Aspiring actors learn some hard truths at Face Off screen actors’ showcase

27 April, 2018 by Don Groves

(L-R) Greg Apps, Sally Browning, Tom Gleeson and Kate Fitzpatrick (Photo credit Sheree Zellner).

Twenty two up-and-coming actors took part in the inaugural Face Off screen actors’ showcase at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington on Thursday night.


Some 48 minutes of footage, ranging from scenes culled from professionally produced TV shows and demo reels through to self-tapes shot on iPhones, was screened for an audience of around 150 people.

Each show reel was critiqued by an expert panel comprising actor Kate Fitzpatrick, DOP Tom Gleeson, producer Sally Browning and casting director Greg Apps.

“While it was a warm room with a great deal of support for the screeners, some undeniably uncomfortable truths were delivered by a panel of industry veterans, wise words that can only serve to strengthen the resolve of some already brave contributors,” the event’s organiser, Glenn Fraser, creative director at production house Transmedia Entertainment, tells IF

“Lots of connections were made. The paucity of work in the industry for a surfeit of performers was definitely acknowledged but that didn’t seem to affect the energy that people want to tell stories.”

Fraser came up with the idea to enable emerging talent to have their show reels or self-tests screened in a cinema. “As a director myself I continue to be amazed at the difference the sacred space of a large cinema can offer an actor,” he says. “It was gratifying to notice the hush that would fall over the audience at certain moments – even from a simply shot, well-written monologue. “

Apps, who estimates he has watched more than 200,000 auditions in a 36-year career in casting, was impressed with the calibre of work displayed. “It was a great forum to provide insights to actors and up-and-coming filmmakers,” he says.

“The quality of the people on screen was very good, though I feel sure many learned what approach they need to take to ensure their work left a memory.

“In a digital age where many people work in isolation at home, to screen their work in a group forum in front of an audience is a wonderful opportunity.”

The participants were Emma Louise Pursey, Jessica Hunter, Jordan Hunter, Margarita Gershkovich, Craig A. Walker, Erin Kebby, Florence Florens, Justine Keim, Melissa Brattoni, Lauren Hamilton Neill, Olga Olshansky, Tula Tzoras, Adnan Zey, Stella De Zotti, Carma Sharon, Nell Nakkan, Janet Shay, Chloe Brisk, Simon Watts, Ben Tate, Liz Harper and Lara Lightfoot.

After the screening most people stayed on in the bar to network with a mix of producers and other behind-the-scenes talent. Melbourne producer Mark Forytarz (Pawno) flew up for the event and producer Elliott Yancey swapped contacts with a number of contributors.

Fraser plans to hold another Face Off in the next couple of months, observing, “We want to take some key learnings from last night’s event to try to make it the most useful tool we can.”