Joshua Lander is an aspiring actor who stars in the short film Panic; here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you interested in acting?
A: I became interested in acting when I was in college. I was originally a student pursuing medicine and had to take a theater course as a requirement for my degree. After only a couple days in the course, I soon fell in love with acting and how to tell stories. I decided it was something I should give a shot at. After about a year of going between acting classes and pre-med, I left college and moved to LA to make my passion of acting, a career.
Q: What is Panic about?
A: Panic is a short thriller about a student at a local college who every day has been stalked by the same person on campus. Finally the stalker makes his move and things take a turn for the worst.
Q: What role do you play in it?
A: I played the role of the stalker himself. He doesn’t have a name and no one on campus knows who he is or where he is from. He only comes out at night. Think of him as a combination of a Ted Bundy type killer who deceives his victims and a snake. He has a stillness in his eyes and waits until the right moment to strike.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
A: My preparation for the role began a couple weeks before day one of production. I spent every day during those two weeks writing about who I was and why I became a killer of the night. Writing has always been a huge part of my preparation process for any character and it helps me to open up my creative mind and generate ideas for the character I’m playing.
Q: What kind of training have you had?
A: When I initially moved to Los Angeles, I enrolled in an Intensive Conservatory program, taking six classes a week for three months. This gave me the opportunity to figure out who I was as an actor and what my strongest roles were. It also helped me develop preparation techniques for characters ranging from vocal technique to advanced Improvisation and more. After completing the program, I moved on to taking classes at a smaller, more one on one acting studio where I could challenge myself with unique roles and get feedback on how to enhance the choices made for the character. I continue to take these classes on a bi-weekly/weekly basis to keep my acting instrument as sharp as I can.
Q: What sort of day job or income source do you have and how does it affect your pursuit of acting?
A: I currently work at a bakery cafe to make ends meet. I work the minimum amount of hours I can to get by with bills and those sorts of things. I make sure I make as much time for my acting as I can. However sometimes due to certain situations, I may find myself having to work an extra shift or two. This can make things somewhat difficult and it can be hard to balance both acting and my day job at the same time. At the end of the day though, I always make time for something towards my acting career, whether it be writing a short story or watching an inspirational interview with a favorite actor. Those little things give me a boost to get through the next day.
Q: Who are some of your acting influences and why?
A: I admire many people in the movie industry and find all of them to have something unique to their work that inspires me in some way. However, my favorite actor and inspirational person that I admire the most, is Heath Ledger. I’ve always enjoyed his work as an actor. I admire how he was the type of actor to take his characters to great lengths and how with each character, he could portray an honest and truthful performance. He had such amazing talent and was truly a great person. I also admire Jared Leto for who he is as an actor. Like heath ledger, Jared Leto also immerses himself into the character and does amazing things on screen.
Q: What has your biggest challenge been as an actor?
A: I would say my biggest challenge as an actor so far has been letting go of the fear that sometimes comes along with me during an audition. Early on in my first auditions I found it extremely difficult to let go of that fear and just be free on the stage or in front of the camera and let the character come to life. It can be an extremely nerve wrecking and intimidating time during an audition. You have several unknown people gathered in a room watching your performance, and it can be very difficult to take the unique character you created while you were at home preparing for the audition to the audition itself. It almost feels like as soon as you enter that room, you realize that character is missing and the nervousness takes over. As each audition went by I felt it getting a little better each time. I always make the most I can out of each audition and I never think about it once it’s done. I just move on to see what’s next.
Q: If you could change one thing about Hollywood what would it be?
A: If I could change one thing about Hollywood, it would be to make more truthful and honest films. By truthful and honest, I mean films about family, friends, love, etc…We have so many films that revolve around action and destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I myself do love action and adventure films, I could watch the avengers over and over again but I think Hollywood could work on creating more stories about family, friends, love and those sorts of things. An example of this could be the recently released film “The Judge”, starring Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr. This was my favorite movie of 2014. I haven’t seen a film like this in quite a long time and I think Hollywood needs more of this. This was a fantastic movie that made me laugh, cry and get angry. I felt connected to the characters and their story. Something I hadn’t experienced in a movie in quite a while.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am currently preparing for my upcoming short film ” I love you Jessica”, which is a film that I have written and will be directing, as well as acting in. It’s a story that I’ve been wanting to tell for sometime. It is a tragic love story between a younger man and woman and how the choices one of them makes, affects the other and how that choice and the consequence of that choice is something they have to live with for the rest of their life. Although it is a short film, I think the story told within that short period of time is very powerful and that the moral of the story is something that we can all understand and relate to.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)