Interview with Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson_indieactivity

Amy Thompson was born and raised in Indiana. She has two biological siblings: a sister, a brother and three step-brothers. We are all very close in age. Amy’s parents divorced when she was six. Her father planted the acting seed in her head and heart. He worked in Indianapolis and would bring home news papers every day. One day when Amy was around the age of three, she overheard her father talk to her mom about an audition for a commercial. Amy’s mom just laughed and said, “Amy is 3, she can barely remember where her bedroom is.” Now in Amy’s defense the family just moved into that house. Lol.

When they were done talking about the audition, Amy asked Her dad about it. He explained acting to Amy. The experience was bittersweet for Amy because it pretty much ruined anything she watched from then on. Amy now knew that the people in the show were just actors who make stuff up. That was the first time Amy really thought about what she wanted to do. When people ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, they would answer with, “I want to be.” When they asked Amy, she would answer confidently, “I will be an actress. One day when I am older you will turn your television on and I will be there.” Amy got into every play she could in school and would put on plays with her friends for their parents every chance they got. Amy did a play with our local theater in town when she was 17, and had the most fun.

How did you become an actor
I did not go to any special schools for acting. I took a drama class and did not do so good because I was so scared of being judged. I was a very insecure teenager. I became an actress by putting myself out there. I practiced my entire life. I have always been a creative person always trying to recreate myself. It helped that we moved just about every 4 years. I went to so many new schools that each time I would recreate myself. I would use my life as practice.

What acting technique do you use
I like to use a combination of all types of acting. Each character that I portray has a different need. Every part I play is different from the last. It is very important to me to really put myself into the character. I try to understand what that character would feel, say, think, do and want. I try to become the character and not just portray her. This also helps me grow as an actress and be a little more versatile.

Amy Thompson_indieactivity

BTS on Submerge Echo 51

What wrong impressions do actors hold about acting
The biggest misunderstanding that new actors have about acting is that it is so easy and you will be rich in no time. They think that they can just wake up, go audition and that then they will be famous. They do not understand that you sacrifice so much being an actress. Time with family and friends, money because you have to pay out of pocket to travel all over for auditions that you may not get the part for. Sleep when you have to stay up all hours of the night studying your lines when you do get the part. You may not eat right, which is a big deal as you need to stay in good shape and be healthy. You also have to study the for the role. If you do not know anything about the type of film, you may not be able to bring the character to life. If you have never dealt with an alcoholic father and you have to play the child of one, you may not be able to actually put yourself into that character’s shoes. Now we have google so it is a little easier to study, but you have to really learn what you are working with.

They also have the impression if they are a certain size and look a certain way, there is no reason for them not to get a part. Or if they went to all the right schools for acting they are going to get it above someone who has no experience. Casting Directors are usually looking for a very specific type and if you do not fit the description, chances are you will not get the part. Even if you are a great actor.

Do you take courses to improve your craft
I do not take any classes at this time because there are not any close to me and they cost so much. They are called starving artists for a reason. lol. I have a daughter that I am raising and I cannot see spending that kind of money on classes. So I use every acting experience I get as a class. I have learned so much every time I step onto a set. I learn better using the hands on method. Throw me into a situation, and I can usually figure things out quicker.

Amy Thompson_indieactivity

What acting books do you read
I do not use any acting books. There are so many out there and each one has a different way of doing things. It can get confusing and even overwhelming trying to figure out which one is the best. So I learn from my peers and experience.

How do you keep fit as an actor
Physically I work out as often as I can and eat as best I can. I am not quite in the shape I want to be in, but I am a work in progress. Mentally, well I do the best I can. I have always thought that an actor or artist of any kind has a little crazy in them. lol. To do what we do it takes a certain kind of person.

How do you prepare for a role when you get it
I have a hard time as there are not many people to help me practice lines. I usually just keep going over the lines until I have them memorized. I do a lot better when I have someone else to work with. Acting is not just acting but reacting. When you are sitting alone in a room it is hard to get the right emotions on your face and in your voice when you are talking to yourself.

How do you create a character from a script to a person
I will either use my own life experiences or I will do research on people who have been through it. I am also emotional and able to understand the feelings of others. I am the type that cries when a sad commercial or video comes on.

How do you stay fresh on a production set
I try to just relax and not focus too much on it. When I am in between takes, I will laugh and joke with the other actors and just try to have a good time. I do not want to over think what is going on. It can do more damage than good in my opinion.

Amy Thompson_indieactivity

Describe a memorable character you played
Lt. Nova in the Submerge:Echo 51. She is a military woman who has no one in her life except for her General. Luma was her role model and she would do anything to protect her. When the Krag soldiers attack, Lt. Nova risks her own life to safe her General. She saves her commanding officer.

Explain one creative choice you took on set
I had a character that was going to be attacked by infected (not quite zombies but same basic thing) and I had to choose how the character was going to react. There are many ways a character might respond to this sort of thing. My character was very mouthy and head strong and sarcastic. I decided that since she acted tough throughout the entire film, she should show more of a weakness. So I made her more vulnerable and scared at the end. I chose to show that she was only acting mean because she was scared.

What do you want most from a director
A challenge and the chance to really show what I can do.

