Confusion is a Career-Killer
An artist who bases her work on exploring “self-absorbed women who experience hysterical breakdowns,” Anne Windsland knows her niche, her type, and how to be successful in the acting industry. But even this recent veteran of HBO’s High Maintenance and Netflix’s upcoming The Iliza Shlesinger Sketchy Show continues to work on navigating the ever changing TV and film industry, as well as every individual’s unique challenges that pervade it.
Making your way as an actor in a competitive market is never easy. Kick it up a notch by coming to the United States with nothing but two suitcases, a Norwegian accent and the hope of “making it” in New York City, and you leave your carefully curated connections behind, starting from scratch. Even if you do all this to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy’s two-year conservatory program, who you know is everything in this industry — referrals can lead to agents, auditions and job bookings.
Through her time in the states demonstrating this truth, Anne learned the importance of being more than just an actor. Producing and submitting her own short films to festivals taught her that you can’t wait for someone to cast you in the perfect role; you should make it happen yourself. This mentality is one of the many reasons why Anne decided to work with REELARC. Even if you film only one scene, “it’s gold,” she said. As an actor whose first reel was composed of material from student films, Anne knew REELARC scenes would be perfect for her.
Anne’s REELARC consultation included mapping out who she was and her type, actors she admired, roles that spoke to her, and the scenarios that would make each scene best showcase her acting. Anne has been mistaken for Piper from Orange is the New Black multiple times, so that served as inspiration for her first REELARC scene. Even after two years, it’s in her reel, on her website and in the hands of her manager because REELARC scenes are professional, look great and show casting directors exactly how Anne wants to be seen. “Confusion is the career-killer,” after all, Anne admits.
So when it came to Anne’s Norwegian accent, some people suggested she work with a dialect coach to eliminate it. Other industry professionals told her the accent would work in her favor as a special skill. While some people might have more experience than you, many are stuck in the old days when actors thought they had to fit into a specific stereotype to be marketable. Oftentimes, it’s the non-stereotypical aspects of an actor that make them exactly what a casting director is looking for.
After learning about High Maintenance’s call for a Norwegian-speaking character, Anne submitted herself and got an audition. Anne received an email saying that the show went in a different direction for the role she originally auditioned for — a fun, quirky stewardess — but the email also included that the director liked Anne’s reading so much the show changed one of the male characters to fit her.
Anne’s audition for the Nordic woman in The Iliza Shlesinger Sketchy Show came with a bit of a shock when she learned that the script was written in half Norwegian and half Icelandic: two completely different languages. Anne told the casting team upfront that she spoke only Norwegian, not Icelandic. The casting director let her do the whole audition once with the original script and once in all Norwegian. Anne landed the role and the script was actually supposed to be entirely in Norwegian the whole time. In an even crazier turn of events, Iliza Shlesinger learned all the Norwegian words she had to say in the show, from Anne, in the 20 minutes before filming. Anne went from “fake impostor” to “dialect coach for the star” in the same role.
Trust yourself, use your individual talents to your advantage and do your job in the most authentic way you can — you never know what can come from that!