Interview With Our Guest Contributor, Getting To Know Andrea Geones
Andrea Geones of Words Between Coasts has been a regular contributor to the Bucket Digest for a while now, and in appreciation for her lovely articles, I figured it's more than time to learn a bit about her and her interests. So, we sat down and had a little interview regarding her love of writing, acting, and her pursuits beyond both:
When did you discover your love of writing? Your love of acting?
My love for writing came from an early love for reading. When I started writing in elementary school, my teachers recognized my aptitude, but I owe it to the fact that I was reading novels by age six while most other kids were playing sports and doing other social activities. (Contrarily, I was always distinctly terrible with sports!)
I knew that I wanted to be an actor when I was a toddler. There was this one time my dad was watching “The Wizard of Oz” with me, and to try and convince me out of wanting to act, he pointed at Dorothy and said with disdain, “see? When you’re an actor, sometimes you have to cry on cue.” I said, “Well, I can do that!” and immediately started bawling my eyes out. My dad was horrified! But, my parents finally gave in and let me do my first play and start acting classes when I was still in elementary school.
Did you participate in any plays?
Of course!! All great actors come from the theatre, and I have such huge respect for plays, playwrights, tech, and all things theatre.
My parents finally let me do my first play when I was nine after several years of me begging them to let me be in one. I played Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”. Since then, I’ve done countless plays, including two national tours of musicals. My favorite role in a play that I’ve done was Laura in “The Glass Menagerie”. Right now, I’m in rehearsals for an original play called, “A Good American”. It’s about a Jewish woman who escaped Germany during World War II and how the trauma it caused her is affecting her family. It sounds depressing, but it’s actually quite heartwarming.
|A Photo Of Andrea From The Glass Menagerie Production|
What's your dream in regards to your passion?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact path, but I would love to make my living off of being an actor. It’s a difficult dream to accomplish because there are millions of actors in this town and pay rates are constantly going down, but I work towards it every day. I would just love to be able to only be an actor and not have to juggle different careers just to make ends meet.
I understand you're pursuing a degree/ career change as well, can you tell us a bit about that?
During the pandemic, I came to terms with the fact that being a consistently working actor is incredibly hard and, statistically speaking, probably won’t happen. And, that’s OK - I’m learning to find success creatively rather than financially.
However, this put me in a bit of a tricky position because I was tired of working meaningless day jobs in between acting gigs, but I didn’t have a degree to help me find a more stable day job. So, I decided to go back to school and earn a degree in nutritional sciences. I’m thinking of using that degree to become an animal nutritionist, either privately or with a zoo or wildlife sanctuary.
What inspires you to do all that you do?
It can be difficult to find inspiration when you’re in the trenches doing your best just to get an audition. In the dark times, I turn to my music for creative inspiration. In lazy times, I watch old movies, the generation of the greatest actors who give me the inspiration to work harder. In restless times, I read plays. In slow times, I memorize Shakespeare.
Do you have an actor/actress you look up to?
Oh, so many! From the black and white movies, I absolutely love Vivian Leigh. Of course, living legends like Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews are huge inspirations. I’ve always loved Emma Thompson, and VioCurrently, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Emily Blunt and Andrew Garfield. Such huge ranges and deep emotional connections. You can see them thinking the thoughts of the characters they’re portraying and caring so deeply about what their characters care about - they are truly living their roles instead of acting them.
What is the greatest lesson acting has taught you?
Empathy. Acting is empathy. It’s stepping into the shoes of the people you’re portraying and learning about their lives. To be able to play a role respectfully and sincerely, you do the research. You inhabit their body language. You care about what they care about, the people they care about, you feel what they feel without trying or thinking about it. When I’m deep into a role, I’ll even dream in character. That’s what is so powerful about acting, to me - you get to play people who aren’t you, people who are so removed from you, and learn about their lives. I’ve played many characters who are like me, and that’s fine, but playing characters who are different is what has given me such perspective, compassion, and empathy.
|A Photo of Andrea From The Production: Custody Road|
What do you enjoy doing outside of your passions?
Aside from acting and writing, my great love is music. I started playing the piano when I was five, flute when I was nine, voice when I was eleven, and guitar and ukulele when I was sixteen. I’m a jack of all trades, master of none with musical instruments. With singing I have more of a mastery, having studied Broadway, classical, pop, blues, and choral and done many musicals. But, music is also in my soul.
I also love cooking! Travel is a passion of mine, so making food from different cuisines is so fun, and luckily I have a boyfriend with an adventurous palate. He and I have a blast with my cooking, even when things end up not turning out super tasty. My favorite cuisine is probably Greek because half of my family is from there and Greek cooking is very intuitive for me.
He and I adopted a cat and dog in December of 2020. Yes, they’re best friends, and, yes, it’s adorable. So, they’ve become a huge part of our lives. We are absolutely in love with those two furry monsters!
Were/are people supportive of your acting?
Most are not, including family. I generally have stopped talking about being an actor because I’ve had too many people laugh in my face and sarcastically wish me luck on it. Acting teachers have repeatedly told me to take ownership over the fact that I’m an actor and to keep telling people that I am one and never mind their reactions. But, I figured that I didn’t need the negativity of those reactions in my life, so I reserve that information for people who will be supportive.
I have accumulated a small but fiercely supportive group of people in my life. I have found enough positive reinforcement from them and have made peace with the naysayers. It also has become clear to me that many of the naysayers are negative about it because they never had the guts to pursue their passions, so I have sympathy for them and it doesn’t get to me nearly as much anymore.
What's it like to go to an audition?
Oh man, it’s different every time! Depends on if it’s for theatre, film, TV, commercials, and so on. It depends who is auditioning you and what the material is and who you’re auditioning with.
Typically, the way auditions work is you get sides (a portion of the script) sent to you before the audition. You learn it as thoroughly as you can because sometimes you get less than a day to prepare. Creating a character is so important, but with truncated time, can be almost impossible, so you have to learn to just go with your gut, rather than prepare. But, the more you prepare, the more you can be in character, the less nerves you have to deal with.
Sometimes they have you read with another actor, sometimes with a reader the casting director has hired. Sometimes the director is in the room, sometimes the producers, sometimes just the casting director’s assistant.
And then, you wait. You don’t hear back unless you have a callback or have booked the part. It’s actually a rather inhumane process, so you have to learn how to forget auditions as soon as you leave the room. Otherwise, you’ll be beating yourself to death wondering if you got it, if they liked you, regretting your performance in the audition, “oh, I should have done this or that”, and none of that serves you. So, you have to immediately mentally move on.
What's some advice to others like you?
First of all, make sure you have a day job that makes you money. Being an actor is incredibly expensive, between headshots, creating reels, subscriptions to all the different casting websites, paying to upload all of your materials to casting websites, gas driving around town, creating self-tapes, and more. Combine that with the fact that only 2% of union actors are working at any given time, pay rates are constantly going down, and most actors are asked to work for free, and you have a recipe for financial ruin. Make sure you are making money from something that is not acting.
Secondly, always be in a class. Success is opportunity meets preparedness, and you must always be prepared in your skillset for any opportunity. Work that actor muscle in a great class. Read as much as you can. Educate yourself about your craft.
To learn more about Andrea, check her out at her website here: https://andreageones.com/
And see all of her credits on her IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4821790/?ref_=hm_rvi_nm_i_1
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