• Friday, February 07, 2020 11:11 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What are some of your biggest achievements in the film industry?
    I had landed a role in a Amazon Prime production with Dreality Films playing a reoccurring role on a series called Porte Richmond. Shortly after, I landed a role on another series called Honey Child with Dreality with the same director, Domini Supastar. In Porte Richmond, I played a crazy cat lady neighbor. In Honey Child, I played a career counselor at Temple University which serves as the backdrop to the show. Cinematically Temple University  looks amazing on film. It has been a  great experience being on set and shooting for both these parts with the same director. I have numerous stage experiences in 2018 including Uptown and working with the talented director Rodd Deon. In addition, I had a role in Downtown Dreamin written by the super talented Bethel Sheppard Bates. Roz Fulton, from Direction and Exposure has been a huge person referring me for auditions that fit my type.  

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Being cast by the same director, Domini Supastar in both Porte Richmond and Honey Child.

    How did you get started in the film industry?I started as an extra in movies such as Taps and Blow out filmed in Pennsylvania. I had a family and took a break and now that the kids are grown, I can pursue my passion again.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I am a born and bred Philadelphian. I feel that Philadelphia is like a mini New York City. It has the same vibe as Manhattan being in the city and I love being a part of that new  and vibrant restaurant scene that Philadelphia can now be touted for. 

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? Philadelphia and Valley Forge. I was a film major at one time at Temple University and did a project at Valley Forge National Park shooting some days in the snow. What an experience it was!!!

    What do you love the most about your job?
    It is just so exciting to be able to act and be a part of a production from beginning to end.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    It was mostly in theatre, but the lead would always change his words and we had to always guess when our cues were.

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    I just think it is a matter of getting the same respect as males do which is a given. Females have to work doubly harder to earn that same respect.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    Just do it and do not hold back. Start in small increments until everything becomes second nature. Remember baby steps in the beginning

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Yes, a show called Runways , from Rollo Robertson Productions as a Madam. 

    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?
    We need the tax credits in Pennsylvania to keep our industry strong in PA so all the work does not continue to go to Atlanta, Georgia.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers?
    Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid? Continue training. I train with John Pallotta. Every thing helps in building your craft to becoming better at what you are doing.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Backstage, getting an agent, reading industry newsletters , join acting Facebook groups, networking, going to industry functions.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Never Give Up.  Keep going. If you have a dream, continue to push forward in the direction you want to go.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Creed 2 - I was an extra in that movie.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Porte Richmond to date.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To be a series regular and a paid professional actor to live off of that career.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    I am not writing anything right now but that could be something in the future. You never know.

  • Tuesday, February 04, 2020 3:15 PM | Jennifer Iams (Administrator)

    Article By: Amelia Addor
    PAFIA Writer

    Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day date? Something that will surely go down in the date books as “iconic”? Well, what’s more iconic than Italian love? “That’s Amore” has been sung by the greats and featured in movies throughout history. Now it is the title of a classic-movie-in-the-making created by Joe Puglisi and Dr. Dave Petti.

    What started as a passion project stemming from a shared film class ended as a three-year local film project starring comedians and actors famous to Pittsburgh. The two men created Little Italy Productions to launch “That’s Amore”. Their adventure from script to screen was one Joe and Dave took in stride no matter what obstacles came their way as producers, writers, directors, and friends. “That’s Amore” has so much to offer Pittsburgh audiences of all ages, and welcomes the local support that came through casting, crew work, and post-production assistance. The community both inspired and helped make this movie possible.

    Catch “That’s Amore” at the Strand Theater on Main Street in Zelienople, Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. The film debuts Friday, February 7 at 7:30 pm, February 8 at 7:30 pm, and February 9 at 4:00 pm. The last screening is on Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 pm, which will be the red-carpet night for cast and crew.

    With a tagline of, “falling in love was never part of the plan”, there are few movies as heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny as “That’s Amore”.  Described by David as “a romantic comedy for people who are just a little bit older”, it’s about four Italian-Americans who find love and friendship through adversity and confusion. A nurse named Lucia (played by Tammy Pescatelli) has a mother, Rosa (played by the late Barbara Russell) who is ailing and needs heart surgery. So, Lucia devises a deal with her mother to get married to Lucia’s dentist, Rocco (played by Dave) with the help of Rocco’s best friend Gino (played by Joe). For more information, buy tickets here, or learn more about the film here.

    Dave, Joe, thank you for taking time for this interview. Please tell me about who you were before you became filmmakers.

    Joe: For me, I have owned businesses and am currently a faculty member at La Roche University as Chair of the Marketing Department. It’s not that I gave up my jobs to be a filmmaker, it was just something I decided to do with Dave in addition to continuing the job I had.

    Dave: I was a dentist who practiced for about 40 years in the Plum-Monroeville area. I graduated from Washington and Jefferson College and then after that I graduated from Pitt Dental School. Now I’m retired.

    How did you two meet one another?

    Joe: Dave and I met each other in acting class. I can’t really give you a year, but I can guess that it was somewhere around 2013. I’d run into Dave in a class I took twice a month, so I got to know him much better.

    Dave: I had actually been an actor in the Pittsburgh area since about, oh, the early ‘90s. When the film industry came in, throughout the years I did basic film-work, print media, and commercials off-and-on. I got back into the full swing of acting around six years ago. That’s when I really went full force into the workshops and revamping my acting part of my career. As far as a filmmaker that came about when Joe and I said, “it would be neat to make a film”.

    When was Little Italy Productions started? Is “That’s Amore” the first film produced by the studio?

    Dave: We formed Little Italy Productions when we decided to do “That’s Amore”. And yes, it is the first film produced by our studio.

    Joe: We plan to do different things with LIP after the premiere of “That’s Amore”.

     Is it inspired by anything in particular?

    Joe: These things evolve and take a while before we settle on a final idea or story, but we always had “Moonstruck” (1987) in the back of our minds.

    DaveI think the whole concept was inspired by the fact that, Joe and I being actors in Pittsburgh, you’re not in NYC or LA or even Chicago where people of our talent and drive would be out to a lot more auditions with a lot more opportunities as an actor. We decided to try and do something on our own to showcase our talent and to put something we truly cared about out there.

    Where was “That’s Amore” filmed?

    Joe: It was all filmed in Western Pennsylvania.

