This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from February 2008
February 1, 2008
by Nicole Kristal
Last year we launched a revolutionary new column following the careers of five working actors in Los Angeles, mapping their successes, failures, and dreams. This year the Take Five column returns with five fresh faces just as eager to make their marks on the Hollywood landscape and share their talents with audiences everywhere.
Our in-boxes were filled with dozens of wonderful candidates. Whittling down our prospects to a mere handful of exceptional actors was difficult. But after careful discussion, we settled on the five you see before you. They include a Virginia transplant who had an epiphany at age 30 to move to Los Angeles, despite his fears, to pursue his acting aspirations; a CalArts graduate who has already appeared on House and Criminal Minds; a professionally trained actor and poet who has booked commercials, a recurring role on an Internet series and independent films while working nights at a bank vault; a middle-aged actor and former music composer who bravely decided a year ago to pursue acting with a little help from his elder sister, actor Lesley Ann Warren; and a go-getter who studied with Alec Baldwin and hit the industry full-force after college.
Check them out. Support them. Follow their dreams as you follow yours.
The Late Bloomer (that would be me): Though Seth Caskey took drama classes in high school and theatre classes in college, he never thought he could pursue the craft professionally, especially not after he decided to get married at the end of college. “Fear completely took hold of me,” says Caskey. “Acting and pursuing that professionally is a very unstable lifestyle, and I really felt the pressure of wanting to have some sort of predictable income to be able to support my family and to know where I was going to live and what I was going to be doing on a weekly basis.” So he graduated college with a degree not in acting but in public relations and advertising. It seemed practical.
For the next six years he did community theatre in Virginia, working full time in public relations. Then four or five months before his 30th birthday, he flashed forward five years and saw himself working in front of a computer at a desk. One day at work, Caskey thought to himself, “If I have to look at my life and say, ‘This is all that I am; this is all that I bring to being on this planet’ — it just depressed me.” So he began to ask himself what motivated and excited him and what he felt he was meant to do. “It was acting. It’s always been acting, and I ran from it because I was scared of it.” Caskey began to question his fears and why he was avoiding something he loved. He came home that evening and told his wife he wanted to move to California and pursue acting professionally. Fortunately, she was entirely supportive. The couple moved to Los Angeles in September 2006.
To get the formal training he craved, he enrolled in the professional acting program at the Sanford Meisner Center in North Hollywood. The intensive program required that he study five days per week for 32 weeks. “We started with 18 students, and only six of us finished the program,” says Caskey. “It was life-changing on so many levels. It was obviously a great personal-growth experience for me, but then actingwise I grew leaps and bounds.”
Since finishing his training, Caskey has appeared in supporting roles in independent films and has focused on trying to find an agent and joining the Screen Actors Guild. He interviewed a few agents and is very close to selecting a commercial agent. “2008 is going to be a big year for me. Representation is definitely a top priority; getting a good, meaty role; building my demo reel,” says Caskey, who is also developing a short with a screenwriter. Caskey will star in the project.
As for his day job, he has been able to do freelance graphic design from home because many of his Virginia clients supported his decision to pursue acting and wanted to continue to hire him.
To artistically feed himself between roles, Caskey turns to another of his great loves: cooking. He enjoys uncovering new recipes, creating new dishes, and experimenting with new marinades. “I love the preparation process of getting all the ingredients together and cutting them up, and you know, [sometimes] I pretend I’m on a cooking show while I’m cooking. I’m a bit of a dork,” he says with a laugh.