Friends with No Benefits

Had a very lovely shoot this past weekend. Our client was very focused and professional, he had a very clear vision of his product and it's value, he'd been working on it for 40 years and I was grateful that he asked me to help him facilitate his vision. 

I hired a very small efficient and respectful crew, we came up with a plan of action and we set it in motion. The only thing I was not in charge of was the on air talent, a friend of the client, whom he had known had taken many workshops with, was familiar with her temperament and her work ethic: they were good friends. 

We got through the shoot pretty smoothly, I was able to help him communicate his teachings to the camera and with his friend as his assistant and demonstrator, I thought he was really able to bring to life the passion for his work and this technique that has taken him a life time to develop. 

It was the first of a two-day shoot, we finished the day, no problem. We wrapped. He was gracious and thankful, as were we, and we set a call time for the following week.

The next day I'm on another shoot, I get an email from the client. It seems his friend, his on-camera assistant and demonstrator, that is in 75 percent of the shots, called and said she didn't feel comfortable and that she didn't want the footage to be used. EVER!


Our client had no contract with his friend, no waiver, no agreement, nothing in writing, it was his friend, it never occurred to him that he would need it, until he did.

Now he's stuck and he's decided since this is his friend, he'll honor her wish. Does he have to?

Web Series Advice

Got emailed a question recently and I thought I'd share my response:

My name is Adam Carey and I'm a graduating Senior at NYU.  My friend and creative partner Jo-Dean Seymour assisted Squeaky & Ashley on "Father's Day?," and because of her involvement there, we've been aware of Red Wall Productions and have become fans and followers of your show "Justice The Series" since November.

Jo-Dean and I have been working on a web series. We love "Justice" and we've created a comedic web series of our own called "Dorm Therapy." The show is all about college ResLife and what it's like to live with strangers. I was hoping that I could reach out to you and ask for a bit of advice: We're hitting a brick wall with the audience we're able to reach with the show. The first episode has over 2,000 views, but the next three have fewer and fewer.

I'm also curious to know if you have any tips for someone breaking into the industry of Film and TV? That's a broad one but I'd love to hear what you might have to share on the subject as we're both trying to start our careers!

Thank you so much! You can find the first episode of "Dorm Therapy here:  and you can check out the facebook page here:

I hope all is well and I would love to hear whatever you might have to say!

Thanks again,

Adam Carey
Show-Runner, "Dorm Therapy" Web Series
NYU Class of 2013

I responded:

Hey Adam
I just watched all 4 episodes and I'm a FAN. Really really funny, very sophisticated, I really like the characters. Everyone feels very distinct and specific.  The relationships feel authentic and they're really funny.  The big picture issue for me is I'm not getting a sense of goal or importance. You definitely have the "office" kind of feel, but if you remember the office, each episode there was some sort of goal, like today we're doing inventory or today we're going on a sales call. Something that pulled us through the episode.  I love the actress that plays Alice, funny, quirky pretty girl, very well played and drawn, burning her tongue on the cookies, freezing her underwear, very funny stuff. So if you assign her some tasks for future episodes, to get the gang together that would help with cohesiveness of the episodes. She did that a little with the milk and cookies and the dorm meeting,but I wasn't clear why she needed to do it. You have such great set ups with the girls who hate to leave their room and some of the others, I think you need to find a way to push the comedy even further, it all feels a little safe right now and some of it is very subtle. Which unfortunately will go over the heads of some people. But don't worry about that just keep working this voice, you'll find your audience. 

As for increasing your audience, you should juice up your youtube channel, there are "annotations" where you can insert buttons in your videos which lead people to the next episode and the previous one and to your facebook page and your twitter page, right now it's just a title card, you need to provide links so people can press them before you lose them. I had to search for the next episode and most people don't have the brains or patience to do that.
Also I see you have a good sized cast, EVERYONE of your actors should be tweeting and face booking friends family relatives, strangers. Everyone at NYU should be watching this series and they should be tweeting and sharing. But you have to bombard them which is really obnoxious, but so what.  Come up with contests or campaigns to increase viewership. You should be posting to " and and You're gonna have to kick up the social media presence to get people watching and talking. People posted comments on your page and you didn't respond, you HAVE to respond, you have to engage.

As for tips on how to break in the industry, you're already in it. You're creating content. Creating content is the future. Not sure what your focus is (actor, director, producer, writer??) but any and all of those have to start creating content. You've already begun developing your voice and better to start now and take advantage of the resources that school affords you.   Keep writing, keep shooting and keep cranking out these episodes. I think you guys have a really great voice, don't be deterred by the low numbers, people will find you, but you gotta start helping them.

I hope that was helpful.


