Welcome back to Featured Friday!
Today I’m excited to be interviewing Actor, and SAG-AFTRA Houston-Austin Local President, Mykle McCoslin. I was fortunate enough to meet Mykle when I lived in Houston back in 2015. One of my friends pulled me along to an acting class one evening, outside of my usual agency classes, and from then on became my teacher for a while. She has taught me so much about acting and how to believe in myself. I’m grateful to still keep in touch with her today from across the pond, and continue to watch her career flourish.
Mykle has been kind enough to answer some interview question, so let’s get to it.
Mykle McCoslin’s Interview
- What inspired you to become an actor?
- When I was around 4 my Grandmother Elvis took me to see the movie Grease, and I was completely hooked. I didn’t know what Hollywood, Actors, or acting was. All I knew what that whatever they were doing up on that screen I wanted to do as well for the rest of my life. My grandmother would also play make believe and improvise together playing “Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Johnson.” She would climb upstairs where I would be waiting with my toy china and stove and icebox and she would come to “my house” and visit and we would sip pretend coffee and tea while talking about our “husbands and babies,” making up stories and different situations. I just knew from a very early age that acting was my calling and that I didn’t want to do anything else. It has been a divine calling on my life and one that I have followed through thick and thin ever since.
- Did you do any training or specialise in a specific genre?
- I started in Theatre in the sixth grade doing plays and school UIL acting competitions in duet acting and solo performance. That is when I started receiving positive compliments and winning trophies and awards for my skills as an actor for the first time. I completely shocked myself at how easy I was able to transform and slip into different character’s skin and lives and how I would invest 100 percent in becoming someone else. Although I was learning about different types of acting styles and becoming exposed to the world of plays and playwrights, the acting part was something I didn’t have to really learn as opposed to tap into as I had been acting for fun pretty much my whole life. After high school, I got accepted into the Theatre program at the University of Southern California and moved to Los Angeles and my life has never been the same. I was finally in the city where my dreams could come true. I was exposed to so much history and knowledge on campus, honing my craft by continuing my education and training in the history of Theatre as well as performing in experimental and traditional plays there. I joined an improv troupe with some other students and we would perform on Friday outside for the student body. I took advantage of the amazing classes in the Cinema department there as well as acting in student short films and loved listening to actors and directors who would come to campus to showcase their work to us and then do live Q&A’s. It was a true blessing and one of the greatest privileges of my life, attending such a prestigious University. I actually had no idea when I was there how famous USC was, ranking as one of the top 10 Theatre Schools in the world. After graduating and earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre, I continued studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse under the direction of Milton Katselas for several years.
- What do you find the hardest thing about being an actor?
- Not being able to do your craft as often as you want, when you are not booking work. The season of quiet times, while it seems all of your other actor friends are working and your not. Putting your whole heart and investing time, money, and sweat in auditioning, then not getting the job. The belief in others who aren’t actors that you’re only an actor when you’re acting on stage, TV or in a film, and the other times that your not. The asking of what your “plan B” is or, “well, don’t you think if it was going to happen that it would have happened by now?”
- As one of your past students, I admired how you utilise your skills to help other actors improve their craft. What made you want to get into teaching? Has it helped you in anyway?
- I think the best teachers are students themselves. Always learning always growing. It was something I started doing in college, helping out at Theatre camps for kids for my summer job when I would come home for summer breaks. I just loved sharing with others what was so freely given to me by my grandmother. This sense of play and magical world of make believe. I didn’t ever think I would become an acting teacher or coach, that was never my goal, but sometimes, well most of the time honestly, God has other plans and ideas for you to share the talents he has given to you with others that you never thought about. Where you are focused on maybe one view and destination, God has a hundred more avenues that you never even saw until he showed them to you in His perfect timing. For me, it was my honest and simple love for acting that made me want to teach and coach. And I found the more that I gave to my students, not only did I become a better actor, but more importantly I became a fuller human being.
- What tools or classes would you recommend for new actors?
- *Meisner is a wonderful technique to learn. Improvisation and getting out of your way is A MUST to anyone looking to become an actor. Reading books on acting and biographies of famous actors from the past who you admire. Watching old movies, and not 1980s flicks, although those are amazing, but the great films of the 40 and 50s. Know the classics! Letting go of your precious ego and being okay with being the fool. Journaling and connecting with your true self, and your spirituality. Decluttering your life and getting rid of things that don’t serve you anymore. Clothes that don’t make you feel YOUR BEST! Negative friends, family members or those who try to stop you from dreaming and following your path have no place in your life. You can love from a distance. Know that you and the space around you is sacred. Giving back to others in your community and surrounding your self with people who have the same beliefs and make your feel your best to be around. Life is too short to have people who didn’t follow their dreams, try to hold you back from achieving yours!