    Dave: The principle location was in Plum Borough. We used my previous dental office to film the dental scenes and my daughter’s home for Rocco’s house. We also filmed in Pasqualino’s Restaurant in Murrysville and the Italian Club in Sewickley. In Ellwood City, Pennsylvania we used my brother’s house as Lucia and Rosa’s home, the Ellwood City Hospital was used for hospital scenes. Meadville for several of the scenes following

    Tell me about who stars in the film and why they were chosen for the roles.

    Dave: We needed someone to play a middle aged single Italian woman for the lead of Lucia. For years, I had followed the comedy of Tammy Pescatelli and she was always just so funny. When it came time to casting the role, I said “let’s try to get in touch with her” because she was just too perfect for Lucia. We had no idea where she was- for all we knew, she was in Hollywood. I sent over the script, which she liked immediately, and wanted to be involved in the project. Then we found out she lives in Meadville, which was just extremely convenient for us.

    Joe: The woman who plays her mother is Barbara Russell, who had a fantastic reputation in Pittsburgh thanks to her roles on “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, George Romero’s “Day of the Dead”, and her 1960s comedy routine with Don Brockett. Unfortunately, three weeks after we wrapped filming for “That’s Amore” in 2018, Barbara Russell passed away. We were truly lucky to find talent like her and Tammy, so we were blessed to have them on set. Dave in particular was vigilante about going after them, talking to them, seeing if they liked the script, and having them be part of our film.

    Dave: I play a dentist and Joe plays a college professor because, well, you write what you know!

    Who was this film made for?

     Dave: We wanted to make a film that was family friendly. In Pittsburgh, it’s always horror films or action films. And Joe and I have played our fair share of Italian mob bosses. We really wanted characters that everyone could relate to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or young adult: you’ll get it. If you’re older, you’ll certainly get it.

    Joe: Anyone who wants to laugh and find a heartwarming movie!

    How do you plan to reach a wide audience with your first premiere?

    Joe: One thing that do is proceed with trying to get a wide audience and awareness for the film.

    Dave: The first premiere will be local, so we’re doing our own marketing outreach (and we thank you for PAFIA’s participation) and we will go on to distribute the movie through limited theatrical release as well as on streaming services afterwards. First and foremost, we want to reach everyone we can in the Pittsburgh area.

    What are you most proud of with the finished product?

    Dave: We’re most proud that it is a finished product! Most film projects that start out never get finished no matter what kind of movie it is. So, I’m just so proud that we just kept on pushing, persevering through any obstacle that came in our way.

    Joe: I participated in the writing of the script, helped with the hiring of the crew and the cast, I acted in it, and was part of the post-production and marketing of it. So, what I’m proud of is the finished film that we have. Part of it is that we took our time, we had very talented people in every aspect of production, and every step of the way was met to the standards we started with.

    What was something you had to learn about film “the hard way”?

    Joe: To call it “the hard way” is to learn what you don’t know at first. Learning how to button down the details you couldn’t anticipate before filming, like getting insurance for the equipment to following Screen Actors Guild rules. All the stuff you don’t think about pre-planning a film.

    Dave: I have to say post-production. Post-production has a lot of elements to it. The filming actually went very smooth. We never missed a filming day, we never missed getting all the shots we needed, the weather cooperated, the locations cooperated, cast and crew cooperated, we were just blessed.

    What was the process in getting the film screened?

    Joe: Basically, I contacted different areas, different movie theaters, so it was a huge marketing process. Getting people to become aware of it and getting some support and gaining agreements to get the film properly released.

    Dave: Mostly this was Joe who went around to local theaters and said, “hey, we got a film that needs to be screened”. The Strand Theater being so close to Ellwood and being accessible to everybody in Pittsburgh was just a great fit. They gave us four nights for four different screenings to premiere this film. Because Tammy Pescatelli has performed as a comedian at the Strand, they knew of her and knew our film would be a great asset to the theater.

    Any last thoughts?

    Dave: The film itself was a labor of love, persistence, and passion. It will continue to be as we distribute it. We will let everybody (and their brother) know that it exists because I think they’ll find this film fun, romantic, and comedic with some elements of drama sprinkled into it. We accomplished that without the multi-million-dollar budget. “That’s Amore” will hold its own against those.

    Joe: For me it’s been a very fun process. I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve been very, very impressed with the people I’ve met in Western Pennsylvania who’ve supported and help us with this film. I mean, we’ve had over fifty people involved in the production, marketing, and post-production. I think there are so many more films of caliber that will come out of this area.

    Buy Tickets!

    Learn More

    Do you have a story to tell or a project to share? E-mail info@pafia.org!

  • Friday, January 31, 2020 1:21 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Todd Ryan Jones is a professional stuntman and actor with a long list of well known film and television credits. Some of the films Todd has worked on include Joker with Joaquin Phoenix, Central Intelligence with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart, and Black Mass with Johnny Depp.

    The bulk of his work however lies in television, with credits such as The Blacklist, Quantico, Blindspot, The Following, The Newsroom, City On A Hill, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, The Punisher, Tell Me A Story, Gotham, Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the upcoming Hunters and Little Voice, and many more.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    I consider every single job I get to be a success just because of how hard it is to have a career in this business, but my most recent success is technically not a job yet. A film and television development company that I have been loosely working with has expressed interest in possibly partnering up with me on a show that I created called “Carney”, about an ex-con sideshow strongman who is forced to return to his old stomping grounds, a seedy sideshow in an equally seedy town.

    The project still has a long way to go before anything even happens with it, but I’ve already spent quite a bit of time and money just getting it to where it is now. As to how I got the project to this point, I think the most effective thing I’ve done with it so far was to get a cast and crew together to film an opening credits sequence as though it were already an existing show.

    The reasoning behind this was twofold: I could use it as the actual opening credits sequence if I were to shoot the pilot independently, and also I could use it as a proof of concept/trailer for pitching the show.

    We shot it on my property in Doylestown. The entire cast and crew, most of whom are PA residents, did an amazing job and the sequence came out incredible. It can be seen in all it’s glory at www.carneytheseries.com

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I got started in the film industry as an actor.  I didn’t go to college right out of high school. I knew I wanted to be an actor but I had no idea how to go about it. When I was about 19 I saw an ad for the Pro Model Talent Agency in Allentown PA. I dove in, taking all of the “on camera” classes I could. I loved it. It was through that agency that I landed my first paying acting gig on a show called Medical Detectives, playing the lead guy in an episode. I thought “Man I’m already getting paid as an actor, this is going to be easy!” Oh how wrong I was!

