This (my first episode) is with Eva Grzelak, a great friend of mine having met in 2015 as supporting actors on a MAPS student film in Adelaide, South Australia. A short film called ‘Frequency’ – arguably one of the best short films I’ve been involved in so far, thanks to the up-and-coming Director Rebecca Duncker.
Eva was born in Cheshire England, a year before me and immigrated to Australia in the mid 70’s with her parents. Her employment background is as an accomplished audio-visual technician which led her into her love of acting. She is a 2019 South Australian Screen Award Nominee for Best Female Performance and also received the Award Of Merit for Acting in the 2020/21 Southern Shorts Awards. She has also written and directed her first short film ‘Untitled Thoughts’ a short film about mental health which has done extremely well on the festival circuit. Nicknamed ‘Harlee’ by childhood friends due to her love of Harley Davidson motorcycles and currently residing in New York, Eva is my first late bloomer actor to join me on the podcast.
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Cut Throat with Eva Grzelak
[00:00:00] David John Clark: My guest today is a great friend of mine. Having met in 2015 as supporting actors on a MAPS, student film, a short film called Frequency, arguably one of the best short films I've been involved in so far. Thanks to the up-and-coming director. Rebecca Duncker. My guest was born in Cheshire England a year before me.
I wasn't born in England though and immigrated to Australia in the mid-1970s with her parents. Her employment background is in an accomplished audio-visual technician, which led her into her love of acting. She's a 2019 South Australian screen award nominee for best female performance, and also received the award of merit for acting in the 2021 Southern shorts awards.
She has also written and directed her first short film, Untitled Thoughts, a short film about mental health, which has done extremely well on the festival circuit, nicknamed Harley by childhood friends, due to her love of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Please welcome to the podcast the most awesome. Eva Grzelak.
I said it wrong. Didn't I?
[00:00:59] Eva Grzelak: It's okay.
[00:01:01] David John Clark: You can say it right for me. Cause I don't speak French. How do we say?
[00:01:04] Eva Grzelak: Grzelak, but it's actually a Polish surname, but that it's that soft, um, G sound at the beginning, like Gemma Pell.
[00:01:14] David John Clark: And so much easier now I've heard it again.
[00:01:16] Eva Grzelak: You'll never forget it now.
[00:01:19] David John Clark: Firstly though, I must congratulate you on your latest award at the Southern Australian screen awards, the Mercury Rising award. This one caught you completely off guard?
It did. Thank you very much. Yeah, that was uh, I still, I still can't process it right now. I haven't had a chance to actually talk to anyone about it, actually apart from my partner here. But any, anyone from the industry, I'm just not, I still don't just thank you, David.
I, I don't know a lot about this award. I think I've seen it before, but do you know much about it and what it entails?
[00:01:59] Eva Grzelak: This was the first year that they did the Mercury Rising award and it's awarded to, um, up and coming, uh, industry who is a member of Mercury CX.
[00:02:14] David John Clark: Beautiful. And did you fall out of your chair?
[00:02:17] Eva Grzelak: Oh, I, I don't remember a damn thing, so I don't remember anything. I just. No. I know. I actually, I do remember I couldn't walk, so I'm stumbling through the chairs and I'm tripping over people, swearing, cause I'm a big Swearer, which is terrible. That's all I remember. And then I was out the door and I was being introduced to people and having my photo taken with Carina. And, and somehow, I got back into the cinema to the awards ceremony, to the watch the rest of the ceremony. So, it's all a blur.
[00:02:52] David John Clark: Beautiful. I was at a, a dinner engagement that I had to go to hence I wasn't at the awards, but, um, the awards were popping up on my Facebook feed that I was rudely watching over time. And then all of a sudden, I saw this big photo of you and your award. And I almost fell out of my chair, so I was very excited for you.
[00:03:13] Eva Grzelak: Thank you, you were the first to congratulate me. So, thank you very much for that. That was awesome.
[00:03:19] David John Clark: I was very, you know, me I'm very quick when it comes to social media. Alrighty. Before we get right into it. Can you just tell us a little about yourself, your background into acting? Why, or do you consider yourself to be a late bloomer actor?
[00:03:34] Eva Grzelak: I guess I am a late bloomer actor because I've done most of my, my largest body of work has been later in life. I, um, I actually always wanted to be, to fantasize about being an actor, being a performer. So, I kind of grew up on those older, you know, Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day, Barbara Streisand, all those old classical old musicals that carried on into the seventies, late sixties. Um, And, uh, you know, we'll will be so cool. It looks so glamorous. It looks fun. It could be anybody but me. Uh, but it was never presented to me as a viable career choice growing up.
It was, you know, you had to be lucky to be able to do that. It was never presented to me as something that I could work towards and achieve. Uh, well, no, by my parents, I guess more not, you know, nothing and that's fine. They were trying to raise us the best, but I could have been. I got into high school and I did do drama, uh, purely so that I could act.
And then I think the year, so 1989 was the year that I graduated. I'm 48 years old, not ashamed to say it I'll be 49 next week. Thank you. Uh, but, but before, uh, 1989 was the first year that drama could be a graduating subject. So, points could go towards being graduated. So, I did that. And, um, I actually, it was the year before, sorry, there was a end of year production that we had to do, but, but going to an all-girls high school, you know, everybody was the pre-Madonna.
Nobody wanted to do the backstage stuff. The sound, the lighting, the set design, any of that, I kind of rolled my eyes went, oh God, okay, I'll do it then. I gave up the opportunity to be, you know, to be an actor too. I don't know, take one for the team and do what needed to be done. And it just didn't had, I was good at it and that dictated my life from there on.
