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Expo to offer training and connections for acting careers

Three men in suits (two sitting on a couch, one standing behind it) smile for a picture for Casting Buffalo, a casting company in Western New York.
Casting Buffalo
From left to right - Kyle Mecca, Peter Johnson, and Harry Lipsitz - is a trio of casting directors for Casting Buffalo, a casting company in Western New York.

For a person who aspires to a career in acting, "There's no road map, no particular way to get there," says Peter Johnson, the Buffalo actor who is making his living in a  challenging business. He says that's why he and his partners are hosting an "Actors Expo" this Saturday at the Rich Atrium in Buffalo.

"Everyone has their own individual story," Johnson explained during a recent visit with WBFO.

"I think the main thing is, the commonalities that we all share is that we (actors) stay consistent. We keep at it. As long as you stay consistent, you keep at it, then you get those wins. But everyone in the industry has a different story."

The Expo, Johnson says, will give aspiring actors information on the tools they need to get started, like makeup and hair styling, headshots, and talent agents. A professional stuntman will also provide insight into a key aspect of filmmaking.

The Expo, which Johnson calls "workforce training," comes as the SAG-AFTRA strike has brought much of the film and television industry to a halt.

"This is the best time for actors to get prepared, get trained. There will be films coming through this area. We have our (film) tax credit that was signed recently with New York State," Johnson offered.

The guest speaker at the Expo will be John Abrahams who has roles in "Scary Movie," "Meet the Parents," and "House of Wax" among his credits.

"He's shot and directed two movies here in Buffalo. So, he does have some Buffalo connections. We're glad to bring him to the area so he can talk about his experience as a director, as an actor, and what it takes in order to make it in the industry."

The journey for an actor can be difficult, Johnson admits. Recalling a role as a film extra with no speaking lines at a shoot in North Carolina as one of his career lowlights, Johnson still manages to find the positive.

"The entire day I was in a clown outfit. I didn't have any lines. It was sweltering in the heat. That was one of the worst moments, but guess what? It got me to where I am now so I'm thankful for it."

Visit the Casting Buffalo website for more information.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.