Here in Scotland there are places of high poverty deprivation, as I am sure there are in many other places. There are a lot of people who are struggling due to the benefit cuts in Britain just now. I think a lot of people don’t want charity but they want help to start small businesses to earn money. More micro-lending from a philanthropist to someone who may want to have a stall or open up a pop up shop somewhere to earn money and then re-pay the interest free loan back in easy to pay installments would help a lot of people. This can be done online more often where philanthropists can choose who to loan to. This isn’t a new idea but should be available in more areas than it is just now-with more people being made aware that it is available.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scottish actress Rosann Ferrier. Rosann has worked as an Actor, Singer, Director and Writer. As an actor Rosann has played small roles in film,theatre and television. She has appeared as a singer in the theatre as well as on recordings, and has also started writing, having written short film scenes and a piece which was performed by a theatre company and hopes to write more in the future .
Thank you so much for joining us Rosann! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was 9 yrs old I attended the local Youth Music Theatre and knew then I wanted to work as a singer or actor when I was older. I spent most of my teenage years having singing lessons in classical music and singing in concerts and appearing in an opera. I also started learning more about acting at this time.
I had my daughter at 19 and my two sons in my early twenties so I didn’t do much singing then.
I was 30 when my lungs collapsed 7 times and I ended up having lung surgery -Bullectomies on both lungs as I had been diagnosed with COPD that was causing my lungs to collapse and they had to stick my lungs to my chest wall and remove the damaged bits. When I recovered I decided to try my hand at acting. I worked as a film/TV Extra and After 30 auditions I managed to get an acting part in a Short Art Film-it was low budget but I was paid! Who says persistence doesn’t pay off-I also ended up singing again and fortunately have been in good health since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I always liked dancing and in the beginning I was working as an extra on Sunshine On Leith, the film directed by Dexter Fletcher and I was told they were looking for dancers for the final crowd scene for a different job on the film so of course I couldn’t wait to get a part.
When I arrived in the morning at 7am I hadn’t seen so many people on a job before.
We all rehearsed the routine we had been given with the choreographer Arthur Pita and it was interesting to see all those people after a couple of hours all dancing together and how it was filmed from an overhead moving camera and from different angles. It kick started my fascination for film directing-and it was great to see myself dancing in the film in the Cinema.
I was also very interested in Ballet and landed a job as an actor with Birmingham Royal Ballet (formerly Sadler’s wells)and it was the first time I had worked with a Ballet Company. I hadn’t seen Ballet Dancers so close-up before and watching them rehearsing in between me rehearsing was very interesting.
The production was Coppelia directed by David Bintley and we all ended up acting like black and white movie actors.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was sent a video for the dance routine for Sunshine On Leith the film the night before to learn and when I arrived to rehearse and film it the next day I realized I had learned the routine opposite to everyone else –when they were going left I was going right and vice versus-I had learned the routine like looking in a mirror and had to reverse everything quickly!
I ll never forget how to learn a dance routine from a video after that.
I also had to learn to act on film quickly- I would stand up to quickly and go out the shot or do too big facial expressions and repeat things differently in shots and would have to do them again-the same way each time for continuity!
At a commercial audition I wore a low cut top and had to bend over to stroke a dog and I was doing this very enthusiastically-it became obvious by the camera mans expression he was getting a full shot of my cleavage-needless to say I don’t wear low cut tops anymore!
I learned quickly watching Michael Caine’s Acting On Film On YouTube- I highly recommend it if you have never acted on film before.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am a Judge at The Scottish Short Film Festival and I have watched, rated and gave feedback on 70 Short Films. The standard of the films and the acting was very high
We had a judges meeting and the final line up for the awards night is on the 27th of July in Glasgow, Scotland, with a screening of some of the other films who didn’t make it to the Awards night for the next day.
The entries didn’t just come from Scotland but Canada ,America and other places but they all had something relating to Scotland like the film or a Scottish Director or Writer etc.
I have also started to make my own experimental short film with an iphone and drone, so I will have to see how that turns out.
The Film has normal everyday women and trans-women talking about what inspires them.
Fey Theatre in Glasgow put on a show called Melting and used my Poem January Blues for a performance of movement and narration.
I also loved Collaborating with the Californian Indie Film Maker Shane Ryan On Ted Bundy Had A Son. I wrote, Directed and acted in a scene.
