Spotlight on ACA Alumni Charles An

Charles An No Ordinary Love Series

No Ordinary Love, a K-drama inspired web series presented by Screen Australia, out now on YouTube staring Actors Centre Australia 2021 Graduate Charles An.

“First role you land out of drama school happens to be a LEAD role, not only a LEAD but a ROMANTIC LEAD!!!” – Charles An

Charles An has been working hard on various projects since graduating from Actors Centre Australia in December 2021. You may have seen him in busting some moves on the runway in the latest UBank commercial.

No Ordinary Love is Charles’ latest project is out now on YouTube, and we recently caught up with Charles to talk about the series and give some advice to current ACA students.

Tell us about the series and your character.

Charles: No Ordinary Love is a K-Drama inspired Romcom about exes and the secret that tore them apart!
It is a five-part YouTube series that follows an ex-couple, Hyun Woo (played by Charles An. ME!) and Beck who broke up 7 months ago and are thrust back together for my characters’ sister and Beck’s best friend, Hannah’s wedding.
Still broken-hearted, the exes are forced to work together to find the bride when she disappears before her impending nuptials.
My character, Hyun Woo is an open-hearted romantic who is dumped by Beck with no explanation or warning. When he has the opportunity of seeing her again, at his sister’s wedding, Hyun Woo wastes no chance of finding out the truth behind why Beck broke his heart.

How did you get the role? What was the audition process like?

Charles: I first found out about the audition through Instagram. No Ordinary Love already had an Instagram account promoting and looking for actors to audition. They were holding an open call audition and my dear friend Conor, also an actor, DM’ed me their post.
At first, I was hesitant to audition because it was done through Instagram, and I’ve had my fair share with independent productions and a few student films. I was often mistreated as an actor, so I wasn’t too sure. But later another actor friend of mine, Chase, reached out to me on Facebook asking me to audition for this series. Turns out he was the director of the series!
Because I had good faith in him, I decided to audition.
The audition process was pretty much the same as most things these days. First you self-tape and send it through and wait in the dark. Then you jump on zoom for call backs. After my second call back, I got the good news.
I don’t know why, but while I was auditioning for this series, I was weirdly relaxed about the process. Could it be because I already knew the director? I think it was mainly because I was just eager to perform!
It didn’t matter if it was just an audition, after three and a half years at a drama school I just wanted so bad to get out there and just offer the world what I got. I just felt super ready to take on any tasks.

How did you find the overall filming process?

Charles: It was intense…. First role I land out of drama school happens to be a LEAD role, not only a LEAD but a ROMANTIC LEAD!!!
Because I was the lead, I was required in most scenes, which means 10-hour shoots, Monday to Friday, for 3 weeks. By the end of each day, I was exhausted. I don’t really drink coffee, but during filming always made sure I had my coffee next to me.
There was so much more than just ACTING involved while working on set. Filmmaking is such a collaborative art which means you are not the only one who is working on the set! You learn to navigate around people, but also to protect yourself. Everything is so fast paced and as an artist you need to know how to stand your ground and ask for your space, obviously in a respectable manner (ha ha).
We worked with Screen Australia who funded us. We then had complete freedom on set, which I found super respectful and honoured for them to trust us with this production.
Though I wasn’t part of the creative team in the beginning because I was the lead, I found myself getting more involved in the production side. The creative team wanted that as well. I thought I would only learn about acting while working on this production, but I ended up learning a whole lot more. Basically, how a film gets made from beginning to the end, how its pitched, how to secure funding and how to recruit crews and actors etc. I got to see it all.

How is this YouTube Series different from other screen work you have done?

Charles: After No Ordinary Love, I worked on productions for SBS and Paramount + but in terms of filming, I don’t think there was anything different. Just the scale of the production differed. Obviously SBS and Paramount + had a much bigger budget and more people working on set, but everything else was the same, I think… (except the quality of the catering ha ha)!
As long as my role is limited to being a performer, an actor, then I don’t think it changes anything. I wait around until I’m required on set, the director yells action and I do my bit and they cut! From student films to Paramount +, it was the same for me. (Maybe a bit more pressure when it’s a bigger production, but the process was the same.

What have you learnt at ACA that has helped you to prepare for this role and a project such as this?

Charles: It is hard to pinpoint a particular subject that helped me with this project because every class, every subject helped.
Obviously, camera class with Pip, Gen, Rob helped me with how to act in front of a camera and where I picked up little tips and tricks.
From 1st year to 3rd (4th) year working with Adam, Troy and Johann helped me learn how to prep for a role.
Working with Julia (Head of Movement) helped me to be present wherever I stood, relax and breathe.
With Skuse he was always pushing boundaries and having us think outside of the box, milking that creative juice in my brain.
There are too many tutors to give credit to, and I just can’t write everyone’s name here.
However, if I can only take away one thing from ACA, then it would be what I have learnt from Jennifer West. She is the one who taught me how delicious a word can be, the depth and the spectrum each word contains. She is the one who opened a whole new door for me that I didn’t realise existed. What it really means to speak that word.!

What advice would you give students of ACA?

Charles: ACA is a judgement free school. Toxic competitive nature does not exist inside ACA and IF it does, be better. It will only do you wrong. So now that you have that in mind…
Please F**k around. As much as you can. Till the point where your classmates might get annoyed at you, and then eff around some more. Don’t worry, they are stuck with you for 3 years. They will eventually get over it and love you!
So, what do I mean by F**k around? I don’t mean to skip classes, not invest, and waste everyone’s time.
What I mean is do not worry about your silly reputations and just immerse yourself in the class. Don’t be embarrassed to explore and go beyond, push it to extremes. Think outside of the box EVEN if you think it might be wrong. Better to learn that it was a mistake than to never know the full potential of it. Stay curious. You can’t discover yourself unless you explore. So please give yourself the freedom to f**k around and explore.

What was the highlight of ACA for you?

Charles: Every single performance I did at ACA was a highlight. To me, this was the best part of going to ACA. You are always guaranteed to perform in front of a crowd whether you like it or not, sometimes to an audience, but sometimes just in front of your classmates and tutors. As someone who never had any opportunities to perform and only took classes for many years, I was finally able to step on stage and perform in front of an audience.
ACA has provided me a stage to explore and find what I was looking for. I yearned for the experience and the greater knowledge that you could only discover on stage and ACA gave me the opportunity to search for the answer. So yeah, looking back, every time I got up was my highlight at ACA whether I found my answer or not.

What’s next for you?

Charles: Hopefully I keep working as an actor! I have been very fortunate to land a role straight after my graduation and continued to land a few gigs back-to-back. But now I have finished filming all the productions I was booked for, so I feel like I’ve milked all my luck… for now.
A couple of productions I’m in are in talks for a sequel so fingers crossed!!
And if that doesn’t happen, cry me to sleep every night until it does happen.
We’ve worked super hard for No Ordinary Love Series so hope you all like it and it is only my first work so I know it will only get better from here.
Hope I did you proud ACA!

Check out No Ordinary Love Series Now :


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