I serendipitously ran across RunPee fan Laura Stisser, who it turns out is an actress. Laura was kind enough to put some thought into a few interview questions — below — that I hope you’ll enjoy. Even if you’re not in the movie industry, as a general movie fan Laura provides some interesting information. And if you’ve ever thought about getting into acting, then maybe Laura will be an inspiration for you.
Actress Laura Stisser was born in Chicago, Ill and raised in the Syracuse area of NY. Laura attended Oswego High School and then graduated with a BA from Oswego State University. Laura began acting in 2016 by performing in local theater productions. She then broadened her horizons and was privileged to act in various film productions and commercial work.
Dan: I know that you got into acting late in life. What was the thing that finally pushed you to go all in and try and make this happen, verses just wondering if you should?
Laura: I am and have always been a very insecure person. Of course, life lessons always make you stronger and you then you start to create the proverbial bucket list. One of my bucket list items was to audition for theater. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. It was also the biggest adrenaline rush I had ever experienced. No drug or rollercoaster had even come close to that feeling. And then…I got a call back. One call back led to another one, then roles. Roles for theater, student films, then Indie films. Not only did my confidence soar, but I have met the most amazing people who have literally taken me under their wing and helped me not make as many mistakes as people can in this crazy business. I also have the most amazing family support system which are my husband, daughter and son. Without their confidence in me and pep talks I don’t think I would have kept going in the beginning.
Dan: What do you do between gigs to improve your skills?
Laura: I absolutely love taking scene study classes and training with Breadcrumbs Productions in my local city of Syracuse. I also will drop into Improv classes occasionally, which is great training because it literally makes you react with no script or preparation. I also follow Bonnie Gillespie, who is a former actor, current casting director and also a self-help guru who wrote a book called, Self Management for Actors. This book covers everything from having the perfect headshot that best identifies your brand, to perfecting your demo reel, and in her own words, “to surviving and thriving in the business, and everything in between.”
There is also an app called Scenebot that is phenomenal. The app gives you brand new scripts every month that you can record and perform with a talk back-track of an actor they have pre-recorded for your own personal scene partner. Not only is this great for improving your skills, but you can also submit these recordings, and actual casting directors view and give you feedback via email. If people are really lucky, they may be contacted personally by an agent who may be interested in signing them.
Dan: What sort of roles excite you?
Laura: Any role where I can be completely out of my comfort level. I have played an alcoholic, victims of bipolar disorder and dementia, right down to a Zombie getting clubbed and dragged off.
Dan: How do you prepare for a new role?
Laura: If it is a role that deals with any type of addiction or mental disorders I always research by watching/reading biographies or documentaries. It’s so important to me to get true perspective and stay away from the stereotypes.
Dan: What do you do with dialog that is poorly written?
Laura: I have been very lucky with well written dialog, but there have been a few scripts where I was thinking, “No one says that”. In that case I will ask the writer/director if I may paraphrase that line. I haven’t met a Diva writer yet where they refused my request. They have all been pretty chill as long as you get their point across and do it well.
Dan: Regarding the scenes that you have on your highlight reel, do those usually go down in one take, or does it take a few tries to get it right?
Laura: You NEVER do a scene in one take. I pride myself in knowing my lines…not saying it doesn’t happen from time to time. Regardless of the actor being perfect, the director will always do rehearsal takes, a wide shot take, close up takes, takes for safety, etc.
Dan: How does it feel when you have a deeply emotional scene and you get through it thinking you, and your co-star, nailed it, but the director wants you to do it again for some reason. Is it hard to recreate deep emotions, or even humor, over and over?
Laura: Sometimes it’s very hard to recreate emotional scenes over and over. One of my skills that I am pretty confident in is my ability to cry on cue. Now with that being said, the director does need multiple takes for one reason or another, and that does get difficult for the actor doing the scene. Not only do you start to run out of tears but it takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. A good, — and if you are lucky — compassionate director will recognize that and give you a break from it, so you can muster up those emotions again for a good solid take.
Dan: Half serious question here: How would you feel if you were in one of the movies we did Peetimes for and one of your scenes was chosen as a Peetime? (Not that we would ever do that. You’re one of our Peeps!)
Laura: If my scene got selected for a Peetime, that would mean I have made it to the big screen and movie circuit. That would be a dream come true. How can anyone complain about that?
Creator and developer of the RunPee app. When something doesn’t work right in the app it’s pretty much his fault. 🙂
Aspiring author. Would like to finish his “Zombie Revelations” trilogy if he could break away for working on RunPee and the cottage he’s building for RunPee Mom.