Today (11/16) is the day! The Gaia Miracles audio drama podcast has officially launched and is available on all major podcasting platforms. If you're a fan of audio drama and mysteries/detective stories I think you'll really enjoy this series.
This story follows an investigator as he searches for answers to the "miracles" the world has experienced as it reckons with environmental destruction and its aftereffects.
New full episodes on Mondays, with mini-episodes on Fridays. I appear in mini-episode #4 on December 11th.
Tune in using the links below & make sure to subscribe and unravel the mysteries with us!
Quick update to announce that the trailer for EVIL LURKS is now live! We've had an awesome response so far and we're hoping to premiere the full film in Spring of 2021. Check it the trailer below!
Make sure to also visit evillurksmovie.com to get on the mailing list and learn more about this indie slasher/suspense thriller.
The work continues despite the industry slow-down and the difficulties of Covid-19. Stay safe out there, wear a mask, and make a plan to vote! And maybe squeeze in some good horror films, because it's spooky season and we're all staying inside anyway :)
Here's a few updates on what I've been up to:
Ellipses final cut release
The short film "Ellipses", produced by Hollywood Casting and Film has made it's full-length debut! This was the short about art and relationships I got to shoot on my birthday earlier this year.
Ellipses Short Film
NRPR Guest Appearance
The Alexis Project
I can't resist anything sci-fi, so when local filmmaker Jeremy Applebaum asked if I was interested in starring in his sci-fi proof of concept piece "The Alexis Project" for a film competition, I agreed immediately. It's essentially a trailer for a movie that is yet to be written, but centers on the creation of an android by dubious means, who becomes desperate to become truly human. This piece was written and directed by Jeremy, with DP Jakub Wasowski, gaffer Dru Montague, sound Hardy Willis, makeup by Alana Areyzaga. and co-starring Erika Marks and Martin Davis. The piece should be done and available to watch soon, but in the meantime here's a couple behind the scenes photos.
"Literal Revolution" Cast Announcement
Crystal Lake Lager / Spoof Commercial
What started out as voiceover for a fake radio ad for "Crystal Lake Lager", a fictional beer of choice in the upcoming indie feature "Love Me Tinder" by Sean Patrick Leonard -- has morphed into a full length 80's horror inspired beer commercial. We spent a cold and rainy Sunday in the woods doing our best "meet cute" of classic hockey-mask wearing murderer and oblivious sexy lost girl, bonding over delicious Crystal Lake Lager....before the inevitable murdering happens. We were cracking ourselves up despite the cold and hopefully we'll end up with a spoof commercial to get a laugh out of classic horror fans. Excellent DP/camera work by Jeremy Applebaum, superb direction by Chris Shern, and assistance from Aaron Hawkins -- and of course co-starring "Love Me Tinder" creator/producer, Sean Patrick Leonard as our masked murderer. Here's a few behind the scenes shots from our shoot.
Renamed: Homecoming Massacre
What was once Birthday Massacre, became Night of the Wicked Clown, and is now Homecoming Massacre in its final form. Along the way it's garnered several more awards and selections in film festivals in the US and abroad. I've finally had a chance to see the film and it was such a crazy experience to see the finished product of something I acted in nearly 8 years ago when I was pretty new to acting on camera. If you love horror and slashers, make sure to check out the website to sign up for the mailing list and catch the next screening.
"A Series about a Series"
Last but not least, I'm excited to announce I've been cast as Alexa Breese in the upcoming web series "A Series about a Series". You guessed it, it's a web series about making a web series. The script is very clever and I'm excited to join this project. This project is just beginning pre-production, so more to come
This is what happens when I write updates late at night...oops!
Let Us Go - short film
I forgot to shout out an awesome short called "Let us Go" that I got to co-star in, produced and directed by the incredible Mal Burns! Written by Luke Silliman, sound and editing by Christopher Ott, DP Jay Nicholls, and co-starring Makala Scheel and Isabella Long. This short is in post but here are a couple raw stills from the shoot!
Evil Lurks - Trailer coming soon!
And of course last but not least, the "Evil Lurks" film official trailer is planned for release on October 30th - make sure to sign up for the mailing list at evillurksmovie.com to get the latest news and updates on the film and first look at the trailer and other content.
