Thursday, August 9, 2012



AUGUST 9, 2012

By Dr. Mel Caudle

Robby and I arrived to Los Angeles in Hollywood glitz and glory with the welcome of "Earth Shattering" rock and roll.  I'm not referring to the auditions.  Rather, the earthquake that hit the first night registering at the 4.8 scale.  We just tend to think it was Judas, letting us know he was here.  Maybe, it was all of the KSK Los Angeles members jumping up and down for joy knowing that the day has finally arrived for their face-to-face auditions.  

After months of viewing online auditions, heasdhots, IMDB listings, Facebook pages, and group "Blog Night Skype" conversations; today we met over 180 actors who arrived for their callback face-to-face auditions.  It was so fun to finally meet some of the most talented actors in this industry and witness incredible first-day callback auditions.  All I have to say is tomorrow's callback actors and New Orleans better bring it if today is any indication as to what we are going to see.  Actor after actor, brought their "A Game" into the audition room.  WOW!  

My biggest problem I face is how in the world am I going to select from all of you talented actors?  

Just to tell you a little bit about to day, many of the auditions brought chills to Robby and I.  The actors know who you are as you witnessed them for yourselves.  We weren't disappointed either as we saw Chris Swirles deliver his Milo and Robert Fleet, his Dr. Garrick Angela.  These are only two of the many outstanding actors we saw throughout the day.  

Others, brought us to tears, while some made us laugh with their comedic talent.  And, the sexuality and chemistry between some of the Matthew's and Dr. Wright's, well, I can't get X-rated in the blog, but it was certainly getting hot in room.

We also threw in some surprises for several actors who were thrown cold reads.  The best thing, they delivered and I really couldn't believe what I was witnessing.  I am humbled by the actors today and give everyone a standing ovation.

If you want to watch Dr. Mel's
Producer Dark Blue Interview
If you watched my producer interview for my film Dark Blue, at the end, I am full of emotion and I couldn't stop crying from joy of what that film team accomplished.  I'll never forget that day as I watched a completed edited scene, while we were still filming.  Not only was it overwhelming for me, it was for those on set that day as many of us cried and cheered at the same time.  That same emotion is how I feel as I get ready to post this blog.  Yes, I have tears as I am overwhelmed by today.  

As the first-day of call back auditions came to the end, I realized that today was something special.  As actor after actor came in, Robby and I jumped from our chairs just to get a hug.  It really felt as if we already knew everyone.  I think, each of you felt it too as everyone relayed to us that even while waiting for their audition, the friendships and the conversations in the waiting room was so unique and they never have gone or attended an audition like this before.  As a producer, I couldn't ask for anything differently or for a better set of quality actors.  And, several actors were put in the casting pool for my next film.  It was like getting two for one.  Yea!  

We knew that every actor who received a call back was talented.  We also knew that they would meet our expectations.  What we didn't know was how far each would go and exceed what we thought we knew about each one of them.  Not only did each actor bring their "A-List" game performances, they also brought individuality and unique interpretations of the characters.  Anyone witnessing the auditions wouldn't help but to be in awe that The Keystroke Killer team was in fact on the brink of discovering the stars of tomorrow.  Our online casting process worked and we still have four more days of callbacks.  

I told Robby how honored I was to have all of these actors show their support for this project and share a little bit of themselves with us.  She replied, "You don't get it Mel."  "This family not only believes in the project, but they believe in the KSK family."

And, what a family it has become.  I was recently interviewed on a radio station about KSK.  I was asked, "How did you do this?"  The fact is, I don't think I know that answer.  Where is Stephen Hawkins when I need this figured out? So, Stephen, if you know this answer, please call me to share your insights.  The only hypothesis and theory I can start to assimilate in my brain is my own belief system and the importance of relationships which I call the "KSK Relationship Theory."  That's my answer and I'm sticking to it.

To explain my assumption of my newly developed concept, "KSK Relationship Theory,"  somehow, through a social network system, we all came together with a shared dream - making a movie.  At the beginning of the dream it was only me.  I was isolated and all alone in bed as I woke up from a "Nightmare" of a dream.  In the past, I have dreamed probably 12 of my 15 screenplays before I wrote them.  I call them my "Dreamplays." 

Once I was fully awake, I realized that my dream I just had would make a powerful short film.  At the time, I didn't dream all of the characters, only Matthew, Judas, Blaze, Meagan, and Jenni who comprised the initial viral short film.  Dr. Garrick Angela, Lorenzo, Congressman Thompson and Dr. Elizabeth came next.  Yes, they too came in a follow-up dream.  Milo arrived all on his own in my dreams haunting my subconscious with torment and desire.  It was an interesting  plot and gave me the perfect twist I needed in KSK.  I merged by dreamplays.

