Jane Allsop | Careers Talk AUS
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What inspired you to want to become an actor?

I’m not entirely sure what drove me toward being an actress. It certainly wasn’t to chase any form of recognition or celebrity though. I think it was probably just a natural progression of my interest in reading and recognising the subtle shifts in people’s behaviour, and the psychology that motivates that.

Through acting classes I then discovered the buzz of embodying those complexities of another person. I’m also a big believer that film, television and theatre are all capable of showing an audience people and perspectives they may not normally encounter.

That can be immensely powerful and even world changing, because when we broaden our understanding of other people and perspectives it generates empathy, and it’s much harder to be cruel to people if we empathise with them.

What performing arts related activities did you participate in whilst you were at school to build your career?

I studied drama through all my high school years, and attended a variety of different acting classes outside of school all my life from the age of 9, and studied Creative Arts at Victorian College of the Arts- http://vca.unimelb.edu.au/

All of my acting teachers have been inspiring in different ways, and taught me different things about the craft of acting. My peers and other great actors constantly inspire me too, and will continue to all my life I imagine. You never cease to learn with acting.

Once you completed school, what were the steps you took to pursue your profession?

I already had an agent at that point, but I continued to study and auditioned as much as I could. I was always doing acting courses or new workshops trying to learn all I could. And I put a show reel of my work together.

What was the best piece of advice you received to encourage you to pursue your career goals?

Obviously hearing people’s positive feedback about your work is always encouraging, and getting praise from people you respect does help you to have faith in yourself. Ultimately though, the desire to pursue a career in acting needs to come from within.

What have been some of the highlights of you career journey so far?

I owe a lot to my 5 years on Blue Heelers because being immersed in a show for 60 hours a week, 42 weeks of the year taught me a lot about the technical skills required of an actor, and how to be prepared to work at such an unrelenting and intensive pace.

The real highlights though have probably come with the calibre of directors, writers and actors I’ve had the privilege of working with. Shows like “Rake”, “Tangle” and “The Slap” have been particularly special.

Some young people who are passionate about performing arts don’t pursue a career after school in acting, as they are concerned they won’t have a secure career. What advice can you offer young people who are thinking about pursing a career in the performing arts industry? 

It’s not a secure job, and that can be very daunting at times. It does pay well when you are employed though, which can help you ride the times of unemployment. I’ve been very lucky thus far in my career and never had a “real job” as such, except for teaching drama at times.

Having a secondary way to make money isn’t a bad idea, but acting is a difficult thing to pursue if you work full time at a law firm or office, and can’t make it to auditions at short notice. That probably explains why most actors supplement their income with more casual forms of employment when required.

There is a saying that ‘if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’. What do you find to be personally fulfilling about your career in acting and how have you kept motivated to pursue your dreams when you haven’t secured roles you’ve auditioned for.

It’s true that acting never really feels like work as such. But it does take a lot of commitment and effort, and a willingness to set your alarm with times that sometimes begin with a 4. It also takes a lot of mental resilience. You need to understand the many factors that go into casting a role, and not take those rejections as a measure of your worth.

Keeping in mind that careers are constructed over your lifetime, what are your career goals and plans for the future?

I’d just like to continue working for as long as possible. I want to work on the best material I can, and alongside great producers, directors and actors. You’re always searching for exciting, challenging roles that can push you to explore new areas. And whilst directing is definitely an interest, I think acting is the true passion.

Any other comments or advice you can offer young people considering a career in performing arts?

When I was at school, “actor” wasn’t even listed as a possible career in our careers booklet. There are so many other careers in the film and television industry too, that never got a mention. There are hundreds of fascinating jobs in and around the entertainment industry: art department, set designers, wardrobe, sound recordists, camera operators, gaffers, grips, makeup artists, editors and more…

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Jane has appeared in many TV shows and movies, such as Blue Heelers, The Slap, Rake, House Husbands, and Underbelly.