Featured Artist Series: Marcela Herrera – Work Hard and Success Will Come

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 2.56.57 PMAfter a deeply inspiring talk with Marcela Herrera, here is the nugget of wisdom that has stayed most strongly with me: success truly does come to those who work hard and persevere.

Marcela Herrera is originally from Chicago, born and raised, but she currently lives in Miami with her husband and two children.

She first got into acting between the ages of 9 and 10. Her family had been going through some difficulty at the time; their house had burned down and they were living in a hotel. Her mother, who had always been interested in the arts, one day came across a Casting Call for ‘Return to Oz’ and suggested taking her to the audition.

“But if we go,” her mother stressed, “we go only because you really want to do this, don’t do it for me.” Marcela had promised. They had gone to the Casting Call with the intention of auditioning for a minor role, but somehow they got their cues mixed up and she ended up auditioning for the lead. And she nearly got it. She was one out of nine people selected to be flown out to LA for a callback. It was a wonderful experience, she recalled. After this, her interest in acting was piqued.

She studied Musical Theatre at college. After college she worked several jobs, while still auditioning for parts but kept on hearing, “you’re good but you’re not exactly what we’re looking for.” After a long while of hearing that, she decided that it wasn’t working out for her at that moment. She chose to take a long break from the Industry. In that time she got married, had kids, but always had the intention of returning to the industry. And when the time was right she re-emerged, a better actor than ever.

Taking a long break from the Industry, for her, was the best thing she could have done, because she’d matured a lot and so was prepared to face the Industry challenges once more. With newfound insight, and wisdom she was able appreciate all the changes that had taken place since she left, like the introduction of new technology – almost everything being done online, etc.

Marcela has been using Cast It Talent for a while, on and off. To help her return to the industry, she recently re-launched her account and immediately saw the project “Choice Bail Bonds,” and applied for it.

“Choice Bail Bonds” is a story about redemption in a world of bail bonds and bounty hunters. At its heart, it is about a network of people who help as they can, those in need, to break the cycle of poverty and going to jail. The show seeks to give hope, inspire, and allow people to exercise their empathy and compassion, only as entertainment can.

“The coolest thing,” Marcela said, is that she completely missed the fact that the project was listed for non-Union, only. She was so enwrapped in the project idea and the fact that the character description fit her perfectly; that she went ahead and applied for it. They quickly got back to her; she was exactly what they were looking for.  At this point she realized that she needed to confirm that the project was union.  “When they offered to have me submit a scene I made sure I clarified and that’s when they told me they were signing a contract under New Media.”

Everything could proceed above board.  “I am union and the project is union.”

About the division between Union and non-Union projects, Marcela states that she has noticed in all her years of auditioning, that there are two types of Casting; the ones that are really specific with exactly what they are looking for, and the ones that aren’t sure exactly, or don’t know exactly what they are looking for, specifically. She says as an actor auditioning, for the most part, you just cannot know which of the two is taking place in the minds of the Producers as you audition, so whether you are part of the Union or not, just go for it. Where is the harm? You just can never know.

Marcela advises young actors trying to break into the industry, “Go for what interests you, what you want to be a part of.” She elaborates that at first, you have to label yourself because the industry does type-cast people, but despite that label, take the thing that makes you different and use it to stand out. With time your uniqueness will be recognized and rewarded.

“No one is going to work harder for you than yourself,” Marcela says. “Work for yourself as a business. You can’t and shouldn’t solely rely on your Agent.  Just keep putting yourself out there; and submit, submit, submit!”

Marcela exemplifies the hard work she speaks about in her current project; the TV Pilot, “Choice Bail Bonds.” It is being shot by an Independent Company on a very limited budget, which does not include her transportation to Dallas (where it is being shot), or her accommodation while she’s there for the period of the shoot. Marcela lives in Miami, 18 hours away from Dallas.  Instead of complaining or being upset by the inconvenience, she is hosting a garage sale next weekend to raise money for the trip, because she plans to drive herself, back and forth between Dallas and Miami, all through the shooting of the pilot.

Marcela states that she is very supportive of the company and all that they stand for; she can see that they have put their all into this project that they all so desperately believe in. And to her, being a part of something this integral, something that you love and admire so much, is much more important than doing a big project for just what you can gain from it.

“Give yourself the ability to expand.” She suggests being in a place of relaxed control, cause the Industry turns up its nose at desperate people. “No matter how desperate you are for a role, they don’t need to know that because they don’t really care. Behave like you’re there on your own terms and be flexible.”

Marcela wishes there wasn’t such a divide between Union and non-union projects because the main difference between the two is just the paperwork involved with Union projects. But though it is understandable, independent companies especially, must realize how much work the people in a Union put to be part of the Union. She hates that though she has a good number of Industry connections in Miami, yet she can’t be a part of them because she is a member of the Union.

Finally, Marcela definitely recommends Cast It Talent as a way to keep putting yourself out there. “Keep working hard at putting yourself out there and success will come.” Despite landing this role, Marcela still submits for new roles every single day, through Cast It Talent and other sites like it. Though she has had a lot of close calls, she has no intention of slowing down or ever giving up. She is going to keep putting herself out there until it finally pays off again.

Editors Note: Many projects are non-union not for economic reasons but out of a lack of awareness about what is involved and what the benefits are of making a project under a Union contract.  Today it is up to the Union actor in many cases to take that information to the producers of new media, student films, short films, independent films, etc. and ask them to film their project under a Union contract so that they can have access to the best actors in the business and so that actors can work on more projects.  It’s a win – win for all involved.

 

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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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