Actress, producer, and writer Lanett Tachel chats with us about Urbanflix’s TV series PUMP starring Ray J as well as new film Middleton Christmas.
Hi Lanett! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in the entertainment industry?
I started in the entertainment industry the day I booked a leading role in an elementary school play. There was nothing I’d ever felt before that even came close to the feeling of performing in front of a captive audience.
This industry is not an easy one, often with more no’s than yes’s. How do you keep your confidence up through it all?
Wow, I’d have to say that you really have to make a conscious effort to uplift yourself. Positive affirmations do work. When you first start out, the NO’s feel really personal. They can make you question if what you have to offer is good enough, unique enough.
A dear friend of mine, casting director, Phaedra Harris, told me when I first moved to LA, “Your gifts will make room for you.” I took that to heart. And I’m glad I did. When you can walk into a room completely comfortable with WHO you are and WHAT you have to offer, people can feel that energy.
People want to work with that energy. You begin to attract the roles you want. And while you’re waiting for that perfect role, my advice is always to create your own vehicle. Film a short. Write a script. Shoot a scene. But don’t wait by idly.
Watch the trailer for Middleton Christmas
Watch Middleton Christmas on Amazon Prime!
Tell us about your role in Middleton Christmas.
In Middleton Christmas, I play Nurse Chloe. This role was particularly special to me when we filmed and even more so now. Nurses are unsung heroes. They do much of the heavy lifting and receive so little of the glory. It’s a selfless job. I’ve set along the hospital bedsides of friends and family when they were sick and a great nurse was always the key to a happy, comfortable recovery. I was honored to play a character whom I’d admire so much in real life.
What was it like working with the cast and crew on that project?
Everyone from the director to producers, to cast and crew, was absolutely amazing. My favorite type of set is when everyone’s energy meshes organically. When everyone believes in the director’s vision as much as he/she does. And best of all, we got to raise awareness about something really important and not talked about nearly enough—organ donation.
Congratulations on not only getting to act in the new series PUMP, but also being the writer and producer. How did that project come about?
PUMP was such a fun project to work on. I’d been developing that project with my co-writer/director, Corey Grant for several years. It’s undergone several re-writes and even a name change before finding a home on a brand new network. When the head of casting brought our show in, we were green lit and in production almost immediately.
We imagined the show as “CHEERS in a gym,” with the gym playing the same role as a bar or even a barber shop. It’s such a revolving door of characters, that it only seemed natural that a show should be written about it. After compiling and building on many of the crazy trainers, clients, and fitness gurus that we knew personally, I was literally laughing while typing and couldn’t write fast enough! That’s the great thing about the show. There’s so much effortless comedy and the comedy truly stems from the situations. The cast, led by Ray J and Jennifer Freeman is stellar, and there’s a who’s who of cameos that you never see coming.
For those who haven’t watched the series yet, can you tell us more about it and how we can watch it?
You can currently stream PUMP on Urbanflix TV. The series follows trainer, Sean Ford (Ray J), a fitness trainer who made it mainstream because of his successful work out videos. He leaves his gym family behind to chase stardom only to come crawling back after his new supplement line crapped out…literally. When he comes back to the only family he’s ever known, he has to learn where he fits in a world that’s moved on without him. And his co-workers do NOT make it easy on him. I play the opinionated gym receptionist/entrepreneur who knows everybody’s secrets and how much they’ll pay for me to keep them.
Watch season 1 trailer for PUMP!
What influences you when you’re writing a new series or film?I’m always influenced by current events and society’s handling of change. For a world that constantly changes, most of our struggle is in trying to force things to stay the same. It’s an irony that never gets old. Another influence is my love of comedy. Most of the things I write have comedy infused into them, regardless of the genre. It’s a reflection of how I view even the darkest, scariest moments. There’s humor in our walking contradictions, in our entitlement, in our unwarranted fears. Finally, I’m influenced by my personal experiences. As a woman of color who grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Prince George’s County, MD, some of the smartest, most interesting people I’ve ever met have been doctors, lawyers and teachers from my own neighborhood. I make sure the roles I write reflect the truth as I know it without playing into cultural stereotypes.
What advice do you have for others trying to break into the entertainment industry?This industry is a marathon. You have to know that coming in and you have to choose it anyway. Don’t give yourself a time limit. Give yourself attainable goals and then when you attain them, move the goal line.
Actor Matthew Payne Talks “Middleton Christmas” and “Gym Rat”December 15, 2020/
Sandy Lo is an author, blogger, journalist, and digital strategist. Her personal story is inspiring. Sandy started StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees.