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Rising Stars: An Actor Grabs the Reins
Marie took her acting degree from NYU and ran with it, writing and starring in a one-woman show that crossed the Atlantic. At the same time, she's pursued other aspirations to bolster the volatile professional life that actors must withstand; she manages other talent and exercises her producing passion as president (and founder) of her own production company.
Name: Marie Strinden
School: New York University
Years Out of College: 0-2
Title: President and Actor
Company: Lone Fargoan Company
Marie was born with the acting bug; as a young girl, she staged plays for the neighborhood in her garage. Her creative energy brought her to NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, where, she says, professors always said that you "have to make your own work." She did exactly that, casting and producing her own production. Marie was hired after graduation to work as a junior manager at the talent management agency she had interned with during college, but was dissatisfied with the lack of responsibility given to her and left to start her own production company, loyal clients in tow. "I like to be in charge," she says. Coupled with the realization that she wanted to continue to produce shows, founding the Lone Fargoan Company was the perfect fit.
From Then to
Marie founded her company 1.5 years ago and has since expanded into talent management. She also co-wrote and starred in a one-woman play that debuted in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota before it moved on to New York and the Edinborough Fringe Festival. Her passion for acting hasn't abated, either; she has also performed in an episode of the Discovery Channel's Sensing Murder, among other roles. Even for actors who get roles, though, consistent work is never guaranteed, and Marie also has a day job in the finance industry to provide financial security.
Despite having graduated from one of the top arts schools in the country and tirelessly pursuing an acting career in New York, Marie is no stranger to the struggles that freshly minted acting grads face. "I knew that acting was tough, but it's really tough," she says. Pay is low without a steady job; Marie estimates that "95% of grads get a day job." And while getting into a good college arts program can definitely provide excellent training and expose you to agents and opportunities that you might not otherwise encounter, large schools with lots of qualified students can be a disadvantage if you're trying to get noticed. "A reason you see so many famous actors from Juilliard is that the classes are so small."
The exhausting ups-and-downs of a life in the entertainment industry are starting to get to Marie, and although acting is her calling, she's unsure which direction she wants to go in next. "I wasn't really taught how to have a full life in college...and right now I'm trying to set out a big picture for myself." She loved studying abroad in Dublin ("I love that storytelling is so alive in Ireland--it's much more collaborative than in the U.S.") and may look internationally for work, but for now she's content in New York. "I'm waiting for something to jump out that will help determine what to do next."
Marie landed an internship in the industry during college and considers that to be crucial to a budding career, but the bottom line is that "the industry is about knowing as many people as you possibly can, and as an actor, doing as many productions as you possibly can." At the same time, the actor with the healthiest drive also seeks out other outlets to balance the high intensity of such single-minded focus. "At school, we were repeatedly told, 'Don't make acting your number-one barometer for success.' The fuller your life is, the better the actor you'll be, and the happier you'll be." For Marie, this maxim is one that she's realized is important to live wholeheartedly, and one that rings even truer when the going gets tough. "When you're not getting work, still say 'I am an actor.' You don't want to be--you either are or you aren't."
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