Whilst watching television the other night-and for some reason did not  press mute or fast forward (as you do) I saw a commercial exclaiming that real people were used in its message…funny I thought ..aren’t actors real people too?

Surely those real people must have followed some script?  Does it mean that actors are not being truthful? Does it mean that professional actors, who need to get paid for their work, are not real and that real people get much less money or none at all because they just want to get on television?

This must be making a mockery of those countless acting schools charging  monies to would-be professional actors who will find that their training is seemingly worthless.

But all is not lost: indeed  it seems most of television is based on reality programmes in which the real people can excel and are taken on a journey- warts and all (or fat and food?) and real people can watch and relate to their dramas.

However, trained actors wish to make a career out of their chosen profession and some of those, with tenacity and stamina, do succeed and remain in the public eye for many years.

So it does look as though there is now a great divide which is here to stay –   amateur and professional.

As long as producers of short films, television programmes and feature films and now U-Tube videos continue to use real people I just hope that the professionals hang in even harder …just as long as we continue to make such good series as “Offspring” , the delightful and fluffy “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”  for starters.





Telly Tales

Watching  “Mcleod’s Daughters”   on Gem this week confirmed to me that Television has taken over our mindset and into the mythology of modern times – and I’m understanding this from my own experience  in Australia .  We do not seem to emulate those wonderful feature films from the USA in particular- so why should we?

Most of the Australian feature  films I’ve tried to see  this past year,  as a member of the AFI , and wished to vote for, were sidetracked rather quickly by the cinema chains. Perhaps that’s ok for those films eventually as they will go to DVD or be shown on television!

Australian television drama was fantastic  this last year (2011) and those series such as “Offspring” “East West 101” will remain in viewers’ minds and on their DVDs for a long time.

It being holiday time I was cruising with the remote late at night and happened upon “Sons and Daughters” – and although the production values and some of the acting styles are a bit different to nowadays it was  interesting to see Antonia Murphy in her first television role – she is now a Casting Director in Sydney, and Jenni Kubler in a small role  – Jenni has now been a Theatrical Agent  heading Kubler Auckland Managment with her husband Tony  for many years in Brisbane.  Television has spawned a considerable number of others who are now part of the “myth” or tradition. ( will follow those up in another blog but would love to hear viewers’ submissions)

In fact, “Neighbours” has been around so long that one of my adult sons remembers the humble beginnings by naming his two beautiful goldfish ” Charlene” and “Scott” – go figure.


Ella's Pink LadyAlthough I vowed I’d never buy another book as I live really near the local library and have friends with books, I bought Jessica Watson’s updated  “True Spirit” at Brisbane Airport en route to Adelaide to give some Audition Workshops. Why not buy the latest biography of a screen star?

Just something about Jessica –  how did she sail solo around the world, what relevance is this to performers,  technicians etc in the Entertainment Industry?   Heaps…. Jessica repeatedly gives credit to all the people who supported her for those years she spent PREPARING for her journey.  It was all about making her dream come true   by getting and giving inspiration and trust, despite negative attitudes from people and coping with such setbacks as a tanker colliding with her, high seas and becalmed waters.

Apart from the obvious chutzpa of the gal one word defines the realisation of Jessica’s dream  – PREPARATION. …go to the back of the book and see what I mean …and buy “True Spirit” …   I am now making sure my video camera, digital camera, tripod and scripts are all ready and in good repair for the next round of Audition Workshops (let alone a clean and ironed outfit ready !)

In the meantime, I will be watching the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race on Boxing Day to see Jessica continue to follow her next dream.  I took the photo of Ella’s Pink Lady at the Maritime Museum in Brisbane in August – amongst the highs and lows of the city.

A Happy Xmas and great New Year to all.


A few years ago, when I was working in Sydney, briefly assisting Anousha Zarkesh in auditioning hundreds of actors for the many and varied projects she was casting, a few mini-dvd or even dvd discs came into the office…These were the self-tests that actors who had sent in because they had not been able to attend the actual auditions.

