Interview: Erick McAllister
Erick is a 46 year old actor originally from Northern California, now living in Huntington Beach. He started his training in the Beginning Acting class at The Acting School of Orange County and worked his way through the Advanced Acting courses. He has been coached by Sonya Cooke for 2.5 years.
When did you become an actor? I have been told to become an actor my whole life by family and friends. I did some some stand-up in the past, but I never actually realized acting is what I wanted to do. I have always worked in finance and I run my own catering company. The turning point appeared three years ago when my younger brother died. This terrible moment in my life made me realize I wanted to do something purposeful and meaningful. I want to be an inspiration for kids who have had a tough youth. I came from nothing myself. I wanted to entertain them, make them smile, and teach them to have the confidence to follow their dreams. How did you find out about the Seven Pillars Acting Studio? In February 2014 I quit my job to fully focus on becoming a professional actor. I found the Orange County branch of the Seven Pillars Acting School (www.asooc.com), on Google. I left a message and within 5 minutes I got a call back from the owner Sonya Cooke. She was so warm and welcoming and invited me to audit a class. When I visited the school I immediately felt at home. I loved the vibe at the acting class and wrote them a check for a whole course that same night! How did the acting lessons help you? I loved it immediately! Sonya has so much knowledge on acting and she knows how to approach everyone in the team individually, but also knows how to coach the group as a team. She helps you to become a character and play with confidence. You really learn the craft of acting. She also knows when to be strict and always gives you something think about at home, which always made my performance better the following week. It’s just great. They even bring in guest speakers, industry professionals, and other teachers. For example, we had specific audition training and at the end of the course we did a really fun showcase. They invited lots of agents and casting directors. I even signed with Brand Model & Talent for commercials and Gorgeous PR as my management!
How was the vibe with your classmates at the acting school? We're a family! We all became friends. I was just at a party of a former classmate last week! We all help each other when we can. We refer each other for work, read lines together and we even help each other moving! Sonya always sends us casting calls by e-mail and invites us for fun events. Once you’re in the family you go back to every event.
What is the highlight of your acting career so far? The fact that I’m acting. I played a Cowboy in the feature ‘The Gunman’, did some great commercials and even filmed on the lot of Sony Pictures Studio’s – WHICH WAS AWESOME, but just the fact that I’m acting and following my dream is the highlight of my life. I took the steps and Sonya was my staircase! I’ll for sure thank her in my Oscar speech. If you had a time machine in what movie would you have loved to act?
Braveheart. Definitely Braveheart. Man, that’s my favorite movie of all time. I would love to pull off a Scottish accent. Godfather I and Godfather II, not bad either! Would you recommended the Seven Pillars Acting Studio to other beginning actors?
I have never met someone that truly cares about her students. She [Sonya]'s pure. No fakeness, which is hard to find in Hollywood. If you are looking for more education and want to learn a very strong technique that allows you to cultivate deeply rooted characters and helps you to truly live in the moment, I would love to suggest this acting school to you. Can't wait to join a session in LA myself. The Seven Pillars Acting School is opening its doors in Valley Village, Los Angeles, this June. Seven Pillars Acting is a fresh and immersive approach based on the greatest acting theorists, teachers and actors such as Sanford Meisner, Jerzy Grotowsky, Stanislavsky and Declan Donnelan. Sign up for a course in today! Click here!