2016 – 2017
Advanced Screen Craft master class with tutor Bill Hughes: May and June 2017
Bill with the students from the June Course (L to R) Saroni Roy, Shailla Quadra, Claire Trussell, Mikaela Dive, Megan Roggiero, (Bill Hughes), Meredith Cox, Josh Armitage, Samantha Dickinson, Jess Grosbard and Shannon Donaghey.
Well done to Meredith Cox, who not only played a featured role in the Northern Beaches Council Clean Up Campaign video, but was also featured in an extensive print ad series in Pittwater Life and Peninsular Living magazines. Well done Meredith!
Congratulations to 2006 graduate Aileen Beale.
Aileen’s impressive list of credits stretch back ten years now, and she has recently played 50 worder roles on Love Child and Pulse, along with the role of Lieutenant Crestalnin in Shame Abbess’s new feature film, The Osiris Child. Aileen is currently playing the role of matriarch Margaret Young of the Young family – the family which produced two of Australia’s best loved and most successful rock bands, The Easybeats and AC/DC – in the new ABC TV program Friday on my Mind, which details the career of The Easybeats.
Well done Aileen and keep up the great work!
If you can’t score a role in a film, then score a position on the crew, as Robert Flanagan did on Mel Gibson’s award winning Hacksaw Ridge. Very proactive indeed Robert! Well done.
A hearty congratulations to Jemma Jane who performed the lead role of Olive Neal in Woody Allen’s highly acclaimed Broadway musical Bullets Over Broadway. Jemma is one of only three actresses from 42 musical productions to be nominated as Best Actress in a Touring Musical by the Broadway World Seattle Awards. Best of luck Jemma!
Well done to Meredith Cox who has been booked for another role in a Laundry Lane Productions corporate video. This is the third time Laundry Lane have booked Meredith in the past year for various video projects. You’re doing us proud Meredith.
Meredith pictured at the inaugural 2015 SF3 Film Festival
Bobby Babin’s career is slipping into overdrive with roles in feature films, TV series and TVCs. Keep up the great work Bobby!
Bobby looking like a young Cliff Robertson in a screen grab from the series Behind Mansion Walls in which he plays the role of James Sullivan
Well done to students Joshua Armitage, Amanda Armitage, Megan Roggiero, Lakshay Dhiman, David Borsone, Jai Miller, Simon Busuttil, Jess Reid, Matt Oberg and Kael Leak for completing tutor Peter Phelps Book the Role master class with flying colours on Sunday 30 October. A fun and educational day was had by all!
Congratulations to alumni Frank Stead for his powerful performance as Gino Stocco in the Network 7 dramatized documentary series Catching the Stocco’s.
Congratulations to Corinne Dawes for performing her first 50 word role in The Secret Daughter – opposite Jessica Mauboy, no less! Well done Corinne. You’re off and running.
Robert Flanagan has been scoring small but significant roles on some of our most popular television series, including Rake and Love Child, while making some good contacts along the way. Well done Robert and keep up the good work.
Robert on the set of Love Child
Robert Flanagan with some familiar faces
Meanwhile playwright and director BJ McNeill recently stormed the UK theatre scene with his self-written and directed play Torn Apart (Dissolution) Now BJ has a new play, The Rules Of Inflation, which he and his cast are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
BJ McNeill (left) and the cast of The Rules Of Inflation
BJ McNeill being interviewed on British television
Meanwhile Sonya Plummer has shown that it pays to think outside of the box, proving there are more ways to make a living as an actor than television drama, TVCs, voice overs and film work. Sonya has been cleaning up on the Television Shopping Network (TVSN) performing in countless commercials and advertorials. Well done Sonya.
Sonya performing in one of the school’s short films, Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Advanced student Logan Webster features in the June 14, issue of Film Ink magazine in an interview detailing his first feature film, Remember Redfield. After playing the antagonist in Tom Danger’s first feature Lead Me Astray, Logan has now completed his first feature and is currently auditioning actors at the school’s studio for his second, as yet untitled, film. The Film Ink article praised the lads for the success of their indie films – due in part to their canny online marketing strategies – and noted that Logan and Tom specialize in the comedy-horror genre.
2016 has seen many of our teen and adult students playing ongoing roles in director Greg Perano’s second feature film Prufrock & Company – along with a variety of interesting and challenging work for our students and alumni in everything from TV drama to TVCs.
