Interview With Kate Austin,  “Stay With Me “

By Ruth on August 23, 2016 in Interview, movie, television
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In the Hallmark world of actors, there is almost no one I respect more than Paul Greene. From the time I first witnessed his prowess on screen to the time I had the incredible opportunity to interview this outstanding humanitarian, I have been nothing but impressed. So when he mentioned that he was working to develop a new series, I jumped at the chance to interview one of the lead actresses, Kate Austin. Recently, she was kind enough to take some time from her lively schedule to answer some questions about how she got started in the entertainment business and how the idea for this upcoming show Stay With Me materialized.

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RH: What made you want to become an actress?

KA: You know, my story starts when I was a little girl. I started dancing from age four. My first gig was at the Sydney Opera House when I was about five years old, singing and dancing for a United Nations conglomerate of people. I can’t remember the exact details. Five hundred dollars pay at five years old with which I bought a tiara, as you do as a five-year-old, of course. {laughs} It was just in me forever. The first thing I said to my mom was, “I’m gonna be an actress.” And that was it. Then she kind of kept me on that train my whole life. Even when I was in doubt, I stayed with it. I did actually rebel against my mother when I graduated acting school. I finished high school and went straight to acting school for three years. I got my diploma in performance. But I rebelled and started my own company. I was nineteen, and I was like, “I’m not going to be one of those actors who just makes coffees for the rest of their lives. I’m gonna create a million dollar empire, and then I can do what I want. “ Possibly a little naive. But I definitely have been empowered as an actor. I’ve not  had to be a desperate actor and hating my day job because I’ve always had a business component to my career.

I think we all go through that time where we tend to rebel.

Mine was probably the opposite of what most kids would do. Usually, it’s “You need a real job!” and the kid is like, “No, I want to do this!” But my situation is completely opposite, so it was rebelling in my own way.

icon 2 (1)So how did the idea for this upcoming show of yours come about?

There’s a few of us who have been in the industry a long time and were successful in our own rights. But we hadn’t quite reached the level we were striving for so we formed a group, and we started throwing ideas around. A lot of comedy. We started doing a lot of comedy skits and getting it all online–building that sort of way. Then we began to realize that all of us are rich with story. funnystay copyGina La Piana and I were talking, and we said, “Let’s really go for this, and let’s write a show based on experiences with the backdrop of LA.” You know, there’s so many rich, wild, crazy characters in LA; that’s total comedy itself. Just walking down the street in Hollywood, the sight can be a comedy show. It’s so intriguing! The premise is based on two girls that are in respective careers. One’s trying to be the “Latino Oprah,” and she’s got an internet fanbase. My character, Frankie, is a sculptor artist, and she completely hates the whole Hollywood thing and tries to throw herself into being an activist and then from that, they create this friend group. 7288Paul Greene’s character comes in as a country music singer sensation–very much in his Christian values. His character is incredibly sweet, similar to his Hallmark characters, but with a little bit more fun and playfulness in there. The plot centers around these girls who have to have Bed & Breakfast businesses to help fund their passion careers. So the premise is based around the craziness that happens between check in and check outs. It opens up the medium for us to have every culture, every type of scenario, every situation–the writing really can be limitless with this premise.  So that’s where it started, and it’s becoming a modern-day LA-infused Friends. We have this unlikely friend group, and they get closer and closer throughout season one, and it’s sort of morphing in that direction.

To me, that sounds really interesting. And even though it’s not Hallmark necessarily, I think many Hallmark viewers would tune in because Hallmark loves Paul Greene!

7255Oh yes, for sure. He’s certainly the new Hallmark heartthrob. {laughs} He loves that company, and he loves to work with them. Hallmark is certainly one of his favorites.

So with this particular show, where are you in terms of production?

We have several very big production companies that we’re in discussion with. One has committed to shooting our pilot if we want to go with them. The others are looking at the whole picture and selling it on to either networks or cable. With the bigger direction, especially networks, I’m sure you can imagine that they like to cast their own people. And that’s one thing we’re very strong on. We’re like, “Nope, this is our project. These are our actors in the lead roles.” We’re totally open to everything else.There’s a lot of room for co-stars, guest stars and all that in this writing, but for the lead cast, we’re very firm on that being us. Which, of course, will possibly be scrutinized, however  we’re prepared to sort of “Lena Dunham style”–the creator of Girls–and we’re just gonna do it ourselves if they’re not prepared to take on us as a whole. The companies are taking a look at the footage to make sure that our chemistry is really great. And from there, we’re going to continue to get it out there, workshop it, tweak it and carry our passion forward. The right thing will unfold. I am positive of that. It’s already been such a joy-infused project; that type of thing is infectious to watch and be a part of.  Everyone we’ve taken it to is super excited about it. The writing is impeccable. We think we’re on to something really great as long as we can keep a large portion of it as our own and keep our hand in the creative control–that’s what we care about most. We would love to attach a hilarious and wonderful director to shape it further and take it to the next level. We have our eye on a few so…. Watch this space!!

I think that is so great that you guys are so committed to keeping your creative control.

IMG_3663Totally! It’s very easy to just sell out. But long-term happiness–I mean we don’t want to let this little sum of money completely transform our vision. Our goal and our dream is that we get to work together every day–all of us. And just have so much fun and share our life, our vitality with the entire world. We all live a happy, healthy, nature-based life. I believe we can all live without the stress and anxiety if we choose to.

As a woman in the industry, have you experienced the gender bias that is often all too prevalent in this profession?

