OVER the years, actress Ashleigh Lawrence has become used to fighting off brain-dead creatures on the beaches. The difference is that, on this occasion, the Gold Coast native has traded in the metaphorical zombies of her hometown with the real deal in upcoming independent film Convention of the Dead.
Currently wrapping up filming in Bournemouth, Convention of the Dead is a horror-comedy in which the un-dead monsters overrun a comic book convention, leaving the fate of humanity in the somewhat inept hands of the convention’s awkward attendees. Lawrence plays an aspiring comic book writer that falls in with the film’s protagonists and unwittingly becomes a part of the effort to prevent a zombie apocalypse.
Lawrence says: “The cast and crew on Convention of the Dead are amazing. There has been some really long shooting days and nights, but when we finish then we have a chance to hang out and I’m really happy that they’re all great people.”
Convention of the Dead is the most recent project in what has already been an action-packed career for Lawrence, with her dream to become an actress originally taking her to the entertainment mecca of Hollywood before her move to the United Kingdom. Lawrence lived in Los Angeles for just over a year, honing her craft at the renowned Ivana Chubbuck Studios while pursuing roles.
“I was extremely lucky while living in LA in that I actually got quite a bit of work. I did a TV pilot, and also worked on a comedy variety series,” she told Australian Times.
“But it’s living in London that has definitely pushed my career further. I do miss home sometimes, but I know that there aren’t the same opportunities for film roles in Australia as there is internationally.”
Lawrence’s love of acting began at age nine, when her parents enrolled her in drama classes and she became heavily involved in local theatre work. After “doing the smart thing” and completing an accounting degree at university, Lawrence realised that her desire to act had not disappeared. That was when she quit her job, moved to Hollywood and did not look backwards.
She warns aspiring actors and actresses that it is a tough industry, and that having experience is the best way to ensure success in the entertainment sector: “Sometimes I don’t get a single day off in months, and then there will be weeks at a time where I’m not doing anything. It’s so unpredictable and if you want to be an actor you have to accept that.”
Lawrence also advises young actors that it is important to learn to cope with rejection: “After you leave the audition room, forget that you ever did it! Don’t wait around by the phone for something you can’t change.”
“If you hear back, that is great! If you don’t, don’t worry… There will always be the next audition.”
Lawrence believes that the evolution of new media within the entertainment industry provides actors and actresses with a greater level of opportunity to showcase their talents than ever before. She has recently been involved in the production of ‘webisodes’: short episodes of original content distributed exclusively on the internet.
“Entertainment mediums have changed a lot over the past ten years, and I’m sure they will continue to change. Webisodes are becoming more and more popular as it’s becoming easier to make money off advertising on the net,” Lawrence said.
“I think it’s great that there’s another opportunity for actors to work. The more the better, I say!”
Lawrence recently completed work on a British TV pilot, and will begin filming on horror movie The Hunted next year. She has also written the script for a black comedy which she hopes to have produced in the new year.
Convention of the Dead, written and directed by Kelvin Beer, has yet to announce a release date although it is expected that the film will be distributed in early 2013.