Aspiring Actress from South Africa shares her story with one of the best acting schools in Los Angeles, The Michelle Danner Acting Studio.
PLEASE BEGIN WITH A BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF YOURSELF
My name is Casey Kampel. Remember it well! I have traveled to Los Angeles from South Africa to bring my aspiration as an actress into full bloom. I am only 19 years old – younger than the majority of my peers – but I have passionately chased my acting dream since I was able to speak. I have set out on an exciting endeavor to become a successful actor, and I plan on learning as much as I can so that I can grow as an actor and, of course, so that I can become a better human being. I believe that acting is something that ties people together, be it emotionally, physically or spiritually.
WHAT FIRST DREW YOU TO ACTING?
Honestly, I can’t answer that. I’m pretty sure I was born knowing what I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime. Acting is the one thing I have always been sure about. It’s the very essence of who I am and it’s gotten me to where I am today; as a person, as a performer, as a daughter, a sibling, a friend, as a form of life in our seemingly never-ending universe. And without a doubt, growing up as a kid and watching television and some of the older movies like ‘Back to the Future’ only increased my desire and love for such a magical industry.
WHAT WAS YOUR PERFORMANCE EDUCATION LIKE?
I found myself heading to speech and drama lessons as soon as the opportunity presented itself when I was 6 years old. From there I have never looked back. I continued taking private speech and drama lessons for 11 years. During this time I participated in many Eistedfords and Trinity London exams, earning gold, platinum and distinctions. My ‘performance education’ also took place in high school when I took Dramatic Arts as a major subject. Whilst studying there under Renos Spanoudes, I partook in various one-act play festivals, school plays as well as school musicals – those were always so much fun to be a part of – and we can’t forget about the notorious practical examinations!
I am now currently studying at the Michelle Danner Acting School in Los Angeles: I am taking a variety of classes that deal with script analysis, utilization of voice and breathing, as well as theatre and on-camera performance work.
I’ve also taken singing lessons! Not quite as religiously as my acting, though…
WHICH ACTORS DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM?
As a young actress, I like to look to the actors who are more or less from the same generation, like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence. Both actresses have created some powerful performances and, realistically, their characters are ones that I could potentially be playing one of these days.
But of course I still look up to and draw a lot from Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron.
WHICH OF YOUR ROLES HAVE GIVEN YOU THE MOST SATISFACTION? WHY?
Without a doubt, the one role that stands out the most in having given me, as an actor, satisfaction after performing is one that I played in a drama practical in my final year of high school. I was a young girl describing the horrors of what she had to live through during the holocaust. This piece struck me personally as I am Jewish and although I am not directly related to anyone who was a prisoner in the death camps, learning and understanding the history of it was a huge part of my upbringing. In this regard, I was truly able to connect with my character and what she was feeling. I was later told by an audience member that my performance had moved her to tears. Hearing that meant so much more than just getting a good grade!
Actually, I’m going to mention another one! I recited a monologue from Eve Ensler’s ‘I Am an Emotional Creature’ – a comedic piece called ‘The Joke About My Nose’ – in an audition and it got me my very first callback. But aside from that, it got a great response when I performed it in a drama practical and was because of this that I realized I could actually be funny and play comedic roles too. • Do you have any future projects planned?
Indeed, I do. I have a lead part in Michelle Danner’s upcoming documentary. It’s all about acting and how we actors piece it together. Something else that
In my acting class i am currently working on Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’. We’ve been having such a great time reading it in our voice and speech class that our acting teacher has decided to put on a stage play of it. I’m going to play Viola. Something that is also really exciting is the prospect of developing a short film with a couple of my class mates. We’ve already started devising ideas and a script! And finally, after performing last year for talent scout, Kim Myers in the International Talent Showcase, I was invited to bring my acting, singing and modeling to the Applause Rising Talent Showcase (ARTS) in Orlando, Florida in June to perform in front of Industry professionals. There is always something going on in the life of an actor!
IF YOU COULD CO-STAR WITH ANYONE, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE? WHY?
Meryl Streep! She’s phenomenal in her work. Not only is she a great actress, but a great humanitarian too. I think it would be such an amazing learning experience to work side by side with her and to be able to observe her when she’s on set doing her thing. I’m sure one could learn a lot from a seasoned actress such as Meryl Streep. Or even Judi Dench, for that matter. On the other hand, I think it could be totally fun to co-star with someone I always enjoy watching on screen: Melissa McCarthy.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always set myself the goal of one day winning an Oscar for a heart-wrenching performance. I’m not going to lie and say that I want nothing to do with the fame, because a part of me does find intrigue in knowing that making it that far means I’ve been acknowledged to some degree – and isn’t that all we really want, as human beings? It’s hardly about the fame and the nominations. It’s about being me. It’s about being the human, Casey Kampel. It’s about feeling free in what I do and loving what I do. It’s about getting over my insecurities. When I was much younger, I had very low self esteem and was so insecure. To this day, I am still overcoming some of those insecurities. But I’ve come a long way and I already feel as though I have accomplished so much through my acting. After all the criticism and challenges, I’ve come this far haven’t I? And I don’t plan on slowing down.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ACTORS?
Learn to love yourself. Learn to be yourself. An actor is his own business and his own instrument. As a guitarist must keep his guitar in tune, so too must an actor keep himself tuned in with himself and with the industry. Two very important things I have learnt while studying at Michelle Danner’s Los Angeles Acting school at the Edgemar Center for the Arts: 1. Connecting with yourself emotionally and physically is key. • 2. Keep educating yourself and watch lots of movies and tv shows. It’s a good idea to be able to identify many actors and directors in our industry.
It would also be a good idea to try and get yourself an agent who can represent you. When I was in South Africa, I found myself a wonderful agent (Addi Lang) who opened up a world of opportunities for me. I even got to perform in her music video ‘Forever Changed’. It was part of her campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer! You can check it out on youtube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=XGtcKpyDYn0
PLEASE WRITE A SHORT PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THE acting SCHOOL you are currently attending:
I am blown away by the diversity that I am surrounded by whenever I’m in acting class. It has given me the opportunity to connect with actors and industry practitioners who have journeyed to America from around the world. It means interacting with international students from the U.K, Canada, Italy, Spain, Brazil, France, Germany, Poland, Japan, Denmark and so forth.
The classes range from voice work, to script analysis, to improvisation, to scene study, to on-camera. All in all, it’s pretty well-rounded!
As student’s who attend the Michelle Danner’s Los Angeles Acting school at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, we’ve recently been able to experience the Cinema At The Edge (CATE) film festival. It was a wonderful event and I really enjoyed watching and taking part in the festival.
I’ve also taken acting coach Michelle’s ‘Golden Box’ Masterclass, which completely inspired me to dive even deeper into the world of acting.
And for our readers, please look forward to more interviews with aspiring actors and dreamers as we share what stories our students bring from their homes and journeys. More to come from Michelle Danner’s acting school !
Meet with Michelle Danner and learn about the acting classes