Interviewed by Theresa Pickett
Director Michael Matteo Rossi recently finished shooting feature film Misogynist, a drama thriller shot in Los Angeles. Rossi shares an insider’s view about the Hollywood movie industry and examines how actors can find success in the movie capital of the world.
You have secured a great group of talent for your latest movie, indie feature film Misogynist. The cast includes Jon Briddell, Tracey E. Bregman, Eve Mauro, Danielle Loseau, Jonathan Bennett, Kris Black, Alia Raelynn, and Cameron Barsanti. What strategies did you use in selecting your talent? Can you describe the audition process?
Since I wrote the script to the film, I had a leg-up in terms of knowing the look of the characters and what I wanted. We sent out a casting notice online for several of the supporting roles and got very lucky with the talent that came in to audition. I knew, however, that even for an indie film, you must have some sort of “name” actors for the film to get noticed. It’s how the business works. I got in touch with Jonathan Bennett through acquiescence and sent him the script, which he loved and wanted to work on.
The rest was just dealing with the manager, making sure the schedule worked out, etc. The other actors that have a good following (Tracey E. Bregman, Eve Mauro) I either went through their manager or contacted them directly. I was very straightforward, honest and passionate and I think that’s what sold them to want to come on the film.
You were born and raised in Los Angeles, and recently returned there after finishing college at San Diego State with a degree in Film. You have an insider’s knowledge of the Los Angeles movie industry. Can you give advice to actors who are living in Los Angeles and trying to make it in the movie industry?
You must have a passion for acting and be in it for all the right reasons. Actors who are starting out and think they are automatically going to be paired alongside George Clooney need to realize that it takes a lot of hard work and effort. You will get rejected. A lot. Do not let that discourage you. This business is brutal, but for the strong-willed, they can make it. Surround yourself with other actors, directors, etc. and make connections. Connections are key and essential in this business. As cliché as it sounds, do not give up if you truly love acting.
What can an actor do to prepare before a big move to Los Angeles?
Make sure this is really something that they want to do. Do some research on acting classes in the area. Make sure they are financially stable for at least the first few months to adjust to the move. A lot will have to take day-jobs or flexible jobs to make due before they start receiving good paid gigs.
As a director, what traits in actors do you find desirable?
Taking direction well, effort, drive, and having fun with the characters I create!
What are your three favorite spots in Los Angeles?
The observatory, Hollywood Blvd (for the obvious reasons) and Santa Monica Pier.
Recently earning a graduate degree from Vanderbilt University, Theresa Pickett has freelanced as talent and as crew on commercials, videos, TV shows, and movies since 2007. Theresa’s favorite project was working as an associate producer/lead actor in six-time award winning short movie Look shot on the RED One 4K. Now, married to movie director/actor Ryan Pickett, who played Young Oscar Bluth in TV series Arrested Development, Theresa co-owns http://www.ryanpickettproductions.com.