The VFS Main Theatre was packed to the walls with Acting for Film & Television students recently, and for good reason. The Acting program’s Advisory Board Member (and special guest instructor) Matthew Lillard was in conversation with Smallville star Cassidy Freeman, delving into topics like how to deal with the ups and downs of battling it out in LA for acting gigs.
“You can have a bad day and [complain] about it, but that can’t be your mantra” Freeman said. She opened up about the times when she felt her lowest — during a botched audition for a Don Cheadle film — and the better moments, like when she ignored the advice of everyone around her in LA and took a part in the New York play that landed her a manager and a very bright future in acting.
Lillard, as always, encouraged actors to own their craft and know who they are intimately. That way, when they’re working on set, they won’t have any nagging worries about whether they have a right to be there.
“Part of this program is that you walk out with a sense of who you are, and that you’re an actor,” he said. “You have a conviction of who you are and that validation allows you to feel strong in that environment [on set].”
Lillard also explained how his own career lately epitomizes those same ups and downs Freeman described. This year was the first in many that he didn’t land a part in a TV pilot. But before that could sink in, he was cast by Alexander Payne (Sideways) for a feature film where he’ll play the lover of George Clooney’s character’s wife.
“It’s a big thing for me,” he said, emphasizing how things change all the time in this industry. Life as an actor is tough, but that’s also what makes it so rewarding.
Lillard carried that same spirit to the recent VFS Acting Alumni Reunion, where grads from the program got together to share their experiences and have some fun. Check out the flickr photos from that night.