(This interview was originally posted on Act.Land.com)
Ashutosh Sharma is an actor who appears in the film Chased; here is a link to his YouTube page:
Q: How did you get your first acting job?
A: I got my first acting job from Craigslist. I was studying in Long Beach State University doing my Masters in Computer Science. I went to Universal Studios, Hollywood once and realized how close I am to the entertainment capital of the world. I had to explore the industry Los Angeles is known for. Now I needed some place to start, after some research I found that Craigslist would be the easiest approach. Applied to some ads and got a role in the commercial for Hyde hotels. The commercial didn’t got aired, but it gave me the confidence I needed to start in the industry.
Q: What is “Chased” about?
A: Chased is a story of guy hiking in the mountains. While taking some rest he heard a gunshot. Curious, he went on to check out the situation and finds a dead person surrounded by men with guns and badges. There is another guy kneeling down on the ground, muffled, he was going to be the next target. The hiker takes out his phone to get a video, his alarm rings giving out his location and making him another target. The hiker runs for his life for now he is being hunted, he is being “Chased”. The story is all about weather he survived, if yes how? if not, what happened?
Q: What role do you play?
A: I played “The Hiker”. The role required someone innocent. Someone the audience would love to be connected and pray for the survival. I can not explain the role in more detail without a spoiler. The role required various emotions and believability. It was my first short film and I was so glad to have landed this role.
Q: What was the most challenging thing about the role?
A: The most challenging thing as an actor was the character itself. As an actor I knew the whole story and the character arc/development. There are two phases in the role with drastic contrast. I couldn’t afford let one phase overshadow or amalgamate the other. They both had to be strong and different in their own way and required a switch. Moreover, we only had a day and half for the whole shoot (including preparations).
Q: What kind of day job or income source do you have and how does it influence you as an artist?
A: I am a Scientist. I work for a company in Culver City. Very flexible with time, I can decide my own schedule for the day. The job makes me financially independent and allows me to work for the art and not for the money. It’s a huge advantage as I am free to say no to projects I don’t like even if they are paid and say yes to projects that I like, even if they are not paid. This independence let’s me explore and experiment with my personality type on screen and understand where I suit the most.
Q: What is the strangest thing any acting teacher has ever told you?
A: “Acting is a business, you have to be it’s CEO. Doesn’t matters if you are the most talented actor in the world.” This concept was very strange when I started in the industry but now it’s very obvious and clear to me as I grow as an actor.
Q: What do you do if you have had a great day and you have to play a scene in which you are unhappy or angry?
A: This is very common in acting. As an actor you train yourself to feel different emotions. To remember all the life experiences that you can utilize to deliver a single line. I think it’s easy to be angry or upset on camera even though you had a wonderful day. However, the opposite is very difficult. It’s not human nature to show true happiness while you are upset or distracted about something. The acting is in the actor’s eyes. That shine in the eyes when you are happy is very tough to duplicate when you are very upset about something. This is where training comes in effect. You learn to cultivate and relive the happy moments of your life and experience that on camera while you perform.
Q: What kinds of characters are the easiest for you to play?
A: I have noticed that I am natural with Sophisticated, learned roles like a doctor or a rich, stubborn businessman. Negative roles comes easy to me where I am condescending, dominating and all powerful. In contrast and I wonder why, I am also good with romantic roles. I guess it’s mostly in my smile and my everyday behavior. Lastly I can do situational comedies.
Q: What famous role could you have nailed?
A: Norman Bates (Psycho)
Tony Stark (Iron Man)
Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible)
Hans Landa (Inglorious Bastards)
Q: Who will you thank in your Oscar speech?
A: Wow, this question is so beautiful I feel the urge to just go out act and find something that will take me to the Oscars. I think i will have to decide that based that phase of my life. I still have a lot to do to be there and I am pretty sure that I will come across people during the journey who will mark their presence in the Thank you List. For now I think it would be my parents who never stopped me from following my dreams and my best friend who gives me the feedbacks after my every performance, even the auditions.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.