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An Interview with Northern Star Acting's Eirian Cohen

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2016

Eirian Cohen on (re)Search my Trash

Northern Star Acting on (re)Search my Trash

 

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What can you tell us about your company Northern Star Acting, and the philosophy behind it?

 

When I set up Northern Star Acting, I wanted it to be more than just an acting class. I wanted to bring people together. I wanted to create a tribe where people can really belong. I also firmly believe that to sustain a long term career as an actor takes so much more than just knowing how to act. It takes great acting skills, business skills, a strong mindset and good health. It also takes focus, determination and hard work every day, not just during class, which is why we offer training in all of these things, and a lot of our work is actually done outside of class.

 

What inspired you to open your own acting school in the first place?

 

This is actually my second academy. I lost the first after putting my heart and soul into it for two years and it was heartbreaking, but I'm so glad it happened now, because then Northern Star Acting was born and now, I am literally running the business of my dreams! Sometimes when you think things are falling apart, they are actually falling into place J

 

In your eyes, what sets Northern Star Acting apart from other acting schools?

 

The fact that we are a tribe who work together to support each other and to make things happen. Also, the fact that we focus on developing business and mindset skills and are constantly working outside of class time. People can choose to do as much or as little as they like outside of class, but those who work hard get rapid results!

 

Northern Star Acting focuses on acting for film and television first and foremost - so what's the idea behind this?

 

Strangely enough I come from a musical theatre background but when I first played a role in a film (A Father for the Dead, which would later become part of The Eschatrilogy - Book of the Dead) I became addicted! There are many stage schools around which is great, and I encourage our actors to also train in theatre, but film is what ignited my passion.

 

Do talk about your and your staff's approach to teaching acting for a bit?

 

We all have a very positive attitude, though we will always say what needs to be said if it'll help people to move forwards. The whole team genuinely care about the tribe and are so enthusiastic and full of energy.

 

A few words about your current staff, and what made them perfect for their jobs?

 

Working hard behind the scenes are my two fantastic PA's Lucy Hird and Ellie Starbuck [Elizabeth Mae Starbuck interview - click here], event organiser Sharon Spink, copywriter Rachel Brownstein [Rachel Brownstein interview - click here], and Cameron Prudames, who does everything on the technical side of things as well as filming and editing- there's nothing this guy can't do!

Leading the classes in Leeds and North Yorkshire at the minute are Carl Backhouse and Molly Blaise. Liam Rooke is taking a break at the minute but I wanted to mention him as he's played a big part in getting a lot of the Leeds tribe to where they are today.

In London, we have Luke Bailey (Casualty's Sam), Eddie Bammeke [Eddie Bammeke interview - click here] and Layla Randle-Conde [Layla Randle-Conde interview - click here].

The whole team are high energy, forward thinkers and are a huge asset. I couldn't have got this far without them and I appreciate them every single day!

 

Northern Star Acting isn't limited to acting classes though, you also offer other activities like actual film shoots, showreel shoots, headshots and the like - so do talk about all this "extra-curricular" stuff you're offering for a bit!

 

We make student films as part of the course and they are graded on them for their assessments but every now and again, we make professional projects alongside ESG Media LTD, which our tribe are obviously first for!

Other things we offer outside of classes include themed summercamps for kids, badass actors' bootcamps for adults, showreels and headshots. The showreels and headshots are essential to an actor's tool kit and the camps/bootcamps are designed to propel them to the next level at lightning speed while having a lot of fun and amazing experiences.

 

You might also want to talk about Northern Star Acting's attached agency for a bit?

 

We want to give our tribe a step up into the industry and so decided to run an agency alongside, which enables us to put them forward for professional roles on film, TV and commercials. It's such a buzz when the tribe are called for auditions and even more when they actually book the work!

 

What can you tell us about the beginnings of Northern Star Acting, and its growth over time? And some of the highlights over the years?

 

The Night Monica Came Back

Believe it or not, Northern Star Acting only opened 16 months ago. The growth has been off the scale! Highlights would be working on projects like Talk of the Dead with Hollywood actress Lynn Lowry, and The Night Monica Came Back with Human Centipede 2's Laurence R. Harvey [Eirian's The Night Monica Came Back interview - click here]. Also the red carpet awards nights, filming in Las Vegas, the horror camp and bootcamp... I could go on. There are just so many!

 

You have only very recently opened a London branch - so do talk about that one for a bit?

 

Saturday was the opening and we met some very talented actors with fantastic attitudes. This is what makes it all worthwhile - when you meet people you instantly click with and can't wait to work with! As mentioned above, we have an incredible team rearing to lead our new tribe members into the acting world with a bang.

 

Any future projects concerning your company? And where do you see Northern Star Acting in, let's say, 5 years from now?

 

Why yes, funny you should mention that because we are actually filming another film starring the awesome Lynn Lowry in November. It's called First Impressions Can Kill, is written by... well, you actually [Michael Haberfelner interview - click here] ... and is bloody hilarious!
Where do I see Northern Star Acting 5 years from now? All over the world... My aim is to help as many new actors as possible to gain confidence, find their awesome and blast their way into this crazy industry!

 

So where can Northern Star Acting be found, both physically and on the net?

 

Physically we are in Leeds, London and North Yorkshire in the U.K. BUT people can apply to join us from anywhere in the world as we also offer online training.

Our website: www.northernstaracting.co.uk

 

What are you actually looking for in your acting students, which qualities make a good actor in your eyes?

 

Attitude is everything to me. We can work on skill if they have the drive, determination, a positive attitude and are just... well, cool... But I wouldn't work with anyone whose attitude stinks even if they are amazingly talented.

 

Besides "join Northern Star Acting", what's a piece of advice would you give an aspiring actor?

 

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As well as continually honing your craft, you need to be working on your mindset, developing your business skills and looking after your body. You can be a highly skilled actor but if you treat your acting as a hobby, hold yourself back due to blocks and limiting beliefs or keep getting sick, you will struggle to sustain a long term career in acting. Also... whenever you walk into the audition room or into the scene, just think 'FUCK IT' and leave your inhibitions behind, act on instinct and give it your all. An actor's biggest regret is what they DID NOT do, not what they did.

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Yes, keep an eye out for Talk of the Dead which has just been accepted by the San Diego FANtastic Horror Film Festival and Fright Fest in Kentucky and is currently nominated for not one but 13 awards. Yay!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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