We hear stories all the time of Australian and New Zealand artists moving to Hollywood. Chasing their dreams, trying to make it in the big time, to catch their big break. Unless they are the likes of Nicole Kidman, Russel Crow or Taika Waititi, it’s easy to forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind. If they are not on our television screens or movie theatres, we wonder “oh, so-and-so, whatever happened to her?”
Well, lots, actually. Just because they are not working in their country of their birth and you don’t see their face on a soap opera series every day, doesn’t mean they are not working at all. A wonderful new project called Sitting Room Only brings those artists back into our lives with candid and entertaining interviews, which give the general public a bit more of an insight into making it in Los Angeles.
“LA encourages a certain work ethic and serious attitude about art that generates great work and makes you think big. You’re in ‘Hollywood’, so it’s going to be tough because you’re up against the best in the world, but with that comes huge sources of inspiration. ” – Hannah Marshall
New Zealand actress and producer Hannah Marshall (Packed to the Rafters, NCIS, Anzac Girls) came up with the concept and jumped to get it all down on film with the help of her co-producer and fellow Kiwi actress, Fleur Saville. “I’m a New Zealand woman and I’m interested in hearing those voices and celebrating the people I know, and I personally found really inspiring.” Hanna says.
The interviews are lovely little previews into an artist’s life in Los Angeles. The ups and downs, mindset and the tall poppy syndrome, which tends to follow people from Australia and New Zealand around. It’s a short snapshot, shot in Hannah’s living room, amongst friends. It’s no wonder all the Kiwi’s know each other there. Living abroad can often bring together a community of people from an industry. You’re all in it together after all.
“Seeing people from our side of the world doing well is really inspiring, and the more we can show the Kiwis and Aussies succeeding over here, the more people will believe it’s possible to work on the world stage.” – Hannah Marshall
At the moment the collection is all women, as it just accidentally worked out that way, but what a great place to start! This first season is compiled of actors Antonia Prebble (Anzac Girls, Westside), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider, Game of Thrones), Rose McIver (iZombie, The Lovely Bones), Zoe Jane Bell (Kill Bill, Hawaii Five-o) and the only Australian in the group so far, Zoe Ventoura (Packed to the Rafters, Wildboys). It’s also great that Sitting Rom Only focusses on musicians as well, like Phillipa Brown (aka Ladyhawke), Virginia Wigmore (Gin Wigmore).
The next collections of stories will come from the Kiwi men, who are also doing the ‘hard slog’ in LA, and then maybe even Aussies in LA are on the cards. Down Under Berlin would love to see this Siting Room Only grow and turn into something bigger than it is now. It is an inspiring platform for artists from Australia and New Zealand to be able to see the varying attitudes towards living and working as an actor or musician in Hollywood. These women work hard in an industry full of competition, all whilst taking it their stride and getting on with it. Which is such a great attitude, and a typically NZ/Aussie one.
Check out this wonderfully honest and inspiring interview with actress Keisha Castle-Hughes to start you off.
Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, and along with her husband, is the founder and content manager of the online travel guide My Guide Berlin.