Friday, January 28, 2011

Beth Sepko and our first meeting

Kat Candler, a UT professor, filmmaker and REEL Women board member noticed that there aren’t enough women filmmakers. “I have about 2-3 females in my class and that sucks,” Candler said. She decided that needed to change, and thus, the University of Texas REEL Women student chapter was born…

The first meeting, held January 27, was a rousing success with a hefty number of attendees varying in age and specialties, from freshman interested in television writing, to faculty members with voice coaching experience. Before local casting agent and REEL Women board member, Beth Sepko, came to chat, the new chapter went through introductions and the general outline of what the club hopes to achieve.

Carlyn Hudson, UT film student and chapter president, and Kat discussed the purpose of the club: to fill student needs, fill the gender gap and fill the gap between the university and the rest of the film community. Here’s what you missed:
·      No boys allowed! Yes, the chapter is open to males, too, as long as their attitudes align with the supportive community of the organization.
·      Expect meetings every other week, Thursday nights
·      One major production workshop per semester (think camera, lighting, grip, sound, etc.)
·      One feedback/salon-style workshop per month for test screenings, script readings and general group production support
·      One guest speaker a month
·      T-shirts and field trips to various studios coming soon
·      Plans for a mentorship program and call sheet that would establish connections and foster growth among those eager to learn

::Enter Beth Sepko::

You know her as: local casting director for the likes of the soon to be missed, hit series, “Friday Night Lights,” “The Rookie” with Dennis Quaid (she filled that whole stadium with extras) and as the woman behind finding all those extras with the serious mustaches for the cult hit, “Office Space.”

Beth studied theater and business in college and then went to work at a San Antonio talent agency that did a lot of casting for perfume models. In Austin, she eventually became competition to her mentor and has since established herself as the go-to gal for local talent with her company, Third Coast Extras.

In casting principal or extra roles, Beth says it is very important for her to meet with the producers and director so she has a clear vision of what they are looking for. She has to know what the filmmakers want and know what kind of talent she has to select from.

In addition to her electronic databases, and sites such as and that can provide filmmakers with casting options, Beth still uses the traditional route.
“I’m old school,” Beth says. “I have file cabinets [with headshots].”

Beth’s work has enabled her to stay in Austin, but she will concede that her work is “feast or famine” in a freelance world. Next up for Beth: A meeting with Tim McCanlies and Rick Linklater concerning the film, “Boyhood” which spans the course of 12 years.

Coming soon—Camera Workshop, Saturday, Feb. 5

Write up and Post by Amanda Brand

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Meeting with guest speak Beth Sepko Notes

Kat Candler (Filmmaker, Reel Women Board Member, UT & Texas State Professor)
Carlyn Hudson (Filmmaker, Reel Women Student Chapter President, Student)

Introductions - Kat explains her background and interests
“I have about 2-3 females in my class and that sucks” - she wonders why which inspired this group, Things need to change...
KAT’s Goals for Club: Fill Student Needs, Fill the Gender Gap, Fill the University and Community Gap

Everyone introduces themselves. Wide array of ages and experience. Most film, some TV, some Actors, and few radio

Membership & Logistics
  • Forms and Fee - $10 a semester
  • MALES: Yes, RW makes environment that allows women to suceed which does not exclude men from doing the same.
  • 1 meeting a month here at UT w/ a speaker
  • 1 workshop / salon a month where we can have test screenings, script readings, and general group production support
  • Once a semester have big production workshop with Camera, lighting, grip, sound etc.
  • Field Trips: Formal field trips that would visit different studios and production sets, informal field trips where we organize to go see a movie together etc.
  • Mentorship Program: Getting help you need - getting help and crew from RW members that are hungry for more experience and teaching up with people more experienced than you.
  • Call Sheet - a person you can call with questions --> Building a bridge to community

Small break to mingle.

