An actor’s life during pandemic
With the arrival of Covid-19, film, television and stage production in the US ground to a halt.
As an actor, Lana Young was used to uncertainty when it came to her jobs but this was markedly different.
“It was like, ‘What do we do now?',” she said. “It was a very scary time adapting daily and just trying to figure out what the next step was.”
New York City, where she is based, was hard-hit by the coronavirus; among the more than 250,000 recorded cases were people she knew.
“The friends of mine who had it have really, really suffered and are still suffering from residual affects months later. It is no joke.”
With mounting deaths she wanted to come home to Bermuda, but feared she might catch the virus on the way and inadvertently introduce it to her mother, Margaret Young.
“I haven't been home since new year's,” she said. “I think this is the longest stretch I have been away. I am really bummed about that.”
When work stopped, she quickly pivoted to another one of her great loves — coaching other actors.
“I have a steady group of clients regularly now,” she said.
“The interesting part is most of them are new — they have discovered this is something they want to do while in Covid-19, or they have just lost their job and they want to do voice-overs.”
Helping people to set up their home studios, create profiles and get their acting clips online has been “really exciting” although for her, it is a stopgap measure.
“They are all well aware that at any time auditions could come flowing back in and I might not be as available,” Ms Young said.
She has also ramped up her own voiceover auditions, doing as many as three or four a day. But with so many actors out of work, she is up against fierce competition.
“A lot of [the auditions] are really fun,” she said. “Because production studios don't have easy access to actors because of Covid-19, they are doing a lot of animated projects and podcast series.
“I just got a call back to do a voiceover for a medication. That was the first callback I have gotten since I started auditioning after Covid-19.”
She got her start doing voice-overs for Cable & Wireless in 1995.
“I moved to the United States to get married in 1998,” she said.
“I didn't go to drama school until 2003. I worked in the corporate world until then, but dabbled with acting on the side until I booked my first television film in 2003, which was the validation I needed to pursue acting as a career.”
In the years that followed, she called London, England, Los Angeles, California and Charlottesville, Virginia, home. Ms Young moved to New York City in September 2014.
Fans have tuned in to see her on Dynasty, Tell Me A Story and Praize. She has also had a recurring role on the television show The Resident.
She is next up in Lisey's Story, a Netflix limited series based on the 2006 Stephen King novel, and an untitled Marvel production. Work with the Corporation of Hamilton keeps her busy here. She is also deeply interested in social and racial justice. With a group called Novel Songs, she is part of a creative project to encourage people to vote in the upcoming US election.
“We find compelling pieces of writing and then we invite artists who create original content based on the themes and words of that writing,” she said.
Although when the pandemic first hit, she found it very difficult to be creative, the actor is now focused on writing the pilot for a comedy, Between Us, based on the parallel lives of two women.
“It is about how different circumstances are seen and navigated differently when you are 26 compared to 46,” she said.
Also keeping her busy is Turducken, a short she made with Joe Chrest of Stranger Things and Eddie Jemison of Oceans 11, which just made it into the Hollyshorts Festival.
“That is a big deal,” she said. “That is an Oscar-qualifying film festival. That is exciting. So things are happening and I am slowly getting more auditions but it is far and few between right now.”
• For more information about Novel Songs, visit bit.ly/3iBKjLE