LOS ANGELES – It was a chance encounter in the middle of March that changed the course of actor Eric Olsson’s time during the pandemic -- unknowingly giving him what he’d need to get through.
“It was day two of the quarantine. I went out on a run and I ran into my favorite director in Hollywood and had a brief conversation. He said you should continue writing that script and making that movie,” he said.
It was a simple exchange, but just the kind of motivation Olsson needed as he was about to embark on months upon months of quarantine, and no acting work, after Hollywood was effectively shut down.
He says it’s a struggle many actors faced: falling victim to feeling like a victim, and using this downtime to relax and be lazy.
But not him. With online acting classes and the like, he’s actually busier now than before.
“I want to come out of this quarantine with a library index in my head. It’s important to reference these when directors talk about them,” he said.
He finally started the script for the thriller he always wanted to direct and star in.
When we talked a couple months ago, he was full of excitement to start the script, high off that chance encounter with an iconic Hollywood director he’s long looked up to. Months later, with stay-at-home orders likely extended through the summer, Olsson admits he’s getting restless, and the allure of starting a new project has worn off.
So now he says his dedication and perseverance are getting tested. How badly does he want it?
“I’m on Google Hangouts all day, watching a lot of movies, getting ideas with scripts, doing as much as I can to move myself forward during this time,” he said.
While the start of the quarantine was about getting to work, now it’s all about continuing to work. Looking ahead, he's reaching out to producers, learning how to budget a film, and looking into distribution. He is doing this so he is ready to go once stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Not a day goes by that he doesn’t feel grateful for that conversation mid-March.
“To hear him say that, to me, impacted me in a way that changed everything. It was a sensitive moment in time where I had time to let it sink it,” he said.