Hastings’ actor Louisa Faye has upped sticks to try and make it big in the movie capitol of the world, Los Angeles.
Louisa Faye, 26, began treading the boards at dancing classes aged three. By the time she was eleven she dreamed of a career based around performing. “I was at the The Orchard Youth Theatre (TOYT at the Mick Jagger Centre) ,” she said. “ A combination of dance, singing and acting seemed perfect.
“I remember all the ‘older’ girls and thinking - THAT is what I want to be, an actress!
“I was just a chorus member but the idea that one day I could have a lead part and sing and dance, well, that was truly something.”
Louisa’s parents separated amicably when she was 4 years old and she divided her time between her mum and dad, who moved to Hastings when she was eight.
Later, Louisa’s talents were recognised by RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and after 4 rounds of auditions was placed on the reserve list - she was then immediately offered a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), Cardiff. Louisa said: “When Royal Welsh offered I knew that was were I was supposed to be.”
An average 9hr day of full-on training including acting technique, scene study, improvisation, mask work, voice, accent work, movement, Alexander technique, singing, and Shakespeare put Louisa through her paces.
At the end of each year Louisa and her fellow students had the opportunity to write, direct and act in their own showcase at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Louisa said that experience was the cornerstone for her future . “By that time (2011) RWCMD was causing a stir in the industry; we were ‘the’ drama school to be at. The fuss made over us all was very exciting and buzzy.
“We had a name in the industry for being ‘real’ kids; normal, down to earth, talented actors who were a pleasure to work with.”
During her final shows and showcase, Louisa’s talents caught the eye of an agent; she received a few offers and was invited to audition for Jerusalem which was set for a run at the Apollo Theatre. Though the audition went well and she was invited for a recall, the role was given to Sophie McShera, Downtown Abbey’s maid Daisy Mason.
Louisa says both she and her peers swiftly learned that they hadn’t been lied to in drama school, when they’d been told ‘it’s a tough life’ as an actor.
“I was lucky enough to get regular auditions at the Royal Court, Young Vic and the BBC .
“I was in a play at the Union Theatre in 2012 called How’s The World Treating You?, and a short film, Breath In The Wind.
“I did voice overs and last year I played a lead voice over for an animation called The CAP, due to be released in the autumn.”
To make ends meet Louisa took promotional work. “Those guys and girls you see handing out freebies in a shopping mall or showing you how to play the new Xbox One! It’s tough because you have to earn money to stay alive and not loose your dreams and the acting world that you so badly want to remain part of,” she said. “Finding work as an actress is hard, whether you have an agent or not. Maintaining a good, healthy relationship with your agent is very important but not having an agent isn’t the worst thing either - it does make things harder but equally it allows you to apply for and accept any work you want.”
Louisa said she had a desire to explore Hollywood and moved to LA. “I decided to enrol in a school, The Michelle Danner School of Acting, and take some classes, meet up with fellow actors etc and see how I like it.
“Michelle has taught the likes of James Franco, Gerard Butler, Zooey Deschanel, Penelope Cruz and Seth MacFarlane, so it seemed a good school to go to!”
Louisa says leaving home was difficult. “I saw my Dad on Boxing Day last year for Christmas and it was wonderful. Saying goodbye the next day was hard, it didn’t feel real.”
Moving to LA has been a real eye opener for Louisa. She said: “It’s a crazy city! Someone told me there’s at least 200 shows being made at any one time out here.
“Despite the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, people work hard here - there are producers and casting directors at every other coffee shop discussing who they want to work with next or what they are trying to pilot as an idea.
“LA, like anywhere in the world, can be a lonely place at times. It’s a concrete jungle full of large cars, neon signs, hot smoggy sunshine, extremely rich people and extremely poor people. It can be a bit of a culture shock! I love it for all it’s mess around the edges vibe.”
In the short time Louisa’s lived in LA she’s already notched up some credits.
“In January, I played the role of Melissa Simons in a short called How to be Lonely and Depressed. I then landed a thing called a ‘sizzle reel’ for a potential pilot. That means a short reel that ‘sizzles’ and gives the network’s a taste of what we want to create for a pilot and see if the networks pick it up - and it has! We are hoping to also film it for 2015 too!”
Louisa’s other credits include a role in a movie called The Bandit Hound, working along side Judd Nelson (Breakfast Club/Empire), Lou Ferrigno (original Hulk), Paul Sorvino, and Joe Flanigan (Star Gate).
“I was also asked to star in Michelle’s documentary on acting, which was a true privilege,” she said. “The sequel to the Bandit Hound has been given the go ahead and I’ve been slated to be in that too!”
Louisa is due to fly home in September, but with some of the aforementioned roles in the pipeline she may end up staying a lot longer and admits to a touch of homesickness .
“I would do anything for a night back in Hastings walking around the Old Town and saying hey to my family and friends.
“I miss the air. Nothing beats the air down by Hastings and Pett! I miss walking on the West Hill with my Dad and just chatting about life and how we both are....”
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