Featured PA Filmmaker - Aaralyn Anderson

Friday, March 06, 2020 3:14 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

Article By: Maria Shamkalian
PAFIA Vice-Chair

Aaralyn Anderson is local to the Philadelphia area and has worked with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She started acting when she was just 2 ½ years old. Her very first job was for Nickelodeon. Aaralyn is best known for her recurring costar role in the Netflix Series 'Maniac' alongside Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sally Field, as well as other Hollywood heavyweights. Aaralyn can also be seen on the NBC hit show New Amsterdam, ABC's Primetime show What Would You Do?, Strahan & Sara, Dead of Winter on the ID Channel, CBS's The Good Wife and more.

You can Follow Aaralyn on Instagram @AaralynAnderson


What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

Most recent success...Hmmm...I like to look at everything I do as a success, big or small. If I am acting, to me, that spells success.


How did you get started in the film industry?

When I was a baby everyone would stop my mom wherever we went to 'look at the baby'. They would always tell her I should be on tv or in magazines. She made a joke online about how I was the famous Target baby. A friend of hers had a friend who was a child model and offered up a legit manager. The next Target trip my mom came home and sent an email and they picked me up right away. As I got older, we revisit every year what I accomplished, what I hope to accomplish and if I want to stay in the business. My answer to that question is always Y-E-S!


Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

I LOVE working in Philly!! It's close to home. We have an amazing network of super talented film makers right here in our backyard. That's excuse enough for me.


What are some of your favorite filming locations in Pennsylvania?

Wow, there are so many amazing places. I have filmed on the streets of Philly to the farms in Bucks county to inside people's homes and studios. I think maybe the farm where I filmed the AAA commercial is probably my favorite because there was lots to do in between takes.


What do you love the most about your job?

I love a good script and a character that challenges me. I like to think how they would think or feel.


What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?

Welllllll, it was when I was filming a scene in MANIAC. It was Jonah Hill, Me, Emma Stone and my 'siblings". We were at the dinner table. It was the 90's. I was suppose to hate asparagus. We did a few takes. Our director, Cary Fukunaga, likes actors to go with what they feel their character would do. So in the moment my character, Danielle, felt the need to throw the asparagus. So I chucked them and as they left my hand they went straight at Emma and nailed her. I swore I would hear "CUT" immediately but I didn't.

Emma bent down, picked up the asparagus and said "I don't care that they hit the floor you are still eating them" as she placed them on my plate. Then she finished the scene in character like it was nothing. Afterward I made sure to make a quick apology but she said "hey ya went for it, I admire that".


What are some of the challenges of being a child actor?

Sometimes I have to bounce in and out of schoolwork, jumping right in to delivery of lines on set, so that can be challenging. Oh and sometimes there isn't much for me to eat from craft services because they gear the menu more toward the adults.


What is your advice for other children in film?

Don't compare yourself to anyone else in the biz. Go in the room, give it all you got then go back to just being a kid. Leave it there.


Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

I do. Just waiting on all the info. Stay tuned.


PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our politicians about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

As an actor it makes me very happy at the idea of more and more work coming to Philly. Atlanta has been able to have a competitive market to that of LA and NYC so why can't we? After all, film started right here IN Philadelphia so why can't we take some of these old warehouses and make them into studios? Not only would actors have more work but everyone would.


What is your advice for the aspiring child actors? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

If you don't live in a huge market for the commercial/TV/film biz you may have to travel A LOT. The No's are just as important as the YES's. In fact there is a guarantee

you will have way more No's than Yes's and that's OK.

Steps to take: Research, Research, Research. Network, Network, Network.

Some mistakes to  avoid:  Don't fall for scams.  If anyone asks for money to rep you RUNNNNN! Legit Managers/Agents in the industry never ask for money. They get paid when you get paid. Period. End of Story.


What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

Honestly, I am a kid so my manager and agents find the bulk of the opportunities for me in the bigger markets. I can say that people do remember you and the impression you make so always keep that in mind. And parents of child talent need to remember that as well. I have been lucky to have worked with some of the same people in the Philly market on different projects. Someone who I worked with might mention me to so and so for their project or someone who was at a screening saw the work I did for one Philly film maker and reaches out to us for their project. Its really nice. I appreciate that.


What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

I listen to everything that goes on one set. How a director talks. How the gaffer stands. How another actor preps. You name it I pay attention to it all. I hope i always do. I think listening and watching is the best way to learn.


What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

Well that is an unfair question lol I love them all:

Frank Williams' Never Go Back : Zombie film was super scary and gorey. I loved learning about the SFX .

JFR Media's (micro short) Das Litch Drinnen : I got to use my French skills and was challenged doing some of my own stunts. Which I LOVED!!

Shelia Crump's Colors On The Otherside Of The Tracks : I loved it because I got to wear dresses that were my mom's when she was my exact age.

Noble F Production's The Arrangement : I loved because I got to see Andrew Hunsicker in a new role. We had acted together on several projects in the past but this was the first time I got to see him as a writer, producer etc.


What is your favorite project that you worked on?

Again another really hard question but I would have to say MANIAC. It was my first as a principal character in a series for Netflix. The Premiere was the cherry on top!


What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

To be working steadily. Oh, and a kid series or movie would be a bonus!



Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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