Many aspiring actors grow up dreaming of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. From Sunset Strip to the Santa Monica Pier and the Griffith Observatory, the landmarks of Los Angeles are immortalised in our minds by the movies, mapping out a land full of adventure and possibility.
But dreams can come true, and for University of Worcester graduate Laura Kane, Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach are no longer the names of exotic locations thousands of miles away, but rather a new home where she is building a successful career as an actor.
Laura studied Drama and Performance at the University of Worcester, graduating in 2011. Initially she returned home to Oulu in Finland to spend time with her family and build her theatre experience, but after two years, she decided to take the plunge and apply for a Master of Fine Arts: Acting for Film program in Los Angeles.
A born performer, Laura has always had a passion for the theatrical arts: “I started ballet when I was 4,” she explains, “and at that age I was always putting on plays with my friends for my parents in our study room at home!”
“I was in my early teens when I decided that I wanted to be an actress,” Laura adds. “I was in school and we were doing some drama exercises, and I just thought ‘this is it, I want to become an actress!’ It just felt so natural and was so much fun.”
So how does Laura find life in LA, is it a La La Land fairy tale?: “It’s not a fairy tale, it’s real life, just doing what you love,” she said. “Most movies make Los Angeles out to be very glamorous, but whilst there certainly is glamour to be found, mostly it’s not like that.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I like living in LA and I have good friends here, but it’s real life, not a dream world. After a 12 hour day I can be driving home from a film set and that can take 2 hours in itself because of the traffic. It’s the end of a long day, you’re tired, and the car isn’t moving an inch, but you are still smiling because you are doing what you love.”
Laura certainly feels that her time studying Drama at Worcester has helped to prepare her for this adventure: “I have so many fond memories of my time at Worcester,” she says. “I used to love rehearsing in the Drama Studio, the lecturers were excellent, and the work we did on techniques and approaches to acting really opened up fresh new perspectives for me.”
“Socially I had a great group of friends too. We enjoyed movie nights together and playing football down on the race course, and of course there is Worcester itself – it’s a beautiful City.”
So what are Laura’s plans for the future?: “I am enjoying my life here. Just recently I finished filming a short film called It’s Who You Know, directed by Ricky Rosario and starring the 92-year-old Cloris Leachman. The set was great and it was incredible to see Cloris act; she has won a bunch of awards including an Oscar and several Emmy Awards. I was also playing a 17-year-old teenager in the short called Don’t Go! rather recently and I find it funny as I am a bit older than that!”
“In the near future I have some short and feature films lined up that I have discussed with different production companies. There's also been discussions about a feature film called WTF?! that we are planning to shoot within the next couple of years.”
Having made it to LA, and with the roles beginning to flow, what advice would Laura give to someone considering studying Drama and Performance at Worcester?: “I would say to study hard and learn as much as you can in school - you’ll be more prepared for the work you go after once you have graduated. Once you get that job, remember to stay open for more learning, as it never stops if you want to become a skilful actor. Be curious and most importantly no matter what your dream is be brave and go after it.”
“If you keep your head straight, work hard and have a little bit of luck, you’ll get to do what you love for a living, and that to me is success.”