Tiffany Apan – Tiffany is a singer, songwriter, composer, award-winning producer, stage/film actress, model, and writer. Her acting credits in film include The Girl (which also stars Debbie Rochon, Lisa Neeld, Ari Lehman, and Robert Z’Dar), Slashers Gone Wild (also starring Robyn Griggs), Heavy Mental (with Lloyd Kaufman), Doll Nazis Must Die, Into the Pit: The Shocking Story Behind Deadpit.com, and Fetish Dolls Die Laughing.
ECIM: When did you first know you wanted to be in film?
TIFFANY: I think film had always been something I’ve wanted to do since I began actually watching movies when I was a child. As many actors do, I started out doing theater (and still do theater on occasion) and through high school I began thinking of how I was going to incorporate film into that. I did take a couple beginning filmmaking classes and studied a little ‘Acting for the Camera’ with Jeff Monahan. I did my first film back in 2001 or 2002, a micro called “Fear” in which I was the only cast member and it is a unique little piece. It had a couple local screenings which at the time was exciting. But I think it was that small microfilm that helped me to get my feet wet and give me a small look into how filming works, thus preparing me for future projects.
ECIM: How many instruments do you play and where did you get your talent?
TIFFANY: Well, vocals are my primary followed by piano/keyboard. I do play a little guitar though I wouldn’t call myself a ‘guitarist’ necessarily. I was taught a little accordion, violin, and harmonica as a child but I wouldn’t call myself an expert in them by any means. My grandparents were definitely my first musical influence as they were/are musicians themselves. They gave me my first music lessons and then over the years I studied voice and piano with other instructors and at a couple conservatories.
ECIM: I’m sure you have a lot of musical influences, who has inspired you the most and why?
TIFFANY: That’s a very tough question to answer! My musical taste varies greatly and I have influence from a few different genres. As I mentioned previously, my grandparents were a huge influence on me and still are. Other musicians and bands that have been an influence include Rush, Pink Floyd, Sarah Brightman, Nightwish, Dio, Deep Purple, The Cure, Iron Maiden, Loreena McKennit, Judas Priest, Solas, Tori Amos, Glenn Miller, Rudy Vallee, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, to only name a few.
ECIM: You were taught dance with Gene Kelly’s niece when you were younger. What was it like training with her?
TIFFANY: It was a lot of fun and she taught me a lot about discipline and commitment in the industry as well. I began training with her when I was maybe six or seven so at that time I started with her, I didn’t quite understand who Gene Kelly was. But a little later when it did sink in, I definitely considered it an honor being taught by the niece of such an amazing legend.
ECIM: You started a production company with your partner Jason English. When did you decide that it was what you wanted to do?
TIFFANY: When I decided I want to be in control over my projects! For me, starting the production company also allowed me to be better organized with everything and also gave the music, film, writing, and other projects we produce a better branding. But the main thing was ensuring a hand in my projects and seeing our visions come to life. The better organization part doesn’t hurt either!
ECIM: You have won awards for your music and have had your music and videos featured on national and international radio and television. How did it make you feel to have it on the air?
TIFFANY: Well it always feels great to have something you created out there and being appreciated. Especially when it is as personal as the music from my first album was.
ECIM: You have also acted in many independent movies and also written music scores for several others. What are you most passionate about, acting or writing music?
TIFFANY: That’s like telling a mom to pick a favorite child. It’s safe to say that I’m equally passionate about both as both art forms allow for self expression but in different ways. Sometimes it can be quite therapeutic to disappear into another persona for a while and other times I like screaming joys or frustrations out into a song. I’ve also found writing to be a great outlet as well.
ECIM: You pretty much did every job on your movie “Driving Nowhere.” Let us know what went into this project from pre to post production.
TIFFANY: Yes, this has definitely been my “labor of love” project but I’m very happy with how it’s all coming together. As we do this interview, we have one day left to shoot (maybe two depending on how things work out) and we’ve begun to rough edit what we have shot and so far it’s all working out nicely.
As far as what all went into this project goes, well it was a lot. Thankfully, it’s not feature length and I wrote the script to be pretty simple and straightforward so that we could avoid as much snags as possible (filmmaking rule number 1: Don’t attempt to film something that is beyond your resources. Sometimes it’s better to film something simple and do it well than it is to try to do something “epic” but do it badly because you didn’t have the funds or crew to do it!). For “Driving Nowhere,” we’re going for simple, yet effective. Much of it has been influenced by the old Twilight Zone and Dark Shadows episodes. It’s more about the atmosphere than effects. But I have been fortunate to have a cast and crew that is competent in what they do and of course we have a lot of multi-tasking on everyone’s part! I will be releasing the second trailer soon and plan to have to done sometime next year.
We experienced our first success with “Driving Nowhere” when the script I wrote won Best Horror Short Script at the 2012 Indie Gathering International Film Festival so we do hope for more successes with it in the future.
ECIM: Is there anything you’d like to say to upcoming musicians that want to further their career in independent movies?
TIFFANY: I would say that first you MUST be absolutely certain that this is what you want to do. Many people enter the entertainment field thinking that they are going to immediately do that project that will propel them to instant fame (and I think we have our lovely mainstream media to thank for that deception). While there are the very rare exceptions, it doesn’t work that way. I think if you focus on your art, improving it, and working at practicing good business decisions and strategies one can have a decently successful and satisfying career and even garner a fanbase even if their fame isn’t the “Worldwide A-lister” type. Many who do go into it expecting instant fame usually end up discouraged when it doesn’t happen and quit before they even really get started. Also, don’t be a diva! No one likes a diva and that is a great way to get a bad reputation for yourself. Know when to be assertive and when to just be a team member.
Overall, the two most important things to keep in mind is knowing in your heart of hearts that this is really what you want to do and be prepared to do A LOT of work (unless you have millions to pay people you will not have a large entourage).
ECIM: You have a new album and a new movie coming out soon. What’s next for you?
TIFFANY: Well, my new album, yes. Also I plan to have “Driving Nowhere” finished next year. I’m also signed on to act in some new films and in talks with another film company about acting in their film. It’s too early to talk about those right now but I will be updating when everything is in place. We’re also writing two new songs for Ghost Walk’s forthcoming film “The Dawson War” and also writing a theme song for a webseries they are producing. And because my brain never wants to rest I’m also writing a novel series that will be of the dark fantasy genre.
I will be getting up my new website soon (http://tiffanyapan.com) so there will be plenty of updates there. I’m also at Facebook, Twitter, and other areas: