, I finally realized that these are not ‘classes’ at all – they are audition opportunities – like it or not - they are ‘paid to play’ auditions. When you attend one, you better know what you are doing or you may never get into an audition at that Casting Director’s office. They expect you to know what you are doing and to ‘perform’ the scene, not ‘work on’ the scene. Most often the scene will be given to you just before the workshop, and you will be giving a cold reading performance. The CD expects you to ‘NAIL IT’ in these workshops. They bring new talent in after seeing them in these workshops and often cast leading roles and co-starring roles directly from these cold reading performances. Some CD’s allow prepared scenes, but this is very rare as I have found out.

BEFORE you attend any Casting Director Workshop: Do your RESEARCH:

• Know how to cold read very well.
• Know what kind of show/film you are right for and interested in.
• Research the CD that you will be work-shopping with - in advance.
• Are they currently a CD of a show on air, or a film in Production that’s right for you?
• Know the specific show/film GENRE that that particular CD casts.
• Be sure to prep your scene with that genre in mind – Comedy? Drama? Action?
• Look around for the best prices for the same CD. They usually go to several studios.
• Do the BEST you can do. You may get a redirect and you may not.
• If you are part of that lucky workshop 5%, you may get called in for a real audition @ their office.

I remember going to my first CD workshop after my return, and I left feeling like a fool. I asked questions and they were very perturbed by them: example, I asked, “What do you mean by self-submitting?”  I really thought I was in a class, but their reaction/expression told me that I was actually wasting their time. A couple of weeks later, I went to another workshop with a CD that specialized in comedy. I didn’t do my research/homework, and I performed the scene as a drama with great conviction! Her response, “That was a wonderful dramatic reading, however those sides are from my comedy TV show.” I was humiliated - when I went home and looked her up – I discovered that she ONLY casts comedy shows/films. What a waste of my money and my time in both instances. As a result of my ignorance, I have never been called in to audition by either of those well known CD’s offices!

After I licked my wounds, I brushed myself off and took advanced cold reading classes, so when I attend a workshop now, I make sure that have thoroughly done my research, and I only attend CD workshops that cast shows that I am truly right for. I hope my mistakes and what I have learned from my experiences, will help you to not waste your hard earned money and precious time.

With the right homework before you go to a CD workshop, you will build a bridge, rather than burn one!

By Dr. Mel Caudle

After reading the article written above by DH Lewis I felt compelled to add a small note WHICH inspired the following information on actor's professionalism.  I find that her advice will also behoove actors when going into any audition.  Not only should you be prepared, but you also must  do your research.  Be prepared for your audition by knowing your material, acquiring knowledge on how to breakdown a scene, how to cold read for an audition etc.  If you need help, much more advice is found in my previous blog posts as well as my newest book THUMBS UP!  HOW TO NAIL AUDITIONS.  Purchase your copy today on or by clicking on the picture of the book to the right. 

Now moving on to a more serious issue on actor's professionalism.  There are two glaring behaviors that will set a professional actor from an amateur actor:  not knowing how to audition and once on set being professional in all matters which includes:
  • Contract Protocol
  • Set Etiquette
  • Treatment of Props, wardrobe etc.
  • Confidentiality of script, sets

First up is talking about contract protocol.  If you are signed by an agent, you are bound by their terms and agreements.  Most agents require that when you print your resume, post your demo reels, and upload a website, that only the AGENT AND AGENCY information is used and not an actor's personal contact information.  THIS GOES FOR SIGNING CONTRACTS AS WELL.  An actor should always use their agency's address and phone numbers for payments.  

There are a variety of reasons for doing so.  Mainly, your agent is responsible for submitting you to the casting directors etc and also will supervise your contracts to make sure you are paid appropriately.  If  a casting director wants to hire you, they will go through your agent.  If you as an actor circumvent this it shows the casting director that you may not be up to par in all of your dealings.  It opens the door for any casting director and/or production company to take advantage of you and not PAY YOU the appropriate rate and your residuals in the future.  In fact, this has happened to two of my clients this week.  Whereas a major production company paid the actor directly, with an addendum with a total buy out, and when the checked was cashed there is nothing the non-union actor can do to claim residuals.  Another actor was paid CASH which means that the production company didn't have to file the taxes or add to the actor's FINS for retirement.  Again, the actor looses in the long run.  That actor too is not entitled to any residual payments at all.  

We had another actor on the same set who we got the job for, who only provided the agency's information and made sure we approved of the contract first.  Guess what?  Not only did this actor receive a higher daily rate, but will also get residuals.  Why the difference?  One actor did not circumvent the agency (whether intentionally or accidental); whereas, the other actor made sure his agent was included. Lesson learned I hope for the non-union actor.  They really don't have any recourse.

