Author: hollywoodimmersive

A Few Minutes with Dr. Susie Stevenson

From the moment we met Dr. Susie in 2017, we knew she was a tour de force as an artist and a human being.  She’s a real doctor, has a love of life, people and her craft.  In the midst of traveling the world to help others, she never loses sight of acting and continues her training and shooting projects.  She will be seen in the 2019 release of the feature film “How Do You Know Chris”.  Whether it be saving lives, working on her ranch tending to her horses, camels and many, many other animals, or learning her lines, Dr. Susie remains focused on her goals.  We sat down with her recently and asked her how she got her start and what keeps her going.  




You are affectionately referred to as Dr. Susie, even though you came to Hollywood Immersive as an actor. But youre a real doctor. Waitwhat?  How did you make the decision to come to Los Angeles to follow your acting dreams?


Yes, most people know me as Dr. Susie and I am a REAL doctor, but a very bad one…so, I have decided to stop burying my mistakes and become a REAL actor. Seriously though, I have wanted to be an actor since I was little.  My parents had often been pulled aside and told “get her into the movies” or “she needs to be on the stage.”   They would smile politely and completely ignore the suggestions.  The TWO things I was not “allowed” to do were “be an Actor or join the Military”.  Needless to say I have dabbled in both and even managed to nail down a successful medical career. The decision to go to LA to follow my dream was easy because of Hollywood Immersive. Simple as that. Can’t recommend the program enough.


Back in Australia, you live on a farm with exponentially more wildlife than humans. Can you tell us about your critters, your love for horses and camels, and how you juggle that life with your professional life as actor and doctor?


I am lucky enough to have 5 horses, 3 camels and a menagerie of other animals to play with on a regular basis.  Horses and camels are my favourites.  Both are in my blood.  I am a direct descendant of the Australian-Irish explorer, John King who was the sole survivor of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition in 1861.  My animals are intrinsically part of my life so it is never a matter of juggling things.  The silent language of the equine world feeds my soul, continues to teach me life lessons, unconditional acceptance, patience and above all, hope.  As my friend and mentor, Buck Brannaman says, “Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.”  Camel psychology is a completely different ball game.  This is especially the case with wild camels from the Outback that you are trying to domesticate.  But if you earn the trust of a camel, you have a friend for life.



 You wouldnt be described as dainty. You dont take <censored> from anyone, and you are a straight shooter.  You also have an amazingly wicked sense of humor.  You know exactly who you are and youre unfiltered and unapologetic about it.  Who or what inspired you to be the person that you are?



No, I definitely wouldn’t be described as dainty.  I’m about as dainty as a Great White Shark! I am a straighter shooter when I need to be, and born without a fully functioning oral filter. However, I think it is important to be kind and I always try to make an effort to learn about what makes people tick and what you may have in common. Everyone has a story to tell and sometimes you have to make an extra effort to hear it.

A good sense of humour is a necessary weapon in life.  You can dilute a lot of situations with well directed humour.  It is the great leveler.

I was blessed with a loving but isolated and lonely childhood which allowed me to develop an overactive imagination.  I have never lost that, despite becoming an adult.  I think one of the best tools you can have as an actor is an unbridled imagination and the courage to use it.  I am inspired by people and animals who never give up despite all odds.  Everyday heroes.  They are all around us if we just take the time to look.


You recently filmed a movie in Australia entitled How Do You Know Chris?”  Tell me about the experience of filming and what landing a role in this movie means to you.


Landing the role of “Amanda Black” in the recently filmed “How Do You Know Chris?” was made possible because of Hollywood Immersive.  Lilly Dawson suggested I complete a self-tape and send it to the Director, Ash Harris.  He liked what he saw and the next thing I knew, I was flying over to Melbourne for an audition.  Got the role and then flew back over a few months ago for filming.  My first feature film!! What an amazing opportunity. I was so honoured to be part of the project and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  Wonderful cast and crew.  I loved exploring the depths of my character, Amanda, and found we are quite similar in a lot of ways.  This made it both easier and more challenging. I embraced the new experiences though. I am a devoted, committed and passionate actor.  I will go above and beyond to better myself and further my acting career.  Being in “How Do You Know Chris” has made me thirsty for more film work.  I am excited about the future.

Dr Susie on the set of “How Do You Know Chris?”

What advice would you give to older actors trying to create or continue their careers later on in life? And then, what advice would you give to young actors starting out?


The advice that I would give to older actors trying to create or continue their careers later in life is the same as I would give to young actors starting out.  Don’t give up.  I can guarantee it will be hard sometimes.  You will need to have a good day job and grow a thick skin because you will inevitably have rejections.  Have a rock solid work ethic of completing something you say you will do.  Be polite to EVERYONE on set, no matter what their role is. You are part of a team. Practice good self-care, don’t ever turn up on set being hung over (something I have seen many a young actor do to the detriment of their career).  Learn people’s names and always be on time.  KNOW your character inside and out but don’t be married to your “version” of it because you may not have thought of all the possibilities!  Have stamina and never complain if you have to shoot through the night or film in a situation that is outside your comfort zone. Being an actor can be exhausting, both physically and mentally but it is SO worth it in the end. If it wasn’t difficult, everyone would do it.  That’s what makes it worth it.  Always embrace the opportunity to keep learning your craft. Make bold choices and realize it is not just OK to make mistakes but necessary for growth. Be flexible, conscientious and take educated risks. Take your job seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously.


You have traveled internationally for your medical work. Tasmania, Chile, Antarctica.  Can you tell us about that?  Do you mind that we spread the word that you are a do-gooder!


I have travelled extensively with my medical work but I wouldn’t say I’m a “do-gooder”! I just love meeting different people and immersing myself into divergent cultures.  The wonderful thing about medicine is that it doesn’t matter where in the world you are from, we are all the same.  I don’t care what your background is, you are my patient and that is all there is to it. I try to be non-judgemental and there is not much in the world that I haven’t seen or experienced.  I often have the chance to use my medical skills on my animal companions as well.  No matter where I travel to, I also seem to find a sick horse, cat or dog that needs help.


 You have a great attitude and outlook on life. Certainly there must be things that get you down.  How do you deal with setbacks?


Cruelty to any living thing is something I find disheartening.  It always gets me down but I am never one to sit back and watch.  As Albert Einstein said “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”. I can reach a whole other level of crazy when it comes to protecting those less fortunate, especially animals.

I have learnt to have a great attitude and outlook on life. I know first hand how precious life is. I embrace setbacks because they make me reassess a situation.  I get up and literally or figuratively (depending on the situation) dust myself off, grit my teeth and keep going. Life ain’t a dress rehearsal.  It is right NOW.  Learn to think outside the box and remember, it is sometimes easier to get forgiveness than permission


What is next for Dr. Susie? More movies?  Doctoring? 


What’s next for me? I would give up medicine in a heartbeat to do more acting. I have given doctoring enough years. Saying that though, a lot of my acting tools come from being a Doc for so long.  There is nothing more of an incentive to learn to “act like you have everything under control” during a resuscitation when all the while you know that the patient is “circling the drain” and all the family have their eyes on you.  The last thing they need to see on your face is defeat.  Even when you know the chance of bringing them back is slim, you must never show you have lost hope.  My raw stubbornness has actually managed to save lives.  There is no feeling on this earth that compares with the feeling of having been involved in saving a life.  It keeps you grounded and so very aware of how privileged one is to have the capacity to help people. It is an honour I will never take for granted.


