Its 11:17 pm
dark and wicked
Welcome to “8 Questions with…..”
In the world of sports there is a term called a “coaching tree”. A coaching tree starts with a main head coach,as he/she progresses and finds success,other teams start coming by and look to hire away the assistant coaches in hopes of emulating the first coach’s success. And if those coaches also do well,the cycle is repeated with thier assistants being hired for head coaches job.
The reason I mention the coaching tree is because I have a interview tree here on the blog…..thanks to my brother Mike Ferguson. Through Mike,I have met and interviewed some fantastic actors,actresses and directors. It works like this,a couple of weeks ago,Mike pinged and says “I want you to meet someone who is quite a talent. She and I are doing a very cool film together called “ShadowMarsh”. I didn’t need anything more then that before I was asking our next guest,Ellen Woomer,for a chance to chat with us. She was gracious enough to agree to this interview and I found Ellen to be warm and vibrant and really devoted into making herself into a sought after working actor. I know I already have “ShadowMarsh” on our to watch list!!!
And of course I will be waiting for the day when Ellen taps me on the shoulder and says “I have someone you need to meet……”
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your current project.
Hello to everyone that is reading this, my name is Ellen Woomer, I’m 24 and currently residing in Hollywood trying to chase that Hollywood dream! I’m an Actor, Barber and Gamer! A Triple threat you might say;) I love to keep myself occupied and constantly looking for the next thing to do. I’m working on a Horror feature at the moment called Shadowmarsh directed by Matthew Leal. I play the Lead Piper in this movie which takes place in the town I grew up in while trying to solve a mystery of an ancient beast that lurks in the woods. We are still shooting this and hope to have it out by the end of this year! It’s been a very exciting experience taking on this role as my first big lead.
How have you been doing during the pandemic? What have you been doing to stay busy and creative?
Ill be straight with you, this pandemic has been very harsh to my mental state. As I’m sure it has affected everyone differently or more the same, It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to live through. I think there was a solid couple of months where I didn’t do anything but just watch Netflix or play video games because we couldn’t do anything else. Everyone was so unsure of what was going on, and while so much time passed I think i got used to just not being as proactive. My work was shut down completely as a barber and acting was pretty much canceled for half the year. Spending a lot of time alone living by myself was dampening. Most of my friends lived with people, so being by myself I had to figure out ways to stay sane with everything being shut down. After I kind of got sick of that, I forced myself to find other ways I could be creative with this new way of life. I got connected on Twitch (a live streaming gaming site) and found an online community to be able to interact with people with similar interests which i found very comforting and also inspiring. I still submitted myself for auditions and started writing new material to just get my brain working through this. I took online acting classes through zoom which was really nice. I made mini goals for myself with lists and had friends stay connected with me so we could help each other out. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t the only one going through this and to not beat myself up for not being constantly busy everyday because everyone else was in the same situation. In a way this pandemic made me focus on other skills that i wouldn’t have found had we not spent a whole year in our homes.
What was it like growing up in McKinney,Texas? What are your three fondest memories growing up with your family?
I do have to say Mckinney was rated in the top 5 places to live in Money Magazine at some point, so you could say i grew up in a great area;) I was raised in a very nice neighborhood and had a pretty typical childhood. Nice school, nice Mormon community and super close with my family. While I’m not religious anymore that was a huge part of my life growing up and shaped me for who I am today.Thankfully my parents taught me good manners and to never never give up on my dreams. There is a total of seven of us in my family which made for a lot of memories! Spent my time going to church, going to school acting, and just hanging out with friends.
I have quite a lot of good memories with my family, but I can try and narrow it down to three. My family loved to travel all over the states and take road trips. We spent a lot of time in Destin Fl on the beach, and good ol’ provo Utah where all the mormons reside with the gorgeous mountains. I loved traveling on road trips because I would always make the back of the car into a huge bed for all the siblings so we could play mariokart on the tiny 2×2 tv screen we had in our SUV.
My parents made all of us eat as a family most every night growing up. While sometimes I hated that as a kid, I think i grew up to cherish it because of how nice it was to come together at the end of the day and share what we all were grateful for. But also i loved my parents home cooked meals. My siblings and I would always fight over what seat was ours at the dinner table and claimed them before sitting down. You might think this isn’t a found memory, but my parents made eating food such a comfort thing for us as kids. Anytime any of us were having a bad day they’d hand us some money and say go out to whichever fast food you want and grab your favorite thing. Still to this day do that to treat myself:)
I have three older sisters and a younger brother and my mom made of all us take about 12 years of piano lessons. Trying to make us do that was painful at points, but at the same time when we got to play what we wanted it was very thrilling. We were grateful to have this beautiful steinway piano to be able to play on growing up. I remember my mom timing us when we would practice and say we couldn’t leave the room till we did. There were screaming car rides to piano lessons, but I dont regret any of the time i learned with my sisters to be able to play such wonderful instrument. It’s funny how some memories back then seemed so unpleasant, but as time passes you look back are able to laugh and bond over it now that we’re adults.