    So I spent the first handful of years in the business as a struggling actor, landing a few good gigs here and there, at least one of which actually led to some major jobs much later on. There came a point when I realized that I really needed to make myself stand out somehow. I couldn’t sing or dance, but I had a martial arts background, so I thought maybe I could start getting into stunt work, and stand out by being an actor who could really, actually do his own stunts.

    And that’s exactly what I did. I went to stunt school in New York. Shortly after I finished the course, I contacted the casting director from All My Children, who had cast me in some under 5 parts on the show, and let him know that I was now doing stunts in case anything came up. Sure enough, maybe a week or two later something DID come up, and I was hired to double Aiden Turner for a stair fall on the show. My real entry into the stunt community though came from another job. I saw a casting notice on Facebook for a real stuntman who also had the acting chops to share the screen with none other than Jeff Daniels. I sent in both my acting and stunt reels, and got a call from Julie Michaels. For you fans of the 80’s action flick Road House with  Patrick Swayze, you will remember Julie as the bad guy’s blonde girlfriend, Denise.

    Julie, an accomplished stuntwoman and actress herself, is married to a well  known stunt coordinator named Peewee Piemonte, who was working as the coordinator on HBO’s The Newsroom.

    I auditioned for the  part, and I actually got it! The next thing I knew I was on set in Manhattan, co-starring on an episode of  The Newsroom with Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews. Terry Crews, by the way, is easily one of the coolest celebrities I’ve ever worked with. Love that guy.

    I guess I did a good job, because later on Peewee was coordinating on an  episode of Person Of  Interest and brought me on the show,  which is where  I started to meet some of the other key players in the New York stunt community, and that is where things started to snowball into my career as it is today. What I couldn’t foresee at the time was that the stunt work would quickly overtake the acting jobs, and today I make my living as a professional stuntman.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Well, I usually don’t really have the luxury of “choosing” where I work per say, but when I do get to choose to work in PA, the answer is simple, I live here! Why would I want to go anywhere else? The same goes for what I love most about living in PA, I live here, and I live here because I love it. I know it sounds pretty vague, but there really is something special about it that you can’t quite put your finger on. I hate to sound like a cheeseball and use the word “magical”, but honestly, sometimes it kind of feels that way!

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I’m an old soul so I love any location that is old or historical. Eastern State Penitentiary is a perfect example. That place has so much character it almost doesn’t even matter what you are shooting there, it’s going to look interesting!

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Is it wrong to say the money? Well I’m going to be honest and say it anyway! Really though, I make a good living playing pretend, and still have a good amount of downtime to be at home with my family and work on whatever goals I choose to work on. Besides that, the thing I love most about my job is when I get the opportunity to work with someone who has inspired me in the past or who I grew up watching on tv. I think I’m about to give you an example of that in the next question!

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Oh man, how many stories would you like? Any time I get to work with some mega celebrity is usually pretty memorable, but I’ll give you one of my top ones. I co-starred in an episode of  The Following with “Ren McCormack” himself, Kevin Bacon. At one point Kevin calls me by name from across the set in that unmistakable Kevin Bacon voice “Hey Todd, c’mere, let’s run lines”. That was easily one of the most surreal moments of my life.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    A friend of mine is coordinating a show out here right now that he is trying to get me on, but I don’t even know what show it is. Us stunt folks are often told things on a need to know basis. Also, when and if my Carney project gets off the ground yes, I would love to shoot at least some of it in PA.

    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?
    I am by no means an expert on this matter, all I can say is that I would love it if more shows started shooting here. The east coast now has more television shows in production than Hollywood, most of which are in production just a little bit north of us in NY and NJ.  I think it’s totally realistic that PA could be turned into one of the major production hubs if we can just make it a little more enticing for these companies to shoot here.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    My number one piece of advice is to have PERSEVERANCE. Do not stop going after your goals! It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to take a long time, just accept those facts and don’t worry about it because that’s the way it’s supposed to be! Also, if you are serious, give it your full commitment, get the best training you are able to get for yourself, don’t be scared, and don’t wait! You’re going to have to figure a lot of things out as you go along, but the only REAL mistake you can make is to give up and quit!

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Get your butt out there and get involved with other filmmakers! A large amount of projects that you are going to be involved with in your career are going to stem from people that you met on other projects. It’s up to you to get yourself out there and meet these people.

    Also, some of you actors/actresses are going to scoff at this, but there are workshops where you pay some money but then get to audition for an agent or manager. These things are real, and that is exactly how I got my first manager, which is how I got the audition for that show with Kevin Bacon I mentioned. Most of these workshops don’t charge an astronomical fee, and you are guaranteed to be seen by an agent or manager who you might not otherwise ever be able to get in front of. To me it’s a no brainer.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is that there are going to be slow times when it seems like nothing is going anywhere. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THAT. That is the way it is, even when you start having some success!

    A real eye opener for me was the documentary “That Guy Who Was In That Thing”, which interviews several character actors whose faces are recognizable, though you might not know their names. Though they are not Brad Pitt or George Clooney, they are successful character actors who make a very good living in the business, and all of them talk about the fact that they STILL go through those painfully slow times when it seems like their phone will never ring again. That showed me right then and there that that is just the way the business works, even for people way higher up the ladder than I was.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m sure there are many that I’m just not thinking about, but off the top of my head I’d have to say The Sixth Sense. I’m a huge horror fan, and that was a good one.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I honestly can’t narrow down one single project that I’ve worked on that is my number one favorite. There have been so many that have been special for so many reasons.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My biggest aspiration is to have my own production company that allows me to make a good living while making the kind of projects that I want to make.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    I have no projects to submit to right now, but when the time comes the best way would be to just email me toddryanjones@gmail.com

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 4:00 PM | Jennifer Iams (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    John Pallotta is a master on-camera acting teacher and one of the most sought-after acting coaches in the industry today. John has almost 40 years of experience as an actor, playwright, director, producer and acting coach and has trained under such masters as Lee Strasberg (Institute), Stella Adler, Bobbie Lewis, Uta Hagen, Austin Pendleton, Wynn Handman as well as many others. John Pallotta’s belief is that “Acting is A State of Mind”.  Today, that belief has become an industry standard in John’s books and in his teachings across the country.

    John has accomplished thousands of coaching sessions and has ignited and reignited the careers of some of the talent you see on TV today: including Emmy award winner Anna Chlumsky, (VEEP) and many others.

