• Friday, May 08, 2020 4:40 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?Most recently, I was able to produce two feature films here in Philadelphia. "Between Wars" starring Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, Goodfellas), Harley Flannagan, Juliette Valdez, and myself. I also wrote and produced "The Recovery" again starring the very talented and beautiful Juliette Valdez and myself. I was able to produce both these films with hard work, dedication and an ample amount of pre-production. I utilized the connections I made over the years and brought value to those who were working on both projects with me.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    When I was 18 years old I took a job at a live virtual reality game in Wildwood, NJ. A live actor was part of the game. I worked that job for three summers being one of the headlining acts. In college I took an acting class as an elective and wound up with the lead role in the following semester's play. After that I transferred my major from biology to a double major in film & theater,  I never looked back. Now I regularly attended classes at Playhouse West - Philadelphia for the last four and a half years.

    Why do you choose to work in PA?
    I'm born and raised in Philly so I have access to many locations and lots of connections throughout the city. I produce in L.A. and New York too but there is just so much less red tape here, it's way easier to get a project into production in PA.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? There are so many amazing spots in and around PA, it's hard to pick one. I would say my most used location would be what is referred to as "graffiti pier" down on the waterfront in Philadelphia. It's just a beautiful spot with the city as the backdrop.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I love telling stories and having people feel, learn, or grow because of them. When someone connects  emotionally because they relate to the story then you have the power to change people and even the world.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I've been very blessed to be a part of a lot of different types of projects but one of my favorite moments ever was rehearsing with Michael Imperioli for the film "Between Wars" He was a true artist. He didn't care that I was a nobody and I didn't care that he was a somebody. We just both loved the craft of acting and wanted to bring as much truth and life to our scenes as we could. It was all about the craft and the work for us. It was such a great collaboration. It was very humbling to see such a professional have no ego and be so willing to listen to my ideas and work as a team. I'll never forget those rehearsals on set.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I have several projects coming up, most notably the feature film "Ugly-Pretty" written & directed by PA native Hollis Sherman-Pepe and starring Lindsey Shaw (Pretty Little Liars). facebook.com/uglyprettymovie  I'm also currently developing a t.v. show titled "Home Grown" directed by (PA director) Todd Wolfe, that hopefully will go into production later this year. Both will be filmed in PA.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    If PA could compete with some of the other tax-friendly states then the local crews, cast,  hotels, locations, merchants and other vendors, would all win out if we had more film shoots here, which will off-set the tax breaks to the production companies and studios because the local people would make more money and pay more in taxes.  It would contribute to the economy big in the long run. It would be a win-win for everyone. 

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    For this answer I'm going to steal the answer my teacher Tony Savant gave and I quote "For actors, please, please learn your craft, study it, work at it daily like musicians and dancers and the artists.  Work to become the kind of actor everyone would be dying to work with.  This means not only being great at your craft, but being a complete professional in every sense of the word.  It takes years of continual study and work to be excellent at it.  Take it seriously, become excellent at it so you can contribute effectively on any project you are a part of.  It’s hard work, but it should be joyful work if you love it.  If you don’t love it and want to be great at it, then disqualify yourself and do something else.  As a filmmaker, producer or technical person, learn through doing.  Get on as many sets as possible to do it a lot.  And, for both actors and behind the scenes folks, read, continue to educate yourselves, watch and study films, study all the best films, understand what works, then go and do it.  Begin with short films, five minutes.  If you can tell a great five minute story, then make a ten minute, then fifteen, and so on.  Actors, make your own films, don’t wait to get hired.  But, perhaps before that, educate yourself.  Everyone should read “The Art of Dramatic Writing” by Lajos Egri, so you understand the anatomy of a story and it’s proper construction.  It’s the best book on writing ever.  And it all begins with the script.  If you don’t understand story construction or what makes a good script, forget it.  Read “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet.  Read “On Directing” by Elia Kazan, and “Kazan: The Master Director Discusses His Films”, with Jeff Young.  It’s a series of interviews with the greatest director of all time.  Read every book by and about Kazan.  Watch YouTube interviews with all the finest directors and filmmakers and actors.  Directors, study some acting so you understand that process and so you can help actors and speak to them intelligently.  For everyone, help out on sets.  Get on as many sets as you can and learn as many jobs on set as you can so you are knowledgeable and also appreciate that making a film is a collaborative effort and all jobs are to be valued." The only thing I would add is to be respectful and kind to every last person on set, you never know who they are or who they will become in this industry, don't burn bridges before they're even made.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Be willing to work for experience. Don't worry about money initially, that'll come later. First learn your craft and then how to apply it on sets. Bring the production value and put the story first. Be early, work hard, and only leave when the job is done. Be pleasant and someone who makes the stresses of set life feel lessened. Don't be a burden to production. When you're not on set keep learning, reading biographies, studying movies/scripts.  Make your own content and learn by doing.  Finally, if you don't know something, when on set, ask someone who does.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Learn your craft. Be patient while learning it. This industry is the only industry where a person can wake up one morning and decide "hey, I'm an actor or filmmaker" and then people believe them. If tomorrow I said I was a doctor or lawyer no one would believe me because I didn't learn those skills. The professionals in this industry worked hard and studied for years to get there. If you show up and claim you're a professional without any training or work put in then you're doing your self a huge disservice and most likely will ruin that opportunity for yourself.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Hands down "ROCKY" it's one of the films that made me want to become an actor/filmmaker in the first place. Especially, if you know the back story and the struggles Sylvester Stallone went through to getting it made. Still inspires me to this day.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Again I am very blessed and have many fond set experiences for different projects but if I had to pick, I would say my feature film "The Recovery". The cast and crew were all dear friends and fellow students at Playhouse West - Philadelphia, I got to work along side my lovely and talented girlfriend, Juliette Valdez in some very powerful and emotional scenes. Plus the story is about overcoming addiction and very personal to me, to be able to tell such a story with people I care about is just a blessing.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To be considered the type of person that everyone is dying to work with because of my dedication and excellence in the craft of both acting and filmmaking.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Hit me up on instagram @shaunpaul89, check in on my IMDB for upcoming projects  or keep an eye out for casting notices on film.org.

