You really have to work hard to be an actor. You can’t just show up and be handed a job - unless you’re like Chris Pratt or someone. You always have to be working on your craft to get better and get more experience. My dad always tells my sister (who plays sports - though it applies here too) “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. There are only so many jobs, and when you are not working, you should be writing, drawing, doing scene study, dancing, working out, etc - whatever gets your creative juices flowing.
My biggest project was as one of the lead roles in Lifetime’s TV movie Terror In The Woods. It was based on the real-life incident in Wisconsin where 2 young girls tried to sacrifice their friend to Slenderman. I played one of the girls that lured their friend into the woods. Lifetime and the producers trusted 3 girls who weren’t even 13 to play such big and heavy roles. We weren’t background characters or comic relief. We had to go to some really dark places to make sure we captured the tone of the movie.
We had the best director ever, DJ Viola. He was so great working with all of us kids. One of the things he told us - and I think about it all the time - is to really understand the intent behind your lines, don’t just read the lines. I think about that going into every seminar and audition.
One of the best tips I ever got was in a seminar with producer Kate Lacey Kiley and casting director Josh Einsohn: treat every audition as a 2-3 minute show starring YOU. Make the most of it and don’t hold anything back … if you get to go on to the next round, great. If not, you gave it your all.
In addition to acting, I do a lot of dance and choreography. It’s all about telling a story and creating a vision - very much like acting. I also spend a ton of time writing. I must have 20 half-written scripts on my laptop! One day I will actually film one!
Networking Tip: For young actors, social media is a great way to connect with people in your same line of work. There are lots of great singers, dancers, and actors that have really fun Instagram accounts. I’ve met a lot of people through Instagram (or friends of friends) and then I get to meet them in person in LA or NYC so that is really cool. Of course, make sure your parents keep an eye on your account as there are lots of weirdos out there too.
Advice on Cyber Bullying: Always make sure your parents have access to your accounts. I know we are teenagers and already know everything - but our parents want to keep us safe and sometimes they can see signs of trouble before we do. Always tell a parent if something doesn’t look right or feel right.
Ella has lots of great auditions going on,
so follow her for the newest updates!