All posts by Scott Prewitt

From Narratives to Documentaries, Producer Assya Dimova Brings Powerful Stories to the Screen

Producer Assya Dimova

Film is a remarkable medium. It can make us laugh, cry, scream, think, and occasionally all of the above. It offers weary audiences an escape from the tedium of the real world, and it gives them a glimpse of places they may never see otherwise. That’s exactly how producer Assya Dimova first fell in love with film, and ultimately with filmmaking.

As a producer, Dimova is essentially a project’s chief architect. It’s her responsibility to guide the entire process, from finding talent to organizing the countless moving parts that make up every production. But having spent nearly her entire life producing films, plays and events, Dimova is a master of putting on a show.

Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, Dimova has worked in nearby Italy and Germany for much of her professional career. The rich culture and artistic traditions of Europe have greatly influenced her work. Her upcoming film “Our Blood Is Wine” is a tribute to one of the continent’s most under appreciated contributions.

“It focuses on Georgia’s fascinating history of winemaking, past and present,” Dimova explained. “Director Emily Railsback and award-winning sommelier Jeremy Quinn provide intimate access to rural family life in the Republic of Georgia as they explore the rebirth of 8,000-year-old winemaking traditions almost lost during the period of Soviet rule.”

Dimova served as a line producer on the film, which is slated for release in 2018. In her position she was responsible for overseeing the planning of the film and ensuring the day-to-day production went according to plan and stayed within the budget. It’s a difficult job in any production, but the challenges are even more pronounced on a feature-length documentary like “Our Blood Is Wine.”

Traditional filmmaking is an indescribably intense process, and there are certainly benefits and drawbacks from working with tightly-controlled sets, schedules, and scripted dialogue. Documentaries, by their very definition, offer filmmakers none of that control. It was up to Dimova to plan for and provide everything director Emily Railsback needed to tell the story, with no telling what that story would ultimately be.

Because of her, “Our Blood Is Wine” grew into a beautiful story about an ancient art form in an ancient place, and about the families that still live on the same land and in the same pastoral way as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. When the film is released in 2018, audiences will be able to see for themselves how the prehistoric craft of winemaking in Georgia is still thriving there today.

Prior to her work on the documentary, Dimova was the producer of the 2015 drama “Stygian.” The film is the tragic tale of a dying man who spends his last hours of life haunted by his mistakes.

“‘Stygian’ is a Western following the trek of an old gunman across a barren desert. Injured by a fall from his horse and suffering from dehydration and illness from an infection, his time is running out,” Dimova said, painting an image of hopeless desperation that the film captures brilliantly. “The central themes of sin, guilt and atonement make for a powerful and thought-provoking story.”

“Stygian” immediately won audiences over with its distinct blend of minimalist qualities and emphasis on visual storytelling. It was showered with critical acclaim and was named an Official Selection at five film festivals, including the 2015 Santa Fe International Film Festival and the 2016 Wild Bunch Film Festival.

Film has always been a major influence for Dimova, but her work as a producer isn’t limited to the screen. Some of her most impressive work has been as a curator of events, including the prestigious Leiden International Film Festival and the Hollywood Film Festival. As a curator, Dimova watches the films submitted by potential festival entrants and works to decide which ones the festival will screen. Her experience as a producer is invaluable to her curatorial work, which demands a fastidious and analytical approach that she’s honed through producing her own films.

“As a producer, one must have a wide range of taste and ability to spot up-and-coming talent. With my international experience and background I’m able to critique submissions for both their production and creative value,” Dimova said. “As in my personal producing career, I always go for story first and how captivating, original and authentic it is. I always look for something fresh that surprises me.”

Assya Dimova has built her career around her ability to examine every project not just from the perspective of a producer, but through the eyes of the audience. Her love of film inspired her to seek out and empower filmmakers with new stories to tell; and by giving them the platform and means to create and share their work, Dimova herself has continued the work of inspiring future filmmakers in audiences around the world.

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Argentinian Actress Yamila Saud Wows Audiences with the Film “Hypersomnia”

Yamila Saud
Argentinian actress Yamila Saud

As the only South American country to win not just one, but two Academy Awards, it’s no surprise that some of Latin America’s most talented film industry professionals hail from Argentina. Born in the bustling city of Cordoba, actress Yamila Saud is a shining symbol of Argentine contributions to cinema.

