Codie Våsquez, director of the Orange Community Players’ Young People’s Theater Workshop, took a chance and e-mailed an old classmate. She wanted her students to be able to speak with someone making a living as an actor. That’s where former Orange resident and classmate, Drew Waters, comes in.

At 34, Waters started acting late in life; only four and a half years ago. Before that, he worked as an international print model for designers like Ralph Lauren, Prada, Versace, Guess and Abercrombie and Fitch, to name just a few.

His grandmother always told him, “You need to act,” but he didn’t feel comfortable with it then. “It wasn’t until world-renowned photographer Bruce Weber suggested Drew try his hand at acting that he began taking classes and workshops, “ … like the one you’re in now,” Waters told his young audience.

He started getting a few commercials then worked his way into feature films. The story of his first appearance in a film was that he and a friend snuck into “Any Given Sunday” with Jamie Foxx.

“We heard they were making a movie on Ocean Drive [in Miami],” he said. “There was this club they had rented out for a couple of days to shoot in. We slipped in and somebody asked, ‘You guys extras?’ After saying yes, we were instructed to ‘sit over there.’” They spent 15 hours on the set and were hooked.

There have been 12 more movie roles added to his resume since then, along with several television roles including the Lifetime Movie Network’s “Inspector Mom.”

Waters gave the young thespians some very practical advice about breaking into the business. “Auditions are not about scripts and not about words. Don’t let words stop you; they want to see your personality. Be yourself; don’t try to imitate someone else. They have already seen that person; they want to see someone new.”

It’s not necessary to relocate to Los Angeles, Calif., Waters advised. Submit tapes and video through the internet; get online to look up agencies. and are two sites Waters recommends.

“I have friends in L.A. that are struggling,” he said. Dallas is where Waters is based, three hours from either coast. “I can be anywhere (in the states) in 12 hours.”

As part owner of Dallas based production company, ReQuest Entertainment, Waters produces, directs and acts in feature films.

At the end of his lecture, Waters answered any and all questions ranging from “Have you ever sung?” or “Are you a superstar?” When asked what was the most difficult part of owning his own company, the replay was simple, “Money.”

He advised those who want to make their own films, get out the video camera and shoot. When you have what you want, submit it to independent film festivals such as Sundance. He said most of the big studios’ films these days started out as films purchased at an “indie” festival. “You could be a 6-year-old with a three-movie deal,” he said.

“The three things you need to make a great movie are a great DP (director of photography), great editor and a great soundman. Everything else you can get around.”

Waters also gave the young actors a rundown on resumes. “This workshop you’re taking should be listed under training.”

Waters posed for a group picture and stayed to watch auditions for the production to be performed at the end of the workshop, set for July 11-13. The workshop includes students 6 through 18 years and is designed to teach them about auditions, costuming, stage make-up, stage combat, acting and choreography.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.