But, what this means is that if you are represented by an agent, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you ever put your personal information on your head shots, demo reels, websites, contracts, etc.  Likewise, also make sure your agent reviews and approves your CONTRACT prior to signing it.  Lastly, if your Agent's contract states that payments for services are to go to the AGENCY first, then make sure you use your agency's address and no other.  Otherwise, you're likely to lose money in the end.  This is one reason why SAG/AFTRA makes sure that SAG productions use a SAG contract.


If you as an actor are worried that your agency or talent agent won't give you your pay check, then you shouldn't be represented by that agency.  I'd resign immediately and either represent yourself or get another agent.  In fact, we insist on our LACA NOLA talent group to forward all contracts so we may insure the actor receives appropriate payment and residuals forthcoming.  it is to protect the actor.  DO NOT BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. BE SAFE OR BE SORRY.


It is obvious to director's and the entire production crew when an actor knows what they are doing and are professional simply by the types of questions an actor will ask, how they ask them, and how they conduct themselves on set.  Usually, your first contact on set will be with the A.D. (assistant director) department.  The 1st A.D. is the one who will complete the CALL SHEET and notify actors of their reporting time and the location of the set.  Get to know the 1st A.D. and any of the other A.D.s working in that department.  They will be your best friend or worse nightmare on set.  It is also this department who will usually be handling your paperwork once you arrive to set.

Also, please don't take pictures of the set or the other actors.  And, don't ask for autographs.  Be professional.


Treat all production props and wardrobe with respect as you would like your items treated.  And, don't be unprofessional by asking if you can have a prop or your wardrobe as a souvenir.  It will get back to the casting director and/or director which will affect your future hiring ability.

DH LEWIS, JACK CURENTON (co-producer) and
DR. MEL CAUDLE (producer) sort through props for
the A.D.A.M. film.

Please remember that your contract with the production company usually has a non-disclosure statement and agreement attached to it.  ABIDE by it and keep the script confidential as well as what happens on set.  Otherwise, you could wind up in a lawsuit.

So, You Want To Become A Movie Actor??
Making it "big" in Hollywood doesn't usually happen overnight. Prominent actors like Jim Carrey and Sarah Jessica Parker struggled for years before rising to the top. Actors must sometimes do things they don't want or are embarrassed to do temporarily in order to reap the benefits of Hollywood stardom in the long run. But with determination, skill and an amazing personality, there is hope in becoming one of the Hollywood elite. 
1.     Start young. If you are still in your pre-teens or teens, immediately join the drama club at your school. If your school doesn't offer this activity, lobby with the school to get a club started up. Your local community or recreation center may also have drama workshops that are free or of little cost to join.
 2.     However, if you’re not young, don’t worry….the benefits can be huge (if you’re good enough) because so many gave up on their dreams by the time they’re older that the competition has thinned out….it’ll just be you and a bunch of 90210 kids!!
 3.     Early on, major in theater once in college, or apply to a university with a recognized performing arts or theater program. If you live in the Midwest, consider the University of Cincinnati's College of Theater Performance. East Coast dwellers might consider enrolling the Department of Performing Arts at Emerson College in Boston or the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Others might consider applying to North Carolina School of the Arts or the University of Minnesota Guthrie Program. If you already live on the West Coast, consider USC, UCLA or California State University-Fullerton, all of which have well-known acting programs. I personally learned a lot from the Goodman theatre group in Chicago, and my alma matter Kent State.
4.     Move to Los Angeles or New York City . Both of these cities offer unlimited opportunities for an aspiring actor or actress, although LA may offer more opportunities for film. In these cities you will find a plethora of agents, acting classes, auditions and others like yourself with whom you can network.
5.     Prepare to work extremely hard. Once you have relocated, score yourself a serving position in a restaurant or nightclub (or find any other job that will allow you to work nights, while keeping your days free to take acting classes and attend auditions). Not only do jobs like these pay fairly well, but they will also allow you to meet and network with other aspiring actors like yourself. If you’re older, you may have already retired and have a comfortable nest egg to live on while auditioning….that means you’re not waiting tables between gigs.
6.     Put together a professional-looking portfolio. Your portfolio should include a variety of photos, including head shots (close-ups of your face) and full-body shots. You should hire a professional to prepare an actor’s Demo Reel (or audition tape) which will showcase clips from previous professional acting gigs. If you don’t have any to use, film several different scenes/characters and use that. Local Film Schools are a big benefit for this at a reasonable cost or even free for the students to get experience.
7.     Secure yourself formal representation. An agent will help guide you through the beginnings of your career and attempt to find youmovie auditions. You can locate an agent by word of mouth or by doing an Internet search. Or, contact LACA-NOLA Talent Group in New Orleans or Los Angeles areas.
8.     Accept every opportunity that comes your way (with the exception of doing anything that could exploit yourself and or cause harm to your career). Before Courtney Cox scored her role on the sitcom "Friends," she was the starring girl in a Tampax tampon commercial.
9.     Remember that being flexible will broaden the opportunities that become available to you. Whether it's a small part in a cheesy horror flick or the starring role in a cat food commercial, every job you accept will bring you closer to your ultimate goal of becoming a Hollywood movie star.
ü  Don't be a snob. If someone offers you a role in a television pilot--take it. This opportunity could always lead to a career on the big screen.
ü  Be wary of scams. Never pay an agent to represent you. If he is truly interested in your talents, he will not ask you for money, but earn it from the jobs he aids you in getting.


