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Join us for a remote, live discussion with esteemed actors with substantial resumes and stories to share. They'll cover how they got their start, roles that opened doors, juggling work and career, managing stress, and weathering the busy times with the lean times. Being an actor can feel like riding a roller coaster. Learn how the panelists have kept their careers in the fast lane while remaining positive and pragmatic about the industry. The ride isn't always smooth, but it's part of the journey. Moderated by Lori Hammel.
Brandon Kyle Goodman (he/they) - From bringing diverse, powerful characters to life on the screen, to writing scripts for one of the most successful television series on Netflix, Actor, Writer and Advocate Brandon Kyle Goodman has emerged in the entertainment industry as a powerful force with a voice to be reckoned with. On the film front, Goodman recently starred in Netflix’s feature film “Feel the Beat,” opposite Sofia Carson. He was a scene-stealer as the outspokenly brave, queer character Deco. Additional acting credits for Goodman include starring as Andy, an eager father-to-be in Amazon’s successful rom-com anthology series “Modern Love,” opposite Andrew Scott. As a writer, Goodman is entering his third season writing on the hit Netflix animated series "Big Mouth". Goodman is proud to be a nonbinary, queer Black leader and a staunch advocate for Black lives. Goodman’s name and messages were launched into the limelight throughout the summer of 2020 as his vulnerable, informative Instagram videos regarding racism in America went viral, quickly solidifying him as a go-to resource for individuals seeking educational and inspiring content, while detailing a personal look at Goodman’s experiences growing up and living Black in America. Today, Goodman’s content has received over millions of views and counting. When not in front of the screen, Goodman loves to seek out great new eats, work out, binge “The Real Housewives,” and discover great, new vocal performances on YouTube.
Shalita Grant - Nurturing an impressive body of work encompassing theatre and television, Shalita Grant’s career continues to evolve with diverse and challenging projects.
“Shalita Grant gives one of the best physical-comedy performances of the year as Dory’s lawyer.” - Entertainment Weekly is just one of the many accolades Shalita received for her portrayal of Cassidy, the lawyer defending “Dory” (Alia Shawkat) in season three of the critically acclaimed HBO Max series “Search Party.” Shalita is currently in production on the next season of the popular Netflix thriller series “You.” She joined the cast as a series regular and plays a locally famous “Momfluencer” who is warm and down to earth, but that’s just a put-upon act for her social media followers. The original “mean girl," and only pretends to welcome newcomers into her wealthy and elitist social circle.
Shalita’s other television work including the hit CBS drama “NCIS: New Orleans” as Sonja Percy, a whip-smart ex-ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agent who prefers working alone and struggles to adapt to working alongside the NCIS team. She also starred in the PBS Civil War drama series “Mercy Street,” about doctors, nurses, contraband laborers and Southern loyalists in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va., during the Civil War. “Shalita Grant, giving the show’s most memorable performance.” – The Washington Post is just one of many rave reviews for Shalita’s portrayal of freed slave Aurelia Johnson. Her other television credits include a recurring arc on “The Santa Clarita Diet,” “The Good Wife,” “Bones,” and “Melissa & Joey.”
Segueing effortlessly between television and theatre, Shalita garnered a Tony Nomination for her work in the Broadway show “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” The Los Angeles called Shalita a ‘stand-out,’ for her portrayal of Cassandra, a sassy voodoo practicing housekeeper. Shalita returned to the New York stage in the summer of 2017 starring in the Shakespeare in the Parks production of “A Mid-Summer Night Dream.”
A native of Virginia, Shalita was not interested in attending a typical high school so she auditioned for the Appomattox Region Governor’s School for the Arts & Technology. She went on to attend the Baltimore School of the Arts and the prestigious Juilliard School.
Since working in New Orleans, she became involved with the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC). She recently hosted ‘An Intimate Evening with Shalita Grant,’ to benefit the CAC where she performed a ‘contemporary cabaret’ inspired and woven together by the poetry of Nayyirah Waheed and featured black and white photos by local Teens@CAC participants finding the beauty and meaning of the poetry in their NOLA scenes. She has also worked closely with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation.
When not working, Shalita enjoys cooking, baking, fitness, gardening and philanthropy.
Rebecca Lamarche - Rebecca Lamarche is an Actor and Filmmaker who specializes in producing and casting. Her immersion in the business informs her work on both sides of the camera making her an intuitive filmmaker and performer. From network television through to indie features, Rebecca doesn't compromise when it comes to telling great stories; putting passion and dedication into every project she does coupled with an easy-going "Canadian" sensibility. In her [limited] spare time, Rebecca enjoys pistol shooting, taking her dog for walks in the woods, travelling and practicing hot yoga.
