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 ;)
Alright friends - it's finally ready! You can now listen to the FULL Smoky Mountain Secrets Saga original trilogy in audiobook format on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes - full narration all done by yours truly. So much thanks to author Jeanne Hardt for her trust and patience through this process of recording and editing to present her words and story as faithfully as possible. It's a long labor of love to record, edit, and produce a quality audiobook and an awesome challenge to try to embody all these different characters. I truly hope I've done Jeanne's work justice.
The series centers on Lily Larsen and those close to her, set towards the end of the Civil War in rural Cades Cove, Tennessee. Her adventures (and sometimes misadventures) take her travelling beyond the comfort of her home where her resolve and character is tested by looming scandal and her journey to discover her way in the world. This series is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, romance, family sagas, and drama.
If you or someone you know is a reviewer, industry pro, or agent who is interested in downloading a copy of any of the books, please email me and I can provide a free Audible download code. If you are so kind as to give any of these books a listen, reviews on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes are very greatly appreciated!
Links to download all 3 below, and also on my new Audiobook Narration page.
Excited to share a recent project with you! I recorded the narration for this "Meet the Founders" video for The Beachwaver Co.'s "Dream Big, Make Waves" campaign launch. Beachwaver is a hugely popular hair tools company that's grown to global distribution with three amazing boss women at the helm, with a focus on innovation, accessibility, sustainability, and empowerment. Honored to be a small part of their story.
Performance Announcement! 8/9-8/11 at Otherworld Theatre Company
Little known fact about me -- I LOVE Grey's Anatomy. It is my soap opera, and I can't help but tune in to the Shonda Rhimes goodness.
Well dreams do come true, because I get to play the eponymous Meredith Grey in a FemSlash parody of Grey's Anatomy in the upcoming Violet Surprise: A FemSlash Parody Festival
Tickets are pay-what-you-can for this new festival of original works parodying your favorite fandoms that explore their female relationships through a sapphic lens.
Catch me in:
“You’re My Person”
Written by Leanna Keyes
Directed by Nemo Serges
Starring Lynnette Li as the Cristina to my Meredith
Some quick updates in Amanda-land.
Earlier this week I had the honor of playing the legendary British pirate, Hannah Snell, acting as guide to the title character (the Mushu to her Mulan) of the new play Deborah: A Mostly True Tale of a Revolutionary Woman, by Elizabeth A.M. Keel and directed by my lovely friend Colin David. This was for a staged reading with Shattered Globe Theatre's Satellite Series for new play development. Not going to lie, I had way too much fun dusting off my best Cockney accent and sassing around and even doing a little singing for the occasion. We were lucky enough to be joined by the playwright herself, who provided some delightful anecdotes about how this play came to be what it is today.
Meanwhile, recording is underway for the delightful modern re-imagining of Little Women (as a podcast) and I can already tell the bench is deep on this one, with some very talented voice actors providing new life to these familiar characters.
This weekend, I'll be attending the premiere of My Name is Alex, a short film directed by Corey Gilbert and written by Jimmy Malone. I played an extra in a support group scene at the very end of the film, and am looking forward to seeing the finished product at the premiere at Chicago Filmmakers.
Of course, still continuing to film my role for the indie feature Evil Lurks - super excited for this one, folks. Excellent crew, super talented cast, and a cool suspenseful story. Can't wait to share it!
Finally - I've decided to amicably part ways with my current agent. Of course this means I am currently on the hunt for a new agency (or multiple agents) for on-camera, voiceover, and theatre! Making moves and hoping to start making some waves - also if you're reading this and think your agent would love me, or you are an agent who'd love to represent me, feel free to reach out ;)
Looking back, I just realized my last news update was in JANUARY. Has it really been that long? A lot of "life" has happened in that time, from adjusting to Cleveland for a while, injuring my back (getting my first MRI - followed by two months of physical therapy), moving to a new apartment, and mourning the loss of my mother-in-law who is very dearly missed. I made a choice to slow things down for a while in order to make sure I was taking care of myself and my family to the best of my ability. I'm glad I was able to take that time.
I'm finally feeling like I'm back on steady ground and so with that, comes..... PROJECTS! Here's a rundown of most everything I'm working on or recently finished:
Life sure takes some weird twists and turns, huh? I am currently in Cleveland until the end of February. Why, you ask? It's a bit of a long story, but the short version is I needed to be with my husband, who has a contract in Cleveland at present. Family always comes first, and we decided it was best to be together at this time. Thankfully we were able to make that work while putting a few things on hold. Namely, after getting cast as the lead in Talus Film's new short "The Promotion", I unfortunately had to drop out. I sincerely hope I get to work with that team in the future, and am incredibly appreciative of their understanding my current situation. I am also delaying my entry into On Camera 2 at Vagabond until their spring session in March. While I'm in Cleveland, I'll have plenty of time to focus on getting chapters of the audiobook I'm currently working on (Murmurs in the Mountains) uploaded for my author (Jeanne Hardt) to review. I look forward to completing this third installment of the Smoky Mountain Secrets Saga, and who knows - we could be on to the fourth before summer hits.
A last bit of news - I recently recorded a spokesperson VO for Surebonder, a company that sells hot glue guns and other fasteners and accessories. The accompanying video should be available on Youtube soon, and I'll be sure to add that to my Voiceover page when available.
I look forward to returning to Chicago soon! Onwards and upwards, friends.
Come here for the latest on Amanda's projects, reviews, photos, and more!