When did you know that you wanted to be an actor and how did you end up in Idaho?
Honestly I knew right when I was a kid. Entertaining people is something I’ve always loved doing. Any form of preforming I wanted to be apart of and involved in whatever it was. I did theatre, choir, band, and joined the International Thespian Society in high school. Its the idea of I love of being a part of a creative group that wants to create something bigger then themselves together for people to enjoy. Movies really inspired me growing up. My dad and I would always watch them together every night. I clinged to the thought that these people who were acting made such an impact of peoples emotions that I wanted to do the same someday. I told my mom and dad and pretty much everyone I met that I wanted to, be quote on quote, “famous”. I stuck my hand out and shook theirs while I told them:) My mom said that if i wanted to do acting I had to get a degree first in something. Any education at all and she’d help me pursue my career. I ended up in Idaho because there was a religious school that my mom could get me in cheaper for. We had originally planned for an Arts school, but money at the time was tight, which I knew and was fine with. Fast forward to living there, It was such a tiny tiny town that everyone knew everyone. Not to mention, it was ICE cold there. School wasn’t really my thing, never did too well in tests, but put all my effort and work into the theatre side. My plan was get my associates and then get the hell out to Cali to further pursue my dream.
How did you enjoy your time in Idaho and what five things did you take with you from your time there?
What was it like performing on a stage and in front of a live audience for the first time? What role was your first one?
I didn’t really like Rexburg Idaho. It was an extremely tiny town which for me sucked because I’m a huge social butterfly. To get to any sort of civilization or food besides Mcdonalds you had to drive at least 45 minuets to the nearest big town. My second semester there I actually got kicked out of college for classic teenage parties that were against the religious honor code. Ill say it was a blessing in disguise because had that not happened, I wouldn’t have ended up in California with a new degree in Cosmetology. So yes it was rough up there for a bit, but it taught me a lot of things. 1. Gave me thicker skin 2. Taught me there’s a million fish in the sea 3. I realized I didn’t want to be married anytime soon 4. I’m not a bad person just because I made a bad mistake 5. I wanted to start getting into film instead of theatre.
I love being on stage. The presence and atmosphere is irreplaceable. Ive been on stage since I was 5 at least. I can’t remember too much back then, but just felt comfortable in the spotlight. There is always that stage freight or heightened anxiety, but somehow it’s addicting. That feeling when you’re preforming and getting the audiences energy and feedback is a total high. I’ve had a few slip ups while on stage, but what makes it fun is having your other actors improvise to fix it. Theatre being no redo’s like film, but recreates out of a mistake. My first real role on stage was playing Snow White in Snow White. At that time, because I was so young and it was a youth theatre group, they actually played the songs with the original voice over mine so I wouldn’t forget the words haha.
When did you move to Los Angeles and how did you handle the cultural change?
How long did it take for you to book your first acting job?
I moved here in 2016, right after I graduated from Cosmo school in Utah. Because I had such a huge change with my life and left my religion coming here, It was a huge adjustment for me. Everything here, the people, the food, the culture, was different from anywhere I lived growing up. It’s literally a Melting Pot and I grew to love it. Ill admit I was super naive when i moved here and people noticed it. Since I love meeting new people It wasn’t hard for me to find people I enjoyed begin around and getting to know their lifestyle. I have my friends I made at my first job to thank for culturing me. I booked my first job as a barber after a month of being here at Floyds 99 and my first acting gig a couple months after that. It was a lot of figuring out things on my own since I’ve never done anything like this before. No one in my family had done this either.
What was your first film project “Amanda”like? How did you enjoy the short film experience?
What are some of the pros and cons of doing a short film?
Coming from a theatre background it was getting to be more comfortable with the camera. Understanding that you were able to retake as many times as they’d let you was different for me. I learned that theatre kids have huge reactions for the audience to be able to see, and for film you needed to tone that way way down most of the time. I’ve been doing a lot of shorts recently just because everyone is always doing them. What I like about them is its normally small productions or independent people that make shorts. Because of that I feel like you get a more intimate experience with your crew and actors that you wouldn’t get on a bigger production. Everyone is in tune with one another and you get to basically meet and bond with everyone involved. Unfortunately, with that comes lower budgets for most. I’ve been leads in shorts before that never got finished because they run out of money. Going along with that, if the production is smaller or less experienced then you run into different issues. Some are the script is cut in half because they aren’t able to produce special effects or etc. Others being you dont get to expand on the story too much because the purpose is to be “short”, so less details.
What is your process in preparing for a role? Do you have a set routine or does every role require a different approach?