As I continued to dream each night, I started including others in my vision for KSK.  The KSK family ignited.  Like the short film, the KSK Family grew to include members from all over the world.  And, when the online process opened up, a whole new generation was born.  In that generation included many actors who share in my dream as they too started dreaming about Matthew, Blaze, Milo, bringing their own interpretations and nuances.  I think I can add to my theory that KSK characters are the most dreamed about - especially as the first-day of face-to-face auditions came to a close tonight.

Our dreams will become reality as we begin to narrow the field of actors to the final selection of the cast that will include KSK members from all over the United States and possibly seven other countries who have actors with Skype callbacks.  This day I have a feeling will come with all the emotions and excitement that an independent film has never garnered before, not even The Blair Witch Project.  And, I might add - a film that has not even started principle photography.  This is truly a special project indeed.  It is overwhelming at times to even postulate that so many others share my dream.  I don't even know where or how to thank all of you who stepped onto this glorious elevator ride with me, other than to thank each of you by making one fantastic movie leading onto a television series.

The heat is on New Orleans.  You are up next. 


There is a social event this Saturday in Los Angeles at the V Lounge, 2020 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA. (West off the 405 FWY).  There will be a special VIP line to get in for KSKers and their guests.  You will have to RSVP Jack Curenton on Facebook to get on the list, but it will allow you to bypass the other line that is usually long to get it.  And, not only can we enjoy the club, we have a private section for us KSKers where it is quiet for anyone wanting to chat one-on-one without screaming.

Oh, feel free to invite your talent agent and/or manager.  We’d love to meet them as well.  

And, if you are a talent agent, manager, producer, director, or a A-list actor, you are invited as well. 

You can RSVP on THE KEYSTROKE KILLERS – CALIFORNIA EVENT GET TOGETHER (!/events/463519653665860/).   

The event is being put together by Jack Curenton and Stephen Beal.  If you have any questions, please contact either one of them on THE KEYSTROKE KILLER FAN SITE on Facebook.  Thanks Jack and Stephen!

I have also invited a couple of my friends to the party that I have worked with over the years who you don't want to miss the opportunity to meet.   So, come on out James Woods, Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Rhys Corio, Billy Lush, Drew Powell, Dominic Purcell, Alexander Skarsgard, Tom Cruz, Leo DiCaprio, Steven Speilberg, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Charleze Theron, George Lucus Jr., Anastasia, Britney Spears (my hometown girl), Ellen DeGeneres.  Also, my Sony, Sy Fy, Maxim Magazine, Playboy, Screengems friends come on out including Beau Marks, Glenn Gainer, Phil Phillips, and Geoff Leavitt and Zanne Devine.  Whew!  You get the picture. Come and party with the KSKers for this one in a life-time event and say hello to me.  I haven't seen some of you in a long, long time.

I look forward to finally meeting everyone of you face-to-face as I have already spent hours and hours of watching your online submission auditions.  Congratulations on being selected from a pool of over 4,200 auditions.  You are all already a winner in Robby's and my book.  Cheers!

Robby Cook Stroud, associate producer, and Dr. Mel Caudle, producer celebrate as
official callbacks were announced last week for THE KEYSTROKE KILLER.

By Dr. Melissa Caudle

It's official.  I am part of the wonderful team of China White as producer.  I am so excited to finally  get the opportunity to work with Todd E. Bradley, executive producer/director/screenwriter, and Suszanne Breitenback, producer.  

The screenplay is exciting and fresh.  Having come up with the story line, Bradley turned over the story to Cassandra Bryson, to convert it into a screenplay making for a remarkable project.  I am proud to be part of this team as we move forward.

Even better news, many of the actors who auditioned for The Keystroke Killer, are cast in this film including Kennedy Moronta, as Thomas Doran, Christian Stokes, Jerry Lopez Jr., Nick Blady, and DH Lewis.  Other actors include Jose Maysonet, Crawford M Collins, Whitnie Mauney and Jason Torres. Just thinking about this combo gives me chills.  More announcements of cast and progress are forthcoming and you can find it all right here in Dr. Mel's Message each Thursday evening.  Take a look at the trailer.

