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The Acting Podcast
with Risa Bramon Garcia & Steve Braun
Risa Bramon Garcia (director, casting director, producer) & Steve Braun (acting coach, communications consultant), founders of The BGB Studio, take you deep inside the craft, the casting room, and the business- while bringing other Industry experts into the conversation. We dig into the work, pull back the curtain of the Industry, and show you how much power you really have as an artist.
Ep. 34: April Webster: Galactic Casting Director
Often we think of successful Industry folks as out of reach and fancy and intimidating- especially after decades of huge success. And here at BGB and on the Acting Podcast we try to dispel that belief and remind ourselves that we are ALL human in this, we all face challenges, we are all figuring it out day to day. Steve and I had great privilege to zoom this week with brilliant, acclaimed casting director, April Webster, and talked with her about the amazing work she has done over decades, how she approaches and has always approached the work- including the iconic franchises of Star Wars and Star Trek, how that’s all changed in the world of self-tapes and zoom auditions, what advice she has for actors, and what means the most to her about the work we do TOGETHER. We love the heart, humanity, intuition, deep love of the work, and a powerful mind-heart-body-spirit connection that April brings to her casting, and we’re thrilled to bring this inspiring conversation to you. Listen in, and stick with it; there is so much wisdom here from one of the greatest casting directors ever.
Ep. 33: Why Acting Teachers Suck
At their best, acting teachers have the ability to create a healthy space in which actors can engage in the consistent practice of their art, deepening their awareness and understanding of themselves and the world. And also, acting teachers have a legacy of falling short. There are amazing teachers doing the hard work of examining ego in the interest of facilitating growth in others. And on the other end of the spectrum there are actual abusive predators who leverage the unearned status and power that is sadly associated with the title "Acting Teacher." And in the middle there are all sorts of biases, ignorance of power structures, and social influences at play (often around gender, race, Queerness, ability), or even just a rigidity about what acting should be. We hear actors' experiences about acting teachers, and there are conversations that need to happen around the dynamics at play. Every acting teacher, studio, school, or academy must examine their beliefs and practices. No acting teacher or studio is above this conversation. That includes us. And every actor must be aware of the dynamics involved so they train and grow in a healthy environment. Listen to the conversation with Risa and Steve. It’s provocative.
Ep. 32: Owning the BROKE in One Broke Actress: A Conversation with Sam Valentine
Risa and Steve sit down in-person with Sam Valentine aka One Broke Actress. Sam is a working actor, a content creator, a coach, a podcaster, an actor’s advocate, the poster actor for the side hustle, with a significant social media presence and a foray into youtube, and the creator of One Broke Actress. They talk about what BROKE really means and how to embrace it. And they dive into what gets Sam up in the morning, what drives her and fires her up, and what continues to challenge her, even after all this new success. AND how One Broke Actress has changed how she approaches all areas of her career and her creative life, which we’re really interested in as it relates to all of you listening. So wherever you’re listening, take a page from Sam’s playbook and consider what steps you can take- steps that are authentic to you- to turn your talent into work. Sam’s journey is inspiring; we want yours to be as well!
Ep. 31: Self-Tapes Don't Have to Hurt
In this conversation about that big topic: Self-Tapes- taking up most of the audition real estate- Risa and Steve offer ways in which you can move past all the (real, tangible) challenges of self-taping, even the trauma around it, and discover the freedom, joy, and deep curiosity you need to get the attention of any Casting Director and book work regularly. Your Self-Tapes don’t have to hurt anymore! We're excited to offer ways to shift your mindset, bring all of your talent to bear in your work on-camera- even if you’re home alone, turn your Self-Tapes into art, and return to feeling like an actor, always. And when you do that, you’re able to show up fully, confidently, and creatively free, again and again, and inevitably success follows. So listen, open your hearts and minds, and see how this discussion helps you re-imagine your Self-Tapes!
