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21 Monica Raymund on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Monica Raymund

Monica Raymund 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

You Can Shape A Choice, You Can’t Shape Nothing

A graduate of The Juilliard School, actress, director and producer Monica Raymund continues to expand her repertoire and pave the way for new female voices in Hollywood. Her creative choices and strong points of view break the mold of how women of color are perceived in front of and behind the camera as she brings to life stories from a fresh and timely perspective.

Currently, Raymund stars in the second season of the Starz hit crime-drama series, HIGHTOWN, from executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The series follows Jackie Quiñones (Raymund), a hard- partying federal Fishery Service agent who has her free-wheeling life thrown into disarray as she finds herself at the center of Cape Cod’s gruesome heroin epidemic. In Season 2, Jackie joins forces with Leslie, the only other female cop on the force, to bring down major dealer Frankie Cuevas, the man Jackie holds responsible for the death of her best friend, Junior. Through it all, Jackie continues to walk the tightrope of sobriety that she struggled through in Season 1.

Behind the camera, Raymund was part of the inaugural class of Female Forward, NBC’s initiative aimed at increasing female representation in the director’s chair. On television, she directed an episode of HIGHTOWN for the new season and recently wrapped production on directing the Season 4 finale episode of USA’s THE SINNER as well as an episode of LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME. Last year, Raymund directed episodes of CBS’s FBI, and in 2018, she directed an episode of LAW & ORDER: SVU. Lastly, in 2016, she directed the short film TANYA for the Hidden Tears Project, a non-profit media company developing content to bring awareness to sex trafficking.

Raymund is perhaps best known for her role as ‘Gabriela Dawson’ spanning eight seasons on NBC’s hit series CHICAGO FIRE. As part of Dick Wolf’s popular “Chicago” franchise, the series follows the personal and professional lives of the firefighters, paramedics and first responders working at the Chicago Fire Department. Raymund received an Imagen Award for “Best Actress, Television” in 2013 for her performance, and was subsequently nominated an additional three times. Her additional television credits include Michelle and Robert King’s THE GOOD WIFE, Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green’s BLUE BLOODS, David Pasquesi’s SPECIAL SKILLS, and a 3-season arc on Fox’s LIE TO ME opposite Tim Roth and Mekhi Phifer.

On the big screen, Raymund has starred in Nicholas Jarecki’s thriller ARBITRAGE opposite Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, as the lead of Stephen Elliott’s drama HAPPY BABY opposite Bill Heck, and in Mahesh Pailoor’s BRAHMIN BULLS.


Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“I believe that the power of ‘no’ is just as important as the power of ‘yes.”

“You can shape a choice, you can’t shape nothing.”

“There’s no right way to become a professional actor.”

VIDEOS:


Guest links:

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Show Links:

Credits:

  • WRITER: Lizzy Dalla Betta
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

007 Brandon Jay McClaren on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Brandon Jay McLaren

Brandon Jay McLaren 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

You Gotta Find Your Thing

From an Ivy league graduate turned engineer in a world infested by aliens, to a high school teacher accused of committing a mysterious crime, Brandon Jay McLaren has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry through the diverse characters he has brought to life on the big and small screens. McLaren was recently cast as a series regular, playing US Marshal Xavier Watkins, on the highly anticipated Disney+ series “Turner & Hooch,” an adaptation of the classic 1989 film starring Tom Hanks. In 2021, McLaren can be seen in Netflix’s highly anticipated drama series “Firefly Lane,” opposite Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke. Based on the bestselling novel by Kristin Hannah, the series follows the story of Kate (Chalke) and Tully’s (Heigl) enduring friendship from their teen years through their 40s — as they weather career ups and downs, love triangles, marriage and divorce, and countless dramas along with way. McLaren stars as Travis, a handsome widowed father whose daughter attends the same school as Kate’s daughter, Marah, and finds himself bonding with Kate. “Firefly Lane” is set to premiere on February 3, 2021. On the film front, McLaren worked with director Catherine Hardwicke on the independent feature, “Plush,” and he co-starred in the comedy-horror feature, “Dead Before Dawn 3D,” directed by April Mullen. McLaren co-starred in cult-hit, “Tucker & Dale Vs Evil,” which made its way through the film festival circuit after becoming a Sundance Film Festival Favorite and winning the 2012 SXSW Audience Award. McLaren first made his mark in Hollywood as Toby, in the DreamWorks smash comedy hit “She’s the Man” opposite Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum. Recent television roles for McLaren include starring in the Bounce TV holiday feature film “Marry Me This Christmas,” CBS’ action drama “Ransom” and CBS All Access’ and Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone.” From 2013-15, he starred as Dale “DJ” Jakes on the hit USA Network crime drama “Graceland” for which he received a 2015 Golden Maple Award (presented by the Academy of Canadians in Sports & Entertainment) for Best Actor. Additional television credits include Lifetime’s award-nominated drama series “UnREAL,” Bravo’s “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” TNT’s Falling Skies” and AMC’s “The Killing.” McLaren was nominated for a 2012 Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series, for his work on “The Killing.” On the producing front, McLaren is partnering with Max Topplin (“Suits,” “Carrie”) and Arkie Kandola (“Prison Break,” “No Tomorrow”) to launch BMA Films, a content company that will produce drama, thriller and horror films in interesting locals worldwide. In 2015, McLaren made his debut behind the camera as Executive Producer of the indie film “Almost Anything,” a story about love, relationships, infidelity and freedom.

