Francesca Louise White is an actress from Oxfordshire, England and with has a steadily growing resume of credits in feature and short films, theatre, commercials, corporates, and music videos as well as print work..Francesca took some time to go through the Spending Time With…questions to add to an ever growing list of talented creative people who have taken part in my online series of Q&A’s
You can follow Francesca on Twitter at @FrancescaLWhite and also check out her links here
When people ask you ‘so, what do you do?’ How do you introduce yourself?
Actress. I know there’s debate over whether it should be ‘Actor’ for all sexes but I like that response that a lioness isn’t any less fierce for being called that rather than ‘lion’.
What’s the first thing you do when you get on ‘set’.
Demand a personal masseuse and Evian water!… Nooo I don’t really have a tradition in terms of that, usually just introduce myself to everyone and locate a good caffeine source!!
Do you have any traditions that you have when you are involved in a project?
Highlight all my lines, figure out the perfect piece of music which I believe my character would enjoy listening to, decide which shoes she would wear… I don’t know if it’s something of which I’ve convinced myself in response to the ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ idea but I believe it helps me find and get into my character.
What was the most recent book you read?
I’m currently finishing the second book in Amy A. Bartol’s ‘Secondborn’ sci-fi series. Extremely addictive, I highly recommend.
Out of all the projects you’ve been involved with which one do you feel the most proud of?
I think ‘Dead Meet’ by Daniel J. Brant to be honest. We all put a lot of work into it and it’s gone so much further than we could’ve expected; from receiving a ‘Best Actress’ award at Artemis ‘Women In Action’ film festival in Beverly Hills and ‘Best Performance’ at STARBURST Media City film festival to almost 20,000 views online. Surreal best describes it, I’m very proud of everything it and our team have achieved there.
What’s the most ‘starstruck’ you have been?
I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan so working on ‘King of Crime’ with Nicholas Brendon was definitely a starstruck moment. The Producer Linda Dunscombe is a friend of mine and she knew how excited I was about Xander being in the film, so even though I didn’t share a scene with him she invited me to come and to the behind-the-scenes interview with him, the equally amazing Mark Wingett and director Matt Gambell. I was VERY nervous but he came and sat down next to me and started chatting like any normal guy and I was relieved I hadn’t followed my instincts to bring twinkies…. (he had a memorable scene in Buffy where he demonstrated the proper way to eat them… shove the entire thing in your mouth!).
What was one of the most memorable films you saw as a child?
‘The Witches’ with Angelica Houston. I’d loved the book by Roald Dahl and she scared the beejesus out of me. I also vividly remember a sleepover where I thought I was being extremely cool to turn the channel over to a ‘Species’ film when my parents went to bed, and seeing the arm-through-the-chest-while-on-a-public-toilet scene. Couldn’t bring myself to use public toilets for a few years after that.
What do you find the hardest part of your creative process and how do you deal with it?
I do sometimes find it difficult to drop out of certain characters when I go home at night. SPOILER here so be warned! For example, playing Eve in ‘Between The Divide’. There’s a scene I had to get to the place where I’d stab someone I loved as they were forgiving me for doing it. I was seeing this character in my mind and emotionally substituting my real life sister Katrina as her, and getting to this point over and over again for the takes made it very difficult to snap out of… I’m a big reader and music affects me a great deal so I had to shut myself away after the shoot and shake myself out of it before I could sleep that night.
What is one of the best pieces of advice you can remember being given and from whom?
Floella Benjamin presented me with my Drama degree when I graduated Exeter Uni and she told me to “keep smiling and you’ll change the world”. It may have been something she said to every single person who walked up on that stage, but I have a huge smile and I genuinely love what I do so it’s easy to follow. Not sure if I’ve successfully helped to ‘change the world’ yet but I’ll keep trying and smiling; there are worse things I could be doing.
If you could change one thing about the industry you are in, what would it be?
I think the very nature of the business is ‘fantasy’; escapism, creating peoples’ dreams, movie magic and making fantasy out of real life. It’s certainly not everyone but unfortunately some people go too far with this – both those working in the industry and viewers of the films – and they forget the very real and feeling people involved, and use it as an excuse to get away with things that wouldn’t be acceptable in any other business; whether that’s particularly nasty reviews, directors or producers taking advantage of young actresses or toxic fandom. I think these issues are all rooted in the corruption of the ‘fantasy’ element and I think this is why they’re so difficult to tackle and change for the better. This all being said, I’ve worked with a lot of great people who are simply pursuing what they love and I am very fortunate to receive a lot of consistent support from people who enjoy my work. The good outweighs the bad.
