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Photo courtesy of Ansley Moncoeur.

Success Story: How Ansley Moncoeur’s Interaction With Michael Cera Led to an Upgrade and SAG Voucher on the Set of ‘Life & Beth’

Many entertainment industry professionals will tell you, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Ansley Moncoeur is a testament to this, as his acting discovery and SAG voucher both came as a result of his impeccable timing and location. The actor took time to share his Casting Networks experience booking and working on Life & Beth, not to mention additional well-timed moments with Michael Cera along the way.

How did you decide to become an actor?

It was kind of by accident. I was at a party and I stepped outside to get some fresh air. Then I noticed people coming off [these] huge Megabuses or Greyhound buses, and they were all dressed in 60s, 50s attire. I asked one of them, “What are you guys dressed up for?” He told me [it was] background acting for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I was asking him [questions] like, “Hey, how do you get started?” He told me about a few websites, and from then on I was like, “Oh, this is something I could really see myself doing.”

How did you first discover Casting Networks?

I think that was the first website that [the background actor] told me about. He told me, “Casting Networks is really good. They have a variety [of acting jobs] from commercials to student projects to film.” I was like, “Wow, this sounds like it’s a real official big-time thing. Let me sign up for this.”

Tell me about your experience booking Life & Beth on Casting Networks.

I signed up for the emails from Casting Networks for when new opportunities came up, and I noticed Life & Beth. I see advertising for the show everywhere in NYC. The role was something I was already doing at that time which was “kitchen staff.” They did ask to see if we had the uniform already (black pants and shoes) while they provided the chef shirt and apron. I was just getting off a shift looking at the reference picture knowing that’s exactly what I had on that day.

I submitted [on Monday] and got an email from production with call time on Thursday, so it didn’t take long at all.

Ansley Moncoeur in sunglasses and an African robe inside. Photo courtesy of Ansley Moncoeur.

What was the on-set experience like? How did you end up getting upgraded and getting a SAG voucher out of it?

It was interesting. The role was a restaurant worker. I’ve always been in restaurants doing serving, catering, stuff like that, so it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. I was surprised because only three of us got cast for it.

When they were about to place us on-set, they came to all three of us like we were in a huddle or something and they said, “Okay guys, I need to know who knows how to pour water.” I’m like, “Wait, is this a joke?” All three of us looked so confused and for some reason no one would say, “Yeah, I know how to pour water,” so I did. They said, “All right, cool. You’re going to be the one that pours water for Michael Cera.” So I’m like, “All right, cool. I’m going to get some face time.” That’s all I cared about.

While everything is going on, I’m with the pitcher. I pour the water and then Michael Cera says, “Hi” to me. Naturally, as a human being, I say, “Hi” back. They cut and it was like, “Okay, background, we don’t want you to talk. Sorry about that, it’s just a silent role.” Then here goes Michael like, “Oh, no, I actually want to have a conversation with him. I want to talk to him while he’s pouring the water. I want to make it seem like I knew him from before.” The director was like, “All right, let’s get him a mic. Let’s mic him up.” I’m like, “Oh my goodness. I actually have a speaking line in this.” You get humbled by the smallest things.

Amy Schumer, who also stars on [Life & Beth], was also like, “Yeah, I feel like it should be mutual. It should be like a thing that he just comes [to the restaurant]. And he comes here often, so he should know the waiters that are here.”

Amy Schumer and Michael Cera both agreed, and then all these people [came] with microphones and paperwork that I had to fill out. It’s so much paperwork when you get upgraded.

The whole upgrading itself is going from just sitting in a regular holding [area] and now they have you sitting with the stars. I’m sitting right next to Michael Cera. I’m sitting right next to Amy Schumer and we’re having a regular conversation talking about how [Michael] should try Audible for the first time.

The whole process was like the earth just cracked open. At a certain point, I didn’t know how big of a moment this was until everybody started congratulating me. This is the thing that people actually strive for and luckily enough, through Casting Networks, I was able to get it. I owe the biggest thanks to Casting Networks for this.

Ansley Moncoeur in a leather jacket and hoodie outside. Photo courtesy of Ansley Moncoeur.

What would you say can help somebody succeed on Casting Networks?

Persistence, and making sure that you give [casting directors] exactly what they ask for. Casting Networks makes it so easy to upload anything. It’s pretty basic stuff that directors look for, and as long as you can give it to them, you’ll be set. As long as you can fit the requirements that’s asked of you, you’re going to get there.

What are some audition tips that you might be able to share?

Get something with lighting. If you don’t have good natural light, then I would suggest you buy one of those ring lights or go to a well-lit area. Be confident in what you’re doing, because I feel like [casting directors] could pick up on that. And take it seriously. There [are] certain things you can do off-camera to practice, but when you’re sending in something, make sure that you give it all you can. I feel like the [casting] directors would understand that, they will see it, they’ll understand and they’ll definitely take it into consideration.

What are some other successes and high-profile jobs you’ve booked off of Casting Networks?

I did a photo shoot. It was a commercial shoot for Coca-Cola. That was pretty dope, because I didn’t expect it. I mean, first they don’t tell you exactly what you’re going in for. They told me to bring different clothes, and that shoot was amazing. It was a billboard shoot. To have that opportunity to work with so many good people knowing that it just comes from a click of a button…[I wonder] how many opportunities are actually there waiting for people.

Coca-Cola’s one. I got a few more good background acting roles from Casting Networks, and a few commercials. I got some modeling opportunities from there. Casting Networks actually has staffing agencies, so if you want to do catering or serving, they have that as well. That surprised me.

They look for model servers, or model staff. They want to see that you can model or have the look of a model, but are still able to serve cocktails and stuff like that, so that definitely does help. I’ve gotten a few [jobs] from there too, thanks [to] Casting Networks.

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Chris Butera is a voice actor specializing in commercial, eLearning and corporate narration reads. When he’s not helping clients achieve their goals, he's playing guitar and bass.