Interview: New York Trained, LA Actress
Today’s post is all about Los Angeles actress and blogger Laura Hunter Drago! She is a former New Yorker who studied at Tisch School of the Arts, and is now a thriving actress in Los Angeles. In this interview, we talk about her choices, thoughts, and advice based on her own experiences as an artist.
When was the moment you decided LA was where you wanted to be, as opposed to staying on in New York City?
I had been in New York for college at NYU, and knew I wanted to pursue more film & television work. LA seemed like the obvious next step forward.
What about LA is different than what you thought it would be? What met your expectations?
A lot of the “LA Stereotypes” are true. I did start being more conscious of how I looked when I got here, and the traffic is truly terrible. The weather is wonderful, and I find it much easier to be productive in all areas of my life when I’m spending more time outside… it just puts me in an overall more positive mood.
How did your training at NYU Tisch School of the Arts prepare you for working as an actor outside of school? Did you have business-geared classes, and if so, how did they shape the way you tackle your career?
I had been very obsessed with the “business” side of acting since a pretty young age, and had read all of the books available on the subject even before starting college. NYU taught me a great deal about acting for sure, but more than anything New York City was such a huge education as an artist. I really learned how to take care of myself and become aware of the world around me—something I hadn’t been exposed to growing up in a very small town. I was lucky to meet some of the most wonderful, talented people that I know at NYU and have continued both friendships and working relationships with those people over the years.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you before you began your career after Tisch?
I wish someone had told me that 99% of the things that will happen to you in this business will make little to no sense… and almost none of it will be in your control.
How do you think being an actor in New York prior to LA sets you apart from other actors in LA?
I’m not sure there is as much of a difference as people say there is. You can train here or you can train there… working hard and having a certain amount of talent will make you a good actor. Though, I don’t necessarily think that being a good actor is what gets people a career.
Are there any books on acting (focusing on craft or business) that you have found helpful in your career?
When I first applied to NYU, I read the primary books from each studio that they send their acting students to… and honestly enjoyed and learned something from all of them. I also think that The Creative Habbit by Twyla Tharp is a great read for anyone, artist or not.
What was your process of determining your type, or how best to market yourself?
My experience has been that people in audition or representation situations will tell you what they think your type is when they meet you. Each person that you meet will most likely see your type as something completely different than the next. To me, in LA your “type” is really just being yourself in a magnified way.
How have you balanced a steady stream of income and keeping your time flexible for acting work?
I work from home as a social media consultant for a variety of companies. It’s an extremely flexible job, and I’m proud of being able to make a good living while still being free to pursue my dream. I’ve been lucky in that way.
Thank you so much Hunter for your insights! I really appreciate you sharing your experiences. Can’t wait to see more from you!