The System - What is Chameleon Audition Survival Training, or C.A.S.T.?
Chameleon Audition Survival Training is deep water survival training for the professional or aspiring professional film and television actor who wants to learn not only how to act well on camera, but also how to prepare for professional auditions, how to book jobs, how to be prepared to do his or her best work on film and television sets once the camera is rolling, how to advance his or her career, and how to endure long term in the industry. Using short, repeatable Audition scenes from commercials, movies, and television as a vehicle, C.A.S.T. trains actors to reach their full potential, and it trains actors to Survive.
Michael’s extensive on camera acting training, his two degrees in acting for the theatre, everything he’s gleaned from his experience as an independent film and television Producer, his hundreds of days of on set experience as an Actor, an Assistant Director, and as a Technician in various departments, his Director's Guild of Canada and IATSE training, and his hundreds of days of exposure to the professional Casting room with no one but the Director, the Producers, and the Casting Director, have all been combined into the Chameleon Audition Survival Training system, or C.A.S.T.. Michael's varied experiences and training have given him a unique and deeply informed perspective on the audition process, and on working on set whether for a single day, or month after month for an entire season. Very few people in Canada have his combination of training, experience, and expertise in so many different areas of the industry, and he has helped hundreds of actors audition successfully, book jobs, and prepare for the kind of on set work that leads to successful, enduring careers.
Michael teaches Chameleon Audition Survival Training through group and private classes and workshops on auditioning for commercials and for film/TV acting roles, as well as on scene study and cold reading technique. On top of preparing actors of all ages and levels of experience for the audition process and for the reality of working on set, he also works one on one with individual actors and with small groups doing private acting skills workshops. Separately from beginner through expert training sessions, Michael coaches actors daily for their auditions, and then helps them prepare for set once they have booked the jobs.
Michael has had the pleasure and honour of training, coaching, and playing his small part in helping to launch the careers of many successful child, teen, and adult working actors including Tyler Johnston, who went in coached by Michael for a supporting role on Grand Star and booked the lead of the series, now Tyler is one of the main characters in Less Than Kind, the HBO hit. Michael is also honored to have been able to help Sharon Taylor as she booked her first lead role in the Sci-Fi series Riese. Since then, Sharon has played a regular on Stargate: Atlantis, a regular in Smallville, and has booked a number of feature films. Other favorite success stories include Connor Stanhope, the 9 year old young Lex Luthor on Smallville, and Megan McKinnon, who in 2007 when she was 8, won a Young Artist Award for her work in Little Samantha Tripp and thanked Michael in her acceptance speech in Hollywood for the part he played in helping her book the job, as well as for helping her to learn and to grow as an actor through their previous years of working together. Michael is also extremely proud of child actor Casey Dubois who with Michael's help booked almost a dozen roles over a three year period between the time he was 10 and 13. These 11 roles represent almost 50% of his auditions, an astounding booking percentage, and involve projects such as Stargate: Atlantis, Supernatural, and Snakes on a Plane. Alex Kudrydsky of Get Smart and Blue Mountain State, Jonathan “The Road Warrior” Goulet the UFC fighter, and many others claim that after only a few hours of working with Michael and learning his techniques, they completely lost their fear of being in front of the camera. Michael is also especially proud of Melissa Halstrom, a trained theatre actor who after one session with Michael booked her very first film audition, the lead of the feature film To Be Fat Like Me. Melissa credits Michael and C.A.S.T. with helping her to book the role and with helping her to create a moving performance on film by demystifying the audition room process and teaching her the on camera performance techniques she needed to be able to adjust her already excellent theatre acting to work for the camera. With Michael’s help and Chameleon Audition Survival Training, she was able to tell her story, nail her audition, and book the lead of a major motion picture. 18 year old Genevieve L'Esperance has done amazing things with what she learned by working with Michael over the last three years. According to Gen, "the work that I did with Mr. Shore not only created the foundation on which my acting and audition skills are based, I've used the same presentation and communication skills in my entrepreneurial endeavors with my production company GenInc as a web host and circuit speaker, not to mention an on-the-spot-reporter. I have garnered mentions from people such as James Cameron, and I recently won an award from the International Alliance of Women which I accepted at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. I also spent this past summer as the youngest applicant ever to be granted an internship with Microsoft Research in Redmond, and I spent my school vacation working as the social media specialist for Microsoft Research's Worldwide Telescope Project. And I've been seen on TV as an actor, many times."
As a coach Michael is gratified to have been able to help many Canadian celebrities prepare and record auditions and book multiple roles, including notables Derek De Lint of Poltergeist-The Legacy fame, Peter Hanlon a veteran of 70 projects from McGyver to Scary Movie, Sharon Taylor of Stargate: Atlantis and Smallville, and the multitalented and incomparable Michelle Harrison, one of the most consistently working actors in Canada and recently the star of Hit And Strum, the independent feature film.
Michael has also worked with many non-actors or untrained actors to prepare them for entry into the business, or for specific jobs. Non-actors can include athletes like professional fighter Jonathan “The Road Warrior” Goulet, who with Michael’s help started a new career as an actor while still fighting in the UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championships. This group also includes non actor celebrities, musicians, and young kids, and Michael also works regularly with Vancouver’s stunt community.
For an ambitious stunt man who wants to book speaking roles, a pro athlete who wants to do commercials, film, or TV and be comfortable in front of the camera, for a production company that needs to make sure before they get out on set that the actors will be prepared and the results will be good as well as being believable, Michael is the ideal coach to call for help. “I’ve also had calls from everyday people who just want to have some fun and learn how to act using scenes from their favourite TV shows or movies. I used to work with a lawyer who used my acting training to help to improve his courtroom skills and focus, and I’ve advised presidents of publicly owned companies on how to better deliver their corporate presentations to the financial community, which happens quite often when a company is attempting to fill a new issue or raise capital. And although I’ve had no special training in working with kids and teens with learning disabilities, I’ve had a ton of experience and success in that area including my learning how to use my own ADHD to my advantage by learning how to focus it. I make no guarantees, yet I’ve worked with kids of all ages who had ADHD or dyslexia, and because the scripts I work with can be very short, repeatable and specific, I’ve had consistent and positive results. I’ve helped hyperactive preteens learn to concentrate for extended periods of time using audition scripts as a vehicle to teach them specific repeatable skills that are within their control; I teach them how to control their body and their behaviour, I teach them communication skills which apply to every part of their lives, and I teach them how to listen. I’ve also helped to effect drastic improvements in the reading skills and willingness to keep reading of dyslexic teenagers I worked with when I was in Vancouver.”