Robin Rapoport Likes the Intimacy of Film

By Robin Rapoport

clockwise from left:Robin Ann Rapoport Headshot. Photo by Lorenzo Vigil Photography. / Robin Ann Rapoport in a still from the short film THE ORGANIST. Photo courtesy of Bryan Sih and Boston University. / Robin Ann Rapoport as
Margaret Miller in JUSTICE IN MIND. Photo courtesy of Affidavit Productions./ Robin Ann Rapoport in costume as the Mom on the set of WORLDS WE CREATED. Photo courtesy of Alison Walter and BullMoose Pictures

I started acting at the age of six years old. I had a severe lisp as a child and my speech therapist suggested performing as a way of improving it. I joined a local theater group and as soon as I stepped onstage for the first time, playing the role of Jane in Peter Pan, I was hooked- I knew it was something I’d be doing for the rest of my life. I acted in plays through high school, college, and beyond, working with Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, Florida and The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania before settling in Boston where I continued to perform onstage with many wonderful theater groups including the Devanaughn Theater, Theater Cooperative, and Molasses Tank Productions. I also created the role of Deb in the world premiere of Gail Phaneuf’s Breakfast with Mary in Harrison, Maine.

In 2010 I decided to take my acting life in a different direction and explore opportunities in film and television. In preparation, I studied Meisner technique for a year with Lyralen Kaye of Another Country Productions, which was incredibly helpful in making the transition from theater acting to film acting. After so many years onstage it was quite a challenge to act for a camera instead of a theater full of audience members, but I soon became comfortable with being on a film set rather than onstage. I am still passionately in love with the theater and hope to do more of it, but I also really appreciate the intimacy of film acting. I also took a number of other film acting classes, including three at CP Casting with Bates Wilder, Peter Kelly and Carolyn Pickman.

Since embarking on my film acting journey I’ve been lucky enough to be cast in many incredible projects, including the multiple-award-winning short film WORLDS WE CREATED (Bullmoose Pictures), written and directed by Nicholas Santos, which was shown at over 25 film festivals including the 2013 Cannes Short Film Corner. Another high point was playing a speech therapist in Talin Avakian’s beautiful film DEMI POINTE, winner of the Indie Soul Best Picture Award at the Boston International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Drama at the 2013 Online New England Film Festival, and a “Shifty Uplifty” Award at the Filmshift Festival. Probably the most thrilling moment of my career to date has been attending the world premiere at the Capital District Film festival in Albany, New York of Mark Lund’s feature film JUSTICE IS MIND (Affidavit Productions/ Ashton Times/Zone 5 Pictures) in which I played the lead role of Margaret Miller. JUSTICE IS MIND has had, to date, nine theatrical screenings with more to come, three university screenings, and has been shown at four science fiction conventions. It has been so exciting to watch its success and I am so proud to have been a part of it.

In addition to film, I have also had the opportunity to perform in a number of industrials and assorted video projects. Recently I have been exploring voice over work as well. I recorded five audio books for, which was a dream come true for me as I am a huge fan of them, and I hope to do more in the future.

It is such a fantastic time to be an actor in New England, with so many productions choosing to film here and with the New England Studios in Devens providing even more amazing possibilities! I am constantly awed and inspired by the talent, drive, and creativity of those who work in film in this area and I love the supportive and welcoming community. I look forward to continuing to develop my craft and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Robin Rapoport is a Boston based actor. You can reach her at

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KIM GORDON: Mainer Makes Boston Work for Her

Kim Gordon
Kim Gordon

Growing up in the north Jersey suburbs meant regular bus trips into NYC for theater with my best friend. I loved it all: musicals, naturally, but also dark dramas, edgy comedies, elaborately costumed classics and even a few operas at the Met from top balcony seats. Theater tickets were the only gift I ever wanted. Friends and relatives complied.

