Interview With Actress Valerie Lohman

By Ruth on July 19, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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It seems like everywhere you turn today, young people are attempting to break into the entertainment industry. Some have talent, and some don’t, but a vast majority do not understand the amount of work nor the length of time required to establish yourself as an actor of any merit. A couple of months ago, I had a very pleasant chat with a young lady named Valerie Lohman, and I was incredibly impressed with her drive, work ethic, and humility as we chatted about her career from its inception until now (and even a hint at what is yet to come).

RH: Nice to talk with you today, Valerie. 

VL:  So nice to talk with you too, Ruth.

I’m impressed that you were here and ready to go on time.

Oh, I’m one of those people who shows up a half hour early to everything and sits in the car so I won’t be late.

I’m usually like that too. So, Valerie, how old are you now?

I’m twenty.

How did you become an actress?

I was really, really hammy as a child. I was homeschooled and did a lot of charter school, where you’d do two or three days a week of school, but it was mainly performance-based classes and art classes. It was pretty evident early on that I was an attention hog. I just wanted to entertain everyone and tell everyone jokes. I started doing children’s theater and community theater when I was eleven. I started acting professionally at fourteen. I was doing a lot of musical theater.  Just in the past two to three years, I’ve been falling in love with film and voiceover. My mom used to show me all the old movie musicals.  I saw every Rodgers & Hammerstein movie musical.  I grew up on all the classics.

I know we’re quite a few years apart–you and I–but I grew up on the old movie musicals too. I’ve only recently gotten more into the modern stuff.

Oh, there’s so much good classic film out there that you could explore it forever.

I think I read that you left school early or graduated early?

Yes, that is correct. I guess you could say I’m overly ambitious but in tenth grade, I was playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at a regional theater. I suddenly just felt this desire to leave school and start acting full-time professionally. I went to a performing arts high school, so I had been training. But I suddenly just felt like I had to do something else. I felt like I had to burst forth upon the LA scene. For my junior year, I did online school. Then I found out that for a lot of film projects, you have to be eighteen because of all the minor laws. So I took the California high school proficiency exam which let me skip my senior year. I know it’s very unconventional, but I really like it.

Well, I don’t think there’s just one right way nowadays to become an actor. I hear all sorts of unusual stories. I think it’s actually kind of cool that you knew what you wanted and were able to skip your senior year. I interview a lot of young people, and I think many of them would probably benefit from doing something like that. They really want to pursue their career, but their school schedule gets in the way sometimes.

School has always been really important to me, and I’ve always really loved learning.  I have friends that are trying to do school full-time and I do not know how they do it.

Personally, from my perspective, I think that the way you did it is the way I would have wanted to do it too. But I guess everybody’s different. 

I started taking college classes early too. After I left high school, I felt ready for it. Like I said, I went to an amazing performing arts high school, but after I was done with high school, I just felt like I was ready for the next thing.

I noticed through your credits that you’ve done a lot of independent films.

Yes, I’ve done a lot of little indies.

Have your independent films won awards and/or gotten a lot of recognition?

Oddly enough, all the things I have worked on–even from a couple of years back–that I have been waiting on are finally coming out now. I’m very excited to see where we can go with all these films.  I have a lot of faith in the projects, and I’m really proud of them, and I’m very excited to see where they’re going.

So most of the projects listed on your IMDB page will mostly be coming out this year or maybe next year?

That is correct.

Actually, that’s pretty common with indie films. Sometimes people wait five years or more for these films to come out.

I have a feature that I shot in 2014 {The Last One}, and I found it is finally screening at some film festivals. It had been so long that I had almost forgotten about it.

Good, that means that we can look out for that one. {pause} So let’s talk about your first TV role.

My first TV role happened last year. I played Carly on Game Shakers.  It was a really cool experience. I got to be directed by Nathan Kress, who was on iCarly.  I’m a huge fan of his work ethic. I love that show, and so getting to work on that set was just phenomenal. It was a dream come true for sure. And everyone is just so nice there. I really like the show. I had watched it before I auditioned, and now that I’ve been on an episode, it’s just so exciting.

I understand you’ve also been doing some voiceover work.