More movies are definitely on the cards.  I want to work with Viggo Mortensen, who I deeply admire as a human being. He is what I would call a life artist.  He is not only a brilliant actor but an accomplished poet, painter, photographer, producer, author and musician.  He is also one of the most humble people you could ever meet.  He is an intuitive horseman and one of his quotes always resonates with me…”One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master.  He told me to go slow to go fast.  I think that applies to everything in life.  We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”  Wise words.


5 minutes with Ashleigh Watson

We were so happy to catch up with Ash Watson who joined Hollywood Immersive in 2013.  Ash fondly remembers her HI experience and the lessons she took with her.  She released her first single, broke out of her comfort zone to reach out to top music producers and continues to network while nurturing her existing contacts.  She is currently taking the next steps in her journey by writing new songs to complete her EP.  We hope you are as inspired as us by this very driven and talented artist. 

Ashleigh Watson is a Retro/Soul singer from Melbourne, Australia.

Ash, you joined us on HI back in 2013 – what did you expect to find on HI and how did things change for you afterwards?

Before I started the Music Immersive program, I thought it was the be all and end all, that it would hand me the keys to the kingdom so to speak, but after it ended I realized that was an unrealistic expectation. What the program DID give me was guidance on how to shape my own journey. It gave me the fundamentals, so that I could go forward knowing who I am and what I want to achieve, and even opportunities to achieve those things which is more than most people ever get.

It was a bit of a slap in the face to realize I had perhaps been naive in thinking my dream was going to be handed to me, but I am so glad I figured it all out now, rather than 20 years down the line and I am so grateful to have been a part of the program, to learn how to take charge of my own destiny, and to have made life long friends because of it.


You worked with some pretty awesome producers when you were last in LA. Tell us about that experience and what is your plan to work with them in the future.

After I finished HI in 2013 I was inspired by the amount of opportunity in LA so I decided to email top producers in the area to see if they’d be willing to work with me. One producer was a connection I made through the program which is great, but the other was someone totally new. The reason I had the gumption to send out these emails was because I had so much confidence in my direction after HI and I knew I had to be bold. The experience was pretty full on. Sometimes they would use terms I hadn’t heard before, but I just stuck to my old mantra… ‘fake it till you make it’ haha. By that I mean, just act confident and you’ll come across confident. You also gain more respect this way.

The producers were both really excited by my voice which felt great. And hearing the finished product for the first time was a once in a lifetime high.

It’s all very fast paced and a little intimidating so you really have to know what you want, and be confident to ask for it.

I would love to work with these producers again but I am also looking into some Aussie guys, to try and cut back on travel costs.

We are still in contact though, and they’re great allies to have.


Tell us about what you have been doing since you have been back in Australia.

Since I’ve been back in Australia, I released the single I recorded in LA which is much more work than you might expect. Organizing PR and a launch party, after filming the video clip of course. It’s a very long process but I was lucky enough to have the song, ‘Little Love’, played on mainstream radio, ABC 774, and other community stations several times. During that time I also did live to air interviews which was so nerve-racking but thrilling. It was cool to have my family and friends listening in. It was a real novelty.

Since the release of ‘Little Love’ was completed, I have been working on a new EP and raising funds for it. I hope to release an Indie-Gogo campaign to help pay for the album later this year.

Ashleigh Watson performing at at Sunset Studios in LA.

Tell us about your administration and what you do to regularly keep in front of the right people?

Keeping in contact with friends in the industry is important so you can keep on their radar. I also meet a lot of new people at gigs and always add them to social media right away. You have to put your ego aside here, and not be afraid of looking ‘too keen’ because that’s how you miss opportunities. I make friends, send them my material and figure out how we might be able to help one another. Helping ONE ANOTHER is also very important. Not just ‘how can they help me?’

Trying to keep my socials up to date is important, and trying to build my following too. It can seem overwhelming so I tend to focus on three key social platforms and share the one post to all three.



I’m currently looking at getting a personal manager to help me get in front of the right people because it’s so hard to know where to start.

I schedule myself a day to read my books on this matter, every week. I’m currently reading a book suggested to me during the HI program which has given me great insight into the management field.

Just making sure I always have a plan is how I like to roll. Otherwise I feel stressed and lost. So at the moment it’s a new EP, and a manager to help me release it, then a film clip and updating my website to keep it fresh, and so on.


If there was one producer you’d like to work with who would that be and why?

Mark Ronson! He was responsible for Amy Winehouse’s success and now that of Lady Gaga. Not only does he know how to release HUGELY successful tracks, but seeing as he’s worked with Amy, he understands my sound and would be able to see my vision for myself. It’s so important to work with people who get you, not just because they’re famous.


You have such a great retro style look and this very much flows through to your music as well. What artists inspire you and why?

The artists that inspire me are Amy Winehouse, Gin Wigmore, Etta James, Imelda May, Paloma Faith and more.

I’ve always wanted to emulate my voice on Etta James. I love her raspy tone.

These more modern singers inspire me because I can hear how they interpret the retro style, and make it fresh and new, which is so important. It also gives me hope that my style of music has a market, which has always worried me. A lot of people have tried to push me into a more modern style of pop for fear of the retro market not taking off, but I feel like everything is coming together at the most perfect time right now, for my style.


What’s coming up for you and when should we expect to see you back in the US?

Next on the agenda is to keep writing my EP tracks, fund the project on Indie-Gogo, which I will put up on my website later this year if anyone is interested in taking a look. Getting myself a manager who can hopefully take me to the next level. I’m ready!

As for the US, I’m not sure where this journey will take me. But I’m open to anything that will help me reach my goal.

HI Stories with Hussain Sadiqi

Lilly recently sat down with our friend, HI acting alum and Wushu World Champion Hussain Sadiqi.  Hussain has been working hard to inspire and educate the young men and women of Afghanistan through his Shaolin School for Kung Fu. Enjoy this inspiring interview from this remarkable man.

Hussain Sadiqi in the Art of Fighting.

Hussain, I have known you now for many years. Whatever you turn your hand to you seem to achieve. You are a world champion in Kung Fu, you have opened a Shaolin School in Afghanistan for young men and women giving them so much joy and hope and you are also doing everything in your power to make sure the people of Afghanistan have a bright future. Where does this drive and determination come from?

My father was a blacksmith, and as a child and teenager I worked in his shop.  Within his tiny small poor shop he taught me to make a sharp, steel knife. You have to put the piece of iron into a very high temperature fire and then hammer it many, many times to turn that iron into steel, and then shave it into a nice sharp knife. My father in his tiny small blacksmith shop, shaped my inner strength and my personality.  In my life I went through many hardships since my childhood and I learned everything the hard way and that’s why I don’t take things for granted.


It’s no secret that you love Bruce Lee – how much has he inspired you to live the life you are living now?

Bruce Lee for sure was one of my great heroes and idols. As a child in the remote mountain area of Afghanistan, just by seeing his picture I entered into the world of Martial Arts. Martial Arts formed my goals and achievements in my life. However later on in my life, I learned that I have to be myself rather than somebody else like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. They are my role models and I admire them, but they are not me.


You joined us on HI right back when we first started in 2010. Tell us what that experience meant to you and what you gained from it?

As Martial Arts set the goals and dreams in my early life, HI opened a new gate of dreams on a greater stage of my life where I could use everything I learned in the past with all my dreams and turn them to reality. I wish I stayed in LA to pursue my acting dreams but there were bigger plans for me.


