Story/Interview April 26, 2019
Pupil Interview: William Franklyn-Miller
InterHigh pupil William Franklyn-Miller works all over the world as an actor and model. William, who also has a huge social media following, has recently completed filming for his biggest acting role so far for the Netflix series - Medici. We asked William about his career and experiences at InterHigh.
Fitting in your studies around your acting and modelling career must be challenging, why did you join InterHigh and how does it compare to your previous educational experiences?
Interhigh let’s me balance my study and acting commitments pretty well. I am really aware that acting is such a risky business, that it can all stop tomorrow and that I need different plans and options in case. Also, I like learning and I have been surprised at the range of subjects that I can study – I am enjoying film studies too which was new for me this year.
How long have you been modelling and acting and how did you get involved in both professions?
I started modelling in the UK at about 4. I was scouted in London, and was really lucky to work on campaigns for Marks and Spencer, Next, F & F and also for Hackett. We then moved out to Australia and I kept working for all sorts of brands. I was then asked to act in a couple of music videos, including “Take Me Over” which was Number 1 in the charts for over 10 weeks, so was pretty good exposure.
I started acting in a couple of short films and then auditioned for a role in Jack Irish and then in Neighbours in Australia. Since then I have been working pretty seriously with acting and dialect coaches, and worked on Arrow, Medici and for Brat, with lots more to come in 2019. What you don’t see is the hard work and the number of auditions that I have to learn, rehearse, and record often with less than 24 hours notice and usually in a US accent or English accent. Its pretty full on at times.
What’s been the highlight of your modelling and acting career so far?
I have been so lucky to travel all over the world, I have shot modelling campaigns in Palm Springs, in LA, New York, Tokyo and of course in London and Australia and had the opportunity to meet some incredible models, stylists, and photographers and am still learning, so the travel has been fantastic and I am still only 14.
A highlight is the feeling when after hundreds of self tapes, you get a call back from the Director and you are in the room with them working on the script, knowing you are down to the last 2 or 3 actors for the role. I met Sir Ridley Scott in December and that was amazing, I didn’t get that role, but even getting to meet him is an amazing feeling.
Who are your role models in the acting and modelling world?
I look up to Tom Holland a lot, he managed to combine working at a young age with school and acting pretty well, and has been incredibly successful. We actually were in the same room at a very early audition many years ago before I moved to Australia.
You have a large fanbase on social media, what’s your favourite social media platform and why?
I love Instagram because it is so easy to interact with my followers and it's pretty safe, as you can see messages. I get to work with Instagram in London and it's so cool to get features early to test out like the Q and A feature. I was one of the first in the World to use it in a “Live”. I have been doing some work on YouTube and was lucky to be invited to VIDCON in London earlier this year, but acting is my passion so social media will always be a part of it and I am lucky so many people are interested in what I get up to.
Any top tips on social media audience building and social media in general?
Be yourself, be genuine and careful, there are so many people who are not who they say they are and although some are obvious, most are not. Regular posting is important, but also engaging with and looking at people's pages who comment and seeing what they are up to. Of course it is important to think about the context of replies, and knowing that what you put up will be there forever – even if I take something down, people screenshot and keep all sorts of stuff.
What’s been your favourite moment on set or at a shoot?
The location shoots and working with such an amazing cast on Medici has to be the highlight for me so far. The attention to detail was amazing, and being in a 13th century building just helps get into character and I love imagining that I was in that time period. That’s one of the cool things about acting, getting to imagine you are in a different time and place.
Any bloopers or funny stories you can share with us?
On my last day filming on set in LA, the girls I was working with took hundreds of photos of themselves and stuck them all over the inside of my trailer, like I was their biggest fan, so when I turned up for work, it was all I could see – they filmed my reaction for a YouTube video and I couldn’t work out whether they were supposed to be there or not . . . Go look it up on Annie le Blanc’s YouTube channel.
What is a typical day’s filming/photoshoot like?
It depends so much on the shoot. I was filming across Italy for Season 3 of Medici for 6 months in 2018. We would be living in hotel rooms in different villages week to week, and I would get some weeks back in Ireland. On set I would usually be able to watch at least a couple of hours of lessons, either in the hotel or in my trailer and my on set tutor could expand on some of the things I was learning. There were days when I was on set all day and night and so I would try to do the homework and watch most of the lessons.
At the start of 2019, I was in LA, filming for Brat, and there we had a block of 3 hours school in the middle of the shooting schedule where we all sat down and studied. Most of the US teen actors also have the same sort of school online, and the production company employ a tutor to make sure you are studying but also to help with problems. It was pretty organised and fun to work with people my own age. I still have just spent half-term catching up on all the missed lessons though . . .
What has the reaction been like from your family and friends to your career?
My family are hugely supportive, my mum has to travel with me a lot and my brother and sister are twins and really competitive swimmers too, but really help where they can and keep me grounded.
We have lived in so many countries, that swimming has been the constant thing in my life, I swim 14 hours a week competitively since I was about 5. My swim squad treat me just like anyone else which is cool, I really am no different from anyone my age, same stresses, I just know I have been really fortunate to get some great opportunities.
Can you tell us about your education experiences before joining InterHigh?
I started in London at a private prep school and then we moved to Melbourne. I was so lucky to attend Scotch College in Melbourne. I have some really good friends from my time there and it is an excellent school. They were really good helping me manage my time off and always helped me catch up and get ahead with sport, school and acting. Acting puts you under extra pressure with auditions and learning of scripts, as well as time off for on set work and it is sometimes difficult to get a full balance.
How does studying at InterHigh differ?
Interhigh has been great as my acting career has developed. I started just after I landed a role on CW’s Arrow and was filming in Vancouver, and my school in Ireland was not as helpful in trying to catch up with time away or with the same broad curriculum. The recording of lessons means that I can watch them all across the world and still submit the homework (although often at really strange times of day). It would be great if Interhigh offered a tutor system, which is what I miss from Scotch, where one teacher helps with coordinating catch up and missing areas of focus when you are away, but that is only one fault – the system is great and using the online timetable lets me see what I need to catch up on and when I need to submit homework – that’s easy.
What roles/campaigns can pupils and staff at InterHigh expect to see you in next? What’s coming up?
My biggest role yet is in Medici: The Magnificent on Netflix at the end of 2019. I have also filmed the YouTube series for Brat Chicken Girls which came out in March and hopefully have great news on a huge project coming soon, fingers crossed.
You can study at InterHigh wherever there’s an internet connection, what are the most unusual places you’ve had a live lesson?
I have studied in airports, on the beach, in hotel rooms from New York to LA to Tokyo to Rome and of course at home. Given the travel, and time zones, a lot of the watching is of the recordings, and it can be frustrating if I am working 9 hours behind, but the system hasn’t yet uploaded the video of the lesson, but it gives me an unexpected break at times! I like it most at home at my desk, when it feels like normal school.
Why is InterHigh a good option for models and actors?
It is such an obvious choice, giving the opportunity to work at the same time as school, the flexibility is great watching lectures in the evening or weekends and also the feedback from teachers is really quick and detailed. The UK GCSE system is also pretty well respected and so the exams in the end are so useful whether I go to university in the UK or US.