A busy drama schedule in my teen years and subsequent college theater courses covered acting basics. I sang with several classical music groups, studied dance, and played leads in standard musicals like “My Fair Lady” and the Neil Simon/Alan Ayckbourn favorites. But any skills I have were really forged through many summer seasons of genuine rolling repertory at The Theater at Monmouth in central Maine. Switching daily between Shakespeare, Shaw, Sheridan and Moliere required flexibility, clear choices, accurate memory and incredible teamwork – and let me work opposite talented actors like Boston’s Jeremiah Kissel. On-camera work began when a theater patron hired me to represent a drugstore chain in TV commercials. Soon my credits included a national Chitisol infomercial that matched ratings with the Ginzo Knife and the George Foreman Grill. I continued to do theater, commercials, voiceovers and occasional film work while teaching theater programs for young people as well as London-based theater classes for Colby College. (Being paid to attend theater productions in London and discuss them with students may be the best job anyone ever invented.) I was particularly proud to play a homophobic, closeted camp director in simultaneous film (Fawn Yacker, director) and stage productions of Carolyn Gage’s “Ugly Ducklings,” as part of a national campaign to support LGBTQ youth.

Among favorite medical projects was modeling best practices in dealing with suspected spousal and elder abuse in a series of teaching videos produced by Cathy Plourde (AddVerb Productions.) The series has been presented at the College of Medicine at the University of New England, the Maine Public Health Association and The Global Alliance for Arts and Health and is now open-source available on YouTube.

A few years ago, roles in Mark Lewis’ warmly reviewed (48 so far) comedy WILD GIRL WALTZ and Bill Miller’s drama COWBOY SPIRIT coincided with a more flexible life schedule and convinced me to make stronger professional connections in Massachusetts. Lucky choices in student film projects introduced me to additional vibrant actors. I was Marshall Berenson’s annoying neighbor in GOOD TASTE a quirky BU short that’s become a festival favorite. In John Bickford’s ADVENT, an Emerson thesis film that will be shown at Cannes in the Creative Minds Program, I worked with Kate Jurdi, Wayne Shore, Harry Aspinwall, and charming young Charlie Tacker, who seems to be the busiest actor in the Boston area.

My favorite film role to date was the juicy starring role of feisty DA Constance Smith in Mark Lund’s feature JUSTICE IS MIND, which the IMDB named the 8th most highly rated indie film of 2013. The large cast featured Paul Lussier, Robin Rapaport, Mary Wexler and Carlyne Fournier. Boston actors know how things can build from a few connections. Carlyne offered me a small role in THEORY OF CONFLICT, starring Eddie Frateschi. I didn’t meet Eddie on the set, but he cast me in the trailer for his intriguing series focusing on cultural and religious theories about what happens after death, BEYOND THIS. When I arrived to work on Mark Battle’s film THE CONVICT, Wayne Shore was also in the scene and Robin had already filmed. Through the Emerson grapevine I was offered a central role in Emily Deering’s thesis film PINE.

My Boston transition was also aided by sound advice from Becki Dennis Buchman, who brought me work with Butler Hospital in Providence, addressing addictions treatment patients in two sets of videos funded by the NIH. At one of her Talent Tools workshops I met Andrew Wilson and was happy to gain representation by Model Club Inc. Talent Tools also keeps my reels updated and linked me to Dina K for headshots

It’s a challenge to live in central Maine and work in the New England market. A three-minute audition at an agency in Boston is a gamble that means hours of driving and outlay for gas and tolls. A shoot in Providence may require crashing overnight with friends in Norwood. Luckily, I share the car and life with an understanding actor/ director husband, Richard Sewell. A joint project is both fun and an economic bonus.

Kim can be reached at


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After Fifty Films Jan Waldman Still Considers Herself a Newbie

Jan Waldman

A year and a half year ago I embarked on a wild ride by jumping on the New England acting wagon. My first foray into acting started as a background actor for Larry David’s CLEAR HISTORY. I submitted myself and was shocked to be chosen for two days of work. Not one word of film terminology was familiar to me, not “back to one, speed, or, background.” The only two words I kLnew were “action” and “cut.” When faced with any other unknown situation in my life, I asked questions when able, listened and followed everyone else. The PA’s gave us basic instruction more to do with what not to do, like never approach the main actors. That I knew!

