Branden Garret is a Slovenian actor, producer, electric guitar player and physicist. Born in a small town Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia and raised in Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia and in Stuttgart, Germany.
While growing up he attended music school and played the accordion, after that he also played the electric guitar and performed breakdance and electric boogaloo. He attended TSC high school and later studied electrical engineering and educational physics at PEF and FMF in Ljubljana and achieved masters of philosophy degree in physics at FNM Maribor.
After a few years of working in the field of science, education and electronics he started to feel a call from the inside to shift towards performing arts, film and photogaphy. Searching for a real acting coach he met Janez Vajevec, a direct disciple of Lee Strasberg. Under his guidance Branden started to study acting technique of Lee Strasberg and became a member of actorstudio.si in Slovenia. Branden is very passionate about Lee Strasberg acting technique, where the actor does not indicate his character’s experience, but induces it.
Hollywood World Interview with Artist and Actor Branden Garret
Hollywood World: What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am in the process of reading scripts sent to me by an executive producer. The stories are mostly to be shot in Europe. Many of them deal with the current political situation and the crisis of emigration that is happening in Europe.
Hollywood World: Who else is involved in this production, director, producer, actors?
I am in discussions with the producer/writer Scott J.T. Frank about his new movies. One is Tiger’s Eye and the other is Blood of the Sun. He wants me to be in these movies and I am very excited about these two projects.
Hollywood World: What makes a good scene partner?
Scene partners must listen to each other and respond organically as though the scene is happening in real life. Acting must be done in a spontaneous way, so that it is fresh and unpredictable. Although you know the text as an actor, you have to make it new, like you’ve never seen the text before. This is art.
By themselves, the words are dead. It is the actor’s job to make them alive, organic and believable. The resulting performance should be effortless and resonant, rendering the material believable. This is the real challenge.
There is a very simple way to determine a quality performance. If you watch the scene back with the volume muted it is easy to determine whether the acting is realistic, believable and effortless. From there, it’s simple to distinguish whether all of the elements of the scene, your own performance as well as your partners acting stands up. The quality of the lighting and camera work is also easily distinguished in this way. It is a process which relies upon so many factors. Everyone involved has to perform to their maximum capability.
Hollywood World: What are your favorite projects you have been part of?
Trilogy Winnetou, produced by German RTL, based on a novel written by Karl May was my favorite. My role came up in the last part of the trilogy. Working on this set proved compelling and satisfying. I was expected to play violin, so I had to take on extensive preparation. My performance also involved riding a horse, with which I had very limited experience. I truly enjoy the new opportunities afforded to me by the craft.
Hollywood World: How much experience do you have in field?
Hollywood World: Describe your best quality as an actor?
Related to my tools, I speak several languages besides English, like Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian and a little of Italian, I am good with accents: German, Russian, European. Presently, I am working with coach Jon Sperry in perfecting my American accent. My best quality, I believe, is my organic sensibility. I’ve worked with some very talented teachers who have helped me achieve this sensibility and though it is difficult to speak to this rather subjective question, I do believe this is the most memorable quality of my performance capability.
Hollywood World: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I started my professional career as a physicist and an engineer. After few years working in the field of education and science I started to feel a call from inside to put more of my focus on acting. My love for natural sciences slowly started to shift towards the art of film. I still like physics and I am grateful that I went through this amazing journey of study, but I discovered that I can express myself more completely as a human being when on stage or in front of the camera. Perhaps I am also a person that equally uses both sides of his brain, the left side that is more analytical and logical and the right side that is artistic and creative. Also, by nature I am an introverted person. Through acting I give myself permission to communicate with the people around me in a less reserved, more passionate way.
Hollywood World: What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
There is a difference whether shooting is actor oriented or director oriented. If a director allows you to improvise and gives you the freedom to create life around the script, then something unique may happen. The ultimate result of that freedom could imbue the movie with a more compelling and memorable tone. Historically, film was created as a silent medium. Sound came later. At some point they have figured out how to record sound along with the picture and of course this made motion pictures that much more interesting. But dialogue wasn’t necessary included to move audiences.
Today, this history is mostly forgotten and the script has become a normal part of every movie, but originally the camera was used to capture the emotion of the actor’s face. I have met directors who are very strict and don’t allow the actors to do their creative job. Instead, they want you to follow the text exactly. This can be difficult for an actor, especially if the script is not well written. The same problem occurs when actors are limited by technology. Directors ask you to be organic and believable, but they place on the actor so many limitations of movement and inflection, focusing on the technical rather than the tone of the scene. With all of these limitations it is difficult to be creative, believable and realistic.
