Chelsea Macleod (Photo: Supplied)
Cape Town - We chat with South Africa-born Hollywood producer and actress, Chelsea Macleod, who is currently working and living in Los Angeles.
Chelsea is South African-born, but her parents reside in Germany and she's in Los Angeles, pursuing her dream of working as an actress and producer in Hollywood.
The 24-year-old is currently working on a film, Love You, Dad with award-winning South African producer Stelio Savante and filmmaker Jean Barker. You can watch the trailer for the film here. One of the films she worked on has recently been accepted into NIFF (Niagara Film Festival) and she has joined forces with her business partner, Megan Nager, to create an online TV show.
We found out more: 1. Not growing up in the US, has it been harder breaking into the industry?
Not growing up in the US has made it somewhat more challenging to break into the industry. For starters dealing with visa restrictions, driver's license and not having my family close to me. I had to really learn the American culture especially for the roles that I go for. My schooling and education largely focused on South Africa or European subjects so sometimes I find myself knowing less about, for example the history of cinema of the United States.
I spent my childhood growing up in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so I wouldn't change it for the world. I am most certainly proudly South African.
2. Is it difficult not being close to your family?
Living away from home is tough. When you have a vision and passion for something you can get so caught up in the excitement, but when the chips are down your family and friends are the only things you have. So this is a very important part of my life. Distance and time zones can be problematic but I manage to speak to my mom almost daily. Thank goodness for technology and Skype!
3. What can you tell us about your latest project, Love You, Dad?
The story is about Sophia, who is nearly 18, and lives as the prisoner of her father, Brian, in an isolated trailer in the mountains. Her imaginary friend, the troublesome, protective spirit of Quinn, is her only company. On the eve of Sophia's 18th birthday - the "special day" she and Brian have waited for to share "grown up love" - Quinn makes a last bid to free Sophia from her fate.
Jean Barker our director, has helped built the script alongside myself and my writing partner, Megan Nager. We have already started playing with the characters and are excited to start shooting. We hope to have the film released by the end of the year. And we start shooting in Fall in Los Angeles.
4. What has it been like working with the likes of Stelio Savante and Jean Barker?
We received a couple of notes from Savante on the script and from that moment I realised that we were working with someone who pays attention to every detail. He is someone who really cares about all the elements and I can tell that he is an intelligent artist and will be enjoyable to work with.
Jean Barker is one of my favourite people in the world. Her dedication, hard work and ambition are truly inspiring to all women in film. She is so talented and I just feel honoured to be working with her.
5. How does it feel having been accepted into NIFF?
Being accepted into NIFF was totally out of the blue. I got a call pretty late at night from the director, Melanie Mullen and she told me the news. There is nothing that warms my heart more than seeing hardworking people reap the benefits they deserve. That team was great and it's nice to see projects that you were apart of going places.
I really try not to think about results too much and just want to focus on the story and helping tell it to the best of my ability. But when things like NIFF happen, I most certainly smile and my heart sings a little.
6. What inspired your online TV show?
I am so excited about the online show we are working on. One of my favourite things to do is laugh both at myself and other people. There are so many stories in Hollywood about people coming to this town and all the crazy things they experience. It's the land of make-believe and sometimes the things people go through really make you wonder what's real and what's not.
I mean even personally some things I have been through, I look back and wonder, wait, what... is that for real? Did that really happen??! It's a lot of fun and I am working with two very funny writers and a great producer who is interested in making the project. It's definitely something to look forward to.