Caroline DeGraeve is an actress who appears in Josh Mitchell’s new film Hard Visit.
Q: What made you interested in working in film?
A: Last summer I was cast as the lead role of Beth Clark, for a western indie film called Cataract Gold.
I had no prior experience as an actor but the director, Paul Kiener, insisted I was natural. Upon my first day of filming, I felt I was meant to be in film. I was simultaneously at ease and excited. I knew I wanted to work in film immediately.
Q: What is Hard Visit about?
A: Hard Visit is about a struggling actor, Ben, who goes to his bookie brother, Smoothy, for help. Ben gets thrown into the shady world of gambling, deception and hidden agendas. When a conniving woman gets between the two brothers, the stakes run higher than ever.
Q: What role do you play in the film?
A: I play Piper Kissinger, a woman after Smoothy’s attentions in
the hot tub.
Q: How did you prepare for the role?
A: I put myself in the shoes of someone who seduces a man for personal gain.
Q: What is your strangest audition story?
A: When I was approached for the lead in Cataract Gold, I wasn’t even aware of auditions taking place. I was at a Starbuck’s waiting for my drink. I had just finished a hike in 100 degree weather. I must’ve looked a fright! I remember being frustrated that my phone wasn’t connecting to Wi-Fi fast enough and was probably scowling. In my periphery, I noticed someone staring at me and I was not in the mood for shenanigans, so I looked up, gave my best glare, and continued being preoccupied with my phone. The man staring turned out to be Paul Kiener, who proceeded to tell me he was casting for his western and that he loved my look. I wasn’t swayed to participate because I had no clue who he was and it just seemed odd to approach a stranger in line for coffee to audition for a lead role in a feature film. I did, however, take his card. After a few hours of searching online for any telltale signs of smut films under his name or any other shady work, and not finding anything, I gave him a call. I met him an hour later and read a few pages of the script for him. Next, he asked if I could ride a horse without falling off. I answered “yes”. Next thing I knew, I was in a movie. It was all very surreal, but I loved every moment of the experience and I knew I wanted more.
Q: How does your work as a bartender influence your pursuit of acting?
A: I act every day of my life. Bartending or serving is like putting on a show. You greet the guests differently based on what you read about their expression or behavior. In the hospitality industry, it’s important to learn how to talk to all sorts of people. You can’t be afraid to engage in conversation or draw their attention in some way. As a bartender, the bar is your ship, so to speak, and you are the captain. You have to read your crew, anticipate their needs, and know if someone is getting unruly or causing disharmony. Moreover, you should know how to approach each situation based on how you read each individual, or if any personal dynamics amongst your guests exist. If your assessment of any given scenario is correct, you will be able to slide right into any character you need to get the result you want. My personal thoughts or feelings are on the backburner while I work. It’s all an act.
Q: Have you ever been offered a gig while you were tending bar?
A: Nothing of consequence ever came of several conversations. It’s a common occurrence for people to show interest in film or suggest working together on something.
Q: What do you like about living in the desert?
A: Contrary to what many people think, I love the heat! Also, it’s a very relaxed lifestyle that has enough activity to involve yourself with, if you so choose. Also, there is a lot of talent in the desert. I filmed my short film, Real Smile (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6043410/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1) in the desert and had a lot of help from businesses and other artists in completing it.
Q: With which character that you have played do you have the least in common?
A: The role of Dolly in Gina Carey’s The One Year Pact (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7079604/) is very different from me. Dolly is a very vulnerable, dependent woman. In the scene, Dolly is embarrassed and in tears at something that happens and locks herself away to hide. I’m not a crybaby, nor would I lend much importance a situation that blemished a flawless reputation for propriety. I’m not interested in being seen as perfect. I believe our flaws give us the human connection we crave.
Q: Do you think aspiring artist are more susceptible to con men such as bookies and hustlers?
A: Yes. Aspiring to amount to anything in the entertainment world demands a lot of work and effort for almost no return. It takes guts and tenacity to keep at it. There will be pitfalls and disappointments but, in the end, it’s about how much you want it. Being confident, being a hard worker, and developing a marketing strategy are tools that will inch you along despite setbacks.