How did you become involved with the project in
the first place?
I knew Elias [Elias
interview - click here] after working him on Gut, a
few years ago. Initially he asked me to read the
script just for a fresh set of eyes to give him my thoughts. But
after reading it I fell in love with it, and hinted to him about
considering me for Elton.
To what extent could you identify with
the film's horror theme?
I think the horror genre is
wonderful because it's so broad and incorporates so many types of films.
External or internal horror can be very different and equally effective.
I studied psychology at school and am fascinated by what makes people
tick. I really connect with the idea of struggling to let
something or someone go. I think Elton has been struggling his whole
life to let his sister go, but the fact that he can't means his life is
devoted to her absence.
You have worked with Ayla's
director Elias [Elias interview - click
here] before on Gut
- so what's it like working with him, and how closely do the two of you
collaborate regarding preparation for your role?
I loved every second of it. Gut
not an easy film to make for many reasons, the subject is difficult, we
had long days and time and money constraints, but every day on set there
was such a love and desire to make a great film by everyone there.
we met a few times before shooting to read scenes that Jason Vail
and I had together to get a sense of how they would sound as well as get
to know one another.
As a writer, Elias creates very complex
characters, which is something you don’t always get when reading a
script. Some people can write very good dialogue, but all the
characters sound alike, or they're one-dimensional. This is the bad
guy… this is the sidekick… etc. Elias is able to show you the dark
side of people and their flaws but still have you, as an audience member,
care, and empathize with them. As a director I find him very
generous and understanding of actors. Since he has also been in
front of the camera, I think he understands how to communicate things to
actors on a level most directors can't. We were shooting many pages a
day but he never rushed our scenes, or skipped over taking the time to
talk out small moments. He is very precise about what he wants and
that makes my job much easier.
As for preparation, we’ve emailed and
talked on the phone about the character and script. I think he puts a lot
of trust in what I’ll bring to the table when we start rehearsals and
I know, the film's still in its fundraising stages as we speak - are you
in any way involved in the fundraising efforts, and any idea what the
schedule is yet?
Yes! We actually have a Kickstarter up and
running till july 15th:
I am involved as much as they need me, but
our producing team knows significantly more than myself about how to raise
money to produce a feature. It is quite difficult to try and make an
independent movie and the support we’ve received so far has been
wonderful to see that people still care about independent films. As
for shooting, the plan is this fall in Seattle, Washington.
Any future projects beyond Ayla
you'd like to share?
I'm working on a webseries with
Broken Box Inc. The first episode The Promotion can be seen on
What got you into acting in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
started as the class clown when I was quite young and realized that
entertaining people was quite fun and I could maybe someday get paid to do
it too! I went to school for literature and psychology and
started acting professionally after college
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Ayla?
started making films about ten years ago. I primarily work in
theater, but I make about 2-5 films a year between theater jobs. You
can find more about films I've been in on my IMDb :
How would you describe yourself as an
and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
not sure how I'd describe myself as an actor. Hopefully not a bad
one. I like to start with the voice, the pitch, the
rhythms of their speech. You can tell a lot about some from the way
they speak to you, and I feel each character you play should have their
own distinct voice. Something as small as lowering the pitch of your
voice changes who the character is quite a bit. After that I think
of their mannerisms… do they talk with their hands? Do they keep eye
contact when speaking? How do they present themselves? Clean shaven?
Hair combed? Things like this dramatically change how you play the
character, but also how characters around you interact with you and how
the audience perceives you.
After that, I break apart the script in terms of what you want.
Every character has to want something, some drive, or passion that moves
the scene, and therefore the story, along. I usually don’t get to
pick my wardrobe, but I find that helps quite a bit as well. Clothes
will tell you a lot about someone. A character that only wears suits
will act quite differently from one that wears old rags.
(and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
Glad you said
actresses too! Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel day Lewis, Cate Blanchet,
Tilda Swinton, Christain Bale, Naomi Watts, Paul
Giamatti, Gary Oldman.
21 Grams, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood (really anything by PT Anderson),
Big Lewboski, Fargo, Adaptation.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
boy… I'd like to think theres some enjoyment in even the bad movies.
Aren’t movies like Sharknado being made to be bad movies on
website, Facebook, whatever else?
My website is:
Ayla on IMDb:
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I've merely forgotten to ask?
Well, thank you for reading and supporting
Our Kickstarter is:
And whether you give or not I sincerely
appreciate that you have some interest in the world of indie films, and
how they are made.
for the interview!