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Featured Artist Conversation with Actress Marlana Goecks

Updated: Mar 11

Actress, Marlana Goecks

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have a featured Artists conversation with Actress Marlana Goecks. Marlana grew up in the quaint little town of Canton, Georgia. Her passion for film and acting became evident to Marlana in her early thirties when she had the opportunity to sit on the set of a renowned director, to which she fell in love with the experience. Marlana began putting countless hours into studying film, private acting and film classes, as well as marketing her skillset. Aside from pursuing acting, Marlana is a wife, and mother to four amazing kids. Lastly, Marlana has built her acting career from the ground up and is currently represented by The Wayne Agency.

Atlanta Film and TV:We gave you a brief introduction, but could you tell us about who you are and what you do in the Atlanta Film community?

Marlana Goecks: "I am a local Atlanta Actor, and have been in the industry for five years. I have built my career from knowing nothing about the industry to where I am today."

Atlanta Film and TV: Can you take us on your journey, of how you started to where you are today?

Marlana Goecks: I knew nothing about the industry, but began to attend networking events and film festivals, which is where I met the people who are now my mentors and coaches. I knew I had to treat my career like a business because I had something to sell, but didn’t know exactly which direction to go. Over the past few years, I spent my time learning and listening to a lot of coaches, along with auditioning my butt off, all of which has gotten me many roles. My journey has been a roller coaster, but a phenomenal one! Every day, and every audition is different, especially when I have a day when I am told ‘no’ fifty-thousand times!’ But when you do get a win, it’s worth everything. I do, however, feel like networking and marketing is what led me to make connections with agents, managers, and actors who were able to assist me in advancing in my career."

Atlanta Film and TV: We shared in your introduction about how you were invited to sit on the set of a renowned director. Could you share with us who that director was, and what was it about being on that particular set that sparked your interest?

Marlana Goecks: At the time, I had never set foot on a set, so I reached out to apply for an extra’s gig, because I wanted to get on a set to see what it was all about. After applying, I received a call to come in the next day to sit in on one of Jason Bateman’s sets as an extra, and little did I know that would be where sparks would be lit! The kindness on this set was incredible, and I will never forget sitting on set as an extra with Jason Bateman not skipping a beat. He was acting, directing, producing, and would check on everyone, making sure we were warm because that particular day was cold. You would see him take a break when they called ‘cut!’ and check in, ensuring everyone was wearing their coats. Once I left and went home, I knew being on set was where I needed to be! I also knew this was not exactly where I wanted to be, but I needed to be on a set. I met people who were able to direct me to a few coaches in the area, and from there I started  learning everything  I could, in order to become an actor. Now, I look back on that day when I should’ve only had an experience; however, my first experience turned into a career!"

Atlanta Film and TV: How important is networking and building relationships in the Atlanta Film and TV community? 

Marlana Goecks: From my experience, networking is everything. When I first began in the industry, I had no foundation so I had to build it. When I attended networking events, I met directors who were able to give me valuable insights. I also met managers, agents, coaches, and other actors who were either at the same stage as I was or ahead of where I was. Networking is where you establish all your industry contacts. I've had the opportunity to meet Casting Directors, which allowed them to know me beyond just my slate and headshot. I believe it’s important to connect with others at networking mixers who may be experiencing similar challenges, as we all face rejection frequently. There may be days you feel like crying under a blanket with your tissues and a chick flick! However, knowing that other people have gone through the same experiences and can offer guidance can be reassuring.

I have also met coaches who have guided me along, and I can pick up the phone and call many of them because of the mentorships that have been established. It’s great to reach out when I have questions about auditions. Lastly, when attending networking events, view them as opportunities to market yourself as an actor, showcase your skills, and allow others to see and ask questions. It’s also a chance for you to communicate your skill set and to let others know about who you are outside of the industry. Attending these networking mixers in person, from casting directors to actors, provides an opportunity to connect with anyone working in some capacity in the Atlanta Film Community, which is a valuable resource.

