One thing former Hudsonite actress Lisa Summerscales stresses is that actors don't necessarily have to wait tables in between jobs, the stereotypical image of the artisan before his or her big break.
"You don't have to start as a waitress," Summerscales said. "There is a lot to do in the industry while you are starting to your career that can help move your career forward. If you can't carry a martini to a table without spilling, never fear -- you can do 100 other jobs within the field you love."
Summerscales, who now lives in Hollywood, has been acting for 15 years, has done both acting and behind the scenes work in the theater and film industry.
"Everyday I am working on booking the next role, working on the roles I currently have and staying informed on the world around me," she said. "I also work as an executive assistant so I am lucky in that I have learned a lot about what goes into a production. I get to be around a lot of actors and learn from them. There is a lot to be learned behind the camera that can make your performance in front of the camera that much better."
For details on Summerscales and her work, visit www.lsummerscales.com.
How would you define your job?
Most of the time I am auditioning and the rest of the time I am acting.
Is this your full-time or "day" job?
Acting is my full-time job.
How did you get your start in this position?
Hard work and persistence. The idea of being in the right place at the right time is very true, but it is being prepared for when you are in that place and building relationships. There really isn't any stability in this industry except for working with people that know and love your work and will recommend you to others. While I was in college I was very involved with the film, theater, and visual communication schools I worked as much as possibly could with those schools and continued those relationships when I got to LA. I still work with some of the same people here and there, but a lot of the auditions I get are because I worked with someone previously who enjoyed the experience and recommended me.
What is your most impressive career moment so far?
Booking the lead in "Ritual" has been one of my most exciting moments in my career yet. Also [in 2011] my production company and I won Best in Theater at the Hollywood Fringe Fesitval and that was a real win!
What kind of training do you need to do this job?
This question is completely debateable and everyone's path is different but I wouldn't trade my BFA for the world. My years at Ohio University molded me into the actress I am today. It really all depends on what kind of acting you are interested. My focus was in Meisner and Micahel Chekov, out here in Los Angeles I have studied at The Groundling's School of Comedy to start focusing on comedy and improv. Your training never really ends.
What do you find most rewarding?
There is nothing more rewarding then completely losing yourself in a scene, whether that be in a play or on film. When the audience is truly moved, or touched by my work, there is nothing more exciting than that feeling.
What are some of the more challenging aspects of your craft, and what do you do to overcome them?
One of the most challenging aspects of my craft is getting out of my own way. Believe it or not it is extremely hard not to judge your own work and when you fall into that trap it is impossible to be in the moment of a scene or fully invested in your characters life. When you truly understand your character find the breath of your character, inhabit their body and put your attention on your partner you can truly respond as that character in the moment, and that is gold.
The most challenging aspect of succeeding in this career is persistence and having a tough skin. You hear 'no' a lot but you cannot let it break you. You have to push forward and continue to create. I think the biggest gift I have had to help me over come this challenge is being surrounded by a group of grounded and like-minded people both within and outside my industry. They are really a saving grace.
What experience or experiences most prepared you for this job?
I would have to say my experiences at Ohio University both within the school of theater and outside of my school, both the good and the bad really helped shape who I am as an actor. I was constantly challenged to stretch my limits and face my fears on the stage. One of the most challenging parts of the job is allowing myself to drop my walls and experience the pain and struggle of another human life. To go there you have to deal with your own personal battles. Although these roles are so exciting and thrilling, I have been focusing on comedy a lot more lately. You still have to go to some dark places but you can always put a positive spin on it. It then makes it fun to laugh at the challenges life throws you.
What would your dream come true be, in regards to this job?
My dream come true would be to completely be supporting myself and my family on acting alone. Right now I have my sights set on becoming a member of The Groundlings but beyond that to be a season regular or at least host Saturday Night Live, have a series regular role in an HBO or Showtime caliber TV show would be amazing. I would love to be in Sundance calibar films and beyond, of course I'd love to win an Oscar! Most of all I want to be able to create fantastic characters that people relate to. If I could have be half the comedian that Melissa McCarthy or Kristin Wiig is I would be thrilled. There is so much I want to and plan on acheiving in this industry. Beyond the career I plan on owning a dog two kids and probably a white picket fence. Oh, and my husband will be tall dark and handsome.