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Leven Rambin on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

066: Leven Rambin

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Our episode today is a must listen for actors who want to learn how to orchestrate a career. This is an conversation about empowering yourself as an artist, about staying power, about the necessity to invest in yourself, and the importance of having a vision of where you want to go in your career and how to align everything in your life around that vision. Our guest today has fully arrived as an artist and is here to stay!

Leven Rambin is an award winning actress and director originally from Houston, Texas who trained and taught at Playhouse West in New York City. Leven began her career at just thirteen years old on the set of “All My Children” as Lily Montgomery. Since then she’s worked on dozens of films, including “The Hunger Games,” “Chasing Mavericks,” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” and “Two Night Stand.” Most recently she starred in Ramaa Mosley’s independent film “Lost Child” as an army veteran who has returned to her home in the Ozarks to find a young, mysterious boy in the woods. She is currently working on the film “London Calling” with Ron Perlman and Malcolm McDowell and “The Dirt,” which follows the origin story of Mötley Crüe. Her television credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “One Tree Hill,” “Scoundrels,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “The Tomorrow People,” and “Private Practice.” Leven joined the cast of “True Detective” in the shows second season before portrating Chloe Jones on Hulu’s “The Path,” starring alongside Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. She is currently leading WGN’s crime drama “Gone” with Chris Noth and Danny Pino. “Gone” follows Leven Rambin’s character Kick Lannigan, a survivor of a famous child-abduction case, after joining a special task force dedicated to solving missing person and abduction cases.

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“Invest in yourself, have a vision of where you want to go, operate from that vision. I’m constantly evolving and becoming what it is that I still want to become.”

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065: Elliot Knight

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In our second conversation with Elliot Knight we take a deeper look into everything, from his relationship to auditioning, to how he makes the distinction of being in love with the performance, the storytelling, and the craft rather than the industry and what that difference means for him. He talks about wanting to be the kind of performer who reveals rather than masks. This is a conversation for anybody that needs reminding to own and honor the space you take up, to be expansive, to be vulnerable in your art, and how to let life imitate art.

Elliot Knight is an English actor best known for his break out performance in the British television series “Sinbad,” playing the titular role. Knight received his theatrical training at The Manchester School of Theatre before landing the coveted role. Knight appeared as a recurring character in the BBC crime drama “By Any Means” before making his US television debut in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” joining Viola Davis, Aja Naomi King, and Alfred Enoch. Knight joined the cast of ABC’s hit fantasy series “Once Upon a Time” as Merlin in the show’s fifth season. He starred alongside Juliet Rylance and Antony Starr in “American Gothic” before being cast in Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith’s “Life Sentence,” which aired on the CW. “Life Sentence” follows Lucy Hale’s character Stella as she navigates life after her terminal cancer is cured, her family, and her relationship with her husband, played by Elliot Knight. The show is currently available on Netflix. You can catch Elliot on Greg Berlanti’s DC universe “Titans,” which has just finished its first season.

 

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“Never believe your own press package.”

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064: Keesha Sharp

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Award-nominated actress, writer, and director Keesha Sharp sheds light on the courage it takes to break the rules and go after what you want, how fear choked her voice out of musically performing, fighting expectations and results, deciding when to change agents and how facing fear ultimately will open up the blessings.  This conversation connects the dots about showing up for your craft 100% of the time and how you never know what job might land you the ticket for the next big job.

In 2019, Keesha not only returns to the screen as Trish Murtaugh in the international hit series “Lethal Weapon” for FOX, but also introduces her directorial skills to the show, which premiered its third season on September 25, 2018.  Combining action and drama with friendship and humor, season three of “Lethal Weapon” follows Detectives Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and the newly introduced Wesley Cole (Seann William Scott) as they combat crime in Los Angeles.  Sharp shines as Trish, a district attorney, mother, and devoted wife and confidante to Roger.  Sharp was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series at the 2017 NAACP Image Awards for her work on the show.

