Acting Q+A: Lilly Dennis

What is your favorite thing about acting?

I have been acting ever since I can remember and my favorite part has always been being able to tell the stories of others. Breathing the life into a story that is sitting in a script is the hardest part of the job but also the most rewarding. A brilliant script will always be a brilliant script, however unless I do my job of taking this human and creating them believably on screen or on stage no one will believe the story to begin with. My favorite part about acting is when you achieve that moment of complete honestly in a character.

What is the hardest part?

I think there is no easy part to acting at all. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, however the hardest part about achieving complete success in acting is probably learning not to take the opinions of others on as your own. Everyone is going to have their own opinion on your performance and how good or bad you were. The hardest part is learning to accept that their opinion is just that; their opinion. Only I can honestly know if the job I did in portraying a character was completely true, honest and believable.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

I think if I could tell anything to a newbie actor it would be something that I wish I had realized when I was younger, and that is you’re allowed to make mistakes and it’s basically your job for the first few years to continuously do that. Just don’t make the same mistake twice. Always learn from what didn’t work last time and never look at as a failure. See the success in everything you do even if nobody else can, because positivity and belief in yourself is what will keep you on the track to a successful career.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

Every actor will have a different opinion on this, but I stand on the side of you need to train and educate yourself as an actor. Whether you take classes or enroll in a conservatory, the worst thing you can do as an actor is not attempting to keep learning. Also, it’s places like acting class or acting school where you start to create a network of people which you will work with and create with for years to come.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

My favorite actress is Laura Dern, I have always looked up to her. As a woman and an actress, she is constantly striving for the truth in everything she does. All the roles she takes on are portrayed with such a dignity and honesty to the life of that character. When you play characters that make such awful decisions it’s hard to not judge them, but Dern always commits to every character without a single judgement. That was what I learned from watching her over the years; to never judge the actions of your character just find the motivation behind them.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

I believe in always working on projects that bring awareness and highlight the current reality of our world today. I am currently set to perform in the biggest theater festival in the world, United Solo Theater Festival in New York, where I am performing my one person show that talks about the grief that follows cancer. I also have several series’ and movies coming out in the next year which I am very excited about, all handling very important causes in our society today.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

Funny things happen all the time on set but one thing that will always stick with me is when I was shooting a movie and a rather famous actress walked on set to visit a friend of hers. I mistook her for someone I knew and went over to her, hugged her, greeting her like I knew her (I thought she was my old acting teacher; she was not) but she was kind enough to go along with it for whatever reason. After she left the make-up artist asked me how I knew her and said the name of this actress. I have never been more mortified once I realized who it really was but at least she was very nice about it. These moments are ones you never forget.

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