If you’re into the local Indy film scene or turned on the TV in the last few years, odds are you’ve seen Scott Ganyo. Proving himself a versatile and dynamic actor, Scott has appeared in dozens of films and commercials, taking on roles as diverse as; a drug addict, a priest, a serial killer and even Batman. Trained at the Phoenix Theater, Millikin University, and Comedy Sportz, Scott is one of the most driven, professional actors currently working on the Indy film scene. Not to mention he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever talk to.
When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?
Did you get training before your first acting job?
SG: Well, if you count singing and dancing lessons, sure. I had those as a kid and in college. But I never had any acting lessons until pursuing acting as an adult. My first acting class ever was a few years ago here in Indianapolis at the Phoenix Theatre by a local actor named Dave Rourke. It was a real eye-opener for me to see what was actually involved in acting training – I was expecting monologue and scene work, but there were also all these strange exercises that involved all kinds of kids games, visualization, rolling on the floor, you name it. It was unexpected for me, but a lot of fun!
You started on the stage in community theater, Indianapolis Civic Theater, and even the prestigious Actor Theater of Indiana, how did you get your first film role?
SG: My first film experience was a role of a Heckler in the film Open Micr’s by local filmmaker Gary Wood. I had seen the casting call he put out and noticed a role that I thought I might be a decent fit for, so I made a quick resume, took a decent snapshot and printed it, and went to the audition. A film audition was a brand new experience (looking down the lens of a camera was very foreign to me!) Thankfully, the role was a small one and I was with an experienced director, so it gave me my first taste of the film world in a low-stress environment. It also gave me a chance to be in a film with professional actors Cindy Morgan (Caddyshack) and David Prowse (Star Wars).
How does film vary from stage?
SG: Film is such a radically different medium than stage. Take a typical stage show: You rehearse for 4+ weeks, perform a couple dress rehearsals, and only then do you perform the show for weeks. The show is then performed each night beginning to end, on a familiar set, and for an audience. If something goes wrong, you do your best to fix it on the fly and move on. A film, on the other hand, may have only a single script read through prior to the day of the shoot. Line memorization and character development may be done almost completely alone by the actor. During production, a take will generally happen out of sequence, on an unfamiliar set, with a camera for an audience. If something goes wrong (and it often does), the take will be reshot until the director is satisfied.
Do you have an agent? How has having an agent helped your career?
SG: Yes, my local agent is Helen Wells. Having an agent has helped me book commercial and print work. All the stage and film work I’ve done, however, I’ve pursued myself.
Would you say that aspiring actors in Indiana should have an agent before they get started? At what stage should an actor look for an agent?
SG: I don’t think you need an agent to start. And whether you need one at all really depends on your goals. Even if you are just interested in commercial work, you shouldn’t rely entirely on having an agent. While having an agent may (or may not) help you, your career is ultimately up to you. Just remember two things: 1) Your agent works for you – not vice versa, and 2) Your agent should only get paid when you get paid. If an agent asks for large upfront fees or requires you to use their photographer or something similar, go somewhere else.
What resources are out there to help an actor find work?
SG: To find work, you can use the traditional paper sources like Nuvo and INtake. But you should also get intimately familiar with the Internet as a resource. There is a wealth of free information, discussions, and job postings for local stage and film available on IndianaAuditions.com, IndyFilmNews.com, Indy.com, Craigslist.org, IndianaActors.com, and IndyFilmCo-op.org.
If someone in Indiana came up to you and asked you how they could become a working actor, what would you tell them?
SG: Get as much experience and do as much as you can here, but if you want a career in acting be prepared to move. It is close to impossible to make a living acting in this area.
What is the most important advice you’ve received in your career?
SG: If you can do anything else and still be fulfilled in life, do it. But if you can’t, believe in yourself and never give up.
About the Interviewer
Kate Chaplin is an author and film maker whose projects have appeared on MTV, local television, in print and online. She is the author of The Belief Test and the writer/director of the short films LOSS and First They Came For… She is the President of the Indy Writers’ Group and a proud mother of two beautiful girls. Kate resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her dream is to one day work with Johnny Depp and get drunk in Ireland.