Ep. 30: How to Have a Post-Covid Acting Career
In this first episode of Season 3, Risa and Steve talk about how to navigate this new and challenging time in order to find your way in an Industry that’s also redefining itself. We’ve all changed in the past 2 years, and now, Risa and Steve invite you to start with the following: Stop, look inside, create space, and figure out who you are right now so that your acting can be current, an expression of this very moment. From there, you can offer your art with presence, vulnerability, listening, self-awareness, kindness, empathy, human connection, artistic leadership, and generosity.These are values that we practice and celebrate here at BGB, values and practices that will affect your audience on an emotional level and fill a great need in the Industry. Which is now- more than ever- a direct path to success. And yet success isn’t measured in jobs booked; it’s measured in the ups and downs of a career that happens over decades. So, your health (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) is essential in order to take care of both you and your community and to become a whole, happy artist, your tank full, offering your voice, your talent, your art! Have a listen! We know this will resonate. Let us know what speaks to you. Email us and find us on social to continue the conversation.
Ep. 29: Cooking Your Self-Tape
BGB Master Teacher Sydney Walsh teaches Risa how she makes steak, shares insight on mushrooms as she cooks them LIVE, and connects it all to your audition + self-tape practice. “You can follow the recipe and still be deeply creative.” Just like cooking… as an actor, you must create space and time to prepare a meal and allow it to simmer and grow into something delicious. This goes for your self-tape or audition as well- being fully present in order to allow your imagination to inform what you create and be in the process of making something new each time. You must allow each “take”- each dish- to unveil itself in the moment, accepting and inviting that it will be different and fresh every time, trusting the process of cooking it, and thus enabling a more profound, pure, and inventive creation. Listen in to this inspired conversation for a whole bunch of “aha” moments! And check out all of Sydney’s classes on her BGB PAGE!
Ep. 28: The Practice That Leads To Success
We’re sharing a special conversation Risa + Steve had on a recent IG LIVE that has become a fantastic podcast episode about Practice! Here we go deep into what kind of practice you need to cultivate in order to book jobs, to rekindle the joy your work, and to have the confidence you’re looking for to meet this amazing and challenging career path you’ve chosen for yourself. Listen in and see what aligns with you as well as what mindset shifts you might start to make to solidify a practice for your career, for your art, for your life. Want to join the conversation? Listen in and then share your thoughts and questions with us on social @BGBStudio
Ep. 27: Not Just An Actor: Making Your Own Box
Risa and Steve sit down with an incredible group of successful multi-hyphenates- Milena Govich, Will McCormack, Grasie Mercedes, and Brea Grant- all of whom started their journeys as actors and have since grown into other roles in the Industry, making names for themselves as writers, directors, producers, and showrunners. Together they discuss their unique paths, and how they’ve found empowerment and fulfillment by stretching themselves in multiple areas of their careers, acquiring agency to expand their artistic lives in the process. P.S. And it’s made them stronger, freer actors.
Ep. 26: Doing It All: Career, Art, & Parenthood
Risa and Steve sit down with a dynamic group of actor-parents- Heather Brooker, Eddie Cahill, Anna Silk, and Cate Cohen- all with extensive and varied careers – to talk about what it means to be a parent while navigating their artistic careers & the Industry. They discuss their journeys, their challenges, their joys, their big realizations- and how parenting has not only deeply informed their acting, but how acting has made them much better parents. We love this talk and hope it brings you new clarity and wisdom, as it did for us. Note: Parenthood has been hugely challenging during Covid, and we offer all actor parent our deep empathy, support, and love!
Ep. 25: Re-Opening the Industry w/ Gabrielle & Duncan of SAG-AFTRA
In the midst of this time of great uncertainty and upheaval for actors across the globe, and as the Industry slowly reopens, it is paramount for actors to be aware of new on-set protocols, how to advocate for yourselves in every area of your work and careers- including having a voice in your union- and how to keep your creative spirit alive. In that pursuit, we are thrilled to offer our conversation with Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief operating officer as well as the union’s Safety & Reopening Lead, currently working with specialists in the science and medical fields to advocate for a safe reopening for actors and everyone in the Industry.
Ep. 24: Getting Intimate with Mia Schachter: Sex, Consent & Nudity On Set
In this episode, Risa and Steve talk with Mia Schachter- one of Hollywood’s top intimacy coordinators- about their role in the Industry + how actors can advocate for themselves in any situation with regards to intimacy, sex, nudity, and consent of all kinds. Whether choreographing sex scenes, negotiating nudity riders, or simply having the backs of actors on set, Mia discusses what they actually do (and you’ll find this as fascinating and necessary as we did), along with their background, the challenges around creating safe sets, what they do to help actors feel safe and empowered, and how they see the future of film and television- and acting- in regards to intimacy, boundaries, and facilitating the kind of freedom necessary for artists to dive into creating their deepest, most vulnerable work. This is a vital conversation for all actors and Industry professionals, and we want to hear from you on what speaks to you from this discussion!