*To anyone looking for books and Meisner check out my recent blog post on “must have books for actors”
- If you could pick a dream role what would it be, and what do you feel you could bring to it?
- I’ve always wanted to play a strong Queen from ancient times who leads her people with strength and dignity. There’s always been a part of me that feels like I’ve lived in those times before. I love all the costuming, gowns and have always enjoyed dressing up. I’ve also always wanted to play the lead in a romantic comedy. I love comedy, like the old screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s. Maybe a modern version of one of those set around karaoke with a handsomely talented actor like Zachary Levi who can sing, dance and crack jokes like Clark Gable in It Happened One Night.
- What has been your favourite role you’ve got to play so far?
- Being mom. That’s the role I get to play forever. Besides that a role [check out the article]: https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/things-book-role-astronaut-wives-club-8720/
- I see you are now president of SAG-AFTA Houston, can you tell us a bit about that?
- That was also a role I never saw coming. In my early days of being an actor in LA, the proudest day of my career was when I joined the union and became a SAG member. (Screen Actors Guild Member and eventually a SAG-AFTRA member after the two unions merged in 2012.) I felt like I had joined a legacy of actors who came before me and that I was now one of them, carrying the torch of what they stood for, protection for all actors, at a time when the studio system basically owned an actor’s life. When I moved back to Houston 10 years ago, I was searching for a family of actors to belong to, and I just started getting involved, sharing my knowledge of being a working actor in LA and NYC with the my fellow union members back home. I stared a Conservatory for our local members, where there wasn’t one before and gave back my time and talents. That was my community service. I eventually ran for the local board, and became the first Vice-President, and then last year ran for President and won. It is an honour and privilege that I do not take for granted. To be voted by your fellow peers to lead is one of the greatest honours that can ever be bestowed upon anyone.
- What is your next career goal?
- Writing/Directing and Producing my own work. For years I have been telling other people’s stories and came to the point in my career where I finally answered the “whisper” that I had since college to tell my own story in the form of my first novel “My Grandma Elvis.” It is my story of my Grandmother and I’s adventures growing up in the small town of Donie, Texas that she lived in her whole life. The smallest town in Texas with a bank if that tells you anything. I got the idea in a feminist class my senior year in college three months after my Grandmother passed. I wrote the premise of the book for a class thesis paper, and it took me 23 years later to actually get it out and onto paper. I’m currently in the final editing phases of the book and after it is published, I plan on writing the screenplay, producing and directing the film, and starring in it as well. I also plan on winning an Oscar for it! Look out for “My Grandma Elvis” book coming in 2021.
- Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
- OMG, I would have to write a book on that, ha, which I probably will do one day. Besides what I’ve mentioned above, know that there is never or will never be ANYONE on this planet like YOU. That you are divinely called to be Actor and that it takes special individuals to choose to live the life of an artist. The life less traveled. That as my friend and amazing actor Glenn Morshower likes to say, “you won the race when you beat out all the other sperm to make it first inside your mother’s egg. That says a lot!” That you will have more down times than good times, but that it is in the moments of failure, stillness, and rejection where your true character and spirit grows and comes from. Don’t fear the lows in life for they are necessary and the stepping stones to reach the highs. No one really tells you this but I am, and from experience. That no one has a perfect life. Even the actors we admire and wish we had their lives struggle. That the moments of bliss as an actor outshines all the rest and simply leave you breathless and more connected to the divine than you ever thought possible. That the moment where you are standing in the rain for your first international photo call, looking up to the heavens as the rain pours on your face, shinning in the night sky, under a painted red carpet in Rome is a moment that you could only have ever gotten to live if you had persevered, despite all the hurt, pain, being talked about and made fun of and rejection. That it is a lonely path that only a few ever get to truly experience because they were brave enough to leap. That you are simply A MIRACLE, never again to be repeated in the entire universe. To know yourself and love your self and always put your dreams, your wants and desires first, and to never, ever, ever give up!
I am so grateful for Mykle coming on to do a featured post and her words of wisdom she has shared for aspiring actors. If you would like to follow more of her work (which I highly recommend) some places you can find her are linked below.
Instagram & Twitter: @MykleMcCoslin and @MyGrandmaElvis
Furthermore, if you would like to be featured and share your talents do not hesitate to get in touch! This platform is all about supporting one another and having a place to share your careers, ideas and goals.