Austin 2016 Panelist Bios



Panelist Bios

Listed alphabetically…

BRENDA AMBRIZE – Brenda started Ambrize Production Services in 1997, and is based in the Austin area. Hands-on in all aspects of production, she casts commercially in all areas both in and out of Texas. Some of her recent clients include: Seattle’s Best Coffee, AARP, Black Flag, Center For Child Protection, USAF, Neches Federal Credit Union, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Hoegaardens, Simple Mobile, and HEB. She’s passionate about her San Antonio Spurs, and loved working on the 2015-16 Spurs player intro video that plays before each home game!

SHARON BIALY, CSA – Sharon Bialy is an award-winning Casting Director for television, film and theater. Her recent television credits include the AMC series The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Halt & Catch Fire, and Breaking Bad. In addition, Bialy/Thomas has cast Gotham (Fox), the upcoming Vice Principals with Danny McBride (HBO) and Flaked, starring Will Arnett (Netflix). Recent films: Secret In Their Eyes with Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman, Black & White, and Stretch. Past favorites include Drugstore Cowboy, Point Break, Rudy, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Reign O’er Me, & Red Belt for David Mamet. Favorite past television credits include Phil Spector (HBO), The Unit (CBS), Jericho (CBS), Mind of the Married Man (HBO), and Picket Fences (FOX). Also, she worked with Des McAnuff at the La Jolla Playhouse for 15 years and various productions at Lincoln Center, The Old Globe, South Coast Rep, and The Guthrie. Broadway: China Doll, The Anarchist, Jersey Boys, Race, and The Farnsworth Invention. Sharon has 17 Artios Awards nominations, and received her first Emmy nomination for Breaking Bad‘s final season. Ms. Bialy was the recipient of the 2011 Media Access Award for her commitment to casting actors with disabilities. Her eBook “How To Audition On Camera” was recently published to wide acclaim.

TISHA BLOOD – Tisha is the owner and founder of Buffalo Casting, started in 1997. Along with casting director Matthew Taylor, they have over 26 years of commercial and print casting experience as well as casting interactive & digital media, film, industrials, and television. Located in Dallas, they cast across Texas and beyond and her perspective on the Texas market will benefit the new or established local actor. Current and past clients include: Met RX, TGI Fridays, Chase Mortgage, Visionworks, Frito Lay, Forest Park Medical, Albertsons, Texas Health Resources, Gold Bond, American Girl, Bealls, FedEx, Juicy Juice, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Cabelas, Mary Kay, and Frost Bank.

PAM DIXON, CSA – After graduating from The University of Southern California, Pam was hired by
 CBS Television. After a few months, she became Assistant to the VP of Casting.  
Six months later, she left CBS to become VP of Casting for ABC TV. A year later,
she was promoted to Senior VP of Casting for the ABC TV Network. She oversaw the casting for all series, mini-series, TV movies and daytime soaps. Pam left ABC to become a Production VP at Paramount Pictures. After several years as a motion picture and television executive, Pam opened her own casting company. During this time, she has cast numerous features: Zorro, City Slickers, Waterdance, The Craft, Angels in the Outfield, Tremors, Dick, The Moderns, Goldeneye, Music Box, Baby Boom, and Gosford Park.  Pam just completed casting on Marc Foster’s “ All I See Is You” and the Canadian HBO series “Sensitive Skin. She is currently casting several films with directors: Martin Campbell, Niki Caro, Harold Cronk and Alan Rudolph.  Pam is a past President of The Casting Society of America, a position she held for six years. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Wildwood School as chair of fundraising and as a Trustee of Pacific Hills School. She teaches at UCLA in the Entertainment Studies Department and lectures at The LA film school, Harvard University, The Canadian Film Institute, and USC. She co-chairs The Media Access Awards and is on the Western Council Board of The Actors Fund. She is an active member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

