Diary of an actress #23: The Unstoppable Leah Cevoli (Part 1)
Leah Cevoli: When I was a young girl I was always performing for whoever would watch, family gatherings and holidays were my favorite time of year, because I had a captive audience, and being the oldest of five, I had a built in cast of players at my disposal. I took dance classes, modeling, gymnastics, cheerleading, choir, and drama as a child but as I got older I began to let my passions slip to the side, I guess I felt I wasn’t good enough at any one of those things, to seriously pursue any of those as a career, and so I focused more on education. I was/am extremely smart and was always in all the honor classes. A bit of a dichotomy as I was also the girl wearing guns n’ roses t-shirts in those honor classes... a bit of a nerdy/rocker I suppose. I obtained a double degree in Psychology and Elem Education, and then something happened that changed the course of my life. I ended up working on tour with my favorite rock band, Poison in 1999, assisting with Bret Michaels’ fan club. And for me, that was it, it opened my eyes up that there was a whole ‘nother world outside of the Philadelphia/Delaware County area filled with rock stars and movie stars and I wanted to be a part of that. I didn’t know how or why, I just knew that I had to go and give it a shot.
Side Note (This was 15 years ago and Philly was NOT the cultural center and thriving entertainment community that it is today. I didn’t know anyone pursuing a creative life out in my hometown. Things have changed a lot since then!)
So I packed up my bags and my car, with a few hundred dollars in my pocket and no real plans for housing or a job, and I moved to Hollywood, California.
CW: I hear you are involved in a pretty awesome project, please tell us more about it!
LC: Ooh, Space Command! Space Command www.SpaceCommandMovie.com is a project created by writer Marc Zicree (Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, TN ). It is a series of sci-fi feature films that will follow 2 families, The Kemmers, and The Sekanders over the course of about 2 centuries. The thing with Space Command is, the team behind it are people whose faces you may not recognize, but their work you surely do. Our character designer for instance, Iain McCaig designed Darth Maul, as well as a ton of legendary characters and movies, like Interview with a Vampire, Harry Potter, and Avengers; and the producers Marc and Neil Johnson decided that they wanted to produce a film(s) that were studio quality, without having to go through the major studios to make it (or hope that it got made). So Marc and Neil took it to Kickstarter. I first got involved with this project as a social media intern in the spring of 2012. This soon turned into me coordinating and assisting with a very successful San Diego Comic Con Panel, Appearance and Party, and have since been hired as their Social Media Director, as well as an Associate Producer on the project. The entire process has been amazing so far, we tripled our original goal on Kickstarter, raising over $221,000!
The project gets more exciting every day, with many well-known sci fi actors coming on-board every day. (Sybil Danning, Armin Schirmerman, Robert Picardo, etc). We are scheduled to start shooting the first of four movies, Empire, in the spring of 2013. Please follow us on www.twitter.com/SpaceCommandMov as well as Facebook and YouTube.
You have to be really committed to make this career work. You have to be willing to watch your friends back home buy homes, and start families while you’re still living in an apartment, auditioning for day-player and co-star roles. AND you have to be thrilled about it. If the passion is not there, don’t even bother. It’s not an easy path, there are many milestones that will go unnoticed by family and friends, because what seems huge to you, say getting a producer session for a major horror film that you would love to be in, well when you don’t get that role, most of the world sees that as a let-down, and it’s NOT. It’s to be celebrated, because guess what, you got that far, and next time you’ll get farther.
For me personally, I do a lot of yoga, a lot of journaling, and meditation. I focus on the journey, and celebrate each success. I try not to compare myself to anyone else’s journey because we are all unique, and try to be the best me that I can be.
I also try to align myself with great people. Positive people, who want to lift each other up. I’m a connector, I always have been. I enjoy referring people for projects and gigs that I think they would be great for, and in doing so, hopefully that leads to a strong community where people have my back as well. It can be dog eat dog world out in Hollywood, not going to lie, but it can also be a warm, wonderful, community of people who support and respect each other.
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