Over the next few weeks, we'll be introducing you to the members of our Board of Trustees, (an awesome team of individuals who will be working to ensure that The Studio is the best institution it can be!) and this week, we had a chat to actor, adventurer and world traveller, Chris Farrel!
Melbourne actor Chris Farrell has worked on a wide variety of roles across a number of different mediums. Career highlights so far include playing Doctor Rob Carson on Neighbours, working closely with Oscar winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, & playing Bruce Springsteen in the premier of the play Springsteen. Chris is constantly looking to collaborate with a diverse mix of enthusiastic artists regardless of the medium and is ready to take on the most challenging of directions.
Chris is also a regular student here at The Studio, having completed many short courses and Master Classes. We asked Chris a few questions to help you get to know him:
1. Tell us three things about yourself (that we can't learn from your bio!)
My time on set caring for the wellbeing of follow actors and crew outweighs my time as an actor…I am slowly trying to shift the balance! (Chris works as an on-set nurse on Neighbours!)
I am a film nut, with well over 700 DVD titles in alphabetical order and bags and bags of old cinema stubs! Most kids wagged school to get into mischief… I went to the cinema!
I am addicted to travel. Outside of the HFAS it’s the BEST school there is – the school of life! Highlights include Mongolia, Iceland, Morocco and trekking over 1700kms across Portugal and Spain
2. Why are you excited to be part of the HFAS Board of Trustees?
I have grown immensely as an actor and person thanks to the environment at the Howard Fine Acting Studio. I have made friends for life and constantly fuelled my passion for the art. To be able to give back and potentially be a part of its growth in helping fellow actors is a tremendous honour.
3. How has training at HFAS helped you in your work in the industry? What's the biggest lesson you've learned through your training?
HFAS helped me find the confidence I was lacking. It has allowed me to carry myself on set in a way I never previously did. Putting everything I had into the training HFAS provides has allowed me to believe I have what it takes to do the thing I have always wanted to do.
There are too many amazing lessons to name but if I had to say one it would be “Why NOT How”. Get this right and you've got half a chance of truly committing to the character and story.
4. What do you love about being an actor?
Honestly it’s the challenge. The challenge to truly commit, empathise and find myself in service of a character. The feeling that comes from honouring the writing and having someone explain what a performance meant to them in that moment. It is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced and unfortunately its addictive (run while you still can!)
5. What do you not so much love about being an actor?
The lack of opportunity. The feeling I have when I see truly dedicated people, who sacrifice and give it their all, suffer. The constant high and lows. The doubts that creep in when I have lost touch due to having to “work” to pay bills. Learning and seeing the “business” side of the industry and how those wheels turn. When you see behind the curtain it can be pretty confronting. That’s why the magic of the classroom is so important.
6. What's your dream project or a role you'd love to play?
Anything directed by PTA, Aronofsky, Gasper Noe, Steve Mcqueen, or Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Working alongside Daniel Day-Lewis & Michael Fassbender, because I know I would be pushed to depths only masters can safely guide you to! In addition, pretty much anything HBO creates and more recently ‘Black Mirror’. I haven’t been challenged as an audience member like that for a long time. Get on it!
7. What's a piece of advice you have for your fellow actors
Be present now. Try not to focus on where you thought you would be or where you think you deserve to be. Enjoy where you are in your journey as much as you can. Even if you think things couldn’t be worse, the reality is that they probably could be. Don’t compete – help and learn from your peers. Be honest about your goals and how much you put in. I know someone out there is working harder, getting up earlier, and sacrificing more, so when they succeed, they probably deserved it. Let go in class, feel safe to truly be present with your scene partner or the work itself. Honestly the heights I have reached in class I rarely get to on stage or set. So many other factors make things difficult – that’s why I constantly look to get into a class when I can. The classroom for the actor is like the gym for the body builder. No athlete rocks up to game day without having trained. It's for a reason. Enjoy the ride!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Chris! If you'd like to get to know other members of our Trust, you can read our interview with Mark Salvestro by clicking here and keep an eye out for future interviews in the coming weeks!