Interview | Actor, Voice-Over Artist and Producer Brie Jurss
The next interviewee for our Local Artists segment is the lovely and incredibly talented Brie Jurss. Brie graduated from the University of Southern Queensland in 2015 and has been working hard on improving her skills as an actor, voice-over artist and producer ever since. Brie's charm, passion, and dedication to her work are strong pillars towards her early success. From university, she spent her first two years in the industry performing Shakespeare and poetry inspired shows with The Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Since then, she has trained with SAFDi (Society of Australian Fight Directors) where she learnt a variety of fighting styles in stage combat. Brie has featured in multiple short films, with her ability to capture the essence of a character one of her highlighting features.
Off the screen and stage, Brie loans out her voice to companies such as Suncorp and Queensland Writers Centre for their individual campaigns as a freelance voiceover artist. This year, Brie and her husband launched their own production company in Toowong. Imperfect Creatives is designed to provide quality content for creatives at affordable prices. Brie is a proud member of M.E.A.A and currently sits on the Actors Equity branch council. Here's what she had to say about the happenings in the Brisbane (and Australian) arts sector at the moment.
VIRAG: How has the corona virus impacted your independent creative practice as well as your production company Imperfect Creatives?
BRIE: Like so many others, all my performing work has completely stopped. Even my 'day job' doing admin for an entertainment company has stopped too. It's such a crazy time.
For Imperfect Creatives, we aren't risking taking bookings with the legislation and fines that are in place at the moment. We had such good momentum too. So many wonderful artists were supporting us, and we love working with them. At this time, we do not want to put ourselves or anyone else at risk. Jack, my husband and co-owner of Imperfect has still been able to do some work outside of our home studio and keeping distance while shooting, so we are incredibly lucky.
VIRAG: How have you managed to find means in which to be creative during your past few weeks in isolation? Have you found it difficult to be creative?
BRIE: I feel like it comes in waves. Some days I feel creative and others I am absolutely flat. I've been writing poetry and short stories for fun, rearranging my balcony and cooking different recipes. I feel there are SO many ways to be creative without putting the pressure on yourself to make for 'work'. Being outside in the sun makes me feel inspired and motivated. I have been taking some of the Equity Foundation's online classes too!
Other days, I'm in bed with a bag of pretzels and watching Netflix all day, it's all about balance!
VIRAG: There are a lot of artists that are struggling, and even the word struggling is putting it mildly, financially. What financial aid can they apply for?
It's a really tough time for artists. JobSeeker is available for workers. If you have an ABN, you can apply for JobKeeper. But then there is this gap for freelancers who are working contract to contract. MEAA are fighting for artists and working hard to support the industry as best as they can. If you are in desperate need, the Actor's Benevolent Fund is doing absolute wonders for our industry.
VIRAG: As a member of MEAA Actors Equity branch council and the Equity Emerging Committee, has it been challenging to get the government to support workers in the entertainment, events and are industries who have been impacted financially by co-vid 19? Would you have done something differently if you were on the other end?
It's chaos. We're watching our industry tumble down a giant hill while STILL providing live streams, shows, music etc to the world in isolation. I think the government is struggling to understand two things, 1. The huge importance of our industry and 2. What we do / how we work to SURVIVE. A lot of arts workers I know have not only lost their performing/creative income but also their day jobs. So, they are left with nothing at all. Its stressful and heartbreaking for so many people.
I believe it is about providing equal support to everyone who is suffering, acknowledging how different sectors work and opening up the eyes of our government to see not every worker is the same.
VIRAG: know the future seems quite dark at the moment, but I know I always like to latch onto hope and put my positive pants on. What's been your source of 'hope' to get you through these times? And, what are you hoping will happen to the Brisbane arts sector, and the people in it, once this crisis is over?
Seeing so many artists come together to provide workshops, content and to simply reach out in these times is just beautiful. Seeing the passion of Equity President, Chloe Daillimore on her Facebook giving updates on how MEAA and the National Performer's Committee is fighting for artists truly gives me strength and so much hope for the future of the arts Australia.
If you don't follow MEAA on Facebook, check it out for updates on the industry and how you can help in these times. If you are a QLD performer, feel free to join the Equity QLD Facebook Group (non-members welcome!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/699510874152314/
This industry can feel lonely, now more than ever. When this is all over, I hope we continue to make work and that artists have the inspiration to reach out and work with someone who might have blown their creative brain while watching them online. I hope the bigger companies in Brisbane take a chance on smaller independents and I hope that the rest of the city that is not in the arts industry, flock to live performances and sees how essential our makers and creatives are to the life of Brisbane.