It’s so inspiring and huge what you are doing for the young men and of course the women of Afghanistan. I can imagine it’s also very risky for you. Can you explain how you feel about this and what it means to you?

This past few years here in Afghanistan were so challenging for me in so many different ways but I stayed and faced all those challenges. It was so hard to deal with many difficulties such as security as the main problem, in which 3 times I was 15 seconds to 1 minute away from the suicide explosion with over 50 people killed in each of them. Here people are very tight with their old culture and in many families girls are not even allowed to study at school. But with hard work and persistence I was successful to make those families send their girls to school to get education, and attend my academy to learn martial arts.

Hussain Sadiqi with the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai talking about plans for the youth of Afghanistan.

What is one piece of advice you would give to young people striving for their dreams today?

Set a goal and a big goal for their future, and work towards it with hard work and persistence and never listen to when people say NO, as NO for me was always Next Opportunity.


What has been the highlight of your life so far?

Firstly, when I was 6 years old one morning I saw other kids we used to play amongst each other and they were wearing their nice clothes with their nice bags and they were ready to go somewhere. I went with them too but with my pyjamas and an old shirt I had on. That day we all went to school and they were enrolling at school with their parents amongst them but I was alone – and when the person who enrolled the kids asked me why I was there I replied, “I want to be in school too.”

So he asked me what my family name was and I said, “I don’t know.” Until that time I didn’t know I had a family name. I told that person my name is just Hussain. That night I asked my father what our family name was.  My father asked me why I am asking about my family name? I replied that I enrolled into a school.

My father just looked at me with silence. Many years later I found out what it meant, that look and silence meant I’ve done the first big, good and unexpected work in my life.

My father was very against my martial arts but he was very supportive of my education.  I actually hid my martial arts training for 6 years from him until I got into the National Team and then he found out. That’s why in 2012 when I won the International Gold medal the first thing I did was call my father and told him that I have become the World Champion. To earn my father’s satisfaction was worth more than the gold medal I got.

Going to L.A with Hollywood Immersive was great for me every moment of it. From the time I was selected to the team, traveling, studying, living and learning and meeting the stars all was magnificent memories and experience in my life. HI opened a new gate of my dreams in the highest acting industry anybody could dream of.

Hussain with his young students in Afghanistan.

What is your ultimate dream for the future? 

I have a few dreams to fulfill:

First, I want to build a school – 2700 meters above the sea level village.
As a small boy from that village who recognize an international level I owe them. Especially when I returned to my village there many kids who came to see me with my posters in their hands and they study in ruins under the sun, I was ashamed.

Secondly, I would love to expand Shaolin School to the National institute of Martial Arts (NIMA) and gather sponsorship to help so all the boys and girls who have a dream in martial arts. Then NIMA could produce the top International martial artists from Afghanistan.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a 19 year old Hussain Sadiqi?

In this case I always remember what my father was telling me to do was to continue my studies and get my degree.

The Impact of Dance with Bessie Kay.

It’s always such a pleasure talking to our friend and alum Bessie Kay.  Bessie is currently the host of Open Homes Australia on Channel 9, she’s a dancer and an entrepreneur with her own creative content company called Created Media. Bessie and I dive into all things dance media, creative endeavours, business and what’s coming up for 2019.  Always such a pleasure!

Bessie Kay on Open Homes Australia on Channel 9.

Bessie you are one of the most energetic people I know. Full of constant creative ideas that just seem to fuel you. You have now opened Created Media in Australia. Tell us all about your new company, what you do, who you work with and what you hope the achieve going forward.

We are a creative agency with a special focus on creating opportunity, exposure and information for dancers. Millions of dollars are spent by brands every year on marketing. Our mission is to align those brands with the entertainment industry directly, opening up the doors for exposure to our talent. The reason our dancers have smaller online profiles in Australia is purely because of our population and a more reserved internet culture. If we can securely align dancers with brands that are big with an active online presence and are global, then the that’s a HUGE thing for our community and very exciting!!


The human brain processes video content 60,000 times faster than text AND video content that involves music or dance is actually 70% more effective to marketers. Our happy place is being able to merge the two worlds of media + dance to create artistic content that benefits all involved. We see it as a win win situation.


We work with exceptional talent within the industry and we have some great plans to be able to more effectively connect that talent to brands who actively invest in marketing.

You joined us on HI way back in 2012 as a host. How did this experience impact you going forward in your career?

It completely impacted my whole world actually. I came to the program unsure of what I wanted. I was working as a fashion designer and dancer and my job in fashion ended abruptly. I went to LA on a whim and did the HI program for some inspiration.


That 1 week in LA showed me the potential for more opportunity than any of the work I had previously done in Australia. I had always been interested in working in front of the camera and had a bit of experience, but it was actually the teaching on branding, self-marketing and the exposure to a very strong industry through industry professionals that lead to me instantly perusing a career in TV and media.


Mind you, looking back now, I’ve seen how ahead of the game HI was. What I was being taught with regard to branding and marketing, only started to take effect in Australia years later! I had no idea how behind the Australian creative industry was compared to the USA.


Hollywood Immersive instantly came across to me as an authentic company, genuinely passionate about helping and connecting creatives. Years later and through having a great relationship with you and the team now, I know more than ever for that to be true.

Thank you for igniting that fire in my belly 😉

Lilly Dawson and Bessie Kay on their first collaboration with Dance Immersive in 2015.

Starting a new business is never a walk in the park. Some people tend to forget that and see someone’s creative baby and try to copy it. We’ve both seem examples of that for both of our respective businesses. What wonderful advice do you have for those people going forward?

These questions really hit home to me Lilly and I’d like to share with you a moment of truth that has shaped me and the decisions that I make in business and life.


Going back quite a few years when I worked as a young dancer in the corporate and commercial dance scenes in Melbourne, I had a brief from a client who wanted a specific looking costume. I enquired about hiring a costume that fitted the bill and in a quick and ‘over excited’ moment, I realized I could make that same costume (or a pretty close version to it). Not only would I save money, but I’d also be able to have the costume for many more jobs moving forward. So, I made the costume. I spent $50 all up, but it cost me a much more valuable lesson.


The unexpected repercussions of my actions and choices came pouring down on me almost instantly! I had copied someone’s costumes design! I was unaware it was a unique design and that was because of my own ignorance of the network I was entering. I was flying forward in an industry, getting some great momentum and then through no fault but my own, I crossed the wrong costume maker.


I saw a creative who was passionate about their product be affected by what I thought was an insignificant action on my behalf. It stopped me in my tracks and that small moment in time has stayed with me through every business decision I’ve made moving forward and has shaped my ‘moral business compass’. I’ve had the experience and I’ve learnt the lesson.


So, I wonder if others out there copying ideas or being ‘inspired by’ people in the same industry have a moral business compass??


Not everything in business needs to be ruthless and through my journey I’ve realized that keeping great and honest relationships in the industry is a much more powerful tool in the long run…. and when it comes to business, isn’t longevity something we all seek?


If I could sum it up I’d say the following:

1. Seek support and connections with businesses run by authentic people.
2. Learn to discern the difference between the real pioneers in the industry and the big businesses who would do anything to make a dollar and stay ahead.
3. For those people out there, who constantly find themselves being shadowed by big players in the industry or if you are subtly but definitely having your ideas copied. Know that you have something special that is standing out enough to have others pay attention to it. If companies, businesses, people or brands are copying you, remember they are only able to achieve a version of what you offer. You hold the REAL DEAL WITHIN YOU and that is your business SUPERPOWER.


