Theater Talk: Darleen Pickering Hummert has advice for stage actors to get gigs on camera

Mar 12, 2021

While on-stage roles have shut down, some theaters (including Jewish Repertory with BEAU JEST as well as Theatre of Youth with THE OUTSIDERS)  are producing shows to be viewed online. But actors of every type should consider commerical work, for example advertising, industrial videos, or movies. You probably won't get the job through the traditional audition process. Instead, a resume with professional headshot, solid resume, and perhaps a well edited video reel are what producers are looking for, according to Darleen Pickering Hummert, a pioneer agent here in Buffalo.

Darleen Pickering Hummert, accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Artie Awards.
Credit Photo by @Eileen Elibol WNED PBS

Back when Jeanne Cairns came to Buffalo from Dallas she was surprised that there were not agencies helping actors get work in locally filmed commericials and movies. Local actor Darleen Pickering Hummert saw this need as well and stepped in to fill the void. In addition to the ubiquitous West Herr television ads, she has cast local actors in movies filmed in Buffalo including "Tammy" (with Melissa McCarthy), "Henry's Crime" (with Keanu Reeves) as well as "Bad Cupid" (with John Rhys-Davies).

She strongly advises spending money on a professional head shot, updating and triple checking your resume, creating a video audition with professional help (for example Josie DiVincenzo), and creating a personal website.

So what's Darleen the actor up to these days? She's in the online version of BEAU JEST by James Sherman which opens tonight and runs through March 31, 2021. Directed by Steve Vaughan it was filmed at Jewish Repertory Theatre and stars Patrick Cameron, Arin Lee Dandes, Darleen Pickering Hummert, Steve Jakiel, Nick Stevens, and Adam Yellen.  From the JRT website: "What's a nice Jewish girl to do when her parents expect her to marry a nice Jewish doctor even though she’s already in love with another man? Hiring an actor to play her imaginary beau in front of the family seemed like a good idea until the charade is a little too successful and the 'hired' boyfriend begins to capture her heart." For tickets visit https://jewishrepertorytheatre.com/tickets/

Meanwhile, Theatre of Youth is streaming THE OUTSIDERS based on the book by S.E. Hinton using an adaptation by Christopher Sergel, produced by special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois. THE OUTSIDERS streams until March 19, 2021.

(By the way, schools Interested in Streaming THE OUTSIDERS, should contact Tracy at tsnyder@theatreofyouth.org.)

From the TOY website: "The Outsiders is a searing story of real kids in real situations with real consequences seen through the eyes of young Ponyboy. Territorial battles between the have-it-made rich kids — the Socs — and Ponyboy’s tough, underprivileged 'greaser' family and friends are just a part of life. But even in the midst of urban gang warfare, somehow Ponyboy can't forget a short poem that speaks to their fragile young lives. This heroic story of belonging, friendship, and maintaining hope in the face of struggle is a powerful reminder of what young people encounter every day.

Directed by Chris Kelly. TOY's production of THE OUTSIDERS was originally produced in March 2020. This video production was filmed in October 2020. Watch a trailer here: