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Equity Members Invited to Attend Annual Meetings in January and February

11 January 2013 10:51 AM, PST

Members of the Actors’ Equity Association who live outside of the New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago areas can still actively participate in their union at upcoming annual membership meetings this month, to be held in various regions across the country.Meetings will be held Monday, Jan. 14, for South Florida members at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan, Fla.; Monday, Jan. 21, at the Lyric Stage Company in Boston, Mass.; Saturday, Jan. 26 at Old Pecan Street Café in Austin, Texas; and Monday, Jan. 28 in the ABC meeting rooms at the Irving Arts Center in Irving, Texas.Equity’s Eastern Regional Director/Assistant Executive Director Tom Carpenter, National Director of Organizing and Special Projects Flora Stamatiades, and President Nick Wyman are scheduled to attend the Jan. 14 meeting in Manapalan, where they will discuss the focus and direction of the union and participate in a town hall forum with members. Carpenter and Stamatiades have »

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'Argo' Takes Top Prize at Critics Choice Awards

10 January 2013 7:21 PM, PST

After director Ben Affleck failed to score an Oscar nomination this morning, his film "Argo" took home the top prize at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Chocie Awards. Affleck also took best director and began his speech by joking, "I would like to thank the Academy. I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" As I've said before, the Critics Choice Awards are presented by film journalists, not Academy voters. And their choice this year to include best film and acting categories in comedy, action, and sci-fi/horror suggest they were more focused on bringing in big stars than anything. A complete list of winners follows. Best Picture: "Argo" Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln" Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty" Best Documentary: "Searching for Sugar Man" Best Original Score: John Williams, "Lincoln" Best Original Song: Adele and Paul Epworth, "Skyfall," "Skyfall" Best Director: Ben Affleck, "Argo" Best Comedy: "Silver Linings Playbook" Best »

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‘Immigration Consultant’ Andrew Boryski Arrested

10 January 2013 2:53 PM, PST

Authorities arrest Canadian for immigration consulting scam that ‘preyed’ on aspiring foreign actors Authorities in Los Angeles have arrested a 26-year-old Canadian man and charged him with running an immigration consulting scam they say conned foreign actors out of thousands of dollars. Andrew Boryski was arrested Wednesday by special agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations at the Los Angeles International Airport as he prepared to board a flight bound for Canada with a one-way ticket.  Boryski, a Saskatchewan native, was charged with 32 misdemeanor counts, including three counts of grand theft, one count of practicing law without a license, and 28 counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail. If convicted, Boryski could face up to 32 years in prison, although authorities say that kind of a sentence is unlikely in this case. “Actors from foreign countries need to be very »

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Oscar Nominees Speak to Backstage

10 January 2013 2:29 PM, PST

The Oscar nominations are out, and many of the nominees are people Backstage has covered over the last year. We also spoke to several people behind the casting of the nominated films. A quick guide, by film, of articles you might want to catch up on before the big night. "Amour": Read our interview with Michael Haneke, nominated for directing and writing the best picture nominee here. "Argo": Stars Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, and Alan Arkin talk shop here while CD Lora Kennedy discusses casting the film here. And nominee Arkin reveals a hilarious story about being fired from "Bonfire of the Vanities" here. "Flight": See our exclusive video with nominated writer John Gatins, best actor nominee Denzel Washington, and other cast members here. "The Impossible": We spoke to best actress nominee Naomi Watts about her grueling role here. "Les Misérables" Interviews with Tom Hooper and cast members here, »

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Learn ‘How to Get Paid for Reading Books’ Tonight

10 January 2013 12:53 PM, PST

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation presents “How to Get Paid for Reading Books,” featuring a panel of experts explaining what it means to be an audiobook narrator and how to get into the business, on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. Pst. The event will be live streamed online at SAGFoundation.org.Panelists include Jason Ojalvo, vice president at online audiobook provider Audible.com and founder of Audiobook Creation Exchange, which connects voice actors with books; Scott Brick, a film, television, and radio actor who has recorded more than 500 audiobooks and is the winner of 2003 and 2008 Audie Awards and over 40 Earphones Awards; Patrick Fraley, a multiple Audie Award winner and nominee who has produced hundreds of audiobook demos and has taught vocal performance for four decades; Hillary Huber, who has recorded nearly 150 audiobooks and was one of Audiofile magazine’s Best Voices of 2010 and 2011. According the SAG Foundation, discussion topics will »