In the best case, technology should be used to adapt to what the performers are doing and not vice versa. This could mean the use of multiple cameras on the set and the need for quality camera operators who knows how to capture life; like when you watch a soccer game. The camera operator follows what the soccer players are doing on the field, not the opposite. If you have only one camera the whole creative process can become very limited and fragmented, making it more difficult to capture the resonance and believability of a scene. Also, I have learned that hard work and preparation pays off. You have to be focused and forget about everything that is going on around you on the set. You can’t allow yourself to be distracted by those working on the crew and/or other members of the cast.
Hollywood World: From where have you learned acting? What training do you have?
My first acting coach was and still is Janez Vajevec, a disciple of Lee Strasberg. Under his guidance I started to study the acting technique of Lee Strasberg and became a member of Actor Studio in Slovenia. I am very passionate about Lee Strasberg’s acting technique; where the actor does not indicate his character’s experience, but induces it. In Los Angeles I have worked with several coaches, for example John Swanbeck, Michelle Danner, David Rountree, Jon Sperry.
Hollywood World: What has been your biggest achievement in the field of acting?
My role of a Polish worker in Winnetou. My character’s name was Tadeusz. He migrates to America for better a life and he gets killed in the process. I also have a recurring role in the TOP Slovenian TV series called Usodno Vino, where I play the role of a gynecologist.
Hollywood World: What other types of movies would you be interested in filming?
My dream is to star opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt. I love their personalities and their acting. They are indisputably talented and their performances are organic, believable and credible.
Hollywood World: How do you see your role as an actor?
Being an actor or any other artist is a very responsible position. You are a public person and as such you create public opinion, influencing others by your work. As an actor I am always working to elevate myself and inspire others through the craft and by setting a good example. Lately, I see too many celebrities that are influenced by identity politics. By taking sides they help galvanized an already polarized society. I don’t think that is good or healthy for the society, or by extension, for the democracy.
Hollywood World: What is your secret?
If I told you my secret, it would not be a secret anymore LOL.
Hollywood World: What other hobbies do you have?
I love photography, I really love it. I love taking pictures all the time and posting them on my Instagram account. Also, occasionally, I do take headshots for my friends. I play electric guitar and I am still learning violin.
Hollywood World: Who is your role model?
I find it difficult to narrow it down just to one person. I can say that I take inspiration from the works of Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Shia LaBeouf, Leonardo DiCaprio and some others.
Hollywood World: What makes you feel like a star?
I don’t feel that way, but I would say that I find inspiration when I see some movie stars speak about their amazing experiences and the steps they have taken to become a movie star. It is just amazing when you see what a person who is brave and believes in himself can achieve. Just as we are blind many times to see our faults, we are also blind to see what powers we have. And once you realize that and you become assertive enough, you can achieve great things. Preparation is the key.
Hollywood World: Any tips about how to be a successful actor?
First, you must love it. Enjoy the journey. Then you have to be committed, work hard, sacrifice things that may be difficult to sacrifice and also be good in promoting yourself. The entertainment Industry has changed and successful actors nowadays are like entrepreneurs. Never let anyone put you down. Don’t take rejection personally, accept rejection and be content to wait. You have to be prepared to go out to tens of meetings and be told “no” every time and not take that to the heart. Heart is a very precious thing, don’t put someone’s no in it. Be ready for surprises, because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. When the moment arrives when you don’t have any projects, don’t let that influence your happiness, don’t let that validate your happiness. You have to protect your integrity, don’t compromise it. Otherwise, if you betray yourself it becomes very difficult to get your integrity back.
Hollywood World: What do you want to be remembered for in life? What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?
As an artist, I would like to inform and inspire people; at least, that’s what I seek to achieve. We are on this planet for only a very short time. Our lives are short compared to the lifespan of the universe and all the planetary systems. That being said, we must endeavor to accomplish good things, help others and make a positive impact on others during our time. You can be a great artist that inspires millions of people or only one person that goes on to be great. You may be a good mom or a good father, which is, in the scheme of things, perhaps the most important thing one can achieve. If you extrapolate your center of goodness out into the world, it must have a positive affect on others. At least that is what I believe.
Hollywood World: What’s next?
I am always happy to connect with others, learn new things and exchange my ideas with others. This is a part of actor’s life.
*Cover Photo by Alan Weissman