I think it depends on which role and what type of movie genre it is. I start off pretty basic, I dive into the script and read it multiple times before I start memorizing. I like to get to know the layout in my head first. I’m very hands on with my script. Then dive into my character. I feel its easier to memorize my lines and shape my character when I know every other part and the story. I have a pretty good photographic memory, so when I memorize I can see the specific page, line, and letter in my head. I try to do different techniques to get my character where I want them with every role. I don’t think I do the same thing for every role necessarily, but I definitely prep the same. Depending on the depth of the character I will try and use method or live in the moment. I use the mirror a lot, helps see how Im coming across when I read to myself. If its believable a lot. What I try not to do for me personally is rehearse too much. I like to be a natural as possible and I won’t be present if Im not. Something else I’ll do for more emotional scenes is find music that fit that feeling. Ill read my scenes while that music is playing to help me find the emotion I need. Then when I’m on set preforming ill play that song in my head and deliver. For the roles I relate to more, I try to incorporate who I am as much as possible while still bringing the outline of the character. You would think those are the easier roles because you don’t have to do much, but in reality you’re digging into yourself and becoming more vulnerable that it can break you at points.
What is the audition process like for you? Do you prefer live auditions vs. self-taped ones?
What was your first audition experience like? What three tips would you give a new actor heading into their first audition?
I try to prepare every audition like I have the part already. I do the same prep as I would for a role. I feel like it depends with this one. I do love live auditions because you have an actual audience and they get to feel your presence in the room. It’s different with a self tape. For ‘two-liners’ I feel like doing a self tape is easier and less of a hassle to commute for a 5 second audition. For larger, lengthier auditions, being in person is better. I like doing in person auditions because you only get one or two takes, so you are more prone to do it more natural If you’re prepared. Obviously if you aren’t prepared these would be more stressful. With self tapes, you get the luxury of taking however long you want – whether its to prep or record as many takes till its “the one”. I tend to over think it then. My first real audition was for theatre. I remember it was for a musical and I picked a song that I couldn’t sing too well, but I chose it for the challenge. I learned then that I should’ve picked something that showed off my talent a little better and was fit for me. I think being prepared is the biggest key. I know some people are capable of winging it, which I’m guilty of at times, but when you’re fully prepped and know your role, you’re showing you’re committed. Another tip would be to just be comfortable around strangers. The industry is all about meeting new people on the spot and being able to connect right away and have chemistry. Going into an audition room for the first time and meeting the director or casting director, its nerve racking at times. Especially having a small room they put you in with a camera a foot away from your face! You want to practice just being comfortable in front of camera and around new people, so when you go in you’re not worries about anything other then your performance.
How did you get involved in “ShadowMarsh”?
Matthew Leal the director found me on Backstage, a site for actors, and watched my reel I had on there then looked me up on Instagram and asked me to audition. It’s funny because I’ve never had someone reach out through a social media site and ask me to audition through there. Nowadays It’s common to get auditions from really anywhere, not just through the official acting sites. A year ago before the pandemic, a lot was different about the movie and when we were going to shoot. Obviously with everything being shut down for a year none of us were able to make the plans of shooting, so we had to wait. It worked out in our favor waiting because we were able to get other big actors on board to be apart of this movie and work through some edits to make this movie even better. I’ve loved being apart of this cast and crew so much. Matthew has been an phenomenal director guiding me to make my role as Piper perfect.
What hobbies and activities do you like to partake in when you’re not on a set?
Outside of acting, I’m a full time barber. I count it as a hobby because I love the art of cutting hair. I have a full set of clientele that come to me at a chair I rent out. I work for myself, which I’m super grateful because it allows me to alter my schedule when I need for auditions and things like that. Most people dont know I’m a HUGE gamer. I love playing video games with my friends and actually stream on Twitch now! I have a very bubbly personality, so anything to do with meeting new people or doing activities outside I thoroughly enjoy. Love staying active. On lazy days, I love watching anime, playing with my new kitty Hanzo, and having lots of burgers and beer:)
The cheetah and I are flying out to check out your newest film but we’re a day early and now you have to play tour guide,what are we doing?
Oh boy, Im such a foodie person. I would definitely have to stop by one of my favorite restaurants called Ay-Do-No Korean BBQ in Hollywood! There’s so many exotic places in LA for food which makes its that much better being here and trying something new everyday. The hikes here are pretty gorgeous as well. Love going up to some of the waterfall hikes you can go to in Angeles National Forest. If you wanted a more relaxed day then I’d probably take you to Manhattan beach pier. It my favorite beach thats close to me. The Grove is another place where you have outdoors shops and entertainment. There’s a famers market inside there where you can find pretty much anything. End the night with going down the Blvd stopping at all my friends bars and grabbing drinks and people watching which is the best:) If all else fails, Boba drinks are a great save.
I like to thank Ellen for taking the time to do this interview with us. We are looking foward to see just how far this talented young lady will go. Always so excited to meet such hard working artists like Ellen and I hope you all will support this interview by sharing it and leaving a comment below.
You can follow Ellen’s career through her various SM platforms
You can see what is next for Ellen via her IMDb page.
You can follow Ellen on her Instagram page.
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