You love to give back and make sure young dancers are getting incredible ground-breaking opportunities as we recently saw with our collaboration for Dance Immersive Down Under. What is it that fires inside you that enables you to do this and so many other things around giving back?


Our industry (the dance industry in particular) in Australia is really small compared to other parts of the world. If we don’t have leaders in the field stepping up to nurture the environment of the industry then where does it end up? Where does the work come from? How is the industry sustained within our country?
Sometimes it becomes our role to enable change and growth for the next generation of dancers and for some reason I do feel a strong responsibility to step up. I am very passionate and excited about the potential growth of dance in Australia.


There are actually a few leaders out there who are trying new things and creating new opportunities for dancers and that’s what we need more of. It will lead to more creative productions being made, more world standard dancers being produced, more entertainment within Australia and will spill over into more business and dance schools profiting as well.


I’d like to commend other influential people like Todd Patrick, director of PSA. He’s charging forward in the role of equipping young dancers with business skills. The incredible talent being churned out of his school are dancing exceptionally on a very strong foundation of business knowledge. That is so powerful in today’s climate and most definitely wasn’t taught to our generation of dancers.


Or, Dance Machine Studios for incorporating live internet powered dance classes for their students. These classes are taught by international teachers via internet straight into their classroom in Melbourne. I haven’t seen the class in action yet, but to even give the idea a shot and invest in new the technology is a really positive step.


There are many people doing good out there and it does go back to supporting these ideas instead of people turning their back and eventually copying them anyway. Our industry needs to be cared for and looked after like people would a precious rose garden.

The Dance Immersive Down Under crew featuring our 8 scholarship winners from Australia and some of the biggest names in Dance on the planet!

Tell us all about Dance Immersive Down Under and what should we be looking out for come 2019?


I’m really excited about 2019! Through doing Dance Immersive Down Under and also the original program Dance Immersive LA, I realized the formula to be able to platform and connect a number of dancers annually to the source of the industry. Through the relationships and exposure gained in the program, dancers are more likely to succeed with great careers moving forward.


2019 brings even more connections for our dancers and more exposure. It’s a program that only exists through the support of the industry and has the potential truly put Australian dance on the map.

Thank you for your support with it!


As well as own your own content creative agency you are also the host for Channel 9’s Open Homes Australia. Tell us about what you do on this show and how it inspires you.


I’ve spent the past few years hosting various shows for Channel 9, Channel 9 Life, Channel 7 Two and Foxtel. Most of these shows have been within the home and design sector, which truthfully, I bluffed my way through in the beginning because I had no experience with interior design what so ever! I’m endlessly grateful to my first boss in the industry who took a major chance on me!


As it’s turned out, my experience in design and home knowledge (or lack thereof) is not what kept bringing me the roles. In fact, it was the world of experience I had gained through my years leading up to the job and most importantly my understanding that being AUTHENTIC is what makes someone good at their role.


My job is much more than a being host on a ‘home show’ to me!
It’s an ability to have a voice, It’s my expression, it’s being able to talk to and learn from interesting people. It’s being able to be ME. Flaws and all.
It makes me really happy.


Knowing you as I do… you have BIG plans soooo what’s is your ultimate hosting gig and is it something you are constantly working towards?

Two words….
Dance and Media!
I’d be happy as Larry (which mind you is my father’s name and he’s pretty happy!) if I could share both my passions for TV and the dance industry in one project.

I have constantly created stepping stone after stepping stone to realize that goal and it’s very much a desire of my heart.

5 minutes with Amin Esmaeilipour

We caught up with our friend and alum Amin Esmaeilipour who joined us from Singapore.  Amin is a gifted actor, writer, painter and photographer with a huge amount of potential. We wanted to see how life has changed since we last saw him on HI.

Who is Amin Esmaeilipour? Tell us about yourself.

I am 19 years old; I was born and raised in Singapore. I am of Iranian descent. I am an actor, writer, painter and Photographer.


What drove you from your hometown to come to Los Angeles? You’ve traveled a great distance. What did you expect to find?

Looking back at the beginning in 2015 when I visited Iran for the first time in my life I spent a year and a half studying there. Until that time, I never really thought I would be an actor or a writer let alone both. But one day during my time over there I realized, that I am getting older and by default have more independents and control of my life. I knew I needed to have a purpose, something that made me get up in the morning, see beyond what I thought was possible. So I began to study screenplay writing and went on to write my first screenplay and learning acting through various resources at the time.  Naturally being a teenager very few around me really thought anything about what I was doing amounting to much. But deep down I knew there was more in me, that this ‘purpose’ could unlock doors to places I never knew existed. I thought “why not me?”  When I came back to Singapore from my trip, I had a clear vision of where I wanted to be and worked around the clock getting there, which led me to an almost miraculous opportunity though the HI program to come to Los Angeles. I expected to learn more about myself as well as be pointed in the right direction on how I can prepare myself to be able to make it as an actor and writer.


What are some things that you took with you after the HI program and applied to your career?

The HI program was the beginning of the next stage of my life, it brought with it new habits, new ways at looking at situations, both in my art and in daily life. It also was in a way a celebration for me to make a concrete step to come to the HI program.  Once there it validated the steps I had been taking in my life while adding different dimensions to it. It influenced my career in many ways such as the need to add more content (in my case writing more screenplays and a book), diversifying the acting techniques and the mindset to never stop working on oneself just to name a few.  In general it was a game changer for me as I began to add more structure and discipline to the way I approached my career.


Amin with HI Director Lilly Dawson and Sri Deverakonda.


You came to LA as a newer actor, and you’re also a writer. Has the acting training helped you with your writing in terms of character development, story arcs…etc? Now that you can envision it from the actor’s point of view.

Acting training has immensely helped my writing, especially in understanding of the different logistical requirements that the writer has to take into consider from a production point of view. Obviously each writer has there own philosophy and own style which is why the same characters with the same journey could turn out into two different stories when you give it to two different writer. I traditionally put an emphasis on how I feel, If I don’t laugh, cry or feel the right emotion that audience is suppose to be feeling while writing the scene then I know I need to change it. I still follow this method but I supplement it with the advice I had received that helps me tactically strategies and logically find the best path for the story to follow which definitely helped with the flow of the story stabilizing it nicely to make better sense and easier to follow. So it becomes controlled chaos rather that getting out of hand.


Tell us about your writing process and what you like to write about? What stories do you want to tell?

I generally start with an inkling of an idea that can come out of anywhere. My idea for my first screenplay came up while waiting in the queue at the bank. Afterwards I simply ask myself the question “what if…” and that takes it to an entirely new level of creative freedom; removing all perceived restrictions with different scenarios, points of conflict, relationships…etc.

Writing is daunting and makes me nauseous sometimes. However, it is also magical, wonderful and makes me feel alive. After I have a clear defined outline of the moments I feel are critical to the structure and flow of the story.  I begin work on building around them, sometimes there are ten moments other times twenty – it depends on the story, every screenplay comes out differently depending on what could happen.

While I write, I sometimes go days on end without taking a break. So much so after an intense couple of days of writing, dreams manifest themselves of me in the shoes of the character, in their world doing what they’re suppose to do or sometimes something the complete opposite and that makes me think of another way to tell the story. My favorite part of the process is when I get feedback on a story and have a chance to improve it further, since the input of another person can bring a whole new dimension to the story and an added depth in places I hadn’t even considered.

