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16-24 MAI 2023

2021 Full coverage / Sample of newsletters 
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Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at We Audition Event 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival DD. Photo by Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Darren Darnborough is a British actor, host & director based in Los Angeles. His TV work includes the hit shows “True Blood”, “2 Broke Girls” and “Roots” and film work includes “Abruptio”, “20Ft Below” and “Stefano Formaggio”. He was trained in London, UK where he worked as an actor on stage and television, before relocating to Hollywood.


You're an actor, producer and writer in LA. Did you always know filmmaking is what you want to do?

DD: Not really… I was interested in performing as a child, and did a lot of amateur dramatics and classes, but it was really just for fun. In my teens I started to take it more seriously, and then started working professionally as an actor at 16. I went to continue my acting education at University, but quickly changed course to Film & Media Arts for a couple of reasons… I wasn’t convinced I would be creatively fulfilled on the acting course, because a lot of the work was repeating what I’d learned years before in my weekend classes, and secondly, I really wanted to understand the technical side of filmmaking better, as I think it makes you a better, more professionally aware actor to know what’s going on. As a side note, I think also when you make films too, you take things less personally as an actor and it helps you navigate this tumultuous profession with more ease and less negativity.


You've worked on multiple films and TV series. Do you have something you are most proud of working on?

DD: Honestly, I’m really proud to work on any professional set, because I know the sheer amount of talent and collective effort it takes, and I don’t take that likely. More recently, I’m proud to be working on sets that are really changing the game and uplifting traditionally under-represented talent, such as projects led and directed by women (such as Groundswell and 7000 Miles) to multilingual projects led by AAPI talents like Jamojaya, and groundbreaking work like Abruptio - a film that’s made entirely using lifelike life-size puppets, something never really been seen before.


Being from the UK, do you find it easier to work in the film business in LA as opposed to the UK? Or more challenging?

DD: It’s a double-edged sword - I did find it challenging when I first moved, as you are really starting again from scratch, in both life and career. However, I find the work ethic and ambition so inspiring in the US (particularly in LA and New York) so that spirit and enthusiasm keeps the hustle alive, vigorous and vibrant. Seeing other’s success pushes me towards it, vs. makes it feel challenging. If you can see it, you can become one.


You work with a new interactive audition and chat portal called WeAudition. Can you tell us about that?

DD: I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of alongside the talented actor and co-founder Richard Cambridge. We launched WeAudition back in 2015 and it’s a worldwide community of professional working actors that support each other on auditions and self-tapes through video-chat. It’s a really inspiring community based on the premise that we can help each other succeed instead of being competitive and it’s having such a great impact on the industry. I’m very proud of the work we are doing and the talent we are supporting.


Was it Covid and lock downs that inspired WeAudition? Has it helped multiple actors reach casting agents and producers since its launch?

DD: No, actually we designed and built WeAudition several years before in 2015, and although we had a strong following and membership before the pandemic, when everything moved online, we definitely grew as the product and software was ready to be useful and supportive to all actors that needed it during that time. We also managed to involve leading worldwide casting directors like Sophie Holland who met actors one-on-one every day throughout the whole pandemic, eventually casting some in The Witcher, so it was a wonderful resource. The best part was getting messages from actors daily on how the community helped them with their mental health during that time, because of the camaraderie, and how it helped their finances by allowing them to work as self-tape Readers from their home.


You held an event at Cannes for WeAudition. Can you speak about that and how that went?

DD: We’re strong believers in the power of film festivals for impacting your career, not just when you have a film in the festival. Festivals are an incredible hotbed of creative talent and inspiring education, and we believe you should attend to support your fellow filmmakers and go and meet and build relationships with the best in your industry. We host a group of talent called our Ones To Watch - these are hardworking, successful talented actors from traditionally under-represented backgrounds, and we provide them luxury accommodations, an in-house PR, photo shoots, video interviews and event invites, so they are elevated during the festival to have the best experience and hopefully some future career changing moments. This year in Cannes, in addition to myself and Richard, we were joined by Andrea Guo, Ashleigh Morghan, Gina May, Isabelle Du, Kulan Farah, Nikki SooHoo & Sallieu Sesay - an incredibly talented bunch. Then we also host a huge event on the first Friday at the WeAudition House, called The Future Of Casting where over 300 actors, casting directors and agents gather for a great party, and a panel with leading casting directors about what the future of our industry holds.


At the event there was a panel called “The Future of Casting”. Who was on the panel and were there any crucial takeaway points from the panel?

