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Talent scout gives teens showbiz advice

MANSFIELD -- Talent scout Peter Sklar gave a roomful of teenagers at Richland Academy the four keys to succeeding in show business Friday night.

The New York-based Sklar, who has worked with Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon, among others, told the teens they would be unstoppable if they committed to the following tenets:


  • Practice self-awareness.

  • Eat healthy foods.

  • Stay single until you've had some degree of success.

  • Don't let people talk you out of your dreams.

    Sklar spent most of his 90-minute lecture dispelling myths for succeeding in show business. He said the kids who get hired tend to be the healthiest and happiest.

    "As soon as I realized that, it all came together for me," Sklar said.

    Sklar said good looks are only as relevant as the type producers are seeking. He defined type as a specific collection of physical characteristics.

    Sklar pointed out 97 percent of the members of the Screen Actors Guild are unemployed at any given time.

    "Talent and training is like air," he said. "It's absolutely essential, but everybody's got it."

    Sklar said connections will take a person only so far.

    "People don't get hired because they know somebody," he said. "People get seen because they know somebody."

    Sklar discounted the importance of luck.

    "Luck has everything to do with your career and that job once you book the part," he said. "It doesn't explain why they hired you."

    Sklar said the one quality that will make casting directors lose interest is being fake.

    "You can be stupid or untalented if you're sincere," he said.

    After his lecture, Sklar kicked out the parents and conducted one-on-one interviews with the teens. He planned to read off a list of kids he was interested in working with after the interviews. Those chosen would be eligible to work with experts in the field in either New York or London -- at their own expense.

    Prior to Sklar's arrival, Drew Carter and his father, John, picked out seats. Drew, a 15-year-old freshman at St. Peter's, did commercial and print modeling when the family lived in Dallas more than nine years ago.

    "When he was so young, he didn't have much of an opinion," John Carter said. "We didn't push it when we moved here."

    Drew said he had a fallback plan if performing or modeling didn't pan out.

    "This is kind of on the side," he said. "I'll definitely go to college. I'd like to be a corporate lawyer."

    Dashayla Corbin, a junior at Mansfield Senior, is considering acting.

    "It's just something I always wanted to do," she said.

    Jeanette Corbin, Dashayla's mother, said she won't push her daughter into performing.

    "I kind of sit back and let her make the choices," she said. "I support my kids' dreams. I try to encourage them because it can become a reality."

  • mcaudill@nncogannett.com 419-521-7219

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    Originally published November 11, 2006

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    Talent scout and producer Peter Sklar talks about what it takes to become a performer Friday night at Richland Academy. Sklar spent his 90-minute lecture giving teenagers in the audience advice and dispelling myths for succeeding in show business.

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