If you’re searching for an actress that is courageous, talented, confident, and kind-hearted, then click on this IMDB link for Melanie Robel http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3093027/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 She is always thriving to learn and take on new challenges. She’s been knocked down in her youth, but that only made her stronger. When Melanie sets a goal, she won’t give up and works hard to reach that goal. Maybe part of her determination is from growing up as an “Army Brat?”
In her first couple years of acting Melanie appeared in many films and shorts. Already in 2014 she’s appearing in a dozen upcoming films. Just a couple of the films include Joe Hollow’s “Disciples” and “A Blood Story” and Brody Barcode’s “3 thirty Thr33” which Melanie talks about. Her other upcoming films include genres of Sci-Fi, Drama, Horror, and Comedy.
Five Quick Questions with Melanie Robel
Growing up you dealt with being deaf till three, a hand injury taking you out of playing an instrument you loved, bully pushing you to the limits, and being dropped while taking ballet classes. Did your experiences prepare and toughen you up for the competitive field of film?
MELANIE: Being deaf is why I never dreamed that I could become an actor. I am so grateful for the medical team in Germany who did my experimental, grafting surgery to get my hearing. I’ve had speech therapy for 14 years and also a year of articulation lessons with Kate Ingram from UCF. She is amazing and helped me find my true voice. I am grateful to Rus Blackwell who recommended her, when he was my acting coach.
When my music was taken away, I was really depressed. One of the instruments I played was the Bassoon and I was a trained classical musician, music became my identity. I would practice until my fingers blistered and my lip bleed. One of the things most people don’t realize, was that I had scholarships waiting for me and this was when I was in middle school. I played on a high school level and have directors wanting me in their competition bands. I played in a High School band once, guest directed by Danny Elfman before he became real famous. It was so much fun and I still have the score, that he signed for me.
So when this was taken away, of course I was depressed. The scary thing is that when you hit that level of depression, it’s easy drop back into it. Now, when I got dropped during my ballet performance, I was sad, but not like when I lost my music career. It was more like, let’s go back to the drawing board and start over. A here we go again, what next sort of thing.
About bullying. Well, I feel I learned at a young age that I would rather have people be wary of me, than to pick on me. I learned to be aggressive, outspoken, not to be walked on and to rely on myself and family.
In music, in competition, you’re a number and audition behind a screen. I’ve had my keys bent, my reeds broken. During dance auditions, I had someone once put glass in my pointe shoes and I wasn’t at a professional level yet. My mom use to come with me to class to guard my stuff, she would also hold/watch my stuff with music too. So, I learned that I had to be a go getter. I can’t wait for things to happen, that the only people I can rely on is my family. I will admit, I also have some trust issues when it comes to people.
For me to become angry and to snap at people? Well, it takes a lot for me to get that way. The thing is, there are bullies everywhere and in every industry. Just like there are people who act like victims. It drives me crazy, so I just roll my eyes and try to keep my mouth shut. My advice to upcoming actors is, have a good support system. Find someone you can complain to, that you trust, that isn’t going to air your dirty laundry and then cry behind closed doors. I will admit that I have cried about my acting behind closed doors. There is nothing wrong with that, then you go onset and work with that awful person that made you cry. Put on a smile on your face, kill them with kindness and do your job.. It’s not being fake, its called being a professional.
How much of an influence was it working with greats like Linnea Quigley early in your career?
MELANIE: Oh wow, how do I answer that question? Linnea Quigley is first of all a friend, a teacher, a mentor, an inspiration and I consider her family. She has helped me so much and I will always be grateful to her for her help and advice. I first met her at SuperCon in Miami, Florida. We were both cast in my first full length film, Post Mortem America 2021 and I wanted to meet her before I went on set. It was so much fun and it was great going on my first project and knowing someone. I also was in a short film, Stella Buio, by Lori Bowen, with Linnea. Watching her work was incredible. She can play “crazy” like no else can.
When I say I consider her family, I am not kidding. She and my mom teamed up and encouraged me to do another project with her, they were right in doing so and I am thankful to both of them. Joe Hallow’s, “A Blood Story”, took my acting up a notch. I got to act with Camden Toy, Mark Hanson, Debra Lamb and Robert Z’Dar. It also got me my manager Matt Chassin, who is in L.A..
So, yes. Linnea Quigley has been a big influence on my acting career. I truly don’t think I would still be acting, if it wasn’t for her advice and support. I will always be thankful to her.
