03 Oct 2017

Screenwise Sessions: In The Studio With Jelena Milinkovic

Screenwise sits down with Diploma of Screen Acting Alumni, Jelena Milinkovic to chat about her recent role on the hit ABC series Pulse... And while we're at it, we'll have a sneak peek into Jelena's time studying at Screenwise!

Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career as an actor?

Flash back to 2002 when I was in my lounge room watching “The Princess Diaries” for the first time. Once the movie ended I desperately wanted to keep the fantasy alive. I went to my room and put on some stockings along with anything I owned that remotely resembled anything of royalty. I sat back down on my living room chair, crossed my legs like Princess Mia had been taught and sat there mimicking everything I had seen her do.
I can still remember how I felt inside the first time I did that. I allowed myself to completely believe that Mia’s reality was my own and that I was able to be a part of it. That feeling stayed with me and was ultimately one of the leading forces that lead me to acting. I have never looked back since.

Q: Favourite film?

Donnie Darko!

Q: One of your first major roles has been starring in the recent hit ABC series Pulse, how was the whole experience?

The audition process was probably one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in the industry so far. It started on a Thursday; I found out about my audition at midnight due to being on set and having no access to my phone. It was only when I opened my emails that I found out I had a six-page script to learn and my audition for Pulse was on at 10:00am that very day. Fast forward to 10 hours later after my audition, I was told that I was going to be coming back in a few hours time for a callback and directors session with Peter Andrikidis.
Peter wanted to see if I was right for the role of Kelly, so half way through the audition I ended up screaming profanities at the top of my lungs at my reader as per his direction. Friday came along with a call from my agent telling me that I was put on hold for the role and my fate was resting on ABC’s decision. It was soon after I was told that I would be having a read through with the cast and crew and meeting everyone involved in the project. It was so surreal and it all happened so fast. I didn’t really have time to process it at all and it wasn’t until it was my first day on set that I realised I was going to be on ABC.
The whole journey from then on was absolutely life changing – getting to work with Peter Andrikidis and Jennifer Leacey really felt like something out of a dream and it completely transformed me as an artist. The entire cast and crew were simply phenomenal. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing it all come to life after weeks of filming. I’m so very thankful to have been given this opportunity; it truly feels like a dream come true.

Q: How has it been working with the tutors and staff at Screenwise?

I’m very thankful for the training I received. It’s important to be flexible on set and in the industry as an actor and my training at Screenwise prepared me for what was to lie ahead. Directors all work differently and it’s compulsory to be able to adapt to direction in all forms, you have to be able to deliver an authentic, truthful performance no matter what may be thrown your way. At Screenwise I received the training that would help me do that very thing. I was educated in leading acting techniques such as Meisner and Chubbuck along with industry advice and guidance that shaped me into the actress I am today.
I was trained in every area possible from voice to body and this allowed me to break down the boundaries that held me back. All Screenwise tutors and staff have worked in the industry so I was extremely confident in knowing that my training was up to date and authentic. It is important to be able to place your trust in your mentors because it drives your confidence and inspires you. Denise Roberts gave constant guidance and training throughout the two years which all played a huge part in my transformation into a professional actress. I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Q: Which other productions have you worked on whilst you were studying at Screenwise and since you have graduated?

I actually booked my first ever-paid gig while I was studying at Screenwise! A few of us had been called in for a Field Day commercial directed by the incredible Roma D’Arrietta. Screenwise made sure their students would work on professional sets so we were all able to be a part of Brendan Cowell’s Ruben Guthrie back in 2014. We also got to collaborate with Sydney Film School and participate in the ADG Awards.

Q: Highlight of studying the Diploma of Screen Acting (10065NAT) and any advice for aspiring actors looking to study in 2018?

I am forever grateful for the people that I met and the training I received. The tutors and peers at Screenwise have completely changed my life. I have learnt important industry lessons and made life long friends. None of that would have happened had I not made the move to Sydney from Adelaide and studied at Screenwise. I’m so very grateful to Denise Roberts, Renee Currie and the staff and tutors for their constant support and guidance.
The best advice I can give is don’t listen to your fear, for fear is just putting faith in the wrong thing. Actors must choose to trust themselves over trusting their fear, for fear only produces bad fruit while trusting ourselves leads to triumph. Break a leg!

Since sitting down for this interview The 10065NAT Diploma of Screen Acting has been replaced by Screenwises 10869NAT Advanced Diploma of Screen Acting Click here to find out more.

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