Episode 6: Scott Alda Coffey on building a creative life.
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- Anything to slow down his heart rate is a great warmup. Altogether, he chose breathing. Breathing is often the first thing people forget to do in almost everything that takes concentration, from working in the arts as a musician, or an actor all the way to athletics. Breath is the center of everything we do so why not use it to your benefit?
- Scott is currently an actor working in the film and television space out in Los Angeles. He grew up in Boston and would visit his grandparents in New York. East Coast boy moved to Los Angeles
- Scott has always been interested in acting since he was a young child. He says he has had wanted to act since he could remember all the way back to 3 years old. He started doing a lot of activities and acting games learning and starting to hone his craft. Then Scott went on to do his first full show when he was a few years older. He did Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! Great show! Melody and I grew up watching this show along with many other musicals and we would watch it on repeat. I highly recommend either getting a copy of this, or finding a copy to watch online!
- After this experience he went on to perform in Once upon a Mattress where he started to work with people that had more of a passion for the arts and performing. As he started considering going to a school for the performing arts program, he saw a performance of Pippin that made his decision for him. This ultimately lead him to his four year career at Carnegie Mellon and on to Los Angeles acting and performing.
- It is good to try living in a place before committing because of the huge difference in community and the types of work available.
- Transitioning from theatre to film requires some adjustments to performance. Being real and human in a different way that is more understated and not performing for a large auditorium. When a camera is up in your face and catching every eye twitch you can’t do that.
- Film and television can be tough when thinking about the time it takes to get into a performance. The pace of learning the material and then creating the moment is a lot faster pace than in theatre that allows much more flexibility in developing the performance and character.
- “I feel like in theatre you can get away with a lot… you can mess up and you can get it tomorrow… whereas in film and tv you don’t have room to fake it… the camera is right there.”
- “Sometimes being yourself is so much more difficult… you are putting yourself on display for millions of people to see.”
- “Always try to win the room”
- “There is so much more to think about than just the performance.”
What is the hardest thing about pursuing the arts?
Rejection. You can be the best actor in the world. There is so much that is out of your control because it can feel really personal to you. There are a lot of no’s and that can be tough on any artist in any art form. Makes the wins so much better though.
Scott learns from each “No” and tries to grow from the experience. He tries to “Win the room.” He can also learn from the bad experiences and think about how he can improve and come back and do better the next time.
Who have you learned the most from?
His Grandfather is the person Scott has learned the most from.
He has learned the truth and the reality of the business. It takes time to make it in this career and this is not something that glamorized image that many stories project. You really have to love it to do it due to all of the sacrifice and the work that is involved.
“Overnight sensations are not actually overnight…”
What Resource have you learned the most from?
Scott tries to keep up on as much as possible for a number of useful reasons. If he gets an audition for a show then he can either know about it or know about other shows that are similar or have enough research to be properly prepared. It’s even good to have talking points.
There is a lot of preparation that is involved in the work that is done as an artist. There is so much more to think about than just the performance.
Favorite piece of art or inspiration?
1917 the film
He had gotten really into war movies as research for The Outpost and 1917 is just so incredible.
Do you have any role models? Any Quotes?
“Go where you are going to be the happiest unemployed”
This is what brought Scott the LA.
What keeps you up at night?
Literal Answer: His Cat
Real Answer: The fear of not succeeding. Failure as a whole is universal fear. There is no job security in this industry. Unfortunately, finding the next job is a real challenge in this field, but even with that Scott can’t imagine doing anything else.
It is important not to compare careers to other people. Scott knows that his vision is just to work consistently as an actor and to always be doing it.
Do you have advice for a person that doesn’t pursue the arts full time, or is just starting out?
Just create! Whether that is filming something on camera without worry of judgement or just putting pen to paper and being creative. Getting started is the hard bit, but it is important to take that first step to try and make something that is yours.