MARK FINCANNON, CSA – A native North Carolinian, Mark received a Batchelor of Arts degree from Catawba College with a double major in Theatre Arts and Speech Communication. In the early 1980’s, having performed as an actor and director in many productions in High school and College, Mark chose to step behind the camera to work with producers and directors in finding the acting talent that they needed to successfully produce films and commercials on location in the Southeastern U.S.A.  Now, a veteran casting director of 35 years, Mark owns; along with his brother Craig, Fincannon and Associates, Inc. a motion picture casting company started by the brothers in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1979. They moved their company to Wilmington, NC in 1983 to accommodate the casting needs for the newly merging Screen Gems studios began by legendary film producers Dino De Laurentiis and Frank Capra, Jr. They maintain offices in New Orleans as well have most recently opened an office in Atlanta, Georgia where Mark currently resides and oversees.  Mark and his company have worked with legend directors such as Steven Spielberg, Taylor Hackford, James Wan, David Lynch, and George Lucas to name a few. They have been responsible for casting 200 feature films, 100 television movie of the weeks, 15 television mini – series and hundreds of hours of television series.  Mark is a member of the Academy of Television of Arts & Sciences after winning an Emmy for his work on Tom Hank’s H.B.O. series “FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON”. A few of the successful television series that the Fincannon’s are credited for casting are “DAWSON’S CREEK”, “ONE TREE HILL”, “HOMELAND”, “THE WALKING DEAD”, and “RECTIFY”.  His greatest challenge to date was from his work in 2004 on “END OF THE SPEAR”, the historical film about the Woadani Indians of Ecuador who savagely murdered 5 missionaries in the early 1950’s. He successfully discovered, cast and trained indigenous Indians from Panama to portray the Woadani Indians. Mark’s most recent work is in the theatre now entitled, “MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN”, starring Jennifer Garner.  Mark also owns Luminarium Pictures, Inc., an independent production company developing inspirational, and culturally responsible films. Mark and his wife, Sharon, live in Fayetteville, Georgia and have 4 daughters, 4 son-in-laws, 3 grandson’s, and a granddaughter on the way!

DONISE L. HARDY, CSA – Donise began her casting career in San Francisco in 1991; three years later, she established her Los Angeles firm.  In 1999, a move to Austin quickly positioned Donise as the busiest commercial Casting Director in the State of Texas. Donise has cast hundreds of commercials, dozens of films and industrials during her 25+ year career.  Throughout her career, Donise has taught classes, specializing in commercial audition technique.  Her classes are in high demand and are recommended by agents, coaches, talent and moms throughout the state.  Having conducted hundreds of thousands of auditions, gives her a special insight into the process.  Donise is a founder of Network Austin Mixer and has volunteered her time for 12 years; was a founder of The Alliance Austin; has written articles “The Bottom Line” and “For What It’s Worth” appearing on sites throughout the State of Texas to help educate actors and take their careers to the next level.  Donise is a tireless worker on behalf of the entertainment industry and has been very active in creating tax incentives which are meaningful and competitive; and met with 2 Austin mayors to help create Austin Tax Incentives above what the state offers.

MEREDITH PETTY HUGHES, CSA – Meredith joined the Fincannon team in 2013 after spending 8+ years working in New York City’s film and television industry.  Prior to Fincannon and Associates, Meredith was the Marketing Manager for the premium television network EPIX. She coordinated the channel’s first ever national marketing campaigns and planned premiere and promotional events for the likes of Madonna, P!nk, and New York Knick Amar’e Stoudemire. The early years of her career were spent working closely with producers in all aspects of film and television production, including development for an independent film company and three seasons assisting the Executive Producer on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A graduate of The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Meredith is happy to be back in her home state of North Carolina and she feels privileged to be working closely with the talented community of filmmakers and actors in the southeast.

DOLORES JACKSON – Dolores Jackson is a graduate of the University of Saint Thomas in Houston and started her career as a casting intern with Houston’s Alley Theater and as a director and instructor with the Actors Theater of Houston. She worked as a talent agent in the Houston market for seven years before making the move to casting in 1995. She has cast primarily for commercial projects but has also worked in all other forms of media, including television and feature film, throughout the state of Texas.

STEVE MAISEL – Steve graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.  Two weeks after graduation, he started with Apple Computer and worked in a variety of positions which included Customer Relations, Sales, Sales Management, Program Management, and Product Marketing.  After 15 years with Apple, Steve decided to make a change and moved to Los Angeles to follow his dreams of becoming a Casting Director. Over the last thirteen years, Steve has worked in a variety of casting positions for Scripted and Reality TV, Short and Feature Films, as well as TV Commercials, Music Videos and Web Series.  Some of Steve’s previous feature film credits include “Mexican Sunrise”, “Retaliation” and “Love or Whatever.”  Steve has been involved in casting several successful Nickelodeon shows such as “Zoey 101”, “iCarly”, and “VicTORIous.”  Most recently, Steve finished casting all three seasons of “The Fresh Beat Band”, a musical educational show for Pre-Schoolers on Nick, Jr. Steve worked with Risa Bramon Garcia to cast the first season of “Masters of Sex” a one-hour drama on Showtime.  Since then, Steve cast “Hello, My Name is Frank.”  In 2014, Steve moved to Austin, TX and cast “The Conway Curve”.  Steve is about to start casting “The Huntress,” the first of a three part SAG Feature Film series shot in Austin, TX later this year.

