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Sélynne Silver, Actress & Writer, Talks On Her Journey to the Silver Screen

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Sélynne Silver is a writer, actress and director working in LA.

Born in Paris, France, Sélynne Silver grew up with her sights set on the silver screen and a need to express herself artistically. In 2009, she started taking acting classes at both Studio Interieur Jour and ECAM, a Theater Conservatory.

After a few appearances on TV, she booked in 2010, Mes Parents Vont T’Adorer  on NRJ12, an unscripted TV-show in which she pranked her parents with the help of a French TV-Reality star. She has been for years one of the faces of the campaign “Terriennes” (TV5 Monde Channel), dedicated to the state of women around the world.

In 2012, Sélynne moved to Los Angeles to further her education. To improve her speech and public speaking skills, she decided to take several Acting/Improvisation classes (LA Acting group, Gloria Gifford conservatory…). Mid 2016, Sélynne developed an interest in learning a technique and enrolled at Playhouse West founded by Robert Carnegie and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) where she studied the Meisner Technique.

Playhouse West is known for having trained many well-known actors: James Franco, Heather Graham, Jim Carrey, Michelle Pfeiffer Scott Wolf, Daman Wayans and many others that can be seen daily on TV and/or at movie theaters.

In 2017, Sélynne decided to focus exclusively on acting and enrolled in the Acting Program of UCLA Extension designed for those who want to hone their performance, auditioning, and improvisation skills under the guidance of acting professionals along with learning the practical business skills needed to succeed in the industry. She graduated a year later and has been a full-time actress since.

Q: How did you become an actor?
Sélynne Silver: To begin with, I think that watching television influenced me a lot. I remember thinking I would love to be in the shoes of the person I was seeing on screen.  Looking back at old pictures/videos of mine, it seems like I did enjoy being in front of the camera when I was younger.  Later on, it became sort of a challenge.

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Sélynne Silver on the set of a commercial

I was surrounded by a few negative people growing up. You know how “kids” are: they bully the ones that wear glasses and have good grades. I guess I just wanted them to see that I am doing something with my life that I am passionate about and I am pretty good at it. How many people can say that they love their job?

Q: What acting technique do you use?
Sélynne Silver: When I first started to take acting classes, I do not recall learning any specific technique. The first time I really studied one was the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West in 2016. I have learned to put my focus on the other actor and express how he/she makes me feel. It was not easy. I felt like I had to forget 7 years of training which made me regret not having enrolled there sooner. At UCLA, I had the chance to learn Stanislavski and Utah Hagen.  Meisner still stays my favorite which is one of the reasons why I went back to Playhouse West after graduated from UCLA.

Q: What wrong impressions do actors hold about acting?
Sélynne Silver: First, that you are just going to show up in Hollywood and make it big in a month. Even though, it might happen, the key to every successful acting career is perseverance. I remember hearing once on set someone saying “I am going to try this for 2 years and if it does not work, I will just do something else”. 

Sélynne Silver_indieactivity
Sélynne Silver as Carla in Bash

People are moving everyday to LA to pursue their dreams but a lot are going back to where they came from because it did not happen as fast as they wanted. Unfortunately, this is how it is. You have to work hard and be persistent in Hollywood.

Another thing is “I am just going to show up at the audition and say that I did not get the time to go over the lines because I got the sides last minute”. One of my acting teachers said to us to always be prepared no matter what because if you are not, there will always be someone else who is and book the job. I remember going to an audition.

We got the sides at 9 pm on a Friday night (well I did, because the first email never went through earlier that day). It was a one and half page monologue full of words I have never heard before. I spent hours at home working on the lines. While waiting for my turn the following Saturday, the actress next to me told me that she did not really take the time to memorize the monologue because she went out to a bar with her friends the night before. I was shocked yet pleased as I had a big advantage on her.

Sélynne Silver as Lilith Rowdy in Ashes to Ashes

Q: Do you take courses to improve your craft?
Sélynne Silver: Yes, after graduated from UCLA last March 2018, I decided to go back to the best school I have ever been to, Playhouse West and no I was not paid to say that (laugh).

Q: What acting books do you read?
Sélynne Silver: I have read Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting, Sanford Meisner’s On Acting along with several plays.

Q: How do you keep fit as an actor?
Sélynne Silver: I am trying to read aloud daily which helps me pronouncing the words better. I am watching old movies every week. One of my previous acting teachers made it an assignment when I was in her class as you must know the classics and I kept doing that since.