Of course. It’s so prevalent all the time. However, I really do believe that a very subtle shift is happening. There are a lot of leading women who have come out and really blown the box office apart. So I think the powers that be in Hollywood right now are starting to take notice because obviously money unfortunately talks quite loudly. The people who are doing a lot of the producing, directing, and creating happen to be women at the moment. They’re the ones coming up with these new ideas, new concepts and wanting to just get in there and make things happen. I haven’t experienced it fully, but I’m sure with this project we’ll come across many roadblocks. I really hope to get a woman director.  I would really love to make it very woman-based.  A very dear friend of mine in Australia who is a female director who produces and edits, and in that behind-the-scenes world, she says it’s a constant struggle. She’s doing great, but she’s like, “If I was a man, I would be so much further along.” It seems to be an unfortunate truth at the moment which seems so archaic. But I think if you can embrace it and really show what women can achieve, then sometimes you can just break out of that mold and make a stand for women in general. I’m totally open either way. Don’t get me wrong,I’m not a feminist. I love working with male directors as well. Many of our picks at the moment are men. Who knows? Time will tell who the magic person is.

And the good thing is you have Paul Greene on your side, and he seems like he would be very open to working with strong women.

Totally. Paul has absolutely no bias. He’s done a lot of work to be a well-rounded, amazing human being. I know his fans only see this small part of him, but he’s one of the most exceptional human beings I’ve ever met in my life. He is more than what you see on screen–definitely not less. There’s no prima donna, fake actor in him. He’s a kind beautiful soul to everybody.

It sounds like the whole group you’re working with is very supportive of each other.

Yeah, we really are. Its really special, rare and magical. There’s a very famous Australian actor named Joel Edgerton, and I remember going to a screening where they did a Q & A with him. I met him, and he’s also a really lovely person. He has an A-Team that includes his brother, Nash Edgerton, who is an actor as well. There’s about six of them in this group, and they just kept creating films, writing, acting in each other’s films, and they have kept going until they’ve all reached very high success. I really do believe that as an actor, you can be so isolated, and you feel so alone. And there’s something about when you’re with a group of amazing people that aren’t there to cause problems or tear each other down, but we are a team united, and we’re going to do this together and keep building each other up and getting better together. I really believe that somewhere along the way, humans lost their knowledge that we thrive in tribe. And it’s tribes that make everything more beautiful and make the lessons stronger and bigger, so we’re really grateful that we have such a beautiful tribe and wonderful energy. I think that will translate on camera as well, and people will really see that. The promo we recently shot is very heartfelt. It makes you laugh and smile, and there’s lots of good heart in there.

stay7 (1)So is this going to be a thirty-minute or hour-long show?

When we originally started just a grassroots project , we were like, “Okay, let’s make  webisodes and build a following that way.” But because we got so much interest in it, it’s now being adapted to thirty-minute comedy. I guess a great example would be Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s sort of like that in style. It’s fast-paced, funny, and there are thirteen episodes written already.

So is this your sole focus right now, or do you have other projects you’re looking at?

I actually have been cast in another series called Fam, which is more of a drama.  That should start production in October, I believe. In that show, I’m not the lead, but I’m one of the secondary leads.  I’m the ex-girlfriend of the lead. She comes in and creates a bit of havoc here and there. My character’s actually quite a big celebrity. The lead character’s trying to get over me, but then I’m on billboards and buses. It will be a complete contrast to this show, which is incredibly exciting as an actor to be able to play like that, to be able to show two completely different sides and hone your craft in that way. It’s very easy for people to believe that you are your character, and I feel really sorry for people who have to play really nasty characters ‘cause people start hating them. When they do a really good job, it usually just means they’re an exceptional actor. It will be really fun to play a character that is a contrast to Frankie, who is very sweet, tries to do it all right, and she’s got this artistic flair, so she’s kind of trying to juggle a bunch of things. And she’s a little erratic at times, which is super fun as well. The other character in the other series Fam is a lot more manipulative, trying to get her own way so it’s totally different characters–it’s gonna make it a super fun year.

So will we be able to see Fam any time soon?

It’s been in pre-production for some time, and I was cast a while ago. But they had some shifting and some things moved, financing changed, but the director, Faith Trimel, I’m really excited to work with her. She’s an amazing female director!

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In Hollywood today, it is inundated with glamorous women who are proficient, energetic, and willing to do whatever necessary to skyrocket to success. That can mean abandoning one’s values and/or not remaining committed to one’s principles. In Kate’s case, while she has had a significant role in birthing a brilliant idea for a show that would decidedly fit a niche to combat the profusion of dark, somber storylines that ravage our television screens, she has chosen to take the high road, so to speak. The fact that she repels the idea to sell out and is committed to creative control only causes me to hold her in the highest esteem. Thankfully, she has surrounded herself with a group of gifted loyalists who share this magnificent vision with her. As a woman and an actress in this sometimes vicious business where people toss their ideas to the wind for the promise of stardom, Kate has decided that staying true to who she is and following the path her passions have led her thus far is much more admirable than the allure of easy money and fame. Personal integrity is something I always cherish, and in a business that often doesn’t treasure this most basic of human beliefs, I give Kate my highest regard. I wish her and the entire group all the success in the world as they take every measured step towards the actualization of Stay With Me. I invite every one of you to follow Kate and the prospective show Stay With Me at the links below so that you can support the careers of Kate and the entire creative group behind the project. Furthermore, you will know the status of this show that I believe will become a must-see show for all those who value lightheartedness, friends, and fun.

FOLLOW KATE

Instagram

IMDB

FOLLOW STAY WITH ME

Twitter

IMDB

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

1 Comment

  1. MELANIE PHELPS August 23, 2016 Reply

    I love the female angle and viewpoint on things. It is interesting…

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