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MULTIMEDIA PROJECTS OFFER ACTORS A NEW STAGE

USA Today LogoActress Beata Pozniak is used to roles in big projects. She was Lee Harvey Oswald's wife in the film JFK and will appear this fall as a semi-regular on Fox's Melrose Place. But the toughest acting challenge of her career is about to hit store shelves the Electronic Arts CD-ROM game Psychic Detective (for 3DO, $59.95; due for PC in November). She says the script was more than 500 pages: "A regular script is 120 pages. It made War and Peace look like a poem. It's because you have 10 to 20 different variations to each scene."

CD-ROM roles may be a challenge, but they're creating a boom in multimedia opportunities for the ever-hungry legion of Hollywood actors. Donna Massetti, a talent agent, just cast several actors in the upcoming CD-ROM production Star Trek: Klingon.

Beata as LianaA HIGH TECH TALENT: Actress Beata Pozniak plays Laina, (photo), in "Psychic Detective," an interactive CD-ROM game in which the player can put a character through a variety of emotions. A scene from the game, one of several multimedia projects using actors.

 

She says multimedia is a "huge, growing business for actors. The superhighway is going to be tremendous and so the opportunities for actors are going to be huge."

Screen Actors Guild spokesman Harry Medved agrees. "In the last two years alone, the guild has signed up over 1,256 producers who are creating over 200 interactive multimedia productions," Medved says.

"The interactive mavens are always looking for some way to bring a big screen feel to your computer and you can't accomplish that if you're going to have cousin Bernie from the mail room doing voice over."

In Detective, Pozniak plays Laina, who lures a psychic into a hunt for four devices developed by the Soviets to enhance paranormal powers.

Although there was a lot of ground to cover, Pozniak found the work exciting "The player can have my character become sweet, innocent, naive or sexy, whereas in a feature film, the actor has to remain true to their character. In a CD-ROM, - there's a huge range of emotions and possibilities."

Interactive acting has another difference: "You look directly into the lens of the camera, because the player is your partner. You would never do that in a feature film. I actually kiss the camera lens, so the viewer thinks I'm kissing him or her. If I'm angry, I slap the camera"

Not all actors are entranced by multimedia's opportunities. Tim Ryan, 37, a veteran actor starring in the play Ad Wars in Los Angeles, places CD-ROM production several steps down the prestige food chain: "It's like an industrial production or one of those VD things for the Army. People want to be a movie star," he says. "If they can't do that, try for TV, then consider a couple of commercials until they get their break."

"If someone wants to feel like they're in show business by saying, 'Yeah, we sold 1,000 units,' well, OK."

USA TODAY, Bruce Haring. Photo: Electronic Arts Media

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