|Title:||Ready and Able: Working Actors with Down Syndrome|
A discussion on how casting is evolving to represent diverse communities, specifically actors with disabilities.
|Date:||Thursday, September 20, 2012|
|Time:||7:00pm - 9:00pm (Check-in 6:30 pm)|
|Location:||SAG Foundation Actors Center|
5757 Wilshire Blvd, Mezzanine
(free validated parking)
|Status:||Seats are available|
This inspirational panel will discuss how casting is evolving to represent diverse communities, specifically actors with disabilities. Having booked work on some of today's hottest shows, (GLEE; AMERICAN HORROR STORY; LAW AND ORDER: SVU; NIP/TUCK; CSI) actors with Down syndrome will share how they broke into the business, their training and performance experiences, and strategies for securing representation. Accomplished industry professionals will discuss their advocacy efforts to improve the disabled community's visibility in the media, to provide actors with equal opportunities, and to portray accurate depictions of people with disabilities.
Robert David Hall plays Dr. Albert Robbins on the Emmy-nominated CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION. In 1978, an 18-wheel truck struck Hall's car and he was severely burned when his gas tank exploded, leading to the amputation of both legs. Today, he walks comfortably on two prosthetic limbs. It was Hall's role as a burn survivor in Michael Apted's CLASS ACTION that most closely parallels his real life. Hall proudly serves on the board of directors of the National Organization on Disability. He just completed his term as a national board member of Screen Actors Guild and is national chairman of the Performers with Disabilities Committee for SAG, AFTRA and Actors' Equity.
Gail Williamson has been assisting with casting individuals with disabilities in television and film for more than 20 years. Her organization Down Syndrome in Arts & Media provides a casting liaison service for individuals with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities as well as consultation to productions. A member of the Tri-Union Performers with Disabilities committee for more than 20 years and the mother of SAG/AFTRA member Blair Williamson who was born with Down syndrome; Gail insists that following his passion for acting lead her to her destiny.
John Paizis is the founder and director of Performing Arts Studio West in Inglewood, California. He has been a professional actor and musician for over thirty years, all the while working with children and adults with developmental disabilities. John is a contributing writer for Ability Magazine and an on set consultant and acting coach for film projects and television shows which have included ER, CSI:NY, THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER and the upcoming feature film ANY DAY NOW starring Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt and newcomer Isaac Leyva. In 2001, He had the opportunity to work with Sean Penn in the film, I AM SAM.
Andrea Friedman appeared in two seasons of LIFE GOES ON playing the girlfriend and then wife of Corky Thatcher played by Chris Burke, the first actor with Down syndrome to be a series regular. Andrea has gone on to add 10 guest star appearances to her resume; perhaps the most memorable her role on LAW & ORDER: SVU where she received an Emmy nomination; and her most controversial where she provided the voice to the character Ellen a girl with Down syndrome on FAMILY GUY.
Lauren Potter is best known as Becky Jackson, the side-kick of Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester on GLEE. She works closely with the Best Buddies Program and several anti-bullying campaigns, and has been appointed to the United States President's Committee on Intellectual Disabilities where she serves with honor.
Blair Williamson joined the Guild in 1991 following his first job, being cast in a national commercial for Procter & Gamble. Since then he has gone on to guest starring roles on SCRUBS, ER, THE GUARDIAN and even was murdered on CSI and had a nose job on NIP/TUCK.
In 1999, Jamie Brewer began her training in theater and improv. Jamie appeared in 6 episodes of AMERICAN HORROR STORY as the daughter of Constance, played by Jessica Lang. Jamie is featured in the June 2012 issue of Emmy Magazine and is working toward a bachelor's degree in fine arts.
Katelyn Reed got her start on the independent film MR. BLUE SKY. She graced the cover of the Toys R Us Differently Abled Toy Catalog with California's First Lady Maria Shriver. Most recently she played Young Adelaide on AMERICAN HORROR STORY.
Luke Zimmerman is currently in his fifth season playing Tom Bowman on THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER. He has previously appeared in the TV movie, DAUGHTER OF THE STREETS, starring John Stamos and the documentary film ACTING NORMAL. His stage work includes Romeo in ROMEO & JULIET and the chorus of PIPPIN, both in Beverly Hills.
Moderator - Lee Garlington appears in over 60 films including SUM OF ALL FEARS; SNEAKERS; FIELD OF DREAMS; SOMETHING NEW; and STICK IT. A series regular on 6 series – LENNY and TOWNIES - she recurred on WEST WING; EVERWOOD; and SOUTHLAND, among others. In addition to moderating panels for the SAG Foundation and Conservatory, Lee has led the New Member Orientation since 1996.