Tyler Dean Flores - From his debut role in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” to portraying the true story of a young Miami-based artist killed by police, Puerto Rican-American actor Tyler Dean Flores has proved that from blockbuster hits to gritty indie darlings, he can do it all.
This year, Tyler will star as Israel "Reefa" Hernandez in Vertical Entertainment’s upcoming drama “Reefa.” Inspired by a true story, the film follows the 18-year-old Colombian immigrant and artist during his last summer in Miami, before tragically being murdered by Miami Beach cops in 2013. His infamous story left the local community outraged and the country reeling from another case of police brutality. “Reefa” is set to release on VOD / Digital Platforms on Friday, April 16, 2021. Additional film credits for Tyler include the 2019 drama “Already Gone,” executive-produced by Keanu Reeves (“John Wick”) and the upcoming mob-drama “The Birthday Cake,” with Ewan McGregor (“Doctor Sleep”), Val Kilmer (“Batman Forever”), and Lorraine Bracco (“The Sopranos”).
On the television front, Tyler can be seen in Marvel’s newest series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” The six-episode miniseries, which stars Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes) and Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson) as a mismatched duo who team up for a global adventure, continues to follow the intricate world of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). The series first premiered on March 19, 2021, on Disney+ and continues to release new episodes weekly. Additional television credits for Tyler include Netflix’s award-winning series “When They See Us” and NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Tyler discovered his passion for acting at an early age. What began as a modeling career to support his family as a pre-teen eventually turned into an illustrious acting career. When the opportunity to self-tape for Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” came up, Tyler and his acting coach filmed against a Harlem hallway. The raw footage immediately impressed producers and Tyler went on to book the role of Mark just days after his eighth-grade graduation. Following the film’s debut, Tyler spent some time away from the industry, before deciding to pursue acting full time again in 2016.
When he isn’t on set, Tyler can be found biking by the beach, making music, painting, practicing his Spanish, or at the corner store eating a sandwich with his friends. He currently resides in the Los Angeles area.
Ronen Rubinstein - Ronen Rubinstein has proved himself as a leading man in Hollywood to watch. The Israeli native moved to Staten Island at a young age and continued his journey to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.
Rubinstein currently stars in Ryan Murphy’s “9-1-1: Lone Star” which follows a New York firefighter, ‘Owen Strand,’ (Robe Lowe) who relocates to Austin, Texas with his son ‘T.K. Strand,’ (Rubinstein), where he works to save people's lives while trying to solve his own personal problems. Rubinstein stars as ‘T.K.’, an openly gay fireman and recovering addict who works equally as hard in his job, his relationship with his father, and his relationship with his life partner, ‘Carlos Reyes’ (Rafael Silva). The FOX series also stars Liv Tyler, Sierra Aylina McClain, Jim Parrack, Natacha Karam, Brian Michael Smith, and Julian Works.
Last year, Rubinstein starred in the horror/thriller film “No Escape.” The film follows a social media personality, ‘Alexei’ who travels with his friends to Moscow to capture new content for his successful video blog. The group continues to push their boundaries as their social following grows, which causes them to enter a cold world of mystery, excess, and danger.
Passionate about the environment, Rubinstein has become an advocate for climate activism and sustainability. After seeing Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood,” Rubinstein has opened his heart and mind to helping the environment in any way he can. He currently serves as an ambassador for The Ocean Cleanup and Project Zero, using his platform to bring awareness to the issues surrounding ocean conservation. The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Similarly, Project Zero aims to raise global awareness and protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.
His past projects on the big screen include “Bushwick Beats,” “Smiley Face Killers,” “Dude,” “Smartass,” “Condemned,” “Some Kind of Hate,” “Jamie Marks Is Dead,” “It Felt Like Love,” and “Detachment.” On the small screen he has been seen in “Dead of Summer,” and “Orange is the New Black”.
Rubinstein currently resides in Los Angeles.
Lori Hammel, Moderator - Lori Hammel is a NYC-based actress and writer who has performed on Broadway, Off Broadway and in National Tours including: Mamma Mia, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and as Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy Live. Film work includes the feature Puzzle, the Coen brother's Burn After Reading; She's Lost Control and playing the lead in Coney Island Queen (Cannes Shorts Corner). TV includes Jessica Jones, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Master of None, The Following; 30 Rock; Difficult People and The Colbert Report. Lori played recurring political pundit Leslie Hillerman on the Onion News Network series, In The Know and is the creator and star of the series Margo Rose Reports. Lori received an Excellence in Acting Award at the NY International Fringe Festival. She is the recipient of a Jeff Award, two Jeff nominations, two After Dark Awards and the SAG-AFTRA Joseph C. Riley Service Award. Lori co-authored the critically acclaimed guidebook Minding the Edge – Strategies for a Fulfilling, Successful Career as an Actor and is a contributing writer for Acting for the Stage (Focal Press). www.lorihammel.com