I don’t have a particular genre. I love writing classic concepts and themes from a new vantage point without losing the magic. I enjoy each story in its own way. I write stories based on what touches me. I want to tell stories that inspire people, while bringing them on a fulfilling journey.


Have you been able to find opportunities in Singapore? How are you tackling roadblocks?

Over the last year since the HI program, knowing where I am and realizing where I want to be has helped turn roadblocks into opportunities to grow. Preparation was key during the early stages. I knew I just had to keep moving forward and continue to improve myself, my acting and my screenplays, I had done that through various acting and writing master classes. I began to create more screenplays, expanding on the screenplays I had already written and branching out to different genres having also finished writing a 200+ page book.


Has your writing style changed as you’ve grown and matured?

I write based on how I feel and what’s happening in the world, the older I get the more I feel that I tend to juggle the different aspects of the story better. There is a clearer, concise and considered approach to the story. I spend more time reviewing my work as I gotten older.  By the time I was 18 I was making sure I read my screenplays at least 15-20 times before I’d consider them finalized in anyway even then I left the door open on changing them if I need to. Now at 19 I make sure to write every day and try to keep the same concentration, attention to detail and intensity in how to story was told as I had when I began writing years ago.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years time from now?

As I think of my goals and dreams, my personal goals and career goals. I see myself working with extraordinary people creating amazing pieces of art through the medium of film and television. Writing new stories and making those stories come to life.

5 minutes with Justin Parker

We first met Justin Parker when he was just 8 years old.  Adam Rotenberg recently caught up with JJ to find out where his journey has taken him over the past 4 years since he joined us on HI and what’s next for this talented young film maker, who will surely be making his mark on the industry!



HI Director Lilly Dawson met you when you were just about 8 years old. She saw something wonderful about you at such a young age.  You flew from Sydney to Melbourne to do an acting workshop on a scholarship.  Tell me what you recall from that experience.

Lilly Dawson, wow, a true mother figure to me in this industry. The unique experience with Lilly was one of those moments that you know would be a defining chapter in your life. One exercise was how to walk the catwalk. I had been exposed to modeling before, however, this was different. I lined up to walk, I took one step and was told to stop. “I don’t believe you.” In short, I tried again and received the same answer. On the 3rd time round, I walked in such a way, it didn’t feel natural however it felt true to me and what I expressed, unknowingly, was confidence, maturity and a clear sense of a destination. Lilly taught me… to walk.


Absolutely Fabulous


You’ve gained a reputation of being mature beyond your years. What would you say to young artists who are just starting out and how to conduct themselves as professionals?

Research, experiment and apply. Confidence in yourself and who YOU are at that point in time carries in itself, maturity. It doesn’t matter if you are changing career or picking up a side job as a bartender. Be interested in it and others will look to you and believe it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what a Manhattan is… go on the internet and install fact and knowledge into your character to deliver a believable performance… even if it’s to your highly intoxicated mother who has kindly offered her time to try your concoctions.


Confidence is key… even when you have no fucking clue what the key is.


Besides acting, you are establishing yourself as a filmmaker in directing. Who are some directors and films that have inspired you?

Well, at the end of the day there is no ONE or COLLECTION of films that define cinema for me. Of course there are influences but storytelling is what drives this fire inside of me. Whether its, directing, cinematography or acting, I start to create a natural uncontrollable hype around the script, characters, relationships, situation, risks etc, adding to a more tangible story for the audience to be invested in.


We are all innate storytellers. There is a reason why some are more interesting that others.


Along with directing you have become very proficient in cinematography. You’re an academic when behind the camera.  You study lenses, and the latest camera technology.   You flew yourself to the United States for a course in the RED camera.  How was your experience?  What did you learn?

Technology is rapidly changing entity, its important to stay up to date in the cheapest and most immersive way possible. Master classes and Academy courses are a fantastic way to dig your fingers into new gear with industry professionals around to pick their brains. I took a chance, gathered some funds and flew to Idaho, USA to experience large format digital cinematography lead by Stills and Motion Picture Cinematographer Ivan Agerton (Blue Planet II). Overall, unforgettable experience, incredible people and high performing cinema cameras.


You own the skill of the craft. The tools do not define your skill


Let’s get real. You are very impatient and you call people out on their B.S.  Do you think that helps or hinders you?

Where did you pull this question from Adam? I sense underlying tones of revenge. Yes. The truth is sometimes the hardest thing to hear or digest although it is sometimes exactly what an idea or situation needs. Of course this can greatly hinder an individual with good philosophies based on their delivery. We are all the same alien on this planet trying to figure shit out. Being mindful about the delivery, composure, audience, situation, risk etc, will greatly alter the outcome. Perhaps in your favor?  Don’t beat around the bush though, address the issue straight up. Be real and logical.


Raw and uncompressed.


Along with film, you have a taste for the finer things such as Porsche automobiles. Tell me about your interest in them, and how that started.

My father has always had a great interest in motorsport. It’s a common interest we share. I asked him one day what his favorite car in the world was, he reply “the Porsche 911”. I never really gave it much though, at the time he owned a 3 series BMW and seemed happy. That same year I shot my first documentary about the E30 BMW M3, “Homologation”, and what I found would change the way I saw the automobiles forever. In short, the E30 BMW M3 was one of the first German production cars to be designed purely for the track and THEN homologated for the road. To this day, Porsche is one of the very few car manufactures that design and create their vehicles in this fashion. Of course these are just luxuries or a hobby, however, after my father finally achieved his dream of owning a Porsche, I can safely say I can understand what it feels what its like to drive a sports car engineered this way… although…he doesn’t know I took it for a spin.


“Attention to detail, my son” – My Father…on a daily basis.


You are constantly busy working on projects. Can we see your work?  What’s next on your agenda?

As I reach the conclusion of my 5 years at film school, I can safely say I will have work to show. The years prior are filled with experimentation and exploration into the world of filmmaking and story telling. Mistakes, yes. Regrets, never. I constantly look avenues to get away from the theory and immerse myself into the controlled chaos of a film set. Small roles, such as coffee boy, just to get close to the camera, the actors, the director. Bleeding enthusiasm and the lust to learn will never go unnoticed. Recently, picking up a credit as Junior Camera Assistant under one of Australia best 1st AC’s, David Elmes (The Matrix, Hacksaw Ridge, Thor: Ragnarok, Ghost in the Shell) on an Australian feature, Judy and Punch. Truly an unforgettable experience and learnt more than I ever did at the 5 years in film school.


School isn’t just an establishment of rules. It’s a place to break them.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Still in Australia, or will you be making the leap to Los Angeles?

I am only just coming to the end of my 5 year plan I first wrote out in 2014, Hollywood Immersive. Yes of course it has changed since then.  But to where I see myself in the next 5 to 10 years isn’t really a mystery. I have a gut feeling, like a magnet, pulling me in a direction of my career. There is no right and wrong path, only the one YOU manifest. The path is already made… all YOU need to do is start walking it. WRITE down achievable goals and outcomes and chip away at them every day. Time + Intensity = Results.

We are only Human, after all.



5 Minutes with Rachel Kim Cross

We were lucky enough to catch the talented Rachel Kim Cross for a five minute chat about her HI experiences, auditions in LA and her recent successes. Read more below.


Pic by Steve Gripp


You recently shot the feature How Do You Know Chris in Melbourne. Tell us about that journey and all about Christal the character you played.

