I would recommend to any artist that you find a collective of like-minded artists you can create with.
Influence of Technology
I think the biggest change the internet has brought about is that storytellers of have more direct paths to their audience.
You can publish your own book, post your own web series or distribute your own film.
You can also create the material more easily.
You can shoot something on an iPhone, edit it on a mac and release it that day.
This is a pretty great thing as a content creator!
The downside is that as an audience member, how do you chose from all of the available content online?!
It’s brought about pros and cons.
I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is this - as artists, our happiness and creative fulfillment are our responsibility.
Don’t wait for anyone to make things happen for you.
If you put your success in the hands of an agent, a manager, a casting director, a producer, a network, a studio, a financier, or any other person in our line of work you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
This business doesn’t exist to serve us as artists; our job is to tell great stories and no one needs to give us a platform to do that.
When you’re busy making work for yourself, all of those aforementioned people can do their jobs better; when the time & role are right, they’ll hire you.
In what ways do you challenge yourself as an artist?
This changes over the years. Right now, I say “yes” to projects that scare me at least a little bit.
By that, I mean I’m looking for roles that don’t have a lot of crossover with my own life experience.
Honey, for instance, is wildly different from me.
I learn a lot from those kinds of roles.
I’m really excited for this movie to come out!
It’s a romantic comedy that I shot in Virginia with some actors who have become very dear friends.
I play Jesse, a young atheist who’s going through a divorce.
She moves to a small town to care for her ex-mother-in-law and gets more than she bargained for when she falls for the local pastor.
Photo by - Dana Patrick
I adored playing this role; she’s funny, complicated, confused and even a little cocky.
I learned so much from this character and it was a special experience.
I also got to work with my best friend Erin Muroski, who plays my character’s rival.
There are hilarious scenes in this movie where she’s extremely mean to me and we had a blast trying to do those with straight faces.
There are so many challenges in this business that I almost don’t know where to start.
I guess the most important thing is to take good care of yourself, so you’re ready when challenges (inevitably) hit.
I’ve been tested emotionally, physically, financially and mentally.
I’ll bullet point some core ways that I’ve handled each category:
Emotionally, I take care of myself by having a great support network of friends and family. My learning curve here was how to let go of fair-weather friends. That took me years to understand.
Physically, I eat healthfully & workout daily. I used to not do this at all! I ate junk food and didn’t really care for working out. That’s changed dramatically in the last seven years. I currently do Bar Method, yoga and Zumba. I eat as healthfully as I can. Both help keep my energy up for long work hours.
Financially, I lived on very little during the hardest years & worked as many day jobs as I had to. Now that I’m on a network show, I’m careful with money because I’ve seen friends spend pretty freely, then have their show suddenly cancelled.
Mentally, I make sure that acting is not my entire life. Having a full world outside of my career keeps me balanced. My family, friends, hobbies and upcoming marriage are all as important to me as work is. I don’t get too sucked into the highs & lows of the entertainment industry anymore.
How do you prepare for a role?
Each role is different, but I usually start by going through the material like a detective.
I pull every piece of information the writer has offered and I put memories to it.
Photo by - Dana Patrick
I make some choices about the relationships.
It can be as big as where I first met my significant other or as small as what kind of coffee I like.
I like to create as full of a person as I can, given the time I’m allotted to prepare.
The lines come pretty easily after that, because everything has meaning behind it.
When I show up to work, I trust that the backstory is there and I kind of let it all go.
I listen to my scene partner and we find the truth of the scenes together with our director.
I am a life-long student and one of the great things about acting is that almost anything you study serves you.
My formal training is from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts & the British American Drama Academy.
I live in Los Angeles and there are tons of acting studios out here.