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Meet Miskar Chomse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Miskar Chomse.

Miskar, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story begins in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am the only child in a relatively small family, and I’m one of the lucky ones who had parents that were always open-minded and encouraging. My earliest memory of wanting to be an actor is from elementary school, I must have been around seven or eight years old. The school offered a drama class, and we did an improvised monologue in one of our early classes. Mine was a hit.

When I heard the laughter and delight coming from the teacher and students, I knew I’d found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Nothing beats an audience’s energy when they’re reacting to what you’re doing up on stage – it’s electric. All throughout school I was drawn to the theater, performing in all the school plays, and landing my first professional stage production at age 11 in an adaptation of Pinocchio. While still in high school, I was taking extra drama classes and joined a theater company.

I continued to build my career in Johannesburg through independent theater, touring the country with various productions and companies. I had, however, always been interested in motion pictures and television, so I gradually shifted my focus more and more to the screen. I landed various roles on webisodes and short indie films making friends and connections along the way.

At one point, I was being called into work on big Hollywood studio projects that were shot in South Africa. Those were the most amazing learning experiences I could have asked for – I watched everything that the crew, director, DP, and other actors were doing on set so I could learn as much as possible about making movies. At that point, I decided that I wanted to make my own movies. Not only did I want to act in the movies, but I also wanted to be a part of the collaborative process that makes them possible. I wanted to act, direct, produce, write, and edit for the screen.

One day around mid-2016 my agent in South Africa sent details for auditions to a film college in Los Angeles – the New York Film Academy (NYFA). Perfect, I’d be able to go to film school in the heart of the film industry. I auditioned for a Master’s Degree and got accepted. My wife, still my girlfriend at that time, was overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging – even though it meant that we were going to be apart for nearly two years.

Sometimes I doubted if it was worth the distance, but she was adamant that I follow my dream. Leaving her in Joburg while I left for Los Angeles was not going to be easy, so before I left, we did a little couple’s trip to Europe where I ultimately proposed – in Paris – on the Eiffel Tower – it was adorable – and It’s on YouTube.

I had such a great time at film school. I honed my craft, learned even more about motion pictures and the film industry, and got to meet and work with so many talented actors and filmmakers. Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m here, in LA – I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real especially when I drive through Burbank and Hollywood past all the studios. It’s like “hell yeah, I’m here, I’m in LA baby!” Maybe I’m a fanboy, but after two years living here, it still excites me. This place feels like home, more than anywhere I’ve been before.

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?
Nothing worthwhile comes without its challenges. In this case, I’ve had to start my career from the ground up in a different country. Back in South Africa, I had contacts, an agent, I was being called in and asked to do projects. Here in Los Angeles, I’ve had to begin from square one again. I’m not complaining though. Not everyone gets a fresh start and an opportunity to carve out their career path a second time. I’m grateful for the challenge and the opportunity.

I am typically quite shy – I know, “you’re an actor, how can you be shy?” – I’ve heard that one before. But it’s true. And even though English is my first language, I come from a very different place and culture. I could say it’s been a challenge to find common ground at times, but the people of this city are so open and interesting that it’s been pretty easy to grow a network of hard-working and passionate individuals to work with.

Being away from my family is by far the hardest part of all of this. Back when I first left for LA in 2017, it was being apart from my wife, but it only got harder after the birth of our daughter. We were all together for the months leading up to our daughter’s birth in November 2018, and for the first four months of her life, but sadly have had to go back to the long-distance thing. It has been the toughest it’s ever been.

My wife has been overwhelmingly supportive of my career here in LA and so far we’ve managed with the long-distance. We are, however, looking forward to the day that we can find some arrangement that’ll allow us to be together. For now we’re still two continents and nine hours apart. The time difference is probably the worst part of it all. One of us is sleeping while the other is awake – it makes it difficult to maintain communication.

With my wife’s support and encouragement, I’m still going forward towards our dream. She has been the best life partner I could have hoped for, she’s my favorite person. And one thing is for sure, having a child lights the fire within – oh boy does it ever. I’ve never been more driven to succeed, and it’s all because of my two girls.

Please tell us more about your work.
While I’ve focused on acting throughout my career, I have also been a director, writer, editor, and producer. Right now, I’m involved in a stage production premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The project focusses on freedom of speech and the persecution of journalists around the world.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to write, produce, edit, and star in my own short film, Body&Mind, which is about to start its film festival run. Writer, producer, actor, and editor are a lot of hats to wear on a single project, but believe me, I’m not opposed to collaboration. I collaborated with many talented professionals on that project, but I saw it as an opportunity to tackle some of the other roles that I’ve been interested in all the while. It was definitely challenging, but the experience and reward are worth the hard work. Armed with all the experience of producing a film, I am always looking for new, exciting projects to collaborate on.

Lately, I’ve really been getting into the editing side of things, and I’ve started to use my skills to help other actors put their reels together. I’ve found that many actors, especially those that are new to the game find it challenging to put together a good, short, acting reel that efficiently and effectively showcases their talent. As an actor myself, I know how hard it is to pick through my own work and select clips based on their objective value as a showcase piece, rather than how I feel about the scene. Casting people aren’t watching your reel to be entertained, they don’t care about how you feel about a scene, they’re looking at your acting ability. I know because I’ve done casting for film and for the stage.

So, I help actors pick the clips that most efficiently showcase their work and talent, and cut them together in a nice short reel. In terms of what characters I personally like to play, I like antagonists and anti-heroes. Villains to me often make the most interesting characters. Good villains are relatable, but they’ve crossed some line that makes the audience – and the hero – opposed to them. The interesting part is exploring the darkness that makes a good antagonist while finding that light that makes them relatable. I think I’ve also got the bad guy look y’ know? Especially when I have my mustaches grown out – the best bad-guys have mustaches.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was always in my imagination. I would day-dream all day. Could be because I was an only child, but I had to find ways to keep myself busy, so I used my imagination a lot.

As I got older I started getting more and more into computers, gaming, and visual design, along-side all the acting I was doing in class and with my company. I think that’s why I’m so interested in editing now. I have that visual design foundation.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ryno Smook – Smook Photography
Roxanne Beringer – R&R Photography
Cornelius Steffen

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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