Creatively Moving Forward Q&A with Billy Milionis & Melissa Bonne
Our Q&A ‘Creatively Moving Forward with Billy Milionis and Melissa Bonne’, star of ABC’s ‘Reef Break’ was a huge success! Melissa, a graduate and teacher of the school, not only shared what she has learnt along her journey but also gave current Actors Pulse students a great insight into the industry today.
Many Australian actors believe that the move to the USA is needed to continue working in the industry, Melissa put this rumour to rest. She stressed the importance of not coming from a place of lack because no matter where you go, you will take that mentality with you.
Ridding yourself of the mentality that there is a ‘lack’ of work in Australia and creating a positive mindset that you’re an actor ready to work ensures you are making room for things to happen.
During the Q&A, Melissa shared her experience learning accents and that it’s imperative to keep practising, even when you feel as though you have it down pat. Leading off this, Billy made a note to students that amateurs practise until they get it right, but a professional practises until they can’t get it wrong. Accents take time to develop and are a staple for today’s industry.
Melissa has developed her U.S accent to the point where she doesn’t have to warm it up anymore, she can jump straight into it. However, she does need some time to warm up her U.K accent to ensure she can perform with it to the best of her ability.
Asked about auditioning, Melissa shared what stood out to her as she auditioned. She shared that the audition is also for you, you are trying on the character to ensure they’re a good fit for you. You have to be comfortable playing this character for months if they need you. Auditioning shouldn’t be about needing the income from the job, it is important you feel inspired to tell that character’s story and love it as you do it.
Melissa also shared the great lessons she’s gained from working in commercials. She recently stopped auditioning for commercials as she feels she has learnt all that she can from them. She said, “Do them until you are comfortable to take that next step.” She could feel it within herself when she became ready for that next step and noted that it’s important to be in touch with yourself, so you know when you’re ready for greater challenges.
Students wanted to know what Melissa’s biggest take away was from her time as a student at the Actors Pulse. She said that her very first lesson, learning how to take the first moment, has been the most important lesson. Being able to take the first moment every time you perform a scene ensures that every take is different and has an element that is uniquely yours. It’s important to trust your gut and take each moment as a fresh one, not thinking about what has just happened.
Similarly, Melissa’s final words to the class were that your best work will always be in front of you, never behind you, so don’t dwell on the past, prepare for the future.
The evening was moderated by Ruby Busuttil, NYTAC tutor.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.