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Your Comedy Club Can Now be Comedy Central-Certified

10 January 2013 12:03 PM, PST

Carolines on Broadway, the Hollywood Improv, and Cobb’s Comedy Club are among the venerable comedy venues that have just been given “certified” status by Comedy Central as part of its newly created Certified Club program, the cable network announced Jan. 10.Certified comedy clubs earn the network’s seal of approval as well as opportunities for promotion. Participating clubs are listed on ComedyCentral.com’s tours and events page, including show listings and links to purchase tickets. These clubs will also be promoted nationally on television and online in “an ongoing series of programming stunts, commercials, and national sweepstakes,” according to the network. In addition, each club will be able to offer “certified” live stand-up shows and host viewing parties for events like Comedy Central Roasts, stand-up specials, and series premieres before they air on TV. The network hopes that using its national brand recognition to promote individual comedy clubs »

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Trigger-Happy Nets Skipping Pilots for Straight-to-Series Orders

10 January 2013 6:51 AM, PST

Straight-to-series pickups have been popular with cable nets and the new online content producers such as Netflix, but now the broadcast networks increasingly are using the strategy—which could be a boon for working actors. NBC alone has ordered five projects straight to series in the last year, while CBS has ordered “Under the Dome” and ABC has ordered “Mistresses” straight to series. The growing number of these broadcast network projects going straight to series will expand opportunities for performers. “It’s a great deal for an actor because you know that you don’t have to go through the process of shooting a pilot and waiting months to find out if it gets picked up,” Beth Klein, senior vice president, talent and casting, Universal Television, told Backstage in a recent interview. ”You get to jump into story telling that isn’t just a one-shot deal. And it’s also »

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2013 Oscar Nominees Announced (Complete List)

10 January 2013 6:47 AM, PST

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President of the United States, leads this year’s Academy Award nominees with 12 total nominations including best picture, best director (for Spielberg), best actor (for Day-Lewis), best supporting actor (for Tommy Lee Jones), and best supporting actress (for Sally Field).The remaining best picture nominees are “Amour,” “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Misérables,” “Life of Pi,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”“Silver Linings” is the only film this year to have acting nominees in all four categories. Bradley Cooper is nominated for lead actor, Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress, Robert De Niro for supporting actor, and Jacki Weaver for supporting actress.Actor Emma Stone and 2013 Oscars host Seth McFarlane announced the nominees at a press conference this morning. The 85th annual Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, Feb. 24, broadcast live on ABC.See the full list of nominees below. »

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Tyler Perry’s 2 Own Series Get CDs

10 January 2013 6:42 AM, PST

Two of the series that Tyler Perry is producing for Oprah Winfrey’s Own cable network are set to start shooting in Atlanta and have Los Angeles-based casting directors attached, as Backstage predicted in October. Perry’s studios are in Georgia’s capital and local casting will be done in-house by Rhavynn Drummer. But to find the top talent for ”Love Thy Neighbor” and “The Haves and Have Nots,” they’ve turned to Southern California casting directors Shaunda Grace Jones and Kim Coleman, respectively. Coleman, who has often worked with Perry, is also casting his next Madea Christmas film, which starts shooting in Atlanta next week. The two TV series are the first original scripted programs offered on Own, which launched in 2011. “The Haves and Have Nots,” a drama, chronicles the lives of a wealthy family and their housekeeper, who lives in poverty. Meanwhile, comedy “Love Thy Neighbor” focuses on »

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Shocks and Surprises of the Oscar Nominations

10 January 2013 5:50 AM, PST

For those who complain the Oscars are too predictable, this is a year to tune in. The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards were announced on Thursday morning, and there were some big shockers, further confusing a year that has held no clear front-runner. Overall, "Lincoln" leads the pack with 12 nominations, followed by "Life of Pi" with 11.  Perhaps no surprise was bigger than the directing category, which saw sure-things and DGA nominees Ben Affleck ("Argo") and Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") passed over, along with Tom Hooper ("Les Misérables"). Instead, the nominees are Michael Haneke ("Amour"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi"), David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"), and Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"). Of this list, only Lee and Spielberg received DGA nominations earlier this week. While this would appear to make Spielberg the front-runner, one has to wonder if Lee and "Life of Pi" might be the surprise dark horse, »

