While Marc was not right for the part, Suzanne invited him to become part of her mentorship group. He’d been acting for seven years, having come out from Minnesota and then from Arizona but he’d never intended to go into the arts. Headed for a degree in astrophysics, but needing a humanities course at college, he had arbitrarily chosen the acting class. From there, he had been hooked. Despite being a scientific family, his parents were supportive of his creative desires and urged him to move to Los Angeles.
Marc also found that he had another talent and that is working with kids. He began by teaching acting for children and has since begun helping with underprivileged kids to get them interested in the arts.
The mentorship group he speaks of was started by Suzanne DeLaurentiis nearly two years ago. The idea of the group was to give a boost up for upcoming filmmakers, actors and writers. A cousin to the famed Dino, Suzanne is a mover and shaker in the film industry in her own right with her movie, 10th and Wolf having garnered several awards. There are no set parameters to whom she accepts for the program but everyone has to be marketable. She has taken both young new actors and older actors under her wing. The cost of $250 a month beats many of the other acting programs around and gives you much more. The key is that you must be focused on success and that you are willing to commit to at least six months of training. Her program includes not only classes and workshops, but red carpet events, personal PR, and personal guidance by Suzanne, herself.
How does she find those she is willing to take for the program since not everyone has the moxie to really go for the gold? Many of the people interviewed today were discovered at various workshops and auditions but others have been referred by colleagues and some have been introduced to her at the various film festivals, especially the Cinema City International Film Festival that Suzanne co-owns and occurs twice a year. Samantha Lester, a cute eighteen year old who met Suzanne through another mentored friend, Vanessa Luberti. Both of them worked their craft at Steven Anderson’s acting studio. Moving two years ago from Texas with her mother and sister, Samantha has the focus and determination to succeed. “If I don’t make it the regular way, then I’ll write something so I can act in it.” Smart girl. She’s taking back up writing classes at UCLA but says that acting is in her blood and when you are focused like that, it can’t go bad.
Steve Nave’s acting group gave Suzanne several new additions to her mentorship group. The first being Brian Hall. “This group felt real,” he says when asked why he chose to associate himself with the mentorship program. Unlike some of the other programs that Brian had seen, Suzanne’s mentorship group offered the whole package. “I want to keep moving forward and keep improving as an actor.” He’d been in California for two years before Suzanne saw him in the workshop at the acting group, but he’d done various plays and other productions in Virginia and the DC area where he’s from as well as several independent films. His favorite jobs were working on The Wire and working in Evan Almighty. With Suzanne, he felt the connection and her totally giving personality. *
David Meistrich also met Suzanne while auditioning at Steve Nave’s. He’d come from NYC and loved it but decided that to really do the type of acting he wanted, Los Angeles was the place to be. He, too, was attracted to the enormity of Suzanne’s willingness to give for her people and her program. What he likes most about acting is the ability to show emotions. “In real life, we are raised not to express our feelings but in acting that is all you do. You become enveloped in the emotion of the character and the moment.” While he loves comedy, drama is his favorite venue.
Yves Bright is another who found Suzanne through the Steve Nave workshop. He’s only been with her a month but finds her positive perspective on everything an uplifting sensation in what can be a downer field. “It’s rare to find someone willing to share all the keys to the kingdom with those waiting to break in. She gives us the power to capitalize on our stardom and to take greater steps toward the opportunities awaiting us.” Being an actor, he said, “is like having a fire inside of you that can never be quenched.” Suzanne’s powerful vibes push you forward and help you find those opportunities. With his fame, Yves plans to help the underprivileged of the world and to use his power as a star to promote causes that are near to his heart.
She may look young but Mallory O’Donaghue is eighteen. Still she gets roles for fourteen and even younger, at times. Originally from Texas she moved here with here mother to succeed in the business. “I’ve always been a model and I took classes and decided that I really wanted to act.” She finished high school through independent study so that she would not be distracted from her career goals. (Now that’s dedication) She plans to continue taking classes just for the love of learning but that she is totally devoted to her acting. She, too, met Suzanne at Steve Nave during a workshop several months prior and has already been to several red carpet events. Being famous helps causes and Mallory is well aware that the cause she would most support is that of helping animals, one such group being Best Friends Sanctuary, the largest no kill shelter in Utah.
Laura Marie Steigers has been working with Suzanne nearly two years. She met her while Suzanne was teaching at the New York Film Academy. Originally from Colorado, Laura moved out here with the help of her father who has been extremely supportive in her career. Having danced her way through grade and high school, Laura decided that it was time to expand her talents and became an actress. She is one of the stars of New Hope Manor and has contracts for films in London and New York. “I’ve learned from Suzanne that you must be focused on your goals or you dwindle your energy and achieve nothing.” Dedicating herself to career in her field, Laura has been in numerous independent films and is constantly striving for bigger and better things.
Another New York Film Academy alumnus is Vanessa Luberti who has known Suzanne for a year and a half and also does workshops at Steven Anderson’s group. Another of the stars from the new DeLaurentiis film, New Hope Manor, Vanessa is going to be in Sorority Row and has several other films lined up. Her favorite is musicals and she hopes there will be a revival of that in the future. For Vanessa, the best part of being an actor is being someone else – getting to research the character and the back-story, to learn the language and technique of that character. Devoted to her career as an actress, Vanessa plans to continue classes “because you can always learn and perfect your technique.”
For more information about the mentorship program, call the office of Suzanne DeLaurentiis at 818 754 1953
Don’t forget to check out the Suzanne's upcoming Cinema City International Film Festival Sept 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza sponsored by Suzanne’s company and having contests for scripts, short films, and upcoming film makers. For more information, visit www.cciff.com