Making it in Hollywood, with a little help from Larchmont
By Billy Taylor Scott Sedita and his eponymously named acting school this month celebrate two decades on Larchmont Blvd. You know the spot. On any given night, you can find a group of young, eager act-
ing students standing outside the nondescript white office building — located at 526 N. Larchmont Blvd. — learning lines and rehearsing scenes. “I opened this studio with 10 students,” says Sedita. “My mantra was, ‘if you build it,
they will come.’” Twenty years on, The Scott Sedita Acting Studios has grown to take over the entire floor of his building and has had hundreds of students pass through on their way to becoming working actors. A graduate of Boston University’s film and television program, Sedita began his career in New York as a talent agent. At the age of 22, Sedita says he was one of the youngest working talent agents in the city: “It was the first job I could get out of school, but I was very successful at it.” As an agent, Sedita helped launch the careers of household names such as Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Christopher Meloni and Jerry O’Connell, to name a few. “I believe we all have talent, and one of my talents is spotting talent,” says Sedita. Soon, Sedita set his eyes on Hollywood, where he would spend years working as a comedy writer and then later as a casting director. It wasn’t long before he realized he had a knack for coaching actors. “I was working in casting during the day, and then coaching at night,” says Sed-
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ACTING COACH Scott Sedita celebrates 20 years in the neighborhood.
ita, who quickly found that it was helpful to take on a kind of “Ma-gent” (manager and agent) role with his actors. A love for Larchmont In January of 1998, Sedita took his mother — who was visiting from the east coast for the holidays — to visit one of his favorite neighborhoods: Larchmont Village. “I drove her down Larchmont Blvd., which was a very sweet, non-congested place. I told her, this is where I want to have a studio. As we were driving, we passed a ‘for lease’ sign, so I thought ‘let’s look at it,’” says Sedita. Keep in mind that his dream of opening an acting school was, well, just that, still a dream. “I wasn’t interested right then and there.” But when he walked into the space, Sedita says it instantly felt right. “So I said, ‘yes, I’m doing this’ and I signed a lease.” And he hasn’t looked back since. For Sedita, his love for Larchmont has always been based on the neighborhood’s strong sense of community. “I wanted a space — a place — that was safe. That these young actors would feel safe leaving my studio at night. “What I love the most about
Larchmont is the small town feel. It’s quaint,” he explains. Making the most of it As a small business owner, Sedita has never taken his students for granted. In the years since he opened his acting school, Sedita has expanded his class offerings, written two books and developed an iTunes app. “I’m a worker,” he says. When he started classes, Sedita says that he was the first acting coach to put a camera in the studio. “I got flak for it because people said that there shouldn’t be a camera in an acting school.” But Sedita had come from a casting background, so he realized the importance of marketing oneself. “My approach was to help students with their craft as well as their careers.” After noticing that there wasn’t an official “technique” for teaching actors multi- or single-camera comedy scenes, Sedita developed his own sitcom technique. “I identified eight specific character archetypes in situation comedy, and I did that by understanding the different essences of actors.” He (Please turn to page 29)
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