Flying from Denver to Albuquerque to Los Angeles between university classes and filming schedules, a young actress from Elbert County is making a name for herself in the industry. Megan Elisabeth …
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Flying from Denver to Albuquerque to Los Angeles between university classes and filming schedules, a young actress from Elbert County is making a name for herself in the industry.
Megan Elisabeth Kelly, 19, is majoring in entrepreneurship and minoring in technical communication, not as a fallback career, but as a means to market and promote herself as an actress. She splits her time between an apartment near North Hollywood, California and commutes to school from her childhood home in eastern Elizabeth.
After graduating from Elizabeth High School in 2017, Kelly's acting coach persuaded her to move to the Los Angeles area and pursue acting with her whole heart. She now auditions in California, New Mexico and Colorado whenever one of her three agents alerts her to a role that sounds like a good fit.
She worked on theater productions in school and through Parker Arts, but slowly came to the realization she wanted to focus on making films, so she took classes with acting coach Paul Rohrer.
“Paul Rohrer, up in Denver, inspired me to keep at it. The business is very tough, and I wasn't even considering going to L.A. because it seemed really scary, and I'd never lived by myself before,” Kelly said.
But Rohrer pulled Kelly aside at a Christmas party last year and told her this was the perfect time in her life to commit.
“He pushed me to go. I probably wouldn't have without him because so much doubt fills your head and makes you want to back out,” Kelly said.
Rohrer remembers initially telling Kelly's mom that he typically wouldn't work with someone so inexperienced and young — she was 12 at the time — but changed his mind after meeting her.
“From the very first interview, Megan impressed me much like others who have gone on to great careers within the motion picture arts,” Rohrer said. “There is always a spark, a kind of fanaticism in being willing to do whatever it takes, that marks those who not only have a natural talent or gift, but more importantly, are willing to do the work without excuse or reason to fail. Megan is that kind of talent.”
Rohrer and Kelly both mentioned that her supportive family has had a major impact on her career.
“They've always pushed me since I was little to go after my dreams,” Kelly said.
Although Kelly auditions for movies and TV series often, she finds she can pay her Metropolitan State University tuition and other bills by doing commercials. She was at school this past year and had to laugh when she saw she landed the audition for her favorite burger place, Freddy's Steakburger.
However, there was nothing funny about the audition itself. When she went to the audition, she began comparing herself to the competition.
“Even in Denver, with as small a market as this is, all these people are your type: same height, they have the same hair as you do,” Kelly said.
Kelly is excited to stay in New York for a month this summer as she shoots an indie movie with Matthew Lawrence. Another movie, “Prolonged Exposure,” just premiered in Albuquerque that featured Kelly alongside Dean Cain. She also stays busy shooting training videos, plus commercials for beef jerky and the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
She recently got a callback for the Netflix series “Better Call Saul,” but did not get the part. The way she handles rejection is by realizing that it's not an attack on her as a person, but by remembering that the director had a certain “spec” in mind for that role.
“Honestly, as everyone says, it's inevitable,” Kelly said. “I can't tell you how many roles I went out for and they said, `You're great, but look too young.' I look like I'm 12.”
Kelly's routine is always changing as different auditions crop up. While at dinner with her family recently, she had to dismiss an audition in New Mexico because she knew it would be too hectic to make it down by the morning. And her plans to attend the Elizabeth High School Film Festival were changed as she got the callback for “Better Call Saul” at the last minute.
Her high school highlights were doing audio/visual work with EZ/TV, which helped her behind and in front of the camera, and doing theater productions. Before high school, Kelly attended Legacy Academy and before that, she lived in Washington state. In Spokane she started singing and playing the drums, piano and fiddle, and competing as an Irish step dancer. She was in a bluegrass group at age 10, and imagined becoming a professional Irish dancer.
It wasn't until high school that she focused on her current goals, even though Kelly knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actor.
“I'd watch little princess movies and say `Oh my gosh. I want to do that!' When I was about 14 I started taking it more seriously,” Kelly said.
To her, the ultimate success would be for an audience to leave the theater after watching her on screen and feel empathetic, while still processing her production days later.
“At the end of the day, all I want do is make impactful films,” Kelly said.
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