Students partake in professional film acting

While some of NPHS’s performers express themselves on the PAC stage, some prefer to let the cameras roll and take on a part in commercials, movies and films.

Mikey Moss, senior, has participated in film acting since he was a freshman. Moss has had a few larger roles, though he primarily does background work.

“The exception to that would be when I worked on a movie called Fat Camp, and that was nearer to a principle role, and I was called back for that,” Moss said. “I probably would have ended up being a three-day shoot, with lines and all that, but I don’t know it got pretty fudged. By the time I got called back, I had finals to take care of, it was pretty frustrating.”

Moss has also been on the shows NCIS and Henry Danger as a background actor. “I’ll be the guy dancing like a maniac in the background in some ‘middle school’ dance. Most of the people there are really 23,” Moss said.

John Lazo, senior, has been involved in film for 15 years, and has worked on several commercials, including ones for AT&T and Porsche.

“Commercials are a little more simple and straightforward,” said Lazo. “so those are kind of nice because you don’t have to put as much thought into it. It’s also fun at times to get into character and floor it and do different things.”

Francis Gress III has acted in film, as well as scripted and directed his own films. His first experience in film was as an infant, when he was in a movie with his mother.

“My dad is a film actor and he’s been in hundreds of movies,” said Gress. “So I’ve been around that my whole life. I’ve done I guess four films. I did that movie when I was a baby and I’ve been in a couple of commercials when I was younger.”

While all three seniors perform in film acting, Moss and Gress also take part in acting on the stage for the NPHS theater department, and note the difference between the two styles.

“The main difference, and the reason I like film acting so much, is it’s a lot more intimate, and you get to see a lot deeper into the characters, simply because you are closer to their faces when you’re watching a film, or anything on tv,” Gress said. “But I think that acting for the stage can just be a whole lot of fun.”

“When it comes down to stage acting, you need a lot more expression in your body than you do up close, because you don’t have a camera in your face recording every little detail that you’ve got on you when you’re on stage,” Moss said.

In general, Moss and Gress prefer film acting to stage acting.

“Film is pretty compelling to me because I get paid to do that one, and it is more personal it feels like,” Moss said. “Stage acting, it’s a very close second, don’t get me wrong, but doing stuff live, for as much as I like it and I appreciate that I’m doing well without having to take another take, film acting is just really cool to go to a different place.”

“They are both things I want to do, but overall I guess I would say I prefer film acting, because it’s what I want to continue doing,” said Gress.

Looking forward into college, these students plan on continuing to pursue acting with varying degrees of interest.

For Lazo, his continuance in film will depend on the college he attends.

“Depending on where I go to college, I’ll probably make that decision at the time if I want to continue with it or not,” Lazo said. “I also do voice over acting, so I can do that, and I don’t necessarily have to go down and do an audition to do that. So I’ll probably continue with that, but if I go to a college near LA, that’s where some of the places are centered, so then I guess I’ll probably stick with it.”

Gress is also planning on pursuing an education in film.

“I’m applying to a lot of film schools to see if that’s possibly a step I want to take, but it’s definitely what I want to do with my life, and it always has been,” Gress said. “It took me a while to realize that but its most certainly what I want to do.”

Despite future goals, professionally acting can be time consuming. Lazo notes, “If it’s for just a normal commercial, you spend probably at least an hour driving down there and you got to miss some school usually, and then you’ve got to make up what you missed, and then you wait there for 30 minutes at the audition office and you go into the audition and it’s no more than five minutes, usually.”

Moss and Lazo have been able to travel to new locations for filming.

“I think my favorite location was Golden Oak Ranch, I think it was owned by Disney,” Moss said. “I was doing a Hulu commercial. This place was massive. It was a ranch that had an entire mock up of a suburban street just on it somewhere, not that we filmed there, we thought that was super cool. But we drove right past that, and just ended up going to a cabin in the woods location, that wasn’t a legitimate cabin in any sort of legitimate woods, just a place on this super cool huge ranch that had a whole swath of different sets on it.”

“I did an AT&T commercial and they flew us out to Hawaii, and that was really cool.” Lazo said. “We got first class, you get treated really well, it’s a lot of fun, you can eat all the food you want.”

Gress believes that pursuing what you want to do in your life is worth it.

“If there’s something you know that you love, don’t suppress that,” Gress said. “If there is something you know you want to do, and it’s something that makes you happy, then you should embrace it no matter what people say, whether or not your friends will do it with you. If it’s something you love you need to do it.”

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