On the film front, Sharp was also most recently seen starring opposite Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, and Sterling K. Brown in “Marshall”.  The film follows the story of Thurgood Marshall (Boseman), the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.  Sharp’s standout work as Buster Marshall earned her a third NAACP Image Award nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture category.  Additionally, Sharp is currently shopping an Eartha Kitt biopic, set to head into production in 2019.  Having been compared to the icon since her early theater days and dubbed by many reviewers as a “young Eartha Kitt,” Sharp will portray Kitt in the leading role of a film that promises iconic songs, compelling childhood stories, and triumph through political blacklisting, all told through salacious details.

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BONUS: Joshua Beveridge

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Today’s conversation is a crash course into the journey of an animator. It’s about how a young man who never met an art medium he didn’t like chose to pursue a highly competitive and challenging career and truly thrived in his art form. We follow Joshua Beveridge’s early memories in a home filled with art history books, as a kid always painting and drawing or sculpting, to attending a College of Art and Design to being the Animator Director on “Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse”.

Joshua Beveridge is a Head of Character Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks. His other titles have included Animation Director and Supervising Animator. Beveridge earned his BA in Computer Animation from the Ringling College of Art and Design before landing his first professional job on Disney’s adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Since then he’s worked on various teams as a Character Animator, Supervising Animator or Lead Animator in popular films such as “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Hotel Transylvania 2,” “Arthur Christmas,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and “Storks.” His work on Warner Bros “I Am Legend,” starring Will Smith and Alice Braga, garnered a 2008 Visual Effects Society Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live action Motion Picture. Beveridge’s latest animated feature film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has broken the mold (again) for telling stories.

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QUOTES:

“There’s nothing impulsive about animation.”

“If you are afraid in art that’s usually an indication that you’re on the right path.”

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063: Camille Chen

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This is a conversation about what it means to demand our worth as artists and women, what that looks like when you are trying to break out of being a guest star and how our guest is asking for that series regular. Camille Chen discusses how to be a good guest star, how she uses and works with the reader in the room, and the small and huge successes along the way. We talk about how she became the Queen of Commercials, improving for Aaron Sorkin, side hustles, to being an acting coach and why improv was the most beneficial class she took in college. These are the expansive, inspiring, knowing your own worth, honest stories that have all lead Camille Chen right here.

Camille Chen is a film, television and commercial actress best known for her work in “Game Night,” where she joined Jason Bateman and Kyle Chandler as well as her portrayal of Samantha Li in Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” Throughout her career Camille has guest starred in nearly 50 television shows, including “Californication,” “American Horror Story: Asylum,” “Castle,” “Backstrom,” Criminal Minds,” “Dog Therapist,” “Bones,” and “Lucifer.” She recently played a recurring role on USA’s “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.” a true crime series based on the investigations that followed the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. You can watch her next on ABC’s “Single Parents.” She’s worked in numerous popular commercial spots, including State Farm, Motorola and Old Navy.

 

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QUOTES:

“I often question myself if I should raise my standards or fight harder to get what I’m worth.”

“Be prepared and flexible and malleable. You’re really there to serve the series regulars and propel their story forward.”

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Marianna Palka on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

062: Marianna Palka

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We were so lucky to sit down for a second conversation with Marianna Palka. She’s a triple threat artist (writer/director/actor) with such a singular vision and voice to bring us closer together, change humanity and give the world a deeper understanding of the human condition. This is a conversation about creating the kind of work that is so needed in our landscape today. Her first film “Good Dick” came from a desire to explore how a sexual assault victims find intimacy and birthed from her frustrations about the lack of good, interesting/complex/ real characters for women. As Maya Angelou inspired her to write her scripts isolated in a hotel for a long weekend, she shares her writing ethic and her confidence to take ownership of her creativity and our shared responsibility to change the world. This is a MUST listen for all creative types!. These are the fearless, moving, authentic, compelling, owning your own space stories that have all led Marianna Palka right here.

