Canadian actress and comedian, Mara Marini, best known for her role of Brandi Marxxxx on the NBC Comedy, Parks & Recreation, shares what goes on behind-the-scenes of a television set, her advice to upcoming actors and her newest film Alongside Night.
Q: What process did you go through to land the role of Brandi Maxxxx?
A: I auditioned for the role. Originally the character was just going to be in one episode. Amy Poehler actually wrote me back into the following episode. (She wrote and directed that episode, "The Debate", which was nominated for an Emmy.) :)
Q: What are some of the things that go on behind-the-scenes that have to happen in order to make Parks & Rec a success?
A: It was such a phenomenal place to work - everyone was having a great time - from the writers to crew to actors to wardrobe and makeup. I think it was in large part to how amazing Amy is too - she made everyone feel welcome and valuable which permeated into everything.
Q: Describe a typical day on a television show set. Every set is a bit different.
A: Parks and Rec was a dream. My general experience (to use Parks as an example) is you get to set and you are taken to your trailer. From there, you can grab some coffee/food at craft services and then you are usually brought to hair and makeup. From there, sometimes you can go check things out on set or head back to your trailer. Then you are called for rehearsals. Then they touch you up and you shoot. Then there's a lunch break. (Amy Poehler put music on in the makeup trailer after lunch and we had a dance party to get "warmed up" to go back to work. Not every set is as amazing as this! Lol.) Then you are retouched and back to set to continue shooting. Depending on the order of scenes, you either go back to your trailer and then come back to shoot more or you are let go if your scenes are finished.
Q: What are some of the most positive traits that you have to embody as an actress?
A: I think some of the most important traits you can embody as an actress are faith in yourself and your talent (confidence) and that you are meant to be doing this; trust in your training and your work (again, linked to confidence); remaining positive, excited and thick-skinned(so much of what is involved in "landing the role" is out of your hands, so as long as you go in there and make a fan - that's your job - you can't take "not getting the part" personally.Ever.)
Q: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
A: I have been writing a couple really exciting projects and am waiting to hear on a few things that I can't announce quite yet! One project is launching in October - I will tweet and Instagram it as soon as I am allowed to. In the meantime, I am shooting a webseries and I just wrapped a short film with Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), directed by Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The 100).
Q: Any tips for success you'd like to share with budding actors?
A: A piece of advice that really resonated with me when I was first starting out was "know what you are selling". You have something to offer that no one else does. Hone into what that is and lead with it. It doesn't mean you have to play that forever, but allow that to get you in the door. That, and know that there is no formula to this crazy business. There is no 2+2=4, necessarily. You can have all the training in the world and be at the top of your game and then your friend steps off the plane at LAX and gets an agent off his/her "look" (although that is very rare). What I mean to say is: don't compare yourself to anyone. Your path is your own and won't look like anyone else's. But if this is what you want to do and there is nothing else that makes you as happy as this, trust your heart and keep going.
Q: Anything else you'd like to share?
A: A movie I am in, Alongside Night (starring Kevin Sorbo/ Hercules and directed by J Neil Schulman) was just released on DVD with fun behind-the-scenes extras. It’s a political thriller set in Las Vegas, and is very timely with all the election news. I also write and host a funny webseries about online dating called It's A Match with Mara Marini: http://www.playboy.com/videos/mara-marini-perfect-profile-picture. You can also keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat: @popgloss.
Image source; NBC