On the music side, McLaren regularly collaborates with his brother, Brent McLaren. In 2019, their first track, “Tints” was featured in “Ransom.” Capitalizing on that momentum, they went on to license their song, “I Know” to the Audience dramedy, “You Me Her,” and their singles “Sequel” and “All Yours” in another one of McLaren’s projects, “Marry Me This Christmas.” The brothers continue to create musically while also actively exploring new and creative opportunities to grow and become a force in the space. Their undeniable chemistry comes through in their diverse and unique sound – hip-hop/rap with R&B and Caribbean influences. They are planning to release their debut EP in 2021. Born and raised in Vancouver, McLaren is of Trinidadian and Grenadian descent. He attended high school at Johnston Heights Secondary, where he took theater courses and his love for acting was born. He also was a star soccer player, and he was offered (and accepted) a full scholarship to the New York State University at Albany to play soccer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, and then moved back to Vancouver to pursue acting full time. Once moving back to Vancouver after college, McLaren booked his first real project, a WB series called “The Black Sash.” Behind the camera, McLaren made his directorial debut on the music video “The Valedictory Address” for ALMA MATER, reaching an impressive 40,000 views within four days of being released.


Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“I was trying to mimic these actors coming in who I really like or I really respect, but I’m doing their thing, and that’s not my thing. You gotta find your thing.”

“This is not a predictable business. So you just gotta have this wild faith and keep knowing that you’re doing things in the right way. It’s about the process and things will eventually, hopefully come together in the end.”

VIDEOS:


Credits:

  • WRITER: Erin McCluskey
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

022 Sarah Shahi on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

S2 022: Sarah Shahi

S2 022: Sarah Shahi 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

Seeking the Highest Degree of Truth

Today’s guest is the gutsy and candid Sarah Shahi. You might recognize her as Jenny from Alias, Carmen on the L-Word, or the iconic Sameen Shaw on CBS’ Person of Interest. She’s a refreshingly honest and thus charming actress who makes no apologies for being herself. She discusses how befriending Robert Altman as an extra on his set inspired her to pursue an acting career and make the move from Texas to LA. She emphasizes the importance of being true to yourself in every way possible- for her, that means keeping her wardrobe casual and messy- even if it costs her the job.

Sarah keeps it real, opening up about what it’s like to film sex scenes and even begin lactating mid-audition. Her career is an example of what can happen when you don’t plan your life around the work and instead trust that the net will catch you.


Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“I like to treat every audition as if it’s a job.”

“The only thing I strive for is to be true.”

“I’d rather jump and trust that the net’s going to catch me.”

