Category: Plain Mustard

The Usual Rejects: A Q&A with Deven Anderson

We had the opportunity to sit down with Deven Anderson, the Director of The Usual Rejects. He handles all the creative forces behind the show which includes late nights writing content and making costumes/ props out of cardboard boxes. Deven’s close friend and Co-creator, Kirk Gostkowski handles all things business for the Usual Rejects. The group began in December 2014 and has grown exponentially ever since. 

Saturday, May 13th, The Usual Rejects will be preforming in Long Island at The Cradle of Aviation Museum IMAX Theatre for an awesome 80’s themed night. You can check out all the details on their website or their Facebook Page. Throw them a like, for the love of God, It’s a just one friggin’ click.

What inspired you to start The Usual Rejects?

A top notch Alan Rickman impression and a life long dream to bring Die Hard to the stage.

How did you and Kirk come up with the idea to start Usual Rejects?

Kirk and I were standing in line for a Haunted House at Six Flags and he mentioned wanting to do a reading of Die Hard as a part of the Christmas Holiday Event series at his theatre (the Chain Theatre). He specifically brought me on board because I rock a pretty bitchin’ Alan Rickman impression. After sitting down and talking out the show, we realized that there was something much more there. 

What’s the significance of the name?

The name is Kirk’s baby. We were very much going for a play on words surrounding a popular movie, as well as something that captured our group vibe. 

What was the turn out of the first show and how has it grown?

We had a small house for our first show, maybe 25 people but the reaction was HUGE. 

There was an immediate encouragement from everyone to push forward. “Whats your next show gonna be? What movie will you choose?” We all went to a bar that night and wrote a list of like 30 movies we would love to bring to life onstage. “Let’s do the movie Twister and you’ll play the Tornado!” “Let’s do Road House and replace the part of Kelly Lynch with a blow-up doll!”

In a similar vein, what was the first show like and how has it evolved?

Every show we get bigger. Sound cues, crazy elaborate visual sequences, countless bad impressions and more cardboard props than you’ve ever seen. Yeah, I’m a dumpster diver…It’s what it takes to bring a proper alien to the stage…I also may or may not know a Home Depot manager by name…ok, it’s Harold and he gets me. 

We found that we had followers, people who have invested themselves in our shows. True die hard fans and friends for life so we began bringing inside jokes into each show. We found jokes coming back from previous scripts – I proudly admit a purple dildo manages to make it into every show. I like the challenge of sitting down in front of my computer and thinking “How can I fit a dildo into Back to the Future?”

Where do you see yourself/ Usual Rejects in 2 years?

Performing at New York Comic Con and then being asked to never come back to New York Comic Con.

How do you market for upcoming shows?

Social Media, Facebook, word of mouth and those “Here is what you should be doing in NYC this weekend” websites. I bug the shit out of people to come. I also blackmail people to come – oh yes…I’ll tell everyone.

What do you love about it?

I get to take your favorite films that meant the world to you when you were a kid – AND MAKE FUN OF THEM IN FRONT OF YOU – and to top if off your laughing at it the whole time. Well, jokes on you, there’s only one idiot here – and it’s me.

How does Mustard Lane support your outside endeavors?

ML has been huge. “Hey, I need to take 2 weeks off to write my play about talking cheetahs.” “Sounds great! See you in 2 weeks.” Then when I manage to put up “Talking Cheetahs: An in Depth Look Into a Spotty World” and everyone I know from the Lane is right there front row! Most likely grimacing or shaking their heads ‘no’ Deven.

Who do you look up to for business advice?

I think we’ve established that I don’t really care for the business end. I mean I do…care…about business-ey things but I’m more inspired by whatever makes you laugh. Did you laugh when you saw that fat guy carrying a tray full of Chick-Fil-a fall down a hill? Then that fat guy is my hero.

Do you work with anyone you’ve met on the Lane? If so, who and what do you guys do together?

I worked with Brandon Hughes on several Usual Rejects shows. Brandon and I also went to acting school together. Since then we’ve collaborated on several projects outside of the Rejects including several short films.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start a business?

Every problem thrown at you from day one is an opportunity to prove your company’s metal.

Bio: Deven Anderson

From the Midwest. I’m everything your mom loves in a guy and then some. Outdoorsy kinda guy. By outdoorsy I mean I like to drink on the patio. I owned a plant once, and that didn’t go well at all. If I were an object I would be carpet – I hate getting stepped on but enjoy getting laid. Humor is a must. If you can’t laugh at yourself I probably will. How are your standards? Hope they’re low. This is for Tinder, right?

Calloway Productions: Q&A with Kelly Klein

Kelly Klein, one of our core NYC Laners, is an actress, photographer, acting coach and director! She has been on the Lane for 3.5 years and has since gone on to accomplish great things on her own. Kelly launched Calloway Productions in October of 2015. The journey began organically with encouragement from friends. Kelly has managed to create a full service, one stop shop for coaching, directing and recording self tapes. Calloway Productions provides the ideal trifecta for an actor/ actress to nail the perfect self tape. Her clientele is growing rapidly and you should be a part of it!  