Marianna Palka is Glasgow born and Los Angeles based filmmaker, actress and writer. She studied at the acclaimed New York Atlantic Theater Company before beginning her career in theater, film and television. Palka wrote, directed and starred in “Good Dick,” a 2008 Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize nominee, joining Jason Ritter, Martin Starr, Mark Webber and Tom Arnold in an exploration of intimacy and connection after sexual trauma. Palka’s critically acclaimed feature film “Bitch” premiered at Sundance last year and tells the story of a woman who transforms under the enormous pressure of motherhood, leaving her absent husband, Jason Ritter, to discover what it means to be a parent. Additionally Palka directed “Always Worthy,” “Heirloom,” “I’m the Same,” and “Egg,” starring Christina Hendricks, Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche. Her recent work include “Mississippi Requiem,” a series of four short films written by William Faulkner and developed by James Franco, “We Are Boats,” “Spoonful,” “The Adventures of Thomasina Sawyer,” and “The Lion’s Mouth Opens,” Lucy Walker’s short documentary following Palka’s own relationship to Huntington’s Disease and her risk of inheriting. Palka is currently starring in Netflix’s Golden Globe nominated “GLOW” as Reggie Walsh.

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QUOTES:

“I just feel like there’s something about human frailty and connection that I’m really fascinated by and I really want to make films that make the world a better place on an intimacy level.”

“I think it’s really cool to always know what you want and what your north star is because if you know what that is no one can take that away from you. You always know where you’re going.”

“Being huge is absolutely fine and take up that space and fill your life with stuff that you’re excited about because God knows we need it.”

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Joshua Bitton on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

061: Josh Bitton

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This week we dive deep into the journey of finding your spotlight by saying yes, hustling and doing the work. Work can come in the form of sitting around a campfire expressing your art to your fellow actor, coaching others to their potential, or holding the space for other actors opportunities as the best damn reader in town. Getting to work with Josh as an actor, coach or reader will highly improve your level of artistry. With over 20 years experience, Josh Bitton is hitting his stride in the light of highly complex characters and understanding that the gratitude for what you have will land you the happiness of being right where you are.

Joshua Bitton is a stage, film and television actor best known for his work in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Night Of” as Maldonado and for his portrayal of Sgt. J.P. Morgan in Steven Spielberg’s award-winning World War II mini series “The Pacific.” Bitton’s been featured in numerous hit television projects, including “Castle,” “The Mentalist,” “Bosch,” and “Justified.” Additionally he’s guest starred in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Last Tycoon,” “American Vandal,” “Reverie,” “Lucifer,” and “Daredevil,” to name a few. His film credits include “National Treasure,” “Larry Crowne,” “For Love of Money,” and “The Tangle.” He’s currently teaching acting classes in Los Angeles.

From drama to comedy, Joshua Bitton has appeared in dozens of award-winning projects in film and television over the years and is positioned for his most exciting year yet. In 2018, he can be seen starring on CBS All Access’ new mystery drama series, “One Dollar,” opposite John Carroll Lynch, Leslie Odom Jr., Aleksa Palladino, and Hamilton Clancy.

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QUOTES:

“I say to my students all the time is that you have to believe ‘I’m enough.” That you simply, presently in the moment are enough, but also, I think, in life.”

“What the business does or does not do with you does not reflect on whether you’re good enough to be in the business.”

“Any chance you get a chance to act in a room you didn’t pay for is a great day.”

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Arturo Del Puerto on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

060: Arturo Del Puerto

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Actor, writer, and producer Arturo Del Puerto got his first headshots at 14 years old by stealing his mother’s credit card. Creating opportunities for himself and being paid to learn has been his mission to landing him in Los Angeles. Arturo gives insight about being rejected twice from a prestigious acting conservatory in Spain, making his way to America, and finding his mentor/teacher, casting director Felicia Fasano. Stepping into assist Fasano in the casting room, Arturo shares the tips and tricks of watching actors coming in to audition and how he landed his first series regular job on the hit HBO series CAMPING.