A note from working with very seasoned actors in the workshop company

 Please note these are raw exercises.  Look for what works.  It's a collaborative process, creating a film. You don't have to have every skill.  But I will argue you have the most important skills: acting & a history of contributing to stories.  YOU CAN DO THIS if you chose to.

Good news for stage actors

Casting director Sara Finn says:

Finn says that she still uses the theater as a primary source of new talent for upcoming film projects. Even if she can't attend every production, "I read reviews very diligently," Finn says. "I try not to limit myself to L.A. I also try to find out what's going on at Louisville, and what's going on at Ashland, and what's going on in Chicago. I guess because I have a theater background, I know how well trained theater actors are and how dedicated they are, and I feel like that's always a fantastic resource for us to find new talent. How do actors catch our attention? I think that's a great way to do it. Be in a theater company, be performing, and get mentioned in reviews. That's something that people pay attention to."

Yale Like Training at a discount.

Each summer The Studio/New York offers a handful of student actors an opportunity to spend six weeks training with the Studio's faculty in a very special program, our Summer Conservatory. Geared towards college juniors, seniors and recent graduates, the program was designed specifically to meet the needs of younger actors who are ready to engage in serious training and artistic development.  It offers a rare opportunity to spend six weeks completely immersed in an exciting, fast-paced program led by some of the most respected and talented names in actor training. The curriculum, a condensed/concentrated version of one semester at a top graduate school program, consists of Fitzmaurice voicework, clown, mask, movement, Lucid Body and scene study. Classes meet eight hours per day, Monday - Friday, for six weeks, and are lead by a faculty unsurpassed both in excellence and experience.  Our faculty's attention and commitment to each student's individual development is unparalleled in the New York training community!! Our goal... to help those actors in our charge make a quantum leap in their development in six weeks. We offer a strong foundation in craft, we help each actor release old patterns that are getting in the way, and we aim to give each actor a personal understanding of his or her dimensions as an actor and the role serious training can play in developing those possibilities.  


To learn more about just how far this level of training can take you, I encourage you read what our past students have to say about their experiences below.



Jayd McCarty

The Studio/New York



The 10 Things Successful People Live By Before They Make It



Published Dec. 15 2011



Our bookshelves are lined with habits that successful people do on a daily basis. We read about them and implement them into our routines and practices. Quite often these practices improve our productivity and make our lives better as a result. But that’s not what this article is about. It’s not about what successful people do, but what they did.

Here’s a brief study of 10 things that these hungry and unstoppable people did to see the success they all eventually achieved.



The 10 Things Successful People Live By Before They Make It


1. They didn’t use excuses.

We all have two voices. There’s the voice that tells us to work hard, to focus on the task at hand and to finish it before we move on to the next. And to finish it well.

We also have the voice that tells us to take a break, to think about what’s on TV, or to visit a site that we like to visit that entertains us – whether it’s or facebook.

In life we’re the victim of injustice from time to time. It could be a promotion that we deserve but don’t get. No matter who we are, we’re going to be treated unfairly at some point. We can either feel sorry for ourselves, or push forward and put it behind us – even use it as motivation.

Nelson Mandela could have used his unjust imprisonment as an excuse to give into his anger. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and eventually free others.

Listen to your excuses. Understand why you have them. Then figure out how you can use them for good.

2. It wasn’t just about them.

‘Things’ can be a motivator, they can even be a reward, but they can’t be the motivator. The truly successful in life always get there because they created change in the lives of others, not just their own.

If something drives you that is greater than just the ‘ends’, we’re going to work harder, longer, and we’re going to give more of ourselves to our project. 

Yes we can make money when we have the primary goal of making money. Some might even use that money for good – which is awesome. But there’s no fulfillment in simply making money. And isn’t that the point? 

3. Early mornings and late nights.

People who have achieved true success in their lives have worked for it.

This might come at the detriment of other areas of their lives, such as family or social life. But their mission is first and foremost. Until it’s complete, everything else comes second.

There’s literally no substitute for hard work. Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait… but only the things left by those who hustle.” If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to out hustle everyone else.

4. The greatest commodity.

Energy is a huge commodity that is often not talked about. Yes, energy in the sense of fuel and electricity is talked about everywhere, but I’m talking about our own energy levels.

The fact is that the more energy we have, the easier it is to focus, and the higher the quality of our work is.

One of Richard Branson‘s ‘key’s to success’ is staying in great physical shape. So would raised energy levels be the greatest benefit to working out? It may be.

Keeping physically fit gives us greater blood-flow to our brain, enhanced alertness and improved focus. Make training a routine part of your life and increase your chances at success – in every meaning of the word.

5. Principles.

History will be kind to me. For I intend to write it.