And so, I worked in, I did, I toured a lot with bands in Adelaide and around Australia and doing lighting or audio depends. Uh, and then start built up a good network there. And then I started in, uh, theatre, uh, television. So, I worked for channel seven, channel nine, channel 10, uh, started out in the lighting department, but then, and became multi-skilled as production opportunities became smaller.
It just paid to be multi-skilled. So, I picked up audio, floor management, uh, director's assistant even, uh, during the Porter prompt and. Then I got more heavily involved in corporate theatre. So doing a lot of audio-visual events for corporate events. And at some point, it would have been the early two thousands.
I actually know I've got back a little bit. Oh yeah. It was the early two thousands the year, 2000 when I went, oh, hold on. I've always wanted to perform. I've always wanted to act and sing. And because of my connections in the music industry, I started taking some singing lessons and people found out, oh, Harley can actually sing.
Let's take her to China on tour. So that was my first gig was touring China. And then in a, um, I look back and I go, wow, I actually did some pretty cool stuff. I'm not a piece of shit anyway, but it, so I taught trying to, or the Hardrock cafes. And Shangri-La hotels and resorts. The great bunch of guys, and so managed to get a foot in the door, singing with a lot of bands, a lot of party bands.
Around Adelaide, a lot of original bands, all girl punk band, and last one was a metal band. Uh, and I still do some duo and acoustic stuff. But then I started working more and more in tech and just singing on the weekends. And that's around about 2006. I stepped back and went, no, hold on. Let's get back again and get back on the performance directory and start acting.
So, I took on some plenty of acting workshops, as many as I could. I just ate that up. I would. And even because at the time, I would say no, because I'd worked so much, I had the money that, so I could go to Melbourne and Sydney and do workshops over there and just soak things in. Uh, and there was one audition I got was for a company called the Sudden Impact Entertainment company.
And I got the audition and I perform with them. It was that Prison Break live. It was a walk-through attraction that was at the Royal Adelaide show. Not sure if you remember.
[00:08:20] David John Clark: Um, I remember hearing, what year was that?
[00:08:21] Eva Grzelak: That would have been 2007, I think. Yeah.
[00:08:27] David John Clark: Did you do that more than once?
[00:08:28] Eva Grzelak: More than once because they did prison walk-through break two years in a row, then they did Terminator, which was a laser tag.
And then they did a Lara Croft tomb Raider in 3D. And that was the last job they did in Adelaide. So, I kept going back to them because they found out that I was a technician. I said, do you want to come back next year? You will have to re-audition for a part, but you know, you can help us build the set and, give us some.
You know, tips and advice on, you know, just be, they go to tech person.
[00:08:58] David John Clark: And we'll pay you twice, right?
[00:09:01] Eva Grzelak: Which was good, but, and, and then my work with them became more involved as the technician. So now I'm their technical director. And again, I've had to step back and go, no, hold on. I really wanted to perform and they've been really good actually to work with it whenever I've, um, Had an opportunity to be in short film, or in a stage production.
They've allowed me that time off to come back and do it, which has been good. So, it's kind of judging in between that. Long and convoluted. There you go.
[00:09:31] David John Clark: No, that's beautiful. I should, I should do an interview with all my friends like this and learn everything that I don't know. I knew a lot of that. And is that the same company you're still working for now around?
[00:09:46] Eva Grzelak: Well, on my last job with them was in November, 2019. And thank you. COVID, uh, haven't been working as much for them, uh, well at all for them, which has given me time to get back into the acting and workshops and auditioning, and I have done a few short things and it also gave me a chance to concentrate on my own short film.
And, uh, just exploring the world of directing and producing, but I've got to be careful now that although I love writing and directing and producing, I love it. I've got to remember. No, no, no. I've got to give myself that time to do my true passion, which is acting so.
[00:10:24] David John Clark: Because otherwise you end up in the same cycle. Deep into some sort of film or directing something and you go, I love doing this, but I want to be in front of the camera.
[00:10:34] Eva Grzelak: It's all about me.
[00:10:37] David John Clark: So, so that sort of leads me to then, uh, so why acting then if you've got. You've got such a rounded, ability for experience and skill sets, which is brilliant, especially in, in the acting world, you need something to pay the bills.
So, if you have that to fall back on, especially that background that you have, you've got so much ability to, to be helped to feed yourself as they say, um, what keeps bringing you back to acting and what is driving you forward to, to be what to be wanting to be on front of the screen, in front of the camera.
[00:11:09] Eva Grzelak: I don't think it's so much about wanting to be in front of the camera, but about, I know this sounds a bit miserable, but I relish the opportunity to be anybody but me. I like the idea of exploring a different way of thinking, making choices that are not natural to me. I like pushing those limits and I love like I've never stopped learning, creating to learn thing. If there's stuff in my work or what I need to do, I will watch YouTube videos.
I'll do workshops. I'll take courses. I will read. I just love learning a new thing to do. Um, and acting is, oh, okay. I mean, you know, it's, there is that thrill of there is that thrill of being in front of the camera or being on stage and being seen and being acknowledged for it. In the process, I'm addicted to that, did I answer your question.
[00:12:22] David John Clark: A lot of actors that they, um, they like being a different character is one side, but others say they liked doing the different circumstances. You sort of leaned a little bit there that you like to do things that do you mean that, um, you'd like to take on a character that the character is doing things that you wouldn't do yourself as a person. So, to experience, you know, um, different journeys sort of thing. To reach out emotionally?
