You are enough: Most casting directors don’t just want to see Daniel Day Lewis, they want to see you and what makes you unique. Even if you’ve got crooked teeth or you aren’t a size two, you are valuable and worthy of being cast, exactly as you are.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Actress and screenwriter, Emily Rose McLeod. As a writer, Emily seeks to tell uplifting stories about interesting and dynamic women. Her quirky, often humorous work is heavily influenced by classic romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally” and modern sitcoms like “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” A star of multiple shorts, films, and professional stage productions, Emily loves to tell stories in every way possible.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My mom loved movies and we very much shared a bond over them. Growing up, she’d take me and my sisters to the theatre almost every week in the summertime. She passed away when I was just starting at a new high school. At the time, I’d always held a secret interest in the performing arts and I happened to find myself in a theatre class. The community that I found there and the confidence that it brought me as was young person going through a difficult time very much changed my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
I once did a film that had a lot of exotic animals on set, including a llama. We were told that the llama (I believe his name was Fred) had a tendency to bite, so we should avoid him. As a precautionary measure, the makeup artist and I fed him a bunch of baby carrots to keep him calm. Well, I guess it worked a little too well because Fred followed us around for the rest of the day and would stare openly at us between takes.
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?
At one of my first big Los Angeles auditions, it was raining cats and dogs outside. I tripped on the way into the audition room and dropped my headshot into the (very wet) gutter. It was ruined, so I panicked and threw it away. I came in with just a resume I had lying around and the casting director was incredibly, almost laughably displeased. The lesson? Always keep a spare headshot in the trunk.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I just finished a successful fundraising campaign from my web-based series “When Mary Met Betsy.” We’ve shot the pilot and are currently in pre-production for our first full season. The show is a quirky comedy about a romance novelist who finds that friendship might be more meaningful than romance. It’s about friendship, moving on, and finding your own definition of a “happy ending.” I’m also currently writing my first feature. It’s very much inspired by my youth and coming of age stories like “Eighth Grade” and “Ladybird.”
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with an equity children’s theatre called “Storybook Theatre” in Hollywood a few times in various princess roles. Storybook is run by the incredible Barbara Mallory and Lloyd Schwartz, who I didn’t realize was the son of Sherwood Schwartz (creator of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island). Growing up, I watched The Brady Bunch Movies a lot. And I mean, a lot. (What can I say? I was old fashioned, even as a kid) So realizing I was working with someone who produced and worked on those movies I loved so much was very surreal and exciting.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Rest is important. There’s a lot of talk about self-care in this day and age, but it’s really true. Working a day job and even doing the thing you love can take a lot out of you, so it’s important to make time for yourself to just be a person too.
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. 🙂
I like to tell and work on stories that empower people, especially young people. Whether or not we realize it, I think we all have a lot of strength within ourselves and it’s wonderful to share that with others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Make your own work: Seriously, I could’ve saved myself a lot of time with this one. I’ve never felt more powerful than when I’ve created something.
- Rejection really isn’t personal: It’s just not. Often times, ten actors will read for the same part and all of them are good. Who gets picked can often be for random, uncontrollable reasons.
- Learn your own marketability: a lot of actors hate this one, but having interned in a talent agency, it’s true. And it’s not personal. But the sooner you come to grips with whatever “type” you may be as an actor, the sooner you can start booking working and getting auditions.
- Never stop learning: It’s important to your growth as a person, and a lot of times what gets you in the audition room isn’t your fancy headshot, but a weird skill. I’ve started learning French because I wanted to, and I’ve even had a few auditions with it!
- You are enough: Most casting directors don’t just want to see Daniel Day Lewis, they want to see you and what makes you unique. Even if you’ve got crooked teeth or you aren’t a size two, you are valuable and worthy of being cast, exactly as you are.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –A.A. Milne, “Winnie the Pooh”
Growing up, I never thought that I would live in Los Angeles and get to tell stories in films and on stage. It truly seemed like something out of a fairy tale. I moved here with less than three hundred dollars in my bank account. And I’m still here! Be brave when you can. The rest will fall into place.
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?
There are lots of people, of course, but my family and friends have been so important to me in my journey here. My agents at RPM Talent, Jennifer Sims and Tiffany Atwood, have also taught me so much about this business and have been wonderfully supportive.
I’m also very lucky to have worked with “The Bad Pitch” writer’s lab run by Alexa Alemanni. I’ve been a member of this lab for over a year now and I’m constantly in awe of the talent and generosity of the people I meet there. It’s helped me discover my voice as a writer, and even as an actor in some ways. It’s one of the best things I’ve done since moving here!
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. 🙂
Mark Duplass has had such an incredible career. His work as both a filmmaker and an actor is outstanding, and he does a lot to inspire and support young filmmakers. His social media posts also talk a lot about kindness and mental health. I certainly think that’s something we can always use more of in this world.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow me on Instagram @itsemilyandroses
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!