Contact Channel Magazine

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT with Shane Cortese

Mentoring our Future Showbiz Stars

You may recall in a previous issue I wrote about reality television shows. I felt that although they served a purpose as entertainment, they were not providing the advice and mentoring needed to secure longevity in the industry. In fact they were giving a short term hit and some cases a destructive critique of talent deserved of nurturing.
My friend, long-term band mate and musical director of NZ's Got Talent and I had exactly that conversation on the way to Rotorua for a gig last year. We both felt that while these shows were in a lot of cases unearthing some fantastic talent there was a hole in the market for approaching experienced entertainers on a regular basis for help, affirmation and constructive criticism.
I blew my audition for Nothing Trivial, didn’t prepare enough and went in thinking I had it in the bag without doing the preparatory work demanded of such a role and investment by South Pacific Pictures and NZ On Air. I knew I blew it! Now I’m a big fan of Hugh Jackman. I would love his career – he inspires me. As I sat in the car I thought about what Hugh would have done. If I had his number I would have called him. I begged for another crack with Rachael Lang the series creator and once assured I would get another crack spent every minute I could using skills to ensure I was totally prepared for the “Job Interview” and to prove I was the only one who could play that role. It went OK and now I am about to start filming series three and have signed for a further two. So you see that preparation has been financially very rewarding for me and my family.
Now I’m not putting myself in Hugh’s shoes (he’s taller and considerably richer) but if some young New Zealand Actor had got himself in my situation and had the means to contact me for advice then that could be the difference in getting or losing a part.
My friend and I decided at that point to create ‘The Mentors NZ” a service that offers expert advice to anyone wanting to crack the world of showbiz. We enlisted Milford singer, dancer and actress Tina Cross along with my wife and Dancing With The Stars dancer and choreographer Nerida Cortese and created an online network that allows budding entertainers to become members and tap into our wealth of knowledge.
For a fraction of the cost of what other showbiz advisers may charge, members can ask questions, send videos, MP3's and photos to Tina, Nerida, Mark and myself through our website (
Members will also get to spend one on one time with us in a series of workshops held around the country annually.
We are proud of our industry and the talent in our country. There is no better time to invest in one’s career – or son, daughter or grandchild’s career than now.
From beginners to experienced professionals, there’s always more that you can learn!

For more information go to

by Shane Cortese