  • Friday, May 01, 2020 1:52 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Article by: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA  Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it? My most recent success is landing one of the lead roles in a feature film called Benita. I became friends with the director, Prinze Wayee, on a previous project and stayed in touch with him throughout the years. We started collaborating and I am currently the production manager as well on the project. It is going to be a great film when it gets shot which will be after this Corona Virus epidemic is over. 

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    Believe it or not, growing up I was a shy child who hated being in the spotlight. I went to a Christian School that believed that the students should all participate in a concert each year either through singing, or playing an instrument. It was in 6th grade when my nerves got the best of me and during one of those concerts, I threw up all over myself in the middle row of the choir. This in turn set off a ripple effect and three other people threw up as well.  It was on that day that I swore that I would never be on a stage again. However, God had other plans and decided to lead me onto a much bigger stage with over 400 people watching. I was chosen by my music teacher to be one of the students who got to sing with a Christian Singer, Steve Green, in that same year of school. Many people objected over this decision, but I knew that I had to prove them wrong and face my fears. It was one of the hardest things I had to do but when it was over, I knew I would never leave the stage again. I later went off to college and started my acting career which included theatre and film.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I chose to work in PA because it is a smaller market for local actors to break into the Hollywood scene. With many award-winning directors like M. Night Shyamalan shooting their upcoming productions in PA, it gives local actors bigger opportunities to book the supporting roles. What I love most about working in Pennsylvania is the fact that here everyone knows your name and that is mostly because it is a smaller market and everyone knows everyone else.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? Some of my favorite shooting locations in PA are the steps of the Art Museum, 30th street station, and of course Fairmount Park.

    What do you love the most about your job? 
    What I love most about acting is having the ability to be as vulnerable as you possibly can in order to create a believable character. I am always challenging myself to reach deeper inside so that the audience can feel for each character I become.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    One of my most memorable/funny set stories was when I was a principal on a “Coach” commercial. I got to be the mascot which was a huge blow up dinosaur. When the crew fitted me into the outfit and blew it up, they realized really fast how hard it was going to be to get me down two flights of stairs. Needless to say, I was very experienced with mascot uniforms and navigated the stairs without knocking over any expensive furniture. I had one crew member walking me down while another crew member holding my tail. It was such an interesting experience.  

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    I am an actress who has become a filmmaker over the years. I believe that the challenges that female filmmakers face are having the ability to get their films financed, having their views heard and understand as well as figuring out the best way to work alongside male cinematographers and producers. However, I believe that this gap in the industry has changed dramatically and female filmmakers are getting noticed a lot more in today’s society then ever before.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    My advice to other women in this film industry is keep pursing your dreams and never compromise your beliefs while doing so. It is a hard career to be in, but very rewarding as well.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    While being quarantined, I have been offered four different roles in upcoming feature films. I am excited to say that I have accepted them all and I am working on the scripts during this down time. I have two suspenseful dramas along side two really emotional dramatic features that will lead the audience on an emotional rollercoaster. I am eager to start shooting them after the quarantined is lifted.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    I can tell our elected officials that without the PA film industry I wouldn’t be a working actor today. Many of my projects that I have been cast in are from Philadelphia. Without the abundance of opportunities that are starting to trickle into the PA area, I would have to start thinking about moving my brand elsewhere in order to stay a working actor. 

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid? 
    My advice for aspiring actors/filmmakers is to keep your relationships and connections healthy. Acting is all about who you know and who knows you. If you have a bad reputation in this business then it can ultimately end your career before it even starts. Also, I truly believe that you have to stay genuine and true to what you believe in and not waiver from your beliefs. This business will try to manipulate you into doing things you aren’t comfortable with and you have to make sure you are able to say “No” when those situations occur.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    There are many ways to find gigs. The sites that I use are Actors Access, Casting Networks, Backstage, IMDB Postings, Facebook, and many times I get offered roles through directors whom I have already worked with. Sometimes I will look on CastingAbout.com for TV shows that are currently being cast and I will reach out to the casting directors directly. Many times, you have to think outside the box in order to get yourself into the audition room.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    There are many valuable lessons that I have learned over the years in this industry. One lesson I learned is don’t believe everything you read on social media. Many times, actors/directors exaggerate on how big their projects are and when you get caught up in that project you find out that it really isn’t anything at all. Another lesson I learned is don’t compromise your beliefs when offered a role. You really need to figure out what you will do and what you wouldn’t before you get into a situation that forces you to choose. Lastly, I learned that it is ok not to have a relationship with everyone you meet in the industry. You will meet a lot of people on all different levels in this business and you have to be content with knowing who is going to be in your contact group and who wouldn’t.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    My favorite film shot in Pennsylvania has to be Six Sense.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    This question is very hard for me because I have over 75 films that I have worked on throughout my career so far. I am going to say that one of my favorite projects that I worked on was The Impact Factor by Ken McArthur. It’s about a diverse group of people within a 5-mile radius of Philadelphia City Hall who discovered they made a difference whether they wanted to or not. I was privileged to play Tracy Hartman who was a young enthusiastic TV Reporter who just wanted to get that next great story. The sets were amazing, the crew was so talented, and I enjoyed the chemistry between the actors.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My biggest aspiration in this industry is to book a series regular role in a sitcom. I enjoy creating memorable characters that people can enjoy and laugh with. To be on a sitcom like The Big Bang Theory would be one of my biggest dreams.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Currently, I am not creating any film projects but I am always looking for more challenging roles to be casted in. My IMDB page is imdb.me/victoriastevens

