10 Questions with Actor Po Yen

Po Yen
Po Yen

1. How did you get your start in acting? Where did it all begin for you?

A friend of mine passed away during Covid, which reminded me of just how fleeting life can be. So I decided to really start living in the present and do something I’m passionate in.

2. Can you walk us through your creative process for preparing for a role, from reading the script to filming or performing?

You can feel it inside you when you see a good script, which naturally makes you emphasize with the character. I usually communicate with the director to make sure my understanding of the role is accurate, and just jump right into action. I prefer to keep things spontaneous than rehearsed. That’s where you get real creativity and the “spark”.

3. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about actors, and how do you try to break that stereotype?

Most people think becoming an actor means becoming famous, becoming rich… That’s totally not the case.

4. How do you stay motivated and driven in an industry that can be so competitive and unpredictable?

I have to thank my family for their unwavering support in letting me pursue my passion. I also only choose scripts that really speak to me and make sure the roles I take are ones I’m confident with.

5. Can you talk about a time when you had to improvise or ad-lib during a scene, and how did you handle it?

I’ve never done improv yet, but I’d love to try it sometime!

6. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned about yourself as an actor, either personally or professionally?

Never underestimate yourself, and you have to take the initiative to create your own opportunities. I started this job later in life with absolutely no background, no prior training, no connections. But I didn’t let that stop me. I went applied to every opportunity I can find; I went all over the country for even the smallest gigs. You have no idea how many nights I slept in my car / slept at an airport etc, and I’m not exactly young anymore, haha. But this persistence helped me build my resume and gave me the chance to meet so many amazing directors and producers.  Also met so many talented actors that are just the greatest people who shared their precious experiences with me

7. How do you navigate the balance between being true to a character while also putting your own spin on it and bringing your unique perspective to the role?

It’s all about communication. Communicating my understanding to the director to make sure the way I am portraying the character is what he wants.

Po Yen
Po Yen

8. What is your dream project, either a specific role or a type of project, and why is it so appealing to you?

My dream project would be one with the simplest equipment and almost no lines. One person, pure performance. Or maybe something involving Asian culture.

9. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with other actors and crew members on a production, and how do those relationships impact your work?

I love working with other talents and hearing their stories. When we all get in character, we actually enhance each other’s performance, which brings life to our acting. This is such a supportive communication, so when we see our Final Cut, it’s always pretty emotional. Also, the more you get to know your co-actors, the more at ease you feel on set, which just makes your performance even more natural.

10. What do you hope audiences take away from your performances, and what kind of legacy do you want to leave as an actor?

To be honest, I never really thought about leaving a legacy. All I know is I’m doing something I love and I just want to enjoy every moment in front of the camera.

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