The M.F.A. graduate explained the importance of diversification and starting to gain experience while still at school
By Erasmo Guerra
Start now! That’s the advice Academy of Art University alumnus and professional actor Mickey Casab has for current students at the Academy’s School of Acting. “Not to book things necessarily,” he explained in a recent phone interview. “But to get experience. It’s going to make a huge difference.” Casab, who graduated with an M.F.A. in motion picture and television acting in 2009 and currently lives in Los Angeles, recommended the usual: headshots, business cards, a personal website. All the things an actor will need to work in the entertainment industry. That said, despite the urgency, Casab admitted that an acting career is more of “a marathon—not a sprint.”
His latest project is a new comedy series that clocks quick, one-minute episodes on Instagram. Casab created the series with working partner, Bobby Coyne, who co-wrote and co-stars in the show. The series, “Law Law Land” (@lawlawlandtheseries on Instagram), follows two young lawyers straight out of law school who, unable to land a job in a firm, decide to start one of their own, A+ Lawyers. The series launched in late October, with a new episode posting each week.
The Instagram series is one of the many examples in which Casab has learned to see acting as a long game that requires creativity and the necessity of bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to a professional career that, in his case, has spanned a range of roles, from spots in TV shows such as “Criminal Minds” to short films and a number of web series.
Not that he was always sure he’d be an actor. As a kid growing up in Tres Pinos, California, Casab admittedly enjoyed playing roles in elementary school productions of holiday plays. He became more practical as he got older, pushing aside the idea of acting with the thought “everybody wants to be an actor.”
Still, as an undergraduate at San Jose State University, where he was pursuing a bachelor’s in hospitality management, an internship at a resort in Maui gave him a lot of time to think. Back in school, he made acting his undeclared minor. A role in the school production of the play “A Midnight Clear” reignited his excitement for the stage. After graduation, he applied to the Academy for graduate school and earned his M.F.A.
Casab said he owes his current work ethic to the instructors he had at the Academy. “They always wanted us to get to the truth. Even when we thought we were there, they would push us to go further and deeper into a role,” he recalled.
Mindful of how marquee-name actors who struggled to launch their careers or to sustain them, even after an award or two, Casab talked about the importance of doing different projects from short films to features to diversify yourself.
As for his own Instagram series, he said it was his way of keeping up with what he called a fast-moving industry. “I want them to know I haven’t been sitting on the couch waiting for a phone call,” he said, adding, “Also, it’s really fun.”