~A's Story

I'm told my career as an actress came at a very young age, when I was overheard giving blocking and motivation directions for a game of cops and robbers to the other neighborhood children. I'm told I was persuasive. I try not to think about what that means.

I've been an avid film buff (read: obsessive fangirl) since I was a child - growing up on classics of the silver and small screens - but I wouldn't realize my passion for acting for a few more years yet. My first official foray into the acting world was also my first setback when I was passed over to play Lucy for "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." I'm a natural mimic, which is to say that I was really good at remembering lines from movies and shows, and the way that they were delivered by the original performer. I wanted to do Lucy the way I'd seen her in the cartoon, and while my acting nailed a number of important moments, I didn't have a strong singing voice, so our director chose someone else for the role. It would be the first indication that an actor's presentation of a character does not necessarily reflect the director's vision, and that strict adherence to source material can hamstring you. Ah, well. Live and learn.

The next time I stepped on stage, it would be in high school, and I found my niche: musicals, characters with accents, the Wicked Witch... I fell in love with performance (despite my shyness), especially musically, joining swing choir and jazz band (where I learned to play the drums). I appeared in competitions and plays throughout high school and then entered the Dramatic Arts program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

At UNO, I focused on acting, directing, stage management, wardrobe, and costume history, while receiving a rounded education in all aspects of theatrical production. My acting training followed modern and classical methods, which were applied to UNO's experimental theatrical productions, as well as a deep focus on mythos and archetypes, a serendipitous ELEPHANT that happened to coincide with my study into arcane and esoteric knowledge. Following the philosophy of my program, that an actor (and an artist) should have a good understanding of all aspects of the world in order to deliver the most truthful performances, I also gained knowledge in all areas of education: STEM, humanities, and the Fine Arts. I particularly liked studying the humanities - a passion I picked up from my parents, an anthropologist and a historian - which allowed me to get to the core of my characters and create richer performances. I received dance and vocal training for stage and music, and have worked with multiple dialects for the stage and screen.

In addition to traditional theatrical study, I continued to study film, now with an eye toward craft, and began seeking work in the film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. I also worked in many capacities for the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival (NSF), including teaching Shakespeare to K-12 students through the outreach program Shakespeare Unbound. In this program, I learned stage combat and supplemented that training with martial arts such as fencing, Yi Li Chuan, Tai-Chi, and more. 

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts, I moved to Austin, TX, where I became a photographer and model, giving me a whole new layer of understanding to filmmaking. I learned about the distribution side of the film industry, as well as continuing to study my craft through contests, challenges, and improv. I have studied multiple languages: German, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Gaelic, and American Sign Language (ASL). I gave vocal coaching lessons and focused more on writing.

It was also during this time that I received my Autism Spectrum (AS) diagnosis. It seems that so many of the difficulties I'd had in life had a reason. This was a revelation, as was the discovery that I had been compensating for all the things that kept me from relating to others (and thus kept me from pursuing my dreams) by hyper-focusing on how to work with those things to make my own path. I had been finding coping mechanisms and workarounds my whole life, and I didn't even know it.

In 2017, I moved back to the Midwest to recover from illness and care for an elderly relative. During this hiatus, I expanded my talents in writing, photography, and history. I continued to study film, creating a film critique blog, and starting a pop culture and fandom podcast with my best friend. I also began training in Krav Maga (before the world fell apart) and took up archery (after the world fell apart). During 2020's tumultuous social upheaval, I stepped up activism efforts by creating a resource for cultural literacy. I plan to expand it moving forward.

These days, I continue to study and seek work in the industry I love, focusing mostly on film and voiceover work. I'm also learning the editing and cinematography side of film work and have already begun experimenting and looking for opportunities.