SPOTLIGHT ON BEST PERFORMERS: CYNTHIA SHAW
STARCAST: How long have you been acting, and what inspired you to become an actor?
CYNTHIA: I have been studying acting since 2005 and started auditioning in 2009. I had acted in high school, but as a pianist and musical director here in New York I kept finding myself wanting to be on the stage rather than playing the piano for shows. Eventually I started taking classes and found I just loved it. My focus has now moved totally away from musical directing and towards theatre and film acting.
STARCAST: How did you prepare for your StarCast scene? What informed your performance?
CYNTHIA: I memorized the monologue and tried to imagine the kind of person my character was. If I knew people like her or people in her situation. Or times I felt I had been slighted and taken advantage of.
STARCAST: What kind of acting gigs have you had thus far, if any?
CYNTHIA: I have been in many student films in leading roles. I have since moved to feature films and landed supporting roles in about 5 films and will shoot a leading role this fall. I also perform on stage and recently returned from Kentucky Repertory Theatre where I performed leading roles in two plays, one of which I will be performing here in NY in November.
STARCAST: We know you’ve fantasized about an awards acceptance speech. How does the opening line go?
CYNTHIA: If someone had asked me ten years ago if I would have ever imagined myself up on this stage in front of this microphone talking to all of you and accepting this award, I would have said they were crazy. But here I am!
STARCAST: Have you had any notable successes or setbacks you think other actors could learn from?
CYNTHIA: I think one of the hardest things about the business is the unpredictability of it. One moment you are on top of the world because you have been cast in something, the next moment you are in despair because nothing is going on. So, I think that trying to not let the ups and downs of the business get to you is very important. I also think that one must constantly work on perfecting their craft as well as constantly submit for auditions and look for opportunities. And there are a million ways to learn in this business. Learn from every source you can.
STARCAST: Have you had any acting training, and can you speak a little bit to the importance of drama programs or acting classes?
CYNTHIA: I think that acting classes are very important. I think they help a person know that who they are is acceptable and enough. I think we all feel that successful actors have something special that we don’t have. No. I think we all have a gift and a good program can help you fully explore what you have to offer and help you dig deeper to allow it to be available. Actors have to be vulnerable and available. A good acting school can help you feel safe about that.
STARCAST: What are your favorite actors’ services and resources?
CYNTHIA: Actors Access, NYCastings, BackStage, Casting Networks, Actors Connection, The Network, Casting About
STARCAST: What’s your dream role, and do you have a favorite actor or actress?
CYNTHIA: I love Meryl Streep, who wouldn’t!
STARCAST: What are your short term acting goals?
CYNTHIA: To continue to book film and theatre roles and commercials.
STARCAST: The biz can be tough. What motivates you to keep at it?
CYNTHIA: I love the business. I love the unpredictability. I love the possibilities. I love the people I meet and the places I’ve traveled to. I love the energy of fellow actors.
STARCAST: Do you have any audition tips for your fellow actors out there?
CYNTHIA: Just keep auditioning. Don’t place major importance on any one audition. Just keep doing them. Treat each one as another step towards your goal. Bookings and castings have come from all sorts of places for me, places I would have least expected. So, I would say expect the unexpected.
STARCAST: Do you have a website, YouTube channel or reel you would like us to post? And do you have a Twitter or other social media handle where you would like people to follow you?
CYNTHIA: Yes. All of the above:
Website and Reel: wwwcynthiashaw.us
Thanks, CYNTHIA! You can view Cynthia’s performance at www.starcastauditions.com/best-performances. Shift the sort function from “Most Recent” to “All.” Industry may request contact with her there.