Yes, I started doing it last year. I have a huge project that I’m not allowed to talk about yet. I’m a lead in an animated series, and that’s all I can say about it. I recently did a video game for PlayStation called What Remains of Edith Finch.  It came out a month or two ago, and I’m voicing Edith. I got to play the game and…. when I signed on to the project, I had no idea how huge it was. You just audition for everything, and you finally get to the studio, and they’re like, “This is for PlayStation, and you’re the lead.”  So it was very cool.

When you were working on this video game project, did you find it more exhausting than you thought it might be?

I think most people have no idea how much voiceover work takes out of you. I think the only reason I felt pretty comfortable with it is because I had ten years of voice training as a singer. I do voice a lot of children–a lot of seven to eleven-year-old girls–and sometimes when you go through the recording session and your voice is so high and youthful and you do it for four hours, you come home and your voice drops an octave and you sound like you’re a chain-smoking six-year-old or something like that. It’s great, but yeah, it is very tiring.  You have to channel every emotion for your voice instead of getting to use everything else. Your voice has to do it all.  I suppose that’s the thing that really tires out your voice.

I can see how the voice training would help you. I was a music teacher, and I was a music major, so I understand about training the voice. I think sometimes people go into voiceover work without voice training, and it really does take a toll on their voices. 

If I didn’t have proper breath support or didn’t know how to take care of my voice afterward, I don’t know where I’d be.

I know we’ve mentioned several of your projects, but is there anything else upcoming that you can mention?

I recently finished recording roles in two Anime pilots, but I’m waiting to see if they get picked up. So fingers crossed on that.  Then I booked a role in an upcoming film that I’m really excited about. I’ll tell you more when I can about that one.

It sounds like you are having quite a year so far.

I certainly am.

It sounds like you’ve done the thing that so many young actors don’t understand. There’s no such thing as overnight success, as you well know. So what would be your advice to young people who are thinking of pursuing a career in acting?

Because I started out in the theater world, I would say you should start with that. Start doing regional theater and professional theater because there’s always roles for all ages, including young people. I got lucky and had an equity company hire me when I was fourteen because they needed someone my age, and I was there.  I feel like there is no better training for acting than the theater. Obviously, there’s different on-camera techniques and different styles, but just the fact that it’s such a discipline… you have to show up on time. You have to know your lines. You have to be able to work with everyone. I mean, you can’t be a diva.  It just requires a lot of discipline. I started doing theater in general when I was ten or eleven, and I feel like it really helps build that maturity level and helped be to be able to work with adults. I have met kid actors who can speak so eloquently and it’s because of the fact that they’ve been working with adults since they were five, six,  seven. I feel like theater is a great way to hone that in. Professionalism is something that causes people to trust you, and you trust them.

You certainly come across really well. You’re twenty, and I’ve interviewed many people in their twenties who haven’t necessarily found themselves yet. Sometimes younger actors don’t quite know how to present themselves, and it takes a few years for them to mature. But you carry yourself extremely professionally.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

You are quite extraordinary, Valerie, and you have a good head on your shoulders. It’s been a joy to talk with you. Anything else you want to mention?

Yes, I wanted to make sure I mention the two big things I have coming up. I’ve got a short film and an indie film.  The short is called Intrepid. It premiered last month. I’m the lead in that, and it’s a magical fantasy adventure. The second one is called En Garde!  It was supposed to be produced by Gary Marshall, but he passed away about two weeks before we started shooting. It also had its first screening last month. I’m so sad that I didn’t get to meet Gary ’cause I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was a child. So those are the two projects that are recently out, and I hope that everyone will keep an eye out for them.

Valerie is one of those special, multi-talented young people who has been rather self-aware for most of her life. She didn’t seem to have much of an identity crisis as she entered those formative teen years because she merely followed her passion and did all within her power to cultivate her innate skills. While some young people give up when the going gets tough, Valerie persevered and labored even harder to accomplish her dreams. It is rare to find a young woman as determined as she, and I applaud her for her many accomplishments thus far. Although her career is only beginning, I have no doubt that this gifted, vivacious, benevolent soul will continue to blossom and thrive as she pursues and ultimately achieves every vision and goal within her heart and mind. If you are so inclined, I would invite you to participate in Valerie’s journey by following her at the links below. Thanks to her sunny, kind, and positive disposition, Valerie instills hope and peace in a world that all too often focuses on the negative, and I couldn’t be more optimistic for her future!

FOLLOW VALERIE

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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

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