Article By: Maria Shamkalian
Marcus A. Siler is an actor and director who is a proud graduate of East Stroudsburg University with a degree in Theatre. As a Philly native, he started his professional acting career as a preteen with a traveling theatre company based out of Philadelphia. He is the Owner and Director of Theatre and Me, and through his company, Marcus has produced/directed 2 feature films (The Bully, and You Matter To Me) that were seen in 5 film festivals winning 1 award, 1 film-documentary (BEaUTY) that was seen in 5 film festivals winning 2 awards, 2 short films (I See Jesus, and The Invitation) that were seen in 3 film festivals. Marcus is also in production of his company’s first TV/Web Series, “Water Helps The Blood Run.” As an actor, Marcus has starred/co-starred in episodes of the ID channel shows The Mind of A Murderer and A Crime to Remember, as well other shows and films such as Lucifer’s Bride trilogy, 100 Frogs and I See Jesus.
What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
I auditioned for a pilot for a VH1 and got one of the lead roles for the reenactment show, hoping that it gets picked up. My last film “The Invitation” was a finalist for a Cammy award.
How did you get started in the film industry?
I started with theatre as a preteen and went to college to study Theatre, obtaining my degree in 2001. I did my first TV/Film job after I graduated with a role in a Septa/Phillies commercial. I directed my first film, “The Bully”, back in 2013 when I started my company Theatre and Me.
Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?I love the atmosphere in the PA filming region. The scenery and landscape are second to none. PA has so many locations that you can use to make it feel/look like you are in multiple parts of the world. There is so much talent in PA that you don’t have to go anywhere else to find what you need in terms of cast and crew.
What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
I love the surrounding area of University City/West Philly and Center City. I have found memories filming scenes in these two areas. I’ve also had the great opportunity to film in the Pocono area. It was so very aesthetically pleasing.
What do you love the most about your job?I love that I get the chance to use my creativity to the fullest and challenge it every day. I also love that I get the chance to inspire people with my work.
What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
My funniest/awkward moment… I was filming my first feature film, “The Bully”, and we went out to film one day and the forecast indicated light snow flurries. By the time we were halfway through filming it was a small blizzard. It was so bad that we had to push each other’s cars out of the driveway at the end of filming. Despite the drastic change in forecast, we were able to exercise our creativity and complete our film day by changing some of the scenes to fit the weather.
Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
I am directing and co-starring in my company’s first TV/Web Series being shot in PA called “Water Helps The Blood Run”. It streams online at www.YouTube.com/TheatreandMeEntertainment starting on Christmas Eve, and on Philly regional cable, PCAM channel, Comcast 66 and Fios 29
PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
Without the film tax credit in PA, many talented crew members and actors won’t have jobs. To be able to compete with other cities to get some of the big grossing films that would bring more revenue to our area businesses and state, we need the film tax credit. This will also assist in a lot of our residents having opportunities at employment, bringing thousands of jobs to our area.
What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
Don’t be stop by Nos. You are going to hear a lot of no in this business when applying/auditioning for jobs, but you can’t allow that to stop you. Keep pushing forward and believing in yourself. If you really want this, keep striving for it no matter how much time passes. Some of our greatest actors/filmmakers didn’t get their big break until later in their lives. Believe. Practice, network and promote yourself, and practice more. Remember you are valuable, be the best you can be, and you will stand out. Plus, keep a “good” team around you. People that will give you constructive feedback and be there for you will help make your wins and losses much better. One of the best steps in PA to take, because of the many universities that we have, is work on student projects to get experience and build your craft. Don’t be afraid to take chances and put yourself out there.
What are some good strategies to find more gigs? First, continue practicing and sharpening your skills by taking classes/workshops with some of the talented instructors in the state. There a several reputable casting directors in the area that allow you to register with them. Do so. This can help you get your foot in the door.
What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
Be true to yourself in this industry. You don’t have to be like everyone else to make a career in this industry. This industry is about reinventing every day. Go out, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show you. Building a good team around you can help you go the extra mile each day.
What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
My favorite film series shot in PA is the Rocky series that embodies the strength of our region. I’ve been hoping to get a chance to be a part of the next stage of the series, Creed.
What is your favorite project that you worked on?
The Bully. This was my first feature film that I wrote and directed here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the start of my film directing career in PA.
What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
As a director I would love and look forward to the opportunity to direct a big budget film. I would love to redo my favorite film of all time, “The Neverending Story.” As an actor I look forward to getting my chance to be on a major sitcom and star in a film that would film in my home town of Philadelphia, PA.
What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
Anyone who is interested can go to www.TheatreandMe.com to contact me or email us at TheatreandMeLLC@gmail.com for crew and TheatreandMeCasting@gmail.com for casting opportunities.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org