We had the good fortune of connecting with Lexi Sisk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lexi, what do you attribute your success to?
I think the most important factor behind my success is that I do it purely for the love of it. I have worked in film for almost a decade now and have never tried to have this extraordinary career in the industry or tried to be this big famous person. I love all aspects of it and the history that was created from it. I just love being a part of the entertainment industry in any way that I can and have dabbled in, just about, every type of production. I also think that that’s what has kept me safe and out of trouble as well. If a person or gig sounded shady or too good to be true I have always been able to walk away from it not caring if it was a legitimate thing or not. Doesn’t matter, if I’m uncomfortable or not sure about something I walk away from it plain and simple. I think my family, and parents specifically, are able to sleep and happy knowing I’ve never been sexually harassed. No job or dream is worth your life or safety and I strongly live by that. I think its also important to be honest with yourself about what you want out of your dream and journey and what you want to accomplish. There is nothing wrong with chasing glamour but it’s important to admit that. Someone I knew had been able to quit their day job and live in a 2 bedroom apartment in an expensive part in LA working as an actor full time. They were venting to me one day that they were exhausted and simply wanted to make it in the industry. To my standards they had in fact “made it” but what they were referring to was not being on magazine covers and working with Brad Pitt everyday. Aim for the stars but also give yourself the gold star you deserve when you accomplish something.
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.
Well, a lot has changed since my last interview with Voyage LA Magazine. There are a lot of exciting things in place. Being locked down in a pandemic makes you think about all of the things you miss doing and the things you wish you had done when you had the chance. This pandemic has had so much uncertainty and something about that makes you prepared to roll the dice without hesitation. My first gig in this business was working as a casting directors assistant and her family worked in locations in film and television and I took immediate interest in that. Being so new to the business, my boss told me to start as a PA and learn what I could first. Fast forward to current time, eight years later, I was still a PA and still thought about doing locations but with no follow through.
During the pandemic I had a serious talk with my husband about focusing on locations 100%. I started reading up on things to get involved in and found that the Locations Guild has an apprenticeship membership. The only difference from an apprentice membership and professional membership is that you cannot vote or sit on the board as an apprentice. Which is perfectly fine because I’m nowhere near doing anything like that. The guild has zoom meetings, articles, and things that come from location professionals straight from set that are valuable tips and information. I’m extremely thankful to the board for voting and approving me as an apprentice. As a member I have access to a lot of people that could teach me a lot and everyone I have interacted with have been nothing but kind, supportive, and more than happy to guide me. I’ve met a lot of location managers that are responsible for the locations in shows and films that I have grown up with so I tip my hat to them especially.
The Locations Guild has a lot of opportunities. As a member we are responsible for serving on committees. I’ve volunteered for the awards and Comic-Con committee. One of the best things, so far, is that I am meeting location professionals from all over the world. We have had zoom meetings with panels that have been from Africa and Iran. Years ago a friend of mine shot a series of commercials in Ireland and I always thought that was the coolest thing ever. It’s on my bucket list to see or work on a production overseas. The guild has an international committee that interacts and works with location professionals out of the country so I hope that I will, one day, see a set in a different country through this program.
I hope that I am able to contribute something of permanent value to the locations guild and world of locations as a whole. I’m excited to be stepping into it and find locations that can be celebrated and showcased the way others have. I think there is something very special about seeing a building, house, or location in a film or a show and that location existing and you can go see it in person. When you see it in person you are sort of able to step into that world that you saw on your tv screen. It’s especially cool when the house or building is used as it is. The Murder House, for example, in American Horror story is used the way it is and the inside of the house is exactly what you see in the show. That is extremely rare and makes the uniqueness of the mansion that much more special and gorgeous. Things like that are what got me interested in locations in the first place.
I am currently working to build my resume in locations and build my credits on IMDB. I am also accumulating days for a professional membership with the Location Managers Guild International and accumulating days to go union.
I wouldn’t say the road to where I am was “Easy” because it takes a lot of work and hustle. In the film business you need to advertise yourself the same way a real estate agent would. Your work comes from word of mouth. You need to constantly be putting yourself out there and letting people know you are available for a shoot. When you hear people say that networking is most important, they are right. It’s important to keep in touch with everyone and not expect anyone to come to you. That’s not how it works.