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/victoria.stevens.735

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vickiestevens1/

    Website: victoriastevens.org

  • Friday, April 24, 2020 1:09 PM | Jennifer Iams (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Born in NYC to Dominican parents, Sugey Cruz moved to Lancaster to attend College at Franklin and Marshall. There she met her spouse, Rich, and they had a son, Tommy, who would later go on to be the inspiration for them to co-found a non-profit for Autism and Related conditions called The Tommy Foundation. Through that organization they’ve not only worked with many members of the local community, but also put together a documentary entitled “The United States of Autism” which was in Oscar qualification. A few years ago, Sugey rekindled her passion for Acting and started taking classes with Brad Hawkins—who runs the Central PA Actor’s Workshop—and working with local filmmakers on their projects.  It was in Brad’s class that Sugey met Alex Rudegeair and subsequently Jeremy Good. The three of them founded “Broken Tile Productions” which has two films currently in the film festival circuit—“On Turning 16” and “Dirt”.  Sugey also works closely with Tony Marion of “Cinecle Pictures”, whom she worked with on “Loose Ends” as a  female lead and producer.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success has to be starting our Production company, Broken Tile, and being able to work with filmmakers on projects that we are all passionate about. I wrote a short film last summer called “On Turning 16” and one of my business partners wrote “Dirt” and both of them have been well received so far at film festivals, which is very humbling. Thanks to my work on “Loose Ends” and “Dirt”,  I’ve developed an amazing working relationship with writer, director Tony Marion and we’ve been developing some projects together as well. 

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    A little over two years ago now, I rekindled my passion for acting and started attending classes with Brad Hawkins. There I met many other hungry and passionate actors who wanted to collaborate and work together on projects, which we have done many times, including on the feature film “Secret Within the Sphere”.  I worked on a web series project, experimental films, did a bit of extra work in Philadelphia and NYC and I take every opportunity to learn what I can behind the scenes as well.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Our locations are amazing in PA. When we shot “Secret” we were continually amazed at how spot after spot that was chosen for our set locations were just completely different and perfect for something as fantastical as a steampunk adventure film. You can shoot a tender film about a couple grappling with their child’s differences (“On Turning 16”) in what’s basically a nearby park or find a grungy, indie perfect abandoned warehouse that you can make your home for 2 weeks like we did for “Dirt”.  It just has everything you need.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    John Harris Simon Cameron Mansion in Harrisburg was gorgeous; Strasburg Railroad, which can really add so much perfect “timeliness” to a film with the right lighting; and just anywhere in PA with lots of foliage in the fall. It’s just breathtaking especially if you can get some drone footage of it.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    About Acting—that you can both find yourself and lose yourself in a character you play if you truly do the work and let yourself get to that very vulnerable place. About producing—that you literally can be involved in the complete creative process and see this seed of an idea just get magnified and turn into as big a thing as you want to make it.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I loved dancing with Jack Rudegeair on the set of “Dirt”. Jack’s an older fella and the grandfather of one of my business partners. He and I have had the privilege of working together 3 times now and we just had a lot of time to bond on the “Dirt” set. I never got to meet my one grandfather and the other passed when I was very young, and Jack “adopted” me while on set so on one of the days while we were both particularly loopy from long set days, we just started singing and then dancing and two of the crew members captured a little footage of it for us. It was one of the sweetest and dearest moments of my life.  

    What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    Being able to assert yourself without feeling that there’s a negative stigma to it and probably “guilt” especially when you have a family and are trying to navigate career and family time.

    What is your advice for other women in film?
    Go for it. Just be creative and do things. Ask questions when you can. Be a happy detective and see what other tools you can learn from set—observe and ask questions (when possible). Watch films, tv shows and if it’s one you like, get the script for it and read up on it. If you don’t like, do the same and ask yourself why. Just study everything and keep improving every day.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    We hope to be able to premiere our films “On Turning 16” and “Dirt” as soon as we can after our current COVID-19 crisis is done. Still to come in PA is “Loose Ends” by Cinecle Pictures and “Secret Within The Sphere” by Stormfront Productions.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    I’d let them know that PA is ripe and ready for this kind of work. There are so many people I’ve met in all different areas of the industry out here—even in my little town—that are just so creative and really just want to take it to that next level. I can’t wait to see my friends succeed. They are just as creative and dedicated as people in any other city and we all deserve a chance to share those stories that live inside us.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?  
    As far as steps, just keep learning. Read, listen, watch, observe films from that lens that interests you. Watch how your favorites do things. Read the scripts for it. Attend classes and masterclasses and network like crazy on social media and in person. And lastly but most importantly, treat people with respect and don’t act like people are replaceable and try not to get on the gossip wagon. It’s tough, especially if you feel “harmed” in some way sometimes but it’s destructive and ultimately doesn’t help anyone.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Meet people. Go to events held in your town like Lancaster Film and TV or Harrisburg Vidjams. Find out who your local managers are and look up and join social media groups that list casting calls. Also, get to know your peers. I’ve recommended many actors for gigs and they have returned the favor when they think I’m the right person for the job. We really look after one another, which I extend as well to my “crew family”.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’d say “Sixth Sense”. I love psychological thrillers and that one is just so well shot and done.  I got a chance to work on a project that M. Night Shyamalan is doing called “Servant” for Apple TV and I just love the fact that his works revolves around Philadelphia and his love for where he grew up. 

