Lisa Mae Fincannon of Fincannon & Associates was kind enough to take some time and speak with me about the TV/Film business in the southeast. She spoke several times about the importance of being generous and gracious, and she could not have been more so to me as she is a busy lady these days, juggling several projects and lots of hats. Many thanks to you, Lisa Mae.

For more information on Lisa Mae and Fincannon & Associates, please visit their website.

w/ Lisa Mae Fincannon of Fincannon & Associates

1) What excites you the most about what you do?

That’s an easy one for me. At heart, I am a writer. So when the right human being says the right word, I find that moment is magic. I am looking for the perfect union of the word and someone’s soul. This happens a lot in scripts I have a connection to. I have that with Ray (Mckinnon) in Rectify, and it happens with The Walking Dead. I have an actor tape, and I know that they are right for it. I still send on the top 5, but I know who it is when I send over the tape. Sometimes agents will also put actors in their submission; they will suggest someone, and I think, well may be the actor could be right for this role. Then I hear it and know they are right.

2) What goes into the process of choosing a project for Fincannon & Associates?

The creative voice is what feeds Fincannon & Associates. We are in a wonderful place in our careers where we are not forced to take something we don’t want to work on. If there are projects that we hear about, we will court them. I am not very interested in tent pole movies. It is not as rewarding to cast Soldier #1, but there is a place for those as well sometimes. I embrace cable, and I look for recurring and series regular roles. The growth in the market has not changed us much at all; we have not changed our approach over the years. If anything, it has given us a freedom we did not have before. In the past, if we were too busy, and we said no, they would call and beg us, and we would feel obligated. Then we get too busy and are strung out from the work. We look for a balance in things now. I will quote Craig here, he says “Competition keeps us good and healthy.”

3) Since our market is predominantly one of self-tapes, what propels a self-tape to the next level and can you describe its journey?

Since actors are no longer in the room and selling themselves, then the basic great lights, good sound and a strong reader who is not better than you are important. Actors have to take things to the next level in the world of internet casting. Creativity needs to be at play. Look for ways to bring ambiance to the scene through taping choices; create mood with the use of lighting. I also encourage actors to say something at the end of the tape, with the slate. It is nice to humanize the taping experience. Be kind, grateful and gracious. Even in the room for callback situations, it is easy to be nervous as you audition for this committee of 4 or more. If you don’t feel comfortable with taking an artistic risk in the room, be sure to make your mark in a gracious way after you read. Do not underestimate the importance of a thank you.

4) There are several new projects that will be shooting in Wilmington this spring, can we expect to see more episodics and features coming back to North Carolina?

It looks like our incentives will be eeking back in N.C. I am hoping the establishment here is seeing the error of their ways and moving towards them again. I can say that the series that are here are very happy. I expect it to grow. Craig and I are many generation North Carolinians and we can be here, and Mark can be based out of our Atlanta office. We feel so blessed that we can work in both markets.

5) When you are not casting the next big blockbuster or an exciting new pilot, what is an average day off for you?

I have 3 grandchildren under the age of 6 and 3 parental units over the age of 80, so my days off are spent interacting with them as much as possible.
The 2 things that I love most are cooking and gardening. My family calls me the sauce-o-saurus and the soup-o-saurus. On a Sunday, I open the fridge and put anything that may go bad in the next 2 days in a pot. You have a genetic propensity to love cooking or not.

***Biggest pet peeve.
It’s not in me to have a pet peeve, but I guess my one would be when a great performance is ruined by a bad reader. When someone’s grandma is louder and pulls all the focus off of the actor in the scene, I cannot send it on. Of course, sometimes it backfires if the reader is amazing. I remember the first time I ever heard Brian Bremer read with someone. I called the actor’s agent and said the person is ok, but the reader is incredible. It’s a double edged sword. You need a proficient reader, but they cannot over-shadow the person auditioning.

And people who are not gracious.

***Best piece of advice for the working actor.
The piece of advice I would give everyone, and I struggle with this everyday myself, is to live in the moment. We get caught up in the next thing and the rat race, and we forget to enjoy the moment. Don’t take anything for granted, soak every bit in and love it!