Previously to that, I used to video self- tests for those who were marooned on the set of “McLeod’s Daughters” in South Australia ..sometimes we would have to use the corner of a field,  a room in Kingsford House  and once  even in my small attic-type flat in Gawler when I did a  disastrous video for Simone Jade Mackinnon …a very hot day and somehow the sound or the lighting just did not happen properly…  Working on location and no time to get to a decent studio had taken its toll!

The trouble is that nowadays self-tests are a way of life for Casting Directors and Producers ; it’s a great way to source a much wider range of actors without cost.  Just simply ask an actor to send in their piece on-line..join the queue. An Agent told me recently that he’d had success with clients who lived in rural towns getting roles from their self-tests – those actors who once upon a time would not have had a chance in that lottery.

The down-side is that actors now pay for their auditions. Of course once they pass the self-test  they are then selected to attend a “live” audition, which could still cost as they might have to fly to Sydney or Melbourne .

But, those intrepid actors are in business  …they do whatever they can to get the role, get seen. However – it’s so much harder to do a self-test than the usual audition. It’s about getting heard and seen, having a reader, and working without a director, and,  without the adrenalin that carries them through a “live” audition.  The owness is so much more on the actor.  Viewing a tape/disc only takes 3-5 seconds to tell if an actor knows what he/she is saying. In a “live” audition there is the chance to “do that again”.

I have learned a lot since those days on “McLeod’s Daughters” and can, and have, assisted many actors in their self-tests.  I am now Assessing Self-Tests too – contact me on sue@suemanger.com and ask how this can be done – I work through Industry Actors HQ in Brisbane  … go to industryactorshq.com.au  … I am once again in South Australia, in Adelaide, briefly, but technology being so great when used correctly, I can work anywhere!





Passing On

I guess this is the best way to describe a death: this time it is for two people who had an incredible influence in my life and career – DAVID CUMMINGS and DIANE CILENTO.

DAVID was brought over from England by Reg Grundy to set up a Comedy Department for the Grundy Organization in Sydney in the early 1980’s.  David was a caring Director to the many comedy actors whom  we were auditioning for a pilot series for Channel Ten for “Pretty Petrol” which did get to pilot stage.  However, Debbie Newsome, our “discovery” was to find her niche and fame and fortune on “Perfect Match” so the pilot did not go ahead.

David’s style of comedy has always been  ” British”. He also  wanted to continue his stand -up comedy routines and did so for many years  His insight might have been too revealing for a lot of us!   I have been using David’s comedy scripts for over twenty years – and just recently with my Workshops with the Graduates from QUT  and The Actors Workshop in Brisbane.

DIANE  – who taught me so much. I first met her when I was seconded to Windsor Repertory Theatre by the Wardrobe Mistress from the Royal Court Theatre…I was in need of work…I was Diane’s dresser.  Diane had three weeks’  previously given birth to  Jason Connery. I eventually worked for Sean Connery and Diane over a period of five years as Sean’s secretary.

Some years later, for a brief time, myself and Brad Keeling represented, as Agents,  Diane in Australia.. we also asssited her to screen her documentaries to help set up Karnak in FNQ.

I last saw Diane give an impressive insight into her incredible acting ability at QUT Brisbane only just a year ago when she presented  her work- in -progress version of  the  “Peggy Guggenheim” one woman show.

One always remembers one’s teachers…


Just when things couldn’t seem to get worse …hardly any auditions for feature films, commercials ..the Aussie dollar …there is a flurry of Training Schemes under way for actors, wannabes et al.

All most essential for those who want to pursue a professional career as an actor.

The seeming scores of of US master teachers casting  their very experienced  eyes over Aussies and following through once back in their home towns is to be commended (yes I concur that if they are here someone must be paying for them..good country to come to of course and hopefully some of their money stays here)

The proliferation of Acting schools/classes/Workshops seems to be unjustified considering this deficit in money and work…who can promise work at the end of each course?  Why bother to Train?