‘How Do You Know Chris’ was a very special experience for me. It was my first lead role in a feature film. I was thrilled to be cast as Christal. The exciting part was understanding and inhabiting Christal’s mindset and the way she saw the world. She’s fiercely intelligent, dark, bitchy and fragile. The entire film is set at a party, in 2000 where the protagonist, Chris Black, invites an assortment of people to a celebration at his Collingwood apartment. Most of the guests at the party aren’t familiar with each other. Just like Christal, who is Chris’ ex-girlfriend. We see her journey as the night progresses and her complicated past with Chris, who she holds incredibly close and gets her only affection. We had a week of rehearsals before shooting and that time was invaluable for us to be able to film this in the short time-space we were shooting, I flew back from Los Angeles for the shoot and lived in a house with some of the other cast members that weren’t from Melbourne for 5 weeks. It was wonderful to live and work together with everyone. We all became a close family.

You’re a 2 time HI participant joining us in October of 2014 and then again in February of 2015. What take aways did you have from HI? Was there a particular thing that stood out for you?

Hollywood Immersive was the perfect introduction for me to Los Angeles. Coming over here for the first time and doing a program that supports your transition is invaluable. I often have other actors ask me about if they were to do the program and I honestly can’t recommend it enough, especially if they haven’t been over to experience Los Angeles before. That’s why I did it twice! Both times I learned about the industry here and what steps I needed to take if I wanted to move here. It’s a very supportive environment and truely was the best steps for me to take to learn about how to transition here. I was constantly inspired by all the mentors from Beverly Hills Playhouse, industry coaches, speakers and the other talented actors from all around the world on the course. I think the thing that stood out for me the most was that I could move over here and pursue a career. I secured management in LA and started working on getting my visa as soon as I finished the second program.

You’ve had a really successful career in Australia in modelling and acting. This really started to flourish in 2015 and then suddenly you were everywhere! Tell us about that journey.

When I got back from my second Hollywood Immersive program in Feb 2015 I had secured representation in LA and I was inspired and my number one priority; i.e.moving to Los Angeles and how I could make that happen. I initially started modelling to build up my portfolio, save and work with as many people as I could in the industry in order to get my O1 visa. I never thought it would kick off quite like it did but it was awesome! I enjoyed how my modelling and acting gigs always informed each other. I’ve met and worked with amazing people in the lead up to moving to LA. That definitely boosted my confidence and enabled me to feel like I was ready to make the move and book jobs in the US. This industry is challenging but so is anything worth pursing.

Now you are in the US – 01 in hand! You’ve got a great manager and you’re getting out there for some big roles and booking already. How is the transition going for you?

It’s been wonderful so far! Having come over here 4 times before moving, I had some idea of Los Angeles and connections with people from Hollywood Immersive. I think that really helped the transition for me personally. Also, having a wonderful management team before moving here was definitely a bonus. I self taped for a lot of US projects in the lead up to moving here, got comfortable with the accent. It’s really exciting going out for auditions several times a week, I’ve never auditioned so consistently in my life as I have in the US, the industry doesn’t compare to Australia. I absolutely love working in Australia and I would always go back there in a heartbeat for the right projects – there are wonderful shows being made there but the opportunities for me in Los Angeles allow me to see a bigger future in this career.

Tell us about the job you recently did and who you ended up meeting as a result?

I recently shot a big commercial which was another fantastic experience! I was directed by Mark Romanek – he wrote and directed one of my favourite films One Hour Photo with Robin Williams. He directs all of Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Jay Z’s music videos. The cinematographer was Sam Levy, who most recently shot Ladybird.

It was amazing to make connections and work with such incredibly talented people in the industry. I kept pinching myself that I’m in Los Angeles working with these people! I had the biggest smile on my face! The energy on that set was a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to see what’s next!


How do you compare auditioning in the US vs Australia?

Auditioning here is a lot more fast paced than Australia. You usually only get one take per scene and you just have to go in and make a bold choice. I really try to take my time in the room and not rush it. Everything is very last minute here and I have been getting used to getting auditions through very late at night or the day of the audition. I am in a position now where I have the time to prepare properly for the audition where I can which is really great – and I don’t have to work around the constraints of a job which is such a bonus.

What’s coming up?

A TV series that I shot late last year called Mr Inbetween premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018. It’s been picked up by FX and it’s premiering this September in the US and Foxtel in Australia. It’s also being screened at MIFF in Melbourne. It was directed by Nash Edgerton and is starring Scott Ryan who was also the writer, Brooke Satchwell and Damon Herriman.

What bit of advice would you give to a 19 year old Rachel?

To love myself. I was very insecure at 19. I always knew I wanted to be an actor but I was often quick to judge myself, influenced by others around me and was told to go to University and do something else other than acting. Eventually I forged my own path and went to acting school, but it took me a couple of years to listen to myself and do what I wanted to do, not what I was expected to do.

Rachel playing the role of Christal on “How Do You Know Chris?”

5 minutes with Guy Williams

We caught up with the super talented Guy Williams recently. Guy has just come off a feature in Australia and has many other projects in the works. He gains inspiration from creating opportunities and works to inspire others as well. 

Enjoy this interview with our friend and alum Guy Williams.

Still from the film ‘Lust’ which is the second film from The Devil May Care trilogy. Starring Guy Williams playing the character “Jack Layendeckers” Written and directed by Jonathan Creed, DP: Luke McClean, Produced by Angel Christo.


We know you to be extremely motivated, and you never stop working or creating.  What keeps you going?

The drive to “create” or to keep pushing forward so to speak can only come from a place that is grounded in being your true self. That is inherent to any profession not just the entertainment business. Once you find where you want to be the effort to move forward becomes part of the whole and not a singular chore that must be done. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work your butt off! But the work that you do has a relevance to the journey and to yourself as a person first and then a relevance to the industry second. Also, not being tied to a timeline or the classic phrase of “Once I get this role it’s all going to happen” etc. etc. is a perspective that I’ve always taken. Once you are content to move forward knowing that this business is the thing you are going to do for all time then there is no pressure there is only the work you need to do that’s right in front of you. It’s not sexy or glamorous but it will make all the difference in the long haul because that’s what you are in it for right?


What drove you to Hollywood Immersive?  What did you want to gain?

I saw HI as a great opportunity to learn and grow. For me within this business it has always been about brutal honesty and evaluating where you are at. HI is brilliant for that as you are learning from the industry’s best and most experienced operators in their chosen fields. It was also getting a little direction of figuring out where I fit within the market place and how to move forward towards that.


You have an incredibly positive attitude.  How important is attitude in achieving your goals?

Attitude is everything. You and you alone are responsible for your own attitude and perspective on life. Life most definitely can be difficult especially in the entertainment business but how you view those times and how you learn from them is what’s most important.  Personal responsibility is everything. Win, lose or draw it’s on you.

You have many skills, including fighting, weaponry, and of course acting.  What is your discipline for learning and practicing?


Discipline is about doing the stuff that’s required away from the “bright lights”. In simple terms, no one can do the work for you. To have the freedom in front or behind the camera takes thousands of hours of accumulated work. I really don’t have an answer to why some people get up and do the work and others have to be pulled kicking and screaming out of bed to get it done. A simple question though to ask yourself is “Would I want to do this anyway if all of it wasn’t associated with acting at all? “If there was no pay day, no premiere, no recognition, nothing, nothing at all but your own personal growth and the positivity and value that you can contribute to everyone around you. When you can answer “yes” and you would still do it all then the work is just a part of your everyday life. This comes back to a point I made earlier. What you do in life must not be the thing that makes you whole. Acting cannot be the thing that defines you as a person….it must always be a pathway to enhance who you are.