    John's focus as a teacher of the craft is to help each and every one of his students find their own voice as an actor. Acting is a process. It is a journey of discovery. It is a living breathing process that happens each and every day and does not happen overnight. Becoming an actor is learning a new way of thinking and about the way you look at life. Just as you make choices in life that determine your success or your failure. It goes the same for your choices you make as an actor.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    As an acting coach I have an innate, absolute love for seeing my actors blossom into something that might even surprise them. I get tremendous joy out of seeing the success of my actors. Love turning on the TV and seeing actors in speaking roles that were once in y class. It’s beginning to happen quite a bit lately. That to me is a major accomplishment.

    How did you get started in the film industry?

    My roots go back, way back to the theatre starting in 1976. I had the honor to have studied with some of the greatest people in this industry; Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen and Stella Adler. Also being a playwright, several plays were optioned for film early on and just kept going. I had a number of close calls, including the opportunity to almost play the young Joe Pesci in Goodfellas but it ended up going to someone else.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    Lived in New York City most of my life (still have my apartment there), I wanted to be in the middle, between Boston, NYC, Philly and Virginia where my studios are. I spend most of my time traveling from city to city, teaching. At the end of the day, I come back home to Philly.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    Most of my classes take place on set where students rehearse sides from a currently casting project and film their work on a real set, perfecting their craft while learning the technical aspects of a film or television shoot. My Philly location is a huge 3000SQFT loft with plenty of in-house space.

    What do you love the most about your job?

    Honored & amazed at the amount of success stories that are coming out of John Pallotta Studio. I love seeing my actors succeed in the industry on a daily basis. They came to me “GREEN” and now many of them are working every day in multiple cities, becoming SAG and following their dream. At the end of the day, that is what I love most.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?

    A few years back I played a homeless man in a movie call “TUCHT”.  While researching the role and developing the character as a mentally challenged homeless man in front of The Port Authority, an ex-girlfriend past by and thought I was really a homeless man. She approached me and started to cry saying: “OMG, John, I’m so sad the see you like this, what happened?” She bought me two Burger King Whoppers and went on her way. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was only acting.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    Since I moved here, I had two web series shot and working on a third, “THE ACCIDENTAL REDHEAD” which we are currently in production on our second episode.

    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?

    I never really knew how the whole thing worked until I read this: https://dced.pa.gov/download/film-production-tax-credit-guidelines-2017/?wpdmdl=75431   I think coming together (all of us), there are strength in numbers and putting pressure on the people that represent us.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as Acting there is only Life. My technique is based on the belief that Acting is A STATE OF MIND. It is about innocence, imagination, vulnerability, instincts and honesty. It is about practicing the potential qualities that you were born with. The less you think like an actor, the more childlike and innocent you are, the more productive and in the moment you will be. Also, good acting requires that you study in order to master the craft. John's method teaches actors how to achieve and respond to honest emotions both on and off camera by utilizing the principles mentioned above

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    I have written several books on acting, both on the craft and the business of acting, (I teach both). On my site under the business section, actors can find an endless resource of casting opportunities, acting sides, networking opportunities as well as how to maximize their online presence in the industry. All that and more can be found on my site at www.johnpallottastudio.com


    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    Through trial and error, I have learned that being an actor is about being a part of something bigger than just myself. I wish I was more responsible when I started out doing this. In the 1970’s I was a young actor and made foolish mistakes. I learned from my past and try to teach actors tow be responsible, professional at all times.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    I’m still new to these parts (PA) that is, still figuring that one out.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    Probably my favorite thing being an acting coach is working onset with actors both in Film and Television. As an acting coach I have worked on a number of projects. If I had to have one, it would be coaching my actor in Star Trek. I also had the opportunity to play a Klingon, that was perhaps my favorite.

     What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    My aspirations as an acting coach have always been driven foremost by the creative desire to always question the universe. I did not get into this to be a star, but rather to find the stardom with in. I am doing what I love to do and hopefully be doing this for a very long time.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    They can learn more about the studio by going online at www.johnpallottastudio.com The contact info is there.


  • Friday, January 17, 2020 11:22 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Jillian Bullock is the CEO of Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC, a film production company based in PA. As an award winning filmmaker, she wears the hats of actor, writer, director, producer, and fight choreographer. Her film “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” will be available on VOD in April 2020. Jillian recently completed a short film entitled “Touch With Your Eyes,” which is on the film festival circuit. In May 2020, she will go into production on a feature film called “A Cup Full of Crazy.” Since 2007, Jillian has been a screenwriting judge for the Set in Philadelphia Screenwriting Contest, sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    That would be completing a feature film, “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” which deals with veterans, PTSD and military sexual assault. It took me four years to complete the movie. I had to do a couple of years of extensive research, interviewing veterans who had been sexually assaulted or raped while serving in the military, in order to make sure the movie rang true. The movie is inspired by true events. I had an amazing journey with the film, and had a wonderful cast, especially with lead actors, Tamara Woods and John J. Quinlan, my producers, Delayne Powe and Lamont Fountain, and Executive Producer Joe Hunter, who all worked tirelessly along side of me to support my vision to bring to light this on-going problem in the Armed Forces. “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” won several awards at film festivals, including Validate Yourself Film Festival, where the movie won for best film and John Quinlan won for best actor, and Ockotber Film Festival. The grand prize for winning that festival was a five day theater run at Stuart Cinema and Café in Brooklyn, NY. The movie also earned great reviews from many veterans and veterans’ organizations.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    When I was a student at La Salle University studying Communications, part of the curriculum was film and screenwriting courses. After I graduated, I got an internship on the set of Spike Lee’s movie, “Malcolm X.” From there I worked on other people’s projects to learn the craft. Eventually, I branched out and started working on my own projects.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    When I was growing up my stepfather, who is white, was a member of the Philadelphia Italian Mafia during the 60’s and 70’s. He was also a movie geek and every Sunday he’d take me to see a movie. He was the one who instilled in me that one day I would become a filmmaker and that I should base all my movies in Philly.  Now, I have decided to continue making movies here because of the rich culture the city has, the help that I get from other filmmakers and support from the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Fairmount Park is my favorite spot. I’m always filming out there because it’s such a big space. I can find a spot near water, or another section I can be in the woods, another section climbing hills. The landscape looks totally different depending on where I go.

    What do you love the most about your job?As a writer, director, producer, I get to craft a story and see those words come to life on the screen. I get to share my vision with cast and crew, trying to make something special; not only entertaining, but empowering. I like to get people talking, share their thoughts, emotions, etc. Nothing can do that better than movies and TV shows.