DD: This year in Cannes, our panelists were Luci Lenox, Cassandra Han, Annette Trumel (Casting Directors) and Gina May (actress, whose recent film won both Sundance & SXSW). There was such great energy in the room, and a very inspiring discussion. The key takeaways really were that there is no single right way to cast a project, especially if you are looking for something diverse and authentic, so as an actor you’re encouraged to embrace new technologies and methods to show your skill and build relationships, as well as maintaining more traditional means. For instance, Gina May was cast in a short film “When You Left Me On That Boulevard” after responding to an Instagram ad… the film went on to win Grand Jury Shorts at Sundance, and Texas Shorts at SXSW, so hugely successful, but now Gina is very aware of the time & effort she needs to put in to learn the systems and practices to sustain that career, and is doing that work. I find this very exciting, as quality talent is everywhere and should be given a fair chance to shine, and not only if you live in a major metropolitan city or could afford an expensive drama school. It’s the work, the effort and the respect for process that’s important, and the industry will discover future stars like Gina if we are open to it.

DD CONT'D: Another topic echoed our friend Adam Morse’s sentiments, which he shared at his Crystal Vision Foundation launch - that we need to move away from striving for ‘diversity’ in a manufactured sense, and move towards ‘accuracy’ in representation on screen. Look around you and check that you are casting accurately to truly display life and authentic representation - don’t just arbitrarily tick boxes. Of course, there was also a big discussion about self-tapes, with some actor guests professing they miss being “in the room” while most agreed that in-person casting actually just benefits those with geographical or financial privilege, and has time and financial travel costs that self-tapes do not. Casting Directors on the panels assured actors they do not have to pay for expensive services or equipment to do their self-tapes, but having a quality reader so you can truly be present in the scene to show your best acting, is paramount.


In your opinion, why is it so important for industry professionals to attend markets like Cannes every year?

DD: Simply put, it is your industry trade show. At somewhere like Cannes, the best of the best attend, and so it’s an incredible hub to build quality, lasting industry relationships. You should go and support other filmmakers… you’ll hope there are people doing that for you when your film premieres. Many actors come from a standpoint of “I only want to attend when I’m in a film there.” Well, a) that’s a pretty egotistical selfish attitude, and b) maybe you’ll be in a film there, because you went! Remember, the best of the best attend, and that’s who you want to be working with. Go make friends, support, be valuable. You’ll be surprised what happens. Then, when your film finally does premiere in Cannes, you will know the city, its people and the lay of the land very well. You wouldn’t get in a car for the first time on the morning of your driving test… If you really love this career, you should want to understand it, and that means what’s being bought, what’s being sold, what the trends are. There’s so much opportunity to learn and be inspired.


What were some 76th Cannes highlights for you?

DD: I sound biased… but actually our WeAudition Future of Casting Panel and party. I can’t explain it but there is just such electric, supportive energy in the room, everyone is so happy to be there. You see the joy in the photos, and when I sit on stage and look out at the faces that showed up - actors, directors, casting, drama school students to international celebrities, there is something about that room just vibing that is absolutely magical. Those that attended will concur, it’s a beautiful surrounding, stunning talented people, and incredible authentic connection. I’ve attended festivals for years, and there is rarely an event designed specifically for the acting community, so we’re really happy to be able to fill that void.

DD CONT'D: Aside from that, we had an incredible PR - Olivia Cheung of Jade East PR - who secured us invitations to some amazing events from the Campari parties for EST Studios, DDA PR opening night, Film Finance Parties, KOFIC celebration, DPA Lounge, The Members Club and Chaos & Hope screening & dinner - all were informative, fun and helped us build quality career relationships. Then finally, relaxing in our Nouhaus massage chairs (the sponsor of the WeAudition event) was a much-needed highlight every evening after the parties haha.


What are you working on next that you are most excited about?

DD: Well, you know I love festivals, so I’m excited that there are 3 films I’m in that are doing the festival circuit right now - "Jamojaya", "Abruptio" and "7000 Miles", and they are all getting great reviews. I’m excited for the continued growth of WeAudition and elevating more talent. And I’m excited for the next amazing acting role that maybe one of your readers is gonna cast me in! ;-)

Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: Darren Darnborough attends the WeAudition Future of Casting Panel and Party at The WeAudition House on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty Images)


Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Darren Darnborough and Richard Cambridge attend the "WeAudition's Ones To Watch" Talent photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival on May 18, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)


Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 19: (L to R) Vincent De Paul, Jiin Jang, Darren Darnborough, Wilma Elles and Jimmy Akingbola attend the WeAudition Future of Casting Panel and Party at The WeAudition House on May 19, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty Images)


Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 18: Italo Robinson, Olivia Cheung, Kulan Farah, Richard Cambridge, Darren Darnborough, Andrea Guo, Sallieu Sesay, Nikki Soohoo, Gina May, Max Soto, Ashleigh Morghan, Isabelle Du and Jiin Jang attend the "WeAudition's Ones To Watch" Talent photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival on May 18, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)


Interview with Actor Darren Darnborough at 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: (L to R) Darren Darnborough, Adam Morse, Jiin Jang, Julia Varvara and Richard Cambridge attend the Crystal Vision Foundation Launch Party at The Members Club in Cannes on May 20, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by David M. Benett/Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Interview by Vanessa McMahon



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