Lena Athane, acting in English and French Student in Paris now in London
- Can you tell us about your background before starting your studies in the Acting in English department at Cours Florent in Paris?
I had been at Florent for a year but I hadn’t quite found my place yet. Florent is a big school and you can feel quite lost and miss out on the experience if you don’t find somewhere you belong.
I’d always wanted to act in English as my plan was to go to London and/or LA .When I arrived in Isabelle's class, I knew that was the kind of teaching I'd been looking for all along.
- How did your training at Cours Florent prepare you for your current life in London?
Isabelle is a tough and brilliant teacher. She demanded rigor, discipline and professionalism because that's what you need in London and LA. You can't just “wing it” like you sometimes can in Paris. It would have taken me years to understand that and catch up without her training. But after Acting in English, I was ready. I found a mentor in Isabelle Duperray and 5 years after I graduated and after attending drama school in London, she’s still impacted my life the most.
- Why did you decide to build your career both in Paris and in London?
I grew up watching American and English content. For me it was simple. I asked myself - what kind of projects do you want to work on? Who do you want to work with? When I answered those questions, I knew I had to move to London.
- What do you remember about your first workshop experience at Cours Florent?
My first workshop in the department was given by Mark Bell who was a teacher at Lamda. Officially, it was focused on the art of clowning but really it was pure acting. It was comedy oriented and I remember a friend of mine, very discreet student, completely coming out of her shell and having the whole room in stitches. Something had clicked for her and over the weekend - she became a comedy actor!
I also understood many things about acting during that weekend. It gave me a lot of confidence. The next workshop was focused on emotional connection - that was a game changer for me as an actor. It went uphill from there.
- What advice would you give a future workshop participant/student at Cours Florent?
Take in everything you can. Volunteer! Jump on stage! You never know when you will unlock something that will make you the best actor you can be.
If you don't take advantage of those great opportunities and stay seated in the audience wishing to stand up the whole time, you will so regret it.
- Do you have any ongoing projects or upcoming ones?
The last couple of years have been more about writing for me. I am working on a TV series that I wrote for my favorite childhood actress, Andrea Parker. In France she's mostly known for her portrayal of Miss Parker in “The Pretender” on M6 (Le Cameleon), Jane Carlston in “Desperate Housewives” and Mrs Dilaurentis/Mary Drake in “Pretty Little Liars”. I pitched the show to her last year, she loves it and is interested, so I'm trying to find a buyer now.