You are your own business. I wasn’t told all the business side of it I’d have to take care of when I started out on my journey. Even though your an actor, it’s important to be tech savvy on the computer, understand taxes, unions and balancing your money.
I had the pleasure of interviewingJanine Gateland. Janine Gateland is a British actress from a small town in Yorkshire and now lives out her dreams in Los Angeles. Having worked in theater, film and TV in the UK, Janine talks about her latest work here in Hollywood. With TV pilot ‘Illville’ under her belt set for Amazon Prime and numerous award winning films around the globe, Janine is excited about her future work.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always loved performing in some capacity. I used to dance as a child right up to being a teen. Where I trained we did exams for ballet, tap, jazz and modern. We did show classes, and shows were put on professionally once a year. We were trained for the Royal Ballet so it was a very strict training. Our shows were impeccably flawless due to the training and high expectations of us. At times I found it hard, but unbeknownst to me, this would set me up for life, meaning anything I do, I work at it and work at it until it’s 150% amazing.
Although I loved to dance, and story tell through movement, I knew I wanted to become an actress. I wanted to move an audience in a way they can connect to. My very first theater performance was with York Mystery Plays in Yorkshire. It gave me an excitement inside, I’d never felt before. I also realized I was better at acting than dancing and after seeing the movie ‘The Blue Lagoon’ with Brooke Shields, I wanted that. I wanted to storytell and move an audience in a way so they can relate it to their life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
There are a number of stories of life’s ups and downs during my career. One in particular event that happened to me at the very beginning of my career which totally changed my outlook on life. It’s certainly not an event I ever want to repeat in my life but it has made me a stronger more focused woman on what I want and I appreciate LIFE.
In 2001 I was involved in one of the biggest train crashes in the UK. 10 men died and I was one of the lucky ones to survive. That day I was traveling on a very early morning train to a drama school audition in London from Yorkshire. Our train was involved with a collision of a vehicle on the tracks (Gary Hart fell asleep at the wheel, came off the freeway, down the embankment onto the tracks) and then a freight liner coming in the opposite direction hit us secondly.
Needless to say, I didn’t make it to that audition BUT it turned my life around. My time was not up so I thought I better do something about LIFE! I got back on a train 2 weeks later for a drama school audition because I knew I had to get over this fear of the feeling of being out of control on public transport, and try to not dwell on the torment of that day. I knew I must focus and follow my dreams. God gave me a second chance in life and I had to grab it and run.
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 was in a play called Roberto Zucco playing ‘Sister’. It was a wonderful story and is actually a film as well as a play. My character required a London cockney accent. My accent is Yorkshire and the vowels are very different to cockney. I found it hard to crack this accent but come show time, I really thought I’d got it. We had a full house each night and I had a lot of friends and family in the audience, just to add to the pressure. Well, I opened my mouth and half way through a sentence, suddenly splurges of Yorkshire would creep in. Then it kept happening throughout the show. At the time, I’d have actually preferred to not know about it to save myself of the embarrassment, but I could hear it loud and clear and couldn’t stop it. After that show, lesson learned, never ever do an accent on stage unless it is absolutely solid!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am super excited about a TV show I am involved in called ‘Illville’. It’s about a young boy that is shot by a cop, the boys family and friends take matters into their own hands and want justice. I play Becky who is a mistress to the cop — Officer Lynch. Lynch is infatuated with Becky and she is fond of him. She keeps him sane when everything is caving in on him.
There is some very talented cast and crew on this project and it was a lot of fun to be apart of it. The story really hits home as it deals with real issues of today. Playing Becky was a very challenging role, but I love challenges so it was all that more rewarding when it paid off. The show is set to go on Amazon Prime shortly so its doing very well.
I also have more projects lined up coming soon but I can’t disclose them yet.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I worked with Lorna Scott and Timothy Carhart on the horror film F***, Marry, Kill. They were both lovely to work with. Lorna played this creepy character named Marge, my character — Tiffany comes across her trailer in this messed up town whilst lost with my sisters. I love her acting and I was able to bounce off her energy throughout out scenes. Timothy played a cop that was actually the leader of the cult and the father of my sister’s kidnapper. Watching him get into character was very intriguing.