By Dr. Melissa Caudle

To help you prepare for your callback auditions, I have included the following excerpt from my  book, YOU NAILED IT!  AUDITIONING TO LAND YOUR DREAM ROLE, available from  The book has lots of information on finding casting auditions, and preparing for the initial audition versus a callback audition as they are two different approaches and needs to be treated as such.   The first part of the book addresses marketing yourself as a "Product" in the acting business.  The second part addresses an actor's marketing skills and tools needed to be a professional actor.  The third part discusses how to prepare for an initial audition and submitting an initial online audition.  The fourth part addresses the callback audition. With more nine chapters and a fabulous Appendix full of websites and links that are beneficial for a professional actor, this book is the ideal companion for anyone planning on auditioning and nailing it to receive a callback and ultimately land the role.  An added bonus is actors who purchase this book gain a distinct advantage in the auditioning process for any of my future projects.  You get the inside information on how I process auditions and what I look for during them.  

The idea behind the book is two-fold.  First, as a producer I get to see actors who are prepared for auditions exactly the way I expect them.  In a way, that is the professor coming out in me as when I was teaching at Loyola University, I always gave the information to my students that I expected them to learn and would be tested on.  In a way, a callback audition is a test, and to quote acting coach Christian Slater, "It is a job interview."  Secondly, it allows the actor to gain the advantage over the competition and nail the audition.  Just imagine going to an audition knowing exactly what the producer expects and having a scene partner who doesn't.  Who do you think would shine?

Before I get attacked by the "Naysayers," I'm not trying to sell my book to the actors who are called back for an audition this week, nor do they have to purchase the book to get an audition in the future.  I'll never know the names, addresses, or contact information of actors who purchase any of books as they are sold to retailers such as Books A Million. Barnes & Noble, and  In fact, the book won't be published for at least another four weeks as it is at the publisher.  Then, they will have to send me a proof order for me to either approve or make changes.  Therefore, I really don't expect that book to be ready for sale until the middle of September.  Now that's a coming out party or at the minimum another book signing party.  

In the book, there is particular information I wanted every actor who received a callback to become familiar with the contents.  Why? Over 99% of the actors to receive a callback have never auditioned face-to-face with me before.  Therefore, I did a quick excerpt of four of the chapters that contains specific information.  Of course, these are only bullet points from the chapters, but an actor still can benefit from them.

All actors who received a callback were  provided the excerpts below on Monday of this week in an email from our casting director. I really want everyone to do their best and get a "You Nailed it!" list after the callbacks.  Ultimately, the actors with the highest "You Nailed it!" will be announced as cast members.  

Good luck and break a leg!!


You are being watched by everyone.  Become familiar quickly as to who are the “Gatekeepers” and avoid at all cost offending them.  In an audition situation, the “Gatekeeper” is likely to be a production assistant or a casting associate.

The Arrival
Arrive at least 15 minutes early and be prepared to stay later than expected as many auditions get behind.
Once you have arrived, sign in and then take a seat.  If you were asked to bring paperwork, ask the P.A. what you should do with it.  In most situations, you will keep your paperwork and hand it to the casting director in the audition room.

Don’t leave the waiting area without checking in with the “Gatekeeper.”  They need to know where you are in case your name is called.

The Waiting Game
While in the waiting room, keep noise to the minimum as not to distract others or to bother the casting team.

While waiting to come into the audition room, turn your cell phone to vibrate.  The last thing you want is for the casting director or producer to come out and discover who is disturbing them with their crazy ringtones.

Your competition, or worse yet, an executive producer could likely be sitting next to you in the waiting area. Be cordial and mindful of their presence.  I’ll never forget the time I auditioned for a role and while I was waiting for my audition, the man next to me started talking with me.  I had no idea he was the executive producer.  He came down to the waiting area because he wanted to get a feel for the atmosphere.
He had been there for two hours.  It was a good thing that I was polite, cordial, and professional.  Later, after the audition, he called me and thanked me for the conversation.  That is how I found out he was the executive producer. 

He informed me that he does this with every movie as does many of his colleagues.  Oh, by the way, the movie was Robosapiens.
Later, I was asked to assist in casting with the extras for this film, because during our chat, I mentioned a couple of things to him.  This just goes to show that you may never know how important someone is sitting next to you. 

Burning Bridges
Don’t burn bridges.  It just might come back to haunt you.

Be humble always to fellow actors.  A good way for you to be disliked is to start bragging about all of your previous work or by name dropping.  Your fellow actors are in the room because they are just as, or more qualified, than you.
Be Confident
And, under no circumstance let them alter your confidence.  Remember, you were asked by the casting team for your callback too.  It might be even you who shakes their confidence.

Don’t Ask
Don’t ask for special favors because you have somewhere else to go.  You are professional and as an actor, this audition should be your priority.

