East Midlands actress Shelley Draper speaks to Midlands Movies about her latest project with the Outward Film Network.
Shelley Draper has been acting professionally for nearly 12 years and has come a long way since her first foray into movie acting when she starred in corporate film back in 2011.
Now she’s set to appear in Junction 6, a new film written and directed by Matthew Simmonds from the Outward Film Network in the Midlands that explores the tight hold that pay day loans have on families.
Junction 6’s story follows protagonist Darren in an attempt to give his family all they could wish for, but finds himself locked into a meeting with those offering the financial aid.
Shelley describes her time on the set of this serious drama as having a very warm atmosphere with the director having a calm nature, which she says was needed when dealing with the film’s issues – as well as managing family dogs and drilling neighbours!
“Our day (to shoot) was a Sunday so the family whose house we were shooting in were present”, adds Shelley. “They were lovely though, and took the dogs out for a walk which gave us time & space, but the next-door neighbour decided to do some very loud intermittent drilling!”
With the sound lady being “fabulous” and Shelley sure they managed to get some clean shots, she also says that despite these location-based hiccups, she loves her work as an actress.
“I just love acting and the process of creating great work. Although, I do love work that makes people see things differently - from a different perspective than they may have done originally - and makes an audience think as well as feel. For example, theatre work I've done recently has highlighted topics such as conscientious objectors in WW2, monologues of Syrian refugees & some very abstract takes on relationships”.
As well as these themes, Shelley is also interested in being part of creating more films that feature women in key roles, but with the film not just being 'about' women. In addition, women actresses and directors play a large part in Shelley’s influences as well as a love for all things comedy.
“Julie Christie and Rita Tushingham are amazing in Doctor Zhivago and David Lean certainly knows how to do epic. E.T. is just so stunningly simple and real and I love comedy films such as 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton as well as Dumb & Dumber, Wayne's World, Bridesmaids and any of Woody Allen’s films”.
“I'd love to do a really off-the-wall comedy myself sometime. Something nuts. Just plain nuts”.
As well as fun times, Shelley says that being in the industry for many years has helped her overcome hurdles that all actors and actresses have to deal with in their careers.
“In theatre, you have to get over audition nerves. They tend to be of a different intensity each time! You also have to handle the rejection when it's a 'no'. These are things that get a lot easier with time & experience though”.
“A particular time when this happened was during one evening shoot where I was driving around Canary Wharf. We couldn't start till late and didn't wrap until 5am, so that hurdle was delirium caused by lack of sleep - and we had to drive back from London up the M1 afterwards that very morning. Luckily there were two of us to stop each other falling asleep at the wheel!”
With all her hard work and experience, Shelley is proud of her achievements to date and splits herself between the theatre and cinematic worlds.
“I am proud of performing at Nottingham’s Playhouse and being cast in two feature films this year, both of which have been a highlight. I also performed at the Edinburgh Festival last year and won the best actress award at the British Horror film festival in 2014. I'm basically living my dream”.
Finally quitting her office job in 2000 and starting from scratch to become a professional actress, along with having a family, the busy Shelley is not resting on her laurels anytime soon though with an upcoming part in 'The Devil Outside', a feature film shooting in Nottinghamshire.
Finally she says that commitment and taking your time is a key skill to have in the industry.
“Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Get as much experience as you can, wherever you can, learn from your experiences every time and just keep going”.
To follow the progress of Junction 6 please visit the Outward Film Network: http://outwardfilmnetwork.com/
For further information about Shelley Draper please visit her website here: http://www.shelleydraper.com
Midlands Movies Mike