KISH: Tell us about you?
Well you really narrowed that one down didn’t you? J Just Kidding. But in order to tell me about myself, I have to tell you briefly about my upbringing and my education. I’m from State College, PA. where my father was a professor at Penn State and my mother was a Chemical Engineer. My father did community theatre and that’s where I got my love for theatre and performing, as I was on stage at the age of 4-5. I then went to Lake Forest Academy outside of Chicago where I did plays and did extra work on the productions that were happening around the city. I continued my education to Pomona College where I played sports and got a Film Studies degree. Then went to the University of California-Irvine where I received a master’s degree in Drama/Acting. So those experiences made me who I am. All of the things that I’m here trying to accomplish in Hollywood are by-products of being raised to believe that I could do anything I want if I put my mind towards it and worked hard enough. Acting is what I chose. It’s a calling. It’s what I do and love. But who “I am” is a product of the people and places associated with the institutions I talked about.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Kelly Perine: I love doing these interviews because I always try to glean exactly how the question is asked. Look at this question: “What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?” In the question itself there is an implication that the dream has not already been accomplished. That going after your goal whole-heartedly is not already a benefit to others. It’s only when you “succeed” that others should start to take you seriously and listen to your advice. The way I’ve set up my life and set up my thinking is that I am always “in process” and my dreams are in the process of being accomplished already. Hopefully I am in the process of benefiting others as we speak. I’d like to think of my path and my work as not results oriented. That 1 day I will be accomplished and one day I will benefit others. I try to do all that stuff now. And try to love who I am and be grateful for what I’ve done and be humble about it now. I also understand that more is to come and I will keep working towards that.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Kelly Perine: My mother and father inspired me to pursue this dream. Let me correct that. My mother and father encouraged me to pursue whatever dream I had. They would have supported me whatever it was I said to them I was born to do. If I wanted to be a lawyer, they would have encouraged me to go to law school and they would have expected me to work hard and succeeded. But my father was a performer, and I got a bug for performing and being on stage early. And so they supported me. And told me that whatever any of my brother and sister pursued we were expected to do it with 100% passion. Don’t expect to back your way into success.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
Kelly Perine: If you want to have challenges in your career, move to Los Angeles California and try to make it in Hollywood. The thing about this industry is that you need not have studied and there are no barriers to entry in order to call yourself an actor, writer, producer, director, anything. You need to show up with a headshot and start taking your swings. So the challenge, for folks who put in their time to study their craft, is trying to find a way to stay mentally healthy and engaged while you try to navigate yourself around folks who see this as a hobby. This isn’t my hobby, this is my job. My vocation. This is what I studied. This is what I went to school to become. So the challenges I deal with are dealing with the gatekeepers and executives who are the non-risk-takers that run this industry. They didn’t study “Network Dynamic Decision-Making” in school and believe that their job is to nurture talent. Their job is to make money for their stockholders. And if I see another super-hero movie green-lit for 500 million dollars as opposed to giving 500 filmmakers a chance to shoot a 1 million dollar film, I’ll fucking explode. These studios need to stop pleading poverty and give people chances. So my challenges are that in a number of situations, those making the decisions are not folks that want to encourage bold exploration of art. They are trying to figure out a bottom line understanding of how to make more money.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Kelly Perine: Dream at night while you are asleep. Work towards your dream during the day when you are awake.