…Awww thank you. That’s sweet of you to say and it’s such a fantastic question. There are three areas which I feel very close to: Child Safety & Welfare, Animal Welfare and Mental Health. So I could put forward any number of ideas, all of which will be focused on those three things. However, if I must put forward just one idea which will bring the most good to the most people I would suggest that more projects are financed to help aspiring stars get their early projects off the ground. To begin with, many can’t afford the costs of entering script writing competitions etc. So, I encourage companies to hold annual competitions of which the entry fee is capped at £30/$40/€40. The only additional cost would be to entrants who are posting hard copies as opposed to uploading to the relevant digital address. The prizes would be worked out so that first prize is a small grant towards production costs, feedback on the script and a mentor from the company who will guide the winner through the process from page to screen. The second prize would be feedback on the script and a mentor to help develop the script further. Third prize would receive feedback on the script to the same standard of that provided to the first and second prize winners. I think this would be a great idea because I myself have heard the general public saying that films now are getting rather “samey” and our favourite films which become huge franchises are being ruined due to bad stories or lack of their flagship stars. It’s time for change and fresh approaches, I’m positive that this idea will bring new ideas to the screen and new faces into the industry.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Turrini. Emily is a promising actor, dancer, writer and model, with a passion for directing and choreography. She has proved herself to be a guiding light to those who are knocking on the industries front door but feel their disabilities will hold them back from achieving their full potential. While battling her own disability Emily successfully graduated from The University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Originally, I wanted to keep my acting and dancing as hobbies for my initial career goal was to work in Forensics. However, that all changed during secondary school when I won awards for my portrayals of Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Catherine in “The Taming of the Shrew”. I realised that I was good at acting. This was reinforced at college when I decided to study a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts instead of an A Level in Drama as the BTEC gave me more options to pursue.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Meeting the Mayor of Derby was one of the most interesting things. As a member of the Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company I was invited to a Black Tie dinner to celebrate the Centenary of the company as well as the Bard’s birthday. The guest of honour was the Mayor. My mother spilled an entire glass of red wine all over the crisp white table cloth and another ladies dress. I was mortified.
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 don’t need to think long about this. At secondary school I was taking part in a play, my task in this particular scene was simple. Deliver a few lines while holding up a sheet with a fireplace painted on it, decorated with candles and Holly as part of our abridged play of “The Little Match Girl”. The second night we performed, I played the scene as I did in rehearsal and the night before. Only the audience were roaring with laughter, my fellow cast members then began to fight back their fits of giggles. I looked towards my director who sighed in disbelief. I was hit with a wave of mixed emotions; hysterics and embarrassment. It was at this point that I realised I was holding the fireplace upside down…. Note to self, always check you’re using your props correctly.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Writing my biography is a very interesting but difficult time for me. I am excited to be back in front of the camera sometime next summer. In the meantime training my service dog is proving to be a very rewarding challenge.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
My journey along this career path has given me the opportunity to interact with a variety of people from actors and musicians to writers and film production staff. No two interactions are ever the same. The first celebrity I met was singer Aled Jones, he was performing at the Derby Assembly Rooms just after his stint on “Strictly Come Dancing”. I was on work experience from Secondary School at the theatre, my manager had given me the task of looking after both Aled and his manager. As a thank you for escorting them around the theatre Aled gave me a signed photo. My performance with Sinfonia Viva was definitely unique, while on tour they were inviting student performers to collaborate with them as part of their “Creation” project. As we rehearsed separately we never interacted but to simply share the stage with them was incredible. The one person who I never expected to meet as I had only ever seen his name listed in the production credits of a number of “James Bond” films. Until we were introduced by a mutual aquaintense; after numerous back and forths both over the phone and via social media we arranged to meet up and talk shop. In a matter of weeks I found myself sat across from Terry Bamber discussing a script I was working on. Having read what was only my third draft, Terry gave me the most surreal feedback and advice. He told me I have a natural gift of script writing and should develop my skills and the script further. Then went on to tell me that the script was a “page turner” and “comes to life on the page”. That was in 2010ish. Since graduating from University in 2016 my script writing abilities have greatly improved since Terry read that draft. Should the opportunity arise and our paths cross again, I will without a doubt be saying, “Here Terry what do you think of it now?” My later interactions were via sheer chance as my creative writing lecturer at University was Michael Stewart author of “King Crow” and a few TV scripts for “Hollyoaks”. Although attending “Star Trek 50” at the Birmingham NEC in the UK as a fan, one conversation with an actor stands out the most to me. What started out as a fan asking questions to the actor while getting an autograph, soon turned into a much less formal affair. As a queue was building up behind me, Greg Grunberg and I are merely talking shop and what we’re both working on. Suddenly, I find myself in a dream where Greg and I had agreed to work together on a project at some point in the future. It was later while looking through my bag of goodies at my hotel when my attention was drawn to a message written on a photo with the actors autograph. The handwritten message read, “Let’s work together” signed by Greg Grunberg. I hadn’t been dreaming. As for sitting down for a coffee with Terry Bamber that was a special moment for me as I was getting myself in front of a well known member of the “James Bond” production team, not only as a writer but also as an actor.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To my colleagues just entering into the industry I say this: be of the mindset that there is always someone in the room who is better than you in one area but you will be better than them in another. Be inspired by the other person not intimidated. Above all remain humble.
