British actress Jodie Hirst, who won Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Series Awards (ISA) for her role in web series Night School, talked to Dublin Web Fest recently about her work in the show, and about her career and experience in the industry.
She heard the calling of the stage from a very young age, always getting a part in school plays and confirming it was her passion at just 14 years old. “I loved learning all aspects of the subject; acting, directing, writing, etc.” she recalls.
How did you end up acting in Night School?
“I found the casting call on the CastingCallPro website and submitted my CV, I was called in for an audition by Jack Jewers and CJ Daugherty and it went from there! I walked out thinking I hadn’t got the part because I had seen some of the other actresses going for the same role, but it goes to show you have no idea what is going through the Director and Writers head!”.
What were your expectations when it begun and how do they compare to what yourself and the show achieved?
“I think when you start a project whether it is a Web Series or a Feature Film you always hope that it will be a success; but did I honestly expect all of this? No. It’s been an incredible journey and the way Jack and CJ have worked so hard to make Night School the Web Series a success for not only us as the actors but the fans is amazing. I am over the moon to have won the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama award at the Indie Series Awards in LA, but I wouldn’t have won it without the Night School team, I am so proud and grateful to be a part of it!”
In this series, she plays Jo, a character full of contrasts who is “bubbly, friendly, popular, confident and self-assured” on the outside, but “a vulnerable girl who is in desperate need of love and affection” underneath, and who happened to unfortunately find that in the wrong guy.
“Playing the character of Jo had an extra dimension to it as I was playing someone who was in another characters dream! I have a lot of love for Jo and I know the Night School fans do to, so I felt a lot of pressure to give the character Jo the justice she deserves; I hope I did that.” says Jodie.
Winning an internationally recognised award such as ISA not only means that her work is appreciated by a judging team, she sees in this a qualification that will help her to find an agent, a key step to take her career to the next level.
Would the work in Web Series be a stepping stone for more traditional media?
“I have found being a part of Night School very beneficial in helping my acting across other media platforms, the episode “ All the Pretty Killers” which I am in is only 4-5 minutes long, therefore you have to give the viewers so much in a limited space of time. I would like to believe that the emotion and friendship between Jo and Allie -played by Jessica Sargent- came across. We also filmed on a budget in one day, so we had to get the shots quite quickly, which is what it’s like in TV.”
Any advice for actors/actresses wanting to participate in Web Series?
“I would encourage actors/actresses to get involved with Web Series; they are an incredible learning curve and they add another dimension to your acting skills. I honestly can’t express enough how much Night School has helped me better myself as an actress and can only thank Jack, CJ and the Night School family for their continual support.”
Jodie keeps busy, and currently is waiting for an Indie Feature Film called Cat Skin to come out. She plays a supporting role in it and she hopes to see the film featuring in festivals later this year. “So fingers crossed this takes off like Night School!”