New York Conservatory Alum Alex Feldman, Founder of For Actors By Actors
NYCDA: What projects are you currently working on?
Feldman: As an actor, I’ve recently had guest star appearances on “Shooter” (Amazon) and “Code Black” (CBS). As a director, producer, and writer I’m developing a new series called “Eternity Hill”, a sci-fi drama. I also started For Actors by Actors, a company designed to create a network and support system for actors. We provide acting classes, agent showcases, casting director workshops, headshots, reels, self-tapes, and free networking events for actors to meet industry professionals such as editors, producers, and directors. The idea is to put the power back into the actors’ hands, to expose them to their responsibility to the collaborative nature of our industry, and help them navigate the waters as they began their careers in Los Angeles.
NYCDA: What advice do you have for students starting at the New York Conservatory?
Feldman: Take advantage of every single class. Listen to every teacher because it pays off later. You’ll be on set years later and something that you may have heard in a class all of a sudden brings great clarity. Ask questions when you’re in class. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Soak it up.
Some of the people who were in class with me remain my closest friends. Most importantly I met my wife (Rosanna Canonigo) at the school. My wife and I produced the very first New York Conservatory babies.
NYCDA: What sparked you to create For Actors by Actors?
Feldman: After graduating from school, I started working in theatre, film, and television right away. I continued to care about my education so I took acting classes in New York and LA but never paid attention to the business side of it. I just felt like the actor should focus on their creativity and their ability to perform and that’s it, but as I got a little older, I started to realize that wasn’t the best approach. An actor becomes way more effective if they understand the business structure of working in film and television. I started looking around and realized that not enough places in Los Angeles teach actors that aspect of it. I wanted to create an environment where equal attention was paid to creativity and the business as well. It started with that idea and now it’s growing into this really amazing networking community which solidifies for me that my ideology and the ideology of the people around me resonate quite a bit.
NYCDA: What would you say was the tipping point in your career?
Feldman: One was coming out of the Conservatory and being on my first professional big budget set. It was a very eye-opening experience. It was an episode of Law & Order I did when I was 18, just seeing what a well-oiled machine it was. People were so god at their jobs in every department on set and opened my eyes to saying these people are so prepared, they work so hard and from the moment the director calls “action”, to the moment the director calls “cut”, that’s my time and I better be as good as they are at their jobs.
NYCDA: Have you ever experience any type-casting and how did you deal with it?
Feldman: Type-casting is a term created by the business side of our industry. An actor can look at it a little differently. There is something unique and distinctly special about each human being. If you really study it, you might say it’s not so much typecasting, it’s my DNA, it’s what I do better than anyone else. It’s me, it’s my identity, my voice, my body, my energy. I definitely have come across people reacting to me in a certain way and identifying me as whatever they want to project on me when I walk into the room. In my twenties, I played a whole lot of criminals on television, I’ve been interrogated by a bunch of television cops and used to fight against it and ask why is that happening. But then I came to realize the sound of my voice and the look of my physicality kind of lends itself to be better at booking those parts. I realized you can take advantage of that because once you identify it, you can change it.
I speak Russian and because of the unique political environment we find ourselves in between Russian and American relations right now, writers are writing parts that I can benefit to book because I speak that language. Typecasting sounds like a bad thing but if you say what can I take advantage of to get employment as an actor, it’s not such a bad thing.