The Casting Team Isn’t Your Momma
Before leaving the audition waiting area, check for your personal belongings and clean your area of any trash, even if it isn’t yours.

Minding Your Ps and Queue
When asked to line up with other actors, don’t get offended if you are asked to sit down without having read your lines or assigned a scene partner.  That means that you aren’t right for that group and it doesn't mean you aren't right for the role.  It could mean that you simply weren't paired correctly and if you make a scene, get hostile, complain, argue, etc.  I can almost guarantee you won't be cast.  You just soured the casting director with your negative attitude.  No one wants that on a set.

Also, don’t worry if another actor reads more than you or is asked to do the scene again with a different scene partner.  Again, that isn't a reflection on you, but on them.  Trying to outguess what the casting team is thinking will drive you crazy as there isn't any way to know unless your a mind reader. 
This means, they have seen what they want from you.  Again, don’t get offended.  More than likely the reason is because of the director’s or producer’s vision for the cast.

Cell Phone Use
During your audition, turn off your cell phone.  There is nothing worse during a callback audition for your phone to ring.  Again, it really sours the casting director and casting team against you.

Attitude is Platitude
Don’t ruin your chances of landing the role because of a poor attitude.  If you weren’t called back for the role in which you wanted, don’t tell the casting team your disappointment and that you would rather have had a different callback for a different role. To do so projects a negative attitude and they may question whether or not you really care at all about the role you are being considered.  It is far better to project your desire for the part in which you are called back.  I have heard many casting directors state that they wouldn’t cast the actor because of the indifference for the role they want the actor to portray. 

Trust me, the casting team and a director doesn’t want any actor who cannot totally commit and love the character; even it isn’t an actor’s first choice.

Another area is complaining about having to memorize the amount of scenes for a callback audition.  Really! Are you kidding me? If you complain to a casting director or producer that you have five scenes to memorize for a callback, what in the world makes you think, we think, you can be ready to shoot five to seven scenes a day, during principle photography.  This one really baffles me as a producer and now in my involvement in the casting process of my films. 

No Excuses for Failure
Avoid making excuses about not doing your best because of a sore throat, or your reading partner.  Take ownership of your audition.  Just do your best.

Don’t ask to start over if a mistake is made by you or your scene partner.  If necessary, be the strong actor and improvise the scene to get it back on track.  The casting team will notice that you can make adjustments quickly.

Scene Partners
During a callback audition you usually are paired with a specific callback actor for another role.  Don’t ask for a different partner as the casting team has already made up their minds who they are considering for certain roles. 

Do you really want to get on the bad side of a director or producer by giving an impression that you don’t or can’t work with an actor of their choosing?

Turn up the Volume
Bring energy to the audition.  You don’t want to have a flat performance.  It is important at a callback audition to really must bring your “A Game.”

Don’t try to over impress the casting director or producer at the audition by making small talk.  It could back fire on you as time is valuable.
They are looking for dedicated professionals who know the appropriate time to chit chat and when it is time to focus on the task at hand.

The Basics of Introductions
Do look at the producer and the casting director in their eyes when you introduce yourself. 
Always extend your hand for a handshake as it is proper “Greeting” etiquette.  On the other hand don’t force the issue either.  Some people don’t like to shake hands of others.  For example, Howie Mandel never does and never will as he is a germ phobic.  Respect the feelings and desires of others.

Who am I?
Avoid asking at all cost if you can read for a different role than you were selected for your callback audition..  That too is unprofessional and some casting directors take this as an insult.  If they had wanted you to read that role, you would have been asked.

Know how to slate.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I am asked by actors, "What should I include when slating during face-to-face auditions and video auditions?"

As simple of a question this is, you might be surprised at the number of actors that don't know.

So, here it is straight from me who has watched more than 10,000 auditions over the last five years. This is what you need to do and how to slate for your callback audition for THE KEYSTROKE KILLER.  

Begin your slate by introducing yourself by saying, "I am (state your name) represented by the _____________________ agency.  You can reach them at (state phone number) and their email address is __________________________.  I am auditioning for the role of (state the role)."



If you bring props and plan to use them in during the callback audition, use them appropriately or not at all. 

Gum Chewing
Don’t chew gum unless the role specifically calls for it in the action description or parenthetical.

Acting Through
ACT THROUGH THE SCENE. DON’T JUST SKIP THE ACTION DESCRIPTIONS.  Remember, this is a callback and not an initial audition.  Don’t rush it.