2014 is already a big year and you have a lot of films due out later this year. How do you handle and prepare for all the different characters you play?
MELANIE: I study, a lot. It also depends on the project and my character. When I get my script, I read through it, then depending on when we shoot, I stack them according to my calendar for shoot dates.
That is over all, but, when I pick up my script, I read it through at least four times to start with. To get a feel for the whole project, then for my character, how my character interacts with others and then for all the other details. Like, where and when it takes place, what they wear and how they interact with their surroundings. That also means I figure out my characters mental, emotional and physical traits. For example, my character in A Blood Story, Anna Nadasdy, is based on a real character in history, with a few issues. Since I had the time, I did research on her and her family. I also read some psychology books that dealt with her problems.
Sometimes I use parts of my memories to help me too, but if it is something that has never happened to me, then I will also find something I can relate to, or just make something up. I have asked the director for advice, but that is usually if I am stumped, to get his take on it. I feel that they hired me to portray this character, because I can relate to it, or they trust me to get my take on it.
I am very excited and stoked for all my projects this year. Think about it, my profession is about entertaining people, play dress up and make believe. Does it get any better than that?
You dabbled as a producer for “Post Mortem, America 2012” and would like to learn more about that business and have more control over a film. Will there be more films produced by you in the future, or writing or directing?
MELANIE: Yes, I dabbled a little bit with Post Mortem, America 2021, but not as much as you think. I got the credit because there was an actor that I really wanted to work with and he is amazing. The scenes with him were, in my mind, dramatic and I learned so much from him. So, I gave money for his airfare and my mom donated time and fabric when she sewed my and another actors outfits. So the credit was a thank you.
I know that if I really produced a film, I would want more control over what is happening. Maybe growing up military gave me control issues, because I want to know what is going on with everything and to learn all I can about everything. My first acting coach, Ken Grant, taught us that our jobs as actors, it to make the directors and producers job easier. To learn all you can, to make it easier for them. Like, learn the direction of lighting, your camera angles and how to stay in the camera shot. It’s all part of the job. I would tell new actors to learn both sides of the camera.
Right now, I am focusing on acting. In the future, I would like to try writing, or directing. For me to write, produce, direct and star in a project is very arrogant. I have only been doing this since 2008 and I have so much to learn. I am still maturing as an actor. After all, I am no Clint Eastwood or Paul Newman.
Two of your upcoming films that look very intriguing are Joe Hollow’s “Blood Story” https://www.facebook.com/ABloodStory and Brody Barcode’s “3 thirty Thr33.” https://www.facebook.com/3thirtythr33vol2
What can you share about these films?
MELANIE: Oh my gosh, Joe Hollow’s, A Blood Story, was one of my best moments in my acting career so far. It was such a amazing experience, I learned so much and met a group of people that are incredible. I worked with Camden Toy, Robert Z’Dar, Mark Hanson, Tim Hayes, and Mindy Robinson. I had scenes with each one of them. Linnea Quigley was there too, but we didn’t have scenes together. However, it was really good to see her again and we had a lot of fun. This project really brought back the love of acting for me and I feel it took me up a step in my acting.
A Blood Story, is about a group strangers, who come to a mansion to discover the secret to the fountain of youth. I play Anna Nadassy, who actually did exist in history. Anna is, Francis’s, played by Camden Toy, right hand lady, helps run the mansion, she will do anything that he tells her to do and I do mean anything! It was great fun being Anna, because it was so different from what I normally play. I was pretty, girly, sexy and submissive. It was little out of my comfort zone, but well worth the adventure.
I am very excited about Brody Barcode’s, 3 Thirty Thr33. My character is, Jawbreaker who is one of the Death Squad Girls. This chapter is about the lives of three sisters, who are all assassins. It also includes, two rock stars, a maniacal gangster physician and the Death Squad Girls. These characters are all intertwined in three different stories. This one has Bill Oberst Jr, Melantha Blackmore, Shana Eva, Raul Colon, Tony Le, Giana Alexis Cambria, Gabby Moore, Nicole Ellias, me and some others. I am really excited about this one because I love Grind-house films and I have a feeling this will be one of my grittiest film roles so far.
A huge thank you to Melanie for sharing all the extraordinary information about herself and her films! Be sure to check out her Facebook fanpage and follow her on Twitter.
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