Interview: Lisa Rodriguez

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This week we’ve had the opportunity to interview Lisa Rodriguez. As you’ll see, Lisa works in various aspects of the Entertainment Industry and volunteers with The Greenhouse – a lot.

Q: What do you do?

A: I’m a performer, so I’m an actress and singer. I also do background or crew work as a production assistant or in the art department, and I’m developing as a producer. I’m starting to write, though I don’t consider myself a writer. As a producer, I need to learn how to spot a good script, the diamond in the rough.

Q: Lisa, why did you choose Hollywood?

A: It seems like a funny question because I’m one of the few people that work in the entertainment industry that was born and raised here. Really, I am the third generation of my family to work in entertainment. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old, and I didn’t always have the opportunity to express myself. But when I was on stage, when I stepped into a character or I sang a song, I felt that everything inside of me was able to come out. It wasn’t right or wrong, but it was so healing, so freeing. As the oldest, I always had to take care of my younger sisters, and being on stage just allowed me to breathe. To let all my emotion out, the good and the bad. It was all bottled up, getting it all out is part of being healthy. To me being in the arts, being creative, is just being able to breathe and be a healthy person. I will always be in the arts. I paint and draw. I don’t always tell people that, but I just love to create.

I can turn any boring task into something fun if I’m creating something, even a spreadsheet. I’m actually 50 percent right-brained and 50 percent left-brained. That quality works well with being a producer. I never envisioned myself being a producer, it’s actually from working on set and having other people tell me, “Oh, you’re a producer” that made me look into it. When I found out what a producer does, it made sense to be, why people were always telling me I should produce. It’s interesting that all the things that make me weird all fit together here, and this might be where I make a chunk of my money, but I’ll always having acting and all the other creative aspects.

Q: What’s something people should know about working in Hollywood?

A: It’s hard. It’s challenging. I’m thankful that I have my family close. I don’t know how people do it without that. Being Hispanic, family is extremely important. To chase a dream that takes you away from home – my hat goes off to those people. We are here working 12- to 14-hour days with a really tight turnaround. You go home and sleep for a couple hours just to get back up at 4:30 a.m. to start all over again. There is so much competition, which leads to so much doubt. Really, the only thing that’s “sexy” is the red carpet. The long days can be boring, you have to love it. One day I was on set as background, and they didn’t use me at all. I looked too similar to the lead actress. I had to stay on set all day and do nothing in order to get paid. It makes me feel lazy. It makes me doubt my worth.

If you know someone that wants to pursue this career choice, don’t put the limits on them. It’s not something that happens in six months – or even six years. That’s not how is. If this is what you want to do, you just need to sell out to it.

Q: What are you reading, watching and listening to?

I’m reading Creativity, Inc., about Pixar. Even if you’re not in what is seen as a creative industry, this is a great, inspirational read. Creativity comes into all aspects of life.

I try to watch everything that comes out; of course, it’s not always feasible because of cost. I’ll go to the cheap theater sometimes. I went to see Home yesterday. I’m also working my way through the AFI Top 100 list.

Listening to: Mostly Mumford & Sons. And Jake Hamilton; he’s a worship leader… there’s thunder in his voice!


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