Beth Sepko interviewed by Kat Candler

[Beth] Studied Theater and Business in college. Never thought about film as career

Got a job at a small talent agency in San Antonio that mostly casted perfume models

Got given opportunity to cast small extras for Shadows of Desire (TV movie) (extras casting) in 1994 then Waiting for Guffman (extras casting) 1996

Moved her way up... She was asked to do the extras casting for RocketMan in 1997 but only took that job under the condition that she could cast the principles too. This was her first movie that she was the casting director. She basically took that job from her boss. Though the movie wasn’t highly received, Beth gained respect.

She established herself as a location casting director, meaning that she stays in Texas and casts local people for the major productions that come through that has gaps in its casting. Must know the talent in the area.

During The Rookie, in 2002, there was a moment on set when the whole baseball stadium was full that she was amazed at what she had accomplished.

For casting, Beth usually has a few meetings with the Director and also the Producer. She really needs to know everything they are looking for and imagining. This is a really important part of the casting process for her.

During the casting session if the director doesn’t step up sometimes Beth will ask for an Adjustment just to see the range and see if someone is mold-able.

For Office Space (1999) casting, Beth asked Mike Judge about who he envisions for extras in the office and he said, you know guys with mustaches and glasses, and at first Beth said, “Mustaches, you mean like goatee?” he said no. “no way Mike, people don’t have mustaches” then Mike took Beth to lunch over near Dell and IBM and they sat and watched people in the restaurant during lunch and he was right - they had mustaches.

Tomorrow she has a meeting with Tim McCanlies then Rick Linklater about Boyhood, Rick’s 12 year project.

When asked how the process differs for extra casting vs. principle she said it is about the same amount of work. She tries to make sure that she’s not just casting whoever.

When asked does she cast for the look or for the talent she said both but it depends on the part.

“Oh I’m old school. I have file cabinets. I like to have the headshot in my hand and point at it.” Now a days, everything is more electronic but she still has her filing cabinet. She got sad because someone cleaned out her cabinets and “What, I had a photoboth headshot of Brit Daniels (lead singer of Spoon) in there”

“[It's] Feast or famine in contractor & freelance world” “I have work through May but who knows what the summer will bring”

Do you ever get nervous - “not really” She clashed with her casting method with a new director for a tv movie.

With Machete (2010) she faced the challenge of finding a woman to be completely nude and pull a cell phone from her vage. “It wasn’t scary, just new.” You have to be careful with nudity, you want to make sure that there aren’t that many people in the room during the casting session and that the actor is comfortable.

Beth’s advise When casting your own projects use
The Acting Agencies
Acting Coaches

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Helpful reminders

The following are FREE to enter your film in...

RTF Showcase
Deadline Friday January 21

City of Austin, Faces of Austin
Deadline Friday January 28

Texas Filmmaker's Showcase
Deadline Friday April 1

Student Academy Awards
Deadline Friday April 1



Students in the following classes MUST ATTEND an Equipment and Insurance Session.

RTF 318 Radtke, RTF 366K D. Lewis, RTF 340 Knight, RTF 366K Marslett, RTF 341 Friend, RTF 366K Spiro,  RTF 343 Knight, RTF 366K Garrison, RTF 343 Candler, RTF 366D Radtke, RTF 343 Spiro, RTF 366D Alvarez, RTF 368S Schiesari, RTF 881KB Shea/388P Shiesari/390E Garrison, RTF 366K Mims

Students in the classes listed below only need to attend if they will use RTF equipment this semester.

RTF 319 Caraway, RTF 344 Bays, 351C/351D,


THURS. Jan. 20 3:30-5 CMA 2.320

FRI. Jan. 21 10-11:30 Studio 4D (CMB 4.122)

FRI. Jan. 21 10-11:30 BUR 134

TUES. Jan. 25 12:30-2 Studio 4D (CMB 4.122)

FRI. Jan. 28 12:30-2 Studio 4D (CMB 4.122)

Have a class conflict with these sessions? Email mail to immediately. Give your eid and attach your class schedule.