What’s this you say?  Well, I am also teaching , my speciality is Auditioning for the Screen, which covers the immediate spectrum of teaching people to know what they’re in for – the business side, the rejection, the tenacity required to be in a lifelong/ ongoing competition , and then, concentrate on finding the “talent”,  with  scripts,  monologues, chats to camera, presenting  and so on.

In the meantime – .not long ago I teamed up with Ben Parkinson Casting  (Brisbane) to deliver some Workshops and Seminars.  What I considered the most valuable was the Seminar in which we explained to professional actors, mums and dads and their children just exactlywhat the “Biz” was about in a hour of visual and practical advice. I found it amazing that parents had not read the brief and wanted to drop their kid/s off ( the babysitting syndrome)

Also not long ago I taught a structured course for Film TV I ( Brisbane) run by Craig and Dominique McMahon – they  opened their Brisbane school earlier this year and I went to the first Graduation for 30 weeks’ training recently.This is called “Fast Turn Around Television” and a load of tv actors and trainers were present (from Sydney and Melbourne as well as Brisbane) to support this concept.

I have taught Audition Techniques for the screen for The Actors Workshop (Brisbane) for the past eleven years and will do so this October for  Lyn Kidd (the Principal).  This School is the leading private provider for acting Training in Queensland, and Lyn has been very active  for many years in the Industry in the belief that she cannot promise work but very good training.

Craig and I discussed  the fact that as this is a small Industry, we need to work together, we have  have different methods of teaching, we need to make sure that Queensland can  be included in briefs from National Australian Casting Directors  …Who would have thought there was a dearth in work? Well, indeed in Queensland apparently ..most of the grads were off to Melbourne!

We also  discussed the merits of actors staying in Queensland but how could they if there’s no incentive?  What hope can Screen Queensland give us?

Are some  training organisations – and I  have to include Agents – just ripping off potential actors /fifteen minutes of fame actors ? because there is no work in Queensland ?

Should QUT close it’s 3yr Drama  Course because there is no work here? No – because it trains actors for global work.

I think that everyone who wants to be in the Industry needs to be much more aware of their rights and obligations by doing their research into what the many and varied courses are/ how much/who are the teachers / Agents’ qualifications etc.

I would like  to receive comments ….why do you think you have to train, train and train? Is it because there’s a promise  of work? Is i t because you need to always keep learning?    To me it’s about always being on the look-out by actors  to develop their skills …again and again and again….


Many years ago ,when I thought about writing a book about the “Industry” a very prominent Literary Agent who liked my writing, suggested that a How To Book was what I should publish.  At the time  I thought that there were already enough How books on Casting,  to Audition, Acting Techniques ..and so on and I wanted to be different – so much so that I’m still not published.

But there were and are excellent books on a wide range of subjects – albeit written by Americans . These days the Internet can provide answers about any subject, any books  -it just takes a talent to do the research. On my web page I have a Books Category in which I put my personal choices in –  and Marnie Hill’s “The Actors’ Handbook”  is the only Australian How To I know about that covers heap – even if Marnie is Melbourne-centric  (but then LA is LA , NY is NY )  So, good for me someone has done that.

But then along comes a plethora of websites offering so many Workshops..Australia-wide..so much so that no-one asks me anymore if there are any, but which one is the best/which one is a rip-off etc etc. Difficult to answer if I don’t want to get sued before my book is finished!

I have given my particular brand of  Auditioning for the Screen for many years to whoever asks me to …my only proviso is about ethics: that there must be no misrepresentation.  In other words I am not promising students that they will get work in any Production I might be working on at the time; that they will get a fair and balanced overview mostly answering the How To questions, and that all will be treated with respect.

During the last six-twelve months there has been a larger contingent than usual  of American teachers being brought in by Australians to teach here . I can only conclude the following:

The lure of work in LA, for example, is so  strong, in particular for those who don’t realise that a minimal amount of weeks’ studying over a year will only get them their fifteen minutes of fame ..only.

Where do the US teachers get the time to be over here if there’s work over there?

Where are the  equivalent  Australian teachers ?