Winston Churchill had principles. The difference between him and the rest of us, is that he stuck to his principles at all costs. He didn’t waver when they weren’t popular – an extreme rarity in politics.

What are your principles? All of us should have them, know what they are, and live our lives by them.

One of Apple’s principles is to bring change to the world through technology, and they do it with every product they release.

Identify what principles you have that guide your life through tough times, and when things couldn’t be any better. They shouldn’t change, and at your core, neither should you.

6. Wavering, yet unbreakable faith.

We all have moments of doubt. Even the best of us question if our dream is going to come true. The one thing that separates the truly successful from those who never reach their true potential is an unbreakable faith in the fact that what they’re doing is right.

Even if they have moments of doubt, they’re soon quelled, where other’s listen to that doubt and let it eat them up and finally they quit.

Have your moments of doubt. You’re human. Just don’t let that doubt eat you up. Instead let it motivate you to prove your optimism right.

7. A reason.

Many of the greatest accomplishments in the world were accomplished by insecure men and women, people who had something to prove to others. A desire to elevate their status and create change that was so strong, that failure is simply never and option.

Abraham Lincoln‘s reason(s) had to do a lot with his view of himself in relation to how other’s viewed him. Where others saw a poor, illiterate boy, Lincoln saw someone capable of achieving more, even if he had to do it completely on his own. He also saw the need for change. A nation that preached freedom wasn’t free. He saw something fundamentally wrong with this and set out to change it. Hiswhy wasn’t about him. Which in turn made him one of history’s great men.

Understand why. You have that reason to work when others sleep, to sacrifice a safe life for a risky one with no ceiling. Find it by asking why, and not stopping until you hit your core, emotional reason for wanting to change your status, or the status of others.

8. They persevered when others didn’t.

How does the guy who quit on his dream know how long it would’ve taken him to become a success? He doesn’t. None of us do. It could be tomorrow, or ten years from now.

What separates a lot of the great people we read about in our history books from those we’ve never heard of is the fact that they never quit. Quitting was never an option. They only stopped when they reached their dream. And even then, they created a new mission.

Take James J. Braddock, or even Nelson Mandela, for example. They didn’t achieve their greatness or success early on in their careers or in life like some. They achieved it after surviving. They survived while others literally died, or quit. In their cases it wasn’t just that they were the best, but they were the best because of what they endured. They were the last one’s standing.

We don’t know when our breakthrough will come. So don’t guarantee your failure by quitting. You can adapt, change, and evolve, but never, never, never quit.

9. Great people relentlessly studied their craft.

Tony Gwynn and Mike Tyson studied their craft as much as anyone. Gwynn spent hours upon hours studying opposing pitchers. He studied their patterns. He wasn’t the most athletic guy around, but he put his work in to be the best at what he did: hit baseballs.

When people think of Tyson, they think of an animal, but what we fail to see is the student. No one studied boxing like Tyson did. Watched more film than anyone in the history of the sport. He was a student first, a fighter second.

These great athletes studied film, but how can we perfect our craft?

Using myself as an example; much of my job has to do with writing, and obviously fitness. So, I study those two things. I read books about how to become a better writer, ways to connect with the reader, and I simply read great books written by authors who are much better at writing than I am. If you’re in sales, read and study sales. If you’re a marketer, then do the same with marketing.

Being a drone that simply goes through the motions is no way to achieve greatness. Assuming success is something you want, you have to study your craft, whatever it may be. Learn it inside and out. Build a wealth of knowledge. It’ll help you create great, inspiring, and unique work.

10. Risk.

No risk, no reward. Yes it’s an over-used, cliché of a phrase. But it’s true. Those who have achieved real success have often risked the most to get there.

There have been billions of people throughout history who have had the ability to achieve greatness, whether it was the talent or smarts, they had it. What they didn’t have was the guts to risk the life that they were living. They also didn’t have the work ethic to see their talent realized.

The greatest tragedy in life is wasted talent ~ A Bronx Tale

Your big, audacious dream might be to marry the girl of your dreams and have a family with her. You risk might be to leave the career that you love in order to support her and your family. Your dream might be to help millions live longer, healthier lives. Whatever your dream is, give it enough of a chance to be realized.

Risk if you truly want to see the reward.

December 15, 2011 | Posted by Joel in MotivationSuccess Advice26 comments

Acting Teachers Training Workshop at the Actor's Center


Two weeks, ten am to ten pm. Scene study, Slava, clown & a sort of workshop discussion class.

Serving your own need for a rush is not your primary goal. You must have the patience to do the table work. It will help you serve the play and you will discover a greater freedom with in the framework that yields clarity and connection.

Know how to use table work.