Fear is stupid. So many great things happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone and let go of insecurities, self-doubt, and fear of rejection! You got to have faith.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sarune Urbonaviciene aka Sharune.
Sarune Urbonaviciene is an actress and musician based in London, United Kingdom. Ever since she was little she was involved in arts, dancing, drawing, music, storytelling, reading, you name it! When she moved to London, she took various acting classes and fell in love with the craft. In 2019, Sharune started studying acting with The ReelScene Screen Acting School (course director Steve North). She is learning a lot about script analysis, improvisation, mocap, Method and Meisner techniques, and camera work. She has also been assisting in feature film productions. In 2020, Sharune won Equity Student Bursary to support her acting and production focused ambitions.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thanks for having me! Of course! I was born in a small South Lithuanian town Marijampole to a very creative couple. My mother was a children educator and my dad played bass guitar in a rock and blues band AGE. Since an early age, I attended a local music school, took lessons in violin, piano, singing, dance, and painting. I won my first diploma when I was 7. I painted my friend Donata with her puppy that she sneaked into the class, but little did I know that the teacher loved it and sent it to the Illustration contest! When I reflect, I was given a lot of creative freedom in childhood…I could not contain all the bubbly energy and even painted on the walls of my room!
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was a teenager, I used to create various videos with friends yet always stayed behind the camera. We used to interview strangers, gather petitions and record random jokes. When I moved to London, my horizons expanded, and I started building confidence and working much more in front of the camera. I went to various acting classes, watched a lot of movies and photo modeled in spare time. In 2019 I won an acting workshop with Manpreet Bambra at The ReelScene Screen Acting School and decided to go ahead to study with them and start reaching one of my dreams. I was a bit scared, but I kept telling myself that such fear is stupid and that pushed myself out of the comfort zone. Best decision ever made as I truly enjoy classes, meet industry professionals and always learn new things! For instance, just in February, I studied with actor William Moseley (Peter from The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Liam from The Royals) and camera-pro Nick Driftwood (aka GH2 Driftwood hack)! I feel so much gratitude for them in finding the time and giving knowledge back to the industry students.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are a few but I think the one that got stuck in my memory was my first audition for a feature film back in 2013 (thriller ‘Play With Me’). I was a newbie without an agent, saw the audition on one of casting platforms and contacted director Yezid Jimenez directly. I was asked to come dressed smartly for a scene reading. The character Eva that I auditioned for was a violinist and so, having played violin in real life, I brought my violin to audition! Director loved it and I got the part! It was a wonderful experience working on set!
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 working as an extra on feature film and was waiting for call time. A guy sat next to me and we had a good chat about dream setting in life. After a while I was called to go and asked what his name was, apparently was James Corden, as a newbie I did not recognize him but in all honesty, he had long hair for the set! It’s not much of a lesson but more of a reminder to always be kind as you never know what another person is!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Besides assisting in a feature film production, we started devising a short film in ReelScene classes, done some intense brainstorming and creative idea pilling techniques! We are postponing the production until summer for the current COVID-19 situation of course so that will sadly have to wait. Having in mind all productions that are postponed or canceled, no one will ask actors for a while on what have you done recently… But health and safety come first.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think people should be judged by their work or talent despite their looks. Gender and racial diversity are not things that you choose when you’re born, so I don’t get such a stupid idea why you should be treated less of it. I think everyone deserves a fair chance to prove themselves and not be discriminated against.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Fear is stupid. So many great things happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone and let go of insecurities, self-doubt, and fear of rejection! You got to have faith. For example, once I stopped by to drop documents to my agent and while in the meeting, he received a casting for Game of Thrones (HBO). I did not have much time to prepare but I went for it and met one of the greatest casting directors Nina Gold! I did not get the part, but I was one of three they selected and that meant that I got a fighting chance in the film industry!
2. Remove all negative people from your environment as soon as possible. There are always obstacles reaching your dream and the slightest doubt can grow deeper roots in the unconscious mind. It does not matter if they are friends, classmates or even part of the family. It is vital to have the right support system and usually, the nearest people are so afraid for your wellbeing that they might become the obstacle. I am not saying to delete them from your life completely but at least to set some temporary space until you develop your shields and work things out. When I quit marketing studies, relatives we were concerned that without the degree I will never be able to find a decent job. They were holding onto that idea despite how many times I explained that I do not want to live my life with regrets. My grandma — bless her heart — used to tell me to go for my dream no matter what and go because no one else will! I will always have a special place in my heart for her dearest memory.
3. Oatmeal! I used to grab fruit or coffee in the morning and then wonder after a few hours of shoot why I’m hungry. Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast formula for me and every morning I have it with a cup of black coffee. It’s my magic potion for a good energetic start of the day.
4. Mindfulness. Give yourself space to regenerate and ease the mind. Sometimes life gives unexpected bad news, for instance, relatives or close people pass away. I learned a lot from my mother that you must react calmly when something like this happens. I used to lock feelings inside and put on an ignorance mask as if everything was OK. Thanks to method lessons I took with Louise O’Leary (Standby Method Acting Studio) I learned how to transcend and release that energy. It was not easy and took a lot of crocodile tears, but she guided me on such a difficult journey and helped me so much, I am very grateful. Now with sensory and emotional memory exercises I have it under control and use it when needed.
5. Never assume! If it’s not a fact, do not assume things — always communicate and make sure to check the facts.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
As mentioned earlier, you must find a few minutes a day to clear your mind and listen to your favorite music. Not only it refreshes your thoughts, but it also inspires and reignites positivity. I have quite a few different playlists on my Spotify for that!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. :-)
I believe in the Law of Attraction as the universe has proved so many times it works. Let love come into your heart, forgive yourself and dare to believe in the better you of tomorrow. The only influence I want to radiate is positivity. Follow your heart, be kind, encourage each other, help people help themselves and pay good deeds forward. Also, my good friend Daniel Betts told me that if I become any more positive, I might fart Febreze so I’m looking forward to that! 😊
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are quite a few people that I am forever grateful for all the help given. For those who passed away, I light a candle anytime I can visit them. For those who are alive, I try to repay in any help that I can.
My biggest gratitude goes to my husband. He has been my rock for the last ten years, accepted me at my worst and never stopped loving.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
People who know me most likely get fed up with me quoting ‘Thoughts are things’ by Napoleon Hill. This quote, yet it might seem simple from the first sight, means for me that there is a fundamental force of creation in Law of Attraction. It is something that I relate to and believe in.
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 just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
There are too many to mention! My mind went in choice paralysis. Angelina Jolie. No, Johnny Depp. No, Meryl Streep. No, Alicia Vikander. OK, OK, OK. If I had to choose only one it would be Steven Spielberg as he is one of my biggest film industry inspirations. Final answer. Could you be so kind as to write that down before I change it again, please? 😊 Thanks x
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can find me as @sharuneofficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank you once again for having me!