MELISSA JEAN WOODSIDE

BLOGMelissa02

 

www.mjwoodside.com

 

 

1. What kinds of things inspire you, as a Canadian actor living in London, U.K.?

I love the originality of work and the English film scene. I find that like any big city, it’s very metropolitan but at the same time, it doesn’t lose its essence of history and timelessness.

I can’t go a day without discovering something unique or walking past a beautiful old cinema or theatre (that to me is very much like a church). I’m performing next month at the Camden Head and other London theatres with a comedy sketch group “Fans of Comedy”. Just being in the old classical buildings lights me up straight away and I feel alive inside.

I know that the film industry is leading towards greatness in Canada, but there is something insatiable about the English film industry that keeps me here.

2. Where do you train as an actor? What is the importance of training to you?

I’m currently taking a variety of workshops at the Actors Centre. It is incredibly beneficial and I constantly chip away at my craft through their guidance.

I have to admit, however, that I find that I learn mostly “on the job”.

3. You have started up a comedy web series, Bertie & Gerdie, what inspired it? What is the series about? Where do you see this work leading?

Bertie and Gerdie was a satirical web series inspired by a bad breakup. Sounds cliché, but acting really helped me forget about the guy. A friend and I started making fun of failed relationships and I had a problem with Middle Class gold-digging women in particular that do nothing for society. Through this, I was able to create this strange relationship with the male character on screen that represents everything toxic in modern day marriage. It’s great because we take suggestions for writing, so if someone is going through a bad breakup or their spouse said something strange, we will consider it in our scripts!

Bertie and Gerdie was fun and has grown in terms of technical expertise more than anything.
 As you will see, the earlier episodes are on essentially a Sony Handicam. Over time we got the attention of a BBC Studio manager with a decent camera/team and even jingle on board!

In the long term this will die out as Bertie + Gerdie’s marriage is doomed, but there will be a second series and related sitcom style series coming up.

4. Any favorite performances while you’ve been in London?

YES! I love London for performances. I can’t walk around the West End enough!!

Recently I have noticed a surge in North American Historical performances. Last week I saw No One Loves Us Here by Ross Howard, a staged reading black comic portrait about a Native American dealing with love, obsession, the aspiration of youth and a crumbling white-collar class.

Next week I’m going to see a play called The Low Road by Bruce Norris about the slave trade.

Apart from that, I can’t get enough of catching more mainstream stuff with Q + A sessions attached to the end. I saw The Browning Version with Anna Chancellor, as well as a Keira Knightley performance this way.

5. When collaborating in creative endeavors what do you admire in your peers?

I admire actors and creative types with the ability to be down to earth, spaz out, and just have fun. Everyone has a different upbringing, a different story, and filmmaking is all about storytelling.
 There are too many actor types that take things too seriously and as a result I feel alienated.

Whilst it is a very serious industry, it is very much about having fun and doing something you enjoy!

When people let go like this and enjoy what they’re doing the quality and uniqueness of the work is far richer.

As a result I find myself working on multiple projects with writers and actors that I really admire.

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