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. 🙂
Awww thank you. That’s sweet of you to say and it’s such a fantastic question. There are three areas which I feel very close to: Child Safety & Welfare, Animal Welfare and Mental Health. So I could put forward any number of ideas, all of which will be focused on those three things. However, if I must put forward just one idea which will bring the most good to the most people I would suggest that more projects are financed to help aspiring stars get their early projects off the ground. To begin with, many can’t afford the costs of entering script writing competitions etc. So, I encourage companies to hold annual competitions of which the entry fee is capped at £30/$40/€40. The only additional cost would be to entrants who are posting hard copies as opposed to uploading to the relevant digital address. The prizes would be worked out so that first prize is a small grant towards production costs, feedback on the script and a mentor from the company who will guide the winner through the process from page to screen. The second prize would be feedback on the script and a mentor to help develop the script further. Third prize would receive feedback on the script to the same standard of that provided to the first and second prize winners. I think this would be a great idea because I myself have heard the general public saying that films now are getting rather “samey” and our favourite films which become huge franchises are being ruined due to bad stories or lack of their flagship stars. It’s time for change and fresh approaches, I’m positive that this idea will bring new ideas to the screen and new faces into the industry.
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 that this is an expensive industry to be in — you spend so much money on transport, food and accommodation to get to auditions and back again. Knowing you might not get the part. I travelled to Manchester and auditioned for DanceX, my background was in Ballroom not commercial style dancing.
- I wish I was warned about the techniques you could unwittingly be made to believe by fellow aspiring actors — while doing my first short film the actor I was working opposite had his script by him the whole time. I had learnt all my lines and kept my script accessible but with my bag a few yards away. My co-star tried to make me believe that in the professional world of film acting, actors keep their scripts next to them but hidden from the camera so they can read their lines. This actor hid his script behind the chair on which he was sitting. I knew better.
- When working as a background artist on a film don’t assume they are prepared for your food allergies — one of my colleagues found themselves being sent home due to eating something which they were unaware contained an allergen. Take a pack up just in case.
- I really do wish that someone had warned me that, no matter how much you try to help someone who is really just starting out, but they are consistently unwilling to heed your advice and guidance; as they often tell you a) they know what they’re doing, b) they know how the industry works and c) they know more than you. Just give up trying to help, you can always say, “I told you so” later. — This can cause arguments as even though you mean well sometimes it’s better for you both to just let them find out the hard way.
- The final thing I wish someone had told me is maintain your standards both on and off the camera or stage as bad decisions and bad actions will come back and bite you. You may have been signed due to having not only the talent but also respect for those hiring you and a good moral compass. However, although one drunken night out can be forgiven when you turn up to work with a hangover. If you start making a habit of it, it will affect your work and work relationships. So, say goodbye to your contract. Fortunately, having a degree in, and a head for business I worked this out for myself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The best life lesson quote I’ve learned from is “Lead by example”. The youth of today learn most by watching what those around them do, such as their parents. If you tell your child that it’s wrong to take someone’s belongings without asking but one day your child watches as you slowly put your hand in someone else’s bag and take out their phone and not put it back. Then a while later you get a knock at the door. It’s the police informing you that your child was caught pickpocketing. In my mind this teaches nothing but hypocrisy, say one thing but do another. Instead whatever rules you set make sure you follow them yourself first.
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’s been so many people who have touched my life in very different ways so it’s nyon impossible for me to name just one. Although, I would like to say a very big thank you to the following: Mr Eric Rowland — my old dance examiner and judge for his encouragement to never give up my dancing as it would be a waste of talent. He always told me that it’s a pleasure to see me dance as you can tell I enjoy it. Mrs Kay Hallam-Black — my former English teacher during my time at Kirk Hallam Community Technology College for recognising my natural flare for Shakespeare and insisting that I compete in acting competitions for Shakespeare. Also for igniting my creative writing skills. Mr Michael Stewart & Mr Simon Crump — my amazing and rather quirky creative writing tutors from the University of Huddersfield, without whom I would not have the confidence to take risks in my written work nor have honed my skills in making the world of fiction a little more realistic.
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. 🙂
We all have a bucket list but I won’t go down that route. Instead I would like to meet the people who have been my inspiration during my journey along this career path. Therefore id like to meet Johnny Depp as he’s been at the top of my to work with list for a very long time. Plus I’d like to know more about his fascination with Houdini. Also I’d love to meet stunt coordinator Lee Whittaker, we have spoken briefly on social media and I’d love for my stunt skills to improve with his help. Finally, Mel Gibson has done so much to help so many of his fellow actors who have been going through a tough time in their lives, I would very much like to meet him to simply shake his hand and say thank you both as a fellow actor and as a human being living with a hidden disability.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!