FilmCourage: Where did you grow up?
Angela Landis: I grew up in rural Oregon. We didn’t live on a proper farm, but we did have a large vegetable garden and a big chicken coop. It was my job to collect the eggs and help my Mom weigh them, put them in cartons and deliver them to a few customers on the weekend. My Dad was a butcher by trade, and my Mom was a stay at home Mom. My maternal Grandparents were also nearby, just up-the-hill-across-the-orchard. Even though we didn’t have all the privileges that some of my school friends seemed to have, it was always a very loving and safe environment. Besides my parents, I had a younger brother, that I still love to pick on. For the most part we are opposites, but creativity is the thing we have in common.
FilmCourage: Which of your parents do you resemble most?
Angela: That’s tough, because there are so many qualities I admire about my Mother, that hopefully, I have absorbed to some degree. But I think my Father and I shared a determined and independent spirit. He was raised Amish but left the community and moved across the country to pursue his own life. Similarly, I left my small town immediately after graduation and moved to the big city of Portland, where I discovered acting as a profession, which led me to move to Los Angeles. I wish I was able to know my Dad as an adult, but sadly he passed away when I was eighteen.
FilmCourage: When did you first perform?
Angela: Oh boy. The first performances were in front of the fire place, where my brother and I would prepare and act out songs for my parents. But that was in the safety of our own home. In public I was so shy that my 3rd grade teacher gave me the lead role in the school play to give me a boost of confidence. Around the time I was in Middle School, My Mom and Brother became involved in the nearby community theater. I would audition with them, but sadly for me, the shows were always musicals and I have the voice of a dying raccoon. I was never cast, not even in the dance chorus. They did let me run the spotlight though, and from there my love of theater grew. As soon as I started college, I took acting classes and became involved with a local theater company.
FilmCourage: Were your parents supportive of a creative path?
Angela: Yes, as much as they can be. They always encouraged me to do the things I wanted to do. But underneath you can see all those fears they have for you. They don’t want to see struggle or get hurt. Acting also seems like such an unrealistic goal to people who don’t know the industry. You’re either famous, or you’re unsuccessful. They don’t understand what ‘working actor’ really is.
FilmCourage: Where did you learn acting?
Angela: In Oregon, I discovered acting teachers who used to be in the business in LA. It was great to study with them, because not only did I get solid acting lessons, but they would also bring up Directors, Casting Directors and Working Actors from LA for special workshops, which gave me a valuable understanding of what life and a career in LA would be like. It also meant that when I moved here I had a few connections.
FilmCourage: When did you move to Los Angeles?
Angela: I moved to Los Angeles in early ’98.
FilmCourage: What was the funniest thing someone said or which happened in your first week in Los Angeles?
Angela: Not so much funny as ironic. I was so happy to leave the rainy weather of Portland behind for the sunshine of SoCal, I tossed all my boots, jackets, hats, umbrellas, etc. I had never heard of El Nino, but we were quickly introduced, as the 97/98 rains were epic. I stubbornly refused to re-purchase rain gear, so I was quite soggy.
FilmCourage: What makes a good scene partner?
Angela: This one is too easy. They need to be prepared, and be ready to play.
FilmCourage: What kind of roles do you prefer to play?
Angela: Part of what I love about acting is that I get to play ALL kinds. But, I especially love playing people very different than myself. So when I get characters that seem very similar to me, I try to give them back stories that are very dissimilar from mine, which helps make them more interesting to me, and hopefully in turn, to the audience.
“The only [job] I ever regretted though was when I took a job that forced me to give up my audition flexibility. I knew instantly I made a mistake and it went downhill from there. And fast. I think it was a mistake for them as well and they replaced me. Part of the reason I started creating my own content was to have acting roles, but the other part of the plan was that I eventually wanted the projects to make money. I know the first feature I sold wouldn’t make me rich, but hopefully I can continually build the productions until they support themselves and me.”
Angela Landis, Actress/Producer, BONED Movie
FilmCourage: What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, etc., that you’ve endured to land a role?
