5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Acting: Gemma Forbes, From The Truth About Lies
“When I was younger, I thought I had all the time in the world. I remember when I was working at the Living Theatre, and one of my mentors there said, “There is no substitute for time” This really resonated with me. You have to make the time for the things you want to achieve.”
I had the pleasure of speaking to Gemma Forbes, whom you can see in the award-winning independent comedy, The Truth About Lies. She stars in the film opposite Odette Annable and Fran Kranz, and the film is directed by Phil Allocco. Prior to The Truth About Lies, Gemma was most recently seen in the comedy, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, opposite Lauren Graham and directed by Steve Carr. Originally hailing from Scotland, the actress spent time modeling in London and Scotland before moving to New York City.
We’d love to learn more about your career, please tell us how you got into acting.
I’ve always been interested in acting, and although I studied drama at college after leaving school, it wasn’t until I was participating in an acting workshop in NYC that I made the decision that I was really going to commit myself to that path and give it a real go!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your acting career?
Shooting the sweat lodge scene in the Truth About Lies was pretty funny. We shot in a field upstate in the middle of winter, and it was absolutely freezing! We all became delirious after hours of shooting in a little tent that had smoke and heat pumped into it for the scene. In addition, we were getting spritzed with fake sweat and there was a lot of chanting from ‘Broken Wing’, one of the characters played by Daniel Raymont.
What are some of the most interesting projects you are working on now? Can you tell us more about The Truth About Lies?
The Truth About Lies is a comedy about a guy named Gilby played by Fran Kranz. He loses his job, has his apartment go up in flames and gets dumped all on the same day. In an attempt to piece his life back together, he tells a few white lies, which turn to bigger ones until things get out of control. The other characters in the film are also lying either to themselves or each other. My character Ann does both. I have a few projects that are due to come out in 2018, unfortunately none of which I can talk about yet.
Tell us more about your character, do you feel like you relate to her?
I play Ann! She’s sweet and innocent but a little clueless and unaware of how annoying and patronizing her and her boyfriend Andy come across. Yes, I can relate to her. I know people who are very much like that, but obviously it’s taken to the extreme because it’s a comedy.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
There’s so many for totally different reasons. A few that come to mind are:
Princess Diana- She had such a wonderful and beautiful spirit, and she had such a hugely positive impact on the world. She touched so many people. I remember when she died, and during my lifetime, I’ve never experienced a country or group of people mourn in that way. She has left behind a legacy of hope and two sons who seem so willing to take on the mantle she left behind.
The Beatles- They inspire me for all of the obvious reasons, but what I find especially inspiring is that level of creativity, what they accomplished in such a short time span and being so young!
Who do you aspire to be like one day?
There’s not one person that I aspire to be totally like. I would say that there are people whom are close to me and people I know that move through life with emotional intelligence, awareness and dignity and respond to situations instead of reacting. I very much admire that. I definitely think it’s great when you can handle difficult situations with a good sense of humor.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am involved in a program through SAG AFTRA called Book Pals, which is designed to promote literacy in schools and encourage children to read and be inspired by books. I volunteer and read stories every week to four Pre-K classes.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Auditioning — And that not booking something you auditioned for does not equate to you doing a bad job. I think when I started out, I would feel this way, but there are so many reasons why you might not have gotten the job.
Prioritizing your time — When I was younger, I thought I had all the time in the world. I remember when I was working at the Living Theatre, and one of my mentors there said, “There is no substitute for time” This really resonated with me. You have to make the time for the things you want to achieve.
That it’s okay to say ‘NO’ — As actors, I think we’re kind of trained to say ‘Yes’ to everything, and you feel if you turn something down, you’ll never get another opportunity, or you will come across as ungrateful. I also learned that it’s ok and important to stick up for yourself, which is hard sometimes because you don’t want to come across as being difficult.
Finding the fun in auditioning- When I had the opportunity and was lucky enough to sit on the other side of the casting, this really hit me.
Don’t take things personally — So much of what people are saying has absolutely nothing to do with you!
Is there a person in the world, living or dead whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Mary Queen of Scots. I’ve read a lot on her and worked on a play about her too. I would like to get the real story!
Please share with us where people can find you on social media.
I’m on Instagram — @gemforbes
What’s next up for you?
Right now, I’m auditioning, so keeping my fingers crossed! I also have a theatre project in the pipeline that I’m working on.