I’m hoping to do more writing ,acting and music this year.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I could say some famous people or big Directors but I think some of the most interesting people you can find are everyday people who have interesting stories. I have met drug Addicts who have given up and listened to their struggles, and the difficulties they have faced and still face staying off drugs and Alcohol.
When I was in a Woman’s Aid Shelter after an abusive relationship I listened to other women talking about their lives and abusive homes and a few years later met up with them and heard how they were doing and how they had got back on their feet and the strength of character some of those women had to get back to a normal fulfilling life. Some had went to college or got jobs as well as being single parents after everything they had been through. I have also been in a few Homeless places in the past and met similar people. You can own your own home and have what you think is a great marriage, a good job and then be made redundant, lose your job, your wife leaves you and then you lose your home. I have met people like this who have had to pick themselves up and start again. It can happen to anyone. I met a man like this who manage to get back on top and run his own business and get another house. Those people are an inspiration and have great strength of character and inspired me with their strength to get back on top when I was down.
I also draw on those experiences to put in to my acting the feelings and emotions and also in to my writing as it’s all about real life and keeping it real.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t take rejection personally — you just weren’t right for the part. The ‘look’ they wanted maybe had to have blonde hair and blue eyes to go with her brother who is the other character or something similar-it’s usually not your acting but a particular ‘look’ they want-you get slotted in to what’s meant for you eventually.
Keep learning-there is always something new to learn about Acting, Writing Or Directing
Have other interests outside Acting or Writing-you can always draw on new experiences for your acting/writing.
Follow your gut feeling and your heart-if a part doesn’t feel right don’t do it out of desperation for money, this will make you unhappy and dissatisfied. Go after the jobs you think would make you happy. If you are happy at your job, those are the jobs you do best.
Criticism can be a learning curve –take it, be honest with yourself- they maybe were right-and work on it, if you genuinely think it was harsh leave it-everyone’s a critic but not everyone is right-it’s up to you to judge for yourself and act accordingly.
Never give up-there are ways and means to get to your goals-try every way possible.
Don’t bother about what other people are doing just concentrate on yourself.
Remember it’s a collaboration not a competition.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Here in Scotland there are places of high poverty deprivation, as I am sure there are in many other places. There are a lot of people who are struggling due to the benefit cuts in Britain just now.
I think a lot of people don’t want charity but they want help to start small businesses to earn money. More micro-lending from a philanthropist to someone who may want to have a stall or open up a pop up shop somewhere to earn money and then re-pay the interest free loan back in easy to pay installments would help a lot of people. This can be done online more often where philanthropists can choose who to loan to. This isn’t a new idea but should be available in more areas than it is just now-with more people being made aware that it is available.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Buy thermal underwear for when you are on an all day film set in winter. I nearly froze to death filming outside one day when I first started out as an extra on Case Histories. The time I got to acting work I had loads of layers to wear.
What were the best casting sites like Spotlight, Mandy etc because I hadn’t a clue where to find work until someone I met who was an actor told me. It was all like a big secret.
After the highs there is the lows-go with the lows to go all out to find work and don’t give up. I couldn’t find work and nearly gave up then I got a job. If you can’t get a job do a course or update your training. You reap what you sow-believe in yourself
Accept rejection as part and parcel of the job and don’t take it personally-there is always something around the corner-it will take a while but it’s coming!
Be prepared to be short of money a lot-if you can’t handle this don’t become an actor-there will be times like this a lot-starvation is a great motivator so is fear of not getting a job-use the fear to make it work-keep at it something will turn up
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Don’t let the past define your future-The past is gone keep moving forward. I was in a children’s home for 8 yrs-I didn’t let this make me think I was worthless. I use the feelings and emotions to put in to my acting and writing to define my future. You are in control of your future-you make it what you want it to be-the past is past.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I had a singing teacher called George Gordon who taught me to sing for a few years and he help me a lot so that I can now sing any genre and understand classical music and how to be an independent singer, take a song and plan it out, where to put my breathing spaces, how to get the emotions of the song across-something I got better at as I got older. He made me think yes I can be a Singer and go out there and work on my own and it wasn’t such a silly idea. I felt at the time that the future wasn’t very good and he came along and gave me something to work towards and plan for.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I would love to have Lunch with Dustin Hoffman — as I studied his way of acting from every angle. I loved all his films, especially the way he gets emotion across and I really loved the Character he played in Rain man-he really immersed himself in it. I would love to talk about acting with him-I am ordinary looking-so is he, he still managed to do really well so he made me think I could too!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I have just joined twitter and Instagram so please follow as I need a few followers!
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!