What advice can you give those who are looking to break into the business?

Just jump right in!!! Be target specific. Seek out great teachers and mentors and go and learn and be open to learning (there is a difference). Be brutally honest with yourself and your work and be PATIENT. See this as a lifelong pursuit (that should give you immense joy and growth). A very important point for actors is to find where you fit within the market and run with that. The best thing you can do is be you. The roles will come along or you will create your own. I’m not saying turn down roles that you want to do but follow your instinct and once again find out who you really are. You are your own business and you should act accordingly. I see too many actors give away everything to an outside entity in the hope that they will get them work or make the stars align. Once again YOU are responsible for all that you do or don’t do. Don’t be afraid to say no and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a cliché but surround yourself with great people that will be honest with you and drop anything or anyone that is an unnecessary drain on your energy and just be useful!!! Always look at what you can bring to a project or situation not what you can get out of it. Give without expecting something in return. I would add as well to be as financially viable as you can with your “day job”. You are doing yourself a disservice if you cannot pay your rent or put fuel in your car. Having a day job does not mean you are giving up on your dreams you are enhancing them. The job you are doing is giving you the freedom to have the resources to chase down what you really want to do. The balance will slowly shift over time. Desperation is not a good thing in this industry…take care of your home life and your acting life will then take care of itself.


What inspires you to keep going?

Inspiration is a funny term for me. You either want to do something or you don’t. Actors and those in the entertainment business have a real knack of over complicating things. Inspiration for me simply comes from having an opportunity to do something that creatively fires new neurons and also offers so much growth in so many different ways. And let’s face it it’s fun as hell!!! The fact that I even have that option in this life is a massive source of gratitude and therefore a massive source of inspiration that is not to be wasted. I also draw great inspiration from anyone who just gets out there and has a go no matter what the industry. In film, it is all about doing and forward momentum (or sideways ha!). The more you move the more you will create and the more opportunities will present themselves and be created. If you sit and wait for the “best” time to do what you want to do then it will never happen. The availability of technology and the platforms that go with it means that in this day and age we are unbelievably fortunate to be able to create something with virtually nothing. So, go out and get going you might just inspire someone else to do the same!


Please tell us about your upcoming projects, and when we can expect to see more of you.

I just wrapped on a feature film titled “The First Detectives” which is a period piece crime drama set in the early-mid 1800’s. It’s scheduled for an early 2019 release.  I have a short film that is due out very soon which is part of a trilogy of films titled “The Devil May Care” which was one of the most amazing projects I have been a part of to date! It covers the rise and fall of an Irish American Crime Boss through three interconnected short films of which I play the lead character in the second film entitled “Lust”. I also had a great meeting very recently with a writer/ director about a very cool feature film/ series that is rolling along nicely toward the start line which I am extremely excited for but can’t say too much more about! The thing I am also most excited about is the film we shot a couple of months ago which is a precursor to some great projects that we have in the pipeline.  I also had a hand in co-writing this film with a great friend and mentor James Richards (who also directed it). I also produced and acted in this one and we had the brilliant Josh Hoareau shoot it! We brought together an amazing cast and crew for this one and it’s looking fantastic!


Fast forward 5 years – what should we expect to see from Guy Williams?

More of the same I think! More films, more producing, more writing and I think a move into directing at some stage as well.


What would be the legacy you would like to be known for?

To be remembered with a smile and as a man who always gave more, cared more and contributed more to those he came into contact with.


Guy’s tips on what you can do to further your career!

Producing your own content is King!! The more you have a hand in creating your future the better. Great story and performance will always shine through so let that be the base of your creative journey. Too many people go for the window dressing of flashing lights and expensive cameras and add ons etc. etc. etc. The list can go on!! Everything always comes back to a brilliant narrative executed well. You can have a $200 000 000 film that is terrible and you can have a $100 film that is remarkable. It is very difficult to dress up something that has no substance. So always start from your foundation which should be an epic script/ story!! Everything will flow on from that.

Have an eye to contain your process. What I mean by “containing your process” is keep as much of the work flow of making your project in house. Seek out great operators that can move a project from start to finish i.e.: DP’s that can shoot, edit, colour and do sound. The more times you have to “farm “ out your project to other entities to get work done the harder it is to control and the more time it takes. So, from the start ensure you have enough in the tank to get the right operators on board to finish your film!! If your team is small then you can move and shake with ease and keep everything moving toward where you want it to go. By nature, film is an extremely wasteful industry. Look to where you can be more efficient and to where you can get the right people involved that will benefit all aspects of a project. It’s not rocket science and it always comes back to management of people. So, get great at managing and leading your team and leading by example.

5 Minutes with Taya Calder Mason

Recently we caught up with our friend and two-time Hollywood Immersive alumni, Taya Calder-Mason.


As an actor, singer, composer, writer, director, and producer, Taya is quickly becoming a major force in the entertainment industry. She just finished her short film, “Fight Like A Woman” which delivers a very powerful message. We were excited to hear more from this talented artist.


You have joined us on HI twice for music and acting as a teenager, and you have always had a no-nonsense, take no prisoners attitude that impressed everyone.  You’re mature well beyond your years.  Where did that come from?


Probably my Mum or my childhood. Growing up with two older brothers teaches you a thing or two about standing your ground. I swapped schools 4 times before leaving at 16, so I had to build a strong sense of self, meeting new kids all the time.


Most recently, you wrote, directed and starred in a short film called “Fight Like A Woman” about a female boxer competing against a man. It puts women’s equality in the forefront.  What do you want people to take away from your film?


That women don’t want special treatment, they just wanted to be treated as an equal with respect. It was really important for me not to make a film that is like ‘women rule and men suck’, it’s just about shining light on equal opportunity between men and women.


The fight scenes looked very realistic.  Were you influenced by other boxing movies when choosing the direction for this film?


Surprisingly no. I didn’t decide to make the film because I’d watch something that looked cool, I made it because 3-4 times a week, for 4 years I’ve been heading to my local boxing gym and wanted to mix my two loves together.


Singer, composer, producer, actor, writer, and director.  How do you stay focused on your career?


Being successful has always been high priority for me. I’ve never liked being second or doing something half-arsed. I remember in Year 2 (6 years old) at school everyone was asked what they wanted to study at University and I just knew that wasn’t something I was ever going to do.


What advice would you give other young artists who are just starting their careers?


Don’t wait for someone to give you the opportunity to do what you love. Why is it always someone else’s choice? Learn that it’s a career, there are

 ups and downs and only those who persist when everything is going to sh**, will be successful.


Who are your inspirations?


Professionally, people like Greta Gerwig, Jane Campion, Elizabeth Moss, Margot Robbie. Personally, my Mum and Nan.


In this very competitive entertainment industry, creating your own projects is very important, and is a key way to get yourself out there and tell your own stories.  What stories do you want to tell?


I think one of the best parts about being a filmmaker is you get to be incredibly selfish. Make the things you like, shoot the way you like, write the characters that you want to play. I just want to entertain, start conversions and have fun.


What is coming up next for you?  When can we see more of your work?


Next project is a thriller called Harrows Forest, which we shoot in August. It’s a really fun, creepy short that follows a group of 4 people as they try to uncover the truth behind a supposedly haunted forest.  I actually hate horrors and scare very easily so this should be lots of fun…



5 Minutes with Andrew Lorenzo

Our HI Program Manager, Adam Rotenberg, managed to catch friend of Hollywood Immersive, Andrew Lorenzo, for a five minute chat about his L.A life, his work and his journey so far.


