Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to meet actress Susan Gibney in an acting workshop. She is so incredibly nice and very inspiring and I got a little interview with her.
Susan Gibney has been in multitudes of television and theater productions including Star Trek, Lost, Crossing Jordan, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and many, many more. Her professional profile continues to expand as she is currently in post production of We Are Still Here (Maddie) and also forming her own acting workshop in upstate New York.
What inspired you to start acting?
I began acting in school plays in first grade. Gretel in “Hansel and…” I am the sixth of eight children and it became my defining activity. Through lots of changes in family and geography, I could always turn to acting as my outlet. There was only one year in my entire grade school career that I did not participate in a play. I decided I should try to be a cheerleader (my five brothers were all jocks), that lasted one year. I did not intend to pursue acting as a profession in college, but yet again, participated in the college’s theater program as a minor. Through a series of wonderful mentors and colleagues, my path into professional acting took shape.
What was your favorite acting experience?
My favorite experience is difficult to pinpoint. The reasons vary. For the most part, I would have to say my theater roles have been the most fulfilling. They have been extremely challenging and therefore, more rewarding. I love classical theater, and the amazing, over-the-top women in many of those plays. Mary in “Mary Stewart”, Nora in “A Doll’s House”, Flora in “Indian Ink”, Marian in “Abingdon Square”. Many of my television and film roles (most of which were supporting) have also given me great pride and fulfillment. Being blessed enough to work on a smattering of iconic series is other-worldly in itself, but doing good work with amazing professionals and having their respect is wonderful. In the end – we are all just actors. Professionals, trying to do our best.
If you could co-star with any other actor/actress, who would it be and why?
Co-star!!! Oh Lordy! Meryl Steep. Hands down. Went to Yale because I said “I’m doin’ whatever she did!” Didn’t want to be bowled over by “Osage August County”, but darn it all, I was. That woman is a force of nature. Fearless. And all those around her become better for it. Give me some of that! Matt Damon. Real real real, and earth. And stupid smart, Chris Cooper. 175%, but never looks like it. Younger crowd? Jennifer Lawrence, can’t wait to see what she will do. Free, courageous. Finding her power.
How do you prepare for auditions? How do you deal with rejections?
Preparing for auditions and dealing with rejection I have given whole workshops on. I will give you the bottom line on each:
Auditions – be prepared, which = make a choice and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be the “right” choice (how the heck are you supposed to know EXACTLY what the director wants?! We are not mind readers!). Commit yourself 100% to whatever you have chosen to do. THAT is what directors and producers are looking for. Second, go in KNOWING that you are good enough to get the job. And you are! Leave the room forgetting about the whole thing, and preparing for whatever comes next. If you get the role it will be a pleasant surprise, if you don’t…”what the heck was that audition? I’ve forgotten it already.” If you do your best, they WILL remember you. And somewhere down the line, they will use you. It may take years. Believe me my darlings, you have to earn it. This business is not easy. They want professionals who can deliver over and over and over in stressful situations. The audition is the first indication that you can do so. It is JUST A CHANCE TO HAVE FUN AND PERFORM! ENJOY A MOMENT OF DOING WHAT YOU DO BEST, AND LET IT GO!!!! It will come to you. Relax.
Rejection – REJECTION IS NOT FATAL! (though many of us drama queens behave as though it is) You will not cease to exist if you don’t get THE ROLE. Believe me, life goes on. I do not feel “rejected” when I do not win a part. My goodness, there are so many talented people out there! Different shapes, sizes, colors, accents, takes on life! I KNOW that I will bring my version of the role to the table in an admirable way. The creators of “this project” have a vision. They have to consider the “whole”, the other characters, the dynamics. Some other person may fill the need they have better than I merely because of age, race, or BEING TOO TALL! IT IS NOT PERSONAL! I have been rejected a thousand times. It does not scare me. It is not fatal.
Who inspires you?
Keep posted for the second half of this interview and don’t forget to share this post and comment! Also, follow me @LockerStyler and Susan @Rogue_Actor on twitter!