Interview with Patrice Harris

Patrice Harris I
Patrice Harris

Patrice Harris

I did not realise the enourmous personality I was interviewing until we were done. She is definitely a person you all should meet. Patrice Harris is a delightful person. Knock yourself out.

TAF: GIVE A CONSICE BIOGRAPHY OF YOURSELF?
PATRICE: My name is Patrice Harris and I am a NYC based working actress.  I remember doing my first play in the first or second grade.  The play was Cinderella and I think I was the fairy God Mother. In the second and third grade, me and my best friend would practice singing and dancing so much at recess and after school that we convinced our teachers to let us perform for our class.  So, every day, our teacher would allow us to come to the front of the class and perform a song for the class.  We’d sing everything from Mary J. Blidge, to En Vogue to SWV.  Can you believe that?!  They loved us!  My parents saw something in me that I did not and teamed me up with an agent and I began doing commercials and print modeling.  My first regional commercial was for Donoto’s Pizza (BEST PIZZA IN OHIO!!).  From then on I was a star…just kidding…from then on acting and performing was something that I always yearned for. [T: @MsPatriceHarris, Actors Access]

TAF: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ACTING?
PATRICE: It is my hope that I can be known for being an actress with great range.  A respected comedic and dramatic actress.  I have a really goofy personality and sense of humor, but there is also a side of me that is very introverted, observant and intense.  I use all of these qualities in my acting depending on the role that I am playing.

TAF: HOW DID YOU GET INTO ACTING?
PATRICE: I always knew that my dream job was to be an actress but I wasn’t sure if it was a realistic goal, so, after graduating from college, (I have a BS in Biomedical Sciences from University at Buffalo) I accepted a job at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Shortly after, I auditioned for a feature film and I         told myself if I got the job I would pursue acting.  And if I didn’t, I continue to only perform when I had the time.  About a month later I found out I booked the role.  The film never passed its developmental phase due to financial issues so I still had my doubts on what my career path should be.  One year later, I went to NYC for ActorFest.  I told myself again if an opportunity arrises from this trip, I’ll know for sure that Im supposed to be pursuing a career in entertainment.  When I got to NYC, that morning, out of the thousands of people hoping for an opportunity to audition with casting directors, I was the second person to audition and landed my first job in NYC, a promo for Teen Nick.  So, at that point, I knew.

TAF: DID YOU STUDY ACTING?
PATRICE: Here in NYC I have studied at The Barrow Group and with my acting coach Marishka Phillips.  I used to enjoy attending a weekly scene study workshop called Directing Actors Gym but the instructor, Miles Maker, moved to LA.  How dare he?! Lol

TAF: DO YOU OPERATE ON INSTINCTS WHEN ACTING?
PATRICE: I certainly use instincts when acting.  That is what makes acting rewarding to me is that although you may do 10 takes of one scene, each take is different.  Each time your scene partner may say     a line differently or react to your lines differently meaning each time my reaction to what they say is different.  It’s all about being in the moment emotionally and not overly caught up in the text.

TAF: WHAT ACTING TECHNIQUE TO YOU USE?
PATRICE: I don’t use one specific method.  When performing, I create the character and make her as     similar to me and my personality as possible so that I do not have to go far from my own reality, experiences and emotions.  So that I can be as true and honest as possible.

TAF: BRIEFLY DESCRIBE A FEW WRONG IMPRESSIONS ACTORS HAVE ABOUT ACTING
PATRICE: Because we are in a time that tends to glamorize fame and fortune to such an extent that everyone wants to taste that level of success, some actors miss the importance of the work that you have to put in to obtain that…because that part of the story is always told much later.  But I strongly encourage anyone who wants longevity in this field to study this craft and become great at it. If you’re good, you’ll find success.  Don’t take short cuts and/or be in a rush to go somewhere you’re really not prepared to go.  Do the necessary work first.

TAF: DO YOU OFTEN TAKE COURSES IN ACTING TO INCREASE YOUR CRAFT? [Give the name of these courses, the studio and coach]
PATRICE: Yes, if I am not working on a project, I try to be enrolled in some type of class or workshop so that I am constantly growing, learning and perfecting.

TAF: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU READ?
PATRICE: I am currently reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki.  I know..I’m late :)

TAF: HOW DO YOU KEEP IN SHAPE AS AN ACTOR?
PATRICE: Staying in shape is extremely important as a performer.  Whether you are on stage or in front of the camera, your physical health and mental health is essential.  I work out 4-5 times a week and try to eat healthy cutting out red meat in place of chicken and fish, eating salads and drinking plenty of water.  But I do have a serious sweet tooth and ice cream craving!

TAF: WHAT PHYSICAL EXERCISES DO YOU DO TO KEEP IN SHAPE?
PATRICE: I always do cardio because its important, especially as a woman, to keep my heart healthy.  So, I will at least run 3 miles.  I also do about 20 minutes of core exercises to work on my abs.  I am determined to get a 6 pack!  My legs, arms and back get the least love but we’re working on that.