You are originally from the USA, then you moved to Australia, and then came back for Hollywood Immersive.  Tell me about your journey.


It’s certainly been a long journey, but a fruitful one.  I have always been involved in acting since I can remember (mostly stage until recently) but at the time of moving to Australia, I was actually teaching Ballroom and Latin dance—  Funnily enough, a form of dance I had originally learned to put on the special skills section of my CV!  When I got to Australia, it had been a few years since I had been on stage and the itch was certainly there. I saw that a theatre in Geelong was about to put on The Phantom of the Opera— 1 of only 3 theatres in Victoria given the rights to the show that year— the first year the show was available to semi-professional theatres.  I knew I had to get involved.  Long story short, I auditioned for the role of the Phantom, got it, and I was back on stage once more. It was ultimately the role of Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men that was the turning point for me.  In that role, I knew that I wanted to become more of a film and television actor and start toward my goals of becoming a career actor.  This is when I started taking my training much more seriously.  Along the way, Ashleigh, my partner, was given the opportunity to record with some top producers in LA (whom she connected with through Hollywood Immersive)… As fate would have it, I joined her on this trip and this is where I met Lilly and you (Adam).  It was on this trip that I auditioned for and secured my spot for Hollywood Immersive.  The rest, as they say, is history.  This was the real launch forward my training and career needed… Ultimately, I have secured amazing training at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, a new agent here in Australia, and most recently, a talent manager based in LA… The Lovely Keely Wells’ company, C Talent.. All of which were direct results of Hollywood Immersive and doing the work.


Let’s discuss the elephant in the room.  For anyone that knows you, you are a huge Superman fan, with a tattoo on your chest.  What does Superman symbolize for you? 


Understatement :).  The tattoo symbolizes a few different things for me.  Firstly, Superman was the reason I got into acting in the first place.  As early as I can remember, I would run around with the towel wrapped around me like a cape and put on little skits for my parents, pretending to be superman.  Let’s be honest, I still do this. My friends all have houses and new babies and I just want to know if I look like a different person with and without glasses! Christopher Reeve was my Superman and watching his movies over and over again always made me want to be on that screen and just have fun while doing so.  Second, I have always tried to live my life with a certain moral code.  Now, I am not saying that I am perfect— far from it… But I do believe that everyone is fighting their own battle and I try to be kind to all those I come into contact with, I try to make a difference, and ultimately, I just want to be able to say that I lived a good life and gave what I could to help others.  Lastly, the John Williams Superman score is my favorite piece of music… ever. That could keep me running on a treadmill for hours!


You are extremely motivated, and you’re always hustling and working towards your career.  Can you talk about your career administration and what you do on a daily/weekly basis to stay on top of your career?  


Admin is a huge part of my daily and weekly life as an actor.  One of the best courses I ever had the honor of taking was Mark Gantt’s admin course at HI.  He really puts into perspective just what you can be doing when you’re working— and when you’re not!  I generally spend anywhere from 20-30 hours weekly on admin… Give or take,  in terms of daily, I start off every day thinking about my goals as an actor… I even have a sort of “career concept” on my fridge that I look at every day.  Sometimes I read it out loud, sometimes I just look at it… But every day, I start of by acknowledging it.  It’s funny… On the day I really take it in, I get a call from my agent about a new audition… Coincidence? Maybe… Maybe not. In terms of more physical approaches, I am constantly updating social media on a daily basis to make sure what I have up is relevant to what I would like my brand to be as an actor.  I search other artists’ pages and see what works for them and I try to reach out to people and network as often as I can.  I also work daily on improving myself, whether that be health wise, self-test wise (seeing what works and what doesn’t so when I do have a test come up, I’m ready to roll), or keeping up with the trades (variety, backstage, etc.).  Also searching for castings that are relevant to me is a huge part of my day.  Yes, my agent is there to work for me but I also enjoy securing work for myself because as the old saying goes, “an actor acts”. Looking at new monologues and scenes is also a daily habit which helps me to work on new material and develop new tools for future auditions and projects.  I also work on creating my own content as well which keeps me fresh and sharp.  In terms of weekly, keeping up with all the casting websites is crucial, as well as my website.  All of these have to be up to date and ready at a moment’s notice for when a casting director looks at them.  I set aside a weekly time to make sure training and roles are up to date.  I also make sure I set time aside for me to write and create.  This could be ideas, full scripts, skits, etc. But it’s something always to have in the bank for a rainy day.


What are your goals for your acting?  What would be a dream role…besides Superman, of course? 


Goals are definitely an important part of my daily, weekly, monthly, and beyond.  My main goal is to be able to be walking that red carpet with the knowledge of how hard I worked to get there and that it paid off and continues to pay off.  That’s long term… Short term is to keep working on myself as an actor and discover new things to strengthen me as often as I can… which of course will meld with the long term as I hope to never stop learning.  But in the words of John Ferriter, I’ll settle for “superstar”!  My dream role… that’s a tough one… Of course Superman but if it had to be something else… I think it would have to be either Indiana Jones or one of the Doctors (Doctor Who).  I might have to settle for the Doctor because if they ever reboot Indiana Jones, I seriously fear for whomever takes that mantle away from Harrison Ford… Some seriously intense fan outrage I sense in that future.  Or working with Greg Berlanti on a superhero show.  My gosh, Adam!  How can you ask me this?!  Too many options, ha-ha.


What inspires you to keep going and moving forward when times are tough?  


The main thing is to keep pushing ahead.  I always find that a good acting class or workshop will help rekindle things when I feel like I need a boost. Those classes help sharpen you up and really help you to feel like you have walked away with something that will change your life.  So, what do I do when I can’t afford an acting class at the time?  I create my own work.  The times when I feel the worst, are the times that I feel like I am not doing enough… So what’s the easy fix?  Do more myself!


What advice would you give to young artists starting out in the business? 


Do the work and listen to everyone you can.  There are so many people that have years and years of experience willing to help… Listen.  Listening is your best tool, both in a scene and in training (and in life).  Don’t try to be anyone else—be you and find your process. But do the work.  Oh, and make sure that people want to work with you— develop an outstanding work ethic!


Your partner Ash Watson is also a super talented singer and has also joined us on HI. What is it like for you both to be on this journey together you’re both so focused?  


It is amazing actually.  To have a partner as focused as Ash is just a huge advantage for me.  She really motivates me to make sure I keep on top of what I need to do.  We both have work ethics that work really well together.  Even though we are in different fields, we bounce ideas off each other all the time, whether I have her help me with admin or a new script, or if she wants some advice revolving around a contract, etc.… I think the fact that both of us studied with Hollywood Immersive is a huge advantage.  We are constantly drawing from that training and networking with the people we have met and it drives us hard to keep working toward our goals.


What’s next up for you?  Where can we see your work and what are you currently creating?  


At the moment, I have just finished a 6 week intensive with Damian Walshe-Howling.  The man is amazing and just like the wonderful teachers at HI and BHP, like you, Lilly, Gary, Michael, Luke, Jeremy, Anastasia, and so many others, he motivates you to do your best work.  I am always creating new ideas and at the moment, I am working on what will hopefully turn into a web series based off a James Bond Spoof I did a little while back.  I’m in the middle of collaborating with a few people to help get it off the ground.  Aside from that,  I have a few projects in post-production at the moment so once the production companies release those, I will make sure to put them on my sites as well!  You can also check out my stuff at  (shameless plug I know!)