Here is a moment in my wonderful world.  Happy reading.


Dear Diary,

Life is so good. Today I am riding to Dallas with my son James’ best friend Chris, I look forward to a relaxing ride for a change. We are going to help James, my son, and Emily move into a new place.  I will still be working on LACA NOLA  thanks to the Internet and my IPAD.  I love my job, I can do it from anywhere in the world. Like now, as I ride I am writing my blog letter.

I am also trying to look for a place to live in Los Angeles as I will be spending around 2 weeks a month there and 2 weeks in New Orleans. It is a win win situation for everyone. I plan on opening the Los Angeles office for visitations by April 1,2013. I will be in around March 15 to get settled and ready to hit ground with full force. I am looking for a 2 bedroom 2 bath within 30 min of the office which is located on Wilshire Blvd, across for the SAG office should anyone know of anything for lease.


Lots of the talent are getting auditions.  Finally, after months of hard work, actors are getting booked etc.  It is very exciting.  In fact, we had our first married couple film together this week on the same show.  And, several other actors filming on four different sets this week.  And, our Parkour actor, Murphy Betancourt, has been booked to participate on the next season of THE AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR.  So, everyone with LACA NOLA needs to get their television sets ready to watch some great action.


The craziest thing happened while I was in Dallas this week. I was reminiscing about the old days and was thinking about one of my best friends from jr and high school. I haven’t seen her since we were both 15 years old. She moved away to Houston and we lost touch. I thought about her over the years , so I decided to internet search her, again. To no avail. I figured she has a new name now, so I searched her brothers name. and I found an obituary for him, with her name and her parents name attached. Ok, So now I have her new name.

I searched her and I found her. Only her address though. The craziest thing is she lives in Diamondhead MS. Where I have lived for the last 15 years. ¼ of a mile from my house where my kids live. I am going to go by there tomorrow before I pick up my boys. I am astounded that after 40 yrs we are in the same town, same state, only blocks apart. 

When I told Caylen this , she dropped to the floor because she had tried to search for the same girl the day before. I told Caylen, like always, she thinks way to loud. We truly are 2 peas in a pod. I mean 3 peas in a pod, sorry Mel, I don’t want to leave you out.

I just got home from Tae Kwon Do practice and it was a great workout. I am getting stronger everyday. I am so happy quit smoking and am getting healthier by the day. Well, that’s all till next time. Y’all get out there and break a lot of legs. We had 8 auditions this week alone. I want to double that each week. Rockyn



DH LEWIS - Dr. Sandra Bradford
JAMIE ALYSON - Jessica Parker
STEPHEN BEAL - Dr. Gregory Peck
TINA RUBIN - Rebecca Newland
CHALLA SABREE - Stephen Stone Diamond (Talk Show Radio Host)
RUDY GARZA - Limo Driver
GARY SIEVERS - Military Escort
TIMOTHY WYANT -  Officer Coleman


Jamie as Jessica drivers lost.
DH LEWIS and TAWNY wait for filming.
Stephen Beal gets his wardrobe selected.
Long Shot as Stephen Beal, DH Lewis, and Jamie Alyson do scene.
Gary Sievers , DOP shoots the scene.
Gary Sievers in action.
Jamie Alyson with voice overs
DH Lewis in rehearsal as Robby Cook Stroud,
 associate producer, looks on.
Dr. Bradford scolds Jessica Parker
Gary Sievers, DOP and Dr. Mel, Producer
Cramming into the back of the car to film scolding scene.
All in a days work.
DH Lewis, Ivan Hoey, Jamie Alyson, and Gary Sievers

Tina Rubin as Rebecca Newland

Tina Rubin as Rebecca Newland

Tina Rubin as Rebecca Newland
Dr. Mel directing Challa Sabree for the