Interviews

Interview with Courtney Paige

Courtney Paige is an award-winning actor and writer. Her breakout performance was playing “Annika” on E! Entertainments hit scripted series, The Arrangement. After that, she was cast in the CW/Warner Brothers pilot, The Lost Boys and recently made her directorial debut on a feature she co-wrote called The Color Rose. Courtney is partnered with Aftab Singh Chauhan, Siena Oberman and Melissa Kyle where she is CEO of the production company, Neon Cinema Films. Last year she was listed as one of the top ten young entrepreneurs in the New York Journal.

1. What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry and how did you get started?

When I was in fourth grade, I started writing. That summer my friends and I filmed a mini-movie on my parent’s camcorder. I was always interested in performing. I grew up doing community theatre, cheerleading and dreaming up film/TV concepts. Upon graduation, I started my Bachelor of Arts and was to become a teacher. A local film was holding auditions, so I went. After the audition, I felt like acting was something I was more passionate about. The following Monday, I quit school, made the move to Vancouver where I enrolled in a full time acting program and never looked back. I ended up training and auditioning there for seven years before making the move to Los Angeles where I signed with Aaron Sacks at Bohemia Group.

2. You are an actor, writer, film director, and photographer. What do you love doing most and why?

I love them all for different reasons and find they counterbalance each other nicely. I couldn’t imagine choosing one over the other. Acting is such an adrenaline rush,  whereas writing is one of the most liberating and creative outlets of all. I go through phases where I’ll be more focused on one and the others will take a backseat, then it’ll switch when I get bored or hit a creative wall. I would love to dabble more in directing this year and see where that takes me.

3. Who would you love working with on a project and why?

It would be such a unique experience to act alongside Joaquin Phoenix and someday direct an A24 or Blumhouse film. Quentin Tarantino is my ultimate favorite though. I would be over the moon to have the privilege of co-writing a script with him before he retires.

4. What do you hope to achieve through your art?

As a writer, I hope to give my characters, especially females, more empowering voices. I want to shine a light on social issues and taboo topics. Ideally, working with some of the most creative and outside the box cinematographers and teams to make beautiful imagery on stories that have heavy-hitting and meaningful messages. Traveling internationally would also be a dream. I’d love to direct a film in a new country each year.

5. What are you looking for in a potential role?

I like to play characters that are quite complex. Anything emotionally riveting or challenging is right up my alley. Roles that are a far stretch from home, so I really need to dig deep and explore a new way of thinking and behaving. I find human behavior and psychology so fascinating.

6. Which artists influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking and career path?

My Mom is an artist by nature and at heart. She always taught me to dream big and hold nothing back, which I feel confident in saying that I (so far) have done. I’m influenced by many artists. I think that’s the beauty of being in this industry, you can truly pull inspiration from anywhere and anyone. Kate Twa, one of my favorite coaches, really sparked a fire in me for caring deeply about the craft. She had us working on some of the best playwrights in her black box theatre and taught us all to dig really deep and take risks while being extremely vulnerable and truthful.

7. What is the best vs. the worst thing about the entertainment industry and who are some of your key collaborators?

The best thing about the industry is having the freedom to create your own work. The biggest challenge is coming up with the financing to do so. I am so grateful to be partnered with Aftab Singh Chauhan. It’s important to find people that truly support your artistry and creative vision. Last fall I did a fun little project called Butterscotch with Darren Miller, Andrea Bucko, and Alex Safdie. We had a nice festival run and also screened during Cannes via the Creative Mind Group, so that was really inspiring. Siena Oberman, my favorite producer who is also a female powerhouse, is a huge advocate for writers. Her belief in me really pushed me to work harder than ever this year. Stirling Bancroft is another key person who makes being in this industry such a special place. He brought us the best gear, crew and orchestrated the most amazing cinematography on The Color Rose. You truly need to surround yourself with the best people if you want to experience the best things about this industry. My editor and friend Alex Safdie is a big advocate for that and maintaining a positive attitude. It’s so key to be surrounded by artists and energy like that.

8. You directed the upcoming film “The Color Rose”. How would you describe it to a potential viewer?

Seven girls from a religious high school decide to rebel by starting a cult where they embody the seven deadly sins. The girls question whether they’ll survive the rest of the school year and investigate the mystery behind missing bodies. If they can’t figure it out, they could be suspects, or worse, victims.

9. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Write every single day.

10. How do you deal with the stress of the entertainment industry?

I take lots of bubble baths.

11. What is one philosophy that you live by?

Not to worry about what other people think. Stay true to your vision and trust your instincts.

12. Do you have any advice for people who want to get started in the industry?

Do theatre first and make sure you’re in it for the right reason.

13. What plans do you have in mind for the future?

I am co-directing my next feature, Neon Candy with Siena Oberman where I will also play one of the lead roles. Sarah Porchetta and I worked really hard on the script for three years and it’s one I’m extremely passionate and excited about. I am also co-writing three other features, one is with the producer of the Escape Room, Mike Bundlie and a friend of mine, Nick Clark. Our company has about seven other features in development and two TV concepts. I recently signed with Aqua Talent in Los Angeles, so hopeful for more auditions. Recently, we’ve teamed up with Kyler Fisher on a couple projects, so really looking forward to that and collaborating with other like-minded artists.

Thank you so much to Courtney for the wonderful answers. You can find more about her and her work on:

Facebook

Instagram

IMDb

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