I tried to control my fan-girling when I asked her about casting her first feature, Desperately Seeking Susan. For me that movie was just the coolest thing ever because it starred the first lady of pop, Madonna. But don’t worry. I played it cool.
In fact there was a lot for me to actor geek out over. All of the projects Risa has cast over the years are an actors dream. Born on the 4th of July, Dead Presidents, and Roseanne! She also directed the film 200 Cigarettes with an incredible ensemble cast. I won’t go on to list her resume because you can Google it for yourself and see just how many projects she has been involved in.
You’ll notice, Risa has worked on a lot of Oliver Stone movies. She describes their relationship of that of mentor and mentee. She says she learned from him and grew professionally under his father figure-like guidance. She also talks about a lack of female mentors for directors today in a very male dominant section of the industry.
It’s clear how much she loves actors and wants to help guide them. So much so she and her partner Steve Braun (former MIH guest!) opened the BGB Acting Studio in North Hollywood. She describes it as a community of actors rather than just a place for classes. I’ve studied there and I can attest to the familial feeling. I really want to go back too but first I have to figure out this whole mom/podcast/writing/actor schedule that I’m juggling lately.
There’s one part in particular toward the end of the interview that I want my actor friends to hear. I asked her about knowing when it’s time to quit the biz. When do you have to come to terms with the fact that you may never “make it” and figure out how to make a life for yourself outside Hollywood? Whoah. Heavy for MIH! But listen to what she says then let me know what you think.
She was surprisingly very open about the challenges she faced when starting a family which I know many people can relate to. She says no matter what odds she faced, not having children was never an option.
Many of my mom actor friends wonder how they will be able to juggle having a family and working regularly. Risa was very open about the fact that she had lots of help while she was working from nanny’s to family and friends. The takeaway being, you do what you have to do to make it work. And family is at the center of it all. I love that!
I soaked up every second I could with Risa. It’s not often that someone with her experience and knowledge really takes the time to share what they’ve learned so that others can be lifted up. I truly hope you find value in this interview. I know I did.
For more information on Risa’s studio go to www.bramongarciabraun.com