FICL

“If you don´t know yourself well, it will be difficult for you to tell someone else´s story”

Friday night. The Assembly Hall in Pancho Lasso Art School was full to the brim. “A great achievement”, said film journalist Jose Fernández Lorenzo.  “Thanks for reminding us that in order to enjoy culture we don’t need to ask anyone for permission, we can just pop in. And if fences are lifted ahead, we’ll knock them down”.
  1. Mum, I want to be an actress.  Cristina Castaño said at age 4. She had had a lot of art at home (her father was a pianist, her mother a singer, her grandad an actor). “I knew exactly what I wanted to do and I’ve always had my family’s support, that has been essential to me”.
  2. Marta Viera says: “Indeed, you can be an actress and also be from Lanzarote. She also felt her calling at a very young age”. Marta Nieto told us her experience: “When I was little I was very shy, I stuttered, everything scared me, but I adored the movies. One day, as a teenager, I went up on a stage and I realised that it was there where I wanted to be all the time. Performing helped me find my place in the world, and also find the best version of myself. It’s a passion as well as a tool for life”
  3. Verónica Echegui was a cheerful girl. She loved organising shows at home, invite kids over, and get everyone dressed up. “I liked putting Latin American soap operas together”, she remembers and laughs. After her first audition, her mother refused to let her go on: “If you still want to do this when you’re older, that’s fine”. “I got no support and that was the biggest favour they ever did to me. Their disapproval made me stronger and gave me wings and the strength to go on. When I was in high school I started working as a waitress to pay for improvisation and acting courses. My mum told me to study a degree and leave that as a hobby. She only began to trust me when I started at the RESAD”. They’re parents, they’re just afraid.

  1. The first time. Marta Nieto really wanted to do it, but was so afraid that she didn’t do her audition at the drama school. “It’s better not to do it than to get rejected by them”, I thought.  An acting teacher she had in high school persuaded her to do the audition. “He really believed in me”. She cannot remember exactly what she said, but she improvised and managed to get in.  “Sometimes you need to get a push: from yourself, from your alter ego, from a friend…”. Cristina Castaño added: “You’re going to get rejected a lot until you meet someone who trusts you. You need to psych yourself up to rise and fall many times”.
  2. You set your own goals. Marta Viera is sure of it: “In my opinion, success is being able to live of what you love doing; sometimes society distorts the concept of success. You set your own goals and your first one might be to do an audition”.
  3. It’s an ongoing learning process. “One of the best things in this job is that you’re always learning, always training”.
  4. Look after yourself well. Verónica Echegui warned: “this job can be destabilising if you don’t mind yourself. You can be all over the place: you live the lives of characters that are sometimes Dantesque, you meet a lot of people and you have to let them go afterwards, it’s a total mess. If you’re not at peace with yourself, and happy, it can be a nightmare. Look after your mind”.
  5. “If you don’t know yourself well, it will be difficult for you to tell someone else’s story. We are story-telling tools, so it is our job to know what we’re made of. Learn about ourselves”.

 

  1. The creative process. The creation of the character. Verónica shares her input: “Most times, when I read about it, I get references and sensations. I often look for someone in real life, YouTube videos, Sálvame, anything, that can help me create. I love this part of the process. I like to improvise. First the body, the physical aspect, the expressions, how the character speaks and thinks. Then, I do improvisations with the character’s relatives: situations that help me experiment trying to find out who that person is. You need to know the type of actor you are. Are you instinctive or mental. I’m a instinctive actress: I begin to understand the character as soon as I start experimenting. An analysis of the script is also important: to know how you’re going to go about it in order to perform in line with the story being told by the film”.
  2. Chauvinism in the film industry. “This is a male-driven society, we have, just like all women in this room, suffered some form of discrimination at some point”, said Cristina. Verónica: “We live in a hetero-patriarchal society. We haven’t addressed this for thousands and thousands of years, it’s about time we do. I think that if we were aware of all the crimes against women that have been committed throughout history, we wouldn’t actually be able to take it”.
  3. How to be an actress when you come from a small place? Marta Viera told us her story: “I studied at the TEA. If you want to do it, do it now. Join a drama club until you can go to a school where you will develop what’s inside you. The truth is that you’ll very likely need to leave the island. A place is a determining factor, but the main determining factor is yourself. Go after what you want to do and what you need”. Cristina also left Galicia and went to Madrid: “When you’re looking for opportunities, they show up”.
  4. Film, TV or theatre? “They have a different set of codes. The way you can feel the audience in theatre is totally different to everything else. Film is magic and doesn’t last long. A group of people who get together to create something that didn’t exist before: a story everyone ends up believing in. TV allows a character to develop in the long term and has a different filming pace, more stressful”, said Verónica.

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