SPOTLIGHT ON BEST PERFORMERS: 2X BEST PERFORMER LISA MARTEL
STARCAST: How long have you been acting, and what inspired you to become an actor?
LISA: I was an actor as a child and really enjoyed it, but opted to pursue a “safer” career in business and marketing. After moving to L.A. in 2001, I started taking classes and performing improv. I fell in love with acting again and have been working on my craft and growing as an actor ever since.
STARCAST: How did you prepare for your StarCast scene? What informed your performance?
LISA: I prepare for all the work I do in much the same way - understanding the character and what drives her. Sometimes it’s quite relatable and other times I look for a way to translate the character’s need to something personal. Either way, I bring myself to the character to make her unique.
STARCAST: What kind of acting gigs have you had thus far, if any?
LISA: I’ve been doing a bunch of indie films lately – some features, some shorts – it’s great fun because there’s typically a lot of leeway in character development. I’ve worked on a few independent TV pilots. And I’ve produced and acted in a teen web series called “Whatever.” I hadn’t done theatre in a while and was missing it, so last year I accepted a part in a production for which I’m grateful to have garnered some wonderful reviews. I still do improv – I’m totally hooked – and I really believe that helps me stay “nimble” as an actor.
STARCAST: We know you’ve fantasized about an awards acceptance speech. How does the opening line go?
LISA: I’ve definitely fantasized about the feeling of winning a big award, but no specific words come to mind. But I know me… and if/when I’m honored in that way, I’ll probably be one of those actors who will thank the oh-so many people who have helped my career, then get cut off by the music!
STARCAST: Have you had any notable successes or setbacks you think other actors could learn from?
LISA: Most actors have had successes and setbacks - and I’m no exception. My strategy? Celebrate the success… even the small ones… it’s so important for an actor’s self-esteem. And let go of the setbacks… if we keep them living inside us, they’ll rock our self-confidence in the future.
STARCAST: Have you had any acting training, and can you speak a little bit to the importance of drama programs or acting classes?
LISA: I’ve studied acting with several different teachers and learned very important, though very different things from each of them. I believe it’s a good thing to change teachers once in a while - the accumulation of all they teach you is how to really find yourself as an actor. Being in class in very important to me – how else can we continue to learn and hone our craft? Even many of the actors you see as big stars are still in class – master classes – that’s the beauty of acting. You’re never done learning and you always have new things to explore.
STARCAST: What are your favorite actors’ services and resources?
LISA: Well, StarCast is a new favorite resource of mine! It’s such a great way of practicing daily and ultimately (with a lot of work) getting exposure to the industry. If you live in LA, The Actors Network is wonderful – so many fantastic resources available to members. I recently started using Karmalicity – a site that helps members increase their social media presence and IMDb rankings – all through the “good karma” of supporting one another. I do a good amount of casting director workshops at ReelPros, though I have a very targeted list. And any actor who doesn’t know about Dallas Travers – the best marketing person for what we do – should definitely look her up.
STARCAST: What’s your dream role, and do you have a favorite actor or actress?
LISA: As a character actress, my dream role would be something like Tara in The United States of Tara, which was such an incredible display of range from brilliant actress Toni Collette. I love doing comedic acting, particularly dark comedies. And I really enjoy dramatic acting in strong female roles – lawyer, police detective, etc. I’ve got a long list of favorite actors and actresses – each of whom blows me away in different ways.
STARCAST: What are your short term acting goals?
LISA: I’m in between theatrical representation, so one of my short term goals is to connect with an LA agency that “gets” me… and we can work well together. Other than that – stay in class and focus on manifesting bigger projects! I just finished updating my comedy and drama reels, have had new head shots taken and my web site is almost done. I’m also working on my voice-over reels, as I’ve done a lot of VO training and plan to market myself in that area as soon as they’re ready.
STARCAST: The biz can be tough. What motivates you to keep at it?
LISA: What motivates me is an absolute passion for acting. It brings me joy – and really, how many people can truly say that about their career? Every business can be tough, but I couldn’t be happier than doing what I’m doing.
STARCAST: Do you have any special or funny skills we should know about?
LISA: Funny is in the eye of the beholder I suppose, but… I did stand-up comedy for a few years and I’ll still do a set once in a while. Other unusual skills? I played semi-pro pool in professional events for several years, so I’m a pretty good shot. I’m also a fantastic cook (if I do say so myself).
STARCAST: Do you have any audition tips for your fellow actors out there?
LISA: Prepare, prepare, prepare! I’ve never met a casting director who didn’t mention this as critical. Don’t come off as needy… they can smell it and it’s not flattering. Bring yourself to the role. Don’t try to guess what “they’re looking for”…. because they may just be looking for YOU. Relax, have FUN and do your best. Then let it go. If it’s a match and you made the scenes work, it will happen. Trust that.
STARCAST: Do you have a website, YouTube channel or reel you would like us to post? And do you have a Twitter or other social media handle where you would like people to follow you?
Twitter: my handle is lisadmartel
Thanks, LISA! You can check out Lisa’s performances at www.starcastauditions.com/best-performances. If you don’t see her video(s), shift the sort function from “Most Recent” to “All.”