"Sometimes, (a) leap of faith is all we need to step out of our comfort zone..." – The star of independent film Bogland tells us about the experience of making the film and her own acting career
Tell us how it all began for you.
I've always wanted to act, however, wanting to do something and actually doing it are completely different things. I was studying abroad, at the University of Missouri in the United States, where the theatre department were holding auditions for Pride And Prejudice. Having had no prior acting experience, I took the jump and auditioned with one hundred theatre students – I got the part of Lydia Bennet. Subsequently, I was assigned the role of assistant vocal coach within the play. To further my experience with coaching and speaking I ventured into online TV presenting upon my return to Lancaster University. Sometimes, that leap of faith is all we need to step out of our comfort zone.
How and why did you choose to get involved with Bogland?
For any actor, the process is always an audtion. I tirelessly searched for auditions within my locality, and came across Bogland. As a young actor starting out, it's important to choose projects that genuinely interest you, otherwise that passion for the project will not translate onto the screen. Being in Bogland gave me the perfect opportunity to showcase what I had to offer as an actor; the chance to portray someone who was striving to maintain the balance between domestic and social normality against a criminal underworld.
Tell us more about your character...
Amongst all the bloodshed and criminal dealings in Bogland, Andrea Connelly serves as an archetype of normality. We have a young girl who's torn between the criminal activities of her dying father and psychotic brother, yet strives to maintain the balance between good and bad in a highly domestic setting. She is the moral focal point of the film, which serves as her connection with the viewers.
How did you approach playing Andrea Connelly?
Before you can approach a character, you need to understand the character. Every actor has their own method; I tend to envisage, or more simply, imagine, what's happening to that character in that situation. Doing this gives you a certain type of perspective so that you can see their life from the outside looking in. Once you've done that, you can then place yourself within their situation. Upon first impressions, Andrea didn't seem like a major character in the film; however, as filming progressed, the significance of Andrea became more apparent to me, thus, reminding me of the power of empathy in any portrayal.
What was director David Harkin like to work with?
David is a real team player. The success of any project depends on the strength of a team. While David was overseeing and essentially directing what happened on set, our input as a team was important and that was something David appreciated and integrated on set.
What was the atmosphere like on location?
Contrary to the tone of the film, the atmosphere on location was very positive. It is important to take into account that Bogland was filmed with little to no budget; however, that was a factor that never concerned us. With limited means, we became more resourceful, and more dependent on one another to work together as a creative unit, while at the same time fostering friendships in a situation where we were all working towards a project together.
How, in general, was the experience of making Bogland for you?
Making Bogland served as a raw introduction into the world of independent film making. When you can make a film on no budget, you learn that it's the common goal of the team that will get you to the finish line.
What's next for you?
I hope to hone in on the skills I've learnt from theatre and film acting at the Rose Bruford College Of Theatre And Performance in London. For now, it's finding the right role that will stir my interest but most importantly, ignite my passion as a performer. An actor never stops learning; it's all about the doing and it's all about the practise.
To read our review of Bogland (part of a larger review) click here.