When I can, I like to do a little improv scene in public either with someone or just by observing what is happening in front of me like I did once with an officer who was putting a parking ticket on a car that I pretended to be mine. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week, walk a lot and I tend to take care a lot of my skin especially my face. I have the chance to look and play younger which I love so definitely need to take care of it.

Sélynne Silver as Shalom on the set of Black

Q: How do you prepare for a role when you get it?
Sélynne Silver: I have been asked that recently by one of my Co-Leads. Honestly, one of my previous acting teachers said in class once that there is no character, it is you living under imaginary circumstances. I personally try to make those words my own. If it doesn’t sound natural, I like to talk about it with the writer and/or director.

Q: How do you create a character from a script into a person?
Sélynne Silver: When I get a role, I like to read the script once or twice to get a sense of the story. Then, I only focus on the scenes I am in. Before learning the Meisner technique, I was saying the lines out loud thinking of how I wanted it to come out. But I have learned that it was a bad idea since you do not know how the person is going to say them to you.

So now, I tend to just memorize the lines without any particular tone and understand them fully. It can be tough sometimes as I have the impulse to go back to saying it a certain way but it is a skill I have to master. Also, if I am playing a certain type of person that does not have much to do with me, I like to do some research such as watching movies, reading articles…

Sélynne Silver in Sherlock Paul

Q: How do you stay fresh on a production set?
Sélynne Silver: Between cuts, I like to take a moment and reread the scene to make sure I am on point. Also, when I think of set, I think of food, I can’t stay away from all those sweet stuffs I see which is obviously bad but terribly good! But it keeps me going!

Q: Describe a memorable character you played?
Sélynne Silver: Few weeks ago, I played Shalom in the pilot Black [Title here]. The writer/director told me that he wrote me into the script. I am not exactly sure what he meant by that but when I read the script, I felt like he captured me and who I am as a person. How? I don’t know as we only met once at the audition and once at a table read but that was really on point. Shalom can be sweet but oh god, she can be very temperamental, like me (laugh). I loved playing her and can’t wait to film more episodes. I also got to speak a bit in French which is always a pleasure.

Q: Explain one creative choice you took on set?
Sélynne Silver: In one of the last feature films called The Chicken Party, I took the initiative of improvising a little fight with my husband (verbal) in the scene where we were introducing ourselves. This was not written anywhere and I actually came up with it when I auditioned for the role. Obviously, the director liked it since I got the part.

Sélynne Silver playing a zombie in a short film

Q: What do you want most from a director?
Sélynne Silver: For him or her to listen to what I have to offer. My vision might be different than what he/she wants but it is good to communicate about it. For example, I had to submit a self- tape for an audition once. The director contacted me a few days later saying that this was not the way he had envisioned the scene but he loved my choice. He offered me the part and we ended up doing it my way when we filmed. Now of course, I know that I have to respect a director’s decision as my job is to recreate what he/she wants but being open to suggestion is a great quality to have. I love when a director gives me the freedom to express myself.

Q: What actors do you long to work with?
Sélynne Silver: Denzel Washington. I met him once when he was at his gym, I would love to see him again on set and be like “Hey do to remember me?’ and show him the picture we took together.

Q: What advice would you give to actors?
Sélynne Silver: Giving advice will be pretentious as I am “just getting started” but I will just say fight for what you want and don’t ever give up!

Sélynne Silver as Daphne in What Daphne Saw

Q: Briefly write about your career?
Sélynne Silver:  I got cast as the Lead in 2 Feature films: Ashes to Ashes and Waithood and in a few shorts, one of the latest being What Daphne Saw. I just wrapped a pilot called Black [Title Here] playing one of the main characters. I was part of The Unknown, my first Immersive Theater show running this Thanksgiving season (2018). My leading performance in the short Bash made me win my first Award at the Independent Shorts Awards Festival in the category Best Acting Duo. 

I played many critical roles such as Mrs. Matthews in
the Feature film Everything that Glitters
starring Clifton Powell and Gary Sturgis. I hosted a few shows, the latest was
a dating one called Love Spin and
conducted a few artists’ interviews. Music videos and 2 big commercials (Target and more recently a social media
company that will remain undisclosed) were also part of my list.  Lastly, I renewed my contract as one of the
main faces of the campaign Terriennes.

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