I would like to welcome Elizabeth Regal to BTS Entertainment Corner.
Elizabeth Regal is a professional working performer as an actress, model, and dancer/aerialist for over 20 years, as well as Producer and Writer with her own production company Envision Motion Pictures.
1) Elizabeth, you have a very rich and interesting career so far. From being a model, to a singer, a producer, and several film and TV roles under your belt. Which is first in your mind?
You know as my mind, body, and spirit have evolved throughout a 20+ year career, mostly in LA, it has changed. I would say though I came out here to be an actress and achieved that, first in my mind is making movies. As the old film director, James Whale would say from the Frankenstein movies…”making movies is the most wonderful thing in the world.” Why? Because you have the ultimate power to turn your fantasy into reality. You have the creative control to make any character or experience come to life through the eyes of the audience. It’s captivating! It’s powerful! Most of all, you become a spiritual visionary in the world to make a significance on all of humanity with your vision.
2) You’re currently working on “Apathy equals Death”, what genre of film or stage is your favorite to act in?
You know, this is a great question considering I am a dark, gothic woman all of my life. I like the dark side, horror, thriller, erotic thrillers…I rarely get booked for any other genre. I really liked this project when I saw the casting because it was so edgy, and the filmmakers wanted to create a controversial message with a great deal of life lesson undertones. It is a drama and I play a mom, which is rare for me. I am a recovering alcoholic mother of two girls in college and I am comedic, offbeat, and a bit clueless. This is the first comedic character I have tackled in over a decade and I look so forward to it.
3) How do you prepare for an audition? Any tips for us actors out here?
This is a great question. Honestly, life is so fast-paced in LA rarely am I given time to prepare. Most of the time I get a cold read audition or the sides the night before. Self-Tapes are getting to be the latest craze though, which is great because I can go at my own pace. I went out on 84 LA auditions in 2016 on my own merit with no agent, and I can honestly say 75% of them were cold reading.
LA is flooded with talent, and casting directors are bombarded with submissions. There is not much time to go in unprepared, late, stressed, etc., and not know your lines. I am given the sides and try to be off-book within 30 minutes when I go in. If I get the sides ahead of time, I do a read-through three times. One time to read it, the second time to digest it, and the third time to analyze it. I find what the characters ultimately want in life that may or may not be present in the script, create inner dialogue with the characters, then add mannerisms, start memorizing lines, and then practice in front of a mirror. I may say the line 30+ times until I get it. In television this is a MUST!!!
Film is relaxed if you miss a word you improv, never in TELEVISION! They have tech writers and the material is on a time slot on the network, not to mention censorship. One word can change the context and time frame. You must memorize your lines verbatim in television or you will never get called back or book unless that casting director or producer really likes you.
4) How do you prepare for a role? Tips?
I am a Lee Strasberg trained Method actress, so I do as much as I can to become that character from mindset, vocal range, mannerisms, how they dress, how they live, how were they raised, what is in their head? Research is vital. If I do not relate to that character and am not feeling an organic connection, it is not worth me booking that job just for pay. The camera does not lie. The camera tells all and the director can see in an instant if you’re one with the moment or not.
Just as Sarah Paulson is known to do, I write my lines down. I read the script over and over playing the scenes in my head like Alfred Hitchcock and then re-write the dialogue. And by writing down lines the subconscious is triggered to remember.
Also, I can honestly say when you are clear on the intention and understand the lines of the other character you are in the scene with, this makes ultimate magic and more in-depth understanding why I am saying those lines to begin with.
Creating an authentic backstory and asking tons of questions from the director and writer is key. I always develop a close relationship with the director and writer throughout the process; that has helped tremendously if I feel I am at odds with a scene or an aspect I do not understand about the character’s actions.
I strongly suggest every actor continuously coach with a REPUTABLE acting coach on a regular basis. Most working actors and stars do, even Al Pacino still studies with his acting coach of many years. I constantly work on scenes I am shooting in my film with my coach I have worked with for years, who is a working educated film director himself.
5) Do you see yourself producing and directing more, or do you play it by ear, take it as it comes?
I am currently co-producing a horror film right up my alley about an exorcism starring Wesley Snipes and Mischa Barton called “Inhuman.” I play Peter’s Mom, a supporting role that I am elated to work with Wesley Snipes.
6) Is there any downtime in between projects? If so, how do you fill that time?
Downtime in LA? What is that? Let’s just say I have not been on a vacation other than a quick weekend here and there in over 4 years. I am in school part-time finishing my 2nd college degree in June in Music. I sing Opera and Commercial, but my fantasy style is Goth/Darkwave/Post-Punk.
On my short downtime, I do aerial. Yes, I hang off 30 feet-in-the-air silks, hoop, and ropes. It relieves stress, is another side talent, and a beautiful sensual art form that brings out my sexy side I don’t always get to express in the films I do.
I donate time to charity and work with 2 charities. I work with Kitty Bungalow, a kitty charm school for homeless and feral kittens. I also work with World Education Connection that is a global non-profit intended to connect schools and students globally. The CEO/Founder Lisa Booth used to be the head casting director for General Hospital for 25 years and now is giving her heart to this life-transforming organization. My lovely supportive friend, Deborah Kummerman who has walked me through many life obstacles introduced me to it and is heavily involved in so many ways. It is all about the students being Seen, Heard, and Valued!
7) Any last thoughts, advice…warnings??!!
This is always a loaded question. I am just blatantly honest, really think hard before you go into acting, especially in LA. Its takes many years and you have to start young because it takes, on average, 15+ years to build your business, you being the product. Less than 10% of actors are working and about 1% become stars.Those are the hard facts. Come to LA with a plan, MONEY, training, credit, and connections. LA has more scams in the industry than any other city. As a new unprepared actress when I got here I got taken over and over as many do—not knowing the culture. The people are very different here and the system is TOUGH, but it can be done.
Understand LA is all about money. It is the top of the food chain where big budgets are the focus, though many indie filmmakers do get breaks. LA is a city for experienced talent ready to go to the next level, though you see tons of 20-somethings get off the bus with no money and no clue hoping for an overnight break. It does not happen that way. Being a creative is one thing, being an entrepreneur is another. Entrepreneurial skills are your gold mine and learning how the system works. Work hard, take care of your connections, and help others too. The sacrifices seem insurmountable, but the REWARDS are great! Good Luck!