Paula Rhodes: Actor, Producer, Mom, Founding Member of the 5'2" & Under Club!

(Paula Rhodes) #21

Sure, lots! We nearly doubled our cast, added some established names like Jim Beaver and Percy Daggs III (so upped our professionalism by necessity), had more locations, extras, nicer cameras, more wardrobe. We were also playing with a 5x bigger budget by s2 thanks to a great crowdfund. I believe we shot for more days over a much longer stretch (weekends, like 3 or 4 of em if I remember right). Then for s3 we had a budget somewhere between 1 and 2 and an op with a first look distributor, so we had to condense the eps and offer a few less, scale back locations, and get creative with wardrobe but our team rallied and pulled of magic, I’m so proud of them!

(Chris Hadley) #22

Hey guys! Hey Paula! waves Thanks for joining us and it’s great to see you here!

I’m thinking about working simultaneously with a co-writer on the next episode of my series.

Any advice on how to best go about the process (scheduling time to write, getting and giving feedback, bouncing off ideas, etc.)?

Also, I’m hoping to establish diverse and equal representation in my casting/writing/production areas. What tips/suggestions do you have on how to successfully achieve that?

(sam lockie-waring) #23

hey paula, thanks for stopping by today. having been in the digital world as long as you have, do you think there’s a future in web series? like as an actual sustainable career?

(Paula Rhodes) #24

I began producing when I first moved from NYC to LA. That one I fell into - my roomies had won the 48 hr film fest the yr prior and were entering again. I joined, we won again! I won 3 yrs in a row then stopped else I get bummed when my streak would end, ha. But it showed me that I loved being a part of the team that got creative say, that I loved making stories happen and that I was pretty darn good at the random set of skills needed to bring people together to make a thing. I’ve still got tons to learn, but I love learning in that arena! It lets me (selfishly) create roles for myself and my friends as well. And as I mentioned, fights the inevitable lows us artists get between bookings, ha!

(Bri Castellini) #25

What’s your LEAST favorite part about producing?

(Jaime Lancaster) #26

Also how has motherhood changed the way you think about your career and your ambitions, or has it?

(Paula Rhodes) #27

Ooof, I hear ya. I had a horrid time on a student film in NYC years ago and that put an end to my student film days. My advice for weeding out the bad seeds and finding those gems - if you’re union, that helps. You’re going to get treated better, taken care of, and have recourse to take if you’re not. However, before you are, I’d suggest to do a quick scan on who the director, casting director, writer are etc are. See what they’ve done, if you’d care to be a part of that body of work. Avoid craigslist for acting. Avoid non-paying gigs. Do those only with your friends. Join a theater company as you’ll be plugged into a creative community that can vet others a bit. Network to grow your own (going to film fests, networking events, etc) and take control yourself and make your own content too - it’s an amazing time in that you can! It’s really not hard to learn all the skills, at least the basics, there are yt vids on them all : ) You can also work as a PA/crew for some sets to meet others/widen your circle. Dep on where your interests lie you can build out in that direction. But more than anything, stand up for yourself. There will ALWAYS be other roles, if something feels wrong or off say so. Don’t be afraid. Make your concerns and needs known. If they balk at simple respectful things they don’t deserve your talents.

(Rodrigo Diaz Ricci) #28

Hi Paula,
I watch your credits in IMDB and I see that you have made voices for different animated projects and video games. Can you tell us some anecdotes about that experience and how much time does it take to make the voices of that type of production?

(Marc L) #29

This is lovely advice, Paula, thank you very much for your time. I have another acting question, if that is alright. What thoughts do you have about actors and social media? How does your personal social media accounts affect or aid your ability to get work and continue getting work?

(Paula Rhodes) #30

Hi Matt! Ya know, I’ve never worked more than right after our first was born! It oddly elevates you into a new ‘club’. Now you’re hanging out with other parents on a set (who are usually the producers, director, etc) and networking in a really genuine relatable way. It has it’s own challenges as far a time management for sure, but it makes you focus on what is really important. I can shrug off a non-booking as fine, more time with my kids, but focus more when I’m in the room - mamma needs to feed the cubs! It will widen your world in wonderful heartbreaking lifemaking beautiful ways. I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!

(Meg Carroway) #31

Ooo good question, Marc. To expand on this, how do you think about your personal “brand” online, and how much time do you spend making sure all your online activities fall in line with it?

(Paula Rhodes) #32

It’s different for each project, but research. If your project is perfect for a candy brand say, find candy brands that might fit, esp ones on a marketing push/just growing, and reach out. They all have email on their sites, or twitter, and you can let them know via a short mini pitch you’d love to talk to them about teaming up, that there’s something in it for them. Then if they reach back have a longer pitch with solid #s for them ready. It’s always easier to get in kind/product donations than $, but one never knows. Or you can get an agent who can set up potential pair ups, but you’ll need #s backing that (a provable audience, a star name, etc).

(Paula Rhodes) #33

Sure, here’s a piece I wrote on them for @MsInTheBiz

(Bri Castellini) #34

Since you’ve been in shows that have transmedia elements and shows without, what’s your opinion of transmedia integration in web series? Worth it? How can you make sure you don’t end up doing three times the amount of work for barely any return?

(Paula Rhodes) #35

Excellent question. All of it is important, but see what cards you have and what you need. Are you a stellar actor? Have a kick ass camera? Damn fine editor? Sound design guru? Your location and story are amazeballs? Get a few of those lined up, via favors from pals, your own skills or newly learned ones, then prioritize spending on the others. You can get food donated (hit up bagel shops at closing time for donations after setting it up the day before, they just toss em otherwise, or pizza franchises are usually game if you type up a letter and approach mgr week before), usually find a stellar location. I’d say camera work/quality, actors, and sound are most noticeable, but NONE of it matters if the story isn’t ACES.

(Paula Rhodes) #36

Hmmm, I suppose I use some of the same muscles, but no you don’t have to be an actor to host well. You need poise, confidence (or fakeable believable confidence), a sense of who you genuinely are, and it helps to like/know the topic you’re covering. I have a bachelor degree in journalism (a BJ, I know… ) and it comes in handy there.

(Jaime Lancaster) #37

Omg this is so helpful. Speaking of actors… when you’ve been on sets where you’re just an actor (not “just” an actor but you know what I mean!), what has encouraged you to get more involved in helping promote the show/ crowdfund for it/ everything in between? I’ve had a lot of trouble motivating actors to help out past showing up on set and it can get really lonely/frustrating :confused:

(Paula Rhodes) #38

Congrats! I am not heavily a writer, so while I have and do write, it’s not on the front of my biz card. To that end, I’ve never written w/ a co-writer so I’m not sure the best advice there, I’m sorry. I have seen people back and forth it well… and badly. BUT I do love the Tuesdays at Nine, or IAWTV Writers group meetups each week/month that let writers hear 10 pages of their work read by actors outloud. It’s beneficial for writers and actors alike! I’d def say teaming up with one of those with your partner could be a good move. And adds networking! As to inclusiveness - KUDOS! You’re halfway there just by having and stating your intent. I’d say if a character doesn’t require a descriptor that names race or gender (or esp how “hot” they are, UGH those piss us of), then don’t include it in the script and be open/encourage your casting director to bring in many options : ) I LOVE that more writers and creators are opening up the world this way. It’s important. Thank you.

(Paula Rhodes) #39


(Bri Castellini) #40