We sat down with Kelly to talk about the ins and out of starting her own business and where it is today.

What inspired you to start?

My friends kept on having ‘self-tapes’ that needed to be filmed for their auditions and I had just purchased a fancy new camera to motivate myself to experiment with more film and photography work. After I shot one of my best friend’s videos our mutual talent manager called me on the phone raving about the quality and said she was going to start “sending everyone to me” and a business was born!

What exactly do you do for the clients?

I coach and record actors for their self-tape auditions out of my studio. In addition, I also read with my clients, coach and direct the sides, and then edit and upload the footage. I try to make the process as easy and breezy as possible because I’ve been in the hot seat many times and know what it feels like! My business is a wonderful melding of all of my skills as a coach, director, actor, writer and then the technical work of operating the camera, lights, and sound. I also offer stand-alone coaching services in-person or via Skype/Facetime so my clients can be as prepared as possible, whether they are in my room or a big Casting Director’s office. Additionally, I offer slate-shots for Actor’s Access, photography services such as lifestyle and headshot sessions, and production coverage for live events.

Where do you see yourself/ your business in 2 years?

I would love to continue to expand my client base and keep my great success rate of client bookings and callbacks growing. I also produce short films and web series under the Calloway Productions umbrella and would love to continue to foster that side of the business.

How do you market your business?

Most of my business comes from direct referrals, word of mouth, and networking on Facebook. Mustard Lane has been so supportive and I’m happy to say I count many Laners as dear clients (and friends)!

What do you love about your work?

Nothing gives me greater joy than having a client book a role off of our tape or from our coaching session! I love being a part of that process and success because I’ve been lucky enough to experience it in my own acting work. Collaborating with fellow actors is so rewarding, especially when we can really crack open a scene and get into all the little details that make an audition specific and standout. I also have a fair amount of clients who are kids or who have never acted before. And it’s so thrilling to see them grow and play over the course of our sessions.

How does Mustard Lane support your outside endeavors?

Mustard Lane and Kristal have been so supportive of my business! From advice to clients to resources and scheduling conflicts, Kristal has always been there. It feels so amazing to have a “day-job” that supports me not just as an artist but as an entrepreneur.

Who do you look up to for business advice?

My father started his own successful business decades ago so I’ve always looked to him for guidance and advice. It’s so great to “talk shop” with him now! In fact, two of my brothers started their own businesses as well. So I guess it just runs in the family! As far as higher-profile business mavens go I will never forget the quote I read once on the internet: “You have just as many hours in a day as Beyonce!”

Do you work with anyone you’ve met on the Lane?

Yes, I love working with my fellow Laners! Karina Sindicich and I  just collaborated on our upcoming web series, SPECRETARIES, along with Brandon Hughes acting as our fearless director. (Keep an eye out for it on a small screen near you soon!) Lisa Bettencourt and I have had some fun photographic adventures together (thanks for the amazing promo shot lady)! Karina, Lisa, Gladys Torres, Brandon Shaw, Cherie Celeste Malone, Annette Navarro, Basit Shittu, and many others are all now Calloway Productions clients and I couldn’t be more thrilled to help them realize their dreams! #mustardheart

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start a business?

Every business starts with an idea. Look around you for what might be missing in your area of expertise and get going! I fell into my business pretty organically but later realized there was a real void in the NYC self-tape market. I took those skills and that mindset and ran with it. You can too!

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Mustard Lane is the best! Seriously, I’ve been in NYC a long time and I feel like I was looking for a community like this for years. Luckily, I was steered towards it by the lovely Laner Sylvie Preston.

For all things Calloway Productions and to book your appointment, you can check out Kelly’s website at callowayproductions.com or facebook.com/callowayproductions

Bio: Kelly Klein

Kelly graduated from The New School University with a bachelor in Liberal Arts. She originally hails from Los Angeles, CA but has since made New York her artistic home. Kelly writes, directs, acts, and produces with her theatre company, BREAD Arts Collective. She also runs a self-tape and audition coaching service, Calloway Productions (callowayproductions.com), out of her Upper East Side studio. Kelly has appeared on the stage and screen in Los Angeles, New York, and around the U.S. on a national tour. She loves working for Mustard Lane and is happy to lend her detail-oriented and technical brain to making administrative operations on “The Lane” run smoothly.

Check out the Actors Pro Expo Next Weekend!

Hey hey actors! Next weekend is the annual Actors Pro Expo NYC and you should definitely be there! This a great opportunity for actors to network and learn new tips and it’s FREE!

What is Actors Pro Expo?

Actors Pro Expo NYC was set up by actors for actors to help and encourage them in all areas of their lives as professionals. This incredible company runs expos throughout the year in the United States and in the U.K. In the U.K. the expos are run by Actors Pro Expo’s parent company, Surviving Actors. The expos help actors develop and sustain their careers and help them to create new opportunities for themselves. It does this by designing an environment where actors can meet industry professionals to help develop their career in acting.