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I love aspects of all the projects I’ve worked on but I’d say probably “Dirt”. It’s funny because I think most people would assume it’d likely be “On Turning 16” since that one is so personal to my life story and is one I wrote as well, but it happened so fast since it was our first film and shooting was relatively a lot more straight-forward and shorter. As for “Dirt”, we worked so closely and intricately on that film and it was probably the most grueling and intense stretch of time spent on a project to date for me. All of that from start to finish really had to fall on the shoulders of our team in order for it to come together. I had the privilege to be Executive Producer, Producer and actress on it, so there was a lot riding on me being on the ball. You get to know a lot about yourself and those working with you through that whole process.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I honestly am just thrilled to keep working. Acting is therapeutic and cathartic for me. I’d love to just do this for as long as I can and just keep getting better. I’d love to keep producing more films as well, which I have done now as well in some capacity with other projects and companies.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Connect with me on Instagram @sugeyprime or email: me@sugeycruz.com

  • Saturday, April 18, 2020 3:47 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    “Fine Wine” is an award-winning short film written and directed by Maria Shamkalian and shown in Spain, Italy, Romania, Netherlands and many parts of the United States. This heartwarming musical production with over 200 dedicated people involved and five fantastic locations, lets the audience immerse into the magical world of the past and shows that while bodies might change, passion within lives forever.
    https://www.facebook.com/FineWineFilm/videos/632624837289564/

    How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?

    One day I was listening to a beautiful song and I got inspired. I didn’t even have to think of a script – I just saw it in my head right away. I even had tears as I was listening to the music and imagining the stories unfold. Then I sent the script to Andre Saballette from BoatHouse Pictures and just asked when we are shooting.

    What were some challenges that you have encountered?
    There was a number of challenges, of course, as in any production. Budget is always a challenge. Arranging proper holding area for some of the venues was a challenge. Then there were scheduling conflicts, especially for the reshoots, when we needed the venue to be available and all 75 people who were in the scene with exactly the same haircuts, same facial hair, same makeup – this is the reason we had to take a few months hiatus until we found the date for the reshoot when everyone could come. Actors not showing up and having to do emergency casting and bring photo doubles also was not easy. Editing was also very hard when you have a number of great shots that are nearly impossible to choose from, but our editor John Woods and colorist Lawrence R. Greenberg patiently spent many hours with us in the studio working on every piece of the puzzle. And, of course, being a pregnant director and producer was quite a task, but we got through it all

    The burning question: how did you arrange the budget?

    All the actors and crew were under a deferred payment agreement, except for transportation for NY SAG-AFTRA actors. All the locations donated their time. Catering was provided by Ann Kids Catering as a donation (it was delicious!). All the equipment was donated by Not Sold Separately, Resolution Rentals, and Camos Media, who were brought on board by our amazing DP Collin Welch. Also, we had a wonderful gaffer Joseph J. Graves who arranged all the lighting equipment. Wardrobe, props, and festival submissions were just out-of-pocket expenses.

    What are the plans for distribution?
    Up until now it was in a festival circuit, but when it was ready for distribution the whole world shut down. We felt that now the world needs hope and positivity the most, so we shared our film publicly on its Facebook Page. When everything opens again, we will revisit the question of distribution, but meanwhile you can watch it here:
    https://www.facebook.com/FineWineFilm/videos/632624837289564/

    Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards and selections?
    We got selected into 14 film festivals, semi-finalist in two, and won in three (Best Director, Best First Time Director, and Award of Merit for Women Filmmakers).

    Which film festivals do you suggest submitting to?
    There are so many amazing film festivals – it all depends on the genre, but www.filmfreeway.com has been immensely helpful in choosing the festivals to submit to.

    Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Pennsylvania has such a great variety of beautiful locations! Our film shows both present time and the 1960’s, and we were able to find locations that preserved the vintage vibe and were happy to join our artistic collaboration. You can find locations for any theme here, and business owners are very welcoming to filmmakers! Also, while we brought several fantastic actors from NY, all the other amazing actors and the wonderful crew was local, and we were blessed with an excellent team!

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    In our film, you can see Bella Tori at the Mansion – a gorgeous vintage Italian restaurant - and Langhorne Coffee House – an adorable vintage coffee house, which we were so blessed to collaborate with! Also, Ann Kids Center, KleinLife Adult Care Center, and KleinLife Theater were such great venues. Other than that, Pennsylvania has great suburban locations, amazing city sites, historical building, parks, forests, farmlands – if I start listing all my favorite locations, I can write a book!

    How did you all get started in the film industry?
    I started by submitting as background talent with directors that I admire the most and I would watch them in action and learn directing. If you sign up as PA, you never know which department you might end up with and you are constantly running around. But when you are background, especially featured, you are right there where magic is and you learn from the best!