Atlanta Film and TV: Talk to us about the importance of marketing, and how did you market yourself as an Actress in the Atlanta Film community?

Marlana Goecks: "When you’re an actor, your first line of defense is your headshot, which when submitting you only have  a split second to captivate a Casting Director.  When attending networking events, I would carry business cards which had one of my headshots along with the name of my agent, and how to connect with me.

Marketing your skill set could be what sets you apart from everyone else, along with your demo reel. I believe that you have to market what you’re selling and look at yourself as an item. For instance, I come from a medical background, and it was all I knew, and got auditions because of that. On my demo reel, I was sure to include a clip as a nurse. If I hadn’t been in the position to put that out there, then people would not have known that I can speak and understand medical terminology on set! Doing so has been a way for me to book jobs."

To view our conversation, click here:

Atlanta Film and TV: There are a lot of mothers  looking to pursue a career in film and TV. As a mother to four children, what would be a few tips?

Marlana Goecks: "Just do it and figure out what pursuing a career in film and tv means to you. You have to be sure you have a drive to pursue a career in film and tv because the entertainment industry is hard, because you’ll be up against a lot of people. Be sure to make your five-year plan. The entertainment industry is a business, so treat your career like one. Know what it is that you want, and what you want to get out of it, and start networking and find those channels that you need. The first step to getting your career off the ground is to find a coach - someone who will be willing to work with you,  and get professional headshots - which is your first line of defense that will officiate you into everything. 

Find what acting classes are best for you because you can audit most classes - which is amazing because you can test them out before you lock into one person. Be sure you have a coach that can help you know when it’s time to move on and can help you work on a different skill set. 

Know that you need a team, and be sure that your family is on board with you pursuing a career in film and tv. Your team shouldn’t only consist of your family, but it could also include your coaches, and eventually an agent, a manager, and a support system which could consist of friends who are also in the industry. Be willing to get your hands dirty, and be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears. When you’re first starting, no one knows you. When I first began, I had a lot of work to do with casting, and was coming into the industry with people who had more of a seasoned resume, and I had to find my own niche. If you’re wanting to be an actor, you’re talented in some of the aspects, but be sure to put yourself out there and find what it is that you’re the best at, and make people recognize that!"

Atlanta Film and TV: You take a number of classes. Can you talk to our readers and viewers about the importance of taking acting classes and how you found them to be beneficial?

Marlana Goecks: I’ve found a lot of acting classes, from other actors by attending networking events. One of the classes I found was Kelly Young-Silva’s  acting classes at Words In Motion Acting Studios. Kelly is one of the mentor’s who has helped to guide me in the industry, and is one of those coaches who is able to recognize when it’s time to take a step and guide you into what it should be. It is important to find a coach who is willing to work with you, and tells you the good, the bad, and the ugly! I work best with a coach who won’t just give me a standing ovation, but one who will tell me, ‘Hey! Today, you sucked a little! Let’s step this up. 

When attending networking events, you will often find class opportunities, or people who will be able to guide you into the direction of finding the right acting classes. 

There are also a lot of workshops in Atlanta where casting directors will put themselves out there, and teach. What better way than  for a casting director to have the opportunity to look over an audition self-tape in a room of ten-twelve people and go over what it is that they’re looking for? 

The benefit I have from my current coach (who is an actor) is that he’s auditioning constantly, and is booking jobs. To have someone booking those roles and at the same time assisting you is a team effort, which works! There are numerous  acting studios in Atlanta, all of which will put you at the level you need and will assist you in your progression. 

No matter what level you are in your career, you should constantly be working, improving, and practicing your craft. You can fall off the swing of things, when you’re not constantly studying."

Atlanta Film and TV:How can people connect with you? 

Marlana Goecks: "Instagram is the best way to connect with me @marlana.goecks, and casting can always find me at The Wayne Agency."

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