[00:12:48] Eva Grzelak: And to understand why as well to not just know that part of the script is making a certain choice, but the reasoning behind it. And I know when I watch a lot of films and videos, uh, like a lot of content, I'm always curious about the choices and in, in, in the writing. And why did the character do that when this happened? And sometimes it seems contradictory, but.
Uh, I don't need to know where I was going with that, but yeah, it was. But, but again, that, that, that comes back to that whole natural way of thinking like naturally instinctively. That's what I would do personally. But if I was that person, I wouldn't do it. So, it's the struggle to understand why they would make that choice.
But I like that journey to work it out. Like, like how a friend, uh, Mr. Seymour. So, it's doing, doing your, um, detective work. It's always.
[00:13:52] David John Clark: Yes, I have, sitting here right in front of my computer all the Seymour, the top nine questions, the Real Life Actor approach. Who are you? Where are you? What is the relationship to the other character in the scene. What's happening? Uh, what's the problem? What do you want? Should you get what you want? Why should you get what you want? Speak English David! And what's stopping you from getting it? How do you plan to get it? So, it's yeah, exactly. It's my favourite, like my Bible. Not that I'm religious.
[00:14:22] Eva Grzelak: Yes, you are.
[00:14:23] David John Clark: So, bringing up Mr. Jeff Seymour AKA the Real Life Actor, and we've both done a few workshops with him. What training have you done in your journey or still doing or would like to do?
[00:14:38] Eva Grzelak: Uh, so currently at the moment, because it's difficult for me to get out into workshops here where I am. Uh, I do a lot of online. And I know they've copped a bit of flack, but Masterclass actually have some workshops on there with Helen Mirren, uh, Natalie Portman. And there's also some writing workshops with Aaron Sorkin. Cause I really love his style of dialogue that he writes. So, I'm kind of eating those up at the moment. Just to get their points of views and, and then methods in, and particularly on the writing side, because I think actors really should pay a little more attention to the writer's craft and, and, and the story from their perspective.
I think that gets missed a lot. Uh, not on a professional level. I can't speak on a professional level because I haven't, I'm not there yet, but from someone who has worked on a lot of student productions, uh, independent productions, it, it seems to be lacking, but not part of the process of, yeah doing what we have to do as an actor.
[00:15:57] David John Clark: Yeah. I mean, student films are a lot like that because, uh, and we're always told, don't expect to get something for your show reel from the student film, because their focus is not on the actor, which probably, I think maybe leans towards their focus is not on the story either. It's about grabbing the visuals and grabbing the, the A, B, C the end of the story. So, so they sort of lose that focus with what's on the paper. I can see what you're saying there. It's interesting.
[00:16:22] Eva Grzelak: That's not shit canning student films at all, because you know, they're learning and we're still learning too. We're all learning all the time. Just some of the, like, I've had some really great experiences on student films, you and I both had that amazing experience when Rebecca Duncker's Frequency, which really, which really set the bar for me um, getting back into the acting side of it. I don't know how you feel with it.
[00:16:44] David John Clark: Well, yeah, because that was my very first student film that I'd ever done. Um, and my first, um, well, not lead role, but support role. I know I only had one line in that.
[00:16:56] Eva Grzelak: It was a great line though!
[00:17:00] David John Clark: What was it? Fuck this shit with a blade across my throat, and then who got covered in my blood?
[00:17:06] Eva Grzelak: Me!
[00:17:09] David John Clark: You were about to say exactly what I was about to say, I think? We did that twice!
[00:17:12] Eva Grzelak: Yeah, we did that twice, but, um, I took my grandmother to the screening of Frequency the end of year MAPS, uh, screening.
And, she went with my mother and my mother was, well, I don't know about all the swearing and it's really, I really don't like seeing you in the blood you know, covered in it. And my, my 90-year-old grandmother was like, I loved it, it was great, and when the blood hit you and you screamed! She really got off on that scene. A little French lady in the front row and carrying on.
[00:17:44] David John Clark: Now, that's funny for our journey. Isn't it? So, we've had two pretty good roles together. The first being Frequency, where I get to cut my throat and you've got covered in my blood. And then our second one, which was only just recently where, what happened?
[00:17:58] Eva Grzelak: Your throat got cut and I got covered in your blood. That was This Town.
[00:18:02] David John Clark: That's right? Yes. So, on that very note, I think this episode will be called Cut Throat with Eva. How's that sound? So just go back to the training. Um, so you've, you're a bit like me, you do the workshops and, and get what you can get, which is good because you get to choose what you want to choose, how you study. Um, do you believe that, um, uh, formal training background, um, helps ac actor regardless of their age, whether they're coming in at 20 or 30 or they're late bloomers like us, or do you think, uh, uh, life skills and, and building on your craft with short courses and online training is better or a bit of both or.
[00:18:44] Eva Grzelak: I can't really speak, for the long-term commitment, it's something. And I think you are in the same boat. It's something just hadn't been able to do. Um, life skills that we've had has like 100% helped me, I think. And I do enjoy the workshops. I do enjoy going to different workshops with different actors, different casting directors. Different, you know people in the industry because it's great hearing all of its different points of view and like Jeff says, it's, you're not going to a hundred percent agree with everyone, but you're going to take a little bit of something for your toolbox. And I think that toolboxes is great if you can.
And I think I would, for me personally, I haven't been able to commit that length of time. And that amount of money for a long-term study. Um, but also, I'm kind of regret that I didn't take that opportunity. And I probably still could, um, because I think it, from my understanding, just having that solid knowledge of the industry that we've chosen and the history that goes with it.
