-Growing up in Los Angeles where Hollywood is located probably had a lot to do with my initial interest in the entertainment business. Although my family was not working in the industry, many of the parents of my friends in school were involved and worked at the studios. Both my parents shared an inherent interest in film and TV and the ever-changing technology that brought it to us. I not only enjoyed going to films regularly with them as a child, but started in ballet and drama classes as early as age three. I had a genuine passion for it and continued to study theater with my other coursework growing up. I even toyed with the idea of following it as a serious career in university, but the sustainability of it and the difficulty getting a foothold in Hollywood made me go a more traditional route.
-Having always had a love of travel as well, I looked for a break from my studies and became a flight attendant after graduation from UCLA. What I assumed would only be a temporary diversion, became a thoroughly enjoyable love affair with the career for many years. Unusual, for sure, especially in Hollywood, but I made a radical decision in mid-life to go back to my first passion for acting and entertainment. I followed my heart and, coupled with a lot of hard work over the next few years, I ended up writing, directing and acting in my own feature film THE REMAKE.
-Although the studio system of having contract players had died out by the time I was growing up, I still idolized many of the stars of older film and film and TV. I idolized the likes of both Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn and the gutsy, sometimes quirky roles they were allowed to play like Holly-go-Lightly in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and Tracy Lord in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. I was also totally enthralled with the musical comedies of the time and talents of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly. I wanted to be these people up on that big screen in the darkened theatre.
-As in most professions, there are techniques we can learn to do a better job. Unlike some careers, however, there is no one course of study that can prepare you to be an artist. The film and TV medium is an ever-changing kaleidoscope, not just with the technology, but the differences filter down to every level of the business including to the style of acting. What was once served up as “good acting” on the big screen would be considered over-acting today to the point of being comical. With the technological advances, small facial expressions can become an overstatement of an event and distracting where they were once the norm.
I believe the learning starts with a burning desire to follow your heart into the arts and then becomes an ongoing process of trial and error study that is continually in flux. For acting, because we don’t always do it on a daily basis and have large gaps between productions, one should constantly take classes to hone your skills and find new ways to reach the audience. In other areas like writing, once you have learned technique, the best course of study is life and writing every chance you get.
-I doubt anyone in the arts is every truly sated to the point where they feel they want to stop creating. The desire to connect with others through our art becomes an almost necessity on a continuum. To be able to reach audiences with our work outside our own sphere of influence would be a gift. Knowing you could communicate to others through art when we don’t even speak the same language somehow transcends our differences.
-About gender in Hollywood, there are challenges absolutely…Just as the recent announcement of the films that will be honored at the Academy Awards this year do not include women directors in the best Oscar category, women in all areas of film are still limited. It is this limitation throughout the film industry, not that they are necessarily being overlooked for awards, that is at issue. If more women found encouragement to direct or work in other capacities in the industry there would be better percentages of films by and for women available to choose from. Also, as an actress, the industry has a tendency to create a more diverse roles for men than women, especially those over 35 or 40. It is being addressed, but is only slowly changing.
-The abundance of opportunities has certainly grown exponentially over the past few years with the advent of independent filmmaking and accessibility to streaming. The studios, in essence, are focusing more and more on the big tent-pole films where they can take advantage of the huge marketing advantages they have already in place. Unfortunately, as usually happens when the gates are finally opened to allow independents into the arena, there has also been an enormous response with everyone wanting to get in on the opportunities. Initially the quality has sometimes suffered. Eventually, I believe, it will even out and the audience will be the ones to truly benefit from the changes.
In the meantime, here are a couple of ‘teaser reels’ of two future projects: