Actor Kevin Sizemore takes us behind the scenes on his new film RedLine and on his journey as a professional actor.
In the show opening I mention Producer-Director Ron Newcomb and his project THE FELLOWS HIP – RISE OF THE GAMERS. TFH has signed with distributor Highland Film Group. Highland Film Group is taking TFH to the American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA in October to acquire foreign distribution agreements. My interview with Ron Newcomb on Episode 4 of Actors Talk was my first interview and it’s been really exciting to see how this project has progressed since that interview on January 16, 2012. Congratulations, Ron and all your team!
I also mention the free audio book deal available only to podcast listeners through AUDIBLE.COM at this link – FREE AUDIO BOOK OFFER
Kevin Sizemore Demo
I caught up with actor Kevin Sizemore at his home in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday evening October 2, 2012 to talk about his new film Red Line in which he stars with Nicole Gale Anderson, John Billingsley and Kunal Sharma.
Kevin had just finished up with a coaching session with one of his acting students when I called and that’s where we began our conversation about his actor’s journey.
We began our conversation talking briefly about Kevin’s work as an acting coach; He teaches classes out of his house and limits his class size to no more than 12 student actors at any one time.
According to Kevin, he limits his class size so ” the actors have the opportunity to get up two or three times a night and we’re going to rework these scenes so many different ways…because when you’re going out for a real audition you can’t just prep it one way because you’re going to get redirected. And when you get redirected, if you’ve only learned it one way, you’re stuck.”
GROWING UP IN WEST VIRGINIA
We also talked about Kevin growing up Princeton, WVA, a town of about 3500 residents at that time, located on the border of West Virginia and Virginia. In high school, Kevin says he
was more of a ‘behind the scenes’ tech guy. He admits that he didn’t participate in any plays in high school because Drama was held in 7th period and he was through with school by 5th period and he didn’t want to stay at school that long. Kevin says that was “the worst decision I could have ever made.”
As a high school senior, Kevin found out about a Maxwell House Coffee commercial that was casting in a nearby town. He convinced his father to take him to the audition and as
fate would have it, he booked the job. Kevin says that experience gave him a taste of ‘what it’s like to get that energy when you’re in front of the camera…from that point on I
said okay this is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.’
EXTRA WORK IN PITTSBURGH
From there Kevin went to Pittsburg and entered the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. While in school he began ‘moonlighting’ as an extra in films such as Innocent Blood and Hoffa and Bob Roberts…all film projects that came to the Pittsburg area to shoot.
While working as an extra in the Tim Robbins film Bob Roberts, became disenchanted with extra work after working all night for “$35 and a half-way decent sandwich…I got so mad…I said, If I’m going to do this [be an actor] I’m not doing any more of this extra crap, I’m done…That’s when I moved to New York City. That’s when I started trying to get my career stated. That was in 1992-1993.”
WORKING HIS WAY TO HOLLYWOOD
On transitioning from extra work to actor, Kevin said, “I do think there’s a time if you’re going to be an actor, this is what you’re going to do for your career, you’ve got to lay it
in the sand and say, Okay, I’m done here…you’ve got to know when you’ve got to cut it off, because if you don’t you’re always going to be known as an ‘extra actor’ and you’re
never going to get any respect.”
Kevin’s journey to Hollywood took him from West Virginia, to Pittsburg, to New York, to the Carolinas where he did Matlock and other shows, then went to Nashville where he did commercials and got his SAG card (now SAG-AFTRA); spent two years in Florida working at Universal Studios, doing theater and commercials then headed to L.A. In L.A. he spent a summer at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and decided to stay.
ADVICE FOR ACTORS CONSIDERING A MOVE TO L.A. – FINANCIAL RESOURCES, SELF SUBMITTING and DEMO REELS
Kevin and I talked about the advice he would give to a young actor trying to decide if he/she should make the move to L.A. Kevin says his advice is to look first to a regional market like Louisiana or Atlanta because ‘they are so busy, that’s where I’d go to get my feet wet because they are so busy and they need talent every day.’
I pointed out that I agree with this strategy and that many of these regional markets including Texas are right to work states and that actors can work in SAG signatory film projects without first getting a union card.
We talked about the importance of coming to L.A. with some ‘footage’ a demo reel, whether it’s student films or indie films, something GOOD so people can see what you can do on film. We talk about how bad footage is not going to help you and might just shoot you in the foot. As Kevin said in our talk, ‘you only get one shot to make a first impression.’
Here are some tips Kevin offered when I asked if there was one thing he wish he’d known before he came to Hollywood:
Make sure you have enough money in your pocket so you don’t have to work as soon as you get here…knowing that you have a little bit of money in your back pocket that way you don’t have to kill yourself [working a day job] as soon as you get here.
You have to know how to submit to an agent or casting director.
Have a Plan. Know what shows you’re right for and don’t waste your time on those you aren’t right for.
And most importantly…take advantage of every opportunity possible before you arrive in L.A. to get GOOD footage on yourself.
- Remember, NOT ALL FOOTAGE IS GOOD FOOTAGE, don’t show anything to someone in L.A. until you have someone who lives here look at is first.
So Kevin arrived in L.A. with some money in his pocket from commercial work and with his SAG card. He arrived with several friends with whom he shared an apartment until he could find an agent and start working.
We talked about the differences in how actors market themselves in a smaller market as compared to in Hollywood. How things that might be acceptable in a regional market, dropping into agents or casting offices, for instance, are not looked on with favor in Hollywood.
Kevin related the story of how he got his first agent…indirectly from just such an effort as is not looked on with favor…doing a cold call to an agent’s office. THAT agent did not sign Kevin, but that agent referred him to another agent with whom Kevin signed and worked with for the next decade.
From there we talked mostly about Kevin’s new film project Red Line. But we also talked about how Kevin came to be cast in a terrific short called USELESS, produced as part of the 168FilmProject. Kevin tells the story of how a friend from his Bible study group, actor Boo Arnold suggested him for USELESS and how his work in USELESS lead to being cast in RED LINE
Kevin also speaks about a new project that is about to start filming a new comedy called CAN I GET A WITNESS PROTECTION? This film recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and is shecduled to begin filming shortly.
You can find Kevin Sizemore online at by following many of the links in the text above.
BUILDING YOUR OWN BUZZ
A few weeks ago on Actors Talk Episode 22 I interviewed actor and actor’s marketing expert, Emily Grace. This week, I received the following email from Emily and I’d like to share some of it with you, my actor friends:
I have f.r.e.e. (and pretty awesome) video series up until October 5, 2012 chock full of great actor-marketing tips. It is a preview to my program, Build Your Own Buzz, which is an 8-week, online program that teaches pretty much every marketing strategy an actor could possibly need to know!
I’m offering this program at a CRAZY deal this time around. I only offer it twice a year, and this time around life is just too hectic to offer the weekly q+a call. Instead, I’m giving this program away at a steal (a $400 savings) and I would love your help in spreading the word.
Whether actors decide to join or not, the free video series is incredibly valuable.
Here’s a link to a free video, GO FROM AUDITIONS TO OFFERS and a way to find out more about the Build Your Own Buzz program in case you’re interested. For the record, this is not an affiliate link and I receive no compensation for passing along this information.