So, studying scripts properly, uh, particularly for theatre studying the greats like Gibson and Shakespeare and just being exposed to that, I think I would appreciate that solid. Dive in for an extended period of time, just soaking it all up if that makes sense. But I think everyone's journey is different and we're going to do, if we re because we really want to do this, we are doing everything we can in, in our current path, in life or current, where we are at the moment, and we're doing everything we can to feed that need to feed that desire.
I think for you and me, it is during those different workshops and it's working for us, we're getting work.
[00:20:44] David John Clark: So that'd be on your, on your journey. Uh, we've already talked. Um, what do you think your journey so far has been your best and worst moments if you've had some best and worst moments?
[00:21:00] Eva Grzelak: Yeah, I I've had, and it's probably another reason why I, I have taken it a step back from acting, cause it actually shook me up pretty badly. And I did talk about this incident to you, not that long ago. Uh, and it just came down to lack of respect from the actor that I was working with, uh, and a lack of communication, lack of understanding, uh, and a lack of professionalism.
And it shook me. I like, I, I actually still feel quite affected about it to the point where I, I, I am questioning not just my ability, but the ability of the people that I could work with in the future. So, if there's, if an audition notice comes up, I'm actually hesitant to. Uh, do I want to do this again?
Am I able to put myself in that environment again, not thinking that it's going to be that experience again, but that, that anxiety, that anticipation?
[00:22:10] David John Clark: And I remember you calling me and talking to me about that. And I know it's probably the first time I've seen you really upset. Um, actually it was probably the second time. I think the first time I saw you really upset was when you were trying to get in the moment before I died on This Town. And I remember, I remember you crying and I'm going, is she really crying? She really upset, but I knew you were getting into the moment. Um, but this time talking on the phone, I could hear that, you know, that you were really affected by this.
And it was hard because we were both. Thrown back though, situation that occurred between us trying to work out, are we misreading or did you misread it or is it, is it more than we think or is it less, and it's all really hard. I think we, I think are bought down to that. It was a bit of, um, maybe a bit of ego and a bit of that lack of communication that then started to snowball effectively on set.
Didn't it? Which is a shame because I mean, that can happen at any time in any place in acting. And, um, and it's probably be a big point to show that, um, it doesn't matter what your age is or what your experience is that at any time, something like this can happen and we're in an industry now that's changing so much for that sort of stuff, you know, um, with support for actors and actresses on the sets and, and having that, um, just getting away from that, uh, that casting couch sort of side of things.
So, and that's a whole story in itself, which is a good and bad thing that you have. Being able to have that ability now to say, hang on a sec, put your hands up and say, stop, stop filming. I'm having an issue. I've got a problem.
[00:23:53] Eva Grzelak: But at the same time, you don't want to be that person you don't want. And that was something I was very conscious of when I was trying to deal with the issue was, I don't want to be seen as that actor that's going to be difficult that is going to have an issue that is going to be sensitive, that is going to delay production. For the record. I didn't delay production at all. I still turn everything on a hundred percent job, but it's, it's, that's constantly in the back of my mind now, am I seen as that actor, even though I don't believe I've done anything wrong.
[00:24:24] David John Clark: And I had a big chat on Clubhouse, um, a couple of weeks ago, it was my first time actually put my hand up and, uh, and had a chat. And it was in relation to the, um, the, the death of the cinematographer in America with the shooting and. We got into the talking of having actors, having that ability to, (a) know what's right and what's wrong, but also being able to know what can I do or what should I do when I identify something that they have to stand up and say, I'm not comfortable.
So now whether that's with a firearm on set or, or in, um, you know, um, close quarters stuff, then they've got lovemaking scenes in that, to be able to say, I know what we're filming. I know we've agreed to it, but I'd like to stop right now because I don't know where we're going. I don't know what we're doing or I don't feel comfortable.
Yeah. And the actors need to have that ability to be able to step up and say, can I just stop for a minute? Yep. And unfortunately, on sets, it's all about money and time and stuff, and actors like you just said are worried about, I don't want to be that actor that I think they need to move past that because it's, um, what happens afterwards?
So, like you are still showing some visible signs that you know, you’re overcoming that experience and heaven forbid if you would, um, you go into each scene or into each audition thinking, do I really want to do this because of that? Yeah. So that's.
[00:25:47] Eva Grzelak: But on a lighter note, my happiest experience, I've had a lot of really good, I've had a lot of great experiences in that, I know one from studying, I took, I did save up to go to LA and do a group of workshops. . And I did some with a group of other Australians who went over for it and I, but I was there two weeks beforehand. So, I did some workshops on my own, which I love that independence. Uh, and that was an amazing experience because you're there in LA and you're doing a workshop alongside someone who had a rather large speaking role in, um, NCIS or somebody over here that had a speaking role in Breaking Bad. You know, these are people that are actually working in the industry. Um, I mean, yeah, I'm a bit full of myself. I did go in there thinking I was pretty good actor and I came out of it going, I'm a rubbish actor, but I know where I have to be. It was really as good as it is doing workshops and studying in Australia.
Adelaide Sydney, Melbourne, wherever, but actually being in LA where everybody's working and you're doing the workshops with them is I think we really need, I would recommend anyone to experience that just to go to another country, into their industry and study with them because it brings a whole other level. What you think you can do and what you can't do or whatever.
[00:27:13] David John Clark: Now, trying to just move on a little bit from the training, but a quick question. So, all the acting mythologies out there that they do learn at the drama schools, do you, have you read or do you follow any particular ones? You know, the Meisner, the Stella Adler's or Chubbuck? Or, Jeff Seymour.
