On a personal note, I am a spinal fusion survivor, and live with a migraine disorder- a result from a neck/head injury. This experience has truly been life altering and firmly infused within me an unrelenting patience, infallible inner strength, immense fortitude, and deep appreciation for life (especially the moments that are absent of pain). There are many, in the industry, who have experienced spinal injuries and head injuries, resulting in further complications (i.e. migraine disorders, dystonia, seizure disorders, permanent concussive disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and much more). More importantly, many feel they are battling alone. But the fortunate reality is, NO ONE EVER IS or needs to struggle alone. I would love to encourage those in the Entertainment Industry to courageously share YOUR silent battle with chronic pain, illness, injury, or disease (#MySBChallenge) on social media as a means to humanize and assign a voice to YOUR daily chronic pain. Your story will inspire strength in others, especially when others may be ready to throw in the towel.
As a part of my interview series with popular culture stars, I had the pleasure of interviewing International Award-Winning Screenwriter and actress, Lorenne Clarke . Lorenne is the Co-Creator|Writer of Whiskey and the Firecracker (WATF) TV Pilot which has garnered the attention of many National and International Festivals (i.e. “TV Spec Script Category”), including the 2017 Stage 32: 2nd Annual TV Writing Contest, 2017 Film & Script Showcase, and the 2017 Sunset Film Festival Los Angeles. WATF has won with heavy-hitters such as Edward Pronley’s Relax I Got This (Modern Family) and has been a finalist alongside Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom in the Cannes Screenplay Contest (2015 & 2016).
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a child born into a cluster of dysfunction, I often felt an extreme cloud of hopelessness linger, where escape seemed inconceivable. Masterful at pretending everything was “OK”, it was this type of “psychology” that assured me and my future, that it would be. When hearing familiar and friendly voices on television, a sense of comfort and RELIEF was immediately injected, creating an imaginary refuge where I could temporarily immerse myself. It was my version of ESCAPE, a happy safe haven. I wanted to fully embody the type of characters I had seen in my favorite films as well as their intricate lives I had become so deeply and emotionally attached. In hyper-zealous pursuit, I began imitating family members’ mannerisms and voices, with the occasional dialect or accent shift in rapid speed; utterly confounding anyone with 20/20 vision and within an earshot.
At age eleven, I made my theatre debut at the famous Priscilla Beach Theatre in Plymouth, MA (the same stage graced by legendary actors such as Paul Newman, Pat Carroll, Dan Blocker, etc). This was a DEFINING MOMENT; an unceasing passion and hunger for “performance” was conceived. Most importantly, it marked the BEGINNING of “Self- Discovery”; the depths of my versatility and range as an actress were somewhat proven past concept, however, still yet to be realized.
In attending the 2002 Harvard Summer Theatre Program, I studied with Professor Jeremy Geidt who provided an extensive introduction to Stanislavsky, Anton Chekhov, and character development work with the perfect regimen of unwavering patience, knowledge, and direction. His incomparable program truly provided an exceptionally, critical foundation that was advantageous for future BFA or BA students. For myself, it was the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS Boston) where I received my BA.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Upon entering college, I initially had aspirations only in the field of Acting. As time progressed, and with the guided support from phenomenal professors in the Theatre department, my creativity was encouraged and nurtured as a first-time Director at UMASS Boston. My strengths were ultimately realized, after my directorial debut of How I learned to Drive by Paula Vogel. Additionally, I was significantly limiting myself by only pursuing Acting. I was capable of so much more in the Industry (i.e. Writing, Producing, Editing) and was continuously provided tangible proof with each new exciting endeavor.
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?
It was an unfortunate audition tape that I incessantly kept rewinding back in my brain for months (i.e. when I first started auditioning) pondering ways I could have auditioned differently…with stronger urgency. At a callback with a well-known Director, I was requested to improvise for a dramatically long duration. I improvised for approximately 10 min. It felt like an eternity, and, consequently, it felt like all the blood in my body was making a run for my FACE by min 8. Riddled with internal panic, however cool as a cucumber externally, I had the fear I was completely annihilating the audition. I learned that, after a couple months had passed, there was no logic in stressing over any mistakes or choices I had made. I couldn’t change the audition. I had to simply “LET GO” and move on to the next one. I had a choice in my reactions, emotions, and preparation for future situations. If I mastered this, any anxiety would be greatly reduced, increasing my performance to its maximum, desired level.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently, I have some projects (Series & Features) in development and have been very fortunate to have been offered some incredible roles. I’m currently in discussions about (2) projects- One a series and the other a Feature Film.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
In 2009, I auditioned for Peter Hewitt’s The Maiden Heist, my first motion picture, and received a call-back. It was EXHILARATING to be cast alongside Morgan Freeman, William H. Macy, and Christopher Walken as one of the museum guards involved in the Heist. My exceptionally memorable verbal exchange with Morgan Freeman off set was the icing on the cake, however, I awkwardly proceeded to shake his hand for an excessively long period of time (embarrassing!) while chatting. While confessing my admiration in a monotone voice with a follow-up “gulp” sound, Mr. Freeman bestowed the friendliest hug before returning on set. In addition to this experience, I have been very fortunate to connect/befriend many highly reputable, entertainment industry professionals. Among my dearest and most talented, are Adam Howard: master VFX Supervisor| four Primetime Emmy award winner| world acclaimed Portrait Artist (his credits include: Titanic, Star Wars Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Mission Impossible 3, Rush Hour 3, Cliffhanger, The Sandlot, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday, War of the Worlds, Star Trek: First Contact), and Scott Nicholas Amendolare: Writer|Director|Producer| Innovative Creative established in both scripted and non-scripted mediums (his credits include: Papa Hemingway in Cuba, Madam Hollywood, Hard Justice, The Fifth Element, Criss Angel: Mindfreak, Bridezillas, Big Brother).