It was a very hard shoot for all of us due to filming in 120 degree heat in August, in the Mojave desert. At the same time we were dealing with this infestation of bugs that were literally everywhere while we were trying to film and they came out even more at night with the lights. Our gaffer had a fear of bugs so that was interesting when his poor truck was covered in them.
During the same shoot we were also dealing with a murderer on the loose. Apparently the biggest manhunt around. The guy had shot and killed a doctor then backpacked across the desert, arrived in Lake Isabella and whilst stealing food from a trailer he injured two cops. He was then hiding out in caves in Kern County area. We started filming on the Saturday and they shot and killed him that same night 40 miles away. So the shoot was very intense at the beginning and even though he’d been caught, we all still felt on edge. But it all added to the intensity and fear for the film. Lorna Scott and Timothy Carhart were very professional and went with the flow even though some of us were freaking out.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Enjoy life! In order to become a living, breathing character you have to use life experiences to get there. So make sure you take time for yourself because you are no use to anyone if you walk into an audition stresses, tired and not on the ball. Yes work hard but make sure you have a happy medium.
Don’t take rejections to heart. If you do, then acting isn’t for you. The casting director brought you in the room for a reason — they see potential. Not getting the role, doesn’t mean your a bad actor. They can go with someone else over the smallest of things that quite often can be out of your control.
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 would bring awareness to homelessness in Los Angeles and get people into homes! It breaks my heart. There are veterans in wheelchairs, homeless. Men and women who have been forced to live on the streets because they lost everything. I see it worse here compared to London. During the summer the temperatures can be so high and they need shelter.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- You are your own business. I wasn’t told all the business side of it I’d have to take care of when I started out on my journey. Even though your an actor, it’s important to be tech savvy on the computer, understand taxes, unions and balancing your money.
- You have to be able to move on and forget after an audition — let it go. So many actors get caught up and disheartened on how an audition went. Then they carry it on into their next audition, and the next. Because of this, it can affect your confidence and and that can make you look needy or weak. It rubs off on your bookings as no one wants to hire someone that’s either of those. When you first start out, it can be soul destroying if you don’t understand how casting works. When I first left training it was scary to be thrown into the auditioning world and this wasn’t explained to me.
- Networking! No One told me all the networking you have to do in this business. It’s so important to make connections and build relationships. You never know who you could be working with on your next project.
- Having a mentor and your close circle of friends who stand by you and you do them. Acting can be very lonely if your working on different projects with new people all the time. It’s also good to ‘share your toys’ with your fellow actors. By doing this, you can help each other out and it can bring great things.
- Training can take years to become a successful actor. They don’t tell you that you must keep on brushing up on your skills, even if your a working actor. Just like athletes, you have to constantly be trying new techniques and keeping your tool box (which is you) always updated.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Work hard, play hard but just make sure you have time for yourself.”
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?
My wonderful grandma was always my rock. Sadly she passed away last year but she was like a second mother to me. She always believed in me and knew I could become a successful actress. She took me to London on my first auditions for drama school. She showed me how the tube trains worked and supported me. Up until her final days, she was always happy to hear about what I’ve been working on and was so proud of me.
I am also very grateful towards my very talented acting coach — Kathryn Hanks. Kathryn many moons ago helped me get into drama school. If it wasn’t for her amazing coaching, I’d have been lost! We have remained friends over the years and she has watched my career blossom from afar. Whenever I visit home, we always have a catch up. She is a wonderful person who always has my back.
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. 🙂
There are many on my list I’d LOVE to have a good breakfast/ lunch and a cup of tea with! I think top of my list would be with the legendary Meryl Streep. I idolize that lady but I think many others do too ha! For me, there isn’t a performance I’ve seen her do, that she doesn’t do well. She’s extraordinary and i’d love to learn from her — or even better work with her!
I also love anything J.J. Abrams does. I was a huge fan of Alias, Lost, Fringes, Westworld and many of his films. I would really like to have a conversation about some of his projects and see how he came up with the concepts for each because his storytelling is wonderful. And of course, i’d love to work with him one day too.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My instagram is Janine Gateland.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!