INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR JOSEPH LOPEZ

  • How did you get involved in acting?

All of my three girls were CHILD ACTORS in LA and NYC. I would help drive them to their auditions. One weekend in NYC they were in a Master Workshop with Sheila Gray. (It was three days long and 8-11 hrs. a day) I decided to take the class with them instead of sitting around in the city. It was a huge mistake to sign up. The skill level was so high…I completely sucked. I realized though, how good my kids were through their training and that the techniques they were being taught were the real deal. I got hooked that weekend and studied with Sheila Gray for the next 10 yrs., but only as a hobby. I never auditioned until 2 yrs. Ago. I was smart enough to know you can’t raise a family as a beginning actor.

  • How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a theater play? And which one do you prefer?

I ‘ve only done a few plays and I thoroughly have enjoyed those experiences. All Actors talk about the “High” of the instant gratification of theater, and the differences of energy flow, from night to night. I understand how that is appealing, but for me, at this moment in my life, I believe as a Method actor in film, that you can have that same feeling from shot to shot or take to take. It’s all about your choices in your Inner work and Imagination, at the end of the day. If you can be in the “Zone” it’s always different. You can lose track of time and feel exhilarated, on stage or on set. I have no preference. I just want to act.

  • What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?

Can Everything be an answer?

I think I have a tendency to push sometimes when I have not done all the Inner work, as best as it can be done. I am very ADHD and because I have a lot of projects going on at once, I can drift in my prep. I think that is something I always have to check myself on. So I desperately need to rely on “Sensory Method” Relaxation/Sensory techniques to keep focused and be honestly present. These techniques are Organic Exercises that will get you to your Truth. I do this in prep and on set with every take. I personally, need to stay centered. I think I always worry that I don’t layer my characters enough. I am starting to understand how to approach that better, but I am still a hack, and that is and will always be a forever-never-ending Journey for me. In regards to that issue, I try to Improv the opposite of who my character has been written to be. It’s in the Improv of our characters, in concurrence as we do our hard lineal work, that we find and discover the truths that will make our character specific in his or her uniqueness. I also think I am too hard on myself, as we all are as actors, right? I work on fixing that, by continually punishing myself, for not being good enough:)

  • What are your strong points as an actor?

1. Energy that uplifts and changes a set.

2. Playfulness that has direction.

3. Being Free in any attempt or note change.

4. Jumping before thinking.

5. Toughness for expecting the best from myself.

6. Impulsive Instincts that make edit.

7. Directability. (Wanting to truly understand a director’s way of speaking as he uses comparisons and analogies and metaphors as best I can, so as to understand, his or her notes, as best as possible.)

8. Knowing deep down, that this is what I am meant to do, at this point and time of my Life.

  • What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

Allot of things, but from other actors as well:

  1. How not to show everything inside. Don’t push. Do the inner emotional work… it will reveal what you need to show.
  2. Learning to hide something may actually reveal it to the camera better.
  3. Don’t be linear. Play the opposite of the emotion.
  4. Walk around your situation and look at it in 360 Degree format. What angle is more interesting?
  5. Less is more.
  6. Make sure your zipper isn’t down after using the restroom and you return to set.
  • What makes a good scene partner?

Anyone who understands Innerwork and it’s techniques, so they can put the time in to get where they emotionally need to be, to start your scene.

Someone who is as dedicated as you.

Someone who is Free in the moment, and not stiff, with some pre-conceived idea of how it’s supposed to go.

Someone who has done all the emotional prep so their listening and empathy is organically present.

Someone who knows what their character wants in the specific scene.

  • What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?

 Everything, if you do not love doing what you do.

 It’s work plain and simple.

You plan and get and schedule projects and some fall through.

You lose out on projects that conflicted with what you thought would happen but ended up changing dates.

You lose out at times because of look not talent.

You listen to people who are clueless because you think they have the key to some door you think you need to go through.

Acting will not be able to financially support you by it’s own merit, never…ever.

So…..

Live your life. Get a head shot. Work as much as you possibly can no matter what the project is when you first start out. Work. Work. Work. Study and train with only the best. Do your research. Then you will eventually get a reel and you will hate that reel because the work you did sucked or the production quality is horrible. So the only thing you can do is work,work,work. Study and train with only the best. Do your research. Get another reel and it will suck again and you will hate yourself.

Study and train with only the best. Do your research. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Somewhere through the course of all this, you will get a lucky break, and if you have done your training and tried to be the best actor you can be, and grown in your journey, you just might be able to make a living at this elusive art and the industry it has decided to reside in.

Work is always difficult, unless you love what you do.

  • What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?

Well, first, is trying to understand the storytelling and what it wants to lay out emotionally and thematically. Then, you have to look at how your character fits into it, and what he or she ultimately is there to show or express in driving these beats and themes forward to their end. Next, you have to decide how to build his or her framework, emotionally and physically. What does he or she want? Really. What would they settle for if they couldn’t get it?We need to sit down and learn how can we have empathy for our character, even if he or she is a bad guy.There are friends in common that we all have, and sometimes that person is an A-Hole to your friend but nice to you. None of us are just one thing, ever. I think it’s finding these qualities that are contradictory, and then encompassing them into who we are to portray that starts to build out who our character is in the story. It’s a puzzle and our job is to create the pieces and color them. It’s a puzzle we have to build, and sometimes we find out half way through, that the pieces don’t fit. This is how we learn how to do it though, by starting over and doing it again. It’s never easy, at least not for me.  

  • What do you do when you’re not doing theatre/film?

I am a father of three beautiful and talented girls. I am a lifelong world traveled surfer and martial artist. I am also a writer who may tackle that journey next. Previously, throughout my entire life, I was a designer and colorist of recycled textiles made from tee shirt scraps, in Mexico City, for the Surf Market, under the brand name, Senor Lopez.

  • If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?

That’s a good question. Probably no one, since the pay, for the project, would most likely be DEFERRED.