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
As much as we (“creatives”) plan and push to meet our goals by a future date, it is much more momentous to enjoy the “now”, and remind ourselves that life is meant to be lived, not planned for incessantly. Enjoy the process of meeting your objectives, and do not sacrifice your health and overall well-being in the midst of your journey; your health is EVERYTHING. Your body is a beautiful vessel and should be treated with the utmost respect. Loving your body includes: exercise, nourishing with quality food that will sustain your body/mind, feeding your soul with positivity (family, friends, media) and surrounding yourself with equally enterprising, passionate, and supportive individuals in the industry.
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. 🙂
There are countless in the industry, who silently and courageously battle (i.e. or have children or direct relatives with) incurable/painful diseases, chronic illnesses, and injuries. In addition, some of these unsung heroes donate to a multitude of notable charities annually in an effort to find cures.
On a personal note, I am one of many myself. I am a spinal fusion survivor, and live with a migraine disorder- a result from a neck/head injury. This experience has truly been life altering and firmly infused within me an unrelenting patience, infallible inner strength, immense fortitude, and deep appreciation for life (especially the moments that are absent of pain). There are many, in the industry, who have experienced spinal injuries and head injuries, resulting in further complications (i.e. migraine disorders, dystonia, seizure disorders, permanent concussive disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and much more). More importantly, many feel they are battling alone. But the fortunate reality is, NO ONE EVER IS or needs to struggle alone.
I would love to encourage those in the Entertainment Industry to courageously share YOUR silent battle with chronic pain, illness, injury, or disease (#MySBChallenge) on social media as a means to humanize and assign a voice to YOUR daily chronic pain. Your story will inspire strength in others, especially when others may be ready to throw in the towel.
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 sincerely wish that someone had told me…
1. “You are stronger than you think you are”.
I have endured a life beyond my years, and I am eternally grateful. I have been promoted to a new level of endurance with each obstacle in life, and prove to myself “anything is possible, dreams attainable”!
2. Your scars do not make you a hideous quilt, but rather a beautiful road map to guide and teach when others cannot.
I am in a unique position as a writer/storyteller, survivor, thriver, spinal fusion warrior, and Chronic Migraine Champ, to communicate my experiences via didactic comedic/dramatic cinema for the purpose of inspiring meaningful long-term conversations.
3. Protect your INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) Copyright your work before you send it to anyone. Your future self will thank you.
This is pivotal. I tell so many first time screenwriters (and seasoned writers-sometimes “we” can be forgetful, complacent or not have the funds) when they contact me, to PLEASE protect their intellectual property. It may sound silly, however it is essential in this business. It is a liability. Protect yourself, your work, and have respect for your time and effort.
4. Be self-aware, assertive, and do not cater to toxicity or those who are “toxic”.
It is vital to be abundantly aware of your professional/personal environment, and to maintain positive relationships that sustain healthy boundaries without depleting yourself in any way during the process.
5. We rise when we make positive connections with equally innovative, professionals and collectively support each other in our burning passions.
It is imperative to connect with others who match your professional ambitions, display a true committed, and supportive spirit in achieving a collective goal/vision.
You are the gatekeeper to your destiny.
The possibilities are endless with the relentless spirit of imagination and diligence. What company we choose to keep and associate with, can greatly hinder our progress.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
During my college years (i.e. attending the University of Massachusetts Boston) I became cognizant of my strengths, overcame an abundance of insecurities (i.e. Self-image/self-confidence issues stemming from my past). I realized that the most degrading, soul-crushing comments, can be the most effective fuel in maintaining a stubborn, relentless, and positive attitude. Our goals and aspirations are nothing less than an attainable finish line. Never submit to the urge that tickles you to quit, no matter how desirable the ground may be. Standing firm on your own two feet, and keep moving. You’ll be thankful at the finish line. Success, confidence, optimism, and forgiveness are the remedies for ignorance.
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?
I’m eternally grateful for my Father and Mother. They have been my cheerleaders, my support system, my best friends, my companions, the voices instilling confidence within me when there wasn’t an ounce left. My Father always encouraged me and my brother to be ourselves, whereas our personalities were suppressed elsewhere. He created a safe environment of non-judgement, where “dreaming” was warmly promoted. My Mother is my guiding light, my angel. I hit the jack pot when I was born.
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. 🙂
It would DEFINITELY be Tom Hanks!
I’ve always referred to Tom Hanks as my “TV Dad”. He’s phenomenal on so many levels. He is one of those actors that has subconsciously built the foundation of joyful cinematic images that so many like myself associate “growing up” with. As I said earlier, film and television were my escape. Tom Hanks’ films then and today, continue to serve as nostalgic legendary American cinema. For this reason, I respect him as an actor and human being in the highest regard, in addition to his philanthropic and creative outlets.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!