Do you read reviews of projects you work on?
I have done as I’ve been associate producer/producer on a few of the projects I’ve acted in and I’ve been in charge of sourcing press and promotional aspects. I don’t recommend it as an actor. They can be savage and really mess with your mojo as it were. You can’t please everyone.
If you had to make a ‘bucket list’ of people you’d love to work with, tell me one name who would be on it?
Joss Whedon. Emma Thompson. Clint Eastwood. Sigourney Weaver. Shonda Rhimes. Kathryn Bigelow. Denzel Washington. Viola Davis. Anthony Hopkins. J.J Abrams. Steven Spielberg. Taika Waititi. Sam Rockwell. Chris Pine. Patty Jenkins. There are a lot of people I’d consider myself extremely lucky to and aim to work with one day!
Do you prefer day shoots or night shoots?
Day shoots. I actually really like early shoots. It’s kind of like that feeling you get when you’re off on holiday and have to make an early flight; the sheer excitement, thrill and heightened awareness. A berocca, MUA works on you and away you go! Great fun.
What is one of your most favourite locations you have filmed in?
The main estate we filmed in for ‘King of Crime’ in Goring was stunning and had lamas, a pool and a trampoline so that was pretty incredible. The set designed for ‘The Seeing’ directed by Aoife O’Kelly was brilliant; they created a forest inside! Stunning. Art departments on films and TV have my everlasting respect.
What film always makes you laugh?
‘Just Friends’ by Roger Kumble makes me laugh so much. The scene when Anna Faris as Samantha James falls over the mall bannister after being tazered, then appears eating tooth-paste…ohhh that gets me every time.
What film scares you?
The original ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott gives me nightmares. ‘Jurassic Park’ by Steven Spielberg by as the raptors are far too intelligent for my liking and that goat drop to water ripples to T-Rex chase…brrr… ‘Get Out’ by Jordan Peele as the mind drop is something I can particularly relate to as I get that feeling a lot when I sleep. ‘What Lies Beneath’ by Robert Zemeckis, ‘The Bone Collector’ by Philip Noyce… I’m a bit of a wimp. I am really drawn in by films and regularly hide behind pillows. I watched ‘A Quiet Place’ by John Krasinski by myself…at night… in a cinema and area of London I’d never been to before as I was waiting for a friend to finish work and that was just a bit of a mistake… I didn’t sleep properly for a couple of weeks after that!
What film do you love that you feel most people might not be aware of?
‘Galaxy Quest’ by Dean Parisot. It’s my all-time favourite movie. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and it still cracks me up. Surprisingly few people have heard of it outside of ‘genre’ circles/fans.
In your creative roles? What is the longest day that you’ve ever had?
I once went from one 9 hour shoot for ‘Dead Meet’ straight onto a full 8 hour night shoot for a horror feature film I was working on. That was brutal. Had a couple of 20 hour shoots on other projects but they weren’t as hard as that as it was a lot of action and I was WIPED out by the end.
Do you have any ‘props or keepsakes from your films?
I have a few actually. My room is extremely random; from elf ears, to bright pink and purple wigs, to steel toed new rocks to fake and training weapons! Steampunk mirror glasses from ‘The Seeing’, a necklace from ‘Time Awaits’ by David Gowin, my white wig and silver platforms from ‘Bragging Rights’ by James Atkins. I have an £10 engagement ring from Argos I’ve used in oh so many films, commercials and projects. I promise they say I can keep them I don’t just run off with ‘em!
Have you ever gotten someone’s autograph? Which is the most memorable for you?
Jennifer Aniston is definitely the most memorable. I went to a ‘Prince’s Trust’ concert with my Auntie when I was little and saw Jennifer Aniston with her bodyguards come into the hotel where we were staying after the show. Her bodyguards weren’t letting anyone get near but she let me come up to her and signed a little notebook I had with me. I remember thinking she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in real life – her long hair was actually golden – and when she mistook my name for ‘Jessica’ I certainly DID NOT correct her!!
Many thanks to Francesca for taking the time to go through these questions and hope you all enjoyed reading the answers as much as I did.