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.
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.
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…
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 www.andrewlorenzoactor.com (shameless plug I know!)