CFDb Interviews Rebekah Cook ~
Actress/Coach/Casting Director/Script Supervisor
Listen to the Full Unedited 31 minute CFDb Interview with Rebekah Cook
CFDb had the pleasure of talking with Rebekah Cook, Actress/Coach/Casting Director/Script Supervisor. After listening to this interview, you may change your mind about what you might want to do within the Christian Film Industry. Following are the highlights from this interview:
=> First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within the Christian Film Industry.
First of all, I’m a follower of Christ, that’s the core of my identity. I was home schooled, along with my 4 siblings. I grew up in Spain as a missionary kid for nearly 20 years.
All my life I’ve been drawn to 3 things:
- Serving God with my life. 2. I also love working with children and 3. The performing arts have always held a very special place in my heart.
Rebekah then shared with us that in 2009 she moved to the States to take training and get experience in screen acting. She is now an actress/Coach/Casting Director and Script Supervisor. She was part of a cast/crew for 12 feature films, films of faith, where her passion is. Along the way she found a great joy in working as part of the film crew in various departments.
A lot of actors talk about having a day job. Add that for me. My older brother and sister got involved in the Christian Film Industry about the same time. I really loved working with them on several films, being part of the film on either side of the camera.
When you’re on the crew, you get to see the whole story unfold, whereas an actor, you’re sometimes just thrown on set a few dates out of the entire shooting schedule.
=> So with your family, being part of the Christian Film Industry, is that part of the reason you became involved in the industry?
I was 15 when the idea first hit and my brother had been looking into media, but that wasn’t the reason. I’d always loved acting, but it never occurred to me to act for film.
I was watching a Christian movie I’d seen several times before, but I had been really seeking God for a few months as to what I should do with my life. It’s always been on my heart to wait for His will to be clear to me what I should pursue.
For some reason that year it was super important to know right then, everything feels so big at that age.
I believe that God planted that dream in my heart as I watched that film. “God, I just want to impact people like that”. It was really touching my heart a deep place. He didn’t speak to me audibly but I could feel the words, “I’ve equipped you to do that.” I thought WHOA, I was scared. Am I making this up? I thought no one gets called to act, right. That’s a weird calling.
Well, God, if that was really You planting that desire in my heart. I do believe He gives us desires we can fulfill. If that was You, and not me, then please make that desire grow in showing what to do with it. I had no clue. Here I was over in Spain. Most of the Christian stuff that I knew of was happening in the States. How do I even get over there? When I get there, how do I get training?
I was looking into different colleges. If I do this, I want to do it right, with excellence for the Lord. Everything I did I didn’t have peace. Then God laid the word “apprenticeship” on my heart. I thought people don’t do that anymore, that’s in the history books. What would that even look like?
Rebekah went on to say how she studied on and offline, doing lots of research. It wasn’t until she was 20 when she set foot on her first set as an extra.
=> Are you able to share with us what film inspired you so much?
It was made by a church in Oklahoma I believe, it’s a Sci-fi genre, called, ‘The Sword‘. It’s Superkids, basically a Christian training ground for these kids. It’s a musical as well. There was a song “Know Who You are in Jesus“. Of course that was what it was all about, trying to find my identity.
=> Can you share with us about your role in ‘In His Steps‘ and a little bit about the film itself?
I first read, In His Steps in high school. She then went on to explain how the book impacted her. Like Rachel, who is a character in the book/movie, trying to figure out how to use her gift for God, Rebekah is also a singer so that was the role she was going for. She also auditioned for Virginia, which is the role she ended up getting. She was so glad that it worked out that way.
Virginia Paige was a fascinating character to play for Rebekah. A spoiled rich heiress but there is much more to her than that. Her grandmother is not raising her and her brother and it’s all about keeping up the image. She doesn’t really understand who she is or what God has called her to do.
There is small church that takes a pledge to do whatever Jesus would want them to do for 1 year and Virginia takes this pledge as well. She has to figure out what that means for her.
Then she is encouraged by the pastor to help in a local soup kitchen, which is a challenge for someone who has never rubbed shoulders with the lower classes. She told us she really enjoyed playing the role.
=> Please share with us more about what you offer as a personalized coach?
My first experience as a coach was on the set of ‘Indescribable‘. The main characters in that film are kids. There’s 4 of them in the story. The director was Stacey Graber and I had expressed to her that I was willing to work with them if they needed some coaching and there were many emotional scenes and she called and me asked if I would work with some of them and I did. It was so rewarding. To be able to communicate with other what I had learned, especially since I grew up bi-cultural and bi-lingual. I love helping communicate the concept until it clicks and seeing those breakthroughs.
=> How does the process work of hiring you as a coach?
I have them fill out a form so I can see where they are at and from that I create a lesson plan.
