Acting savant, Michaelan Moore has had her fair share, now, as she breaks into the NYC stand-up-comedy scene, we discuss the innards of stage performance, camera dynamics and on-set relationships.
Dingus: I was introduced to your act through your stand up comedy routine, which is a fairly new venture for you if im not mistaken. Having a strong background and proficiency for on-screen acting, how has stand-up influenced you?
Moore: Stand up is a beast of it’s own. Although I have experience and a love for comedic acting, stand up has challenged me on a personal level. Yes, it requires comic timing/instinct and stage presence, but the ability to “hide” behind a character is gone. On that stage, I am Michaelan Moore, not Michaelan Moore playing the part of _____. Whether I totally bomb, or get a standing O, it’s all on me. Thats what is so scary and exciting about it for me. It has made me take myself less seriously, take all criticism with a grain of salt, and really learn to get back up every time I fall. On top of that, the writing aspect of stand up has been a blast for me. I have always loved to write, but now I have a reason to do so on a regular basis. That was a long answer, am I boring you?
Not at all. As a young actress can you feel a natural gravitation toward stand up? Or is it something you challenged yourself to do.
There was no natural gravitation at all. It was something that I had always dreamed of doing but up until now, not had the guts. I finally pushed myself to do it and told myself that if I really sucked, at least I tried. I had a feeling I would love it though, and luckily, I was right!
Is there a big difference acting on camera vs. on stage?
Yeah there’s a huge difference. I grew up doing theatre and still have a real love for it, but film acting is so much more real and personal. Every tiny nuance and gesture is magnified. There is no hiding from the camera. Its a very vulnerable thing to be a film actor, and it took some real getting used to for me. It magnifies both your weaknesses and your strengths. It sounds corny but training to be a film actor involves a lot of self discovery. The camera captures things about you that you may bot have known about yourself before. Its very raw.
To date, what has been your most memorable experience on camera?
I worked on an indie film a few months ago with a really great director and cast. I believed in the script and in the direction the film was moving and the cast and crew had an amazing energy and passion for what we were creating. When you are just starting out in the business, those things are rare to encounter. When there is a collective movement towards a goal in a film by the director/cast/crew, its really powerful. A lot of times everyone is more focused on themselves and their individual performance, and not the outcome of the film. That particular experience was refreshing and reminded me why I do what I do.
What are the individual interests at hand and how might they sabotage a group effort on set?
I think it’s easy for actors to get in the “prima Donna”/” it’s all about me” mode on set and lose focus of the collective goal to create a great film. I have been guilty of that in the past for sure. I’ve learned that the more positive energy and passion you are able to send outward to your cast mates , the more you get in return.
I feel like there are moments where actors who hate eachother might end up on screen together as best friends. Is that sort of, the ultimate test of your acting ability?
Of course. Acting is so very personal and intimate , it’s hard to remove yourself from any real life drama, but like any other job- its all about professionalism . In that moment, its your JOB to be best friends , that’s how I look at it.
In a world where everyone is “pursuing their dreams” how do you feel about having your dream minimalized by the idea markets over-saturation? Does it inspire you to push harder, to separate yourself from the small fish? Or does it discourage you?
It inspires me to do something different. That’s part of the reason why I started doing stand up. I’ve always liked to take “the road less traveled” . It’s all about finding your niche and what you do well. I think that’s what separates the big fish from the small.
What’s been the biggest challenge of your career thus far?
That’s a tough one. Of my entire career (which is young) I would honestly say, remaining mentally strong and being able to bounce back quickly . This business is incredibly unpredictable. One minute you are working on a promising pilot and the next, youre told it’s cancelled and you’re out of work for a month. One casting director tells you he hated your audition and your headshot sucks , and the next one tells you you’re a star. It’s been a process for me to learn to take criticism and rejection with a grain of salt and continue moving forward. Being able to rebound quickly is a skill Im still developing, but its crucial in this career.