[00:27:32] Eva Grzelak: Well, we're both Jeff Seymour fans, but I'm not a hundred percent and he'll probably never talk to me again, but I'm not a, I'm not a hundred percent Jeff Seymour I've So, I love how he opened up a completely different way of thinking for me, uh, as an actor.
[00:27:47] David John Clark: But you can never be a hundred percent anything!
[00:27:49] Eva Grzelak: That's it. And I think this is what's good with those. Uh, long-term like your Nida's . Your long-term acting is that you do get to delve more into your Meisner and, uh, and, and you know, the masters in that way. So, I, no, I never really resonated with many of them, particularly method acting. Uh, I struggle with that concept and I actually get scared when I hear that I'm working alongside someone who's a method actor. I don't know. I, I just, and I think that's the question I do have is I keep meaning to bring it up. With Jeff. The next workshop is how do you, how do you adjust your style of acting if you are working opposite someone whose way of thinking or their approach to acting is completely different.
Because I have been in that situation where someone's told me how I should deliver a line and how I, what I should do to help them get their best performance without any consideration for me. Like it was all about them, which is fine, if you're the lead. But in my book, when you go on set, everyone's the same level, because we're all trying to tell a story.
It's not about the lead. It's not about, you know, this and that and the other it's about that moment in time we're trying to create.
[00:29:18] David John Clark: Yeah. I suppose if, if the director's telling you to do something completely different, then you've got to find a way to do that. Uh, and I understand where if you're just a bit part or you've just walked on set and you've got the lead actor that it's all about them, but you know, so many times they'll deliver their lines and then go back to their, their, um, caravan and you're talking to the sound guy who's standing in their place because they just want to film you. So, you don't get that and they didn't need you in the first place. But, um, that's, that's really interesting. So, um,
Do you have anyone that inspires you to keep this journey going? So, you, you said you, you know, you have those moments where, you know, you want to get back into acting because you've, you've taken that side path and whatever. So, is there anyone or anything, or just inspires you to, to come back to it?
[00:30:09] Eva Grzelak: I think I don't, I don't think it's something that makes me want to come back to it. I think it's my own, ah we're getting deep here. It's my own sense of self-worth and whether or not I can do it is what stops me going further than I can. So, I've always wanted to do this. So, I always wanted this creativity and to pursue it, but I think essentially, it's me that stops me from doing more or pushing further. Well, you know what I mean?
[00:30:44] David John Clark: Is it those, those, those moments, those, I like to liken my acting journey to a graph and you have it, the ups and the downs, and you tend not to recognize the ups as much as you recognize the downs. And I'll go running to my wife when I've had a down and something's not working right. Or I feeling overcome by it all and go, why, why am I doing. Because we do spend a lot of time and we spend a lot of money trying to make it work. And especially when you're in a regional town, like Adelaide for myself, and you've spent a lot of time here, you get passed over so much from the Eastern state actors and you just go, am I going to make it, why am I spending all this money?
Why am I wasting my time? Am I wasting my time? Or am I not getting work? Because I suck. Yeah. That's my big, I say that all the time.
[00:31:33] Eva Grzelak: I get it. I completely relate. I understand. I don't, I mean, it'd be great if we could be doing this and paid to be doing this and not have to work and do anything else that's for sure. But as far as making it, I don't know if that's, I dunno, it'd be nice to make it. I think that would be the bonus, but if we can just get paid work, when I like to think that, you know, there’s people like, you know, our agents and Angela Heesom and the SA Film Corp and Mercury MX, and they are trying to, you know, get, not just get the work here in Adelaide, but help show, like they're helping us.
They're trying to help us by putting us forward and at the forefront more so that people aren't looking at Sydney and Melbourne first, that they, that they are eventually gonna be looking at Adelaide first.
[00:32:30] David John Clark: Definitely. I mean, and I know I've always said, oh, where do you want to take your acting career? Well, I don't want to be a Mel Gibson. Well, if I end up being like a Mel Gibson, that's fantastic, but I'm not aiming to be. I don't have any visions or, um, grandiose ideas that I'm going to be the Mel Gibson. I'm happy to just do the bit parts in that. And that's, that's the fun of it is being on set. Um, but you need to be able to, to get some and, uh, I think I've done quite well with my journey.
But I've yet to get that professional, paid role, you know, you always get the phone call up and say, oh, we need extras for, for this. And you know, it was background Mortal Kombat, but again, the Mortal Kombat, such a big movie, I never expected to, to get anything. But when you watch it, they've got all those little 20 worders.
You know, the guy that's at the shop as they're coming in, you know, that's what you want. You just need that first little role where you're, ah, there you are!
[00:33:24] Eva Grzelak: Yeah. So, I'm putting it out there for the universe man!
[00:33:29] David John Clark: Yes, I've just got to get through to retirement. When I get my nice superannuation's paying out and then I can come and join you over in New York.
So, we were supposed to be in New York in April, but this stupid COVID ruined all that! So, I'll be glad when I can listen to a podcast that no longer talks about COVID because it's, it's just changed so much for so many people. Alright, stage film, TV, or a combination. Do you, if you had a choice, what would you do all or one?
[00:34:02] Eva Grzelak: It's tough. Well, all of them, obviously, I mean, but there's nothing like it's so thrilling being on a film set at the scale of it, even if it's from a student production to, you know, a larger, um, a larger production where we've worked as extras, just that, I don't know, there's something intoxicating about it. And, and with all the commotion that's going on around you being able to get into the role and fill your time, but you've got the time to do it.