In THINKING OUT LOUD   I’m stirring ..it’s time .. in fact it’s time for me to do some more teaching because just like everyone else I need to earn a living …see  WORKSHOPS


I have been teaching performers for many years How To Get the Job – it’s much easier to actually do the job..how many times have you seen your best friend in YOUR role…the one you auditioned for? Or an actor in a commercial you went for who looks nothing like the brief, not even the script is the same?

It’s all to do with the Process…of Auditioning/ Screen Testing … quite often it has nothing to do with what acting qualifications you have achieved but they can have a positive subtle effect on your performance unless you decide to show off your techniques and “Act” . I plan to follow through this year with some more Workshops…these help me learn more, help me write more about the Casting process, and of course impart what knowledge I can to inspire and educate you in that process.

Some of the younger people will want to go to Workshops to have fun, find out what they can do in front of the camera and not necessarily want to develop a  screen career. Others – those  who have just left school to those who have been working in the Industry- will want to learn more.

For those Professionally minded, acting techniques can be learned from attending accredited Acting Schools  which reward you with Diplomas or Degrees on graduation.  I do not teach professionally minded  people how to act – I expect them to have worked on the basics before attending Audition Workshops.

There is the arguement that a lot of Producers want to hire someone with no acting experience because they don’t “act”  and they can pay you less. You can be one of those people but you might cost that Production more in the long run because you have not understood those basics…you will be cast off (pardon the pun)and then not work again …for ages…you’ve just had your fifteen seconds of fame…only.


Last November I attended a Book Launch of a friend of mine, Judi Young , had organised at the Coffee Club, Paddington (Qld) for the public recognition of having written her book, and despite the fact that Judi had a couple of Publishers willing to take on all that effort of getting the book out there,  Judi decided to self-publish.

I never thought that self- publishing was such a big a mine-field as  much as making anything for the screen or setting up a theatre company ( It must be easier to work for the Government ?)  Passion, commitment and natural talent are the ingredients required to give one a  life start – in anything.

At a very young age Judi was determined to be a ballet dancer – with dire consequences to her health and her family relationships.  Judi has found she has natural skills in public speaking and radio interviewing – she tried acting – and has the courage to say she is not really an actor!

Courage, self -honesty and a sense of fun , combined with hard work , helped Judi to rid herself of her tumour the size of …well …see the photo at the end of her book.  As a  tv junkie Judi quotes Oprah and Dr Phil  as being effective in her successful recovery …the inspiration they give….and hopes that in some way her book will help others to fight hard for their own health and happiness.

By late last December, the Acting Schools had graduated their latest bunch into the ever- overcrowding, underpaid, non-paid,  Entertainment Industry :  but once each person realises their potential might not be hitting Hollywood Heights and that they can teach by working  as mentors for disabled people, scriptwriters, documentary filmmakers, devising their own work etc etc, they will realise that their very special education has been worthwhile.

Those who have been accepted into the various Acting Schools for 2011 will be faced with the task of  upholding their dreams despite rejection, self-doubt , and everybody else – for starters.  All the very best for the New Year and beyond.

In the meantime  -Casting-wise it would be good if Cameron Diaz or Reese Witherspoon were interested in the screen version of “The Girl In the Picture” but then any suggestions for a New Zealand or Australian actor to be considered?






This is a list of interviews I’ve personally conducted to date:  Soon -with permission from Interviewees I will present  audio grabs ..but please indicate whom you’d like to hear ….write a comment …

Head of Voice WAAPA Perth/Actor



Film Director

Head of Drama QUT Brisbane

Documentary Producer/Cinematographer

Former Actors Agent/Actor/Teacher/Casting Consultant Adelaide

Comedy Writer/Stand up Hoaxer

Former Actors Agent/ Performer

Actor/writer/ musician

Former  Screen  Writer

Former actor/ Artists’ Agent Adelaide/ Career Consultant

Former Actors’ Agent/ Writer


C.E.O. Bali Film Centre /Casting Director

Theatre Producer/Director/ Teacher

Actors’ Agent UK