In her most recent role, Saud grabs audiences and pulls them down into a dark and unsettling place where human depravity has no limits. That film is “Hypersomnia”– a powerful 2017 thriller about human trafficking and the tragic toll it takes, both physically and psychologically, on the trapped women who are literally living in slavery.

Saud delivers a captivatingly meta performance as Milena, an actress who is playing a character named Laly in a theater production that takes place within the film’s storyline. Laly is a prisoner in a brothel, a victim of the human slave trade, and she lives in constant fear of the men who treat her worse than livestock. Milena, like Saud, is intensely serious about her craft. Determined to fully capture the essence of Laly, Milena begins falling deeper and deeper into character.

“[Milena’s] character [Laly] is a sex slave who falls in love with one of her captors. During rehearsals Milena begins to experience trances, in which she seems to live the life of her character,” Saud described. “What begins as an acting exercise ends up becoming a dark reality.”

Because of its layered narratives, the film’s impact is felt on several levels. Beyond the subjects of sex slavery and Stockholm syndrome, “Hypersomnia” also deftly tackles a social issue that has dominated the news of late — sexual harassment and assault by powerful men in the industry. As an actress, Saud’s character Milena endures advances and threats of retribution from the play’s director.

“[The story is also about] the abuse of power by men, where women are manipulated to do what is asked of them in exchange for getting work,” Saud said. “In this case, the director subjects [Milena] to a number of rare requests.”

It is no small task for an actress to believably capture the trauma of Laly, the worsening psychosis of Milena, and the effect it has on Milena to be exploited by powerful men. But Saud was able to expertly take on both characters, a testament to her versatility.

“My most challenging roles were Milena and Laly in ‘Hypersomnia,’” Saud recalled. “The character of Milena is a girl who has a dream, but to achieve it she has to submit to the director’s ‘requests.’ … It’s something that really happens every day, not only in the artistic fields but in all industries.”

Disturbing, enthralling and extremely relevant, “Hypersomnia” is a brilliant social critique presented as a haunting psychological thriller. “Hypersomnia” is available to stream for free for Netflix subscribers.

Saud’s upcoming film “Solo el Amor” is slated to begin shooting in 2018, and is about as different from “Hypersomnia” as a film can be. Lighthearted by comparison, “Solo el Amor” is the timeless story of two mismatched young people discovering an unlikely romance.

“I am very happy to be a part of this film,” Saud said. “I think every actress dreams of making a love movie, and I’m not the exception.”

At its core, “Solo el Amor” is a classic tale of the heart wanting what the heart wants. Saud plays Ana, a straight-laced and serious woman who begins falling in love with a young man named Bruno.

“Ana is a young lawyer who lives in a world that is as structured as it is unexciting. Bruno is a bohemian and an irresponsible singer-songwriter who dreams of reaching success with his rock band,” Saud explained. “Despite their differences they fall in love, leading them to understand who they are — and to go for what they really want at whatever cost.”

The heartwarming story of love conquering all, “Solo el Amor” will begin filming next year and will likely begin screening to audiences in late 2018 or the following year.

Yamila Saud’s versatility and empathy form the foundation for the career she has built. Whether playing an unstable stage actress, a victim of human trafficking, or a lawyer on a collision course with true love, Saud is capable of understanding her characters on a truly deep level. That intimate connection to her characters that Saud naturally possesses is a rare gift that no amount of training can teach.

Master Violinist Carlos Felipe Silva Makes his Mark as a Film Composer

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.58.30 PM
Carlos Felipe Silva at The Latin Grammys in Las Vegas (from left to right: Stefano Melillo, Sophie Maricq, Luis Tellez, Oscar Stagnaro, Calros Silva, Manuel Lara and Marco Flores.) Photo by Nora Gonzalez

Venezuelan composer Carlos Felipe Silva was born a prodigy. He received his first music lessons when he was just 5 years old; by 7 he’d begun formally training in the violin. Silva took to it like a bird takes to flight, but a mind like his could never be restricted to a single instrument. In the young virtuoso’s head rang entire symphonies, and as he grew older it became clear what he was born to do.

“At 18, I had the opportunity to come to the States to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan,” said Silva, recalling how music went from being his passion to his career. “It was during that time I realized how important music was to me. I knew from that moment on that I had to spend the rest of my life making music.”

