Acting for Film & Television grad Laci Mailey has only been out of school for three years but she is already building up an impressive list of credits that includes both film and television. Laci is currently appearing on the TNT original series Falling Skies, which stars ER‘s Noah Wyle, and follows the survivors of an alien invasion on earth.
The third season is now filming in Burnaby, British Columbia and will return in the US with new episodes in 2013. For those of you up here in Canada, the first season is currently airing Monday nights on Space.
We spoke with Laci to learn more about what brought her to VFS and life as a working actor.
Why did you choose to come to Vancouver Film School and study acting?
Laci: [Acting for Film & Television Head of Department] Bill Marchant‘s introduction video on the VFS Acting website. I just remember sitting there – 17 years old, in my tiny town – thinking “this guy is intense and I’m terrified”. I watched him and was so inspired, scared, and excited. I just wanted to bite something! I still do.
What was life like after graduation? What was the hardest part of starting out in the industry?
Laci: The first few months were rough – just a lingering cloud of “what just happened” and “what’s going to feed me/my artist next”. I started serving in bars and restaurants. I worked my butt off. I knew I had to stay as much in the industry as I could, so I was doing a lot of indie films, bad theatre, volunteering for anything that would get me around a director, a writer, a camera operator, a makeup artist, a stand in…anyone who was even touching the industry. Just to keep my energy in it.
The hardest part of starting out in the industry for me was the constant self-deprecation. I thought it would dissolve once I started working. It doesn’t. That obnoxious voice that says “you’re too big” or “you’re too short” or “don’t hold your face that way” or “make sure you wear something that covers your left forearm”. The hardest part is releasing that and just doing the work – because the work feels SO GOOD!
Tell us about Falling Skies and what your experience has been like on the show.
Laci: Amazing!!! It was one of those auditions where I didn’t even care if I got the part. I did the work and walked out of the room feeling so completely full. I am working with the amazing Will Patton, who plays my father. It’s cool to work with someone who is so focused the entire time. I feel like I have room to crouch down and do some sensory work because he understands and there’s no judgment. The bar is definitely raised for me working with the actors on this show.
Can you tell us about any projects you have coming up?
Laci: I did a grind house indie called Evil Feed last May. We just got an extension from Sundance so fingers crossed it will go through! It’s gory and disgusting, and my mom is NOT allowed to watch it. It’s pretty funny though.
Any advice for aspiring actors?
Laci: Stay in class. VFS Acting Advisory Board Member Matthew Lillard said this in one of his workshops and it will forever stick with me: “You are not an actor unless you are in a class”. Always be working the muscle in a class, even when you are broke…sell your coffee table.
What is your favourite part of being an actor?
Laci: Finding presence. Even if it’s only for a half a second with someone. That one moment of perfect, ego-less connection. I also love doing private moments. It’s the best way for me to find character. I don’t like to sit in a cafe and write a bunch of stuff down (well, I do when I’m lazy) but get up on my feet front of people and surprise myself in characters privacy. Awesome. I thank Nadine Wright for this.
Thanks for speaking with us, Laci. Good luck with Season 3 of Falling Skies and Sundance!