What I learned in those two days is that the other actors are your friends and allies. So many stepped in to give me advice, explaining the terminology, and telling me which casting companies in Boston to sign up with for more background work. I have made it a point to pay it forward with any other newbie I meet on set and pass along all that was passed on to me.

That’s all it took. I had the bug. I threw myself into finding out everything I needed to do to work and be part of this exciting community, starting with student films, web series and indies, working my way to documentaries, music videos and my personal favorite, commercials. It is imperative for actors to take classes and as frightened as I was to take that first class, it was the best step I took. My classes in the past sixteen months include, dramatic acting with Kevin Lasit, Meisner level 1 technique with Rich Bailey at NEAW, Tom Todoroff, Steve Blackwood, Jenn Lederer, Angela Peri, and the wonderful workshops provided by Becki Dennis Buchman from Talent Tools. Volumes of information have been gleaned from these classes and it should be the number one thing new actors do while embarking on their acting journey.

Some shoots have been almost comical. While filming an infomercial in a private home with no AC on a hot and humid summer day; the sweat started to pour down the sides of my face. The script was handed to me just minutes prior and I had to open a pickle jar, which was not cooperating. The final cut was a testament to brilliant editing. Some student films were shot in apartments I was sure had been condemned. I would not change one bit of it, because I learned something valuable from each opportunity, or at least had a good laugh from the experience.

Jan Waldman (center) engaged in a Talent Tools Class. Photo by Dina K.

Not all of my experiences have been positive and being a newbie likely worked against me. In addition to acting, I desired to learn as much about behind the camera as possible and threw myself heart, soul and pocketbook into a production. Though many red flags began popping up months before filming was to commence I attempted to rationalize my misgivings by attributing them to the director’s stress. Had I had done my due diligence, research, and spoken to former actors involved in the project, the answers I sought would have been revealed and I could have saved myself much aggravation, discomfort and money. A hard lesson to learn for a newbie, but a mistake I will never make again.

This May I will be working behind the scenes with the talented Seth Chitwood of Angelwood Pictures and his cast and crew. As mentioned, commercials are one of my favorite types of industry work. In the past five months I completed seven commercials and had three running simultaneously on the local Boston channels. I wrapped on an indie film named MOMENTS FROM A SIDEWALK directed by Silvia Kovatchev, which will be entered in film festivals worldwide starting this spring. A student thesis film DREAMERS by BU graduate student Joe Dwyer, in which I played a scientist, has been nominated for a Student Academy Award by The Motion Pictures Academy for Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. I had the good fortune of being a principal actor in two episodes of The “Folklorist,” a local TV show produced by the talented crew at NEWTV, which is up for five Emmy’s and a Telly this year.

With fifty film projects under my belt I consider myself lucky to have met so many inspirational, talented and dedicated industry professionals. In the past year and a half I have tried to become a consummate professional, choose specific roles and make wise choices that have allowed me to work my way from background to commercials. Most importantly, I give back by supporting actors, films, sharing casting notices, attending screenings of local films, and passing along what I have learned to others. What’s next for me? A short comedic screenplay to be written cast and directed with two of my actor friends. And I hope to continue to take classes, act, and become more involved on both sides of the camera.

Jan Waldman can be reached at


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Actor Spotlight: Mike Giovanucci

By Erica Derrickson

Mike-Giovanucci-300-dpi-1Most people think you have to go to New York or LA to have an acting career, but Mike Giovanucci is proving that you can pursue your dream here at home in Boston. However he didn’t always think that way.

Initially Mike believed, like most people, that in order to pursue an acting career you have to go out to LA, so shortly after graduating high school he saved up money working as a bouncer at Cask n’ Flagon and followed his dream out West, to test the waters in LA.

His time in Los Angeles, however brief, was an eye-opening experience for him in several ways. On the good side he received positive feedback and encouragement from the casting directors and talent agents he auditioned for, building his confidence in himself as an actor. The downside, however, was the blunt feedback that he did not have the proper tools nor experience to be a contender in the industry.