Ep. 23: Mary Queen of Casting: A Candid Conversation w/ Mary Vernieu
Casting titan Mary Vernieu, whose company Betty Mae Casting is known for working with prestige directors and indie talent alike, joins Risa and Steve in this episode for an in-depth discussion of the casting process, the importance of preparation, championing and nurturing actors and filmmakers, and always approaching the work of acting, auditioning, and casting with creativity, joy, flexibility, and play. Mary’s journey has been incredible so far; she’s created a meaningful, creative family at Betty Mae, and is deeply grateful for it all. We are thrilled to share this insightful and moving conversation with you. Fun fact: Mary started in Risa’s office in 1990 and says she “learned everything she knows from Risa.” She built her casting empire soon thereafter… Betty Mae is now 25 years old!
Ep. 22: The Booking Mindset
Booking work starts with a booking mindset. In this episode, Risa and Steve break down the ways in which to shift your approach to booking work and cultivate a consistent practice in order to do amazing work all the time, whether in a high-pressure audition setting, self-tape, on set, in rehearsal, or in your approach to your career. Listen in and learn how to change your norm from nervousness, self-consciousness, even self-defeat, to believing in yourself, being self-aware, proactive, and deeply knowing your power as an actor and your value as an artist. Go ahead and do some journaling on your “why,” on your purpose, when you’re done listening. We want to hear from you!
Ep. 21: The Audry Moore Hustle
Risa and Steve sat down with Audrey Moore, a passionate artist, popular podcast host, and actor’s advocate. She has an incredible focus and discipline in how she engages in the business of acting, as well as her craft, and she’s here to share her journey. Listen in to this juicy talk about what it means to be a story ninja, how to normalize the audition experience, the importance of developing a consistent and practical practice, and the origin story behind her hugely renowned podcast AUDREY HELPS ACTORS! Our question to you after listening: What is your devoted and passionate practice?
Ep. 20: Sarah Finn: Superhero of Casting
Sarah Finn is the award-winning casting director of Oscar winners and blockbusters alike. Best known for her work casting the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, she has also cast a huge range of films and TV shows [full bio below]. In this episode Sarah talks with Risa and Steve about her casting journey- its joys and challenges, about her unique process, and about how to approach the work from a place of creative collaboration, curiosity, and a deep love for acting. Fun fact: Sarah started her epic casting adventure as Risa’s assistant a couple of decades ago.
Ep. 19: WTF Just Happened?!
No matter how bad things get, art brings hope. In this first episode of Season 2, Risa and Steve speak to being an artist in 2020 in the face of a worldwide pandemic, systemic racism, and an election; where the Industry is headed, and whatever uncertainty and distress result from it all. And how keeping hope- and your art- alive is both a soul-serving necessity and a revolutionary declaration that we are still here, we are still feeling, we are still human. All you have to do is show up!
Ep. 18: Talking Shop w/ Our BGB Casting Family: Risa, Leah, & Billy
Risa, Billy, and Leah (whose history together runs deep) sat down together (over Zoom) to talk about how actors and CDs are breaking down barriers and connecting in this “new normal” via social media challenges, IG LIVES, and open calls, including the massively popular monologue challenge that Leah ran and took boldly into a daily Instagram LIVE. They spoke about how they’re each making the new virtual space work, what they want from actors during these challenging months (and actually, always), + what the future of casting will bring. It’s a dynamic and honest conversation, giving you a peek into the minds and hearts of these veteran, award-winning, actor-loving Casting Directors.
Ep. 17: Championing Actors: A Casting Director Roundtable on Zoom!
In this special bonus episode of The Acting Podcast, Risa and Steve spoke with an incredible group of Casting Directors (in a Zoom roundtable) who are sharing challenges, open calls, and calls for reels on social media, and doing Instagram Lives, all with the intention of being in collaboration with actors and to keep their own artistry alive during these challenging time. Erica Bream, Jason Kennedy, Ramani Leah, Seth Caskey, Cara Chute Rosenbaum, Andrea Bunker, Becky Silverman, and Ryan Glorioso are all offering generously to artists all over the world in ways to bring actors’ unique voices to our collective work right now. We were so moved by what they had to say about the gorgeous, brave work they’re seeing from thousands of artists around the globe, and we hope this episode will bring inspiration and encouragement to you and artists everywhere!