The entertainment world is moving in spurts and starts these days. While sheltering in place in Chicago and under various quarantine and safety conditions, I've managed to move forward on a few projects here and there. With good reason, we're all being cautious and taking strong measures to ensure the safety of casts and crews on sets and in rehearsals, doing as much as possible virtually and reducing risk of transmission of Covid-19. It's hard to know what the theatre, live entertainment, and performing arts industries will look like after this, as they've all been severely impacted in many ways. If you're reading this perhaps as an audience member or viewer of art and media, I hope we - the arts industry - have your support in the extension of unemployment benefits and support targeted to the arts and entertainment community, as many of us are out of work for the long haul, with no clear path to revive various parts of the industry that are currently failing and in some cases causes certain theatres and companies to close permanently. If during this pandemic you've read a book, watched a film or tv show, enjoyed entertainment content in really any capacity - you've benefited from our work that we're proud to produce - and hope you'll support the efforts to help the industry survive so we can continue to do so and make a living. Please call your state representatives and let them know the arts industry needs state and federal support to survive!
Whew - that being said, I do have a few updates to share over the last few months.
I'm IMDB official! Check out my official IMDB page and follow my profile to keep up with all my latest on-camera projects.
We were finally cleared to shoot the short film "Ellipses" with Hollywood Casting and Film, taking a variety of precautions on set to ensure everyone's safety. I played Shirley in this film exploring, art, relationships, and the unexpected. The film is currently in post and will be put up for festival consideration, but in the meantime check out this "Behind the Scenes" feature on the making of the film.
George Berlin: Dream Play Create
Confusion: Darkness Falls & the Fallen Rise
Night of the Wicked Clown
I'm happy to report that Night of the Wicked Clown, the horror feature finally coming to festivals and screenings after years of efforts to complete post production, has received a number of festival recognitions and is booked for its first official screening! Currently the film has received the following honors, however final wards are still waiting to be announced in several cases:
GenCon 2020 Official Selection (awards TBD)
International Horror Hotel 2020 - Honorable Mention & Screening 9/12/2020
The Horror Movie Awards 2020 - Semi-Finalist (final awards TBD)
Southeast Regional Film Festival 2020 - Official Selection
What a time to be alive, huh? So we're not really captive as I indicate in the title, but I'm a sucker for alliteration. And to be honest, my day to day hasn't greatly changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic, as I work from home and prefer time with my husband and a small group of friends over big social gatherings. We moved our weekly friend hangs to Zoom/Netflix Party nights and sessions of online gaming, and have reduced our outings to only essential trips. I know it's huge adjustment for many. Many of my upcoming projects are paused or rescheduled for tentative future dates. The film and theatre industry have for the most part come to a screeching halt.
So how do we move forward when the whole world seems to stop?
Well we have a big beautiful online community of creators, so when there's a will, there's a way!
I've jumped onto a couple fun projects to keep the creative juices flowing - a "Line by Line Shakespeare" exercise, organized by a collaborator Britain Willcock, where he chose famous speeches from Shakespeare's works, then randomly assigned individual lines to different people, leaving us all open to interpreting and acting out the words ourselves. I got a line from Lady Macbeth, and it was so interesting to see everyone's interpretations.
Another fun collaboration from afar, put together by Chicago filmmaker Jeremy Applebaum, was the idea to put together some kind of film with a bunch of different people, but with footage put together from our own homes using what equipment was available to us. The result is a short film entitled "A Sheltered Rehearsal", about a group of theatre actors whose production of A Winter's Tale is cancelled due to the pandemic...but the director demands they continue to rehearse via Zoom. There's a twist in there too - however we went ahead and submitted the short to a couple "Quarantine Film Festivals" (yes that's a thing now), so I'll have to wait to share the footage for now.
I have managed to keep a few irons in the fire on more "official" projects too!
VO for Documentary Short
Last but not least, I've been hired to provide some narration voiceover for a documentary short which profiles the works of animator George Berlin, highlighting his unique work in projection mapping to massive buildings to create beautiful site specific digital works of art. This project is in process, we just have to wait to record my VO at a nearby studio once the shelter-in-place order is lifted.
As soon as restrictions are lifted in Chicago and across the country, I know we'll all be busting at the seams to create and tell our stories. I'm excited to see what kind of art we can create from this extremely challenging moment in our history. If quarantine has proven anything, it's that when people are bored at home, they turn to creativity - to movies, films, books - the work of artists. My hope is that drive for great storytelling and art will push us into a new era of artistic expression once we're beyond the "age of corona". Health & Love to all <3
PS - I've made some major changes to my site layout - going with a 1 page scrolling version so you don't have to click around as much to find things! Click my name at the top of this web page if you're on my site, or navigate straight to Amanda-Winston.com
Big news! I am now officially represented by Dream Team Talent. Dream Team is a great newer agency in the Chicago area which also produces an industry podcast and is soon spreading its wings to LA. Vilma, the agency owner, is such a delightful person and truly advocates for her talent. I can't wait to see what we're able to accomplish together in 2020 and beyond!
2020 is off to a rollicking start! Coming out of the holiday fog, I've been planting seeds across Chicago in search of exciting projects to get involved with. Here are a few things things that have "sprouted" since the start of the year!
I've been cast as Jamila, a soon-to-be initiated bounty hunter in the web-series "Confusion: Darkness Falls and the Fallen Rise". So far shooting once scene in May for an episode, then likely more to come! Check out ConfusionFilms on Youtube to see all the content being made.
Chris Shern, who is one of the co-producers (among many roles) of the film Evil Lurks (which I starred in, and is coming out this year!) also happens to have a pretty awesome band called Invisible Cartoons. He's asked me to play a small role in a music video for their single Space Cat - their videos are always high energy and awesome productions and I can't wait to join in the fun!
I've got a number of other seedlings in the works, between inquiries on involvement with a few prospective film projects and series, possibly getting back into audiobooks, and networking with agents and producers in the area. Lots of opportunity, so we'll see where it all leads!
Bonus: I also helped my husband get his actor website up to date and off the ground - check him out at www.jonahdwinston.com
Here are a few fun end of year updates!
100 Hrs: This past weekend I worked with Filmmakers in Action, team "Grey Method" to shoot an entire film from writing to completion for the 100 Hour Film Race competition. I played the lead Jen in our suspense thriller script. I was joined by my Little Women: A Modern Audio Drama podcast (episodes coming out weekly!) director/producer Shannon Campe as a cast member, as well as filmmaker & friend Mal Burns as AD. Our director and editor was Mike Stewart, our producer and writer was Stephen Peterson (who also acted), and Nehal Mohammed was on set as both crew and cast. All entries had to include the elements of "Sacrifice", a calendar, and the action of reading. All the films will be judged and finalists will be premiered in Atlanta, with awards in various categories. It was fast and furious and a lot of fun - I got to break some sugar glass bottles, get covered in fake blood (again), and jog through the park in far too little clothing for the current outside temperatures.....what we do for art!
Gentleman Grochowski: Last Friday I made my first talk show appearance promoting Evil Lurks. Our director/producer Aaron Hawkins brought myself and another actor in the film, Cindy Felonk to appear on The Gentleman Grochowski Show, an improv/comedy/talk show which appears on the Comcast network across 4 states in the midwest. It was fun and hilarious chatting with hosts Larry and Partee, alongside comedian Anna Marie Long. There's a live-taping on Facebook you can view, and the episode will air sometime in February - details to come!
Readings: Participating in a nice handful of readings this December! Mollusk Productions in Chicago, is working on selecting their next film to produce. So far I've participated in one developmental reading for a comedy script which takes a satirical look at indie filmmakers, and this coming weekend I'll be reading the lead for a script I'd describe as a suspense/drama along the lines of Black Mirror dealing with augmented reality. Finally, this week I'll doing a staged reading of the play "Midnite" by Reina Hardy and Rory Leahy, playing the role of Faye. The reading is directed by Iris Sowlat and will be performed at Boxcar at the Steep Theatre this Friday.
It's been a pretty busy jump into fall here in Amanda-land!
Shooting continues for Evil Lurks - we've got just a few small shoots & reshoots to finish and we're off into post. From the tiny rough cut and outtakes I've seen, it's going to be a really cool final product. A few behind the scenes (BTS) shots below - can you tell we've been making good use of the green screen?
Meanwhile I snuck in a quick commercial shoot for a local edible cookie dough company. I played "Karen", the put together mom of a 6 year old child mechanic, who is skeptical about raw cookie dough. Coming out on various social media in December. As a lifelong fan of cookie dough, this was an especially fun shoot - not to mention the bonus of getting to sample the products ;)
Finally the Filmmakers in Action team's submission for the Chicago 48 Hr Film Fest, The Inheritance is now available to view on Youtube! This was my first time participating in a 48 hour film fest and while we didn't win any awards, it was a helluva learning experience. It's a pressure cooker situation where a film has to be written, shot, edited, and completed in 48 hours. Our only criteria was an assigned theme (Dark Comedy/Sports), a prop (a hat), a line of dialogue ("I'm looking for my friend"), and a character name (Trudy or Trevor Fenderson). The fact that we were able to pull it off at all was really impressive, and folks stepped in left and right to fill in roles on set in order to get the job done. Give it a watch below!
Bonus content: I've updated my reel! Check it out below - will definitely have to make some updates once Evil Lurks comes out!
Quick post to share my new Commercial VO demo. What makes a commercial VO demo you might ask? It's a sampling of my work related to products, marketing campaigns, or businesses, generally as a narrator or spokesperson.
A sample of brands I've lent my voice to:
Ajenda Scheduling Services
Tech Guys Who Get Marketing
Core Digital Marketing LLC
Thanks for listening ;)
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