Bouncing from a production office to a casting room to a recording booth to an acting class, all in one day, Kristy Best‘s days can most accurately described as hectic. But she wouldn’t have it any other way. As an actress, director and teacher, this crazy sort of lifestyle is not new to this Australian.
It started when she was a child. Always dancing around the house, her mother decided to enroll her in dance classes. Shy while offstage, Kristy soon found herself enrolled in drama classes as well. The combination paved the way to performances in musicals and as part of a talent show group at events, festivals and entertainment venues. Then there were TV commercials for Pringles and the shy girl began to come out of her shell and fall in love with performing.
In high school, Kristy started teaching at a talent school. On Saturdays she made the trek over an hour from where she lived to teach dance to young children. It was there that she discovered her love of teaching, especially to children.
As she began university, she started her very own talent school for kids, balancing university classes with running the school. “After six years of dealing with competitive stage mothers I decided I wanted to focus on performing and seeing where I could take my own creativity.” She eventually closed the school but continued to teach at high schools and youth off the street initiatives while returning to the stage and taking parts in short films.
Eventually, in 2010 she decided to enter a competition for a short film grant with a script she’d written. Much to her amazement, she was awarded the grant and found herself in her first project behind the camera. From that project emerged her own film company, Seraphic Films. Named in ironic contrast to her often dark works, she produced “Something Fishy”, below.
But in an odd twist, this venture behind the camera lead two two more years in front of the camera for Kristy. Searching for passionate young female filmmakers, casting directors for a feature documentary spot called Sunday Best, came across a video of Kristy talking about her short film. They encouraged her to audition for the part of the show’s host and after what felt like one of her worst interviews ever, she got the part. Every Sunday for the following two years she would introduce the week’s documentary and give the viewer some background on what they were about to watch, anchoring in total, 85 episodes for the network.
While she continued to act on the side, Kristy decided to take a step back and study screenwriting. In 2014 she was awarded the producers extension placement with screen NSW, the state film funding agency. That meant she could put her learning on overdrive as she became more knowledgeable as a producer and gained insight into the government funding system, which helps many Australian film projects to find their start.
Filled with her learnings, Kristy launched into a role as associate producer for a Disney X D, Australia production and moved straight into a sports documentary film as an associate producer and researcher. All of this while relishing the pilot auditions that are coming her way in Australia and teaching acting for camera and TV presenting at four acting schools in Sydney. This year she’s looking forward to finding a few more free days to finish the plotting on a short horror film for children and a dark comedy pilot.
Who in film inspires you as a director or actor? Is there something that inspires the “dark element” in your films?
My favourite director is Susanne Beir and I guess I can thank Ander Thomas Jensen for that because I have adored every film she has directed and he has written. In fact, one of my favourite films is Adam’s Apples and he actually wrote and directed that film.
As for being inspired by actors, I would have to say the performances that have inspired me most in the last year have come from Matthew McConaughey in True Detective and Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig for Skeleton Twins.
I’m generally drawn to comedy actors and I am particularly interested in how the acting was so organic in the TV Series, Friday Night Lights and I’d love to meet Peter Berg and find out how he achieved that.
I think the “dark element” in my films is just who I am. You wouldn’t know it to look at me but I’ve always been fascinated by all that’s slightly twisted. My grandmother really wants me to write a romantic film but it’s just not who I am. I guess I’ve always used sardonic humour to get me through tough times and that has coloured my world in the way I write.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that I wear many hats and I can be across the creative process from so many different angles. I love being on set and seeing the final product just as much as the pre-production process. I think the journey and life cycle of all my jobs is what’s rewarding. Seeing a person or project bloom is exciting and I love being a part of that.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Binge watch TV. If I get the chance, I’m straight to knocking over a series of something good! Other than that, going to the park with my dog, catching up with friends, counting the days until the French Film Festival comes around and forcing myself to go to yoga to embrace the concept of relaxation.
How did you hear of about.me and what made you sign up for it?
I honestly can’t remember but maybe it popped up in my Twitter feed? And being the digital fiend I am I signed up immediately. Mine is in need of being edited and as soon as I have a spare moment I will fix it!
What’s your favorite feature on the platform?
I personally like how simple it is. I’ve been wanting to put a website together for a long time but with about.me it is a simple way to have just that. It covers what people need – bio, links and photo in a basic, stylish way.
How are you using the platform on other digital mediums?
I’m not actually! That’s purely because I haven’t thought to be that savvy and I am going to change my email footer now.
Learn more about Kristy on her about.me page.
Eliana Arredondo is the Community Manager for about.me. She is a graduate of Stanford University and is not a fan of writing third person bios about herself.
One response to From Actress to Director with Kristy Best
[…] industry. We posted interviews with filmmaker and writer Quark Henares, actress and director Kristy Best and film composer René G. Boscio. You can see all the posts from last month, […]
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