Ep. 16: Creating a Path to Mind-blowing Work During Quarantine
For today’s special bonus episode of THE ACTING PODCAST, we gathered together our brilliant BGB Master Teachers for an important, frank discussion about coping during the time of the coronavirus, the necessity of creating space for community and artistry to happen, and how the Industry is already starting to shift throughout this as a result — and in many ways, for the better. We are blown away by the generosity, courage, and leadership of these fierce artists, our BGB Teachers, and by the incredible, moving work happening here in our BGB Zoom classes. We couldn’t do any of this without them! We hope this talk offers hope and heart, as it did for us, and as we connect on our shared experience as artists everywhere.
Ep. 15: Art & Healing in the Time of Corona
Risa and Steve sat down together via Zoom for a special bonus episode of The Acting Podcast to speak to our community of artists all over the world about life, art, and healing in the time of Corona. Listen in to what they’ve been discovering about our collective need for artistic expression as we all move through this challenging time. In this, they suggest ways in which we can each maintain- and even cultivate- open hearts and artistry in the face of a global pandemic. The message through all of this is clear: We believe in the power of creating in our collective community. We’re here for you. And we’re all in this together.
Ep. 14: It’s Not You, It’s Pilot Season
Pilot Season. Whether you’re going out for series regulars non-stop or dreaming of your first co-star, this time of year is fraught. In this episode, Risa, Steve, and a special guest- Casting Director Becky Silverman- break down the idea of Pilot Season (what it means + what’s really going on behind the scenes) and what you can do to have an active Pilot Season of your own- with or without the Industry’s permission.
Ep. 13: Take Action in 2020
Welcome to 2020. It’s a New Year. A new decade. Now is the time to take stock, to refocus, and to move forward from this moment on with a clarity of vision and purposeful, practical action. What does that look like for you? How do you start? In this special bonus episode, listen in as Risa and Steve guide and encourage you to step into this new beginning from a place of artistic power and creative certainty.
Ep. 12: Bernie Telsey: The King of Casting
Bernie Telsey started his casting career back in the day alongside Risa, and popped into BGB to sit down with Risa + Steve to talk about it all. As head of the massive- and massively successful- Telsey + Company in New York (and LA), Bernie Telsey is a true titan in the casting industry. In this episode, listen in as he talks to Risa and Steve about his passion for collaboration, what he hopes to see from actors in the audition room, and how his unique approach to casting- stemming from a deep love of the theater and the experience of connecting to a performance on a profound, emotional level- has made him one of the most sought-after (not to mention beloved) casting directors in the world.
Ep. 11: How To Talk To Your Family About Your Career
Knowing how to talk to your family about your career can be a landmine filled with all kinds of emotional pitfalls: shame, insecurity, trying to impress them, a need for validation, and a lack of transparency about where you’re actually at and why you keep doing what you’re doing. In this episode, Risa and Steve break down how you can approach and communicate with your loved ones from a place of compassion, setting healthy boundaries, releasing expectations, and claiming artistic empowerment by taking full ownership- without apology- of what you do and why. Before you go home for the holidays or engage with your family in any way that may feel loaded, have a listen!
Ep. 10: Saying Yes to the No: Managing Rejection
Listen in as Risa and Steve explore every angle of rejection – from the feelings triggered when it happens – to the perspective from the creative team (behind the camera) – and, most importantly, what you can do to take care of yourself, stay focused, and even thrive on your artistic journey in the face of rejection. Learn how you can bounce back as you cultivate your passion and your creativity, and continuing to bring yourself fully into any audition room and any meeting, time and time again. Be ready to collaborate, to offer your talent freely and with generosity, and do your best work, no matter the outcome. Say YES to the NO!