Silva spent the next five years as a violinist with Venezuela’s world-renowned Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, led by world-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel, who has since become conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“[After that], I got to study at my dream school — Berklee College of Music in Boston, the best place on earth to learn music,” Silva said. “I studied with world class instructors, and I was immersed in an environment that breathes music 24/7.”

By the time he earned his B.A. in Film Scoring from the ultra-exclusive Berklee College of Music, Silva already possessed more experience than many musicians gain in a lifetime. He immediately set out to prove his brilliance as a film composer, captivating audiences with his score for the 2015 thriller “Skye.” At the heart of the film is the titular Skye, a girl who is abducted for ransom by three of her male classmates. As the action intensifies and the plan goes south Skye finds herself walking the line between survival instinct and Stockholm Syndrome.

“‘Skye is a great thriller with fascinating turns. It shows the complexities of our society, and of how we react to life’s greatest challenges,” Silva said. “I wanted to create a score that could portray those complexities… In the first talk I had with the director we agreed upon a sonic landscape full of provocative elements and electronic pulses, with a lot of tension and suspense.”

Following the success of “Skye,” Silva didn’t waste a single second continuing his work. Within the year he had finished composing and recording his next masterstroke, “Clocks.”


“This piece and other cues were commissioned and produced by Moai Films, a production company based in L.A. I’d previously worked with them on the film ‘Matthew,’ and I developed a great relationship with Lukas Colombo, the head and creative mastermind behind Moai Films Productions,” Silva said. “It was an incredible opportunity to record and conduct a full orchestra…  [who] brought the score to life, and we were all very satisfied with the results. The session was incredible, and I got to work with some of the best musicians in town.”

When writing “Clocks,” Silva drew his inspiration from the beating pulse of the sprawling cities he’d spent his life in, starting in Caracas, then Boston where he mastered his craft, and ultimately Los Angeles, where he currently spends each day creating and performing.

“‘Clocks’ was written to portray the intensity of modern lives in big cities, where we all strive to achieve our dreams, but forget about the simple things that make life meaningful,” he described soulfully. “We used a traditional instrumentation, where the trumpet has the main melody line which sits on top of a provocative string ostinato; the choir adds an emotional layer to whole composition.”

In a way, however, “Clocks” represents the exact opposite of who Silva is as a person. Though he’s led a metropolitan life, Silva has never been forced to choose between reaching his dreams and finding meaning in life. Through his music, he has captured both in equal measures. In that sense, Carlos Felipe Silva, the Venezuelan virtuoso, has discovered the true meaning of life.

“Music is everything in my life. It’s a gesture of love which must be shared with others. It’s an act of faith and spirituality, and it’s the best way for me to communicate,” he explained. “As Nietzsche said: ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.’’’

Telling Stories to Spark Social Change: Director Alma Jiménez Ochomogo

Director Alma Jiménez Ochomogo was born in Toluca, a small town about an hour outside Mexico City. Her parents owned and managed a small business, which provided a living for the family but didn’t leave them time for much else, so Jiménez Ochomogo was often left to her own devices. She couldn’t have known it then, but looking back with the clarity of hindsight she can point to her time spent there as the beginning of her lifelong pursuit.

“My family owned a small grocery store in Mexico and my mother used to work there all day long, so I spent most of my time there. I couldn’t really spend a lot of time playing outside because it was on a busy street — and because of insecurity,” she said, reflecting on how it all began.

“One of the only things that I could do was watch movies. I always had a big imagination so I think that was my escape. [It was like] I was in all kinds of places and adventures in the movies. [That] has tremendously impacted my life.”

Though that small town was where she’d discovered her passion, the opportunities there for an aspiring filmmaker were extremely limited. So the ever-driven Jiménez Ochomogo chased her calling to Los Angeles. She flourished in the city, and it immediately became clear she had a rare gift. Her film “The Play” is a testament to that gift, beautifully blending a rich, original narrative with a bold message of perseverance in the face of inequality.

“‘The Play’… tells the story of Kimberly, a transgender actress, who receives her first role as a woman and is struggling to get into character,” Jiménez Ochomogo described. “It was a very difficult endeavor to find someone who could both play a transgender actress and deliver Shakespeare… if I didn’t choose the right person, the character could have become cartoonish.”

