Gary Chason grew up in the theatre. He and his two sisters put on shows for family and friends virtually from the moment they could walk and talk. He studied classical ballet as a scholarship student at the Houston Ballet's academy under Madame Tatiana Semenova as well as vocal music, singing in the chorus of Tales of Hoffman for the Houston Grand Opera. He took up directing in college at the University of Texas and set his sights on being an avant garde, experimental Writer/Director. He created Houston Laboratory Theatre in 1970 and directed an innovative Romeo and Juliet that received excellent notices. He produced/directed a highly controversial production in 1975: The Beard , an erotic one-act staged at an art gallery in the Montrose District of Houston. He also directed two of his original plays at The Equinox Theater: Charlie's Ear , and Denizens . He has had a distinguished career in motion pictures as a Casting Director and Dialog/Dialect Coach. His casting credits include: The Last Picture Show , Paper Moon , The Getaway , Pretty Baby , and Paris, Texas . He has worked with many A-List Directors, including: Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Sam Peckinpah, Michael Ritchie, Louis Malle, and Wim Wenders. As a Dialect Coach he has tutored people like Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Brooke Shields, Tatum O'Neal, and Ann-Margret. His first feature film as a Writer/Director, Charlie's Ear , was especially well received in European festivals. At Madrid it won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography. And it won the Critic's Prize by unanimous vote at Mannheim. The film had a brief theatrical run in 1995. His screenplays have won a Gold (for Succubus Crystal ) and a Bronze (for Faces of Stone ) at WorldFest Houston. WorldFest also awarded him a Gold for the music video, Women Are Smarter , and a Silver for the 35mm short, Ink on Paper . A 35mm feature he produced for another Houston filmmaker, The Trust , won a Special Mention. He works regularly in the field of Corporate/Industrial video as a Writer/Producer/Director. His clients include: Shell, Service Corporation International, The Texas Young Lawyers Association, Total Video, and Hoefler Associates. His recent work includes several short subjects: More Than Two Dollars (HD24P), God Thinks You're a Loser (35mm), Little Beauties (35mm), A Few Letters Off (DV), and pilot episodes for two half-hour TV series: From Nowheresville (DV) and Mama Icy's House (Beta SP). He is comfortable with the new HD format, having helmed HD: Houston Downtown for Total Video. Venturing into new territory, Chason started 2002 as Director of Photography for a DV horror short entitled Drain U , which has already received internet distribution. He currently has several feature projects in development. Having always been involved in training actors for motion pictures and television, he has recently begun teaching Directing for Indie U, the training division of Indie Slate Magazine. Indie Slate will publish his first book, Acting for the Real World , later this year.
Gary has a long history as an acting instructor/coach. In fact, he is one of the first (if not THE first) to use video in the acting classroom. He taught classes at his studio in Houston using black and white video as early as 1973. He used scripts from movies he'd worked on as a Casting Director and other scripts he had on hand. He has written a book as well: ACTING FOR THE REAL WORLD, NOTES ON TELEVISION AND MOTION PICTURE ACTING, which has not been published yet. It is only available to students in his classes. He has been a Guest Lecturer for: The American Theater Association's Convention in Toronto; The Texas Educational Association's TheatreFest in San Antonio; and the American Film Institute's Regional Symposium at Rice University. Additionally, Gary has taught at: The Greenhill School and Richland College in Dallas; Third Coast Casting and Brite Lites Studio in Austin; Madjik Entertainment, Media Talent Center, and Academy One in Portland, Oregon; and the Dvorak Studio in Los Angeles. Gary also helped develop the first program in Acting for the Camera at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, which is one of the most acclaimed acting schools in the English-speaking world. During his many professional assignments as a Motion Picture Casting Director he has often been called upon to be a Dialect/Dialog Coach. Among the more noteworthy performers he has tutored are: Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Brooke Shields, C. Thomas Howell, Ann-Margret, and Ryan and Tatum O'Neal.