About Us


Russell’s career in Film, Television and Stage started when, at the age of 11, he conceived, produced and directed the first South African stage version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”. Russell went on to produce and direct numerous stage shows and corporate videos throughout Southern Africa. He was contracted by Panasonic World Wide to provide training to new camera operators for two years, finally settling in Cape Town. He began working as a casting assistant for European television commercials. During the same time, Russell set up a national marketing and communications company “Capital Communications” and a small events company “In ToTo Productions”, specializing in corporate entertainment, which constantly created employment for artists and actors. A year later he was hired to work with producer Lloyd Phillips and director Martin Campbell on “Beyond Boarders” starring Angelina Jolie, casting, briefing and setting up the coordination of locally cast featured actors and a contingent of 3500 extras per day for 4 months. Quickly becoming a talent in high demand, Russell had a 8 year stint working in over 9 countries around the world, and was soon working alongside talents like director John Boorman, with whom he cast the Samual L. Jackson/ Juliette Binoche film “In My Country”, and Eric Valli, winner of the Academy Award for best foreign film “Himalaya” in 1999. Russell decided to move to Los Angeles in early 2005. In the 7 years that Russell has been in Los Angeles he has been involved in the staging of over 27 theater productions, and has swiftly found himself in demand by the Hollywood Film and Television industry as an acting coach, producer, director and casting director. He currently works as a Casting Director alongside Rick Pagano (X-Men/ Alien/ Hotel Rwanda) and Debi Manwiller (24- The Series) for Pagano/ Manwiller Casting and is a founding partner of “Rocket Propelled Ltd.” with Rick Pagano.

Rick Pagano has been a casting director in Hollywood for more than 25 years working with some of the industry’s most renowned film-makers–Oliver Stone, James Cameron,Terry George, Luc Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Gus Van Zant, Allison Anders, Kathyrn Bigelow, Cameron Crowe, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Robert Towne, Sergei Bodrovand Carl Franklin, among many others. The range of projects he casts can be reflected in the honors they’ve won from Sundance to Cannes to Berlin to the Oscars.


As an actress Lauren has worked on such projects as Anne Jennings for which she won best actress at the 2010 LA Movie Awards, LA Reel Film Festival and the California Film Awards. Lauren grew up in Atlanta and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After college she moved to New York City where she trained at the Michael Howard Conservatory. She then became a founding member of Maieutic Theater Works and performed in a number of off- off Broadway plays. She is currently producing a short film and will be starring in a quirky indie romantic comedy later this summer.

Email: thelivingactor@gmail.com
3815 Hughes Ave
4th Floor
Culver City, CA 90232


Feel free to leave your comments below:
Just a quick thanks for all you and Rick are doing! The pitch experience was very enlightening as to the material and the contacts in my life, and hearing other students with their aspirations! And the other work is always insightful & helpful! – Dana Jones.
Hello, gentlemen. I just wanted to let you know that per your encouragement, I returned to the groundlings for their Level 3 Writing Lab. Our showcase was yesterday. It went FABULOUSLY, and I just found out that I am one of two people from the class who got in to the Advanced Level (final stage before Sunday Company). SO, thank you for your insight and encouragement. – Keri Safran.
I just wanted to thank you for your genuine passion and energy and the wonderful feed back you gave me when you said to me “that performance could get you a series regular” (I told you I’d quote you). I really appreciated you telling me to “do whatever you want and have fun”… you gave me creative permission….and I love getting the chance to do that. With all sincerity, it was one of the best workshops I’ve ever had. – Ryan Christiansen.
I wanted to send you a link to my reel, but more importantly I wanted to say thank you for giving such an incredible experience. I took pages of notes and you gave the most practical advice I have ever heard in a class. I also have a deep appreciation for how affirming you are. Even while giving guidance and suggestions, you saw what was special and unique about each person and gave them something they could move forward with in a positive way. I have seen many actors get set back months and years in their progress because of comments in classes that were spirit-crushing rather than inspiring, and it is a great gift to walk out with something to work on while feeling good about working on it. So, thank you, and it was wonderful meeting you. – Catherine
Hi, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your workshop last night at Reel Pros. You gave us invaluable information and were very generous with your time and wisdom. It was a pleasure to meet you, officially. Sincerely – Darin Cooper
Hey Russell! I know what a busy man you are but I just wanted to take a minute to thank you again for the time and expertise you lent to us at your workshop. Your novel approach to the business of the business and your emphasis on simplicity were thoroughly refreshing as well as the unique insight you gave to each actor. Your tips were definitely ‘million dollar’ caliber and I wish more casting directors had the ability to find your honesty without the brutality added in;) Sincerely – David Hays Gaddas.


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