Returning to Boston was a defining moment for Mike; rather than coming home with his tail between his legs he used the experience to learn and gain new clarity on what he had to do for his career. But not only that, he soon recognized that Boston has a growing film scene and a sense of camaraderie and solidarity amongst its actors and filmmakers that he did not find in Los Angeles. Mike then wasn’t just doing it at home for himself, but rather also to be a part of something, a vibrant and dynamic local scene. According to Mike, “everyone here is focused on making Boston a powerhouse location for great talent and productions in the movie industry.”

With a new resolve and motivation to make it happen in New England, Mike dove headfirst into the local acting community, seeking out resources online and in person. In his quest to become a contender he sought out professional headshots and started showing up to MPC meetings. He registered on local casting sites like Boston Casting and CP Casting and soon enough Mike was going to auditions for commercials, movies, student films and industrial projects all over the New England area, even landing some good parts.

One of his recent wins included being cast in a historical video with Northern Lights Productions that filmed on a military base on the Cape, commemorating the brave US soldiers who stood guard along the Berlin wall at the height of the Cold War. “We dressed in full gear and worked throughout the night climbing trucks, marching in formation, and jumping in tanks. It was a long day, but it was awesome doing something that honors those who defend our great nation,” he recalls of the experience.

Another job he got through an audition at Boston Casting was for a CVS training video, filmed locally and produced by (add)ventures, followed by a recent callback for a national Dunkin Donuts commercial. Needless to say things are moving. But the project Mike is most proud of is an independent short where he got to flex his Irish accent in a remake of a scene from THE BOONDOCK SAINTS for 41st Casanova Productions. His brogue was “on point.”

Overall Mike is happy to be here in Boston putting his hardy blue collar work ethic into practice pursuing his dream. More than ever he understands the enormous potential residing here at home in Boston, a city known for it’s strength, resiliency and team-mentality. According to Mike, “When you play for a team you make sacrifices, have your teammates’ backs and do whatever it takes to succeed. That team aspect defines the acting community I have found in Boston.”

With an optimistic eye towards the future Mike is resolved to succeed in his dream one way or another. Whether or not Mike decides to take his career back out west again, one thing is certain – no matter what he will always have the satisfaction of knowing he built the foundation of his acting career off the wealth of resources here at home in New England.

Erica Derrickson is an award winning actress, professional headshot photographer and founder of Hollywood East Actors Group. See her work at and connect with Erica on Twitter at @ericaseye or via email at

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Newport RI: The Series The People, The Art, The Stories Yet to be Told

By Eileen Becker-Gray

Filming on set of the Newport RI: The Series. A scene filmed in the newspaper office in Newport featuring Rob Gray and Ellen Becker Gray. Photo by Kim Fuller courtesy of The Newportant Studios.
Filming on set of the Newport RI: The Series. A scene filmed in the newspaper office in Newport featuring Rob Gray and Ellen Becker Gray. Photo by Kim Fuller courtesy of The Newportant Studios.

I met Tom C. Erb years ago at the Newport Film Festival. We have been looking forward to working together since then. That opportunity occurred when I attended an audition in Newport, RI for a television series he had created. As I entered the beautiful historic house in which the auditions were held, I had a positive feeling about this project. The concept was innovative; the team was talented and the location was Newport, RI, an ideal situation for any actor.

Newport, Rhode Island is known for the America’s Cup sailing challenges, opulent mansions and gilded age fantasy, spectacular landscape and art. Drawing visitors from the world, the culture of art, history and architecture keeps the streets full, and the economy strong.

Newport RI: The Series brings to life the paintings of world renowned, local artist William Heydt. Heydt has produced hundreds of watercolor paintings of the local people and landscapes of Newport in his series “Newportant People.”

Created by Tom C. Erb, this television series evolved from a gallery viewing of Heydt’s watercolor series. Erb explains, “The people who were in the paintings were there that night. Each painting became bolder and more vibrant as I spoke with the people and actually saw their personalities come to life in these colorful, detailed paintings.”


