Sophomore pursues acting through small roles

March 15, 2018 — by Sandhya Sundaram

Sophomore Liviya Katz shares the behind the scenes of her acting dream.

Sophomore Liviya Katz has always had a flair for the dramatic. When she was 4 years old, she began leaving her mother dramatic and enthusiastic voicemails, frequently catching her mother off guard with her melodramatic impersonations.

In elementary school Katz would spend time with her friends researching popular Disney Channel stars to find out information about their agents and how they got auditions. Katz would joke with her parents, constantly mentioning how amazing it would be for her to have her own agent or manager. What Katz didn’t realize was that her parents had actually taken her fantasizing seriously and started looking.

Katz is now involved with acting through multiple aspects of her life, whether through plays, commercials, films or even volunteering.

At age 10, Katz began going to Kids On Camera, an acting school based in San Francisco, where she attended workshops and on-camera classes. It was there that she found her current Los Angeles-based manager, Linda Defilippo. Katz got the opportunity to perform scenes and send the videos to managers and agents, later signing with the Marla Dell Talent (MDT) Agency.

Katz has acted in numerous plays through the school and California Theater Center (CTC), most notably playing Macbeth in “Macbeth,” and Laura in “The Glass Menagerie.” She also starred in a De Anza College student film called “Irrevocable,” which was about a teenager committing suicide due to social pressures. Most recently, Katz acted in a commercial for a social media app. (She declined to elaborate on the details of the commercial.)

“I love acting because I love people and trying to understand them, figure out their motives and how they react in any situation based on their past life experience,” Katz said.

According to Katz, the process of getting a role is full of complications. After submitting an application, Katz must wait for the casting director to review her headshot and resume before even getting a call for an audition.

“If you don’t look interesting enough in your headshot, they won’t even look at your resume,” Katz said.

Although many actors in Los Angeles gets auditions regularly, Katz has to balance acting with school and her social life, getting about four auditions per year. Katz is compensated for her roles, but hopes to land a more substantial role in a TV series, movie or short film some day to build up her resume.

Through acting, Katz has met celebrities including Scott David, the casting director for “Criminal Minds,” and Atticus Shaffer, an actor in the ABC show “The Middle.”

It was a surreal experience,” Katz said. She remembered staring at Shaffer not knowing what to say and eventually finding the courage to talk to him. “I finally ended up saying, ‘I’m a really big fan,’” she said.

Ideally, Katz would like to see her lifelong dream of being an actress become her career. But as a second option, she wants to pursue a career in environmental science or social work.

Katz knows that pursuing acting professionally will not be easy and said that her biggest takeaway from acting has been learning to stay true to herself.

“You have to have thick skin to be in the business and put yourself out there, but that shouldn’t discourage you,” Katz said. “For me, there’s just nothing else like acting.”