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Earwolf, Funny or Die Launch New TV and Film Ventures

9 January 2013 3:07 PM, PST

Two of the biggest names in new media are expanding into more traditional film and television projects. The Earwolf Podcast Network is starting to develop and produce shows for television, while Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s popular comedy website Funny or Die is working on its first slate of feature films.“At Earwolf, we’ve started a TV development and production entity,” Earwolf co-founder and CEO Jeff Ullrich revealed as part of his “Six Podcasting Predictions for 2013,” which he wrote last week for All Things Digital about the future of podcasting. “We’ve sold our first script and are signing a first-look deal with a cable network.” Ullrich did not provide the details of the deal, or which projects are currently in development for TV.Co-founded by Ullrich and comedian, writer, and podcaster Scott Aukerman in 2010, Earwolf is a leading podcast network that distributes 30 podcasts, including Paul Scheer’s “How Did This Get Made? »

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Benjamin Walker On His Worst Audition; Plus More From the Issue!

9 January 2013 1:30 PM, PST

Benjamin Walker on his worst audition experience: “When I auditioned for college, I was in a hotel room in Chicago. I think it was called the Palmer House Hotel. And when you walked in the room, directly to your right was the table with the panel that was going to evaluate you. And then there’s the door you entered in, and then there’s a closet door. When I walked in, he said, ‘Be sure not to leave through the closet.’ I was like, ‘Ha, ha, ha! That’s stupid. I’ll never do that!’ And so I did my pieces, and I sure as hell went in the closet. I was so flustered and nervous I just went to the closest door, and I closed the door behind me and I just stood in the closet until they said, ‘Ben? Ben, come on out.’ ” Elswhere in the issue, »

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Final Oscar Nominee Predictions

9 January 2013 11:53 AM, PST

Predicting awards is a tricky business. While you can apply a certain amount of science--who is willing, guild awards, what people are saying--a lot of it is a leap of faith. So with that in mind, here are the final predictions for who I think will hear their names called when the Oscar nominations are announced Thursday morning. Best Picture "Argo""Django Unchained""Les Misérables" "Life of Pi" "Lincoln" "Silver Linings Playbook" "Zero Dark Thirty" Possiblities: There's a lot of critical/pundit support for "Amour" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild," though I'm not sure it's enough to score either film a coveted Best Picture nod. Best Director Ben Affleck, "Argo" Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"Tom Hooper, "Les Misérables" Ang Lee, "Life of Pi" Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln" Possibilities: If the above list makes the cut, it will match perfectly with the DGA nominees. Past experience says there is usually »

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Tune in Sunday for a Live Discussion with 'Argo' Cast (Video)

9 January 2013 11:46 AM, PST

Tune in here for a live discussion with the cast of 'Argo' on Sunday, January 13, at 11 a.m. Pst. Director/actor Ben Affleck will be joined by actors Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston to discuss the film, which earned nominations for Arkin and the ensemble cast at the 2013 SAG Awards. This event is presented by Backstage and SAG Foundation. Based on true events, "Argo" chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis -- the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. The film also stars Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler and Chris Messina. »

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Razzie Awards Nominate 'Twilight,' Adam Sandler, Tyler Perry for Worst of 2012

9 January 2013 10:12 AM, PST

Tyler Perry, Adam Sandler, and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” were among the “Worst Achievements in Film” of 2012 according to the recently released nominations for the 33rd annual Golden Raspberry Awards, better known as the “Razzie Awards.”“Breaking Dawn” is this year’s most recognized film, with a nomination in every category. In fact, the final installment of perennial Razzies favorite “The Twilight Saga” managed to earn 11 total nods in only 10 categories.Adam Sandler, whose “Jack & Jill” set a Razzies record with 10 “wins” last year, is back with eight nominations for “That’s My Boy.” “Battleship” is close behind with seven nods, including worst supporting actress contenders Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna.In addition to his nomination as worst director, Tyler Perry was nominated for both worst actor (for his performances in “Alex Cross” and “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds”) and worst actress (after dressing in drag again as the »

