"Be you. And go for whatever your dream is." - Amy Campione
Amy Campione is an actress, producer and director recently featured in Del Weston's Top 100 Indie Filmmakers of 2015.
She recently completed her first feature film, American Girl, in which she produced, directed and starred in.
With several other film and TV projects in the works, it looks like Amy is just getting started. Get ready, Hollywood!
Every Ella: Tell me about yourself.
Amy Campione: I grew up in a small town in Florida always dreaming of big cities and a big career. I had a supportive community that moved me (and still supports me). My family and friends are amazing. I majored in theatre in college and after I graduated, I decided to make the leap to Los Angeles.
Did you always know you wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
I did. I started acting when I was very young. My parents took me to see a lot of live performances, plays and movies, so it was always present in my life. I remember seeing a performance of Oliver Twist when I was in 4th grade and that was it. I told everyone I was moving to New York to be an actress.
You're a producer now. How did that happen?
Producing felt like a natural progression. I wanted more out of the roles I was auditioning for as an actress; something smarter and more progressive. So I started interning at a production company called SnowFall Films. I worked with the incredible Suzanne Lyons and she taught me so much. I realized I needed to create my own content if I wanted something different. So I did.
What was your first big success as a producer?
I've been fortunate enough to work on some great projects straight out of the gate. I worked on a music video for musician Glitter Rose, which gave me the opportunity to premiere a music video at the Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Blvd. during Oscars week. That was pretty huge for me. But I'd say the largest, most challenging and successful project has been my feature film American Girl, which I produced, directed and starred in a little over a year ago.
Tell me about American Girl. What's it about?
It's about finding yourself and being true to yourself. The main character, Marnie, is in the Apple Store on Facebook when she suddenly has to go but accidentally leaves her Facebook page open. While she was in there, a handsome stranger was watching her and when she leaves, he goes to her Facebook page and finds out information about her. He can't get her out of his head, so he goes to find her. I know, it sounds crazy. And it is in the sense that it's realistic. But it's really a coming of age story… when you're in your late twenties and starting to define yourself by your actions and choices in life.
Why did this specific project interest you?
I actually developed this particular story with a writer, Tom Cudworth -- who I can't stress enough is the the most talented writer I've ever met. I brought this idea to him, which is really a self reflection in a way. And we fleshed it out together and created something that speaks to this generation.
You also directed and acted in American Girl. Would you rather be in front of the camera or behind it?
I love them both separately. I am so in love with directing right now though. I want to stay there for a while.
Getting a film made is challenging. How were you about to successfully accomplish that with American Girl?
Hard work and persistence. And not letting people talk to me out it [Laughs]. So many people tell you how hard it's going to be, and they are right. It's extremely difficult. But it's also rewarding. You have to think outside the box and have to have a great team. I couldn't have done it without the people that supported me and this film from day 1.
What's the biggest obstacle you've faced in your career so far?
Negativity. It's a huge thing. And it comes from unexpected places at times. You have it thrown at you from many angles. It's tough to face over and over. And to remember that it's ok to have integrity and an opinion.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
I'm working on a few. I'm about to compete in the 48hr Film Project. I am producing a feature film in the horror genre called Forest for the Trees in association with Thumbwar Productions. And I have several other films and TV shows in development. The biggest two right now being a film, All in the Game and a TV show, A Girl Named Jake.
The entertainment industry is still largely ran by men. Have you had any issues being a young woman in it?
I find this to be a complicated subject. I wouldn't say that I have been overly discriminated against. But I do feel that there is a relationship that men have with other men that I wish I saw more with women. There's a camaraderie that men have. It's a boys club for sure. You have to navigate it differently as a woman. You have to be ready to be hit on and be confident enough to say no thank you. You have to be strong enough to not be threatened by other people. Even other women.
Name one female that has inspired you.
Honestly, this is hard for me because so many have impacted my life. I believe in raising strong women and being a force that creates that. But I have to say Ayn Rand is a big influence in my life. She was so strong and talented, a true force to be reckoned with.
What advice would you give girls today?
Be you. And go for whatever your dream is. But learn all that you can about it. Be confident and strong. Know that you might face opposition but you have the ability to excel no matter what it is.
What are you plans for the future?
To direct and produce more. I want to do all the big things that everyone dreams of, but more than anything, I want to stay busy and creative. And whatever I do, I want it to positively influence other women.