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Conversations with Ariel Barber

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariel Barber.

Hi Ariel, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I grew up in Massachusetts, in a family that valued creativity and artistic expression and fostered a deep love of history. I was encouraged at home and in school to sing, paint, build, craft and perform. I mention history as an important aspect of my background because I feel a very tangible connection between history and storytelling.

History was always my favorite traditional subject in school because I love the narrative aspect of connecting with the stories of our past. So whether I am acting, singing, writing or nose deep in a history book, I am ultimately pursuing the same end: to discover and foster emotional connections to the world around me. I can’t pinpoint a specific moment in my life when I knew that I would dedicate myself to the arts, but by the time I was entering high school a future in the creative fields was all I could imagine for myself. When I was 18, I moved to LA to attend USC, where I earned my BA in Theater and a minor in Cinematic Studies. Since graduating, I have lived and worked LA, performing in film, TV, commercials and theater as well as branching out behind the camera as a writer and producer of film.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s no secret that the road for most performers is paved with more rejection than success, and I’m certainly no exception to this. Looking beyond the highly competitive nature of the acting industry, one of my biggest challenges was moving to LA at 18. I had the benefit of being in school, which certainly added a buffer of safety, but for someone who identifies as a homebody and always has, this was a huge and frankly, frightening leap. The other largest challenge was graduating college in 2011 with a degree in theater. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the term “recession proof” and how inapplicable with was to my career choice. It is not a unique struggle, but the act of housing and feeding myself while pursuing my creative endeavors was and to a lesser degree still is a challenge.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Over time I have widened the lens through which I view myself as a creative. I am comfortable describing myself as an actor, writer, singer and photographer at this point in my life, but I do have plans to direct my first short film in 2021, so hopefully I can add that to the list. My most steady and interesting acting work recently has been as a voice actor. I have dubbed around ten series and films into English for Netflix, including their amazing shows Dark, Ad Vitam, Marianne and Suburra. Dubbing is not something I ever considered before I got my first gig, but I have developed a deep appreciation for the work. One director I worked with recently compared dubbing to ballet, it is extremely technical and specific but the final result aims to be appear effortless. Many people think of dubbed film as silly or a lesser form of the work, but I think there is a lot of merit in making the exceptional storytelling of international artists accessible to people who may not be able to experience it otherwise, either because they are visually impaired, have difficulty reading or they have trouble processing a story through subtitles. As for the other areas of my creative work I have just finished a feature film script that I will submit to contests in 2021 and am starting my next script. I will also be filming a short thriller as an actor in the next few months when production can safely mount with COVID restrictions.

What does success mean to you?
I break down success into tiers for myself. My overarching objective is to make a living on my creative endeavors alone. But I like to acknowledge the progress I make towards this larger goal by celebrating the incremental successes along the way; like how much of my income is provided by compensation from my creative jobs, or if I make a piece of work that I know I would not have been able to execute to such a degree five years ago. They say no matter how successful you are in a creative field, there will always be more to do, to make, to achieve, so I also try to prepare myself mentally for that perpetual state of striving.

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Image Credits
Ashley Wright Veronika Nedashkovskaya Alberto Balthazar Romero

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