Currently calling Houston, Texas home, actress and producer Kristin Cochell majored in film at the University of Southern California. She has since covered pretty much all aspects of filmmaking, to even include casting and building her own sets.
Kristin began acting in theater. After attending USC, she returned to Houston and took a “regular job” for a while, but her passion brought her back to acting in 2014. Since then, she’s compiled an impressive list of credits, one of her most notable in Christopher Cooksey’s sci-fi horror, Quantum Terror, in which she plays the dual role of twin sisters Samantha and Silvia Carroll. Kristin also has several upcoming projects, in which she’ll be involved on both sides of the camera, slated for release this year. Learn more on this hard-working lady in the following recent interview she gave exclusively to Idol Features.
KRISTIN COCHELL: I was born in Detroit and raised in Utah, Tennessee and spent my teenage years in Texas before attending college in California. I came home to Texas after college and have been here ever since.
CHRIS: You majored in theater at USC. I’m curious as to why you returned home to Houston after you graduated, rather than remain in LA?
KRISTIN: Sometimes, there are unforeseen circumstances that can bring a girl home while she’s out chasing her dream. My father lost his job and I had a year left of school at USC. I couldn’t take out the loans on my own to cover a full year worth of tuition, so I dropped out and studied psychology at the University of Houston before going into sales. I’m still one semester shy of having my Bachelors of Arts degree.
CHRIS: Is there a memorable experience you had while you were going to school at USC that stands out for you?
KRISTIN: I was called into a room with about 200 students to watch the advanced actors in the BA Theater Art Program perform a dramatic scene with each other. It was the first time I realized that even stepping into a scene with no background on the story can move hundreds of people to tears. Every student who left that classroom left a changed actor for the better.
CHRIS: You’ve had several behind-the-scenes roles on films you’ve been in. Besides acting, what do you find most enjoyable about filmmaking?
CHRIS: Is the Elf/Alien priestess in the 2015 series Havoc: Logical Consequences, still your most memorable character?
KRISTIN: No. That was one of my first roles in film after a long hiatus. I enjoyed the makeup and shooting on the set, however my most memorable performance to date is on Burn with Eric Balfour where I played his wife. Working alongside a professional actor that was consistently on TV made me realize I had the ability to stand my ground in a scene with strong actors.
CHRIS: What was it like for you shooting The Quantum Terror?
KRISTIN: The Quantum Terror has a special place in my heart and always will. It took over a year to film the whole film and was quite the journey to see everyone come together time and time again. It definitely had the feeling of a family and working with practical effects, seeing how a set was built, being in front of a green screen were all new to me and I loved every moment. The Quantum Terror was my first leading role in a feature, so the experience in general was both challenging and liberating.
CHRIS: So many actresses in indie films gravitate towards horror. Either because it’s their favorite genre or simply because that’s where most of the work is. Would being labeled a “horror actress” or “Scream Queen” be something you’d embrace or avoid?
CHRIS: How often do you turn down parts?
KRISTIN: I turn down parts at least once a week. Not because they aren’t interesting or look like good projects, but because choosing your characters and choosing what goes on your resume is an important part of being able to shape your career. If I said yes to every project, then I would be discrediting what I bring to the projects. Also, choosing WHO you work with is important too. You want to find people who will push you to be a better actor and not work for people who don’t have the equipment or resources to make a great film and give you footage to advertise yourself for future projects.
CHRIS: You recently booked a voice-over role. Please tell me about that.
KRISTIN: I was called into an audition to submit for a very small role in a TV series. Once the director saw my demo reel, he asked if I could do a Russian accent and then asked me to read for a recurring role. The recording is set to happen in March. I play a Russian mercenary who has an affinity for guns and computer hacking so it should be VERY interesting.
CHRIS: You’re currently involved in several film projects in various stages of production. One of which is your “rumored” role of Mikaela in a film entitled Silent Night. Care to confirm or dispel that rumor?
CHRIS: What can you tell me about your role of Natalie Hart in the short that’s currently filming entitled Shh…?
KRISTIN: This one is a comedy. I play a lovesick woman who meets her friend in a movie theater and is completely disruptive during the movie. The movie was written by my good friend, Kristen Perry and is currently in post-production before it hits the festival circuit.
CHRIS: How about your role of Jasmine in Anna?
KRISTIN: I’m not at liberty to discuss Anna because of my non-disclosure agreement. However, I will say this movie has worldwide distribution and will be available to buy all over the world. The brothers who made this movie happen are over at MGI Productions and we should all keep an eye out on their careers. Those guys are extremely talented and will go very far indeed.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with, on either side of the camera?
KRISTIN: I, of course, loved working with Joe Grisaffi and Eric Balfour. I always enjoy working with Larry McKee, Larry Taylor, and Robert Jauregui behind the scenes. My favorite acting partners to date are John Enick and Lauren Lox and one of my new favorite actors in Austin is Charles Wiedman.
CHRIS: Who in indie films, on either side of the camera, have you not yet worked with, but really want to?
KRISTIN: I have a favorite indie actor that I’ve definitely been interested in working with because of his ability for diversity, love for his craft, and commitment to excel in his field. He’s an extremely powerful actor and it won’t be long until someone big picks him up. His name is John Wells.
KRISTIN: I have. I bought a Panasonic Lumix Gx85 and have been doing portrait photography work and shooting in 4K. I just recently shot my first short film by myself in Toronto, called Into the Storm starring Sameer Dante Ahmad.
CHRIS: Will you be appearing at any promotional events or film festivals in the near future?
KRISTIN: Absolutely I will. Which ones? I guess we’ll leave that a mystery for now.
CHRIS: Do you have any skills or hobbies that you don’t include on any of your bios?
KRISTIN: I practice yoga, meditation, and enjoy writing poetry in my free time.
CHRIS: With that, I thank you again for taking the time to do this, Kristin. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
KRISTIN: I would love to make a shout-out to certain people who never stopped believing in me and made it near impossible for me not to believe in my ability to overcome my obstacles and succeed. Of course, my father, Stephen Cochell and some of my best friends in Houston, who has definitely changed my life for the better, Lori Walters and Bruce Walters. Without these people, I would not be who I am today.
CHRIS: Oh, just one last question: Have you ever showed up for an audition on the wrong day?
KRISTIN: (Laughs) I’m so glad you asked. Yes, definitely. Definitely showed up for an audition a day late about a month ago and was cracking up on my three-hour drive home for reading the e-mail wrong. Tip for actors: Read your e-mails carefully!