Jerri Tubbs talks making it as an actor in the ATL
The 'Between Riverside and Crazy' co-star offers advice to aspiring thespians
SEE THIS: Catch "Stranger Things" actor Jerri Tubbs in the play "Between Riverside and Crazy" at the Southwest Arts Center July 11-Aug. 6.COURTESY OF JERRI TUBBS
Putting everything on the line for your career can be difficult and at times unrewarding. But starting July 11, Atlanta-based actor and professor Jerri Tubbs will reap the benefits of doing just that as a cast member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Between Riverside and Crazy, which is being staged by Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company. Originally from Los Angeles, Tubbs struggled to launch her career in Cali's flooded market but found success when she relocated to the ATL. In the last three years, she's been featured on AMC's "Into the Badlands" and Netflix's "Stranger Things, to name a few productions . So, before she takes the stage this week, we asked her about making it in Atlanta's film industry, her advice for young actors and more.
For folks who aren't familiar with your work, how would you describe yourself?
Well I'm an actor, and current professor at Georgia State University. I teach acting, intro to theater and advance acting at the theater program there. I'm a certified Chubbuck technique teacher at Drama Inc. I became certified through Ivanna Chubbuck, who is well known back in Hollywood. I've trained with her and been a part of her studio for the past 10 years.
So, how did you end up transitioning from L.A. to Atlanta?
I was in Los Angeles for 15 years, and three of those years I went through the MFA acting program at UCLA. When I got out it took me 12 years to try to break into the industry there. So, five to six years ago I started to hear what was going on in Atlanta about the tax incentives, and it was happening a lot across the Southeast. And then a lot of productions were moving out of Los Angeles and coming the Southeast part of the United States. And I was hearing from a good friend, who was an actor here in Atlanta at the time, about how many opportunities he had in comparison to what he had in 13 years in Los Angeles. I was blown away, and that got the ball rolling for me.
Was moving to Atlanta a big leap of faith for you?
At the time, I had a boyfriend who lived in Atlanta. He had been in the city for about 20 years, and was as an actor. He put me in touch with local actors here that had been working here for 20-30 years. So, I got in touch with them and was just asking them about how they felt about the industry growing here. And, in just a week of living here, I was setting up meetings with casting directors and agents.
While all this was going on, what was your thought process? Was there a backup plan in place in case things didn't workout?
I started thinking about a day job. I started to consider teaching somewhere, and then that lead me to Drama Inc. I met with one of the owners there, and we started talking ??_ and we kind of hit it off from there. So ??_ within two weeks I had representation by Atlanta Models and Talents Inc., a teaching job at Drama Inc., and an apartment in midtown.
With the connections, you've made since living in Atlanta, where can younger actors or even new actors to Atlanta, go to find people within the film industry?
I want to meet the big players within the film industry. I want to meet the casting people and I want to be in a room with the producers and directors, but those people just don't hang out. They might hang out at a coffee shop, but no one really knows about it. Since I've been here I have not found those types of places.
How were you able to get in touch with these people if they are so difficult to come by?
If you want to meet these people I think the place to go is an acting studio. For instance, I'm a member of SAG-AFTRA. So, once a month they have these free events for union members, which is a great resource for union actors to go and ask questions.
So, for folks interested in the industry, would you recommend acting classes?
Yes, I think acting classes are super-important. They give students an opportunity to be seen. Which the biggest thing about actors: being seen and meeting with other like-minded people.
Between Riverside and Crazy runs from July 11 to Aug. 6. $10. 8 p.m. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road. https://truecolorstheatre.org/