Interview With Paula Rhodes: What to Scream About This Year
Paula Rhodes went to high school with me in Saint Louis. She was a cute, smart, well-liked student, and the section editor for the Hazelwood Central yearbook her senior year. She went off to study at the University of Missouri, and remained active in theater. After attending a state school, she’s become even more state-of-the-art. The Missouri native now lives in Los Angeles, where she is working on a new project called Final Cut, an online horror movie production company. Paula brought me up to speed in an e-mail conversation.
What made you get into the horror genre?
I love many a genre, but when my co-creator, Cathy Baron, and I got together to brainstorm a web series, I had a horror film script I’d written that we realized we could easily web-ize. Plus, between the two of us we’ve died something like ten different ways in various horror films (you can check out our credits here and here, so we felt that we knew our way around the world of fake blood. :) We knew some amazing SFX artists, plus we recognized the increasingly dark trend in what audiences were into. Just look at all the vampires flying about the airwaves.
Have any fun Halloween memories of STL?
Do I have any fun Halloween memories of STL? Hmm, pretty much all of my fun trick-or-treating memories were on the St. Louis streets. It’s been hard adjusting to urban areas where kids don’t come to my apartment doors and leaves don’t crunch under your feet. Yet for some reason I still buy candy in bulk in October as if this year will be different, hahaha. Mostly I remember making costumes with my dad. Each year I’d pick what I wanted to be, and my dad would make it for me. Now, usually I picked something rather odd. I’ve been a TV, a peacock, and a calendar (turned to the October page of course) among other things. I remember that it was always so cold in Missouri on Halloween, so I bet it’s hard for all the adult ladies who use Halloween as an excuse to dress slut-tastically.
What parts of production are you into?
I am primarily an actor, but for Final Cut I’m also a co-creator, writer, and producer. “Producer” is a slightly undefined term on indie projects, for the most part it just means you get stuff done. Whatever is needed to make the project come to life, that’s what I do. Everything from dealing with unions, finding and securing locations, keeping shooting on schedule and budget, we do it. With the size of budgets I’ve dealt with (small) we all wear many hats. It’s always changing and constantly keeps you on your toes, but I love it.
Why are so many young actresses getting into production?
I would say that more actors are getting into the production side because it allows you to have some control over your career. You can create roles for yourself instead of just hoping, praying, and fighting for each part. And then of course, there’s the fact that with the web, and new technology it’s easier and more affordable for anyone to tell their story.
What is it like to be in LA after living in STL, and traveling all over?
I left STL when I went to Mizzou, studied abroad in London, then moved to NYC for three years. I’ve been in LA for four years now, and it feels like home. It’s very easy to be spoiled by the weather, and my career has opportunities to grow here. I’ve learned that anywhere can feel like home once you’ve gathered a pseudo family around you, and I have a wonderful one out here. There are things I miss about St. Louis, like seasons and how nice it can be to be around people who’ve known you your whole life, but I’m happy where I am.
What’s the best part of your new life?
The best part of my “new” life sans Missouri? Hmm, I suppose it’s that I get to wake up each day and live my dream. Each phone call can bring new opportunities. I highly encourage everyone to pursue what makes them happy. Dream big, just dream smart too. Never be too lazy to educate yourself.
When will the Web site launch?
Our horror series, Final Cut, will start up in February of 2010, but the experience will start in January with a casting session you can watch online. Follow us on Twitter (@FinalCutSeries) to find out more.
Anything else on the horizon that you can talk about?
On other horizons, I shot my first lead in a feature film this summer. Shuffle is the story of a man who, for reasons he doesn’t understand, wakes up a different age each day. One day he’s 30, then he’s 8, then 92, etc. He begins to put together that that my character, Grace, the love of his life, disappears from his life in his 20s, and tries to save me. I play opposite the charming TJ Thyne (Bones) and we were directed by the very talented Kurt Kuenne. I also shot the movie Silverlake Video, the short film The Think Tank (opposite the amazing Matthew Rhys from Brothers & Sisters), and a commercial for TGIFriday’s. It’s been a great year so far. Stay tuned. :)
For more information about film and video opportunities at KDHX, visit our Education page.