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Karen Sheperd to Launch Web Site for Martial Arts Actors by Edward Pollard

HOLLYWOOD—Anyone who has his finger on the pulse of pop culture will tell you the martial arts are hot, especially in the film and video-game genres. Despite the explosion, talented martial artists interested in breaking into show business still face huge hurdles. To assist them, Black Belt Hall of Fame member and actress Karen Sheperd has created the Martial Arts Players Directory, a Web site set to launch July 28, 2006 in conjunction with Black Belt's 2nd Annual Festival of Mar tial Ar ts.

Sheperd predicts that the site will quickly become the most respected resource for martial artists looking to link up with casting directors in need of stars for film, television, theater, commercials and special events.

Sheperd is well-suited for the task.

Karen Sheperd

As a martial artist with a plethora of acting and stunt jobs to her credit, she can draw on her experience, as well as her frustrations and the solutions she devised to overcome them. "I've done it the hard way, and hopefully this will make it easier for up-and-coming martial arts performers to be seen," she says. "And you have to be seen to get a job. There's plenty of work; it's just a matter of bridging the information gap."

Numerous directories for actors and stunt people exist, but none is dedicated to the martial arts, she says. "Yet being listed is extremely important; it's an absolute must for a career in the entertainment business."

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