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US ACTING LESSON IS SO DIVINE; Hollywood or bust approach pays off as Scottish actresses appear on red carpet.

Byline: BRIAN McIVER

IT'S THE place most actors usually end up only after years of hard work and toil.

But, while Hollywood is the final destination for many young stars reaching the big time, two talented Scots actresses have decided to do things the other way around.

Lossiemouth-born blonde Elizabeth Adamczyk and Mary Wells, from Glasgow, decided it would be much more fun to learn their craft and make their name by ditching the traditional Scottish or London-based audition circuits.

Instead, they joined thousands of wannabe stars lining the Sunset Strip.

And while many Scots spend years dreaming about life in la-la land, they have both worked steadily since making the jump and star in a hip new web-based sitcom.

Elizabeth and Mary are both stars of the LA cult web series Divine White's Introduction to Hollywood, an Office-style spoof documentary series about young British actors trying to make it big in LA, starring a group of hopeful British actors all trying to make it big in LA for real.

just given when I call The programme, which was created and produced by English actress Alison Winter, was nominated for Best Web Series at the LA Comedy Awards and Elizabeth and Mary are hoping the programme can help them continue their progress.

US' Mary said: "It's been tremendous fun working out here. I miss Glasgow a lot but it's been a fantastic adventure here.

"I've been working on a couple of feature films and some shows, such as Gene Simmons Family Jewels and a Discovery Channel programme, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. It has been really great fun.

"For most actors it's a natural progression. You get to be famous in the UK and then LA is the next calling. But it wasn't like that for me.

"I had just about given up acting when I got the call for a touring show that went to the US and I visited a friend in Hawaii (Scots star Henry Ian Cusick of Lost) and ended up getting some theatre work there.

"I moved out in October 2009 and have been here ever since. It's still like a dream."

RSAMD graduate Mary, who appeared in British programmes such as Half Moon Investigations for BBC Scotland before she made the jump west, has enjoyed steady work and now enjoys a sunshine lifestyle just a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica. Having studied acting at a performing arts school in Lossiemouth, Elizabeth, 28, ventured to London.

She enjoyed bit part work in films such as Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus with Heath Ledger and then played a secretary in the British-based sequel Basic Instinct 2 followed by a small part as a boozy reveller in EastEnders.

Last year she decided to swap her London audition circuit for the sunshine lifestyle and moved to Los Angeles. And she is loving every minute of life in her West Hollywood apartment.

Mary said: "I've always wanted to live in America and since I was a little girl, I've wanted to be an actress.

"One day, I just decided to go for it and got a visa.

"The weather is amazing and the lifestyle has been great. It's also funny how different it is to what you expect.

"People are a lot more normal looking than you might imagine. I thought everyone here would be skinny and blonde, but they're not."

Elizabeth has managed to support herself during the last few months with a mixture of small projects including Divine White and then background or audience work on chat shows and reality TV. "They do so much filming out here that they pay actors to fill out the audience on some programmes, and you get paid $70-80 a day.

"I've got some interest from agents and have some other work coming up. Divine White has been a great thing to be a part of, especially being nominated for the award."

The series is based on a crazed drama teacher taking advantage of some fresh-off-the-boat wannabes desperate for acting work, as she leads them through some insane acting techniques.

Mary said: "I met the director, Alison, at a Women in Film brunch meeting and we are both British so we were talking about being actresses trying to get work out here and got on really well, and she asked me to be in it.

"Out here there are plenty of teachers happy to impose their egos on younger, more vulnerable people, and it's not very well regulated. Anyone can set up and rip you off. A lot of the things in the programme, we've all done in real life so it's easy to relate to."

Elizabeth said: "It's great the show has been nominated for an LA Comedy Award. We all went to the red carpet party and that's the first time I've done anything like that."

You can watch Mary and Elizabeth in action at www.divine-white.com

CAPTION(S):

MAKING IT UP J Elizabeth, left, and Mary getting ready for their auditions, while right a piece of improvisation gets the budding actors in the mood
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 29, 2011
Words:853
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