Angela: Awe… I got nothing juicy here. I had to smoke once for a role, which is a habit I am not fond of. I’ve also changed my hair color, though I do that often anyway.
Angela: Er… All non-acting jobs are the worst! The only one I ever regretted though was when I took a job that forced me to give up my audition flexibility. I knew instantly I made a mistake and it went downhill from there. And fast. I think it was a mistake for them as well and they replaced me. Part of the reason I started creating my own content was to have acting roles, but the other part of the plan was that I eventually wanted the projects to make money. I know the first feature I sold wouldn’t make me rich, but hopefully I can continually build the productions until they support themselves and me.
FilmCourage: Have you ever been impacted personally from a role?
Angela: Every single one of them. You bring things to the character, but they also bring things to you. Sure, when the role is small, it’s on a much different scale than when you’re in every scene. But each character leads to discoveries about myself, about life and about the human condition. This is why I do it!!
Angela: I met Laura Lee Bahr doing a play and we instantly hit it off. I felt I was ready for my next project as a producer to be a feature film, and for her it was time to direct her own script. It all came together so naturally.
FilmCourage: As the producer (as well as actor) for BONED, what were some of the first things you secured for production?
Angela: It’s always a little fluid when you are first getting a project off the ground. The first thing to determine is the financial resources, which for us was a few investors and an Indiegogo campaign. Then I brought on two additional producers. Joe Siraki (Creative Searchlight), who was not only a cheerleader for the project, but also my main technical wizard. He handled a lot of the camera and equipment aspects as well as led the charge for post production and delivery. The other producer, Kirk Roos (Badlands Features) was brought on as a consulting producer. After that, we focused on key crew members, and casting some ‘star names.’
FilmCourage: How did Bai Ling come on as executive producer and actor?
Angela: In our search for name actors, Kirk suggested Bai, as he had worked with her on previous projects. We sent her the script and she agreed to meet with Laura. She loved the character and story, and agreed to come on board as both an actor and as our Exec Producer.
FilmCourage: What was the budget for BONED?
Angela: We fall into the SAG ULB category, under $200k. Though our cash budget was very micro, we had some amazing and generous donations for equipment and services. SPECIAL THANKS to Joe Mikan, Liz Chappell, Darla Marasco and countless others.
FilmCourage: What do you love about your character Samantha? What do you dislike about her?
Angela: I love her strength, her intelligence and her perseverance. I love that she doesn’t get sucked in to the ridiculous people around her. She’s no bullsh#$@t, a straight shooter. She’s just plain cool. The one thing I disliked, or more accurately struggled with in my preparation, was that Sam says she likes dogs more than people. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dogs too (Our star Humphrey is MY dog!), but I like them equal to people. I’ve never understood how one can say they love animals more than people. I’m glad there are animal advocates out there because there is animal cruelty out there! But I feel like if we, as a whole, cared about saving humans as much we cared about saving animals, the world might be just a little bit better. #savethepeople
FilmCourage: In BONED, what was the toughest scene to shoot?
Angela: The toughest part wasn’t one scene in particular, but working with one actor who would improvise their lines. I’m not personally opposed to improvising; in fact I kind of love it—when given direction to do it. But I knew Laura wanted her script performed Word For Word, as she had written it. So when this actor changed their dialogue, I was stuck with lots of silence, and non-verbal communication, because I couldn’t go against Laura’s wishes no matter what. On screen, you would never see it, but I had an awful, trapped feeling during these moments. I was also angry because I felt like the improvisation was happening because the preparation wasn’t there.
FilmCourage: You have extensive IMDB credits. In BONED you play an actor who struggles to book meaningful work. How are you similar to Samantha and how are you much different in terms of working on your career?
Angela: I’m very similar to Sam in this regard. It’s a constant hustle to look for work. If you can’t find the ‘meaningful work,’ you have to make the jobs you get meaningful and find the art of the project for yourself. I love that Sam whips the postcard out for the Goth Kids, and invites them to her show, after she’s worked so hard to get rid of them. It is so accurate—I don’t care who you are or what I think about you, just please, PLEASE, come see my show!!!