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    An awkward memory on the set of “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” the lead actress, Tamara Woods, was seven months pregnant when we had to shoot a rape scene she was in. Well, of course I couldn’t let Tamara do that scene, so I stepped into the role as her body double. It was weird because John Quinlan, who portrayed Captain Nixon, the rapist in the movie, had to act like he was assaulting me, along with three other actors, who portrayed Army Sergeants - Nick Mangino, Ben Yon and David Bazemore - who were in the room cheering Nixon on. It was a closed set because John was completely naked and I had to be partly naked to make the scene look realistic. Very strange for me directing that scene while being “violated.” But everybody was professional, not only to me as the director, but as the actress in a sensitive role.

    I really haven’t had any challenges because I am firm in the direction of my movies, my vision, how I want to run things on the set, what I will and will not tolerate. I have no problem firing anyone who isn’t serious about doing his or her job. We can have fun on set, but we still have a job to do. Filmmaking is a business first, especially when I have other peoples’ money invested in the movie.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    Stand with confidence in who you are and what you represent. Do not sacrifice your story, your vision for anything or anybody. Don’t believe the haters or naysayers. Know your craft as a creative and as a businesswoman and how the film industry works. Try to get a mentor, if you can. Surround yourself with others who are hungry and are willing to work hard to bring the project to completion. Give back and help other filmmakers, too. Keep learning, taking courses, reading books, and getting addition training. When the going gets tough, and it will, take time for self-care, quality sleep, eating healthy, and exercise.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am in pre-production on a feature film entitled “A Cup Full of Crazy,” a thriller. Filming begins in May 2020. I have an amazing cast featuring actors such as Christopher Mann, Brian A. Wilson, Karen Waller-Martin, Nakia Dillard, Celeste Allen, Tomike Ogugua, Manny Metris, John Torres, Jacnith Headlam, Adam Ratcliffe, and many others.  Later, in 2020 I will shoot a pilot for a TV series called “Not On My Watch.” It’s been my goal for a long time to write and direct a series and base it in PA. The short film I recently directed, “Touch With Your Eyes,” which starred John Antorino, Misty Godfrey, John Quinlan and myself, I’m currently writing the feature length script to produce and direct that film in 2021. This will be the first movie I’ll do that will take place not only in PA, but in other states as well.

    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?
    I’d say with the hundreds of TV and film projects, independent and Hollywood, that are produced each year in PA, it is imperative to continue to increase the film tax credit in order to support more projects being filmed in this great state. My next movie will be my first union production and that film tax credit will be very important for me to secure funding for the project.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    For actors, I’d say study your craft. Watch all kinds of movies to study. Especially study an actor you want to be like, e.g. Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis. The same with filmmakers. There is no reason why a novice actor or filmmaker can’t learn the ropes without going to film school. Take workshops, classes, look at videos on YouTube, read scripts. Do everything you can to master your craft. Also, don’t wait for another person (agent, manager, director) to come to you with a gig. Get together with a small group of filmmakers and create something so you can have a reel. Don’t get discourage. Don’t quit. This is a tough business, so you have to want success badly even on days you feel like crap from all the rejections. Too many people are impatient. It takes time to reach the top. But when you make it, you’ll look back and say it was all worth it.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    As an independent filmmaker, you can direct and produce your own projects. You can work on other people’s films. You can also be a work-for-hire filmmaker. Get a good website done, business cards, network, go to film festivals, workshops, events, and let people know you’re available. Put you information on social media. Same goes for actors. You have to be grinding every single day. Also, have a great website and an acting reel. Join IMDB pro.  Please have a photo connected to your page if you want to be taken seriously. Many directors, producers and casting agents use IMDB to search for actors.  

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    You can’t wait for people to hand you gigs. Sometimes, you have to create your own projects, especially if you’re a filmmaker. Also, be kind to people, fair and respectful. Work hard, show up on time, actors know your lines, crew know your position and do it well. Above all else, I’ve learned as a director and want to share this wisdom with actors and crew - don’t have an attitude, be a diva, have an ego, gossip, be hard to get along with, show up late. Whether you are working on deferment or getting paid, be professional. We are all trying to achieve the same thing – having a great project to be proud of.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    There are many, but I’d have to say the Rocky and Creed movies. I got to interview Sly Stallone years ago when I was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. To see the pride people in Philadelphia have when it comes to the legacy of the character Rocky and now seeing it being carried on in the Creed movies, it touches me deeply, very emotional. Those movies show what it’s like to have a dream, overcoming obstacles, fighting back after being knocked down, believing in self, pushing the naysayers back, the sacrifices one makes, the blood, sweat and tears one endures, and training hard to be the best in one’s craft in order to get the WIN. Think about it, these are the same things, the same issues, and the same desires that go into being a successful filmmaker or an actor.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Years ago, I wrote, directed and produced a film called “Spirit.” It involved professional wrestling. My lead actors, and I, got to train with professional wrestlers at the WXW wrestling school. Many of the students were preparing to enter the WWE, like Dave Bautista, who trained at this camp.  Now, retired from wrestling, he’s a big time action star.  The WXW training school was run by Afa Anoa’i and his family.  The males are the uncles and cousins of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and they all were in the WWE through the years. Staying at Afa’s house in Allentown, PA on weekends and training at the camp, I learned so much about the Samoan culture and I got to meet many of the WWE superstars. I also learned that while the WWE matches are predetermined, they are not fake. I saw many of the wrestlers get cut, broken bones, other injuries. In fact, I endured broken ribs as a result of landing wrong on the mat one time. Still, it was so much fun training and filming.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To be the first African-American woman of color to own an in-house film production studio in Philadelphia. In-house meaning all books, TV shows, webseries, and movies will be produced by my team. No outside projects. And to do this without having investors so I can own the studio 100 percent.  My second biggest aspiration is to create a screenwriting contest called First Rate Vision that will cater to female writers only. In this industry, women, especially women of color, just don’t get enough writing opportunities. I plan to change that.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    They can email Delayne Powe, Producer, at – jbullockenterprises@gmail.com

    Interested in sharing your story? Email info@pafia.org to join our
    Featured PA Filmmaker series!

