I think my first thing would be, spreading the idea that people are doing the best that they can with the knowledge they have. That doesn’t mean that, that should be an excuse for bad behaviour, but I think, that it could be a way in to start creating more compassion for people in general. More compassion generates more understanding and more understanding generates more love. I think we have forgotten about compassion in many ways. At the end of the day we are all sharing this beautiful place called planet earth. Next, can we now start treating this beautiful place with the love kindness and respect it deserves? It is after all hosting our very livelihood.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marie Brock. Marie is a Danish born award winning actress and voice over artist with blue blood from the aristocratic Tzar family running through her veins. She works in film, television, voice over and onstage. She even did 4 years of live television. Marie’s passion for acting started at a very early age. She graduated from the acclaimed Sanford Meisner acting school ‘The Neighborhood Playhouse School of The Theatre” in New York City where the Oscar winners Allison Janney, Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall, to name a few, have walked through the doors. Marie’s soothing voice has also been heard on television for the past 12 years, it being live continuity, promos for some of your hit TV shows, commercials or maybe on your favorite video game.
Thank you so much for joining us Marie! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started out as a dancer at a very early age, probably around 4. I started with ballet and then moved into the more funky side of dance. I loved performing, but I also realized quit quickly that I needed words in my expression. As a kid I would sit very close in front of the TV watching TV show’s or films and repeat what they were saying learning the different accents in English/American. I loved it. When I watched Fame as a kid I said to my self I going to NY, that has that exciting looking bridge ( I had a deep fascination with The Brooklyn Bridge). I will go to that school and become an actor. Well fast forward time I didn’t go to that school, well because it was fictional. But I ended up getting in to The Neighbourhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. The original Sanford Meisner School. I had acting lessons in the very room he taught. I had dance lessons where Martha Graham danced. It was just thrilling and to this day its one of my favourite times in my life. I got to do what I loved full time.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
The most interesting story, well there is many. I think overall this journey has been and still is very fascinating. I have lived a very different life than where I grew up. I have worked in many countries and one thing that, I can pass on is go with your intuition no matter how crazy it be. It will guide you, and that is where the interesting stories begin. That was more a spiritual perspective than a specific story, but that is what came to mind with that question.
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?
Well this brings me to my early theatre days in London. I had just moved there and got a job as a stagehand at the musical The Phantom of The Opera. I started out wearing metal boots moving the set during the show. One night I was on “The Winch”. The winch is sub stage and is the handle, you can say, that will take the side set on to the actual stage with the actors. You got a cue from the stage manager and then you had to turn that thing like never before, until it reached a specific number. The side of the stage would move the actors sitting in, what looked like opera boxes, on to the stage. Well I got them on, but when the stage manager gave me the cue to take them of I turned it the wrong way and they ended up in the middle of the stage. Let me remind you this is The West End in London. It doesn’t get more prestigious than that. Full house every night. The Stage manager yelled at me “ Marie what are you doing?” I had a monitor and saw what had happened. I turned it the other way and got the actors of stage. Now when I think of it, it’s absolutely hilarious. And it kind of was then too, but I thought I would get fired. Luckily I didn’t, but what I learned was that the show must go on. The actors just sat there and stayed in character. The musicians kept repeating the song and everyone else adjusted. That was a great lesson for me to take with me in my career. The show must always go on. It be on stage, on set or in the voice studio.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I am working on an exciting independent feature, a true story that looks at the injustice of the prison system. That is as much as I can say. I am not allowed to talk about the story or people involved. I am very passionate about this project. It matters. It highlights a pressing issue and injustice. For me it doesn’t get better than that. If I can be a small part in telling a story and bring light to issues that needs changing, I have succeeded as an artist. That is why I became an artist in the first place.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
When I graduated The Neighborhood Playhouse. I got an internship at the Actors Studio in New York. I loved it. Being in the theatre where Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean once were, was beyond anything I had ever experienced at the time. I even got to perform there. That another story but that was magical. I meet Al Pacino there. He was such a nice generous man. I saw a reading he did there with Marissa Tomei. He, well both of them, showed me what it means to really commit to your choices as an actor. You might not agree with the choices they made but no matter what they were, when fully committed, they are extremely powerful. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the interpretation or not its beautiful work and its real. That has stayed with me and I hope is always noticeable in my work. The commitment.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Have a life. Be interested ( NOT interesting but interested as in interested in other people than yourself. Move the focus). Be curios. Have a hobby that does not involve what you do for a living and nurture your creativity with that. I recently started painting. I am not a painter, but I realised that everything I did creatively is my job. I am very fortunate that my passion is my job. But creatively I was a little burned out so I was advised to nurture my creativity in a way that had nothing to do with acting, writing or voice work. They are all extremely creative, but they are also a job. I learned I needed to nurture my creativity in different ways and it has really paid of. I used to sew and make jewellery. I might pick that up again. Try and enjoy the slow periods, because our industry is ebb and flow, it’s just the nature of it. And lastly learn how to quit your mind. Creatives tend to get very busy in their heads learn to turn it off.