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Upcoming Auditions: Jan. 10-30

9 January 2013 9:40 AM, PST

Backstage knows you have a busy schedule of meetings, auditions, callbacks, rehearsals, performances, and shoot dates coming up, so we're here to help! Our weekly "Auditions at a Glance" calendars conveniently organize projects by the date and day-of-the-week that the projects' auditions are taking place, to help you schedule your plans. Find this week's upcoming open calls and auditions in the New York Tri-state area, Los Angeles, and nationwide: New York Auditions at a Glance California Auditions at a Glance Regional Auditions at a Glance Plus, don't forget to check out hundreds more casting and job notices on Backstage.com to find the perfect gig for you! »

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Free Screening and Q&A with 'Les Misérables'

9 January 2013 9:05 AM, PST

Backstage readers are invited to attend a screening of "Les Misérables," followed by a Q&A with director Tom Hooper and cast members Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried. The details: "Les Misérables" Screening and Q&A Friday, Jan. 11, at 7p TV Academy's Leonard H. Goldenson Theater 5230 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 To attend, please email events@backstage.com with "Les Miz" in the subject header. List your name and whether you intend to bring a guest. This invitation is good for you and one (1) guest only. You will not receive a response unless the event is closed. Your name will be put on a list at the door. Please note that to ensure capacity, events are overbooked. Your RSVP does not guarantee a seat. We reccommend arriving at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the screening. »

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Inside Broadway and 'Annie' Give Back to Schoolchildren

9 January 2013 8:55 AM, PST

Most theater aficionados can recall with delight their first theater experience—and on Jan. 24, Broadway’s Palace Theatre will be filled with more than 2,500 New York City public school students, many of whom may be memorizing their first time too. Inside Broadway, a leading arts education not-for-profit, is partnering with the Broadway revival of “Annie” to offer two free “Creating the Magic” events to local children. The students, ranging from grades three through nine, will be given a behind-the-scenes look at a Broadway production and learn about career opportunities in the theater. Even though actors in Broadway musicals often have a grueling schedule—between evening shows, matinees, and the physical demands of their profession—many of the brightest talents have carved out time to participate in these events. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought that [the kids] were extremely involved. They seemed totally enthralled especially with the technical aspects of the show, »

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The Pros and Cons For Actors Moving With a Show

9 January 2013 8:39 AM, PST

Broadway is doing a lot of shuffling lately. The critically adored “Peter and the Starcatcher” returns to its Off-Broadway roots with a planned opening at New World Stages later this year after ending its Broadway run on Jan. 20. American Repertory Theater’s “Pippin” will become the first-ever Broadway revival of the musical when it lands at the Music Box Theatre in the spring. And on Jan. 10, “The Other Place” will open on the Main Stem, after a celebrated run in 2011 at McC Theater. “It’s really rare when you get a second chance on a piece,” said actor John Schiappa, who appeared in “The Other Place” at the Lucille Lortel and is in the Broadway cast. “Not only just to get to do it again within a short span of time and dig into it even deeper but to move a show…is very exciting for all kinds of reasons. »

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Nea Announces Guidelines and Deadlines for Key Grants

9 January 2013 8:16 AM, PST

The National Endowment for the Arts (Nea) recently announced the application guidelines for the Grants for Arts Projects for Theater/Musical Theater Art Works and the Challenge America Fast-Track grant. Nea applicants must be a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) status, a part of a state or local government, or a federally recognized tribal community or tribe. The Art Works grants aims to support organizations or artists in the process of creating or refining work, to sponsor the public presentation of plays and musical, and to provide opportunities for professional development. This can include new plays and musicals, development laboratories, showcases, artist residencies, work for young audiences, experimental work, community-based work, outdoor historical dramas, and puppetry. The Nea will host a webinar for potential Art Works applicants 4–5 p.m., Feb. 12, at arts.gov. (Reservations are required to attend the webinar). The online session is intended to cover the basics of the Art Works funding category, »

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