    I even helped fix the script on White Collar and adjust a scene on Boardwalk Empire. It is like film school that you get paid for. Then I started working different jobs on set in order to understand filmmaking from every different perspective. Andre Saballette started his career right after college by working for Walt Disney Company. He learned a lot about the business and decided to take his passion and newfound knowledge and venture off on his own, so in 2013 he launched BoatHouse Pictures and began to work in the tri-state area. Every one of our amazing team members has a great story and getting to know them all was a real treat!

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Filmmaking is not just a job, not just a hobby. It's a way of life, a state of mind, a puzzle piece of your soul - without it you feel incomplete. If you fall in love with filmmaking, it's for life. You see movie ideas everywhere, live through screenplays in your sleep. Money does not matter. What matters is that you have a vision that no one sees besides you and your team, until one day you pour your heart and soul out onto that big screen and the world goes "Wow!"

    Putting together a film is incredibly difficult, time-consuming and stressful, but every time I dive into it again and again, because that feeling of euphoria when your idea becomes a reality, changes hearts and minds, causes a whirlpool of emotions... when your message is seen and felt by the world... that's when I believe I can fly!

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I actually got quite a number of funny ones From getting a hundred people to dance Macarena to warm up during a cold outdoor shoot to making a farting noise with a ketchup bottle during Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-winning speech. That would be another book!

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am writing a comedy series that I am basing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but plan to shoot in different areas of PA.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    I used to travel to NY several times a week, but when I got married and had a baby, it is no longer an option for me. I want to work where I live, and so does everyone in our film community. Increasing the PA film tax credit will not only benefit actors and filmmakers. It will also benefit hotels, restaurants, car rentals, and so many other local businesses. So many directors and producers would love to bring films to PA and spend money here, but they can’t because of the tax credit. This would really be a deal breaker!

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Set is the best school. Try to get jobs in different departments to learn the industry in and out. Go to networking events. You never know whom you can meet and who can change your life! This business is all about connections, dedication, and hard work. And don’t procrastinate, because if you don’t bring your idea to life, someone else will.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Don’t keep ideas in your head. If you have a script, write it, so that when an opportunity presents itself you are ready. No one cares about ideas, people need a product that is ready to go. Also, be open to constructive criticism. Collaboration of opinions can turn something from mediocre to genius, so be open to change.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I aspire to be a showrunner for comedy series and musical films.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    You can always contact me on Facebook or through my website www.MariaShamkalian.com.

  • Friday, April 10, 2020 12:23 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My debut feature documentary “At The Drive-in,” which chronicled The Mahoning Drive-in Theater in Pennsylvania, won Best Local Feature at the 2017 Philadelphia Film Festival and screened all over the country at film festivals and Alamo Drafthouse Theaters. It’s now available on DVD, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, and many other streaming platforms. I shot, edited, and directed the film myself as a passion project and it took over a year and a half. I wanted to see if I could employ my style and process for shorts on a feature. The film was released by MVD Entertainment, a company located in Pottstown, PA.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    After graduating from film school I tried to get a job with a production company but it wasn’t going well. I took a few jobs working as a Production Assistant on feature films but didn’t really like that. It wasn’t until I started making short documentaries as a full-time employee of Franklin & Marshall College where I discovered my love for that genre.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Both of my feature length documentaries are about small stories in Pennsylvania. I’ve done that because I want to tell a story that can only be told here. With my drive-in documentary I didn’t want to make another documentary about drive-in culture because it’s been done before. I decided to focus on one specific drive-in theater’s story because no one heard that story before. I keep the stories small and specific while introducing more general and universal themes in the background. I was nervous only people in Pennsylvania would enjoy my films but “At The Drive-in” screened everywhere from Los Angeles to Savannah to Omaha to Texas and beyond and the reception was always unbelievable. I think people across the country enjoyed seeing something from a different point of view and people in Pennsylvania enjoyed seeing their own region on the big screen.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?Anywhere old fashioned. My two features were shot in Lehighton, PA and Lancaster, PA. I love the Elysburg area around Knoebels. Anything that doesn’t look modern interests me.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Meeting unique people. My work (from feature documentaries to my paid video production work) is all about discovering interesting people and presenting them authentically to the world, quirks and all.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    It was probably my first ever short documentary shoot for Franklin & Marshall College. I was covering a physical therapist who was an alum of the college and one of her patients was an 18 year old kid who was paralyzed from the waist down. I was filming their session and he pulled himself up on to a bed and she congratulated him for making history. I was confused until they explained it was the first time he was able to do that… and I captured it. He was extremely happy and proud. The moment inspired and surprised me. That was when I realized I wanted to make documentaries.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I’m finishing up my second feature length documentary and it’s about the super charismatic Robert Brock and his magical marionette theatre in Lancaster, PA. He lives above the theatre with his mom, Mary Lou, and together they have kept this quirky marionette theatre going for thirty years.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    The PA film industry is important for a variety of reasons. It obviously creates jobs. It can generate tourism. People come from all over to see the Rocky steps and we can create more. The number one comment I see online from people who just watched At The Drive-in is “I have to travel to Pennsylvania now to visit this drive-in.” I see that constantly. That’s the power of film.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Don’t be afraid to tell smaller specific stories. It’s really the only originality left. Your stories can be small and niche but your themes should be big and universal. And don’t listen to anyone in online message boards.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Create the gigs yourself. It’s 2020. Keep creating gigs and the people and opportunities will find you. If you’re something like a costume designer and don’t create “gigs” then just keep designing costumes and posting photos online. Sometimes you will have to do plenty of work that no one sees before you get a big opportunity. Just go research Leonardo Da Vinci’s career timeline.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Gear doesn’t matter as much as you think. I worked on feature films as a Production Assistant that had big time rigs, RED cameras, and massive lighting packages. The final products would lack the heart, creativity, and story that is essential for movies.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Unbreakable (directed by M. Night Shyamalan)

