ACTRESS ACCEPTS AWARD FOR BEST COMEDY IN HER LATEST AWARD-WINNING SHORT
Featured article image Courtesy of Deborah Lopez
ACTRESS ACCEPTS AWARD FOR BEST COMEDY IN HER LATEST AWARD-WINNING SHORT
CANADIAN OPERA SINGER TURNS SUCCESSFUL NEW YORK CITY ACTRESS WITH HER LATEST FILM
This selectively adventurous and remarkably spatially unaware thespian first started with music as an opera singer before turning over into acting. Originally from Toronto, Canada and now living in Queens, New York, her recent film credits include ‘My Dad and Bob Todd’ and ‘The Time in Between the Seconds’ with Grey Machine Films; ‘Big News’ with Don’t Look Pictures; and ‘Inner City Rats’ with What’s Next to the Moon Pictures. This rising actress has won such awards as Best Actress at the NoHu International Film Festival, and received nominations for Best Actress at the Grove Street Festival, The Brightside Tavern Festival, and The Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival. Rebecca was also a finalist for the American Prize in Voice and received honorable mention in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition.
This proud Torontonian has several commercial and modeling credits to her name with BrainTech, Dr. Brandt Skincare, Wisa Wireless, Beauty Tribe, and Java Sok sleeve. She is a lover of great food, jazz standards, and discussing anything skincare or beauty related so keep that in mind when speaking with her. You will always learn something new.
All while speaking with her, we found her abolsute love and devotion to her eight nephews and two nieces. Big family you say? As taken into account, family is everything to Rebecca that is certainly one thing we value.
NIE: Thank you for taking your time and having this interview with us. Congratulations on your film ‘My Dad and Bob Todd’ for winning Best Comedy at the ‘Hang Onto Your Shorts’ Film Festival. What can you tell us about this project?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: “My Dad and Bob Todd” is the brainchild of writer/director Mark Clauburg. Mark is a passionate director as well as a very kind human being. I will always jump at the chance to work with him.
My character in the film is named Rebecca. Rebecca is a high-strung woman who says just about every thought she has...for better or worse. The good news is that she loves deeply, and when she can slow down enough to listen, it is clear she truly cares about the people around her and will fight to protect those she loves.
NIE: What originally attracted you to this project? And how was the entire production process?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I originally auditioned for another project Mark was casting. While I did not get cast in that film, Mark called me a few months later to ask if I would be interested in “My Dad and Bob Todd.” He said that while I did not book the original job I auditioned for, he based my character in “Bob Todd” on the energy I brought into the audition room.
When first reading the script, I found it a little curious that my character in the film was highly neurotic, shared my name, and was “based on my energy” (yikes!!), but I loved the writing and the message of the film and was very excited to be part of the project.
We had one rehearsal and then shot the whole film in a day! Such is the miracle of film.
“Be on time, listen carefully, and be someone other people want to work with.”
- Rebecca Rapoport-Cole
NIE: What was your favorite part of filming this movie? What have you learned specifically from this movie that will help you in your profession?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: There were many amazing moments during filming. Most came from watching my fellow actors do outstanding work. However, my favorite part of the work was running lines with my own dad before getting to set. Who knew he had so many acting notes to give me, despite never having acted? Go figure!
Of the many joyous takeaways from this project, the process of booking this job reminded me of the importance of showing up and always doing your absolute best. It was through not booking the role for which I first auditioned that led to my being cast in “My Dad and Bob Todd” and ultimately the Best Comedy award at HOTYS, a Best Actress award at the NoHu International Film Festival, and other awards the film has picked up along the way.
NIE: What does this film mean to you and how has this role changed you?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: The film’s message is, “Love is love.” The less we judge, the more we can understand and love one another. In the film, Rebecca (my character) has to cope with a major change. She finds understanding through the deep love she has for her dad and is able to open up her world to accept the new love in her father’s life.
NIE: Where did the desire to be an actor stem from?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I started out as a classical musician. I was a pianist and then studied opera in college. As I continued to train, I began to realize that while I loved, and still love, classical music, I had perhaps not found my “thing.” I moved to New York about two and a half years ago and was fortunate enough to start working in theatre right away. Pretty quickly I found myself on a film set and had my “ah-ha!” moment. Film/TV is a totally collaborative experience. I love working as part of a team where everyone comes together, with total focus, to create something magical. Being able to tell stories with other people is as good as it gets for me.
NIE: What process and techniques do you use to get into your characters? What role(s) have been the most challenging for you, and why?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I write a lot, as the character or about the character. I also think a lot about the relationships in the story and how and where the character lives within me. Whether the experience of the character is similar to mine or very different - such as someone who has commited murder (which, as of this interview, I have not) - I find a place for the character’s experience to resonate within me so that I can communicate as honestly as possible.
On a few occasions I have played women who use their power over others in violent or abusive ways. As a petite woman myself, these experiences challenged me to examine the various ways that one could exercise control over another, especially when physical intimidation is not an option. Embracing this challenge allowed me to see myself in roles I may not otherwise have and to broaden the work I audition for.
NIE: What obstacles do you face as an actor and what do you do to overcome and achieve your goals?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: When I moved to New York I had no contacts and knew very little about the acting community here. But I am very good at the internet and did as much research as possible to learn all I could about the New York acting world, as well as how to start submitting myself for auditions. Of course, no Google search can tell you how your first New York audition will go (mine was a trainwreck, but that is a story for another day). But learning all I could and then learning to ask questions when needed was very helpful. I would say that is in part how I am working toward achieving my goals: do as much work as I can and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.
I have found the acting community here very open and supportive, and even on the hard days, I feel I am home and am very, very happy.
“It is ok to walk away from something. Walking away is not the same as failure.”
- Rebecca Rapoport-Cole
NIE: What do you personally take out of a role and what impact does it have on you?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Depends on the role! In general, I learn something more about myself and how I want to navigate the world and the business of acting. I also have learned to carefully watch any beverage my character is drinking so as to avoid the continuity police. The continuity police keeps a watchful eye on all props, food, and beverages to make sure there are no changes from shot to shot.
In another life, I would be the leader of the continuity police, making sure every frame matches and the ice in the lead character’s water glass is always at the correct and appropriate level.
NIE: How do you prepare yourself before a scene? And how do you overcome your nerves? What helps you perform to the best of your ability?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Before going to set, I do my homework. My research is done and my lines are learned, so that by the time I get to set I am able to let the work be present and enjoy the process.
The best way to combat nerves? I might sound like a broken record, but be prepared. The only way to combat nerves is to be secure in your work, and that comes from preparation. The work I do before I get to set stays with me so no matter what happens when shooting, I know I know my stuff and can be confident in that. That confidence allows me to be in the moment, which is always when my best work happens.
NIE: What would you say is the biggest asset for any actor in the industry to achieve?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Be on time, listen carefully, and be someone other people want to work with. If you are good at your job and kind to those around you, people will want to hire you again and again.
NIE: What are some of your secret tips that help you in this industry to keep grounded and focused?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Choose to be positive. Ask a question if something is not clear. Always pay it forward and remember that any day you get to work is a good day. Oh, and if there are protein bars on set, always take a few for the subway ride home.
NIE: If you had to name one individual who inspires you, who would that be?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Mozart, my rockstar two-year-old nephew Adam, and the possibility of getting a dog one day (fingers crossed!).
NIE: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a career in the field?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Go for it! Be prepared to work your butt off. Celebrate every win, enjoy the wonderful people you will meet, and learn to power off when your body tells you to take a break.
“Always pay it forward and remember that any day you get to work is a good day.”
- Rebecca Rapoport-Cole
NIE: What are the most impactful words of wisdom someone told you and who was it?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I have had some pretty spot-on parental guidance along the way. Two standouts include:
My dad says, “Everything will work out in the end, and if it has not worked out yet, it is not the end yet.” My dad is my go-to for logical wisdom and a grounding presence in my life. Also, he is just the best, and I totally adore him.
My mom once told me, “Celebrate everything you can in life, as the good moments are always worth marking.” She was totally right about this, and tends to be about most things.
NIE: What are three things you would say to your younger self that you know now?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: Oh, boy. Ok:
It is ok to walk away from something. Walking away is not the same as failure.
You don’t have to be perfect. Besides, perfect is impossible and boring, and who needs that?
Yes, you do need to wear sunscreen every day. Every. Single. Day. Don’t get that tan, little Rebecca. Put on SPF 50 and stay in the shade.
NIE: What’s next for you?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I just wrapped a film with “Don’t Look Pictures” called ‘Big News’. It’s the debut film for the company, and the director, Tim Shelburne, is absolutely a director to look out for. I have two projects coming up with Grey Machine Films, ‘The Time In Between the Seconds’, where I play the therapist to the lead, played by the brilliant Helen Laser, as well as a movie musical that is in the works.
I am off to Toronto this month to shoot a tech industrial with a wonderful production company, Archipelago Productions. As I am from Toronto, I take any excuse to work at home, be on a Canadian set, and see my family.
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NIE: Any one comes to mind that you would like to thank?
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole: I would like to thank Mark Clauburg and Grey Machine Films. Also a big thank you to the Clauburg/Lisowsky/Shparaga clan for letting me hang out with them at film festivals and be an honorary family member.
I would like to thank my mother, Ruth, and my dad, Cliff as well as my step-mom, Ket, my brothers Ben and Ethan, my sister Natasha, and my 91-year old grandmother, Lailla, who is likely working out at the gym as I do this interview.
I would also like to thank my grandmother Ethel. Ethel passed away last year, only a few days before we shot “Bob Todd.” She was the most positive and loving influence in my life, and I hope to bring a fraction of the joy and goodness to the world that she did.
Also, I am married to the coolest dude around. His name is Dan and he rocks my world.
And if you happen to be in Boston, check out the North End Music and Performing Arts Center. NEMPAC is my nonprofit musical home and offers first-rate live performances as well as community programming for kids and adults www.nempacboston.org
- Mary Swanson