After your scene is completed, end by saying “End Scene.”  If you are working with a scene partner, decide before the scene, who will make that announcement.  It is usually the actor who has the last line of dialogue.

If per chance the casting team stops you and your scene partner in the middle of the scene or before it is finished, don’t get offended and accept their decision.  After all, it is their project.  It could simply mean that they know they like you and you just confirmed their initial choice rather than they aren’t interested.
In fact, it is often a strong indicator that they don’t have to see you with that scene partner.  Many times, the casting team will be able to assess your callback audition from the moment you are paired and don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Respect Privacy
This should be a given, but is often violated. 


Respect the casting team’s space and not get to close to confidential information or the casting table.  To do so, could soar the casting team against you and harm your chances of landing the role  Think of that area as "OFF LIMITS.".

Never be defensive, argue, or complain about anyone or anything in the audition, after the audition, or after the project has been cast.  You could be complaining to the director's aunt, uncle, sister, long lost cousin etc.  And, it usually gets back to them.

Don’t Ask! We Don’t Tell!

The casting team isn’t going to tell you immediately after your callback audition whether you landed the role or not..  That decision probably won’t be made for several weeks.  Patience is a virtue.

Don’t expect feedback at a callback audition.  The casting team is there to make an assessment, and they can’t make the final decision until everyone has auditioned. 

This isn’t time for acting lessons or critique; therefore, don’t expect it to be.  However, do expect the director or producer to ask you to do the scene a different way.  Make the adjustments if you are asked. 


After the audition, thank the casting team for their time and consideration, then leave promptly. 
Often, you may be asked to stay and wait in the waiting area if the casting team desires you to read with another actor they are considering to test chemistry. Jump for joy and don't complain or ask if you can come back at another time.  Do you want the job or not?

Thank You Etiquette
It wouldn’t hurt to send a thank you card in the mail, the old snail mail method that is.  The reason is it is personable and is likely to be remembered when they open it. An E-mail is likely to be trashed and un-read.

I personally remember a hand-written thank you note that included a piece of gum, the kind I liked.  It wasn’t anything fancy, but I recognized that the actor had paid attention to details as that particular gum package was on the casting table in front of me. 

Another actor sent me a hand-made thank you card.  I still have it on my bookshelf.  Sometimes, the smallest gesture can go a long way.
On the other hand, DON’T send expensive gifts.  This could easily be misconstrued.  Unless of course you are going to send Robby and I on a all expense paid cruise or to Europe.  Just Kidding.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You
Before the audition, don't bombard the casting director, producer, or any member of the casting team with useless questions or questions you already know the answer.  Time is money and to waste time of the casting team goes against you.  BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF AND FOLLOW THE CASTING DIRECTIONS!  LOOK THINGS UP FOR YOURSELF, ESPECIALLY IF THE CASTING DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER HAS ALREADY SENT IT TO YOU IN WRITING.

Don’t call the producer, associate producer, casting director, or casting assistant to find out if you got the role or your status. 

If you do get the role, they will contact you.

Worry About What you can Control
Don’t worry about the audition once it is over.  Just forget about it.  There is nothing you can do from this point forward other than souring the casting director and producer against you for bugging them.

And, if you are not cast, don’t think it was because of your acting.  At this stage, the casting team makes many comparisons after comparison and a lot of decisions are made by the producer and director by their individual vision of the project. 

Don’t’ take it personally.  You just may not fit in the vision for the project. 

As they consider you next to other potential cast members, to see who looks good with whom, they ask questions such as the following.

·         “Is this actor too old?”
·         “Is this actor too young for the part?” 
·         “Does the actor have the physical attributes to fit the role?” 
·         “What was the chemistry like between other actors up for roles?”

·         “Can the actor take directions from the director and constructive criticism?”

As the casting team narrows the list to cast their project, everything is taken into consideration.  The final decision is often nothing more than intuition and a gut feel for who is right for the role. 

When all else fails, they often consult with the screenwriter to see who fits their version of the character they created.  And, in my films, it has always been an advantage of having created my own characters.

Congratulations are in Order
When the cast is announced, and you are not one of them, congratulate them.  Don’t “Tell-Off” the producer, director, casting director, or any member of the production that they made a mistake by not casting you.  This behavior is not in your favor as these individuals are likely to casting and producing another project in the near future. 

If you behave like that now, what makes them think you will behave differently for another project?

In my particular case, I have three upcoming projects after The Keystroke Killer.  In fact, we are casting right now for the film China White, directed by Todd E. Bradley.  Then we will cast A.D.A.M and Never Stop Running.