Coaching/auditions/filling out a resume advice/choosing a headshot/branding issues/script analysis/casting & more
She was recently contacted by someone about script supervision. If it’s something she knows about, great, she loves to teach. If not, she can refer you to someone who can help you.
She also keeps the rates super affordable because she knows what it’s like for people getting into the film industry. Because of technology she can also coach over the internet too.
She is comfortable in both the acting and crew side and how those relate.
“There are several films I’ve worked as cast and crew.”
=> Are there any other upcoming faith projects you are involved with that can tell us about?
‘In His Steps’, ‘Indescribable’, ‘Treasure in Heaven‘ are all available on DVD.
‘Love Covers All‘ is a family drama that I worked on last fall and will be available in stores October 7, 2014.
‘Christmas Grace‘ is negotiating a theatrical release during Christmas. This one was a feature finalist, along with ‘In His Steps’, at the Christian Worldview Film Festival , whichyou should check out sometime.
‘Beyond the Mask‘ is an action/adventure movie, right before the American Revolution, very fun story…It premieres later on this year.
I worked on a short called, ‘Wanted‘, about a foster child whose aging out of the system. That should be out later this year.
You’ll have to wait a little bit for ‘Princess Cut‘ and ‘Polycarp‘. Polycarp is a true story about a martyr in the 2nd century. The Bishop Polycarp was martyred at age 86. It’s told from the perspective of a 10 year old girl. Those will probably be released early 2015.
That was me on ‘Christmas Grace‘. It was one of the ones I wasn’t on crew so I came in a week later to the set. They already had a week of filming under their belt. She went on to talk about how the director was helpful and it felt pretty natural and relaxing because on the previous ones she was juggling between cast/crew, which is like a tug of war on your brain, “What should I be doing now”? It was a good experience for her to just do the acting.
What was weird for her was when she went to the premiere for it in Michigan last December. Then she realized that she wasn’t there when they filmed this scene and that scene. It was like watching a new story for her, whereas if she was a script supervisor for a film, she is there for every scene. She is even estimating the edits in her mind when she is doing the script supervising. With that she felt like she had already seen the movie, several different versions.
It was so cool to see the story come to life for her.
Rebekah then shared about the process of how she got into acting. It surprised her how God taught her about what apprenticeship really meant. In July, 2009 Her family ended up attending an Advent Film Group workshop where they got to learn the business side of filmmaking, which was super exciting.
Then in 2010, she and her brother ended up working with Advent Film Group on ‘Alone, Yet not Alone‘. George put her in the casting department for that. She had been helping proofreads on the script. He wanted her to write up the character profiles for the casting breakdown. It was a great learning on the job experience. She worked on that full time for 6 months because they had over 70 speaking roles to cast.
Weeding through hundreds of video submissions, she was the reader for live call backs, making trips to different locales to meet the actors. She got to play different roles reading as a little girl, the indian chief, etc.
That casting experience is a great part of her experience. She got to see what works and doesn’t work for the camera and seeing the business side of things as well.
Rebekah then said, “If there is an actor out there, if you’re able to volunteer as a reader, or help with casting somewhere, it will teach you a lot.”
A couple of things – to reiterate, as an actor, well anyone, but especially an actor, it’s very important to have a strong hold on your own identity in Christ. I can throw myself into role after role. It’s sometimes tempting to try and lose myself in those roles. The true me, my true life is in Christ. It’s not about how juicy a role I get. It’s about representing my Savior well in all that I do.
When I first got that dream of acting, I didn’t know what to do with it because I’d always wanted to be a missionary like my parents. I didn’t realize until a few years later, that the entertainment industry is a mission field. He was calling her to this because she had a heart to be a missionary.
It’s not even all about the product. The stories, those are important but I believe that the process, the journey we go on, and the people we interact with along the way. The way we honor the Lord in how we conduct our production.
Secondly, to remember that God is the Master Storyteller. She knows that she can trust Him, not knowing what’s around the corner. Just as you wait for the story to unfold and wonder what’s going to happen, that is the way it’s been in her life and she knows that the story will be good.
Each story is different and beautiful.
=> Please let us know how people can learn more about you and your work and how to get more information about your coaching options?
Best way is through her website. Pictures, videos, blogs.
Facebook where she does talk about what’s she doing and lists some casting calls as well.
Twitter – only pops in now and again.
If anyone is interested, I’ll be teaching again at the Christian Worldview Film Festival being held next March in San Antonio, TX. (March 10-14, 2015)
What a great interview with Rebekah Cook. If I was interested in acting, she really talked so highly about working as casting directing and script supervisor, I wonder how many people might consider going to work for a film crew, instead of acting. It sounded fascinating.
We loved the reminder that the entertainment industry is a mission field.
We recommend listening to the full unedited podcast on YouTube.
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