Television is great because I like the fast-paced nature of it. Particularly with your soap operas, the episodes episode or episode, it'll be not cool, but you know, because it's got to be done quick because there is the time to schedule and, you know, so I like that fast-paced environment. And then on stage.
That cycle, when you're on stage, where you have the audience there and you're giving to them, but, and they're giving to you. So, it's like this intake outtake thing, you're giving them something to react on. You're feeding off their reaction. And it's it's, I love that metaphysical. I love that that cycle, that, that occurs when you're on stage.
Um, I haven't done much theatre. I think I've only done two or three productions in theatre, but as a, as a singer, as a performer singer, it's, it's, it's a very similar scenario where there's an energy that you are giving off or that people are feeding off and, and returning the favour with their energy.
[00:35:34] David John Clark: Well, the audiences there, isn't it with film and TV or, you know, there's an audience watching, but not when you're making it.
[00:35:42] Eva Grzelak: But I don't feel, I don't miss it when you're doing film or TV. I don't miss not having an audience, if that makes sense, just because it's a different, it's a different, uh, medium.
[00:35:57] David John Clark: Yeah. And that's what I love the camera. Uh, especially when you're on set, um, you know, you do a scene and you get to run behind the camera on the playback. You just see it right there. And, and the depths of, you know, coming on screen, it's. That's what I enjoy and the end results. So beautiful. And, um, where are we now I'm trying to work out where we're going. I think we've almost answered most of my questions without actually me asking them, which is what I love. Um, going, looking at your career that you do do, um, with your sound and your audio. Can you work your acting around the career? Does when you're, when you're busy and that does it make, does the pressure make it hard to take up the acting jobs? If you look at me, I do my shift work and trying to make things work because you have to go to work next day or you can't get the leave. Do you find that difficult or challenging?
[00:36:53] Eva Grzelak: Ah, a hundred percent particularly because a lot of my work well originally, because a lot of my work was overseas, so we have attractions that run in the US, Mexico and Malaysia, uh, every now and then we might do something in Queensland, uh, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong. So, we've always got stuff going on and travels involved. Um, so it's definitely difficult about that. If I know I've got a job coming up where I'm going to be overseas for an extended period, then I just won't look at the audition boards and I'll let my agent know.
And although she'll be rather cross at me, she'll. Be aware of it. Uh, but if I do have something that I get asked to do or that I audition for, and then a job comes up, then I'll let the guys know. And then they're pretty cool about it. They'll either, you know, kind of massage things around me being in and out or cause I don't really have.
Uh, on my job, I do everything. I don't really have anybody. I can go, can you do this while I'm gone? I've got to be able to make ....
[00:37:57] David John Clark: If your gone, it's not being done. Yeah. I think that's a big difference between the younger actors and older actors is we've got established careers, which can either make it harder or make it easier, depending on the flexibility, you always hear the stories of the actors yeah. They're working, waiting, and, and that sort of stuff. So, they've essentially got to quit a job when they get an acting job, which is good because they know they've switched, but then they've got to come back cause you still have to pay the bills.
[00:38:23] Eva Grzelak: And that's where casual work comes in really well. I did, the brief time that I was back in Adelaide, got a job stacking shelves at Woolworths, which I have kind of a mixed feeling of pride and shame to admit it, but great bunch of people there. Great environment. And I could 100% say that that was a job that I could do and still uphold my acting ambitions. Now my creative ambitions in, in performing arts. So, I, and, and I think I had the, uh, advantages. I don't have kids, so I don't have a family that I'm responsible and take care of.
What is that? Something I know that has been, it's a huge part of your life. You know, you adore your kids, you have a marvellous wife and the fact that you've got their support, you know, to, to help you along in the journey as a late blooming actor.
[00:39:12] David John Clark: It is, it is a lot of helpful, a lot of help in that. And you did answer that sort of question is that, you know, I had a question here is, uh, how a family and friends consider your acting, do they support sort of things? So, I think you need that support because if you have any conflicts there then it can make it really difficult. I think my wife, my kids, uh, probably my biggest support because they're there all the time, knowing that I'm doing this sort of stuff, but it's at those moments when you want to drop it all, that they step forward and, um, and it's all comes down to when you know, oh, I think my acting sucks.
You don't want to listen to your family and friends, cause they're always going to tell you you're great.. Can you honestly tell him, please tell me if I do suck? I don't want to be that person on The Voice who clearly can't sing for shit. And they're actually surprised when the judge says you can't sing.
So obviously mom or dad or, or brothers or siblings or friends have said, oh, you're a great singer. You should go on the voice, you know, uh, as a big joke.
[00:40:09] Eva Grzelak: I think the fact that you're still getting work and you're still getting auditions, like that's Testament to your ability. So.
[00:40:16] David John Clark: Hmmm, and I think we're the same, we both been on enough short films, indie productions to then be able to watch them back and say, yeah, I'll watch that.
It's good. So, I think that's a good thing. I say, okay, here's a good one for us. oldies. Memorization of lines. Do you think it's easier or harder for us?
[00:40:35] Eva Grzelak: Well, for me, it's easy. And I think, uh, it's that, that comes from working as a musician in bands having to learn lyrics for songs. So, there was a melody to it, but then I found that very easy and I just kind of applied that with well, with scripts, with scripts as well. So, with a song, the song is about an emotion. It's about someone, how they're feeling. And so, you learn the story of the song and that dictates the lyrics. So, and I kind of applied the same thing with a script, so, okay. So, what's the emotion here, what are they feeling? What's the story that they're trying to tell and then, and yeah, I do memorize the lines and get the gist of it and all, I just, I don't know.