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    At The Drive-in

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I just want to be able to continue making my films and sustain a living doing it.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    I always welcome people to reach out. I’m always looking for a good producer as well. And who isn’t looking for an investor? My e-mail is
    AL@monellifilms.com or just hit me up on social media (@monellifilms). Please follow my films (both shot in PA) online as well:

    1.  At The Drive-in: www.atthedriveinfilm.com, facebook.com/Atthedrivein, Instagram.com/atthedriveinfilm

    2. Marionette Land: www.marionetteland.com, facebook.com/marionettelandfilm, Instagram.com/marionettefilm
  • Friday, March 27, 2020 1:48 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?
    I was living in New York City and feeling a bit homesick for Pittsburgh.  I called my friend Craig Cunningham (a Pittsburgh native), who was living in Los Angeles at the time, and started telling him about an idea I had.  He kept picking up the phone and was a massive sounding board for me.  I finished the script and sent it to Steve Parys, who agreed to direct the episode, and we were off and running.

    What were some challenges that you have encountered?
    I made Mulligan with the hopes a network would see it and want to come on board to fund/help produce the remaining episodes/seasons.  It was a bit of a Field of Dreams but they never did come.  That being said, I’m damn proud of what we created with very, very little money.

    The burning question: how did you arrange the budget?
    We roughly raised half of it through crowdfunding (IndieGogo) and half through individual donors.

    What are the plans for distribution?
    Mulligan is available to watch on Amazon Prime and Facebook.

    Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards and selections?
    Mulligan was an Official Selection in Film Independent’s LA Film Festival and Rhode Island International Film Festival, both of which are Academy Award Qualifying Festivals.  We won “Best TV Pilot” at the RIIFF.  This April we are thrilled to be receiving the Indie Award at the Elly’s, run by Steeltown Entertainment Project.

    Which film festivals do you suggest submitting to?
    Pittsburgh Shorts is one of the best Festivals I have attended across the country and they are right here in our backyard.

    Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    In short, it’s home.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Scally’s Golf Center in Moon and Barto’s in Coraopolis come to mind.  I’ve been fortunate enough to live and NYC and Chicago, but Pittsburgh is as cinematic and photogenic as it gets as far as I’m concerned. 

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I’ve been making short films and videos with my friends since high school, but have usually focused on theater.  In the last couple of years my focus has shifted into screenwriting and filmmaking. 

    What do you love the most about your job?
    The people.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I remember driving away from set on our last night of filming Mulligan and not being able to bring myself to pull into my driveway.  I drove in circles around my neighborhood, not wanting it to be over- and realizing that this was what I wanted to be doing…making art with people I loved.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am in pre-production of a feature length film I plan on producing and directing here in Pittsburgh.  And yes, we are looking for funding, producers, and crew!

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    So many of my loved ones rely on film and television in Pittsburgh to pay their bills and feed their kids.   Allow artists to change the world with their art by creating opportunities to pay them a living wage.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Hollywood is a myth.  Tell your story, make your art, and  don’t wait for permission.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    …Hollywood is a myth.  Tell your story, make your art, and  don’t wait for permission.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I want to make films in Pittsburgh that we can share with people all over the world.

  • Friday, March 20, 2020 5:35 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success was portraying a lead role character in a short film thriller, that has been garnering some great accolades. It was the sort of role that I had been hoping to find my way to for a bit, to prove my versatility, to an audience AND to myself!  Screening currently at various Film Festivals, it has already won an award or two, and seems to be opening some new doors for me. Having done quite a bit of comedic and lighter fare material (my natural default), I wished to stretch a bit, but had to be willing to take a risk.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I had never thought seriously about acting, but it had frequently went through my mind, and I was very drawn to the notion of "performing". A few years ago, a proposed project in Rhode Island, came across my radar. Basically a hybrid ensemble show, reality based, but combining scripted elements, improvised comedy, hidden camera aspects, a large pinch of social satire, with some trivia thrown in for good measure. The creator, an old friend of mine, brought me on board basically an adviser of sorts, or sounding board. I thought to myself "why hasn't he asked ME to be a part of this crazy crew, he's putting together?" Rather quickly my friend said to me  "why haven't I asked YOU to be a part of this crazy crew, I'm putting together, you're the craziest guy I know?" That was the start of it all! 

    That project wound up attracting some industry interest, including being with a hit show running Hollywood producer for a while, but never went into production. Shortly after that opportunity, I randomly saw a pitch on Craigslist, for ANOTHER unrelated show, based here in Philly.

    I submitted, and was apparently their strongest contender as a cast member. AS we shot sizzle reels on each show, I received great feedback. Industry people and regular folks alike, said I had a natural onscreen presence. That show also had some teases, but too never made it to air. The "Reality" TV Star thing didn't work out, but something had been awakened in me, though I had no idea what to do about it. Shortly after I appeared on a locally produced podcast, and the folks who put that together, randomly offered me a starring roll in their upcoming 45 minute independent short feature film. After that one, I never looked back, searching Craigslist, and eventually Facebook pages, networking, etc. 