BETH SEPKO-LINDSEY, CSA – Beth Sepko-Lindsey is an Emmy award-winning casting director with 20 years specializing in television and feature film. Based in Austin, Beth consistently works with locals Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater as well as other notable directors such as Eduardo Sanchez, Kimberly Peirce, Mike Judge, Tim McCanlies, John Lee Hancock, Mick Jackson, Asif Kapadia, and John Ridley.  In 2015, Beth was awarded the Artios for casting Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood and, earlier this year, nabbed a second Artios for her contribution to the casting of Straight Outta Compton.  Television credits include ABC’s American Crime for which Beth received a 2015 Emmy nomination, 11.22.63 (for Hulu), The Leftovers (HBO), From Dusk Til Dawn (El Rey), Revolution (NBC), Dallas (TNT), Chase (NBC), The Good Guys (FOX), the HBO movie Temple Grandin which also earned Beth an Emmy nomination and Friday Night Lights (NBC) for which she won the Emmy. Beth has just wrapped casting on Queen of The South, set to air this summer on USA network, and is beginning auditions for the upcoming AMC series The Son based on the novel by Phillip Meyer.


Moderator Bios

Listed alphabetically…

BLAIR HICKEY – Blair Hickey is a developer and consultant for Breakdown Services, the co-founder of CastingAbout, and has been a working actor for over 20 years. After receiving a degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University, Blair began his career in New York, working mostly on stage and in daytime soaps. Since moving to Los Angeles, he’s worked primarily in TV, appeared in such shows as CHICAGO HOPE, THE PRACTICE, ALLY McBEAL, GHOST WHISPERER, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, MEDIUM, HEROES, HARRY’S LAW and TOUCH. In 2004, Blair used his experience and success with actor marking to co-create CastingAbout, the online casting and production guide. CastingAbout partnered with Breakdown Services in 2009, and now maintains offices in Los Angeles and New York.

VERONICA KELLEY-ALBIEZ – Veronica Kelley-Albiez, President of DVA Talent, has been working with talent for over 30 years. After working as the former Director of Hawaii’s top Talent Agency, Susan Page, Veronica opened up her own agency, DVA Talent, in Texas over 15 years ago. DVA Talent represents some of the best talent, both union and non union, that can be seen and/or heard on network television shows, films, radio, industrials and commercials. Veronica started her journey in the industry as an actor and vocalist. She appeared in commercials, independent films, theater, and is a pageant title holder and trainer. She especially enjoyed her time as the lead vocalist in Hawaii’s TOP Swing Band, “Swing Wood Revue,” a USO World Tour. From there she opened Rainbow Voices & Talent, specializing in voice-over work. As a former President of The Alliance, Veronica has worked with other local agents, casting directors and coaches to improve industry standards in Austin, TX. Veronica continues remains active in helping the Texas Film Industry obtain effective film incentives as well as industry groups dedicated to advancing opportunities throughout the Southeast Region

GARY MARSH – Founder and CEO of Breakdown Services/Actors Access.  Marsh began his career as an actor after emigrating from England in 1963. Marsh terminated his acting career to begin Breakdown Services in 1971. A graduate of UCLA in 1976, Gary is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The family of companies that he has created employs over 100 people. Breakdown Services occupies a unique position of trust within the entertainment community since they are the only company given access to virtually all scripts and are charged with the responsibility of synchronizing all roles contained within these scripts both objectively and accurately.

JASON TERESI – Jason Teresi was born and raised in Chicago. He attended DePaul Theatre School and Columbia College Theatre School. After graduating in 1995 Jason moved to Los Angeles. Wanting to work somewhere in the industry and avoid waiting tables he started working at Showfax, which was soon bought-out by Breakdown Services. He was employed by both companies for over 8 years which gave him a unique look at other aspects of the entertainment industry and a better working knowledge of how Talent Agents and Casting Directors operate. In 2006, Jason moved back to Chicago and became the Director of Regional Services for Breakdown Services, his current role.


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