And that's kind of always been, not always been easy, but it's been relatively easy for them turning that on.
[00:41:30] David John Clark: Beautiful. All right. I know we're mindful of time. So.
[00:41:34] Eva Grzelak: Oh, I can talk to you for days Dave!!
[00:41:36] David John Clark: I no, it's terrible. We, um, just a quick question, bringing it back to the U S cause you were talking about being in the U S and going to the training classes and that, um, again, focusing on us oldies or late bloomers, do you think from what you've seen, would it be harder going to the states as an oldie with no, no really working history or a youngster going to the states with no working history? Or would you think it would be exactly the same thing?
[00:42:03] Eva Grzelak: I think it'll be exactly the same. And, uh, only, not only because, but, and one reason being there are roles for everybody, every size, every shape, every race, every colour we've really got to work and that diversity for sure, but there's, uh, there's always a call for older people. Uh, and I used to think, okay, well, I'm not going to get a role as an older person because they'll just get someone who has a name, who's worked in the industry since they were a kid. Who's now my age, they'll just get them in the role, but that's, there's so much content being made now.
And you will hear it, the same from casting directors in Australia as you do hear from casting directors in the U S is that, that they're, they're always looking for someone new. They're not necessarily looking for that big name. That's going to get them known. It's just, they want to find the right person for the role.
And I think as actors, maybe. You know, everybody wants to win the Oscar. So do casting directors, you know what they want to build their reputation, they want to do their job. They want to be known to be good at what they do by finding the right actors. And that's where we come in.. We've just got to expose ourselves which is another reason why I think it's good to go and study and do stuff and meet people in other countries and their film industries. Did that answer your question? I'm very good at going on tangents, sorry, David.
[00:43:33] David John Clark: No, I, and I think it's, it's a lot. I always hear that. Um, don't go to the states until you've got some professional credits here, which probably makes perfect sense.
[00:43:41] Eva Grzelak: Oh yeah, that makes sense. But I, I wouldn't, I wouldn't not go cause you can ...
[00:43:46] David John Clark: If you've got the opportunity to go and you can afford it?
[00:43:49] Eva Grzelak: If you can afford it. And you know, there's always, you're always going to meet people, especially if you're doing workshops, you're going to meet people who have experience and knowledge or who knows somebody. I'm not saying you're going to meet someone who's going to give you a role on their film, but it's just the same way that you would network here.
You can network over. Uh, and, but three things you should not go to the U S without, you should not go over with the proper visa or green card, and you should not go over without a world done accent. I'm sick to death. I've seen actors. It's embarrassing for me, seeing actors in Adelaide in particular, who say, ah, they've studied with this one, like dialect coach and say came or whatever, and say they have, you know, an intermediate accent and I've seen their work using that accent and it's appalling and it's no, you have to be working on it every day.
You've got to be solid because even though you might go down to the fish and chip shop with your accent and they'll think you from America, but you go to America with that accent, na, you'll get called out.
[00:44:52] David John Clark: That's where I get worried because I'm tone deaf and I just can't get the accent. And I'm going, my plan is to have a one-on-one with a good instructor and just do 10 weeks, 20 weeks, however long every instructor I've spoken to said that they've never met someone they couldn't teach. As in teach to 100% to walk in America. So, it is something you can do, but you need to know that it has to be a hundred percent. And I hear that all the time from, um, from TAFTA and the casting directors in that said, don't go into an audition saying you can do an American accent. If it's 75%, it needs to be at 95 to 100%.
So that makes perfect sense. You did lead up. This is my last question. Before we get into the fast round and I'll let you get on with your, um, wonderful dinner.
[00:45:36] Eva Grzelak: Thank you.
[00:45:38] David John Clark: Can I, I was going to say, can I join you? No, I can't, you're in New York and I'm in Adelaide. Um, you, you mentioned the words before, are you making it it's very cliche when it comes to acting, I think, but when I've written the word cliche down, are you making it as an actor or what would you consider a successful target to be. In, in your journey, where would you like to see you be and say, I'm happy.
[00:46:04] Eva Grzelak: Yeah, I am doing it as an actor. So, uh, um, as far as making it, well, I'm not getting the big paid jobs yet. And I think, like I mentioned before, that is the ultimate goal for me is to be able to make a living doing like, performing that that would be it for me, I don't, you know, it would be great to be well known and, and called up to, you know, can you come and work on this set and work this set? You know, you have that cloud. That would be great, but I would, I still want to be that person that works for it. Can I, I want to get used to auditioning. I want to get used to working on sets or onstage, or I just want to be doing it all the time and to be paid for it is a bonus. So, I just want to do it.
[00:47:01] David John Clark: Yeah. And I think the biggest thing I've always read is that if you're going into it to be famous, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Uh, and the moment you're not enjoying it, you need to stop it. So, um, yes, you need to feed yourself. You need to pay the bills. So, if you can be doing that either with your secondary job that works with your acting, then I think you're making it.
So, in my case, I go, well, I reckon I'm making at the moment because I'm making it work for where I'm at in my career, so to speak. And, um, I'm fortunate that when I do retire, I'll be able to do whatever comes up because I don't need to, I won't need to rely on the acting to pay bills so I can do whatever.
And that will mean that if I'm working, um, whether it's student films or NCIS, then I'm making it. So that's cool.