Ep. 9: An Actor’s Consent: Navigating Vulnerable Spaces
In the wake of the ongoing #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, conversations surrounding consent as an actor in this Industry are more vital than ever. In this panel, Risa talks with powerhouse advocates in our Industry: television director and actor Laura Innes, TV producer Laurie Zaks, actor and advocate Esmé Bianco, actor and journalist Margaret Judson, and actor Nick Ballard. This is an honest and provocative conversation that covers everything from nudity on set and intimacy coordinators to redefining what it means to request and offer consent with agency, while doing deep, creative work in storytelling, in business dealings, and in everyday life.
Ep. 8: Josiah Akinyele: The Hardest Working Agent in Show Business
In our recent BGB class, “The Business of Acting,” Risa had the opportunity to sit down with Josiah Akinyele, an agent at Innovative Artists. Listen in as they discuss the agent/client relationship, how to “make it,”along with Josiah’s unique journey from a challenging upbringing in Africa and the U.S.- to working at Banana Republic- to discovering his path and passion as a Hollywood agent. Josiah talks about what he needs from his clients (and potential clients), why the Industry is more competitive than ever right now, and what it takes for actors to be seen and find real success in our business.
Ep. 7: How To Get An Agent
In this episode of The Acting Podcast, Risa and Steve tackle the most frequently asked question of all: “How do I get an agent?” They break it all down, covering everything from cultivating industry relationships and the practical, business side of communicating to advocating for yourself in your work and in the Industry so that you’re ready to engage with agents and managers. Listen in as they champion you to reclaim your power, create connection, bring your value to every aspect of you career, and understand what’s ultimately important in finding real success- with or without an agent.
Ep. 6: The Secret To Successful Preparation
What do you do to prepare for an audition? How can you bring your full, authentic self to the work- while remaining flexible and relaxed in the room? In this episode, Risa and Steve break down audition preparation in the simplest, clearest terms, in order for you to start to transform your audition process… and book more work!
Ep. 5: Wisdom of Women
In this episode of The Acting Podcast, Risa Bramon Garcia sits down with a group of brilliant women- Mindy Cohn, Harley Kozak, Dionne Audain, and Cate Cohen- all with extensive and varied careers as actors, writers, filmmakers and BGB Studio members – to talk about what it means to be a woman in this business. They discuss their journeys, their challenges, being seen over 40, glass ceilings, ageism, plastic surgery, and what it means to be attractive, sensual, and powerful as they get older and wiser in Hollywood and beyond.
Ep. 4: BGB Creators: Queen’s Gambit Films
Creating your own work empowers you to take control of your own career. Natalie Britton and Kate Hamilton both started their careers as actors and are now well-versed in the fundamental shift that happens when you start making opportunities for yourself. They have combined experience producing over 17 award-winning short films in a 2 year time period, most recently under the umbrella of their production company “Queen’s Gambit Films.” Listen in as Risa and Steve sit down and talk with these two powerhouse producer-actors, discussing everything from making the move from acting to producing, balancing creativity and parenthood, advice for first-time filmmakers, and the importance of giving yourself permission to take the next step into your own artistic and career success. This is a must-hear conversation!
Ep. 3: Getting Right With Self-Tapes
The landscape is changing. Self-tapes are the new audition room. But how can you show up fully and do your best work when it’s just you, a camera, and an empty room? Listen as Risa and Steve debunk every myth about self-taping (the blue background, finding a reader, recreating the casting room, etc) and answer your burning questions about how to approach your self-tapes with power, with presence, with freedom, and as an opportunity to truly be in command of your artistry and your career. It’s time to get right with self-tapes!
Ep. 2: Choose Your Own Adventure: An Artistic Roadmap
Creating your own path as an artist in this Industry – on your own terms – is a vital part of any actor’s journey. In this episode, Risa and Steve talk about their own personal journeys and career challenges, including the story of how they came together, creating The BGB Studio, and how their artistic struggles – both individually and as a team – have defined a path of unique and surprising fulfillment. Their stories serve as a vital reminder that growth and transformation are not only necessary components to any artistic pathway, they are the very things that expand each of us.
Ep. 1: How to Make It in Hollywood
How to make it in Hollywood is about so much more than figuring out the mythic 1-2-3 steps to becoming a star. It lies in a holistic approach to being a whole and happy actor- on your own terms. In this episode, Risa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun explore the deeper meaning of success and discuss how to approach your career from a place of artistry, collaboration, creativity, and discipline. Listen in and find out how you can expand your artistic journey and book more work because of it!
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