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Interview

Christine Woods: A Back Stage Exclusive

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Christine Woods: A Back Stage Exclusive
"I was president of the show choir, I was kind of a geek, whatever," says Christine Woods.

After growing up in the O.C. where she starred in a high school theater group called "Soundsation"—yes "Soundsation"—Christine pounded the pavement for five years before landing her big break as FBI Agent Janis Hawk in ABC's hit show "Flashforward."

Christine's character has already undergone some major life changes this season. She's come out as a lesbian, been shot, undergone that whole flashing-forward thing—and that's all before sweeps week.

In person, Christine is funny and self-deprecating, with an old Hollywood star quality about her. One can easily imagine her in a screwball comedy, trading one-liners with Cary Grant.

Chosen as this week's Girl2Watch, Christine will be featured in a series or articles, fun facts, and social media tweets through this week for subscribers of Girl2Watch.com.

ACTOR2WATCH: So what was your first real break as an actor?

CHRISTINE WOODS: Well my first job was on "CSI Miami." I just did like a guest star on that show, and honestly this show is my first series. It's my first time being on the air more than just once every three months. So this is technically my first break I would say.

A2W: What kind of training did you get, and who did you study with?

CW: I was a musical theater major at the University of Arizona. And I primarily trained with Marsha Bagwell. It was a classical program, so we did Chekov and Moliere and a lot of Shakespeare. It was like a Stanislavsky-based training program.

I just studied dance and music my entire life leading up to that. And then honestly when I came out to L.A. I pretty much stopped taking classes. I didn't really take a lot of any on-camera classes or anything like that. I really just threw all of my energy into auditioning, and I know that I basically just did things based on feedback that I would get.

I don't know. It was difficult for me coming right out of a theater program doing theater classes and acting classes every day, but it was unappealing to me to get right back into finding a good teacher out here and finding a good program out here. I was just kind of ready to do it. So I just auditioned and that's I think where I kind of learned on-camera stuff, really auditioning every day for years.

A2W: What's your worst audition story?

CW: Oh God, I have the worst audition story. So horrible. It was years ago. I went in and they say, "We're going to improv." And I was like, "Okay, I can improv." Sometimes improv auditions for some reason have gone great for me just because you're like, "Whatever. Who cares? These people don't want you not to be funny. They want you to be funny." So I was, "Okay, I got this. Yeah. I can improv."

So I go to the audition and I'm just feeling so good and so confident and like, "Woo, yeah, I'm hilarious." [So] they're setting up the scene and this guy is supposed to be reading with me and they're like, "Okay, you're working in a shop and he comes in and starts talking to you. Just go with it and be funny." And I was like, "Okay, yeah."

The scene starts and he walks in and I just... got completely blank, and I find myself just starting at his crotch for the entirety of the 10 or 15 seconds, tortured. I just completely lose all consciousness and I'm just staring at his crotch. It was the most bizarre, strange thing that I have ever done. And afterwards they were like, "Okay, thanks."



It's not like it was a noticeable crotch. I just couldn't look at his face, and my eyes just went down to his crotch. And for some reason that was my safe place to look at or something. It was a 15-second starting-at-crotch improv scene, and I maybe said one thing. It was so awful. Awful. That haunts me to this day.

A2W: Is there anything you wish someone told you when you were starting out in acting?

CW: Oh God, yes. It took me like a couple years to figure this out, and I think as soon as I figured it out I started not hating myself for not booking jobs.

Honestly, when you first come out here, your job is not to book a job. Your job is to do a good job at your audition. There's nothing that says if you are the best actor you will get this job, especially when you're a nobody. Nobody knows who you are, nobody knows if you're talented.

If you've never been on anything before, they're not going to take a risk and give you a huge job 90 percent of the time. There are exceptions to that. I certainly wasn't an exception to that. I had to pay my dues big time, but I wish somebody would have explained, "Look, your job is not to get work. Your job is to get better."

And that's my big advice to people that start out... I say, "Just go to every audition." I think maybe out of all the auditions, I've missed maybe five out of five years. Go to every audition, and your job is not to get the part, it's to just do well at the audition.


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