"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Am I?

I'm your waitress! And I have a dream!

An awfully nice young man I worked with on a short last year emailed me a bunch of questions for one of his classes he was taking. Not too many people ask us struggling actresses these questions; they assume we're all ditzy and trying to capitalize on our looks like we have all throughout life, but truth be told, I was quite the ugly duckling with a terribly awkward adolescent phase. At any rate, here's a few questions I thought were fun enough to put up here.

Name: Elle

Age: oh, let's say 22-32. To keep in with the Hollywood "younger is better" mentality.

How long you've been acting: Since I was 12 years old in "Annie."

What was your inspiration or gravitating force to become an actor? Truth be told, I was a middle child starving for attention. Getting good grades and praise from teachers was nice and all, but oh, man! When on stage! Everyone is watching! Everyone is watching ME! But I very quickly realized, at 13, that I could could affect people. I could make people laugh, and I could also make people cry. This was IT. I wanted to affect people.

What’s your favorite aspect of acting? Affecting people! But actors are seldom one trick ponies; we are all very creative individuals, and I am also a fairly decent writer. In college, I and two other friends [One of them keeps a blog too!] created a theatre piece where we wrote, produced and directed a cast of 27 women. Two of my pieces made the audience cry every single night. And that was incredibly powerful to see. And I remember at the end, during one of our Q&A sessions, a lady in the audience asked us "What else would you like us to take away from your show tonight?" And I immediately knew the answer: "Take all the pain, all the hurt, and turn it into something beautiful." [I should also mention that we took all the money we made from the show and donated it to a women and children's shelter] Writing and acting is therapy for the audience. I love that. If you suspend your disbelief, I will make you remember what it is to feel.

How long have you been pursing acting in L.A? Since 2002! But I've done a lot of things "the wrong way." It's a learning process.

What, if any, strategies have you taken towards professional development? Aw heck, well, the last was creating an all-female production company, and having the feature film I co-wrote and starred as the antagonist in, get distribution both here and internationally.[I should mention my partner deserves all the kudos for that] You can netflix me! I think it's very important for actors to keep creating, and pursuing other aspects of being a creative individual. If you don't, you die. I'm also the writer of thestrugglingactress.blogspot.com where I can air my frustrations and accomplishments out into the ether.

What goals do you have for your acting career? Gosh, I'd love to be on a series. Not the lead guy, but strong supporting. Like Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother. And I'd love to make enough money to buy a house in LA.

Any advice for people pursuing acting in this town? Yes! Don't be one of those people who say they're only gonna give it two years. They say that because they don't really want to act in the first place. They'd rather do choice 2 anyways, so if there's no fire to pursue acting for the rest of your life, no matter how unsuccessful you are get out now. And take classes! They're great networking tools and it helps to make friends who also have to go through the same steps you do. It's hard to find comraderie with people who have 9-5s. There is no "mail room" for actors to start in. There's no manual on how to "make it." And making it is defined differently by everyone anyway.
If one has just moved to LA, I would suggest taking a class at http://www.dot2dotworkshops.com where all the very basics are defined, saving you three years and thousands of dollars in life lessons.
Also, the Maple Counseling Center http://www.tmcc.org/ offers therapy on a sliding scale based on your income. I highly reccomend it for anyone who is going into an industry they know nothing about, who moved miles away from their families, and are scared and lonely.
And one last thing for those who are pursuing acting: Find another creative outlet in addition to acting. Develop your writing. Develop your art. Develop your music. Make sure you have something else to create while acting jobs are slow and far between. It'll keep you from going crazy.

1 comment:

  1. a) such amazing insights! b) thanks for the blog plug, I love you too, c) I love that you used the word "ether."

    d) I think I got a writing job you were supposed to get. :(


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