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Life and Work with Francesca Manzi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francesca Manzi.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Francesca. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started acting professionally back in England – I went to drama school at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, and went straight into it from there! I did mostly theatre and independent film, then when I moved to Los Angeles in 2010, after a few years of pursuing film & TV, I got into voice over and that’s where I really found my niche in the industry.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing! Being an actor in any part of the industry takes tenacity, hard work, dedication, and constant motivation. You have to be a business person too, much of the time something I definitely haven’t mastered yet!. My honest advice would be – if it’s what you really want to do down deep in your soul, never give up. However, if there’s something else you think you could enjoy as much – do that instead!! If there’s a sideline you can create for yourself to earn money that also brings you joy, definitely cultivate that – it’ll see you through the lean times in the entertainment industry and will ideally allow you to stay motivated because you won’t be solely relying on any one thing to pay your rent.

I think developing a thick skin is a necessary (but difficult) thing to do. The trick is to be able to do this whilst maintaining your sensitivity as that’s what makes you a good artist. I think the reason rejection is so hard for an actor is because WE are our product, so it feels very personal, but with time and practice you can start to see & understand all the other factors that are at play in any casting decision (it’s a business, at the end of the day!) and learn to take things less personally.

Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
As an actor, I work in all mediums but the majority of my work is in voice over and theatre. In the VO world, I’d say I specialize in video games and animation, although I also do a lot of corporate, or “industrial”, voice over, commercials and promos. Some of the most fun jobs I’ve had have been for video games/animations such as Halo: The Fall of Reach, The Unspoken, and my new VR project, Eleven Eleven for Syfy & NBC Universal. I got to do motion capture for that too, which was brilliant fun! I do a lot of accents so I have a blast either playing or auditioning for characters from all over the world, which I love. I can lose myself in working on a video game or animated character for hours!

I do a lot of comic roles, particularly in a theatre where I get cast in farces and other wacky plays! One of my favorite shows I’ve done was Noises Off by Michael Frayn, which is a masterfully written farce that has to be seen to be believed! Rehearsing a farce is tough because the timing is so specific and you can’t get away with being even a fraction off, but the payoff is huge when it works! Back in the UK, I did a lot more drama, and I loved performing in the Shakespeare plays I did – playing Desdemona in Othello at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a definite highlight.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
In my industry, I actually feel that we’re in a powerful moment for female leaders to step into the spotlight, as it were. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re finally being heard and our ideas and talents are more valued than before. On a global level, we’ve got a LOT more work to do to tear down old patriarchal regimes and ideas that are oppressing women in certain cultures. I wish I had the answers as to how to do that, but I believe by staying awake and aware of what’s going on in the world around us, and looking for opportunities to expand our awareness and educate ourselves and others, we can make progress towards empowering women everywhere.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Daniel J. Sliwa, Rich Miller, Getty Images, David Livingston, Matt Boatright-Simon

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