Director Alma Jiménez Ochomogo
Director Alma Jiménez Ochomogo (left) and actors Ted Heyck & Aean McMullin (right) preparing to shoot “The Play.” Photo by Sara Marijuan

Written, directed and produced by Jiménez Ochomogo, “The Play” is a brilliant and powerful work that boldly tackles a topic too often swept under the rug. Aean McMullin delivers a masterful performance as Jennifer, deftly embodying the young actress.

“Kim… is cast as Viola/Cesario, the heroine and protagonist of the play ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare,” she explained. “Aean McMullin, the actor, did a great job creating Kim. He had the right amount of vulnerability and strength that the character required to feel real. It also helped that he was classically trained so was amazing in delivering Shakespeare.”

In February, Jiménez Ochomogo unveiled her most ambitious project yet. Blurring the line between social media and cinema, L.A. Livfe was a series of three films by three directors which were ‘screened’ using the Facebook Live service. To ensure the project would get off on the right track, Jiménez Ochomogo’s film “The Pair” was chosen to be the first film to air.

“I directed the first short film called ‘The Pair,’ which was a love story about a Palestinian and an Israeli who meet in a Los Angeles bar,” she said. “We rehearsed for hours, but we only broadcast live once… so in many ways it was a make-it-or-break-it type of project.”

To shoot a film and air it live online for the world to see is an immense undertaking. It required countless hours of preparation, and the stakes couldn’t have been higher. But Jiménez Ochomogo had a story in her mind, and she knew exactly how to tell it.

“Our objective was to incorporate film language into live broadcasting, and the thread that joined all of the stories together was the city of Los Angeles,” she explained. “Each of us told a story of a moment in this city.”

At once enthralling and captivating, “The Pair” was a perfect example of what sets Jiménez Ochomogo apart. She is driven to find the unusual, the unorthodox and the unexpected, all of which she brings to life on the screen. Together with her visionary eye, her gift for storytelling puts Alma Jiménez Ochomogo miles ahead of her peers.

 

Editing Genius Rudy Vermorel Engages Millennials with his Work

At the heart of every production, whether it’s an advertisement or an epic drama, is a story with a purpose. The writers, cinematographers and director are all critical to a project’s creation, but it’s at the editor’s desk where it becomes more than just raw footage and words on a script. It’s up to the editor to see the forest through the trees — to know the story that’s being told, and to be able to put the right scenes together in the right places like so many puzzle pieces, to create the final product that movie theater audiences and home viewers will ultimately see.

The job of an editor can be grueling, but for Rudy Vermorel it’s all a labor of love. Painstakingly parsing through hundreds of hours of footage, one second at a time, is just the beginning of Vermorel’s zenlike process. He cuts, splices and rearranges scenes with a methodical efficiency and confidence honed by experience, breathing life into the story with every move.

“Once I have the footage I start to watch it to get an idea of the general tone,” Vermorel said. “If there is music in the background of the video I listen to the song to feel all the emotions and adapt the song to the footage. Then, I start cutting and I create my magic.”

In 2016, Taco Bell hired Vermorel as the lead editor for the company’s web series “Taco Tales,” an innovative marketing campaign geared toward the millennial demographic. In each episode, actors reenact Taco Bell-related stories found online at sites like Facebook and Reddit. Lighthearted and at times zany, editing the web series gave Vermorel the chance to showcase his talent for comedic timing. Moreover, the decision by such a massive company to hire Vermorel for a major social media marketing campaign speaks volumes about his talent.

Vermorel worked hard to earn his reputation as a leading figure in the field, a reputation which in turn earned him the trust of a wide array of high-profile clients internationally. Among countless other productions he’s served as the lead editor on advertisements for Ford, music videos for artists including MTV Video Music Award winner Demi Lovato, and in 2016 he expanded his repertoire with a venture into the rapidly growing market of mobile gaming.

Supercell – the group behind the runaway hit game “Clash of Clans” on iPhone and Android smartphones – has relied heavily on its strategy of widespread marketing to entice players into joining, to great effect. When the company released “Clash Royale” in 2016, it began preparing for a massive advertising blitz and Vermorel was recruited as the campaign’s editor.

“I am not a big game player so… at first I was apprehensive about how to edit it,” he said. “I figured out that the best way to work on it was to start playing the game, and I enjoyed it a lot. After that, I had so many ideas for how to highlight ‘Clash Royale,’ and all the fun, strategy and entertainment that make up the game.”

