What sparked your passion for cinema?
My parents put a great emphasis on culture and they wanted us, their children, to travel a lot, do a lot of reading, learn languages, visit museums and watch films. My whole family writes poetry and creative pieces, including songs, so I picked it up from them, especially my older siblings. My father loved the theatre and my mother used acting as a tour guide to make the history story telling more entertaining to her groups.
Which one of your works are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of the journey in its entirety. Life has its twists and turns and the industry is very layered and requires a lot of inner strength to keep going no matter what.
What kind of everyday challenges do you have to face?
The main every day challenges entail dealing with much time wasted and energy drainage over things that can be solved in a minute. There is so much noise in the city that aﬀects everyone else, which then people start to project on each other. I meditate on a daily basis, and minimize phone calls, social media and arguing so I can better focus on what matters. I also do not believe in competition and many still have a scarcity mentality that they think if they obstruct the progress of someone else, they would succeed. I only compete with my former self and seek to expand my consciousness and to continually learn and develop into a be.er human every day, while helping others reach their full potential. In a world that is crippled by self-doubt, I seek to act as a reflector that reminds others of their greatness and inner beauty rather than fear it. It is a challenge to deal with energies, while pushing ourselves to move forward.
How can an actor break free from stage fright?
An actor can break free of anything by shifting their focus on what they want to express and achieve rather on what they do not want. It’s really about what you look at and which thoughts you nourish, and about transforming your energy into one that would be useful to you. Separating your soul from your ego would help achieve that in terms of deciding which voice you pay attention to, while meditation helps us with grounding and expansion so to speak. Stage fright is nothing but fearing how others see you, and falling for the delusion that we are separate from each other. If we were to stay connected to our observer self, and remember that we are all one and the same, our fear would dissipate. Still, it is not easy and needs daily discipline and practice, so it is important not to judge ourselves when we fall every once in a while.
How has studying the human psyche helped you become a better acting coach?
Studying human behavior and gaining deeper understanding of the human psyche has strengthened my intuition that writers and coaches need to connect with their “students”. The more I understand the behavior, the easier it gets to break down the character to make it easier for the actor to become it, as opposed to perform it superficially. I see the process of human development as one of unfolding rather than becoming, and in the process of being the character, we are better able to become it, because as humans we are in a silent and empty state of being ready to be filled by whatever consciousness we need in a given moment. In turn, creating our reality becomes second nature to the actor.
Tell us the story of how you founded Flying Masks Agency (FMA).
When I lived in New York, several of my friends were talented actors and musicians, and I took it upon myself to get them out there by finding agents and producers to create an album or to help them through their acting career. During that time, I was already writing articles about fine artists and working as an assistant to Mr. & Mrs. Bregman, who taught me much about the film industry and its etiquette. When I visited Egypt after I graduated from Film School abroad, I met several friends, who were struggling actors and musicians. So I used my existing network to help them on the path, until they suggested I do professionally. Flying Masks was an international talent representation Agency that lasted about six years. I represented many actors, writers and musicians at the time, who I will continue to help and include in my future projects. Some of the established artists I represented included Vincent Vieluf (Rat Race and Order of Chaos), Khaled Elsawy, Eyad Nassar, Omar Kamel and Samy EL Sheikh. However, two years ago, my own passion for Screenwriting and Filmmaking overpowered the agency, so I decided to move on, and continue to help actors by creating projects that would include them as an ensemble. Now I have Involution Films and Productions that oﬀers several workshops: Acting, Screenwriting and Meditation, as well as various artists services: Headshots, Showreels, Independent Film Production, Script Doctoring as well as Character and Story analysis. Other than the workshops, I also privately coach actors, who are preparing for a project. In the past, I have coached Mr. Khaled Elsawy for Blue Elephant, Mr. Eyad Nassar for Moga Harra and Afra7 EL Qobba, and this year I have Ms. Jamila Awad for La Toce2 El Shams.
You’re producing your first feature film, Mask of Sanity. Could you tell us more about that?
Masks of Sanity is my first feature film about Personality Disorders that Vincent Vieluf was going to direct, but then we had to stop its progress during the revolution. I shot a little teaser of it that depicts my main characters, each enjoying a personality disorder. Since then I have written three other features that I feel are stronger and more profound than the first as I matured as a writer since then. Now I am ready to shoot my first feature, Dance Macabre, followed by Smoke & Mirrors, followed by The Victim. It is my true passion to raise awareness about certain disorders and behavioral problems as well as healing through involution. I also wrote a book, entitled: ‘The pathology of Innocence: An Involution’ that addresses how we can move from extreme darkness into healing through an involution.
We heard you have come up with a psychological experiment. What can you tell us about it?
Whenever I write Characters, I slip in and out of their consciousness, but I wanted to delve deeper into their subconscious. I used hypnotherapy and plant medicine to reach that kind of depth I needed for a character’s authenticity. Constantly experimenting with my own consciousness helps me connect and empathize with all kinds of people and their behavior without judgment throughout the process. Hypnotherapy, Transcendental Meditation and Shamanic Plant Medicine are catalysts for much of this experiment.
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