Laine Taylor is one of the stars of Robert Randell’s hugely successful Young Actors Project.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge spoke to Laine about being appearing in films such as The Girl Without A Phone – Cinderella Story (72 million YouTube hits), working with Robert Randall, her plans for the future, and much more.
Q: One of the latest projects to come out of the Young Actors Project is ‘The Girl Without A Phone – And The Golden Play Button’. It brings back past characters to help celebrate the channel reaching 1 million YouTube subs. Can you tell us about working on this short film?
A: Yeah! This particular film (The Girl Without A Phone – And The Golden Play Button) was especially fun to make because me and Shea Smeltzer got to work with some original cast members of Young Actors Project who we never formally met even though we were familiar with their work. Of course I did know actors such as Apolline De Schaetzen, Nyah Cameron, Logan Miller, and Milton McConville from some of our older films together and all of us except Logan go to the same school coincidentally.
We also made the ambitious decison to have Shea’s characters Sierra and Ashely both in the movie at once, in the same shot no less! That was a blast but it sure took a lot of work and movie magic.
Q: You’ve been with the Young Actors Project since you were 8 years old and seen it grow incredible amounts. How special is it for you to see the channel to reach this milestone?
A: When I first joined YAP, no one had any idea what kind of success it was going to turn into. The Girl Without A Phone series blowing up was a shock to us all but I couldn’t be more excited about it.
I’ve been working with Robert Randall for eight years so I know how hard he works and how much he deserves all he’s getting out of the channel. If you told me a few years ago that our channel would one day be hitting that 1 million subscriber count I’d be pretty sceptical. It just goes to show that if you stay committed to something, awesome things can happen.
Q: As you say, the driving force behind this success has been Robert. Can you tell us what Robert is like to work with and how your relationship has developed over the years?
A: I commend Rob on his unceasing patience. Not only the he has in order to work with kids and teenagers, but also the patience creatives must have in the wait for success. I’ve never seen him mad and we’ve tried him, trust me. He keeps us focused and on-task like no one else which is important when on a tight film schedule.
Although we have incredible respect for him and he is technically our boss, we can still have fun with him and keep things light-hearted. He has become an important part of our lives and our success and we’re sure lucky to have him.
Q: How do you view your own personal development as an actress?
A: As a creative, I’m told, I’m never going to be fully satisfied with my own work. But I can say with certainty that I’ve grown incredibly since my earlier work on the channel and that’s a great part about having your work up on the internet forever, you can track your own progress.
Q: What has been the greatest learning curve or challenge in your time on the project?
A: When I was a lot younger, I was very picky about the roles I was given. I went so far as a tantrum when I was given the role of ‘Debbie’ in one of my earliest films with Rob, The Detention. That particular character was literally described as “The stuck-up teacher’s pet who everyone hates”. 10 year-old me was not crazy about that.
At the time, I hated the idea of being the villain but now I’d love to play one. Learning that every character, even the unflattering ones, is of equal importance was a breakthrough for me.
Q: Have you thought about life after the Young Actors Project? How will you feel when this chapter ends and can you share any of your designs for the future?
A: Hopefully I can stick around with Rob for as long as he’ll let me, haha! But, yeah, I’ve considered taking up some behind-the-camera work as directing is a big passion of mine and quite possibly some professional acting.
Of course I’ll miss working on the channel once I finally say goodbye. I’d like to think I will be able to use what I’ve learned in some capacity when I’m working as a not-so-young actor, haha.
Q: You have 65,000 subscribers on your own personal YouTube account, but your upload schedule is quite sporadic. Is that something you want to grow and focus on at some point?
Yeah I definetly can see a future in the Youtube community. I’ve thought about taking a year off to focus on developing my channel further and creating a more consistant upload schedule. If people want to see more then I would love to give more.
Q: You are part of an incredible class of upcoming Canadian actors – last year we had the extremely talented Sara Waisglass and Kaitlyn Bernard on the site. How exciting is it for you to be a part of that?
A: It’s surreal. Acting was always just something I did for fun and that’s why I still do what I do. So it’s really cool to be considered a part of something so impressive.
Q: In the past, you have said Selena Gomez on ‘Wizards of Waverley Place’ helped inspire you to get into acting. Who out there at the moment inspires your work?
A: To be honest, it’s not so much actors or moments that inspire me but it’s the people that love to watch what I do. It sounds very cheesy to say it’s because of the fans but it truly is. Knowing that people enjoy what you’re putting out their is the biggest boost I could ever get.
Q: Can you pick a character from a recent film or TV show that you would have loved to have played and explain why?
A: I am a huge comic nerd so it’s always been a dream of mine to be in a superhero film. Harley Quinn especially is my favourite character of all time so while I don’t exactly think I could do it better than Margo Robbie, it would be a dream come true.
Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects or ambitions you can share with us?
A: We have just begun filming our newest and most likely last part of our Girl Without A Phone series, an Aladdin story. It’s pretty likely we’ll revisit that universe later on but for now we have developing plans for a future webseries with a sort of Friends vibe to it.
Other than that I’ll be working to further my personal channel as much as I can so expect more to come out of that!