I met Andi a few months ago while shooting "Taking Back Tuesday," a club night run by Emo Night LA. She was introduced to me along with a whole bunch of friends that I'm sure you'll meet at some point in this series' existence.
On the actual first night of meeting her, we ended up hanging out after I was done photographing, and we got some Mexican food and chilled at her place for a few. I got to learn more about her and realized she was hella cool.
Yeah, I said "hella."
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and she asked if I'm down to take some photos of her where she said:
I'm down to do it as an almost editorial shoot, as if you were interviewing me. aside from that, throw in a couple of solid close ups, headshot-esque, fashion-esque... I'd be entirely thrilled.
I figured this might as well be a good excuse to do another 5 questions. Once the photo taking was finished, we grabbed a drink and sat down at 82, where we had an alcohol-laced interview about the writer turned actor. So here goes!
G: You dabble in both acting and writing. How many screenplays have you written?
A: I currently have four or so scripts in development. I completed my first one when I was 18, which has never seen the light of day because I didn't want it to. I just needed to get that one, completed, 110 page screenplay under my belt. But at the moment, I’ve been working on the first script that will officially make it on to a screen, entitled "Katharsis." My team and I are in the earliest stages of pre-production right now, just recently established the project's production company, Fourth Take Films, LLC. I dig slice-of-life films, but my personal favorite is "Rift". It's a pretty big budget dystopian, sci-fi [screenplay], a lot of fun to write - "Hunger Games" meets "Death Proof" meets "28 Days Later." I'm really stoked about it, but I'm not rushing it because it IS such a big budget project. So, I have this slice-of-life film, "Katharsis" first. Then I'll follow it up with a thriller I've been working on called "Bishop," then I'd like to follow that up with "Rift."
G: We met at Emo Night, so I can assume music is a big part if your creative process and even inspiration. What role does it play for you?
A: Oh, music heavily influences my creative process. Typically when I write, I listen to a lot of jazz. I'm a huge Coltrane fan, I can't help it. Coltrane forever. As far as "Katharsis" goes, there are a couple of LA artists that I'd really like to approach for some home-grown collaboration. One of the opening scenes is actually based on a local musician that inspired me years ago. I'd love to see if she would want to hop on the project and write some original stuff for the film. Music is a huge part of my life. If I wasn't an actor or a writer, I'd probably be doing my damnedest to be a rockstar.
G: How hard is it to transition from writing to acting?
A: It depends on if you did or didn't write the role you're in. It can be hard for me to turn off that bird's-eye perspective when I'm in a scene, because as a writer, my natural tendency is to see the big picture rather than just "that moment." That was the note I got most often when I went to AMDA [The American Musical and Dramatic Academy] up in New York. My acting coach always said, “You tend to see the scene as a director rather than an actor.” So, it can admittedly be a little difficult at times for me to separate the two. When I'm in a role that I didn't write, it's obviously going to be different. I think a writer initially sees the world through a transparent lens, and THEN puts their own on top of it and spits it back out. As an actor, I don't feel like that's your job. Take the dialogue. Take the backstory. Take the character. As written. Then let all that flow through you rather than applying another filter to it.
G: So... what was your first published writing gig... and your first acting gig... and where can I find them?
A: Haha! Well if you can find this little paper from my hometown in Texas called The Highlands Star, you'll find a poem that I wrote when I was 9 about me and my dad in the woods. I grew up pretty rurally, hunting and all that stuff. Very Texas. So that was my first "published" work.
As far as acting goes, the first time you could see me on screen was when I was 17 on the show "Friday Night Lights" in the first season. I was an extra. I was sitting in the main office with some of the main characters, wearing this green super-tight sweater vest thing. I think it's on Netflix now, so you could probably sloooowly scroll through it and find me on there.
G: One of your friends looking to start writing or acting, what would be your words of wisdom?
A: Don't stop. It's one of the hardest industries to break into because it's so sought after. Eventually, if you keep pushing against that wall it should break; and if it doesn't, start producing your own stuff. If you're not seeing the roles or the stories that you want to be a part of, make it happen. I'm a little old school, I'll admit. I don't have much of a web presence or Internet persona. I don't judge or knock anyone who's chosen that path; finding success through YouTube or social media has some killer benefits. If that's your thing, do it. Make it work for you. But at the moment, I'm not really pushing the social media strategy to get my projects up and running. Like Twitter. I'm not on Twitter. I've never tweeted, I don't really want to "tweet". I'm on Instagram and that's enough for me. I'm not that great at self-promotion, and I think that goes hand in hand in my "old school" tendencies. I kinda miss the Golden Age of Hollywood in that respect.
For more about Andi, check out her website and imdb page!