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

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