Being active in the business in any way has always completely fulfilled me but I had a moment of “making it” when I was referred for a commercial shoot by a commercial producer that I had never met but she heard such good things about me that she had no problem throwing my name out even though we had never spoken in any way or met face to face. That meant a lot to me that she had that kind of faith in a stranger and I am very proud of that.
I think the most important lesson in the film industry is that It’s important to be kind to everyone. Not only because its human decency but you never know who knows who. Bad news travels quicker than good news and even someone in catering could know a producer or someone high up the latter. You know, just be a nice human. An important habit I think I have made for myself and that everyone can benefit from is that I always ask who referred me for a gig and immediately thank that person directly. We are responsible for ourselves as freelancers but the person who refers you is also sticking their neck out for you. I don’t take that lightly in any way and always make sure to thank that person.
I want the world to know that the film industry has some of the hardest working people out there. It’s not the glamour fest that people think it is. I’ve met so many individuals that were living in their car while working two or more jobs. We aren’t talking about our week with Ryan Reynolds over coffee when we’re on set. This job requires you to endure bad weather, some of the ugliest personalities you can imagine, long hours, and if you aren’t a director or producer you get little to no thanks once the job is done. A friend of mine shocked me with a statement that was so blunt but so true, “It’s show ‘business’ not show ‘friends”. I cant tell you how true that is but its worth it when you watch something you worked on and know exactly what was put into it.
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?
Oh gosh a week would not be a long enough trip in Los Angeles. My best friend has lived out of state all the years I’ve worked in film so there is a lot id like to share with her. There’s a lot to do and I actually do plan to show my best friend around Los Angeles when she moves back to California, so Dasha get ready! You cant’ go wrong with seeing the Hollywood sign. The view alone is amazing but the sign is a beauty all its own. One of my favorite areas is Bachman Street in Studio city. Lots of shopping and my favorite restaurant is Vitello’s, the best margarita pizza in my opinion. The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Chateau Marmont, Musso and Frank Grill are all places to find good food and there is a ton of history there. I usually take my husband or a friend to the Television Academy building on Lankershim Blvd in Burbank, the property is stunning and the 27 foot tall Emmy Statue will make you speechless. I have never been to the Magic Castle but would like to go one day and whom better to go with than your best friend?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The biggest support has come from my mom. When I was living at home, our garage was detached from the house and our cars were parked outside. In the winter my car windows would frost from the cold. If I had an early call time my mom would always get up, sometimes before I got up, and pour water on my windows and defrost them for me before I headed out to set. I’ll never forget that. She would drive me to interviews and attend events with me too, she’s my favorite award show date. My husband is my rock and the glue that holds me together. He’s more than supportive of everything I do and helps in any way that he can.
Other than my actual parents I have five other parents that have supported and encouraged me in anything I have done most of my life and some for my whole life; Shelly Smith, Chuck and Noelle Golling, Jessy Hudgins, and Nina Sensenbaugh.
I was on a shoot and an actors wife was speaking with me and somehow we ended up chatting about things on her mind and things she needed to confide in someone about. I had no problem being an open ear for her. She thanked me and wanted to show thanks by introducing me to some people that lead me to other gigs and opportunities. This was when I was a production assistant and I had no way to re-pay her for this other than saying “thank you” a million times. Each time I thanked her she said “well, someone helped me”. That has been burned in my mind ever since and I try to be a source of encouragement to others and pass on the help and support that was given to me.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the kindest and most selfless people on the planet and wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things I’ve done without help, love and support from them and it means more to me than they know. So a big thank you and shout out to; Carollyn Devore and her family, my best friend in the whole world Dasha Marsden, Nancy O’Hara, David McKinney, Peggy’ O’Rourke, Donna Russo, Zack and Meghan Allen, Meredith Thomas, Rhonda Stern, Sarah Soghomonian, Patty Zubov, Joyce Mitchell, Steve Shlisky, and Randy Forsman.