  • Friday, January 10, 2020 12:37 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Meagan Hill has served on the Philadelphia Local SAG-AFTRA Board since 2012, and was recently elected VP Actor/Performer. In addition to her union work, Meagan has been active in PAFIA since its formation. In 2013, she produced and directed a promotional video showing how a one small Pennsylvania town benefited from TV and film production work in the area.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    I was recently elected VP (Actor/Performer) for the Philadelphia Local of SAG-AFTRA.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    After I graduated from DeSales University, I performed leads in numerous dinner theatre and murder mystery productions and with several comedy troupes. I also directed dozens of children’s theatre shows. More recently, my creative partner, Tom Orr and I have written and produced several cabaret shows together. I joined AFTRA in 1980. This made me eligible to work on film projects in the Philadelphia/NYC areas. In 2012, I was asked to fill a vacant seat on the Philadelphia Local SAG-AFTRA Board and to serve on the National Honors and Tributes Committee. Once I became a member of PAFIA, I encouraged many actors and crew people to join. I was notorious for having stacks of “Why join PAFIA” postcards with me in the holding area. “Are you a member? Why not? Go to the website!” When an Academy Award nominated actor from Pennsylvania admitted that he wasn’t a member, I handed him a postcard!

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I live here! NY and LA are not the only locations with professional actors who are capable of getting the job done.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Olde City Philadelphia, Jim Thorpe and Hatboro (yes, my hometown!)

    What do you love the most about your job?
    “Do you *want* to act, or do you *need* to act?” I NEED TO ACT! I love being part of the creative process to make “Make Believe” look “Real”.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I was playing a homeless drug addict in a student film and supplied my own costume. While I was sipping my coffee, the director inspected my outfit. When he commented that my tee shirt was too clean, I DUMPED my coffee down the front of my shirt. His jaw dropped and he said admiringly, “Wow… you ARE a professional!!!”

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    I was hired to play a doctor in a print ad. Once on set, they gave my lab coat to a male actor because, “The public won’t believe a female doctor”! In addition to acting, I also direct corporate videos for a local production company. I’ve had a few camera operators and crew people blow off my instructions with a snide “women can’t direct!” (seriously!).

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    You *can* have a family and a career! The Arts and taking care of children (or elderly parents) is not easy! Cultivate a supportive network that includes your partner, friends and family.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Directing corporate video interviews. Writing a new cabaret show with my creative partner.

    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?
    Find the video I directed that was on the PAFIA website in 2013/14. Shot in Hatboro with statements from PA Rep Thomas Murt; local actress, Patsy Meck and Tim Lewis, owner of Lewis Paints. Says it all!!!

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    LISTEN! FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! BE PREPARED AND PROFESSIONAL! LEAVE YOUR EGO AT HOME.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Network. Be the most professional representation of your craft.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    LEAVE YOUR EGO AT HOME

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Silver Linings Playbook. SAG Award winning film where I got to “tailgate” with Bradley Cooper!

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Student film for Temple University: The young director wanted me to play a homeless drug addict… for free. I told him that I was in SAG-AFTRA and that the union had student film contracts. “You want to be a professional filmmaker? Then you need to know about working with film contracts”. He and the student-producer thanked me on the set for helping them take their first steps as “real filmmakers”.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    An Oscar!

    Last Thoughts?
    “Pennsylvania artists and crews are visibly distinct from the rest. We clearly show the training, dedication and professionalism that took years to attain and was hard won. The Guild and the film industry of Pennsylvania should be synonymous for excellence. Professionalism will reduce production time by adding value through skill" 

  • Friday, January 03, 2020 2:37 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Brian Anthony Wilson began his film career with the Supporting Lead role of 'Woody' in Kevin Costner's 1997 film, "The Postman". Since then, he has appeared in over 160 Film/TV Projects. Selected credits include : Ocean's 8, Glass, How To Get Girls, Creed, Limitless, Title VII, 6 Souls, Crooked & Narrow, Keeping The Faith / Mare of Easttown (HBO), Dispatches From Elsewhere (AMC), Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu), Siren (FreeForm), Bull (CBS), Bloodline (Netflix), Gotham (Fox), Broad City (Comedy Central), Blue Bloods (CBS), Law & Order : SVU (NBC), The Sopranos & The Wire (HBO).

    Recent Theatre: Looking Over The President's Shoulder (one-man show @ Act II Playhouse), King Lear (SCP), Gem Of The Ocean * Barrymore Award * (Arden Theatre), Thurgood (One man show @ Olney Theatre Center) & Fences (J.A.G. Prod., VT).

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success was getting to portray 'Eddie, the EMT', in a scene opposite the amazing & gracious Kate Winslet, in the locally shot HBO, mini-series, "Mare Of Easttown". Ms. Winslet is in my top 5 favorite Actors, what a thrill!

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I got started in the film industry with a Supporting Lead role in the epic post apocalyptic Film, "The Postman", with Oscar winning Director, Kevin Costner, in 1997. I auditioned, with the help of Mike Lemon, via VHS tape (2 scenes, 6 lines), which I sent, via FedEx, out to L.A. On the strength of that tape, the Producers flew me out to their Production Office, on location in Tucson, AZ, to meet with Mr. Costner. I was told, "if he likes you, be prepared to stay for 10 days of rehearsal, if not, you'll be on the next flight back to Philadelphia". Mr. Costner was out scouting locations, so was l lead to a room to await his arrival. I walked through a doorway, that had '222' above it, which i took as a good omen, as my Bday is February 22nd. I met with Mr. Costner, discussing the script (which i read on the flight out) and the film/his expectations. When asked, I explained i had no film/T.V. experience, only 10+ years of Theatre training/performing in plays. We spoke for about 16 minutes, after which, he offered me the role of 'Woody'. I was thrilled, to say the least! I was not in S.A.G. at the time but was given a 'Taft-Hartley' waiver to work on the film. In all, i spent 5 & 1/2 weeks, rehearsing & filming the Movie. Shooting on picturesque locations in Tucson, AZ & Bend, OR. It was a Life defining experience.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I 'choose' to work in PA (born & raised in Philly but have been living in South Jersey since 2004) because the vast majority of my Family is here, including my Wife, who is a Professor in Philly, my kid & my Mommy, who still lives in Mt. Airy. I love working here because of the proximity of my Family and also because, i'm a bit of a 'known entity' here. whereas in L.A. or NYC, i'm a 'who the heck is he?', actor :).

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Favorite shooting locations? Shooting at City Hall for my two, quick scenes in "Law Abiding Citizen" (opposite Gerald Butler & Jamie Foxx) was pretty cool! Also, I love the rural Pennsylvania locations of several M. Night films I've been honored to work on, like "The Happening" & "Glass", lots of greenery & cows.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    As my first NY Agent told me, after shooting "The Postman", "You're Immortal baby!". I am Blessed to do a ton of Theatre but once the show closes, that's it; all the blood, sweat & tears you poured out onstage is gone, forever. But with Film/T.V. projects, you can revisit your work (which can sometimes be a bittersweet thing) as long as the medium of Film & T.V., exists. Also, I LOVE the nuance & subtlety of doing Film, where you can do so much, with the lift of an eyebrow or turn of the head, as opposed to Theatre, where you have to 'reach the audience member sitting in the back row', you have to be a lot 'bigger'!