FilmCourage: Watching BONED we see your character interact with a quirky acting teacher named Nina. What real life acting teacher has brought out the best in you?
Angela: Shortly after I arrived in LA, I found my dream acting coach—Doug Warhit. His method is all about helping you finding your best method. His classes are primarily scene study, but he sprinkles in character exercises, improv and various other tools of the trade. He also has an industry guest come to class once a month so that you are always in a sense, auditioning. He also encourages you to write your own scenes, which is what first led me to writing projects for myself. He’s hands down the best acting teach I’ve ever worked with. I couldn’t recommend him enough!!
FilmCourage: Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line of dialogue in BONED?
Angela: Oh man, I have many! Laura wrote so many wonderful zingers, that still had heart and soul in their core. The one that sums up Sam, the movie and the hustle of it all for me: “Art that doesn’t push the boundaries, isn’t really art.”
Angela: No. For BONED, Sam is not victorious in a typical way. It doesn’t exactly work out for her, but she manages to change her perspective as she learns more about herself. She’s a hero because the struggle doesn’t break her, not because she wins. It’s like the Rolling Stones’ song “You can’t always get wheat you want, but… you get what you need.”
FilmCourage: Have you ever had an acting class with a fantastic teacher but the group dynamics left little to be desired. And/or the reverse where the group was powerful but the teaching style was lacking (without naming names)? What made each experience worth staying for or leaving?
Angela: Yes and Yes. For me it’s something that I struggle to balance, as I like to say yes to every situation. I try to find the reason I am there, and I love to be surprised by the opportunities that arise when you just show up. I’m learning to say no more often when I start to get the feeling that my time might be better spent elsewhere. Before leaving something, I try to carefully evaluate the reasons, to make sure that I’m not just hiding from something challenging or scary that I could ultimately learn a lot from.
“When I first moved to LA I filled it with student film work, now it’s an edit of the most recognizable jobs and the most diverse characters. Reels seem to be a never-ending battle, kind of like headshots. Either you don’t have one or you don’t have the right stuff on it, or you finally get a great one together but no one is watching it anyway. But you still have to have it. It can be hard to get footage, as some projects never get finished, or the production is very protective about their project and won’t release even a clip to you until the film is released–which may be never.”
Angela Landis, Actress/Producer, BONED Movie
FilmCourage: You have a fantastic acting reel. How long had you been in Los Angeles since preparing it? Why do feel so many actors wait in getting a reel together? Any tips on getting directors to provide footage?
Angela: Thank you!! When I first moved to LA I filled it with student film work, now it’s an edit of the most recognizable jobs and the most diverse characters. Reels seem to be a never-ending battle, kind of like headshots. Either you don’t have one or you don’t have the right stuff on it, or you finally get a great one together but no one is watching it anyway. But you still have to have it. It can be hard to get footage, as some projects never get finished, or the production is very protective about their project and won’t release even a clip to you until the film is released–which may be never. An actor I hired recently introduced me to a ‘work-for-fame’ contract which basically says, when you agree to work for copy-credit-meals, you put a timeline on the copy element and a price point if that isn’t fulfilled. For example, I agreed to get this actor a copy of either the finished film or a copy of their scene within 6 months of shoot date, or I would pay them the full SAG rate for the day/s they were on set. My producer brain was definitely scared to make this commitment as there are factors beyond my control, but as a fellow artist I felt like this is a very appropriate request. We negotiated a timeline and price that made us both happy should footage not be delivered. If you’re working for copy or exposure, to build your reel, I would highly recommend requesting that clause in your contract. If the producers are unwilling, then that’s a bad sign.