What’s Happening on April 29th?

This year will be the 4th annual event in NYC! This is a day for professional actors to come along and network with people in the industry. There are several great events including Seminars, Workshops, 1-2-1 careers advice consultations. There will also be an open casting call for a feature film ‘Fiver’ and a general casting with director Michael CassaraMichael is a casting director in NYC. He casts for musicals, plays and films. He’s been nominated for two Artios Award by the Casting Society of America. 

 

Our Laners have worked this event in the past years and always had a blast. Our team is made up of mostly working actors so this event aligns perfectly!

This event is taking place at the Radisson Martinique On broadway 49 West 32nd Street New York NY 10001. Below is a list of the events happening…you can also check out their Facebook Page to see learn more about it. There’s also a SAG-AFTRA Discount for the workshops!

Event Schedule

General admission, Seminars and 1-2- 1 advice are all FREE! Industry-led workshops will cost $30 each and are available for advance booking online.

10:30am – 11:30am
Book A TV Season in 2017 – Q&A With 
Casting Director Kimberly Graham (Homeland)

11:45am – 12:45pm
Get Cast On Television with Casting 
Director Ross Meyerson

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Auditions & Dating: A Single Casting Director’s Guide to Auditioning for Broadway

2:15pm – 3:15pm Self Taping – The Key To Success – Panel Discussion with Casting Directors – Rita Powers, Cindi Rush & Caroline Sinclair 

3:30pm – 4:30pm
Inside The Mind Of A Casting Director Q&A with Donna McKenna

4:45pm – 5.45pm The Business of the Business: Being a Theatre/Musical Theatre Actors in New York with Casting Director Michael Cassara

Mustard Lane Takes on LA

Mustard Lane takes on LA… mostly Venice

This past week the ladies of the Mustard Lane office took a trip to the sunny state of California. Los Angeles is ML’s second largest market behind NYC. Their trip was filled with client meetings, a casting and hanging out with the LA Laners. From meeting to meeting, the girls were busy trying to navigate LA traffic and determining where to live when they’re over New York. As of now, all the girls are sold on Venice and aim to be bicoastal as soon as possible. 

On Friday Mustard Lane conducted a casting to add some rockstars to the roster. That night Kristal hosted a Laner gathering at a bar in Venice. The gathering was a success and the girls loved hanging out with the LA Mustard Family. 

Saturday was their fun day. The girls rented bikes and took a casual (a bit difficult for Molly) bike ride up the boardwalk. A quick pit stop to for Molly to get a picture with a snake and some close calls later the girls arrived in Santa Monica for lunch. They went to a famous burger joint where Lauren had her first burger in 13 years!! The night ended in delicious wine and some henna tattoos (not photographed due to embarrassment).

Overall the trip was a success. With Mustard Lane growing so rapidly it was nice to put faces to names and really focus on ML west coast. LA business is booming so you can see us back there soon. The ladies have now adopted the LA lifestyle. You can catch them back in New York walking slowly, doing yoga and drinking smoothies. We’ll keep you posted on how long this phase will last.

Chelsea Belcastro is our Laner of the Week!

Chelsea Belcastro

Chelsea Belcastro has been on the Lane for a little under a year now. She’s our go-to New Jersey girl! So far, Chelsea’s favorite event has been working for Big City Mom‘s during their NYC semi-annual Biggest Baby Shower Ever! Chelsea enjoys working in different setting and promoting a variety of products. The ever-changing events keep work fresh and exciting! Outside of the Lane, Chelsea is a professional actress pursuing a career in Musical Theater. She focuses heavily on her career goals but also finds time for the things she enjoys outside of work. These include exercising, binge watching Netflix shows, hiking and most of all… painting!

Blue vs Yellow?

Blue

Celebrity Crush?

Johnny Depp

What is your spirit animal and why?

A Butterfly because they present embracing change and freedom.

Best pick up line you’ve heard?

Are you from Tennessee? Because you are the only 10 I see! lol

If a movie was made about your life, what actor would play you?

Mae Whitman

Favorite restaurant/ best item on the menu?

La Parilla and their La Parilla dip

Favorite movie/ why?

Almost Famous, because it’s a feel good, beautifully done movie with great music. I also love the Breakfast Club because it’s a classic.

What character have you always wanted to play?

Natalie from the musical Next to Normal

Favorite 90s jam

All of them. 90’s Pandora is my jam.

Something that made you smile today

The Netflix show Parenthood 

Celebrity crush

Johnny Depp

Your best halloween costume?

Two years in a row now, I’ve been Louise from Bob’s Burgers.

Morning or night person?

Night

What is the most bizarre job you’ve done?

I was a tour guide at Stone Mountain Park and my character’s name was Ana Quest. Get it?

What time period would you visit in history?

Ancient Egypt 

What’s the longest word you know? (NO GOOGLING)

Supercalifragelisticexpialadocious

Who do you look up to the most and why?

My Mom. She has raised my sister and I as a single Mom my whole life and I am so grateful for her love and support.