Izzy Pollak is an aspiring actor and director who recently made a film about Trayvon Martin. Here is a link to his website:
Q: What made you interested in acting?
A: At the end of my junior year in High School I saw the acting programs Senior Thesis. This consisted of all of the theater conservatory members putting on a collaborative piece that they thought represented who they were. I attended the last night of performances where emotions were running high. By the time they took their bows, every person in the small 50 person black box theater was crying. Maybe it was the performance, or perhaps it was the environment, but as the lights faded to black and the audience shuffled out of the theater, I remained in my seat awestruck and mesmerized. From that moment on I knew I wanted to pursue act as a career. Throughout my life I had occasionally been in musicals since they were fun to do, but never thought about it as a possible profession. (I was considering business or political science before I changed my mind) What a trip those pursuits would’ve been.
Q: To which method of acting do you ascribe?
A: Listening is the proven method to successful acting in my opinion. Reacting to whoever or whatever you are opposite, and being in that moment is the only way to keep it alive. Sure there are methods of getting emotional, and pulling rabbits out of hats, but all of that crap needs to be thrown out in the moment otherwise you will overthink it and be in your head, not in the character. Acting isn’t, being is.
Q: Who are your acting idols?
A: Definitely Johnny Depp because he becomes an entire person. A
star, absolutely, but he doesn’t use that as a crutch to be the same person on camera every time. Another person I look up to is Kevin Spacey. Beyond his incredible presence on camera, he also pursues his craft on the stage (he recently starred in King Richard III). Furthermore, he often releases short films that he produces and acts in which are created for the love of art. If you haven’t seen his most recent short, check out “The Ventriloquist.”
Q: What director would you most like to work with?
A: The Wish List: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, JJ Abrams, Wes Anderson, and Michael Bay. The yin and yang of a greater director is one who has a strong vision of a piece, and will work with you to meet that vision, but trusts the actor enough to know when it is time to back off and let him or her play the way he or she sees fit.
Q: What do you like about Hollywood films?
A: Hollywood is beautiful because of its scale. Everything can be executed on screen these days with the combination of video effects and creative grit. Furthermore, Hollywood creates full cinematic experiences, all-encompassing and impeccably produced. I love this aspect of the industry.
Q: What don’t you like about them?
A: I would say a major downfall of Hollywood is the illusion that one must spend so much money on a movie. One benefit to the economy is the tightening of budgets. And although some may see these cuts as restrictions, a true artist will not only navigate around the issue, but create a better product because of it. This is reinforced by technology getting better and cheaper as productions can be executed with less people, less equipment, and in less time.
Q: What film role could you have nailed?
A: There really isn’t a single role I can type cast myself in, but perhaps a hybrid will do. Perhaps Ryan Gosling’s role in Blue Valentine and Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs makes sense, I’ve been told I have a healthy mix of vulnerability and volatility.
Q: What makes you fame worthy?
A: Hmmm… What makes anyone fame worthy? How much they want it? How much they worked for it? Who their dad is? What they will do with it? I have a deep desire to be famous, and although many would laugh and criticize me at the prospect of my initial statement, let me earn back some respect. Notoriety offers exposure to an audience. Charlie Sheen uses it to promote Tigers Blood and Winning, Bono uses it to support Africa. Both men famous, apparently worthy of it since they have achieved it, but in my personal opinion I think one is using the gift better than other. I have much I wish to change about this country and this world. The backward-isms that are prevalent in modern society, specifically Western society irritate me, and I believe fame would give me a sturdy platform to found social change on.
Q: What inspired you to make a film about Trayvon Martin?
A: Fear is one aspect of modern society that is extremely detrimental to social welfare. Never a healthy emotion, fear, in my opinion, was the driving force behind the killing of Trayvon Martin. Wanting to make a film that exemplified the negative effects of fear, I took the case and explored the prospect that everyone might’ve told the truth. What I shot was the scenario where both parties were innocent (or guilty) independently of each other, a situation that inevitably escalated given the fact that there was a gun involved. There has been a wide range of reactions to the piece but it has consistently sparked conversation amongst those who have viewed it about what right and wrong means comparatively in moral and legal contexts.
Q: Give us your Oscar speech?
A: Kids, young men and women. Life is about happiness. Responsibility is necessary of course, but responsibility to who? Use your time in school to cultivate your expression through what you love. Consider the fact that your parents care a lot about you, and probably have your best interests in mind, but financial stability is not paramount in the pursuit of happiness, although to many it does help. If you want to be a scientist, do it, and give yourself to it completely, if you wish to be an artist, do so with love and empathy for the human condition, the same goes for business, sports, and the other professions. Remember that everyone is human, we all bleed, we all cry when it hurts, and laugh when it’s funny, every person around you is bonded by this time we are in, since we are all limited by mortality. Love unconditionally, give yourself completely to what you spend your precious time doing, and live with passion.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)