For the first time the Armageddon Expo headed to Adelaide, Australia bringing with them some big names and I was there, to bring you all the excitement! A great time was had, the guests were fantastic and they took some time out to have a chat with me over the weekend.
Marcella Papandrea: Hello Renee, welcome to Adelaide’s Armageddon.
Renee O’Connor: Thank you, so what brings you here?
MP: I’m an Adelaide original and I wanted to be apart of the first Armageddon here.
RO: That’s great, and are you seeing family too?
MP: Of course, that’s part of the fun coming back home.
RO: So lovely, and was there something here at this event that really brought you in?
MP: The event as a whole, it is always such a great time and I am very happy to have you as a part of it.
RO: It is a great experience for you, and me and I am sure the website will love this too. This is a really fun event I have had a good time so far.
MP: Thanks for taking the time out to have a chat with us.
RO: My pleasure, it really is.
MP: Can you tell us about what you are up to at the moment? I believe you have something exciting to share with everyone?
RO: Yes I am actually out here supporting many things. There is a film I worked on in Texas called Beyond The Farthest Star and it’s something that fans of my career or the genre can help support. Because if you go on to Facebook and you look up the film (here) you can click the ‘bring it’ button. Especially for like Australia, the distributors can see exactly where the film is wanted so they can bring it out as a theatrical release. So that’s great and the film is great, it’s a small film, it’s a poignant film and something like an American Beauty. It has an incredible message of hope and it feels authentic. We would definitely appreciate anyone who supports it.
MP: That sounds great Renee, especially bringing in some social networking to help the film out.
RO: Yeah, it is wonderful.
MP: What else can you tell us about?
RO: I also have an awareness seminar that I teach around the world, and the goal of it is to bringing people into feeling more comfortable with their life, on a continuing basis. Where you feel more deeply and more curious about yourself so that it doesn’t take just like movies or music or art to bring out that natural curiosity and you can have it all the time. So Michelle Grant and I take the seminar around the world, it’s a two day seminar where I induct ‘you’ to find out your limitations, and what keeps you from the path that you really want to be on. Or to encourage you or inspire you if you are on the right path, to help you go deeper with that. I also have a video channel on my website, which is www.reneeoconnor.net and every month we put up videos of people interviewing other people who I find inspiring. Or whose work I have been following but I want to find out more about their sense of compassion. So I do interview other people about that. And we also do comedic short films about once a month, about the absurdity of life. It is called Five Ways To …
MP: That sounds quite busy, you have a lot of different and interesting things happening.
RO: Yes, you know I sort of practice what I’ve been learning, which is about the awareness. The reason I teach the awareness work is because it has changed my life, and I want to life completely and as full and as brightly as possible. Although what I do might be more alternative and esoteric as other actors from film and television this is what I find fulfilling.
MP: What lead you to start doing the awareness and seminars?
RO: Well I had finished Xena, I was raising my children very happily but there was something that was missing in my life. And I started studying with this woman and I realized her sense of spirituality and her actual method in the system of living in the world was what I needed to continue to use as an artist. I think a lot of people have a lot of gifts and maybe they get overwhelmed and confused on which way to go. I felt that way at the time and I didn’t know what to do. Am I a producer? Am I an actor? Do I want to be a teacher? And I’m a mother, so how do I do all these things? She gave me a couple of tools which showed me its not that hard, and you just have to look at everything with a different lens, and it worked for me.
MP: And now you’re out there sharing it with everyone else.
RO: (laughs) Yes I want to share it with everyone else, for those who are interested. It might not fit everybody but it does fit some people.
MP: That’s it, if you have something special you believe can help people, you share it.
RO: Yeah that’s right exactly. And people are curious about these things, for me there was so much going on yet it was going anywhere at the same time so it was confusing.
MP: It sounds like that was where you met your crossroads.
RO: Yes, and you know that was one of the reasons that I fell into this work. And the people who have been studying it with me are getting a lot out of it as well, they are finding the path is maybe longer and more challenging then they expected but you get so much out of it and it’s worth it.
MP: Light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.
RO: Yeah, and then you start to look at everything very differently.
MP: It sounds really interesting.
RO: Thank you, I’m glad. You know as I said it doesn’t fit everyone and that’s fine, we all have our own journey and we go down our own road. I mean we are probably not that dissimilar, we have our own story with our own themes and challenges.
MP: Yes there is always something going on.
RO: Yeah I mean you’re producing other things and I am producing other things, and then you look at the reasons you are producing those things, and you start to look at the deeper meaning and you see how similar we all are. And yet also how to respect each other for our own unique stories.
MP: So how did you get into acting? Looking back at your career where did it all start for you? You found yourself in one of the most successful and memorable television series from the 90’s.
RO: Yeah, I had been living in Los Angeles and working as an actress and I originally met Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert through the Hercules television series. So then when Xena came up they had this role, and they had me in mind for this role but at the same time there was a bigger picture they had to look at and audition more people. So I definitely jumped through all those hoops as every actress does for a TV show. And it did work out I got the part that had my name on it and that was it. I’ve learned so much from playing Gabrielle and who I am as a person. I value the friendships I made and the lessons I’ve learned. That definitely created the basis for what I am doing now. I don’t think I’d be producing as much if I didn’t see other people doing it around me. It was like a school, it was about people management, being passionate, over coming obstacles. It was about looking to see these things and becoming strong. You know like if people tell you that you can’t do something, you do it anyway and I learned a lot from watching that. It was an incredible mentor in my life, and seeing someone like Lucy Lawless do her thing, handle the celebrity that came with it, the responsibilities that came with it. I was very fortunate to be around these people and be open enough to be aware of this and absorb it and take it on in my own life.
MP: That definitely sounds like an over all interesting experience, you certainly left your mark in television with that show, Gabrielle was great.
RO: Yes, you know I think it was about the relationship with those two ladies. I said this earlier to someone, the show was about their relationship.
MP: I always did watch Xena on Saturday nights.
RO: Oh thank you, always great to hear.
MP: Thank you so much for taking the time to have a chat with us.
RO: Yes thank you too, appreciate it.
It was a real pleasure to meet Renee and I send her many thanks for the interview and the goodies she gave me. It was great to have some Xena love at the Expo with Renee and Hudson Leick.