Initially the campaign was challenging for Vermorel, but he quickly adapted and before long the campaign had produced 20 videos publicizing “Clash Royale.” The videos racked up more than 120 million views, and the game became the top downloaded and highest-earning app on the iOS App Store overnight.

“I was very attached to the characters. I attributed to them a very different style, which allowed me to vary the editing techniques,” he said. “I wanted to showcase the funny side of the characters. For that we worked on their design to make them endearing, then I opted for modern dynamic editing in order to attract the interest of a large audience.”

The campaign was such a wild success that Vermorel was asked to continue editing the game’s ad campaigns for the next three years, the first of which will begin development this year.

Very few people involved in a production can ever be as intimately familiar with the project as the editor. A dedicated editor can spend days or weeks poring through every scene countless times. They can spend years perfecting the ability to bring the narrative together using the timing, cadence, and music of each scene. An editor’s job is to build order from chaos, to understand the director’s vision for a project and to bring that vision to life. A production is only as good as its editor, and Rudy Vermorel is the best there is.

Copenhagen Model and Actor Andreas Holm-Hansen Shines Bright!

Andreas Holm-Hansen shot by Freddy Billqvist
Andreas Holm-Hansen shot by Freddy Billqvist

With the poise of a veteran thespian and an appreciation for the beauty of the human form, Andreas Holm-Hansen is a remarkable figure with talent that shines through in his work as both an actor and model.

In his first big role, Holm-Hansen played ‘Mad’ Mads Steen in the Swedish series “Dreaming in Mono.” The show’s characters were each from a different Scandinavian country, with ‘Mad’ Mads Steen hailing from Holm-Hansen’s native Denmark.

“This was the first time I was given a full script, and I had a lot to learn and memorize,” he said, recounting the initial shock of jumping into such an extensive role so early in his career. “My character goes through a big transformation, and trying to play this was an eye-opening experience for me.”

When Holm-Hansen began acting in Los Angeles shortly after, opportunity found him almost overnight when he was cast in a lead role in the music video for “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” the latest hit single at the time by three-time Grammy Award-winning musician P!NK.

For Holm-Hansen, there is far more to “being in front of the camera” than simply “being” there. To him, every time he steps into the frame is a chance to step into someone else’s mind.

“I love that your body is your main tool, that you need to learn new things for every role you play,” he said. “With acting no two days are alike — new people, new locations and constantly new impressions and experiences.”

Holm-Hansen has talent in spades, but he also has the added advantage of looking every bit the part of the handsome Hollywood leading man. He is quite literally the picturesque embodiment of a cover model. With his toned physique, air of confidence and striking red hair, it’s no surprise he’s caught the attention of some of the most influential figures in the field today — including famed fine art photographer Thomas Knights. When Knights set out to make a book featuring the 100 hottest redheaded men in the world, he approached Holm-Hansen to be one of the “Red Hot 100.”

“In ‘Red Hot 100,’ I was featured along with 99 other redheaded guys, and we were branded the ‘unofficial 100 hottest redheads in the world,’” Holm-Hansen said.

The photos, which celebrated “ginger” men’s sexuality, were used in Knights’ high-end coffee table read “Red Hot 100.” Holm-Hansen described it as an amazing experience, but there was no way he could have known how immense an impact the shoot would have on his career.

The first book had featured 100 models. But in 2016, Knights began a follow-up, “Red Hot II” with creative director Elliott James Frieze, and chose Holm-Hansen to be one of just a handful models. The book once again focused on redheaded men, but this time it was a more intimate approach. With fewer models, the new series of photos of Holm-Hansen received a much greater focus.

Andreas Holm-Hansen on the cover of Thomas Knights' "Red Hot II"
Andreas Holm-Hansen on the cover of Thomas Knights’ “Red Hot II”

“The book is built around stories of many redheads, who are known for being bullied and for often having a rough time with name calling and teasing,” Holm-Hansen said. “Thomas Knights gathered many of us together and allowed us to share our stories and show that even though we had it tough, we fought through it and became the strong individuals we are today.”

Being featured in “Red Hot II” was an honor in itself, but when Knights was finalizing the book for print Holm-Hansen was in for a big surprise — he was chosen to be the cover model, the very first thing people would see when they picked up the book.

“I had worked really hard to be in great shape for the shoot, and then I was told after the project…  that I would be getting the cover,” he said proudly. “It feels amazing.”

