WE catch up with the talented and creative actress Lara Lipschitz on the latest season of Chin Up – a comedy documentary style series based on her own real life experiences and struggles in the world of acting:
Tell us about how Lara’s character’s developed from season 1 to season 3?
A lot has happened for Lara since season one. She has certainly grown up a lot and like most actors, has had to face a lot more challenges than she expected at the start of her career. In season two she decided to take a big step and move to Cape Town to pursue her acting career and tried her hand at stand up comedy. She made fast friends who turned out to be flakes and got her heart broken by Cape Town, and the fierce competition she faced. In season three, after feeling completely defeated by the ‘industry’ she decides to take a break and move back in with her dad in Johannesburg- a dismal reality for many 30-something actors today. But just as she has given up on her career, it takes a turn for the better and she lands a big role on a soap opera as well as finds a love interest on the set of a commercial.
Logistically you’ve had a lot more resources to produce this season – tell us about that.
I decided to write and direct it myself so it was imperative to have an assistant director and a full professional crew. So I launched a crowd funding campaign to raise money to pay for crew which helped a huge amount. Even though we reached our funding goal it wasn’t enough to cover all of our costs because making TV is expensive, so we still had to self fund the rest of the production. Food, transport, wardrobe etc were all out of our pocket and cast and a few other generous and talented people offered their time and locations for free. So once again it was a passion project made with love, but we really did our best to take the standard up a few levels. I think the extra long pre- production and post production really helped make season three the best one yet by far.
Yes absolutely. It was a huge pat on the back from the universe that encouraged me to keep going. It also helped boost my following and increased interest in the show’s continuation and success. New York really is a city of do-ers and winning an award there was completely re-energizing and inspiring.
Tell us about the new characters and developments in season three of Chin Up?
There are so many new characters this season played by some of South Africa’s best comedic actors. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just name a few:
Lara runs into her old drama school friend played by the brilliant Loyiso Macdonald. She befriends her co-star Mandisa, played by the vivacious Makgotso Monyemorathoe. She goes on a date with a cute PA played by the very endearing Roberto Pombo. She runs into some trouble when she is confronted by a police officer played by the hilarious Ntosh Madlingozi and the uber talented Charlie Bouguenon plays the arrogant gym jock that hits on her at the gym.
This season has been quite a family affair – what was it like working with your husband and in-laws?
I have always worked with my wonderful husband Devin Toselli. Chin Up wouldn’t be possible without him. He is so easy to work with and so committed to making the show look amazing. Working with my lovely in-laws was a pleasure. They are both veterans in the industry and gave so much input that saved the day on a few occasions. Leigh Toselli helped with art department and set dressing as well as make-up and even a bit of acting. Patrick shot all the behind-the-scenes photos as well as the unit stills. He also plays a character in the show so look out for both of them in the new season.
Are you planning to submit this season to festivals and streaming channels?
Yes, I have already submitted it to some festivals all over the world and will hopefully be hearing good news from them in the next few months. There are so many new streaming services that are looking for content and it has opened up the TV industry in a whole new way, so I am definitely planning to get it onto a streaming service soon.
Will there be another Chin Up season?
More than likely! And this show wouldn’t have been possible without all the people who help make it happen. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the crowd funding campaign: Dore and Amit, my parents, Devin’s (my husband) parents, and all the incredible actors, crew, production companies and musicians. Not to forget all the people who watch, love and share the show. Thank you!!