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    The thing about "choosing' P.A., is that it chose me! Growing up in the Philly area and never moving out of the region, it wasn't like I was really running off to NYC or L.A., especially in my late 40's as an untrained novice actor, it just wasn't even an option. However. the thing there is now a TON of film work in Philly and radiating out a couple hours. IN fact I read, just today, that Philly is one of the top film cities in the U.S, I love not having to fight and claw with tens of thousands of other folks for a limited amount of roles in those movie towns, yet being able to stay busy.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I've shot all throughout the region, including the Jersey side of the bridge, but I enjoy filming in regular local spots, and letting ordinary folks feel invested in this thing that so many folks are just in awe of. If their house, business, or street makes it onto a screen, its fun to see their reaction.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    Personally I dig the most, when there is great collaboration and a fantastic result. To me it's all work in service to the final product. There is a host of experiences and feelings along the way, mostly good stuff, but I see screen acting as not paid off if you will, until it hits a screen! 

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Shooting on my first full length feature, a good quirky actor, who nailed his lines, could NOT for the life of him, get this ONE line. He had a particular way of delivering his lines to boot. We had such fun teasing him on the day, all of us imitating that line as delivered in our versions of HIS voice, we were crying. He actually thought we were being cruel at first, and we had to explain that we loved him, his quirky delivery, AND that line, we were laughing WITH him, not at him, as we've all flubbed lines, and it would live on forever as a funny moment, and it surely has!

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I have a BUNCH of stuff coming up, I try to stay very busy. I'm gonna be a Mob associate in the final episode of a Web based Film Noir series. I'm playing a misguided football coach pretending he's (dead) a ghost, in a misguided attempt, which fails, to inspire his players! I'm appearing as a horror character in a popular Rapper's newest video. I've got a small part in feature that's been filming up and down the Turnpike. And more!

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    Being able to work in such a creative filed, where we are fortunate to bring joy to so many others, but where most working actors barely make a living, it's wonderful that there are incentives that can help create more opportunities. This is what I get up for in the morning, and I hope that our officials will recognize the good that the arts do, in addition to the financial impact film making brings to the state.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Work HARD, SHOW UP, listen to folks who have more experience and learn, NETWORK everybody knows everybody! BELIEVE in yourself, but don't be a flaming egomaniac! Take risks, be open, collaborate, play nice!

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    You have to work it HARD! Phone, email, text, smoke signals, whatever. Check in with folks, attend functions, SUPPORT YOUR FELLOWS, don't worry about a lot of paid sites, and b.s. that some folks babble, if you have some talent, work hard, and work hard at SEEKING the roles, you will find them, they ARE out there.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    If you show up and do the work, put your heart into it and take some risks, treat others on set nicely, you will get ahead! I wish I had started a bit earlier and believed that it was a realistic path, particularly that I COULD and WOULD be able to stay working in P.A.!

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Hard not to love the early M. Knight films. I love Silver Linings, as it was filmed all around where I'm from and is such a sweet little quirky film. I have to admit I have such a soft spot for Clean and Sober, as among other things, I bluffed my way onto the set in the 80's, and it was so magical.  

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I don't have just one, and two of my faves were filmed in Jersey, so they don't count! I did a 48 hour that allowed me to do slapstick, a long time love of mine, but something I might otherwise have never gotten to do. I also love the the P.A. based show, where I basically played me, easy one! My only background work was on the upcoming AMC show Dispatches from Elsewhere, it was so great to watch Oscar caliber performers' crafts.  

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I want to keep doing good work, get better at my craft, book some better paying gigs (as we all need to eat), and a little recognition (notoriety).

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Since I'm the guy in front of the cams, and can't offer much in the way for them to "submit" for my projects, but I'm glad to have them check out my past work and review any opportunities they may have for ME! I'm on Facebook at 
    fb.com/PhillyBigMike and email PhillyActorBigMike@gmail.com.

  • Monday, March 16, 2020 11:44 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article by: Amelia Addor
    PAFIA Writer

    Ryan Shank is an award-winning independent producer of film & branded content who has collaborated with both international and domestic musicians, artists, CEOs, CMOs, and corporate communicators to develop and create innovative and visually stunning narratives to drive sales and brand awareness. 

    His collaborations have included serving as a Project Manager for the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open (Golf) to producing content for companies such as AT&T, Reebok, American Express, Warner Brothers, and Ford among many others. 

    It is these experiences, networks, and creative thinking that bring Ryan into leadership of the Red Rose International Film Festival. He is a Lancaster native and a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University. He lives in Lancaster with his wife Abby, and his son Jackson.

    In 2019, Ryan Shank founded and debuted the Red Rose Film Festival. The Red Rose Film Festival is dedicated to the growth and enrichment of the Central Pennsylvania film community. 

    Through the promotion of independent film, new technologies, and continued economic development, RR|FF intends to expand tourism, industry education, job creation, and better incentives for Pennsylvania film production. RR|FF seeks to expand a thriving arts community in Lancaster, home to world-renowned artists, musicians, and entertainers. This festival recognizes the many voices of filmmakers and innovators across the planet and celebrates their perspectives, cultures, and visions.

    Submissions are now open for the 2020 “RR|FF: The Sequel” - click here! Further information is available on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    What is the “Red Rose Film Festival”?
    The Red Rose Film Festival is dedicated to the growth & enrichment of the Central Pennsylvania film community. Through the promotion of independent film, new technologies and continued economic development, the RR|FF intends to expand tourism, industry education, job creation, and better incentives for Pennsylvania film production. This festival recognizes the many voices of filmmakers & innovators across the world to celebrate their perspectives, cultures and visions.