Alumni Jemma Eggins has found fame in the USA performing the lead role of Olive Neal in Woody Allen’s hit musical Bullets Over Broadway. After a sold out run in New York, the musical hit the road touring major cities around America before returning to New York for another extended run. Very well done Jemma!
Congratulations to advanced graduate, producer Sam Smith, whose short film Banana Boy has been selected for the Screen NSW Emerging Filmmakers Fund. Well done Sam. You’ll be producing your first feature film before you know it!
Congratulations Alli Peters who plays the female lead of Erica in the short film Balloon, directed by Nick Paton. Balloon is an Official Selection in the Robin Anderson Short Film Festival and an Official Selection NSW Art Express. Well done Alli!
Congratulations to advanced graduate Brent (BJ) O’Neill for the outstanding writing and direction of his play Torn Apart (Dissolution) currently being performed in London. The play has attracted 5 Star reviews in the London press. Exceptional work BJ! Please bring the play home to Sydney!
Jemma Eggins is playing the role of Olive Neal in the New York production of Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway. Once the musical completes its record-breaking run at the 42nd Street Theatre, Gemma and the rest of cast are touring the production around America.
Katerine Ann MacKinnon-Lee plays the lead antagonist Sarah, in the Peter Andrikidis directed feature film Alex and Eve.
Katerine Ann had her hair dyed purple for the role – not a look she usually sports! – to give her the tough sassy look the producers wanted for the role. Alex and Eve, a religious romantic comedy, is set for theatrical release in October.
Congratulations to Logan Webster who is currently casting his second feature film. The as yet untitled film follows on in the horror vein from Logan’s first feature, Lead Me Astray, in which he plays the antagonist Alpha.
Logan and Mona Bagherpour conducting a casting session at the school for their new comedy horror film.
Junior teen student Julia Manias who appeared as one of the princesses in last year’s STC production of The King and I at the opera house is now playing a leading role in the Willoughby Theatre production of Evita.
The production has been receiving rave reviews and Julia was personally mentioned in reviews for her acting and solo singing performance.
Advanced adult student Mona Bagherpour’s career is certainly on the up and up. A small speaking role as a young solicitor in the award-winning short film Misinterpretation and the lead role in the school’s short film Refugee led to an audition and a subsequent call back for the lead in a controversial new television series.
Then it was on to a featured extra role in the film The System, which led to the lead role of Rina in the funded short sci-fi film, Egregore. Very well done Mona!
Well done to Allira Peters who is performing her final scenes in the feature film Make Them Dead. I have been working with Allira on her scenes a day or two out from each shoot day and the private tuition has been highly beneficial for her performance and a good confidence booster. Keep up the good work Allira!
It’s fingers crossed for Mona Bagherpour who is awaiting the outcome of her second call back for a principal role in a highly confidential and politically explosive new television series about refugees.
And no, it’s not the 4 million dollar potential white elephant tele-movie the federal government are funding to encourage refugees to stay in their own country, but a highly controversial series about refugees fleeing their homeland due to oppression, war, or famine. I coached Mona through her initial audition and then again for her call back. Mona was impressed with the results as were casting director Greg Apps and the series director. Good luck Mona! We’re all holding our breath for you.
New York producer and former student Brady Kirchberg has created a sensation with his first feature film, Whiplash.
Whiplash has garnered mass critical and audience acclaim and was the number one box office film in America for several weeks running during early 2015. The March 2015 edition of the JB Hi-Fi magazine Stack, gave the film a 5 star rating along with naming it DVD of the Month. Great work Brady! Very well done to Allira Peters for booking a pivotal role in the upcoming indie feature film, Make Them Dead. Allira has worked hard to achieve this result and her pro-active approach has certainly paid dividends.
Congratulations and very well done to Chloe Boreham who plays the lead role in the film Between Me, directed by Kim Farrant.
Between Me is an Official Selection for New Filmmakers Los Angeles 2015 screenings and competition.
Good to see Robert Flanagan playing a cameo role as “one of the boys” in the gripping Aussie feature film Felony. Keep up the good work Robert!
Very well done to Mona Bagherpour who played the role of a young solicitor in the multi-award-winning short film, Misinterpretation.
Hard work has paid off for Allira Peters who has just performed her first dialogue role in a short film. Well done Allira.