Both books are available now, and with Holm-Hansen appearing prominently on the cover, “Red Hot II” is impossible to miss — or resist.

Andreas Holm-Hansen is a shining star, a fact which continues to capture the attention of those in Hollywood and beyond. With talent, charm and good-looks that could heat a cold-room, he is truly unparalleled by any other figure in the industry today.

From Acting to Covering the Red Carpet, Shanika Ocean has Our Attention

Shanika Ocean
Shanika Ocean at the Vin & Omi show, Congress Hall, London, 2016

 

After years of hard work and dedication, London-native Shanika Ocean has truly done it all — from her innumerable roles in film and television, to hosting television shows live from the red carpet, to a number of widely acclaimed performances as a singer in internationally broadcast competitions. A naturally gifted thespian, she’s a master of adapting to any and every role that comes her way. That talent has proven invaluable in an industry where many actors are often limited in the scope and range of their performing.

Ocean got her first taste of the spotlight as a child modelling and appearing on several children’s BBC shows. She then went on to take part in the British vocal competition series “The Choir.” The show saw her travel to China, where she performed for audiences watching around the world on international television. It gave her a chance to show off her vocal chops, but moreover it was that experience which set her on the path of a career in front of the camera.

“It was the first series I ever did and it was amazing to audition and then be picked along with 20 other people to be part of the choir,” Ocean recalled. “We flew to China to represent Great Britain in the World Choir Olympics and it was an experience I will never forget.”

In the film “Do Us Part,” Ocean delivers an unsettling performance as the lead character Shea, a woman driven to madness by her boyfriend’s incessant philandering.

“She was sweet and innocent and pretty much the perfect girlfriend,” Ocean said, describing Shea before her boyfriend’s constant cheating sends her past her breaking point. “Then the next minute she gets a gun and shoots her boyfriend. She can’t take it anymore.”

The film effectively makes audiences empathize with both Shea and her boyfriend, seeing each as both the villain and the victim. The morbid tragedy gives viewers a peek into the psyche of the serial cheater and the betrayed girlfriend who kills him.

Not all of Ocean’s roles are as dark as “Do Us Part” however, such as her role on “The T-Boy Show.” The British series stars Tolu Lope as the titular T-Boy, a wealthy Nigerian teen who travels to England to live with his working class aunt and awkward cousin.

“In the episode, T-Boy is upset with Abigail, the girl that he loves. She isn’t interested in him so he decides to go on a date with my character, Ella,” said Ocean. “Ella is not at all who he thought she was, and to make things worse Abigail catches him in the act.”

Ocean’s roles span from the light-hearted to the unhinged, from dramas to comedies to action-packed thrillers, and everything in between. But in addition to all of that, Ocean is perhaps best known for her countless appearances as a host and presenter on an array of series over the years. One such series was the enormously popular “Unplugged” on OH TV, which has given new or unsigned artists and bands the opportunity to become breakout sensations in the music industry. In addition to “Unplugged,” Ocean has hosted a myriad of other programs and events, notably the 2012 MOBO Awards, Capital Xtra Radio, and has covered London Fashion Week since 2015 as well as L.A. Fashion Week in 2016 for Fashion Thirst UK, which provides viewers with all the latest news and trends in the world of high fashion.

“When I did the red carpet at the MOBO Awards, that was a big moment for me,” she said. “I had always watched the MOBOs since I was a child and I had always wanted to go. And now here I was, interviewing celebrities from the likes of Rita Ora, Dionne Warwick, TLC and Emeli Sande.”

Ocean just finished shooting her latest project, the first episode of the upcoming series “Pursuit,” in which she gets to show off her skills as an action-star in the role of Officer Torres.

“I was running around with a gun, which I had never done before. I didn’t even know how to hold a gun properly when I started,” she said with a laugh. “But it was super fun and took me out of my comfort zone, and has made me really want to focus on doing action projects. I literally felt like I was in CSI.”

For someone whose skillset is as diverse as Ocean’s, it can often be more difficult to choose roles than to find them. After her roles in film, television, theater and her dozens of hosting and presenting credits, Ocean has developed a simple method of choosing her projects.

“Sometimes when I am given a script to read, I can feel the character and visualize myself playing them instantly,” Ocean said. “If I have that feeling, I know the role is for me.”