    When was this idea first conceived?
    The foundations of this festival came from the culmination of years working with others who did the same for their communities, especially to Susan Gorrell, of the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. She is an incredible leader for her fest in Iowa and she gave this festival a phenomenal example of how film can impact a community!

    Who was the festival created by?
    It’s a funny thing “giving credit”. Year 1: It was a community effort. Sponsors, donors, local filmmakers, national & international filmmakers, our community, our executive team­. Frankly, the RR|FF was created from a huge collective of people buying into a vision of how film can impact Central PA.

    What was the audience you expected versus the audience that arrived
    We had 1000+ attendees over the first weekend. I’m just glad people showed up!

    Would you consider RR|FF to be important to the PA film industry? Why?
    You’re looking at state incentives, right? While the majority of our credits are headed to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia you have an incredible landscape within that six-hour drive time. The goal of RR|FF is to impact economic development, arts, tourism & education in our wonderful state. It’s impossible to create real change if we don’t engage Pennsylvania in its entirety!

    What was the most surprising moment of the latest Red Rose Film Festival?
    Survival? Hah no. The surprise came from filmmakers. So many of them came up to our team and asked, “This is your first year?”. We planned to be actively engaged in our community throughout the year, so the greatest surprises were in how seamless year one played out.

    Who participated in the most recent one? Who do you hope will participate this coming/next year?
    Lancaster showed up! PAFIA came in rolling deep for the whole weekend. We had 40 of the 76 films represented over the weekend by directors, actors, crew, and producers. Speaker panels included film professors, innovation and tech professionals, filmmakers, and industry insiders from around the country. Our hope in 2020 is to replicate that type of participation and maybe throw in some additional surprises!

    How would you describe your vision of the next Red Roses to come?
    In a word? “Long-term.” We will be an Awards Qualifying hub for filmmakers and innovators. A platform for Global Perspectives to make a Local Impact.

    Would the future festivals differ from the latest one? How?
    2020 is about refining the overall experience of the RR|FF. Filmmakers, volunteers, patrons etc. we want to make the experience flow for everyone. In future years we will expand, but Year 2 is about immediate growth in the community.


  • Friday, March 13, 2020 10:45 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My most recent success is Rigor Mortis, a film in which every cast and crew member was treated like family. I accomplished this by paying attention to how a lot of independent projects have been rumored to mistreat their cast and crew. So I wanted to make sure that any project of mine was not this way.

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    Actually by accident. I was down on my luck with a failed business and a messy divorce and child custody hearings lined up back to back. I saw an ad in the local newspaper about a Hollywood production looking for background actors.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    The freedom of writing what you want, directing how you want, and producing a film how you want without the strict guidelines of APAA and Hollywood Foreign Press.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Hands down, three of my favorite shooting locations have been the Lawrence County Community Action Partnership, the John F. Singer Mansion, and the Monongahela Valley General Hospital, all of which are listed on the Pittsburgh Film Office’s website, for locations.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I love the challenge of how to create something innovative in an inspirational story that has never been done before; something that I know will inspire audiences to be, do, and have the best of what life has to offer.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    The most awkward on set story is when there was an actual corpse in a funeral home that we shot a scene in - the funeral director assured me that there would be no “customers” in the funeral home, but there was one and we all had to work around it to the best of our ability.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Of course. The Whites, Lethal Guardian, and Twin Flames, all of which have a special meaning behind them, and where they are all parallel universe anthology films.

    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 elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    PA’s elected officials have to know that Pennsylvania has a lot of freedom to write, direct, and produce the kinds of projects that audiences will be entertained to watch. Everything in Hollywood are remakes and live adaptations that are becoming redundant and predictable. Pennsylvania filmmaking is a treasure trove of ideas that can be (and should be) the new market of entertainment in films that capture the imagination of audiences, if given the opportunity.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Study unconventional skills that have nothing to do with acting or filmmaking, but can skyrocket your career. For instance, study sales and marketing; you have to be able to know how to sell yourself, sale your brand (as an actor or project), and overcome objections that if one knew how to look for what is actually being asked, they can avoid a lot more rejection. Marketing is just as important because one must know what and who they are as a brand (or their filmmaking product is as a brand), where to target specific influential people based on that brand, and how to increase your worth as a brand.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    In my experience, when you know, and practice, your unique brand, producers, directors, agents, casting directors, and managers will start to look for you. Until then, study how to make yourself stand out with sales and marketing wisdom.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    This is going to sound redundant, but the value in sales and marketing is truly an asset to one and their career. It really sets a professional apart from an ametuer.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Not just because it’s my own film, but because the ideas, morals, ethics, and unity of everyone on board with Rigor Mortis has a lot of special meaning to me and everyone involved with it.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Again, not to sound redundant, and not to make it too personal, but Rigor Mortis has by far been my favorite project. Not just because it’s personal, but personally the morals, ethics, ideas, and unity of everyone involved with Rigor Mortis has created lasting friendships and value with one another.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To create innovative films that make people think that it could be possible to address real world problems and make a difference in someone else’s life by practicing humanity, vulnerability, and humbleity in ways not thought of before.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    One could submit themselves by visiting ShelBeth Entertainment’s Facebook page to be up to date with what is happening in our own little part of the world and then submitting an inquiry by messaging us. That link can be found here.

  • 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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