After directing her first feature film, the critically-acclaimed Around the Block starring Christina Ricci and Jack Thompson, writer-producer-director Sarah Spillane is now directing her second feature, True Spirit. True Spirit details the story of teenager Jessica Watson’s solo, around-the-world sailing adventure.
Very well done Sarah. You’re fast becoming one of Australia’s hottest young writer-directors.
Advanced teen student Jess Grosbard auditioned over the summer holidays for the lead in a Mazda TVC. Jess missed out on the part, but the director was so impressed with her that he booked her a featured extra role in the commercial. Well done Jess!
Advanced adult Sonya Plummer continues her run of featured extra roles in a variety of television commercials into 2015. The casting directors and advertising agencies obviously appreciate your “young mum blonde look” Sonya!
The Master Class film Refugee premieres on the TVS program Anthology of Interest in March 2015. This will be followed by repeat screenings on TVS and on the award winning short film program Dark Carnival (Foxtel Channel 183) throughout next year.
Congratulations to the cast, Mona Bagherpour, Jozsef Kleiner, Ashwai Muo and Paul Millett for their strong performances. Garfield Barnard, Head of Programming at TVS, said about the film “excellent story and performances.” Mona Bagherpour as Amira Al-Rawi in the short film, Refugee
Former police officer Lance Rice has been expanding his acting resume in a big way with roles in numerous television drama series, including Puberty Blues, Old School and A Place to Call Home. Well done Lance. You play a good cop (obviously) and a very effective villain as well!
Sonya Plummer has also been getting her fair share of quality work, but in Sonya’s case, in television commercials. Sonya has proven to be a popular choice for TVC producers and creative ad agencies. Keep up the good work Sonya!
Acting schools and film schools organize excursions for their students to observe working film and television sets. Sorry. Not at our school. We jump in as an integral part of the production. In late October, students Tony Dreise, Laura Tate, Paul Millett, Logan Webster, Kerry Housea, Victor Poliansky, and Vera Polianskaia, along with myself, played roles in director Greg Perano’s second feature film, Prufrock and Co.
Shot on location at Glen Davis, in the Garden of Stone National Park, Prufrock and Co is an anti-war film, loosely inspired by director Richard Lester‘s films, particularly Lester’s 1971 film How I Won The War, starring John Lennon.
Logan, Kerry, Victor and Vera played Cossack extras; while I played the bloodthirsty Josefa the Intoner, with three of my advanced students playing my battlefield generals: Paul Millett as Soren, Tony Dreise as Roman, and Laura Tate as Markita. Stepping onto the other side of the camera was a nice change and it was inspiring to work with some of my students on a professional set. Greg was very happy with the performances, saying your contribution added a new energy and made Prufrock and Co a better film. Well done!
Sports manager, former coach and rugby player Lance Alaalatoa, is currently appearing in a high rotation national and international Samsung TVC. Lance is featured 100% in the TVC playing a rabid fan of the All Blacks.
Lance and his two fellow performers were recently featured on the cover of MX magazine. The TVC has a comic bent and is the first in an ongoing series. The Samsung commercial is currently screening nationwide. Well done Lance. But what are your Wallaby mates going to say about you playing an All Black’s supporter? Could get ugly mate!
Not one to rest on his laurels, Lance has just wrapped a gig on a Toyota Hi-Lux TVC. Keep up the good work mate!
Congratulations and very well done to advanced teen graduate and private tuition student Pangrum Tiangbangloung for winning Best Monolgue, Best TV Commercial, and Actor of the Year at the 2014 IPOP! Awards in Los Angeles. And well done to advanced teen student Samantha Picello who, competing in the age group under Pangrum’s, won Best Monologue at the IPOP! 2014 awards.
It was good to see Frank Stead playing a jailer in the first episode of the new ABC-TV series Old School starring Bryan Brown and Sam Neill. Well done yet again Frank!
Congratulations to advanced adult student Logan Webster for his performance as the antagonist Alpha in the upcoming indie horror film, Lead Me Astray. Logan said he really enjoyed playing the role – as physically demanding as it was – and said he learned a great deal during production.
Once they met, the director said Logan was his first and only choice for the role. Lead Me Astray also features former advanced student Tim Page. Well done Logan and Tim and I can’t wait to see the film!
