OU alumna stars in online web series
They call the film industry the hardest business to get in, but for Carly Jones, OU alumna, that warning doesn’t deflate her intentions.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Jones said. “I was drawn to the challenge of suspending disbelief. Acting is a subjective profession and you’re not always going to please everyone. It can be tough at times, but also exciting and fulfilling.”
Jones, a 2004 graduate, is well on her way to success in the tough business. Her most recent project, a web series entitled “With the Angels,” premiered Tuesday on www.strike.tv.
Strike TV is an online network that features several big names both on and behind the scenes , such as Mindy Kalling of “The Office,” Joe Kelly from “How I Met Your Mother,” Kate Purdy from “Cold Case,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “General Hospital” and “Port Charles” and Karen Harris, an “All My Children” writer. The network was created during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, and was an idea that came directly from the picket lines. The network was meant to be a place for members of the WGA to showcase their work.
It was also a way to exhibit work that was personal to them and that might not ever air on television or film.
Jones said she jumped at the chance to be a part of the online network.
“It’s thrilling to be a part of a new genre of entertainment,” she said.
“With the Angels,” written by Mary Feuer, is based on a screenplay that Feuer wrote with Werner Trieschmann, an Arkansas playwright. The show follows Taffy (Jamie Tisdale) and her roommate Ashley (Jones) after their move from a small Arkansas town to Venice Beach, Calif. Episodes revolve around Taffy’s strong Christian ideals, and how they are affected by the world around her, where no one shares her beliefs.
Jones said her favorite thing about the show is its accessibility.
“This show goes on an incredible journey, and it’s exciting that anyone can watch it at any time on their computer,” Jones said. “The characters in the show are incredibly relatable to young adults. The struggle to find you outside of school and in the real world is a connection that we all have. It’s a fun, crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and you never know what’s around the next corner. But everyone is invited for the ride.”
Feuer described Ashley as the best actress in her high school and the best in her college class. However she is now finding it difficult to prove to be the best in Los Angeles. The struggle to be the best causes the ambitious Ashley to stoop to new levels in her desperation to get people’s attention.
“I love that you can see Ashley’s faults and the cracks in her façade,” Jones said. “She’s desperately trying to hide her imperfections and in the process loses track of who she really is. I enjoy playing characters that are interesting and have depth. I love figuring out the backstory and finding subtleties in the character’s personality. I also tend to lean towards the dramatic side, so any character with inner personal struggles is a gold mine for me.”
Jones wasn’t just hand-picked by Feuer for the part of Ashley — she had the character written specifically for her.
“I had worked with Carly on the web series ‘Lonelygirl 15,’ and I knew she was a terrific actress,” Feuer said. “She has this incredible combination of fragility and fierceness that I saw as essential to Ashley. I wrote the character with her in mind.”
Rena Cook, associate professor in OU’s School of Drama, echoed many of the same characteristics when describing Carly.
“I remember Carly being immediately very talented, but she was also so lovely, poised, graceful and so honest,” Cook said. “She did role after role for us; she was a favorite of our directors [because] she was so honest and natural.”
Jones said she recalls her days at OU with nostalgia. She said she misses game days and the buzz of campus, and appreciates all the training that her time at OU provided.
“Experience is your best friend,” she said. “I was fortunate to spend a lot of time on the stage while I was in school at OU, which helped immensely in growing as an actor. I miss the arts community there. There was always a play, musical, dance or art show opening.”
Jones said she sees herself continuing on in the film and television industry. She said that in five years she hopes to be consistently working in Los Angeles.
Jones said a good piece of advice for OU students seeking to be actors is to be aware that you’re in it for the long haul.
“The hardest part is being persistent and not doubting yourself or your abilities,” Jones said.