What actors do you long to work with
This is a tough one. There are quite a few that I really want to work with. Michelle Rodriguez is one because she is such a tough woman on screen and off. She is also a very kind person who does not let her fame go to her head and make her forget that she is where she is because of her talent and her fans. Helen Hunt has always been my favorite actress growing up, her characters seem to flow out of her. And Dwayne Johnson because he is awesome, and seems to be a lot of fun off screen.

What advice would you give to actors
If you truly have this dream, never give up. Never let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. Keep working at it, and don’t be afraid to try. I always tell people that if you are not willing to look ridiculous in front of people, then you are not ready to be an actor. I heard it somewhere but cannot remember where.

Briefly write about your career
Amy Thompson have only been doing this for 2 years. This is the first year I have been really going at it hard. Most of the things I have done are still in editing. they are not out yet. Vanished-background extra This was a learning experience and a humbling one. The script got changed after it was done and so a few of the scenes I was in got cut.

A family first – I was a zombie that attacked the main character. This was a fun film. My first onset injury. I ended up with whiplash. I had to jump on the main character and bite at him and he had to throw me off of him. We had to do this scene at least 9 times. I was not trained on how to land properly and did not think that was something you needed to do. So when he threw me, I landed hard and yep hurt myself.

Grieving-Gabbi a fallen angel – I traveled out of state for this one. It showed me that I could actually learn lines quickly.

Siege-Marsha- An apocalyptic film where 6 strangers happened upon each other and were trying to survive a rage disease that caused people to become zombie like only faster and smarter. We did this film in 1 weekend and only got 2 hours of sleep the entire weekend. I learned just what you may have to put into a film to get it just right. I have never had more fun than when we were filming this on.

IU Riley Commercial – “We’ll take care of it” I played a mom to a teenage daughter. I learned that you are stronger than you think. I wore a 3 piece wool suit and had to go up and down stairs so many times. It was a very hot day and I wondered if I was going to make it.

Booth at the End-Wendy- This one we just filmed. It is a fan based webseries that will be out in a few weeks. It was created because the original series was canceled and fans were not happy about that.

Siege of Gotham-another fan based film-It is the story of Gotham city if all of the villains were in control. This one has fighting. I play a mean villain who likes to slap people around. It is also not out yet.

There are more but I am not good at remember all of them. But I do know that each project I work on, I learn something new. That is how it should be. If you cannot take something away from the experience, you are in the wrong field. There is always room for growth in this industry and I have so many people that I look up to.

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  • Amy kicks of our day as our interview focus.

    • I think this is a great idea, this way we can talk to the interviewer directly, thanks for this #indieactivity

  • Amy, you’re a few years into working as an actor, I would want to ask if you would have done this earlier if you could have? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9071b21d50e331ceedae6657f5d9cb6644bdedf0bcf0873f89b58178306566fb.jpg

    • Although, I took the interview, I do have a few questions about this too. Why did you wait this long to start? You have started, and that’s good or me, but why the wait?

      • Amy Thompson

        Growing up I only had 2 dreams. To be an actress and a mother in that order. When I was 12 I started having medical problems and was in and out of the hospital. They told me I would never be able to have children. I believe that you can become an actor at any age so I put that dream on simmer and decided to fall in love and have kids first. I was married at 21 and had my daughter at 24. Then life happened and things didn’t go to plan. I never gave up on my dreams, I just put them on hold. Now life is better and my daughter is 13 so I am able to follow those dreams more.

        • That is a noble cause, I think you have done what most female actors struggle with during their careers

        • Actors often have to make the same choice you made, the earlier it is made the better. And you did that.

  • …if that moment that you could have choosen to become a working actor had happened earlier, would I be right to say that it was ruined by the conversation you had with your dad about acting?

    • Amy Thompson

      I am actually glad I did not start so young. I would always wonder if I was doing it because my father wanted me to or if it is really what I want to do. Now I know that it is what I truly want to do as it is all I can imagine myself doing career wise. I also think it is good that he explained it to me so young so I was able to really pay close attention and do my homework on the career choice.

      • Well, you still have much time, there is a lot to yet get done. #indieactivity

      • So what’s next for you?

        • Amy Thompson

          I am actually working on a few projects right now. I cannot say what yet. But My schedule has bee quite busy. I did some extra work on Captive State with John Goodman recently. And I will be doing a horror film soon as well. I am hoping to soon be a full time actress instead of doing a 9-5 day job and acting.

  • Tell us about your role in Echo 51. How did you put together that character. What was your creative process to creating the character?

    • Amy Thompson

      This one was actually easy to create. Lt. Nova really had no one in her life other than her General Luma. Luma was her mentor, friend and family. I used my own life experience to build this. There is one person in my life who has always been there and I would do anything for her and to protect her. Lt. Nova feels the same about General Luma. She will do whatever it takes to keep her safe and help her complete her mission. It was a lot of fun.

      • You created her from a real person

        • Amy Thompson

          Yes. I think if you are able to use a real experience it makes the character more believable. Because you know how that situation made you feel.

          • We do agree with you, with a real person, you can make feel a real emotional connection with the character, and give you what you need.

      • its a better choice to do so

  • It is a key issue for indie actors when they have to juggle an acting career with a day job, and to progress from this into working as a full-time actor. How long averagely does that takes? What might speed such up? I would expect that one would want to shorten that time, than lengthen it

    • I notice the same question at film festivals, the thing is to have a plan

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