[00:47:47] Eva Grzelak: Very good. And don't let anyone tell you different either. I I've had a couple of situations where I know what do you do? Um, uh, I'm an actor. Have I seen you any in anything? Well, probably not. So, you only do it as a hobby, so I do it because I love it. Okay. You do hobbies cause you love it, but don't let anybody, you know, downplay.
[00:48:11] David John Clark: A few podcasts say exactly that they talk about, what do you say when someone says, oh, so have I seen you in anything? So, it's really hard. So, you just said, well, no, I do a lot of, um, uh, uh, independent production films and student films and I'm really enjoying the journey. Let them have that. So, all right. We're going to wind up with a, the fast round now.
[00:48:33] Eva Grzelak: Argh! I'm not good at this!
[00:48:36] David John Clark: They're never the fast round. I've heard some say a one-word answers or one sentence answers, answers.
[00:48:42] Eva Grzelak: For me. You'll get a monologue.
[00:48:45] David John Clark: That's cool. Well, it's all about the information. It's all that information. Alrighty. Yeah. Um, I don't know if you see it saw this one. I sent it in the last email to give you a heads up. So, if you didn't see it, you're going to have to think real quick. What is your t-shirt quote?
[00:48:59] Eva Grzelak: It's all about me!
[00:49:04] David John Clark: In black bold writing capital letters. Right?
[00:49:07] Eva Grzelak: Red actually!
[00:49:09] David John Clark: It's all about me! I love it. What one person dead or alive would you like to have dinner with? Now that question has never been asked before, this is brand new.
[00:49:20] Eva Grzelak: It's just too many people. My father.
[00:49:24] David John Clark: Beautiful. What would you tell yourself if you could go back to when you first decided to get into acting?
[00:49:37] Eva Grzelak: Just do it.
[00:49:39] David John Clark: Don't do it!
[00:49:41] Eva Grzelak: No, just do it. Enjoy the ride. There we go! Don't take yourself so seriously?
[00:49:49] David John Clark: All right. And finally, and you don't have to answer it, but it's my, uh, who would you like to see on the podcast? Do you know any other fellow, late bloomer actors out there, um, or do you know someone that could provide some guidance for us that you would like to hear their insights for late bloomer actors?
[00:50:06] Eva Grzelak: Well, I hope you're getting Jeff on the show.
[00:50:10] David John Clark: He's already said he would!
[00:50:11] Eva Grzelak: Fantastic. I'm glad I'm looking forward to ....
[00:50:14] David John Clark: When he's finished his play.
[00:50:15] Eva Grzelak: Oh, oh, we got to catch up on Jeff. Cause I haven't spoken to him in a few months.
[00:50:20] David John Clark: So, you know where he is at the moment, don't you?
[00:50:23] Eva Grzelak: No!
[00:50:25] David John Clark: He's in New York doing a play. I can't remember the theatre. He's in rehearsals at the moment. Um, and I'm not sure the tickets are on sale already, so must be coming up in the new year.
[00:50:42] Eva Grzelak: Holy shit!
[00:50:43] David John Clark: Kellie and I was, I said to joke, we should just jump on a plane now the borders are semi-open and just go. Cause A, we wanted to go New York anyway, and B to see Jeff onstage.
So. On stage, he's put it on. Um, Facebook, have a look. Um, it looks like a really, really good show. He was asked personally by the director to, to play the part. So he's, um, rented out his apartment back in LA and he's over in New York doing this. So, I think he's very happy cause you know how much he loves his stage.
Yeah, man, there you go. And yes, I'll be getting Jeff on board because I consider him my mentor and my coach. I know he doesn't like his actors to say that.
[00:51:23] Eva Grzelak: I could, I could put you in touch with, uh, Rob Brownstein as well. Here's another, uh, actor that I've worked with in, in, in LA. Um, but he's been acting all his life, but he's one that is definitely doing where I aspire to be. It's got those smaller roles and things. He was in Impeachment recently. He was in ahhh, he was in, um, Straight Outta Compton. He's just had parts like that in different things. So, he'd be, he'd be another good one, but also, um, on another level Mell Dayley, uh, she sold her a few years ago. She produced and wrote, Ink. Which was a short web series that I was in and she sold her investment business to start her own production company.
And so, I think she would be a good one from that, from that side of things. Um, and as an actor, I mean, I I'm in love with Kate Bonnie. I think she's amazing. So, I think she'd be another great person.
[00:52:20] David John Clark: Yes, definitely I have Kate in mind. And she's done really well at the SASA awards.
[00:52:24] Eva Grzelak: She did great, winning best, best screenplay, so well deserved.
[00:52:30] David John Clark: That movie with Natasha Wanganeen that was good.
[00:52:34] Eva Grzelak: David!
[00:52:35] David John Clark: How was that? Hey! I didn't think I'd get past 20 minutes. I thought I'd have my moments where I just go. I've got nothing to say, but we're at 53 minutes. Right, man. Perfect. Perfect length for a podcast. Uh, thank you very much for being my first guest.
[00:52:50] Eva Grzelak: Thank you so much, it's just such an honour. Really? Is an honour man and I think it's marvellous what you're doing? I think it's sensational. You're very brave and very talented, man. I think it's going to go far.
[00:53:03] David John Clark: I try to do. It's like my, um, Adelaide actors and extras Facebook page. I just, I like to give as much as I receive. So, people give me something that I want to hand it back as well. So, and I've got that ability to do it as well.
[00:53:16] Eva Grzelak: So, I think that's wonderful, wonderful what you do in our community and how you bring us all together.
[00:53:22] David John Clark: And thank you for coming together on the podcast tonight. I'm going to sign off. Thank you very much for such a wonderful session.