Advanced teen student Pangrum Tiangbangloung sent me a very excited message recently while on her way to a red carpet screening of a feature film in which she has a small dialogue role over a couple of scenes. More details as they come to hand. Well done Pangrum and I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the film premiere! The masterclass film The Pedder File screened on the award-winning Foxtel program Dark Carnival in Episode 167 on Monday 21 April at 11:30pm. However before that screening, there was a special premiere screening on Dark Carnival on 7 April. Thanks again to cast members Paul Millett, Jessica Robbins, Tayla Brown and Lydia Dyhin for their excellent performances.
It was good to see Robert Flanagan playing a police sergeant on the brilliant series Rake in early February. For those students who can’t put a face to the name, Robert played the Tour De France rider in the classic 1995 green screen scene, Paperboy vs Tour De France. (To check out this hilarious scene go to Class Scenes and Masterclass Films page.)
2013 Student News
Congratulations to student Sam Smith for making the Tropfest Top 16 with his short film, Stew. Best of luck for the finals Sam! Sam (far right) with the other 2013 Tropfest Top 16 Finalists.
And speaking of successful short films, TVS Sydney told me they love our latest masterclass film The Pedder File so much they are not only screening it on their Anthology of Interest program, but are premiering it first in the popular Dark Carnival series. TVS programmmer Garfield Barnard called the film… “Excellent, with a real-life twist.” Good work and a job well done to students Paul Millett, Jessica Robbins, Tayla Brown and Lydia Dyhin for their powerful performances.
Well done to Junior student Julia Manias and Teen student Zach Zitis who both recently had the opportunity to audition for major film roles: Julia for Mad Max 4: Fury Road, and Zach for a confidential project filming in South Australia.
Congratulations to Screen Actors Workshop advanced teen students Georgie Walker-Powell, Elana Carnevale, Zoe Salatnay, Serae Kopra and Olivia Eastwood for their respective wins at this years 24/7 Youth Film Festival.
Georgie won the Best Actress award and her, Zoe and Elana’s film The Final Project picked up several other awards on the night, including Best Sound; while Serae and Olivia’s original and thought provoking film Pause won the award for Best Script.
Congratulations to Junior students Julia Manias and Natalie Theodore who caused a minor sensation on Australia’s Got Talent on Saturday 31 August when they knocked Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High out of the park. Very well done girls and good luck for the next round!
It was good to see former student Amber Sherlock (nee Higlett) featured on the cover of the August edition of Peninsula Livingmagazine. Although Amber graduated as an actor in the mid-90s, she has since forged a successful career as a popular newsreader on the Nine Network.
Advanced adult student Sonya Plummer is scoring a swag of professional work: Along with currently appearing in the high rotation Labour Party Spotlight TVC, Sonya recently impressed the honchos at the TVSN channel with her first modelling job for the network – and has now been hired for 8 more gigs! Go Sonya.
Tim Page – fresh from a successful theatrical production of The Phantom of the Opera, and last seen on-screen with tennis legend Pat Rafter in the Bonds Flexits TVC– under instruction from New York casting consultants Telsey + Company, booked time at the studio July 23 to record and edit a self tape audition scene for the US feature film FOCUS, starring Will Smith.
Tim recorded the four-and-a-half minute scene as the character McEwen with classmate Sam Smith playing the Will Smith part of Nicky. FOCUS, a Warner Brothers production, shoots in Argentina and New Orleans, Louisiana in September and October. Best of luck Tim!
Sam Smith is receiving valuable exposure in the high-rotation promo for the new Big Brother Twistprogram. Sam, who opens the promo and is the only actor with a speaking part, is in the process of proposing when his girlfriend suddenly leaps to her feet and starts dancing to the Chubby Checker classic, The Twist. Well done Sam!
Advanced adult student Sam Smith is currently appearing in the popular play Jilted at the Sidetrack Theatre in Marrickville. Due to strong audience demand Jilted in now into its second run at the Sidetrack. A must-see play: Guaranteed to make you “laugh your socks off!”
The Jungle, the third film in director Andrew Traucki’s Three Colours Red trilogy (Blackwater; The Reef; The Jungle) premiered March 8 at Fox Studios. Graduate student Agoes Soedjarwo plays the role of Budi, and the The Jungle was well received at the world premiere. If you enjoyed (or were scared witless) by Andrew’s previous two films, then The Jungle is a must-see!
