In Conversation With Actress & Producer Cynthia Bravo
Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Actress & Producer, Cynthia Bravo. Cynthia was born in Mexico and moved to Los Angeles in 2011. In 2012 she founded Glix Entertainment.
In the last three years, Cynthia Bravo has successfully produced over 20 independent projects ranging from award winning feature films, short films and corporate videos to award winning commercials. Previous films include the award winning feature film The Last Night Inn directed by John Heath; co-production of the award winning feature film Actor for Hire by Marcus Mizelle, the associate production of the award winning feature film The Broken Legacy by Miguel Garzon, Blue Line starring Tom Sizemore. Cynthia Bravo is also the founder of Glix for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization that provides free guidance and resources to upcoming filmmakers.
Norm: Good day Cynthia and thanks for participating in our interview.
How did you get involved in acting, what was your training and how long have you been an actress?
Cynthia: Hi Norm, thank you for the interview. I’ve been acting since I can remember; I was always part of any and all theater productions at school; but that was just for fun.
I did my undergrad in Business Administration and Marketing, but since I always had a passion for acting, right after graduation, I auditioned for the BFA Acting program at UBC in Vancouver, Canada; that’s a conservatory type of program, and they only take about 12 students per year.
Fortunately I was one of them, so in 2009 I moved to Vancouver to pursue a BFA in Acting. Half way though it, I decided I wanted to focus on film, so in January 2011, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. In between semesters, I would take directing and producing classes; I’m very passionate about the industry and I just wanted to learn it all. I completed my MFA in Acting and then I went for the Certificate in Producing at UCLA Extension.
Norm: What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far in your careers?
Cynthia: I’m very proud of Hide in the Light, a horror film about a group of Urban Explorers who break into an abandoned orphanage and quickly find themselves trapped inside the building and fighting unnatural forces.
I had never done any horror before, and it was very fun and intense. I’ve always been inclined to drama, and comedy comes natural to me, but after doing Hide in the Light I can’t wait for the next horror film project.
Norm: What would make you turn down a role as an actress?
Cynthia: I think the story is the most important element in film, each role is just a piece of the puzzle, and if the story is not strong, the size of the role wound not matter. You have to understand the story, find it’s uniqueness and commit to it; however, if the story does not resonate with you, if you cannot give your 100% to the role and the material, then it’s not worth doing.
Norm: How much research do you undertake for a role?
Cynthia: I think it really depends on the role. If I’m doing a period piece I would have to first understand that specific period of time, understand what was socially acceptable and socially expected; that requieres more research than doing a contemporary piece.
Then there’s the character itself, which is more than research, I think it’s an exploration.
I find myself discovering the character, which already exists without me, I’m just a medium for the character to come to life, so there’s a lot “what if”; imagining what my character would do in every situation, why would she say or do something specific. It’s extremely important to make choices, and it’s even more important to be prepared to let go of those choices and be open to adjustments.
Norm: What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, body weight, etc etc, that you have done to land a role?
Cynthia: Once I did a short play in which I had to interpret 3 different characters, it was a comedy and while it was a lot of fun, it was also very physically exhausting; I had to go from a flamboyant young gay man, to an old lady, to a very sensual woman. I had about 5 minutes between each character, which included changing wardrobe, and preparing for the next character.
I haven’t had to do anything major for film yet, but I would welcome the opportunity to embody someone completely different than me.
Norm: What kind of roles do you prefer?
Cynthia: I like roles and stories inspired by true events. I also enjoy complex fictional characters that represent a challenge and allow me to learn something new. Overall, I treasure the opportunity to be able to inspire and be inspired.
Norm: What are the qualities in actors you most admire?
Cynthia: Vulnerability and dedication
Norm: In which area would you like to improve as an actress?
Cynthia: I’m working on eliminating my accent (Mexican) because it does limit the roles that I can play. Being present, and being vulnerable is something that you have to practice on a daily basis too. I’m not sure of specific areas to improve, but I do love learning and constantly challenging myself.
Norm: Which do you prefer, being an actress or a producer and why?
Cynthia: I’m a very passionate filmmaker, and I really enjoy every aspect of it. With producing I feel that I have more control, and different responsibilities with a more tangible result. Since I have a background in Business Administration, producing came somewhat easy to me. But if I had to choose something, I would choose acting. It’s like being in love, you can’t necessarily explain it, but you know it makes you complete. I love acting; I’m grateful for all the wonderful acting opportunities I’ve had, and I look forward to the ones to come.
Norm: How did you become involved in producing films?
Cynthia: I wanted to learn more about the industry, so during one of my summer breaks form the MFA, I enrolled into a Filmmaking workshop. As part of the classes we had to produce our own films, so I had to learn a little bit about producing.
Later, when I graduated from my MFA, I decided to produce my own content and I came to realize that producing and Business Administration were pretty similar: you have to optimize resources, understand contracts, guilds, hire personnel, find vendors, etc.
I successfully produced a couple of projects for myself, and then a friend asked me to help her with her project, and then someone else got referred to me, and without even noticing, suddenly I was being paid to produce other projects. I embraced the opportunity but I also felt a huge responsibility, so I enrolled into a Producing Certificate at UCLA Extension; people were trusting me with their projects so I wanted to be prepared. I realize that there’s always something to learn and there’s always room for improvement, so I keep taking clases and challenging myself.
Norm: How has the film industry changed over the past ten years?
Cynthia: I wouldn’t be able to answer this question from experience, since I’ve only been in the business for 3 years. But what I do know, is that you can create your own opportunities. You no longer have to wait for a studio to pick up your film; if you are smart, with limited resources, you can accomplish high quality content. There are profitable self distribution channels that did not exist in the past, so all you really need to make a film is passion and a good story. Since it’s way more affordable to create content, the competition is huge, so you have to be able to stand out from the crowd.
Norm: If you could change just one thing about the film industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?
Cynthia: As an actor/actress it’s very common to get typecast, sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to actually show your acting range, even if you can do it, you walk into a room and they see something in you and that’s it, either you “look” the part or you don’t.
I would change that. As a producer, there’s a lot of empty talking, there’s a weird need to impress everyone around you that leads people to brag about unnecessary things, that’s what I would change there. I prefer honesty, I’m not easily impressed with who you “know”, but rather what you’ve accomplished.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
Cynthia: Company website: www.glixentertainment.com
Non Profit: www.glixforthearts.com
Norm: What is next for Cynthia Bravo?
Cynthia: The next feature I'm producing is called The Bone Box, a fantastic horror film about a grave robber who comes to believe that he’s being haunted by those he stole from. The writer/Director, Luke Genton is super talented and passionate about his project. Gonzalo Digenio, who has a fantastic eye for framing, lighting, camera movement and aesthetics, will be the Cinematographer, and Gareth Koorzen is playing the lead character and is also helping with the production. After the The Bone Box I have plans of filming in Mexico, another super interesting horror feature film around Mexico's day of the dead celebration. I’m interested in directing a little bit more, so I might pick up a couple of short films in between feature films.
Norm: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It's been an absolute pleasure to interview you and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
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