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Actor turns talent toward helping others find roles


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POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

There's a relatively new Web resource out there for actors and casting directors in Hawaii, and if you don't already know about it, you probably should. Actor Teddy Wells developed www.hawaiiactors.com to help casting agents find extras and principles for television and movie roles, and to help actors—who may or may not be members of the Screen Actors Guild—promote themselves and get work.

The former Nick's Fishmarket chef became a SAG actor 13 years ago and has managed to land a fair number of acting gigs since then.

During a recent shoot with Animal Planet's “;How I Survived,”; a series about people recounting their life threatening encounters with animals, Wells saw how much they struggled to find talent in the islands.

“;There was no central location to find SAG or non-SAG actors,”; he noted. “;They're not paying a whole lot, so they don't want to go through talent agencies.”;

The whole point of the Actors Network is “;to put people out there to be found to get work,”; he said. “;Because if they're not looking for Teddy Wells, maybe I can help somebody else.”;

With a few success stories—one member landed a recurring role on “;Lost”;—people are catching on. In its first few months, membership has grown to about 450, with 10 or 12 new actors signing on each day, including newcomers and industry veterans. Even better, the social network is free.

“;It's pretty much my charity,”; said Wells, who admitted that he may try to generate some advertising revenue from the site in the coming year. But for now it's a nonprofit that relies on donations from grateful actors and Wells' own resources. “;It's my way of giving back to the entertainment industry in Hawaii ...”;

THE “;Man v. Food”; episode featuring the local eatery MAC 24-7 airs next Wednesday night on the Travel Channel, and the Waikiki restaurant is preparing a big celebration. Everyone is invited to watch the show on six screens, and face the MAC-Daddy Pancake challenge, which involves finishing a three-tier stack of pancakes in an hour and a half. Doesn't sound so bad? There's one other detail: Those pancakes are 14-inches in diameter.

Whether host Adam Richman conquered the colossal stack is a closely guarded secret to be revealed in the upcoming episode.

For the occasion, MAC 24-7 will debut a new Create Your Own Pancake Service, complete with a “;Topping Trolley”; and a “;Pancake Stylist”; to assist with 20 different selections to customize your flapjacks.

The Pancake Challenge takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. next Wednesday at MAC 24-7 at the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio, 2500 Kuhio Ave. “;Man v. Food”; airs at 6 p.m. Come early or RSVP at 921-5564. If you can't make it, watch the show on Ocean Cable digital channel 325 ...

Remember Ryan Higa, the Hilo kid who snagged a movie deal from the millions of hits his offbeat YouTube videos received? (How could you forget?) His Nigahiga channel now has more than 1.4 million subscribers—momentarily toppling YouTube phenom Mr. Figglehorn. But Higa obviously has a following beyond his subscribers. “;The iPod Human”; video exceeded 14 million views.

EARLIER THIS WEEK, the Hawaii Writers Conference organizers canceled the Friday event featuring Norah Jones meant to raise funds for the Hawaii Writers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers scholarships for students and writers to attend the conference. Ticket holders will receive refunds and may call 737-0360.

But the latest news won't change the regular conference schedule. Opening ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m. Friday morning with a triple chant from Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole with his mother and grandmother.