How David Serero made a career out of theater. by YAHOO!
I recently interviewed actor/producer David Serero. David has been in the industry for over ten years, starting in Europe and ultimately working in New York City. His extensive experience in the theater world gives him much insight into the industry. He recently produced an abridged version of Shakespeare's "The Merchant Of Venice" that had a successful sold-out run at the Center For Jewish History in New York City. He explained the importance of producing and casting in the theater industry, which can lead to more opportunities to stand out.
Christian Roberts: What is the best way to stand out in theater?
David Serero: Follow your instinct and make sacrifices. Be patient, humble, and productive. I focus primarily on giving the best show I can whenever I'm performing, whether through a show I'm cast in that I produce or in front of a camera. I do it because I want to entertain the audience and want to work with amazing actors and colleagues. It's not a question of budget to put on a great show but rather creativity, engagement, passion, and commitment. I grew up artistically watching theater with a small set. A table, for example, would be everything from a house to a car. I like big-budget productions, but finding creativity in smaller shows is exciting.
Roberts: How long have you been working in theater?
Serero: I've been working professionally for the past 15 years. First as an actor, then singing musicals, and then people told me I have a voice for Opera. I enjoyed an extensive career in Opera until its slight collapse in 2008/9 because its budget depends mostly on patrons and sponsors but little on ticket sales and investors as it is for Broadway and Films. I started to do concerts with a "special touch," which became very popular. I have performed over 1,000 concerts to this day. In my native France, I started to produce and put shows together and to create Festivals. I was fortunate to play Don Quixote from Man of La Mancha in Paris, which was a big success. I started my record label and signed various artists such as Jermaine Jackson (brother of Michael Jackson) and produced his last album of Jazz Standards, and I even did a duet with him. And then, after moving to New York, I got engulfed with straight theater with a "special touch." I love to create shows and go to work if work doesn't come.
Roberts: So essentially, you create your content in the theater world?
Serero: Yes, I love creating content, even with well-known classics. I'm passionate about people. I want to give joy and entertainment to people. Singing to people is a way to express my love to them. The problem in Europe is that you have almost more shows than the audience! At least in New York, you have a larger audience who wants to see shows. But they are trained and educated to see the best shows because all the best talents worldwide in theater come.
Roberts: Many actors think L.A. is where the heart of Show Business is. Do you agree with that?
Serero: It depends more on where it's happening for you. Today, New York is where it's more happening for me. There is theater, Opera, musicals, and more and more films. I love New York so much! I have no problems to live in. However, since October 2014, I have taken the lead in more than 25 independent films and commercials for Sotheby's eBay..etc. What more could I dream of?
I'm happy as long as I can practice my profession.
Roberts: You seem to be an avid fan of Shakespeare.
Serero: I love Shakespeare! Huge Fan! Shakespeare is a brand that can be valued all over the world. To associate yourself with this brand is good. I've just played Shylock (The Merchant of Venice), and I'll do it again in January at the Center for Jewish History for the American Sephardi Federation, where I'll be performing Nabucco (Verdi's Opera Nabucco), and the lead role of Shakespeare's Othello. I also played King Edward (Richard III) and Lewis the Dauphin (King John) by Shakespeare this season.
Roberts: How important is the casting process when you produce a show?
Serero: I need to have the right actors that I need/want for each role; otherwise, I can't do the show. Actor's choice is the most important. I don't cast an actor just because he was the only one available that day and agreed to do the part. I'm very snobbish to continually release the best ones. Voice projection is significant for me, at least in my productions. I don't look often at the resume or the credits, but the most important is the personality, expression on stage, and what he can do today, not what he did. If it's a Shakespeare part, I don't care if he played it before, but more what he can bring to the region. I usually get credit for good casting and finding the right talent for the correct part. I had a teacher who said, "If you are a good guy in life, you will be a good guy on stage. And the opposite is true." So it's essential to have the best people in life as well.
Roberts: How do actors sell themselves?
Serero: Actors don't understand the concept of "selling" themselves. They don't see it as a business, but it's likely one. They have to think as if they are their own company. You have to be honest about yourself. And analyze, correct, and criticize yourself. Find the appropriate training and the right experience, and then you have to see your value. You're not ready yet if you don't get cast for the little jobs. Make the right choice in terms of part…etc.
Roberts: What's the best advice you can give an actor?
Serero: Be yourself. Why? The others are already taken! By being yourself, you become unique! Be respectful to your colleagues. Know your lines! Know your market. Keep working. Prepare well for your audition, and try to dress up a bit and make your best impression. Also, there is no shame in fighting (in a good way) to get work. Don't Photoshop your headshot. Be natural; you want to look like yourself. Most of the time in the U.S., I can't even recognize who is the actor in front of me and the one in the headshot. In everything you do, you need at least one of these three things: Experience, Exposure, and Money. I always give those three to the actors that are in my productions.