Never in a million years did she think St. Louis would play such a significant role in her career in the entertainment business.
Actor. Writer. Voiceover Producer. Script Supervisor. Production Assistant. Hair and Makeup Artist. Angela had countless jobs in show business, yet was craving the title Director…
So, she earned it. But let’s back up a bit.
Angela is a native St. Louisan. Much of her life (beginning at age 14) was spent between Chicago and Los Angeles, so she happily glosses over the St.Louis high school question. She grew up acting. It was a fun, challenging, thrilling activity that fed her soul. Her weirdness was welcomed in the theater community. Angela got to play pretend. But she also loved writing. The idea of cultivating her own words AND act them out was just unreal. What a sweet collaboration of passions. She needed to make this dream happen.
Cut to majoring in Television production at Columbia College Chicago, interning at Comedy Central in LA, and taking as many roles both behind the scenes and in front of the camera in both cities. Angela was in sponge-mode, and loved it all. She craved knowledge and jumping in. She leapt. And sure enough, a net always appeared.
After over a decade of bouncing between LA and Chicago, this creative was ready for a more solid foundation. It was the brief moment when nobody was trying to sway her with geography that Angela listened to her gut and her heart. Both were telling her to move back home to St. Louis. She heard about this alleged vibrant arts scene, dreamy economy and unassuming opportunities St. Louis offered for a theater nerd like herself. This city was the answer to someone who wanted the balance of geography without sacrificing creative ambition. No limits and affordability? Sign her up. Angela is a “why not” kind of girl, so she set up shop in my hometown. Angela enjoyed the freedom of directing her own life and listening to where the passion was steering her. (Classic example of the aforementioned “Yes, and” philosophy.)
She had a very clear moment of “I’m home and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” at the Regional Arts Commission’s unveiling of the Evoke Cultural Initiative campaign in June of 2017.
Angela had perhaps the most reassuring, exhilarating experience. The event was held at the Public Media Commons in Grand Center. She did the rare act of stopping, looking around and taking it all in. The dream to build her foundation in the Mighty Midwest was all coming together. She was home. She moved here to make art. She looked around, taking in the scenery. She looked up, toward the big wide sky that evoked possibility, and she looked around, at the diverse, eclectic, inspiring humans that oozed a passion for the arts. Angela soaked in the vibes of creativity. She made the conscious decision to base herself in St. Louis to make art and here she was. Grounded. Happy. Inspired. She wanted to be part of the vibrant culture, the community, the uniqueness that had attracted her back home.
Back story sufficiently covered, here’s how she became a director. Her brother, Mark, dabbled in acting and has impeccable comedic timing. Angela knew his true ability to bring a character to life in the most genuine, realistic, manner. She asked, “What’s your dream role? Because we’re going to write it and you’re going to do it.” Together the sibling duo created a concept for a film in which he would play the lead. They reverted to their childhood selves and were playing House. Angela was going to be the director and he would get to play the ULTIMATE game of pretend and star in the movie. As the older sibling, she grew up telling him what to do, so that was a natural fit. We were getting more and more giddy as we fleshed out this master plan of production. This was happening. Very quickly.
She and her brother wrote the script for the comedic short, “Must Fool Everyone.” They crowdfunded. They cast. They rewrote the script. They secured locations. They hired the crew. They involved the community. They rewrote the script. They filmed.
Their 20-paged comedic short was shot for $6400, in nine days, and four locations throughout St. Louis.
Angela and Mark are so proud of this film. Create opportunities for themselves and everyone involved? Check. Welcome the aesthetics St. Louis offered on the exterior, all while embracing the genuine excitement the humans here shared? Done. Real life paraphrased example: “Oh, you’re filming a movie and want to use our location? That’s so cool! We’re happy to help. Here are the keys; just lock up when you’re finished. Cost? Oh, and we won’t charge you. Have fun!” That’s kind of how it went.
It literally pays to be kind to others.
Their mission was to do a project with the 3 P’s: that they’re proud of, passionate about, and their parents can see. This film achieved all three. St. Louis was as much a character in the film as anyone with dialogue. Some of their favorite scenes were at Northwest Coffee with stunning photos of the city framed beautifully in the shots.
A look behind the scenes:
Fun-fact: Angela cast her then-boyfriend, now-husband in the film. She had a cameo in which she played a bride. Her scene included an interaction with him. That was the first time he would see her in a wedding dress. But not the last. The two were married a few months after filming wrapped. It worked to his benefit to unofficially audition for the role on many of their early dates. This is a true story. He would read a restaurant wine list in character, as smitten Angela giggled, sensing he would be in the picture for a long time after filming wrapped.
Festival Updates: The film was selected as a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest. It was an official selection in the Universal Film Festival in Overland Park, Kansas. It IS an honor just to be nominated! It gets better. Mark, Angela, and their parents decided to stick around the for awards segment after the screenings because why not? They are really glad they did because Mark snagged the award for Best Actor! BEST ACTOR! Over 500 films were submitted, 33 were selected, and one actor won the award. Angela has never been more proud of her brother and not even a little bit surprised at his achievement.
All signs pointed to St. Louis for Angela’s future both personally and professionally. A funny thing happens when you quiet all the noise around. Turns out the ultimate director in her creative journey was her own intuition. Yours is talking too. What’s it saying?