Arturo Del Puerto is a television, film and voice actor best known for his performances as Luis Flores in AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead,” as well as his work in “The Last Ship” and “Independence Day: Resurgence.” Puerto has guest starred and featured in numerous television series, most recently including “Claws,” “Glow,” “The Flash,” “Better Things,” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.” Puerto lended his voice in two Disney animated series, a reimagined “DuckTales” as Panchito Pistoles and as Rico in “Elena of Avalor.” Puerto recently appeared in Dax Shepard’s Highway Patrol officer comedy “CHIPS” and worked alongside Joey King and Luke Pasqualino in “Smartass.” You can currently catch Puerto in Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s newest HBO series “Camping,” following a group of old friends on a camping trip as it spirals out of control. Puerto is also in production for Ronald D. Moore’s “For All Mankind,” a sci-fi series due in 2019.

 

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QUOTES:

“One of the things I told myself when I first moved to America, or to Los Angeles, was I might not be the best actor in that waiting room but I’m going to be the most prepared.”

“I treat every audition the same, with the same respect.”

“I think as actors we’re always learning. We’re always getting paid to learn about ourselves, to learn about other human beings.”

“As an actor I think the minute you stop learning is the minute you die as an artist.”

“Perseverance, patience, and work your fucking ass off. And be prepared.”

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BONUS: Pen Densham (Part 2)

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Pen Densham is an author, an art photographer, and an Oscar nominated filmmaker and screenwriter. He founded the Trilogy Entertainment Group with his partner John Watson, creating hit films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Blown Away, Larger Than Life, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Backdraft. Densham and Trilogy Entertainment have produced numerous television series and mini-series, including Syfy Channel’s The Outer Limits, the successful and long running anthology series following science fiction tales. They’ve also produced The Twilight Zone, The Magnificent Seven, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and The Creature. Additionally, Densham is author of the bestselling book “Riding The Alligator,” a creatively driven screenwriting guide.
Part two conversation dives into the deep layers of interpreting and surrendering to the themes that are important to us as artists and people, what our soul spigots are, our life scripts and our passion projects. Pen takes us through what it was like to edit a film for the first time, to overcoming the imposter feeling as a writer, to learning how to best sell a film, and how he and his writing partner Oscar nominated writer\producers.

 

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QUOTES:

“The physicality of writing is a layered process, and one must surrender to the first draft.”

“Stories are almost like a mystery unraveling.”

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BONUS: Pen Densham (Part 1)

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Pen Densham is an author, an art photographer, and an Oscar nominated filmmaker and screenwriter. He founded the Trilogy Entertainment Group with his partner John Watson, creating hit films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Blown Away, Larger Than Life, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Backdraft. Densham and Trilogy Entertainment have produced numerous television series and mini-series, including Syfy Channel’s The Outer Limits, the successful and long running anthology series following science fiction tales. They’ve also produced The Twilight Zone, The Magnificent Seven, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and The Creature. Additionally, Densham is author of the bestselling book “Riding The Alligator,” a creatively driven screenwriting guide.

Part one is a visceral conversation about existing in this world as a creative person and what your responsibility is as a storyteller. Pen shares the difficulties he had growing up because he didn’t feel his creativity was nourished, and how he learned to thrive in his proces, making leaps and bounds towards his future, persuading The Rolling Stones to let him photograph them at just 15 years old, building an artist’s community, working alongside renowned documentarians, to his coping mechanisms around self doubt and the sometimes overwhelming anxiety creative people are more likely to have. We talk about evolutionary habits, spirituality, the most effective way of framing and relating a potential story, the euphoria he feels when he’s learning and teaching, his fearful journey through the writing process, to becoming a published author of a besting selling book.

 

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QUOTES:

“Failing is actually not failing, it’s part of a learning process.”

“I don’t know that there’s any right way to create except to have an open kind of emotional acceptance of ideas.”

“If you harness your goals with something that is altruistic it immunizes you from stress-it gives you purpose.”

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