Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Nicole Lewis and Sue Manger

HOPEFUL… Nicole Lewis, of Hemmant, auditions for Sue Manger, who was in Brisbane for workshops for the hit Channel 9 show McLeod's Daughters. Picture: Annette Dew.

For this gig, it's lights, action, charisma

EVER wanted to land an acting role on a top-rating Australian drama such as McLeod’s Daughters?

If so, you’ll need more than a pair of elastic-sided riding boots, as explained by the show’s casting associate Sue Manger.

Ms Manger, who was in Brisbane for workshops for the hit Channel 9 show at Brisbane’s Metro Arts building, was quite specific about the qualities she was seeking.

“I’m looking for imagination and that on-screen charisma, which is pretty difficult to find,” she said.

“There is also a specific look for McLeod’s. Obviously, urban chic doesn’t look quite right in the country.”

Ms Manger said one of the toughest tests for an actor was a “cold read” of a script, which means “throwing them in front of a camera” with a scene to perform.

“A cold read is one of the hardest tests to find out if an actor can get as much as possible out of a script in a short amount of time,” Ms Manger said.

“A lot of people think they just have to stand there and emote, but selling themselves is just as important.”

Ms Manger said the good news for local actors was that Brisbane was producing quality television talent.

“It’s the training,” she said.

She said the Queensland University of Technology “has a very high percentage of people who get into television, and places like The Actors Workshop and Film TVI are very highly regarded”.

Among recent success stories are QUT’s Guy Edmonds and Sam Atwell, who landed parts on All Saints and Home and Away respectively. Four other QUT graduates landed lead roles in Channel 7’s new drama Campus.

The best actor from the weekend workshops for McLeod’s Daughters, organised by Brisbane’s Film and Television Studio International, will be flown to Adelaide to audition and go on a tour of the set.

After more than 20 years in casting, Ms Manger said the worst part was actors who could not handle rejection.

“There’s a saying, never hire a desperate actor,” she said. “If they come in and say ‘I need this job’ you know very well that they’re not thinking about the role.

“We know everybody needs the job. That goes without saying. But this industry is so relentless, so heartbreaking, that you have to be really tough and not need it.”

Aspiring actors for McLeod’s Daughters also need to be physically tough, Ms Manger said, “because it’s all shot on location and can be quite exhausting”.

By Erica Thompson
April 18, 2005
The Courier Mail