Featured Artist Series: Ilai Swindells

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 9.18.33 AMIn a world that technology seems to render ever smaller, with ever-multiplying opportunities, it can be hard for an artist to find focus and clarity. Actors at all stages of their careers can struggle trying to find the “right” path, their career niche. Too often, that search paralyzes rather than motivates. In the interest of loosening the stranglehold of indecision, I am happy to present our latest showcase winner, Ilai Swindells, as Cast It Talent’s newest featured artist.
With a refreshing “throw it all at the wall and see what sticks” attitude, Ilai defies boundaries and deterrents. His story begins in a familiar vein. Having grown up in Central Queensland, he moved around several times before settling (for the moment), in Brisbane, Australia, where he works for the La Boite Theatre Company. He attended the Performing Arts Conservatory there and completed an Advanced Diploma of Acting for Stage and screen, which he says laid the groundwork for his career in acting.

A guest role on Fox8’s drama, SLiDE marked Ilai’s commercial breakout. “I had a huge curiosity for people I didn’t know yet and places I’d never been, wanting to experience things I’d never done before,” he says. “But from as young as I could remember, 6 years of age I knew I always wanted to do this and the first faces I saw on screen who inspired me were always the actors who killed both comedy and drama like Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Jim Carey and Eddie Murphy.” These days Ilai continues his training with private coaches Annie Swan and Les Chantery in Sydney.

Quick to build on his early momentum, he soon booked a part on ABC’s landmark television series, Redfern Now. Not content to merely book, Ilai focused on writing and creating his own content, as well. He was cast as part of the main ensemble in Open Slather, a sketch comedy series on the Comedy Channel, and he says it fueled his creative fire. “Being on a show like Open Slather…really revealed how crucial it is to always write and create your own work and characters. It’s important for your own growth, I’m always writing scenes and short stories and even if I never do anything with that it doesn’t mean it does not have value because it keeps that part of your mind active and constantly developing for yourself…”

His driven attitude clearly paid off. Ilai first discovered Cast It Talent when submitting for A Place Beyond the Pines in 2012. He recently went on to become a showcase winner. Of the experience, Ilai says, “the showcase seems to be a really positive thing and I’m thankful and eager to see what happens with the news and the Cast It Team. The feedback from the Judges thus far has been really insightful and pretty freakin honest, ha!”

Up next, Ilai is excited to keep his docket diverse, looking forward to Wind in the Willows Queensland tour for La Boite, as well as working toward producing a short film by the end of the year. To other artists looking for inspiration, Ilai recommends the all-in approach to taking control of one’s career: “…don’t talk about [it], just do it and make it, even if it’s rubbish who cares…t’s about your personal development and if you don’t want, it doesn’t ever have to see the light of day.”

The longer you stay in this business, the more people will try to force your hand. Are you a film actor or a theatre actor? A producer or a writer? Will you commit to growing your artistic community or strike out to conquer new frontiers. As Ilai’s story shows, it’s not a black and white matter. We none of us are just one thing. Embrace your multi-faceted self, and throw yourself whole-heartedly into an adventurous artistic career. You’re the only one who gets to decide what’s “right.”


We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and we would definitely appreciate a visit to the Cast It Talent website. Stop in and tell us what you think!  Start building your online brand with Cast It Talent as the centerpiece.  #RightActorRightJob

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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