VIDEOS:


Credits:

  • WRITER: Bebe Katsenes
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

RE-RELEASE: Merle Dandridge

RE-RELEASE: Merle Dandridge 1500 750 Alyshia Ochse

GREENLEAF Made Oprah Find the Star

Merle was born in Okinawa, Japan to a mother of Korean and Japanese descent and an African-American father serving in the U.S Force. Growing up in Nebraska,but not into football, Merle didn’t know where she fit. A friend encouraged Merle to choose drama as a study because she was told it was “easy”. Little did Merle know that the drama department would be the community she had been longing for and that expression would give her the platform to explore social conditions and and the emotions that must be exposed to understand and accept each other. Merle graduated college and had a wild inclination that New York was where she needed to be to fulfill her purpose. With $107 in her pock, a packed Uhaul and an ailing kitten, she drove to New York and landed in the sea of many hopeful artist. Merle was still figuring out what was cool and learning everything on the fly. At the time a non-equity actor, she heard that everyone in town was going to audition for “Jesus Christ Superstar”, so she decided to learn a song and stand in line at 4am to hopefully be given the opportunity to audition. At 1pm the casting director not only called her in to the room, but gave her the space and the light to shine. Even though most things came to Merle very easily, she was still doing what she considers “on the job” training and chasing after an idea or feeling of what it is to be an actress. After a job replaced her, a blessing in disguise, Merle accredits her acting coach Warner Loughlin for giving her the strength and confidence to approach every role with ease and unwavering sense of responsibility to the intention and message of the role. After working three jobs to support her theater career, Merle Dandridge landed herself in the company of Oprah and now holds the honor of portraying Grace on OWN’s hit show, GREENLEAF. This woman’s 25 year journey is nothing short of resilient, spiritual, and guided.

Merle Dandridge currently can be seen critically acclaimed show “Greenleaf” on OWN network and will be on Broadway for the rest of 2017 in the play “Once on this Island”.

Tune in

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Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“You’re never walled in for no reason, you are walled in to deflect you to where you are suppose to go.” CLICK TO TWEET


006: Merle Dandridge

006: Merle Dandridge 1500 1000 Alyshia Ochse

Merle was born in Okinawa, Japan to a mother of Korean and Japanese descent and an African-American father serving in the U.S Force. Growing up in Nebraska,but not into football, Merle didn’t know where she fit. A friend encouraged Merle to choose drama as a study because she was told it was “easy”. Little did Merle know that the drama department would be the community she had been longing for and that expression would give her the platform to explore social conditions and and the emotions that must be exposed to understand and accept each other. Merle graduated college and had a wild inclination that New York was where she needed to be to fulfill her purpose. With $107 in her pock, a packed Uhaul and an ailing kitten, she drove to New York and landed in the sea of many hopeful artist. Merle was still figuring out what was cool and learning everything on the fly. At the time a non-equity actor, she heard that everyone in town was going to audition for “Jesus Christ Superstar”, so she decided to learn a song and stand in line at 4am to hopefully be given the opportunity to audition. At 1pm the casting director not only called her in to the room, but gave her the space and the light to shine. Even though most things came to Merle very easily, she was still doing what she considers “on the job” training and chasing after an idea or feeling of what it is to be an actress. After a job replaced her, a blessing in disguise, Merle accredits her acting coach Warner Loughlin for giving her the strength and confidence to approach every role with ease and unwavering sense of responsibility to the intention and message of the role. After working three jobs to support her theater career, Merle Dandridge landed herself in the company of Oprah and now holds the honor of portraying Grace on OWN’s hit show, GREENLEAF. This woman’s 25 year journey is nothing short of resilient, spiritual, and guided.

Merle Dandridge currently can be seen critically acclaimed show “Greenleaf” on OWN network and will be on Broadway for the rest of 2017 in the play “Once on this Island”.

Listen in to the unforgettable stories that Merle Dandridge right HERE.

Resources

QUOTES:
“I wanted to do theater that didn’t let people look away from the ugly.  I wanted to do stuff that shined a light on a social condition or just made you look at the things you didn’t want to look at.  Examine it, feel it, and create understanding.  Because if we have understanding of something that we don’t know about then we can cross that divide.”
“The flow is happening.”
“You know if it’s for you or not for you.”
“You’re never walled in for no reason, you are walled in to deflect you to where you are suppose to go.” CLICK TO TWEET
“Beyond this job, I can have confidence in the steps of my journey.  Even if they are uncomfortable, because they are going to change and grow me for what I am suppose to be doing.”
“In retrospect, authenticity is always the thing.  Just being yourself, bringing what you know are your gifts as a human being.  The journey is to elucidate your authenticity.”
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ALYSHIA OCHSE

Los Angeles-based actress, bestselling author, host of That One Audition podcast, entrepreneur, & mother.

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