We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Telfer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, why did you pursue a creative career?
I think my answer to this changes daily. Recently, I joked that being an artist is cheaper than therapy. This is a terrible joke, because therapy is very important and because being an artist isn’t always cheap (and because the person I told it to didn’t laugh, but that’s beside the point). My ill-spoken meaning, however, was that pursuing creativity allows me to process the cognitive and emotional dissonances of daily life. So often, I, or we, try to put things into boxes. We have “hard” seasons, or we have “happy seasons.” We feel excited, or we feel sad. Things are bad, or things are good. But if this year has taught me anything, it’s that neat little boxes don’t allow for the nuances and the complexity of growth to emerge. And those nuances are what I find so fascinating about being an actor. Creativity allows opposing emotions to both be true. And valid. People get divorces while having incredible career success. People meet the love of their life while their best friendships are ending. Babies are born while people are dying. It’s all very confusing, but it’s all very human. And I think pursuing an artistic career is the constant search for those dissonances and constantly yelling into the void, “MY LIFE DOESN”T MAKE SENSE. DOES YOURS?” And hoping others yell back “OH THANK GOD, MINE DOESN’T EITHER.” C.S. Lewis is famously quoted describing friendship as someone telling you, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” I’d like to think pursuing an artistic career is something like a consistent back and forth of people saying that: “You too? I thought I was the only one.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m an actor, singer, and occasional theatrical producer/director. Entering into my third(!) year in Los Angeles, I finally feel like I’ve built a home network of friends and coworkers in film, tv, and commercial work. I love the constant change that comes with new sets and new, bustling talent. I’d never met so many driven, curious, intelligent, and eccentric people until I moved to LA. I’d like to think I’m a part of that in some small way. I’d rather see myself as joining the collaborative effort to make interesting things and to create beautiful worlds than to set myself apart from others.
I have my own unique experiences and dreams and curiosities to offer, and I do, all the time. But, in a profession that’s so focused on who you are and what sets you apart, it’s really easy to get lost — either from self-deprecation or from inflated ego. It’s easy to find myself lost in both, every day. The challenging part is not letting the no’s affirm that deprecation, and not letting the yes’s affirm that ego. So these days, I just try to keep my head down and continually learn more about myself and the world. The more I understand who I am, the more I can honestly and wholeheartedly offer that to the creative world. Or at least, that’s what I’m practicing.
Tangibly, that looks like working hard, finding creative outlets, and enjoying life with loved ones. I try to have multiple projects in the works at all times. Worst case, none of them pan out, and I wasn’t excessively attached to any one because there were so many out there. Or maybe just one pans out, which means I’m lucky enough to be working! Best case, I’m crazy busy doing what I love and hopefully meeting people that are doing what they love too. And isn’t that what living should be? Committing yourself to the things you love, that grow you and the world around you for the better?
SO. I am most proud of the projects that I felt most connected with and loved. I have a couple shorts and features coming out this year that I felt honored to be a part of. I just finished an experimental, international, virtual staging of Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov with Lit Moon Theatre that I thoroughly enjoyed. The theatre festival I co-produce, Ten Minute Play, will revive when it’s safe to do so. (The stage is my favorite world of art to be in. It’s lively and dynamic and human. People breath together in the theater. I miss that. I think we all miss that.) Ultimately, I am just consistently grateful to be doing what I love, day to day. It’s not glamorous, but it’s interesting, and it’s what I enjoy. And if that’s something I can offer to this world — passion — then I’ll do my best!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is so much pressure! I’d tell them to go for a bike ride around Silverlake. They’d definitely need to eat deep dish pizza at Masa of Echo Park, get tacos at Leo’s Tacos Truck, and drink cheap margaritas at Trophy Wife or a glass of wine on the patio at Edendale. I’d check who was playing at the Bootleg Theater and maybe catch a 99-seat theatre show somewhere in Hollywood. Go to a comedy show. Explore Topanga Canyon. Camp in Malibu. Swim the water holes at Switzer Falls. LA is always changing; there’s way too much to do!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My sister, Tori Telfer, is my number one supporter and role model when it comes to artistic pursuit. She was the first person I’d ever witnessed pursuing a career as a freelance artist smoothly and diligently. She didn’t romanticize it or debase it. She just did it. And she inspires me daily to do the same.
Other: email: email@example.com