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Most awkward was when I shot "Keeping The Faith", directed by (and starring) the amazing & gracious, Edward Norton. There was a scene where my character has to 'close line', the the other leading actor, Ben Stiller. I rehearsed the scene with the stunt coordinator for around a half hour and all went well (I had stage combat training and was confident in my ability) but when it came time to shoot the scene, Mr. Stiller told me, "I don't want you touch me" (or words to that effect). Then after a few takes, Mr. Stiller complained that the move felt false and my 'arm recoil' was not true. Of course, it didn't help the action because he didn't want me to make contact with him. I was perplexed, because he's a big Star and I'm a nobody. I tried my best but if you watch the film, you can see that I actually do not make contact with him. Such is the Biz.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Upcoming Projects include, a small recurring role on the (wonderful) Jason Segel helmed, AMC T.V. series, "Dispatches From Elsewhere"; a supporting Lead role as a Police Chief, in the indie thriller, "Shimmer"; a Lead role in an indie Horror Film, "Room 9" (recently acquired by Lionsgate) ;  a supporting Lead role as a Psychiatrist in the Jillian Bullock helmed psychological thriller, "A Cup Full Of Crazy" (filming in Philly in May) and a Lead role as a Police Captain, hell bent on Justice & revenge, in a new T.V. Pilot, "D.O.P.E Unit", by PhilaDream Films, shooting in Philly in 2020. Whew!

    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?
    I honestly think its a bit a 'no-brainer' because of the VAST amount of 'return on investment' that happens when these Film/T.V. Projects shoot here. They spend BIG Bucks, housing actors, producers & crew; feeding them, buying props/costume, all LOCALLY! Its made a difference in my life by allowing to work on a number of Hollywood Films, opposite a few Oscar winning Artists, right here, in my hometown, without flying out to L.A.!

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    My advice to aspiring actors and filmmakers? Learn your craft! Take classes, do student films, write your own content, don't sit & wait for 'the Business' to come to you. If you make (or act in or produce) a compelling product, guess what, they'll come to YOU! The Industry is thirsty for new Content, especially with SO many different venues (Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, etc). Learn/practice your craft whenever you get an opportunity, even if its just a reading or a table read (I've been cast from both!). Don't just go see the Blockbusters, go see/support and learn from indie films (even ones with sub-titles) and go to LIVE Theatre. Study with different people and ask questions when you get on set. And of course LIVE LIFE and observe people & the human condition.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Networking. Networking & Networking! And the 'usual suspects' : Actors Access, Backstage.com, Castingnetworks.com, Film.org & more! Google auditions. 

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Be professional, on time and courteous/respectful to all around you (but my Daddy taught me that years ago!). Research who you're going to be auditioning for/working with, tons of info on the web and knowledge is Power! Also, know your worth and don't compromise your ethics, go with your gut instincts. Sometimes, saying "No, thank you", can be a good thing.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Favorite Film shot in PA?  "Crooked and Narrow" ; a gritty, superbly written, acted & directed (by Neal Dhand) indie film, its also a lovely homage to Philly. My first scene was shot in front of the Rizzo mural in South Philly! Its available on Amazon Prime.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Favorite Project I worked on? "99% Sure", a wonderful little "Rom-Com', with wit, substance, heart and a stellar cast/crew!

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My biggest aspiration? A Series Regular role on a long running and well written show. I'm past ready and my skill set is honed to do great work!

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects? 
    Probably Film.org or scouring Facebook and reaching out directly, if we're linked on any media platforms.

  • Friday, December 27, 2019 11:00 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    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.

  • Thursday, December 26, 2019 10:59 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Amelia Addor
    PAFIA Writer

    Imagine you’ve rented a high-rise apartment for four weeks to live in. You just dragged three bags of luggage from the train station to your AirBnB, through a lobby, inside and out of the elevator, and down a long hall. You’re exhausted and ready to relax after a long day. And the first thing you walk into is an apartment with no directions on how to use the facilities. Or worse, there are so many directions taped to the apartment walls that you don’t know what color the wallpaper is. Enter Coral, a Philadelphia-based company that was created to make AirBnB your second choice.

    Long-term travel isn’t easy for anyone, especially not a high-profile client or busy business-person. Ken Myers, the fresh-faced and cheerful Co-founder & President of Coral described it best by citing his own experiences living and working in Germany.

    “I was on the road a lot. Four to five days a week traveling from country to country­: France, England, all over Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Italy. So I was living in a hotel four or five days a week using different hotel brands, so I was experiencing … what it was like to be an extended traveler on the road, and to have hotels be an extension of your apartment-living experience.”

    As anybody who has traveled using AirBnB, hotel, or a hostel knows, walking into a room covered in an array of color-coded post-its is not an ideal situation. And those issues magnify when you are living with a highly demanding schedule. Andrew Carlone of Philadelphia found a solution and in 2015, Coral was created. Coral began as a digital guidebook meant to eliminate the clunky paper guidebooks found in rental units to be made available to guests as a download. And this was just the beginning for Coral. Once Ken Myers came along, things headed into new and rewarding territory.

    With his personal experience, Ken helped shift Coral into an experience unlike any other. He and Andrew met through a common business mentor. Together, they melded and molded Coral away from a software business model, heading towards something he described as “next generation luxury accommodations provider”. Imagine a five-star hotel with personalized amenities, tailored local experiences, and ready-to-use facilities fit for a celebrity, which was their goal all along.

    These rentals managed by Ken and Andrew cater specifically to high profile clients in the film and television production industry and can be found in Philadelphia, PA. But Ken believes it’s only a matter of time and planning before they expand their scope to the rest of Pennsylvania. Coral has set its sights on expanding into Pittsburgh thanks to its growing popularity with television and movie productions. Actors, actresses, and entertainers are beginning to realize the potential Pennsylvania has for becoming a television and film industry hot-spot.

    With the help of PAFIA (Pennsylvania Film Industry Association) who actively supports and promotes the Film Tax Credit (FTC), the film industry has been making its way into the Keystone State since the FTC was signed into law in 2007. Pennsylvania offers a 25% tax credit to film and television productions that spend at least 60% of their total budget in Pennsylvania. The FTC has brought over 155 feature productions to the Keystone State, with over six of them happening this year.

