During her time at Michigan State University, Carly Wilson, who graduated last month with a BFA in Acting, had many experiences that furthered her skills and knowledge of the theatre. Some of these experiences include a study abroad to London, an internship as an assistant creator, and work in short films.
“My time at MSU really taught me to value myself as a performer and not let others set my limits,” she said. “I was able to expand my work as a performer outside of the program and really took the time to figure out my brand and how I want to market myself.”
Wilson’s love for acting began when she was 10 years old after she performed in her first show, The House at Pooh Corner, which was staged at the Black Box Theatre in Mount Clemens, Michigan.
“I remember how fun the cast was. Theater people are so authentic and unique. And seeing my family in the audience enjoying my performance, made me so happy,” said Wilson about that first experience with acting. “As I grew up and got bigger parts, I started to get cast in the funny roles that ‘stole the show’ and I could feel the audience in the palm of my hands. I loved interacting directly with them and making them laugh. Being on stage, performing, and acting bring me a joy that nothing else ever has. I believe you only get one thing in life to be effortlessly passionate about, and for me, that has been and always will be, acting.”
My time at MSU really taught me to value myself as a performer and not let others set my limits.
Wilson enrolled at MSU after visiting campus and receiving an acting scholarship. During her freshman year, she appeared in her first college performance as a member of the ensemble for the Green Day musical, American Idiot, for which she danced and sang in just about every number in the show.
“I thoroughly enjoyed performing in and preparing for that show,” she said. “It was extremely hands-on and there were intense costume changes, lifts, and choreography. Everyone was so passionate about the piece. We ran 10 shows and every one of them was close to flawless.”
While at MSU, Wilson took a few film classes, which helped her realize that is where she wants to focus her time after college.
“The film classes introduced me to an entirely new depth to acting,” she said. “I love a challenge and this form of acting challenges me in all the ways I desire. It is so much more personal and vulnerable. Film acting relies heavily on your eyes. You cannot lie to the camera.”
Wilson also graduated with an Arts and Cultural Management minor, which taught her the practical aspects of running a theater company or nonprofit/for-profit organization.
I have always wanted to inspire people and create meaning for myself and those around me through art and other creative forms of expression.
“I have always wanted to inspire people and create meaning for myself and those around me through art and other creative forms of expression,” she said. “This [minor] helped me to better understand what it takes to run a theater company and gave me new skillsets that I can bring to any job I take on.”
During the summer of 2019, Wilson went on a study abroad to London where she saw close to 30 plays and did workshops with professional actors.
“I was immersed in an entirely different culture and was blown away by the amazing people and opportunities I was presented with on that trip,” she said. “The most important thing I learned while studying abroad is simply working on my independence and being away from home. With the industry I want to go into, I will be spending a lot of time away from home traveling to new parts of the world. This study abroad program taught me to embrace change and bring new experiences into my creative work.”
For the past seven months, Wilson interned as the assistant creator for influencer/YouTuber David Lehre. She helped him shoot music videos, created new content, filmed skits and other videos, and learned other hands-on skills for filming and creating content.
The most important thing I learned while studying abroad is simply working on my independence and being away from home…This study abroad program taught me to embrace change and bring new experiences into my creative work.
“The internship helped me experience real-world situations and work on balancing and maintaining my professional relationships,” she said. “It also helped me to work on creating my own content and to find fast, effective ways to share my work.”
Now that she has graduated, Wilson hopes to continue to book work and expand her skillsets and eventually would like to move to Atlanta and audition for TV shows in that area.
“Overall, I want to have a large impact on the world,” she said, “and with acting, I can create something bigger than myself that will live long after me.”