Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Isle actors host private showcase to catch eyes of casting directors

The idea is simple genius, if it works: Instead of waiting for a casting director to invite you to an audition, why not rent a room, throw in a buffet and drinks, and invite the director to watch you perform?

A group of 19 actors from the Academy of Film & Television in Honolulu hopes the "showcase" concept will help them land parts, especially with two major network TV shows ("Hawaii Five-0" and "Off the Map") and a big-budget motion picture ("Battleship") filming this summer in Hawaii. They’ve arranged to hold a showcase this Friday at Indigo, and no, the public is not invited.

The practice is more common in L.A., and the last time the academy held one here was in 2004, when the islands were home to three television shows: "Hawaii," "North Shore" and "Lost." All 17 of the actors at that showcase were given auditions for speaking parts and six of them landed jobs.

"This is a great way to be seen and be brought in for good parts when they may not be considering hiring locally," said academy founder and veteran acting coach Scott Rogers. "They saw people do a good job and said, ‘Let’s bring them in for a read.’ It was a very positive thing."

The actors, each chipping in $80 to cover costs, sent out 60 invitations, said Sasha Dominy, whose acting credits include stage productions, a TV commercial and a role in the indie film "One Kine Day."

While major speaking parts rarely go to Hawaii actors, local talent often competes for smaller roles, Dominy said. The challenge is to get the attention of the people who do the hiring.

"They tend to fly in a lot of their actors and we wanted to give the casting directors, the producers and the directors a taste of what the actors in Hawaii can do," she said. "Most people assume they only need to cast in L.A."

Several local commercial directors have been invited, including Gerard Elmore, who is also an independent filmmaker.

"When you are casting, it is good to know people you have seen before," he said. "When you need a certain person, you can go back to who you’ve seen. That would be your first call before you start an exhaustive search."

There will be work in coming weeks. The local office of the Screen Actors Guild recently e-mailed members to tell them that "Battleship," the Universal Pictures project being directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights" and "Hancock") will be casting 20 speaking roles — and 3,500 extras.

RUSHES … One of the stars of "Eclipse," the third installment in the "Twilight" saga, was scheduled to appear at a Kona screening of the film sometime this weekend. No word on who or when, only that it would be one of 20 stars visiting theaters in the United States and Canada. … "Battleship" is definitely weighing anchor in the Islands. With 32 ships and an aircraft carrier now assembled in Hawaii for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises, Universal saw an opportunity for added realism for its sci-fi project and plans to film some of the world’s largest war games. "Battleship" will be shooting at Pearl Harbor with a script approved last month by the Pentagon. … The jungle landscape off Old Nuuanu Pali Road and in Waimea Falls Park served as a backdrop for two days of recent filming for "Rise of the Apes," the prequel-sequel from 20th Century Fox. The film will be largely shot, starting this week, in Burnaby, B.C. Production Partners, the Honolulu-based logistics specialists, handled the jungle filming. … CBS has created two social media sites for fans of the new "Hawaii Five-0." Follow the action at twitter.com/HawaiiFive0CBS and www.facebook.com/pages/Hawaii-Five-0/120000351366783 … And that’s a wrap.

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. His "Outtakes" column appears Sundays. E-mail him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com.


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