    The interview continued with questions about advocating for the FTC in Pennsylvania’s capital, Harrisburg with other PAFIA members. Ken Myers has consistently recognized the positive impact on many people’s lives throughout Pennsylvania with this growth in media-based economy.

    “Andrew and I have benefited directly from the film and television production industry as a business and we’ve realized the direct, positive impact of the industry’s introduction not only on the state but local business owners who have nothing to do with production itself. For Coral it’s quite clear: we’ve seen our revenue grow ten-fold from last year just because of the film and television production increase that we’ve had here. That impacted us directly as far as direct bookings are concerned, and as our partners are concerned.”

    Lastly, he made it clear that Pennsylvania locals weren’t the only ones benefitting from PAFIA’s hard work, and the work of members like Ken and Andrew.

    “It’s good for the guests on a personal level because it enriches their experience. We work with a lot of businesses from around the area since one of our unique added options is that we ‘plug our guests’ into the city they’re located in. If there are a couple actors or actresses here or some individuals from the crew, we really want to expose them to the best of this city because they’re going to be here for sometimes up to six months. The tax credit enriches the lives and experiences of the guests as well as the local businesses. Everyone gets excited to see the small mom and pop shops and experience authentic travel and the shops get to expose their brand, their products, or their services to a new, influential audience.”

    Coral is just one of hundreds of businesses that have adapted to the growing film and television industry here in Pennsylvania. PAFIA has hundreds of members who want to share their story and success just like Ken Myers and Coral. Follow Coral’s journey on Instagram and website to see their elite guests, and all that they offer in glossy, enviable photos. And when you visit Philadelphia next, think of how nice it would be to have all your needs and desires taken care of by one fantastic brand catering to the luxury and sparkle of Pennsylvania’s growing glamour.

  • Friday, December 20, 2019 1:04 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Katie Shenot is a 2003 graduate of Point Park University with a degree in Musical Theater. Upon graduation, Katie began working with Nancy Mosser Casting in Pittsburgh and is still with the company under the title of Casting Director. Her work includes Film and Television projects such as "Downward Dog", "Love the Coopers", "The Dark Knight Rises", "Perks of Being a Wallflower", "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", "Banshee; Season 4", "The Fault in Our Stars", "She's Out of My League" and many more. She has also cast hundreds of commercials both locally and nationally. She is a proud member of PAFIA as well as Women in Film and Media.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it? 
    On the Amazon feature film, I’m Your Woman, we had to cast a 1970s nightclub scene with hundreds of background. Finding hundreds of people for period scenes can be extremely difficult because it requires that they have the right hair, no tattoos and be able to fit the costumes, which are real vintage clothing from the 70s. We also don’t reuse people who’ve been in other scenes so it was all new faces.  Seeing it come together on film was exhilarating and worth the weeks of hard work! 

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I majored in Musical Theater but knew by the time I graduated that I wanted to have a career in Casting.  I called Nancy Mosser about an internship and the rest is history!

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania? 
    I love that the crew is family here across both sides of the state. We are amongst the hardest working and most professional in the industry and this is coming from the many Executive Producers and Directors who have filmed here.  Pennsylvania has a myriad of filming locations and can play any time period.  I feel like there is heart here and a true passion for filmmaking.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I have great memories of shooting the entire end fight sequence of Dark Knight Rises on the steps of the Mellon Institute.  A remote location in North Park for the upcoming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was probably my most magical on-set experience.  I also loved filming at Kennywood for Adventureland because it’s an iconic location and it brought it back full-circle for me since I worked there in college in the stage shows.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    It’s never the same! I am very fortunate to not have a typical 9-5 job and I get to be creative.  Giving someone news that they’ve been cast is also a highlight. You’ve never seen someone be happier than being told that they got the part!

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Awkward! I remember during Jack Reacher, I was at the Production office for a meeting with the ADs and had to run to the restroom. When coming back, I strode through a door I thought was the room I had just been in and had my head down and walked straight into a mat where Tom Cruise and Jae Courtney were rehearsing an intense fight scene with the Stunt Coordinator and Director. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me.  I was mortified.

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    I think that we have to validate ourselves more. That exists even for those of us who have been doing our jobs for years.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    Keep your head in the game. Try to remember that just because something really stressful is happening, you have to pick yourself up and find a solution because there will be another fire around the corner. This is a fast-moving industry and not everyone is cut out for it but you have a lot of sisters around you to talk to and approach for advice.  We are always willing to help.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects? 
    We will be working on an Indie project in the next couple of months and are staying busy with our Commercial clients.

    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, the film industry in PA will virtually disappear.

     That incentive is the reason that productions continue to bring projects of all sizes here.  I’m a proud Pennsylvania Film Industry Association board member and I believe in our mission to spread awareness of the crucial benefits of the credit.  It brings young people to live, work and raise families here, which is something that the state desperately needs. Because so much of the budget needs to be spent in Pennsylvania, the boost in business is something that many local vendors have come to rely upon.  I would have to move if the credit went away.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Take classes and workshops!  Mingle and get to know people from all facets of the film industry. Connections are so important so you want to build solid relationships with reputable business professionals.  Lean on your local film office!  They are always willing to let you know if something or someone isn’t legit and they likely will have updates on current projects that are filming.  Join groups like PAFIA that help connect you with a community. If you’re an actor, watch what you post on social media.  Best bet, have a public actor page and a private personal page.  You never know who you may be offending if you like to post about hot button issues which could cost you work.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Find the reputable Casting Directors in your region.  I’m a big believer in being involved in the theater community to stay sharp with your acting skills.   For crew members, make sure you are listed with the Film office for when productions are looking for crew. 

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Don’t gossip. Everyone knows everyone.  My motto is to be kind to everyone. You never know who could be hiring you in the future!

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m actually going to say a series. Downward Dog!  It’s a shame that it was a critical darling but didn’t have time to land a big audience before it was canceled.  Working on that show never felt like work. We’ve been working with Animal, Inc for many years so that was an added bonus to shoot with dear friends.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. It was an extremely special project and I will always hold that film close.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I’d love to see Casting become a category at the Oscars! It’s a long time coming.  As a member of the Casting Society of America, we are all hopeful that this is something that will come to pass soon.  What would a movie be without Casting? 

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Anyone who wants to be on file with us can go to www.mossercasting.com under “For Talent” and create a free talent profile.  That puts them in our database and they’ll start to receive emails from us when we have casting needs.  Also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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