TAF: WHEN YOU ARE OFFERED A ROLE, WHAT DO YOU DO?
PATRICE: Scream and then thank God 1 million times and then scream and then thank God again!!!  But, I am a perfectionist so if I do book something I tend to become obsessed with the project and bury myself in it.  So that I am as prepared for each day of filming and/or rehearsal as possible.

TAF: HOW DO YOU TAKE A CHARACTER IN A SCRIPT TO A HONEST, BELIEVEABLE AND BEATHING PERSON?
PATRICE: When you are giving a character to read for in an audition or if you book a role, you are only given some of the character traits and what you dont know about the character, you have to make up and create.  That’s when I pull from my own life experiences and emotions.  I fill in the         blanks on this character and make her as similar to me as I can while staying true to the story.  To me, this allows an actor to be as honest and believable as they can because now, this character is not some fake imaginary person.  They are you.  You are simply taking pieces of yourself and revealing them.

Patrice Harris

Patrice Harris

TAF: HOW DO YOU REMAIN FRESH ON A FILM SET?
PATRICE: By rehearsing a lot, getting plenty of water and rest and by staying focused.

TAF: WHAT ‘THING/SITUATION’ HELPS YOUR CHARACTER DURING A PRODUCTION?
PATRICE: It takes a lot of focus to stay fully committed to a character on camera or on stage. This goes back to the importance of making your character as close to and similar to you as you can so you do not have to reach too far.  Plenty of rehearsals also helps.  I have read of some actors who won’t break character at all even during a break.  I find that fascinating!

TAF: EXPLAIN A CREATIVE CHOICE YOU TOOK ON SET OF A RECENT PRODUCTION
PATRICE: I recently completed production on a hidden camera game show and one of my characters was a girl who lived her life through an animation game called Second Life.  I decided to give her a lisp because…well…it just seemed appropriate.

TAF: WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE SCREEN CHARACTER YOU HAVE PLAYED?
PATRICE: Playing a girl with HIV was very memorable and extremely emotional.

TAF: WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM A DIRECTOR DURING A PRODUCTION?
PATRICE: I am a perfectionist so I am always looking for direction on how to make the scene and my character better.  How to make anything better.  If I can get constructive criticism, I love it.

TAF: HOW DO YOU PREFER TO WORK WITH A DIRECTOR DURING A PRODUCTION?
PATRICE: I think it’s important to have an open and honest relationship with your director so that you both feel comfortable with one another and can trust each other.  Good communication is key.  As an actor you HAVE to be able to take direction given to you at any moment.  So, being able to trust the person giving you that direction (usually the director) is really important.

TAF: DO YOU GET OFFERS FROM FILM INDUSTRIES? LIKE HOLLYWOOD, BOLLYWOOD OR NOLLYWOOD?
PATRICE: Haha!  Hollywood has not called for me yet.  I think that when they call for me is when I will make my move out there.  Until then, this east coast market has been good to me given the short amount of time I have been in NYC.  I am so happy with the success I’ve had thus far and what is to come.

TAF: WHAT DO YOU THINK AN ACTOR CAN DO TO GET INTO THE FILM INDUSTRY?
PATRICE: The best things an actor can do is to faithfully study the craft so that you can be competitive in this industry.  Without the skill, you may find yourself auditioning but you will hardly book anything.  Once you are ready you should get GOOD headshots and link up with an agent who is         on the same page with you regarding your career and will help you get auditions.  Also, hang around other actors who are doing the work you aspire to do and take notes.  Stay in shape, be in the know for upcoming films in your area (or near by) and get to know the casting directors that cast they type projects you see yourself in one day.

TAF: WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR?
PATRICE: Diana Ross and Al Pacino

TAF: WHY IS THIS ACTOR YOUR FAVOURITE ACTOR?
PATRICE: They are both so raw.  So transparent.  So real.

TAF: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE AMATUER ACTORS AROUND THE WORLD
PATRICE: In addition to constantly studying the craft of acting, stay surrounded by people who have your same interests and who are doing the things you aspire to do.  Also to stay productive because nothing in this business is handed to you with out putting the necessary work in.  Have         confidence in yourself and never ever give up on your dreams.

TAF: WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO ADDRESS A GROUP OF ACTORS IN AN INTERVIEW, TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS?
PATRICE: Yes!  I would love to!

TAF: WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO TAKE PART IN  SHORT ACTORS WORKSHOPS WITH INTERNATIONAL ACTING COACHES PRESENT
PATRICE: Of course!  I love giving back.  It’s another thing that my soul yearns for.

I’ve had the opportunity to play great characters thus far and have always wanted a career with range!  I’ve had the opportunity to play a feisty cheerleader to a young woman living with AIDS. My most recent production was a hidden camera show and each episode I was a different character and had the opportunity to improvise a lot!  It was soooo much fun!!  The director gave us so much room to make each character our own and as a result I know this show will be a success.  It will air next month but I don’t want to mention more specifics until it starts being romoted.  To see more of my credits, you can find me on Actors Access at – http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/PatriceHarris.  Also be sure to follow me on Twitter at @MsPatriceHarris !!

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