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. :-)
Oh my goodness there are so many. I think my first thing would be, spreading the idea that people are doing the best that they can with the knowledge they have. That doesn’t mean that, that should be an excuse for bad behaviour, but I think, that it could be a way in to start creating more compassion for people in general. More compassion generates more understanding and more understanding generates more love. I think we have forgotten about compassion in many ways. At the end of the day we are all sharing this beautiful place called planet earth. Next, can we now start treating this beautiful place with the love kindness and respect it deserves? It is after all hosting our very livelihood.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I wish someone had told me early on that acting is a business. It is all well and fun, but it is a business (if you want to make a living at it). The people, who are investing in it, putting up the money, are often not creative and are looking for a healthy return. We need them, because often a bunch of Creatives, they create, but they don’t really think about finances. However I wish someone had told me, so that I could develop a business head early on. I was put in some tough negotiation deals that would affect my life a lot. I managed, but it was scary and stressful and I could have been better prepared. I decided well into my career, that I wanted to be a businesswoman as well. It has been very empowering and I can highly recommend it. They should teach the business side of things in acting school.
Can you please give us your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be yourself everyone else is taken”
You have to be you. I think that counts for everybody no matter what you do, but especially in the arts. If you are not your authentic self and create from that place less people will resonate with you. People feel people and people fell authenticity if you are aware of it or not. And being who you truly are is liberating. There is room for everybody. Don’t ever get disillusioned by people’s idea of what you should be. Authenticity is key. I have stayed true to that my whole life. I have taken some good knocks over the years, but I don’t regret a thing because all I can be is me.
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?
Going back to London again. I was still working as a dresser. I still danced but only for fun. One day in a dance class at Pineapple Studios I saw a girl in class. She was of Indian decent and was absolutely stunning. I thought to my self, how could someone be that beautiful. Well after class we were next to each other in the changing room. I overheard her talking and detected a Danish accent. I asked her “Are you Danish?” and she said “Yes!” We sat down and chatted for a long time. I, at the time, was a dresser at the musical Chicago (I would love to do that musical one day playing Roxy… just throwing it out there). She was working in live television. She was the voice of the second largest commercial channel in Denmark. We became friends and to this day we are still best friends. She got her shot at being a sports TV presenter and took it. She asked, if she should recommend me to be the new voice. I said, I was an actor and had never done voice in my life and that that was probably not for me. Well I slept on it, woke up the next day and called her and said, “Yes please put in a good word” Well a week later I got a voice test. She coached me and I booked the job and got catapulted in to a successful voice over career. I am so grateful to her and owe her a lot getting my career started. My life changed over night with that job. I actually still work for them. Now I have done any job under the sun in voice and I am really good at it, and I had no idea. I just jumped at the opportunity. Not only has it giving me an exciting career in the voice industry. But it has trained my voice at the same time, which for an actor is instrumental. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a voice that is “connected” in your work as an actor! Ulla I am deeply grateful to you. You are a beautiful soul inside out with bags of talent.
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 do meditation followed by breakfast with David Lynch. Twin Peaks is one of the best shows I have ever seen and changed my view on television forever. I would love to have lunch with Shonda Rimes. I am completely in awe of what she has accomplished in television. She is so inspirational and down to earth. I would love to be in one of her shows and for her to be my mentor. And finally I would love to have dinner with Quentin Tarantino. Well, because he seems more like a dinner kind of quy and he would be fun drinking wine with. It’s always been a dream of mine to be in one of his movies. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a masterpiece. His filmmaking is sublime. Oh and I just want to follow Meryl Steep around all day long. But that is just me being a mega fan.
For me they all have in their own special way, creative minds that are mind blowing and I admire them and their work. They have all had a profound effect on me in my life and as an artist.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook: Marie Brock
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!
About The Author:
Yitzi Weiner is a journalist, author, and the founder & Editor-In-Chief of Authority Magazine. The guiding principle behind all of Authority Magazine’s content is that good stories should be beautiful to heart, mind, and eyes.