Aspiring actors at Capital High School got some real-life answers about the profession during an online Skype session with cast members from “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” Monday afternoon.

Students in theater and business classes used the popular web cam program Skype to discuss acting and directing with the cast and crew of the show.

Technology teacher Bill Kaiser said the school was fortunate to get such an opportunity.

“You can’t put a price on that,” he said.

The Skype session was initiated by CHS librarian Joan Meyer and English teacher Ryan Hanson, whose cousin, Shelli Bergh, is a cast member of the show.

Freshman Shelby Branson said getting to ask questions of professional actors will help further her motivation to pursue an acting career.

Classmate Connor McSweeney agreed.

“When it comes down to it, you want to hear it from someone who is doing it, making the money, and you see them every night on TV,” McSweeney said. “It’s more powerful.”

Kaiser said students got to see how actors work on real, live, active sets since the broadcast was from the sound stage the “CSI” cast uses.

“They got to ask questions with people who are actively engaged in high levels of the business,” he said.

Cast member George Eads and director Martha Coolidge took breaks while filming an episode that will air on April 1 to talk to the young people.

Eads, who plays crime scene investigator Nick Strokes, said his Texan accent requires him to spend extra time rehearsing.

“I don’t want to sound like Gomer Pyle,” he said with a laugh.

Students asked Eads the best part of being an actor.

Eads didn’t say a word, and just gestured the money sign with two fingers.

Eads told the group that he was 28 years old with 12 cents to his name when he got the part on “CSI”

“I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from,” he said. “I went from having 12 cents to a quarter million — from zero to hero.”

Although the money is good, it’s not the main motivating factor, Eads said.

“Once I went to acting school I knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

Director Martha Coolidge told students that it’s important to become established before one attempts directing.

“I highly recommend studying acting if you want to be a director,” Coolidge said.

Then one must feel they are ready, call in all their favors, have a vision, and go for it, she said.

“You can also establish yourself as a director by being a really good writer,” she added.

Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

(1) comment


This seems like a great opportunity that should be shared by both high schools. The two schools need to do more things together to encourage crosstown friendship instead of crosstown rivalry.

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