Today, we start with an interview with Courtney Danielle Steward, who plays GGNS Agent Lora Pine in our series. After the interview, we proceed with information on last week’s Photoshop Contest… along with a poll where you get to decide the winner. Courtney is an actress, a model, and a dancer, and one of the nicest, and friendliest people you will ever meet. Gracious as always, she not only answered my questions, but also passed along information on those with whom she worked.
Courtney, you list yourself as an actress/dancer/model. Tell me about some of your projects as each, and which of those you wish to do most (and why.)
Well, first off, I’ve been a dancer since I was eight–I was also on the competitive team, through Maria’s School of Dancein Fowlerville. I also currently teach dance there, so there are way too many things that have happened with that to even list. The coolest experience related to dancing would have been performing at Hayden Panettiere’s 21st birthday party in Ann Arbor, when she was here filming Scream 4. Dance is what actually led me into acting. Many of the dance conventions [the team] would go to would have acting classes that we would all attend. That was my first taste of acting, but my first acting experience was during my freshman year of college. I performed in a play that one of the English professors wrote; it was an adaptation of the Cinderella story, and I was an evil stepsister. After that, my passion for acting jumped into high gear. I met Jack Uzi director Michael “Freon” Andaluz on the set of I Remember Yesterday, where my grandfather, Curtis Watkins, and I were both extras. My next project was The Adventures of Jack Uzi, where I played Lora Pine. Since then, I have done a few projects, including a fun music video by a country artist named David Shelby. I was a featured extra there. My most recent project was Dissonance, short film by Colin Nichols. Without giving too much away, I play a character named Kate who catches two guys breaking into the house where she’s home alone. I’ve also recently been cast in a feature-length independent film, Beyond the Dark. Modeling was something I started doing just tog et more exposure and some great pictures. I’ve done a few different workshops, and one of my pictures was used in an ad for a resale store. Other than that, I’ve recently shot with Steve Phillipson in Howell and with Brent Taylor out in Holt. I would like to do more acting, but with my class schedule, I really don’t have a lot of time to audition thanks to homework, exams, and the rest.
You’ve been going to college… What is your major, and how does this fit in with your career plans?
My major is in Human Services and Case Management at Baker College; I hope to work in the adoptions field. Most of the acting and modeling projects I get don’t pay much, so I plan to get a job in the field after graduation in order to pay for my travel and eventual move to Los Angeles. Then, if the acting work in L.A. doesn’t pan out, then I have a degree to fall back on. Interestingly, many of the psychology classes I have taken have also helped me when trying to understand a character.
What has been your most fun experience to date in any of your projects–what happened, and why?
I would have to say one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had recently would have been on the set of Dissonance. When Colin sent me the script, I knew immediately it would be great. One thing that drew me to it is that my character ends up [spoiler removed!]. If you didn’t know, I’m kind of a geek about the special effects stuff–I can’t do any of it, but I love to see how it’s done. Both the make-up artist Haleigh Wovo and Colin Nichols himself worked on my bullet wound. It looked awesome! The acting in it was also a challenge for me because a few of the scenes required that I convey all these different emotions but only with my eyes. (Once you see it, you’ll understand what I mean). Everyone was very helpful, though, and it’s always great to connect with others in this industry. My co-stars Cameron McCormick and Tristan Ward are great actors as well. It was very helpful to be able to watch experienced actors work through a scene and learn some of the things they do. Overall, the entire cast and crew were great, and between scenes everyone was friendly and joking. It was a lot of fun.
Everyone successful has a view in his or her head of what success would be. How will you know when you “made it?” How would you describe your “ultimate ambition?”
That’s a hard question because some people in this industry think that being a successful actor/actress means you are “famous.” To me, I’m already successful–I get to something that I love, and my friends and family say that they are proud of me. That’s what success means to me. My ultimate ambition, once I get to LA, would be to play a character that is the complete opposite of myself, to experience my ultimate challenge in acting.
And now, the Photoshop Contest Finalists!