Congratulations again on winning the scholarship for the Screen Acting Workshop at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy! What are your hopes for the outcome of the workshop?
Thank you very much! I am still very excited. Honestly, I didn’t even imagine being selected so I am still processing it. I’ve been going through the schedule for the workshop these days and I am already very impatient to come to Ludwigsburg. I don’t have any particular expectations or hopes, I am coming to Germany with my mind fully opened and I am curious to meet all of the participants and lecturers.
What was the application process and how did you prepare?
As soon as I saw the announcement for the ISAW on the e-TALENTA website, I knew that was something I would love to be a part of. I first sent the ‘About me’ video in which I explained why I wanted to join the ISAW. That wasn’t difficult at all, I self-taped it at home and put into words my very eager willingness to be part of the workshop. Then on the second round I prepared a monologue and I had a colleague of mine partnering with me for the scene I was supposed to film. We’ve been working together previously so it was easy to connect and to go through the scene together, without the stress actors usually experience when auditioning. At the end, I had a Skype interview during which I talked about my previous experience as an actress and my future plans and expectations. Overall, the application process was a very pleasant experience.
How important are good self-tapes in your everyday work life?
I got used to self-tapes in the last year and a half and I am very thankful that way of auditioning exists. As I am currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria, self-taping is my way to join castings all over the world by just sending videos. I still have a lot to learn about how to make it look more professional, but step by step I started feeling much more confident in working that way. It’s a great option to show people what you’re capable of in front of the camera. Give me more, make me do self-tapes!
How and when did you come across e-TALENTA?
Last year I decided to look around for more possibilities to work in the film industry not only in Bulgaria but all around Europe. I was encouraged to do so by some people I met at workshops in the UK last summer. So I started searching actively and e-TALENTA was the perfect place to promote myself and display my previous work. It’s great that there is place where filmmakers can connect in such an easy and friendly way.
You have been doing a lot of workshops, including some abroad in the UK – how important is it for you to constantly improve yourself?
I truly believe that’s the most important thing for a professional actor - to be in constant movement and looking for new ways to improve oneself. I enjoy trying out new approaches to my work as an actress. And every time I step out of the comfort zone of the methods I’ve been using so far, I discover new sides of my own personality. Even if sometimes it feels as if I start from the very beginning and I don’t know where I am going, I am sure that’s my way to become better at acting. Provocation is what pushes us to go further and I am always looking for new ones.
You speak Bulgarian, English, French and some Spanish – how did you learn all these languages?
Bulgarian is my mother tongue. French is the result of my parents’ love for that language – they made me learn it since I was six and eventually I ended up in a French high school where we were studying all subjects in French. English is the language I always knew I had to learn very well in order to keep up with contemporary life - the whole worlds speaks English and I wanted to be capable of communicating with people from all over it. And Spanish is the result of my love for Spain – I did the Camino de Santiago three years ago and on the Way I started to catch on to what people were talking about. Then when I came back to Sofia I took some courses just for my own pleasure.
You know some people say that speaking a foreign language changes your personality?
What has been your favourite on set experience and why?
For the last four years I have been playing mainly in theatre so I don’t have that much experience on set. But last summer we were shooting a short film with the Ukrainian director Kateryna Zabulonska who had just finished her studies in the London Film School. During filming we spent one whole day in a real prison in Kiev and it was extremely disturbing and exciting at the same time. The ‘right’ feelings for the scenes in the script just came, I didn’t even need to think about it. I realised that I could let my body know better than my mind and I trusted it completely.
Tell us a little more about the film industry in Bulgaria and how it’s currently developing.
It’s not an easy time for Bulgarian cinema nowadays. There are very good professionals in the field here but not much support from the Bulgarian institutions, no solid national policy to support Bulgarian cinema in place, while the share from the overall culture budget is generally insufficient. Making films is a very expensive and even luxurious act of culture, we all know it. Despite that, in the last few years we had some great examples of successful films – both independent and commercial cinema. Also a lot of foreign productions are being shot in Bulgaria because of the great Nu Boyana film studios and the Bulgarian high-qualified crews.
And finally, if you could say anything to the Casting Directors, Producers and Directors using e-TALENTA, what would it be?
Nice to meet you, my name is Alissa Atanassova, let’s skip the small talk and have a conversation about things that really matter.
You can find Alissa's e-TALENTA profile HERE.