Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Pickering.
Joanna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started working in avant-garde theater and radio shows in London, and then, moved to New York City to train in method acting at The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. I was also starting to write memoirs of my travels, basically as a down and out artist. These were compared to new beat in style and I was very much encouraged to write alongside acting. I made a lot of independent films on both side of the pond from British horror, Neo Noir film, and Art House films. I had two films screen at The Whitney Museum of American Art, one playing the Baroness Elsa Von Fretag Loringhoven, who is the famous German dada artist. Another on the opera Pelleas and Melisande co-starring with Alice Eve and Benn Northover, before starting to shoot theatrical movies. My latest was with William Sadler (The Green Mile), and Blanche Barker (The Handmaid’s Tale) on the same location home as Jack Nicolson in The Witches of Eastwick. It was amazing. I was having a great time, but I was getting tired waiting for these strong female roles I wanted to play. I started writing my own ideas for series with female leads. I pitched these to 3 Arts Entertainment successfully, which was life changing. I was also selected to be a member of Primitive Grace Theater and started writing plays for stage for two years in New York City. This meant my work is now east coast for theater and Hollywood for TV, film and debut screenwriting.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been a rocky mountain range of highs and lows, often thinking you’ve made it to a peak of stability to find a whole range of new mountains lurking behind! I am entirely grateful for the journey as it is essential to my artistic DNA and creativity. It is the challenges, or things I do not agree with, that gives me my strong and distinct voice in my work. I write strong gender power dynamics. An excellent director, Phil John, who directs Downton Abbey and Marvel, kindly gave me some notes on my full play recently, and he said, the gender wars have never looked so stark. That felt awesome. The power is in the pen for writers. Then, as actors we bring that struggle to life again on stage or film. We get to hold a mirror back up to society and re-examine behavior. We can make people think. That is when the journey is worthwhile no matter how tough.
Please tell us about your work.
My company is me and my manager at 3 Arts Entertainment. I am an actor, writer and activist so I am busy. I have recently been awarded a full scholarship to take my play to screenplay with support from Rocaberti Writers and their superb mentors. I will partner with HBO’s Vice President of programming and talent development. Although, it is a scholarship over a green-lit project, it stems from my play being selected and workshopping intensively over the last two years, with The Dramatist Institute, all the fantastic actors at Primitive Grace Theater, and The Actors Gym in New York and LA. I have also just been granted opportunity to experience directing under the wing of TV director Rachel Feldman. She has directed over 75 episodes of TV (Blue Bloods) and Meryl Streep is backing her latest movie. I am always willing to keep learning. I am most proud of the work you put in before you can see results–-when you dare to believe in the impossible.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
That’s a brilliant and rather philosophical question I could spend hours on. I think it is like the fate versus free-will discourse. My friends always say, “If it’s going to happen to anyone it will happen to you.” They mean good or bad. I have always attracted a certain high energy. I am good at handling that energy and converting it into something viable no matter what is thrown at me. If luck is about a certain magic or life force, and how you turn it to your own advantage at the right time—I am ready. That has played a huge part in my business. Being ready for the opportunity is vital in the entertainment industry. I will come to things as an open vessel. I don’t shy away from opportunity. Luck is also dependent on risk taking. I’ve always jumped on the plane, to go and see, where no one else would, or made decisions out of curiosity. If you say it’s not possible, I want to find out myself. I am not afraid to take those risks and that opens the door so something can happen. Some of it will be disastrous, and some will be lucky, but for sure, something is going to happen.
- Website: www.joannapickering.com
- Instagram: joannapickering
- Facebook: joannapickering
- Twitter: joannapickering
- Other: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2984746/
Craig Macleod at Macleod Images, 2020
In character on set of Danny Boyle’s and Nick Moran’s “Creation Stories” and with actor Ewan Bremner behind the scenes.
In character as Dylan, in Alice Fades Away.
Swimming pool, LA