Angela: Hehe. Well, because my last name is Landis, I often get asked about being related to John Landis. I used to say I didn’t want to talk about it, because I wanted to make it on my own. Or I would avoid answering by asking them if they had a bad experience with him, since he has a bit of a reputation. Or I would slyly say “I do have an Uncle John.” It hasn’t exactly been advantageous, but sometimes people have believed we have a connection and have tried to get me to introduce them or pass on their scripts. It’s always something that has made me laugh so when I had to officially create a company name, around 2006, that’s what I chose.
FilmCourage: How did you obtain the distribution deal with Gravitas Pictures and Cardinal XD?
Angela: We had a connection through our Attorney, who shared our movie with them. It was such a smooth and simple process I feel like I didn’t learn enough about the sales aspect of producing.
FilmCourage: Do you think you really understood what you were in for when you decided you wanted to become an actor?
Angela: No. I thought the hustle would get easier as you gained more experience and credits. My experience has been the opposite. Perhaps because it really is harder, or maybe because when hard work proves successful I just feel the need to work even harder. When I have the occasional moment of WTF am I doing, I should just move home and get a ‘real’ job, the first plans that start to formulate are about how I could still do local theater, or book regional acting gigs. Then I realize I am doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing and my perspective starts to brighten again.
Angela: I volunteered at BBBS shortly after moving to LA, because I felt like I was constantly asking for people to help me, and was very thankful when someone occasionally would. I felt that a natural balance would be for me to pay it forward and help someone else. I was drawn to this service because I liked the aspect that I might get a younger ‘sister.’ Eva, is fricking awesome! We’ve now known each other about 12 years. I didn’t really realize how deep the connection would be when I signed up. It has been amazing watching this intelligent, kind, caring and lovely young lady grow up. I feel extremely proud, not because I believe I had a part in her awesomeness, but because I get to call this wonderful soul my sister. And now — we have matching tattoos!!!
FilmCourage: If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you? What would the title be?
Angela: Oy— I’ve always said the title of my memoirs would be Average Girl, Medium Boobs, which was a ridiculous and sexist comment made about me in review. But I prefer to remain positive and have a twisted sense of humor, so I’m stealing it for myself. And, it doesn’t hurt that #boobs always boosts sales numbers. As for who would play me, I often hear ‘you’re just like’… about Kristen Wiig, Uma Thurman, Jenny McCarthy or Zooey Deschenal. I like all those actresses—so they can argue amongst themselves about who gets to play me, but I’m kind of rooting for Kristen Wiig!
FilmCourage: What’s next for you creatively?
Angela: I’m hoping to find the next feature to produce/star in. I have a few scripts that I’m working on, but writing is not my true discipline, so I’m really hoping something comes along organically the way BONED did. Until then, I’m working on a few web projects, which are more manageable and keep me constantly creating. I also like to shake up my comfort zone from time to time so I recently started a few new classes. Meeting new people and hearing new perspectives on the business and craft helps keep me felling progressive!
5 Things An Actor Should Do Every Day To Book Acting Work by Angela Landis of
the Movie BONED
ABOUT Actress/Producer Angela Landis:
Angela’s acting credits include Anger Management, Grey’s Anatomy, Bicentennial Man, ER,
Nick Swarsdon’s Pretend Time, The End of Steve (a Showtime Pilot) and Passions. She has also performed with numerous theaters on the west coast, and can be seen in various commercials. As a writer and producer, her first web series Misadventures In Matchmaking, earned her a Best Comedy Writer award at the StayTunedTV Awards.
She won Best Comedy Actress for playing all three Kartashian sisters in her web series Keeping Up With The Kartrashians, which also won best Web Series at New York International Film Festival and audience choice at IFQ Fest. Her latest series Jacko’s Wild Ride, has earned multiple nominations at ITVFest and StayTunedTV. She has also directed several short films, including Like Share Inc and Unrequited. Collectively, her web series have reached over a million viewers online and earned her acceptance into the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences. Angelalandis.com
Watch her in BONED as Samantha – now on iTunes here.
WATCH THE TRAILER FOR ‘BONED’
WATCH THE MOVIE ‘BONED’