2012 Student News
Congratulations to advanced adult student – and soon to be first-time mum – Mindi Jackson for knocking it out of the park with her first long-form infomercial “Why can’t new cars come with a real guarantee” Lucy’s Story on the Toyota Motors website. Well done Mindi! The poster for the Shaun Katz directed Sleeping in Blood City, featuring Agoes Soedjarwo
Agoes Soedjarwo (right) performing a scene from Sleeping in Blood City
Playing the lead role in director Andrew Traucki’s The Jungle (see story below) would be a big enough feather in any performer’s cap – but actor Agoes Soedjarwo certainly didn’t stop there. Following his work on The Jungle, Agoes plays a leading role in Sleeping in Blood City directed by Shaun Katz. The short film Sleeping in Blood City has boosted Agoes profile even higher: the film recently won The Silver Ace for Best Short Film at the Las Vegas Film Festival; was the Audience Favourite award-winner at the Sydney Underground Film Festival; and won the Best Editing award at the IndieFest USA Film Festival. Keep up the great work Agoes. We’re extremely proud of your ongoing success!
Actor Agoes Soedjarwo (left) on location for the third film in Andrew Traucki’s Three Colours Red trilogy, The Jungle
Congratulations to Agoes Soedjarwo for playing the lead role in Andrew Traucki’s new film The Jungle. The Jungle follows in a similar vein to Traucki’s previous films The Reef and Blackwater – creepy edge-of-the-seat horror/thriller genre films which have attracted wide praise and audience support. In The Jungle, Agoes plays leopard conservationist Budi, who along with his documentary filmmaking brother, enter the jungles of Indonesia in search of the rare Javan leopard – only to discover they are being stalked by a deadly unseen predator.
The film is slated for national cinema release early 2013 and I’m looking forward to seeing Agoes in his first lead feature film role. Well done mate!!! Very well done.
2011 Student News
Advanced teen students Rebecca Carbone and Aris Varvarian have successfully auditioned and been accepted into the prestigious Atlantic Theatre Company three week full time program in L.A. for January 2012. The rigorous entry conditions and serious competition for a place in the course didn’t faze Rebecca or Aris. This was confirmed when the coordinator of the program called me praising both of the teens for their acting skills and attitude. Aris was accepted into and completed the demanding course last year so he’ll be a good source of information for Rebecca before they fly to L.A. The Atlantic Theatre Company Youth Program is renowned for placing the first young Australian actors on numerous American TV shows – including the popular series Glee.
Former students Frank Stead and Bobby Babin can be seen strutting their stuff in the online film Waiting, in which Frank plays a town sheriff circa 1929. Waiting is beautifully shot and edited and the period is captured with stark realism. The shoot-out scene alone is just magnificent. Frank’s American accent is seamless thanks to the skills he gained in Bill Pepper’s American Accents and Dialects master class and which he has been perfecting since. There’s no question about fellow actor Bobby Babin’s accent though as he is an American.Bobby Babin was well featured walking the dog and strutting his stuff in the high-rotation Sun Herald Mary Poppins CD giveaway promotional TVC for the August 21st edition. Nice energetic performance Bobby!
Earlier this year current students and former students were all over the Underbelly 3 series playing a variety of roles from 50 worders – Sabeena Manalis as one of John Ibrahim’s girlfriends, Frank Stead as the Police Minister, Ronnie Masoud as one of the mad bad guys – to series 3 co-lead Rob Carlton as put upon Kings Cross detective Neville “Scully” Scullion. Rob also recently played the young Kerry Packer in the critically-acclaimed ABC-TV series Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo.The new Underbelly Razor series, currently screening on the 9 Network, has also been a good source of work for some of our current students. And to top it all off, film armourer and Screen Actors Workshop Armoury for Actors master class tutor Tony Garland is the armourer for the Underbelly Razor series.
Advanced student Sam Smith delivered a commanding performance in the Queensland Flood Clean Up Gas Safety public service TVC, which screened on high rotation during and after the massive state-wide flood clean up campaign. Sam followed up the Gas Safety TVC in July by featuring in a new multi-media Samsung commercial.Advanced adult student Abby Holz is currently in Los Angeles with her agent Gina Stoj. Under Gina’s guidance and mentorship Abby is doing the rounds meeting with producers and local agents and learning about the Hollywood scene and the television pilot season. We wish her the best of luck with her career both at home in Australia and, hopefully in the not too distant future, in the US as well.
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