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Meet Julia Henning of The Halogen Company in Silverlake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Henning.

Julia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and I’ve been acting since before I knew I was on camera. Growing up in commercials and print, I tilted the scale between an entertainment and average upbringing which I believe planted the creative seed. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in acting and a minor in philosophy.

I then headed to Los Angeles to dive headfirst into creating. Immersive theater had been a pursuit of mine as an actor, and after my first immersive production in LA with The SpeakEasy Society, I was hooked. With my film, voice over, and theater hustle already activated, I wanted to create something that would offer me the chance to produce and perform. A lightbulb went off in my head, and thus I founded my own immersive company, The Halogen Company. I revel in stories and creations that celebrate philosophical and existential undertones. I have a deep passion for being human and with that I decided to enroll in graduate school at Pepperdine University, where I am currently working towards my master’s degree in psychology. When I’m not serving as the creative director for The Halogen Co or working on an assignment, I act and help produce immersive productions with other LA immersive companies, I record as a voice over artist for entertainment podcasts like QCode Media’s “Blackout”, and I, like many others, still hustle to find my place in the film and television world. I am often met with the humorous reaction that I am constantly doing too much, to which I reply, if there’s time, use it.

Has it been a smooth road?
My challenge was staying committed to the process and finding the self-confidence to persevere. The struggle to stay committed to your art is one I believe every artist faces. When the results aren’t immediate and rewards are few and far between, doubt becomes a familiar foe. I found that LA has a way of testing you, especially if you didn’t grow up there. It forced me to face my goals, my work ethic, and my relationship to being an artist in ways that I wasn’t expecting. But the determination to see where my impulses were going to take me was what made my road feel smooth, even if, from the outside, it didn’t seem like I was getting far. The biggest struggle I can admit to facing was not being specific about what I was seeking. In my opinion, it’s easy to say you want something, but not know exactly what that something entails. “I want to be famous” “I want to be successful”…but at what? And at what cost? Discovering what my talents and experiences could offer and how I could share that with other people was a journey that unfolded with several twists and turns, including almost giving up entirely. Sacrificing certain elements of a less disciplined lifestyle challenged me, but it made me stronger. It made me appreciate the road I’m choosing and helped me recognize needless road signs.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Halogen Company focuses on immersive productions that dissect the human condition to shed new light on the primitive concepts of being alive. I understood the medium of immersive theater and what it had the power to do. Actors and audience members are encouraged to play in an uninterrupted & imagined world, where the stakes feel real and connection is vital. As a Los Angeles transplant from the Midwest, I wanted others to feel the camaraderie and community of the theater world as it was unfolded to me. Too often, especially in LA, artists can lose sight of their passions and collaborative spirits. The Halogen Company exists to restore that motivation for artists and the audience. We aim to create moments that encourage you to question yourself, whether you intended to or not. The ability to create entertainment that enables an audience member to reflect both internally and outwardly with another human is the force that drives us to find stories, settings, and characters that will stick with you. My working with several of LA’s top immersive theater companies allowed me the opportunity to study and develop a blueprint for The Halogen Company’s unique style. It goes without saying that there are tricks and tropes that every immersive company will face at some point, so the struggle to stand out is a real one. But the intent to remain intimate and accessible is why I feel the Halogen Company has found its place in the community. We celebrate being recognized for the worlds we create and less so on the material success of each production.

With that, I found it was important to pay it forward by donating a portion of each production’s proceed to a charitable organization associated with a theme from each show. Art is inherently self-indulgent, so I constantly encourage artists to remember that the stories we create and play with, are real for others. After the success of our original summer immersive production “One Exit”, we had the privilege of participating in LA’s premiere 48 hour immersive festival, where our original piece “The Crux” walked away with the Fan Favorite/Audience Choice Award. This support pushed us to wrap our year with two upcoming events we hope fans and friends will be excited for. “The Call” serves as an intro to next year’s immersive anthology series, “Sea of Odds”, where the general public will have the opportunity to dial an actual phone number to hear information leading into the first chapter of the production series. Following this, The Halogen Company wanted to give back to the immersive community, so with that comes “Yule” this holiday season. “Yule” is a one night immersive celebration event that will blend the accomplishments of LA immersive companies, as well as offer the community and friends a chance to come together and have some fun.

In addition to the theatrical success found in the LA immersive world, The Halogen Company will be lending it’s services and myself to the upcoming Chicago based indie film, “Slacks” in association with Chicago production company, “Weird Life Films”. In always wanting to expand artistically, “Slacks” is a deeply personal film that I have co-written and will be co-directing with fellow Columbia College alum, Ryan Ohm. The film is set to shoot in May 2020, with a final crowdfunding campaign running towards the end of this year. As the year starts to unwind and comes to a close, today I find myself grateful for the opportunity to create entertainment that might illuminate a deeper meaning, even if it’s just for one person.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Theatre has the ability to thrive in any corner amongst any place a community exists. That said, Los Angeles, as the center of the entertainment world, offers a colorful canvas of a knowledgeable and sophisticated audience. There are simply more networks and opportunities for you to share and expand your craft. In LA, everyone wants a tangible experience, a notable experience, and with immersive theater, we are offering that. The chance to personally invest and participate, keeping attention spans activated. It’s an increasingly unique way to be entertained with direct human contact. I would recommend newcomers to start here if they desire because there are so many smaller outlets and venues where you can hone your craft. There is an abundance of talent and hardworking individuals looking to be apart of something, and with that support, LA is definitely a good place to test the waters and create.

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Image Credit:
Michael Dearie Photography

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