Ellen Becker-Gray as Janet Flynn in Newport RI: The Series. Photo by Rob W. Gray.
Ellen Becker-Gray as Janet Flynn in Newport RI: The Series. Photo by Rob W. Gray.

As Erb reflected on the paintings, he thought, “What if we took those stories, brought them to life – actually bring a piece of art to life?” Matching the paintings with fictional characters and stories, the story lines are an endless source of inspiration. With over 200 paintings in this series, this idea took on a life of its own as it grew into a potential series for television.

Each episode in this new series will portray William Heydt’s paintings with fictional scripts for each image. In addition, many of his landscapes will be a part of every episode, fading the story fades in and out of Heydt’s paintings. Each episode will conclude with a short interview with the actual people depicted in that episode’s painting.

Executive Producers are Michelle Duga and Rob W. Gray. In addition, the talented, immense musical community of Newport is composing the original music for the series.

I landed the role of Janet Flynn, one of the local characters in William Heydt’s paintings. Behind the scenes, the local people truly represent Newport. They are important to the fabric of the community – they are “Newportant”.


Newport RI: The Series featuring Ellen Becker-Gray (Janet Flynn), Bill Jacques (Daniel “Tin” Maguire) and Kristen Gorman (Shawna Maguire). Photo by Kim Fuller courtesy of the Newportant Studios.
Newport RI: The Series featuring Ellen Becker-Gray (Janet Flynn), Bill Jacques (Daniel “Tin” Maguire) and Kristen Gorman (Shawna Maguire). Photo by Kim Fuller courtesy of the Newportant Studios.

Ellen Becker-Gray is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Her comedic timing can be appreciated in her role as Tatiana’s Mother in scene with Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy and Kaitlin Olson in THE HEAT, directed Paul Feig. Ellen has a Principal, recurring role as Janet Flynn in NEWPORT RI: THE SERIES.

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Spotlight: Actor Curtis Reid

Curtis Reid. Photo by Dana Starbard.
Curtis Reid. Photo by Dana Starbard.
Curtis Reid is a fresh face on the Boston film scene whose unbridled enthusiasm and make-it-happen attitude have put Curtis on the map as an actor to watch.

During the last year this young local actor was involved with three web-series, eight features, two local commercials, and over a dozen short and student films. He proudly reports that a handful of the projects have been submitted to film festivals and some have already been selected and screened throughout the country. One of his best moments from the summer was working with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy on THE HEAT and alongside Julia Stiles on the set of THE MAKEOVER, which recently premiered on Lifetime.

When Curtis isn’t going to auditions or heading to set he spends his time as a Therapeutic Mentor for adolescents/teens with disabilities and emotional disturbances. The position allows him the flexibility to pursue his acting career, while also balancing a work life and his interest in human services.

Curtis advocates that New England is a great place to start a career in acting, explaining how the sense of community amongst filmmakers here is not only reassuring for a relatively new actor, but also a huge reason for Curtis’ recent success. In addition to working through local casting agencies like Boston Casting, CP Casting and others, it’s the community based Facebook groups which have provided opportunities forCurtis to not only find new gigs but also to network with other filmmakers and build important industry relationships.

In addition to acting, Curtis recently started producing and editing his own projects in hopes of experiencing and learning more on both sides of the camera. In February alone Curtis will be working as a producer for a short film called, KILLING KHAN (featuring some amazing local talent) as well as acting in a feature film called THE LAST DIARY OF NIKITA ROSE (Merritt Films) and introducing a new web series called “The Cold Read.” In addition to these upcoming projects, Curtis is also excited for the release of LONESOME THOUGHTS (Polearm Productions, LLC), COLLECTIVE ANGER (Of the Lake Productions) and several other projects that
are currently in post-production.

Reid reflects on the past season with gratitude and anticipates 2013 to become the most successful year for production, media, and filmmaking in New England to date.

If you want to connect with Curtis send him an email at or check out his fan page at He also can be found on IMDB (Internet Movie Database) at:

“Spotlight” is a new feature in IMAGINE Magazine. Look for it to read about exciting talent working in New England. You can contact Erica, our “Spotlight” editor at

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