Featured Artist Series: Jules Bruff

JulesBruffAfter a relationship implodes a woman is forced to deal with her own illness.  She chooses to do this by making a documentary about real people suffering with depression. The film, Part Time Fabulous, is essentially a documentary within a film, wherein real people suffering with depression, not actors, were used in the documentary portion of the film.

Jules Bruff is an American actress whose performance in her film Part Time Fabulous won her the award for Best Actress at the prestigious Monaco Film Festival. The film was co-written and co-produced by Jules and her Writing Partner, Alethea Root and tells the story of a woman who doesn’t know she has depression.

As with most entertainment careers, Jules’ career path to success has not been easy and along the way she had to learn the critical skill of persistence.  When she first decided to pursue acting she moved to Los Angeles and immediately started auditioning for plays. After being cast in one she was then able to sign with a Commercial Talent Agency thanks to a referral from a friend. That agency relationship resulted in several commercials.

However, Jules’ dream was to work in TV/Film and she was having a very hard time getting auditions let alone booking work until she auditioned for David Fincher’s film, Zodiac. As is often the case, after her audition she heard nothing for a while but then got a callback and was finally cast in the film.  “It was a wonderful experience,” Jules recalls.

She was certain she was set for life now that she had been part of a successful film but again Hollywood had lessons in store for her.  She started having an extremely difficult time with her Film/TV Representation. She felt that they didn’t care for her or work for her and that left her feeling helpless because she was locked into a long contract with them. Jules’ advice to young actors: “Don’t sign a contract for longer than a year.” Eventually, Jules was able to leave that representation and was able to continue doing commercials but it would be a while before she got another film role.

It may seem obvious in hindsight but every actor, including Jules, is best served by reaching the understanding that in the entertainment industry, no one will ever care about your career more than yourself. Instead of letting that defeat her, she began producing her own work, beginning with a web series that was in her own opinion “just okay” but it was a positive step in creating her own opportunities.  She next began producing short films, and then co-wrote/co-produced Part Time Fabulous.

“If I hadn’t made this movie, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now.” Jules believes that the film has completely changed her life for the better. People no longer see her as just a commercial actress but as a “real actress!” The key, according to Jules, was persistence and surrounding herself with great people, like her Writing Partner who Jules calls “the smartest and most incredible person ever.”

Making Part Time Fabulous was only the first step.  Once the film was finished Jules still needed to employ all of her networking skills, despite being an introvert. Luckily, a chance meeting at a party turned out to be the Artistic Director of the Monaco Film Festival. When Jules described her film to him, even though the deadline for submissions had passed, he let her submit.  To date, the film has now won a number of awards at other festivals as well, including an Audience Award for Best Feature and a Best Director prize.

Two pieces of advice in particular from industry veterans have stayed with her through the years.  The first, “Acting is like going to the grocery store, you need to wait your turn in line”, means that you must persevere, because it will happen for you at some point. One day it will be your turn. The second piece of advice: “Don’t wake up in ten years next to a swimming pool.”  Don’t treat your time in LA as an extended vacation or a holiday.  You must be here to work and work hard! This advice has helped her push hard, working on her body, her mind, staying positive while networking, and maintaining her focus with zero distractions.

How does Jules maintain a belief in herself despite Hollywood’s ups and downs? She recalls having lunch with an elderly Producer when she first got to LA. He simply asked her, “Do you believe in yourself?”

“Yeah?” She had answered, unsure at the time.

“Good, because no one is gonna believe in you until one person does and then everybody else does.”

Jules took that to heart.  It helped her maintain her persistence but she still had to learn to take good care of herself by not partying too hard or frequently: those things waste valuable time and energy. She also learned to know when it was time to take a break. Luckily for her, not only are her parents supportive of her career choice, they also live in the bay area; not too far from LA.  She could always escape there for a weekend to recharge.

One more thing Jules has always strived to do over the years, no matter how broke she she might get, is to have the ability to travel.  Even a short trip can recharge you.  Thankfully, LA provides many such getaways, like camping, beaches, etc. Jules believes that to keep your positivity alive in the face of the rejection you are bound to get in this industry, you need to escape for a bit sometimes, even if it’s just to spend the entire day – cell phone free – on a beach. Find your center and recharge. When you return to the rollercoaster, that is this industry, you’ll have the energy to keep striving, the strength to work hard, and the mindset to face it all with positivity.   Get back in line.  Your turn will come.

You can see Part Time Fabulous currently streaming on Amazon.

 

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Sisan McNeil Sisan McNeil is a writer of both screenplays and prose fiction. She is originally from Nigeria but currently resides in Los Angeles, California. She has a Masters in Screenwriting and is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature. She is a published author and has both written and directed four short films. For more information about her, visit her website: http://beautifulgalaxies.wixsite.com/mysite

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