CFDb Interviews Melissa Anschutz ~ Actress/Producer
How did you first get involved in the film industry?
Coming from a theatre background, I was in the midst of an 8 week show. An actor/friend, also in the production, told me he felt I’d be a strong screen actor based on my style. After the show’s run, I decided to move on that advice and try it. I auditioned for a student film, landed the role, and from my first day on set I knew I had found the core of my passion. For me, screen story telling offered so much to the performance being that it felt real and quiet. There is a ‘pulled in’ nature to screen acting which gifted me the intimacy in portraying my characters.
Please tell us about your most favorite acting role.
My favorite acting role is a difficult question since each of my characters hold a different tale to tell, one, just as important as the next. I relate on a personal level to some and others have remained independent from my own experiences, but I have loved them all…truthfully I cannot answer this and to help in understanding my reply, I will correlate it to that of asking, ‘which of your children is your favorite’, my simple answer; I do not measure, only celebrate the differences in them, for it is that which makes them unique.
How did you land the lead role in ‘Ashes of Eden’?
Shane (The Director) had seen my work and DJ Perry (The Producer) and I had recently shared the screen starring opposite each other in the film ‘7 Stones‘. I was sent the script while getting prepared to shoot another film, a comedy ‘Realizism’. I read the script while completely relaxed lying in a hammock swinging over a lake…however my frame of mind quickly changed. I felt such a heavy weight when I read it, understanding very well what Dana (my character) must be feeling, being that it was her child who was lost. Her burdens consumed my mind so much so, I had to put it aside in order to stay ready for the ‘comedy’ I was next to tackle. As a mother myself, I know the love I have for my children is greater than a simple written word could possibly describe. Before putting it aside, I wrote back to ‘Shane’, giving him my interpretation of the script, but from Dana’s point of view…a mothers. Shane and I spoke on the phone, and the next news I received was that I was being given the extreme honor of becoming Dana.
How has God led in your film career?
I’m going to go out on a limb here, because it was promised and for its truth. A long time ago I lost someone whose soul was so intertwined with mine we could have been one. Through fears of failing at something I loved more than logic, I had not pursued this craft. When I arrived at the age, the same age at which this person so close to me left, (an age I had feared arriving too), I was given a sign. I’m well aware of how this sounds to the reading recipient, which is why I’ve kept it quiet for so long. This ‘sign’ came twice more, same message, urging me toward the pursuit of this dream. I have imperishable faith but I’m human and I had difficulty realizing it in its nature…that it was in fact, ‘a sign’. So I prayed for anything BUT subtle. I prayed that if I were to leave my current comfort of blind misery, quit everything and forge on, that this sign not be in the way of a small voice, yet rather completely consume my being….3 days later it was given, the very next morning of knowing my prayer had been answered… I began my journey. Each project led me to the next, ultimately taking me to here, where I’m now able through the magic of film and the beauty of faith, tell stories for countless to see. If only one in an audience of many, are inspired, helped, healed or touched, then the undeniable spread of his peaceful word continues. God has led every single step, from start, to stumble, to leap, in my film career and I know it’s been with the wings of my lost angel that has helped show me the path.
What are your acting/producing goals?
As a producer I now work under Collective Development Inc. (CDI), particularly in development. Translation is that I read scripts and develop them into films. CDI has a library of properties/scripts to which I’m now intimately familiar. They represent a vast genre, but all hold a quality of writing to exceptional standards. Stories with such depth of tale in dialog perfectly suited to the individualized character speaking. My goal is to have them told through film for the mass of many. An almost crime currently being that only myself and a small number of others know their exceptional art.
As an actress, I make small goals along the way…for instance, if I’m standing in a current character, my goal would be to offer my undivided focus in understanding her so we become one, to tell her tale, from her experiences, her views, her emotions, with the audience a window inside her life. My quest is to be able to tell one story in particular, one which would place my ‘dream’ inside a ‘reality’. It’s one of the purest of faith, a lost soul in a woman, a search for forgiveness, a self-destructing path and an unexpected moment that rightfully stops ones heart. A lady who first touched my soul when God brought me to the ‘leap’ …appropriately named ‘Eve’ she currently lives in a script for a film titled ‘Long Road Home’, and it would be an honest blessing to tell her story.
How can others learn more about you and your work?
My IMDB page holds a great deal of information, along with my website www.melormelissa.com I also use Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In as avenues for updates, mainstay for still pictures, and sharing interviews and articles from all media sources.
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