Time Management in essential. I know that we all have that in the back of our minds, but understanding the ways that it is a reality is always a learning experience. For instance, when we write the script, streamline questions. We’ve had interviews go over 3 hours and I have to edit them down to around an hour. It’s a weekly show, and there are times I’ve been up all night editing to meet the deadline of noon on Fridays. I’m a full-time college student which adds to the schedule, so working on my time management is essential.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rachelle Henry, an award-winning American actress, writer, producer and director. She is way beyond her years in accomplishments. She began acting at the age of six and has followed her dreams on a path to much success. Now at the age of twenty, Rachelle’s star continues to rise.
Rachelle won the 2019 Young Entertainer Award for Best Young Actress in a Short Film for her portrayal of Amy in MEHNDI, Official Selection of Outfest Film Festival and SIFF, which streamed on Starbucks channel, Alaska Airlines, and is currently streaming on RevryTV.
Rachelle is a recognized panelist, presenter and speaker within the film community. She is passionate about being a young female filmmaker and she is an inspirational example to all generations of women in film. She produces and hosts the weekly talk show web series “The Lightning Hour.”
Rachelle is a supporter of animal rescue organizations such as Emerald City Pet Rescue and P.A.W.S. She also supports organizations benefiting women and children who are fighting cancer through her participations in 5K Runs sponsored by Women of Wonder and Run of Hope. Charities include such organizations as Seattle Children’s Hospital Pediatric Brain Tumor Research, Toys for Tots, and Team Survivor.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Richland, Washington and raised in Seattle. I fell in love with the entertainment field at a very young age through singing, dancing and acting. I was very fortunate to have developed many of the basic skill sets in an atmosphere that emphasized mentoring of young people. So many wonderful people were anxious to welcome me into the acting/filmmaking family and include me in their productions. It gave me the opportunity to grow and develop as an actor.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t Wait, Create.” That has been one of the most influential quotes in my life. I have learned that in the entertainment industry, and life in general, that if I wait for something to happen, I might miss great opportunity.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I am an actor, writer, director, producer and one of the most important films in my career happened when I was 10 years old. “Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas”, also titled, “All I Want Is Christmas,” was directed by Sue Corcoran and starred Elliott Gould and David DeLuise. It provided the opportunity to watch industry professionals in their element and not only did I learn from watching the A-List actors, the director made a lasting impact on me. Sue Corcoran was not only a powerful, talented female director, she was well-loved for the respect, kindness and appreciation she showed every person working on the film, from the DP down to the extras in her film. She still inspires me.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
As an actor I have 69 acting credits and credits in writing, directing, producing, as well as other film and television credits in IMDb. That work has taken place on the west coast in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and San Diego. As the momentum for my career involved more and more work in the Hollywood area, I made the decision to relocate and continued to expand my portfolio in acting, producing and hosting in LA.
I was in three feature films that released in 2019–2020: WALLFLOWER; released by AMC Theaters across the U.S. received critical acclaim by Variety and the New York Times and is available on streaming platforms everywhere. In WOODSTOCK OR BUST starring Willow Shields (The Hunger Games Trilogy) and Meg DeLacy (The Fosters), I play the role of the fun-loving friend, Jill. This film can be found streaming on VOD platforms everywhere. In MY SUMMER AS A GOTH, I play the role of best friend Molly, for which I received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Film at the 40th Annual Young Artist Academy Awards in 2019. The film is available on DirecTV and VOD platforms worldwide.
In the feature film, MARTINGALE, premiering in 2021, I play Maddy, daughter of the leading character played by Young and the Restless star Kelly Sullivan.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
The pandemic had an immediate and catastrophic impact as studio productions ceased and the entire entertainment industry ground to a halt. As a result, I witnessed my filmmaking friends and colleagues facing job loss and the lack of a creative outlet. I looked for a way to apply the “Don’t Wait, Create” mentality and come up with a way for creatives to continue to express themselves in a virtual environment.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I had previously hosted awards shows and high-profile events with my friend and fellow actor, Rico E. Anderson, and we had discussed the idea of launching a web talk show at some point. As the threat of the pandemic loomed, I turned my efforts to starting a weekly talk show web series called THE LIGHTNING HOUR and producing it through my production company, RPMMarTAN Productions. The show involves weekly in-depth interviews with entertainment personalities who discuss their careers, their artistic journey and their efforts to give back to the community. The show is broadcast every Friday at noon on YouTube and is co-hosted by me, Rico and our friend, actress Sasha Kerbel.
How are things going with this new initiative?
The Lightning Hour just finished its second season with director Sue Corcoran, Mr. Elliott Gould and David DeLuise, Elijah Nelson and Cynthia Geary, as well as several other lead characters for an almost 10-year reunion of filming “All I Want Is Christmas.” THE LIGHTNING HOUR has had some amazing guests including Lin Shaye (Insidious franchise), Dot-Marie Jones (GLEE), Lilimar (Bella and the Bulldogs), Sheldon Reynolds (former lead guitarist and vocalist with Earth Wind & Fire), T.J. Storm (Godzilla), and many others.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have so many amazing friends and supporters, but I am extremely grateful for my grandparents who have been there since day 1 and have always been supportive of my path in the entertainment industry. For The Lightning Hour, they are always there for me to pitch ideas to, help me research questions for the guests, they can give me their opinion on the edits I make for the episodes, etc. Their support is invaluable to me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
One of our guests was on the East Coast and forgot that we gave them a Pacific Coast time. They logged on 3 hours early for the interview and informed us that they only could be available for a certain amount of time. I saw them write on email asking where we all were and because the Zoom link wouldn’t let them back in when they left, I told the guest to hang tight and that we would be there in 30 minutes. I was scrambling to get my hair, makeup and wardrobe put together while calling my cohosts to let them know that we had to be ready to start way earlier than planned. It was miraculous that we were able get ready that fast and the interview turned out amazing!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Time Management in essential
I know that we all have that in the back of our minds, but understanding the ways that it is a reality is always a learning experience. For instance, when we write the script, streamline questions. We’ve had interviews go over 3 hours and I have to edit them down to around an hour. It’s a weekly show, and there are times I’ve been up all night editing to meet the deadline of noon on Fridays. I’m a full-time college student which adds to the schedule, so working on my time management is essential.
2. There’s always room to improve.
Again, the concept is there, but understanding the ways that it is a reality is something I might underestimate the learning curve. There’s so much that I’ve learned during the two seasons we’ve already aired. One thing is to screen the clips/songs from the guest’s work on YouTube before including in the interview so they aren’t flagged for copyrights. It can prevent the interview from coming out on time. Another issue is that all the hosts and guests have their own studios/set ups at home with their individual sound set ups and camera, whether it’s a computer camera, phone, tablet, etc. and it can impact the quality of the video. Marketing The Lightning Hour is still a challenge. We only have 168 subscribers as of Dec. 23, 2020 after two amazing seasons of guests. It airs on YouTube and we use social media platforms of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote it. I’m always looking for ways to improve promoting The Lightning Hour. I invite all of you to watch our interviews and subscribe here.
3. There is always someone more talented, better looking, more successful,
One fun personal observation: I spend a lot more time in personal preparation (hair, makeup, wardrobe) depending on who the guest is. Even then, some things get by me. When I interviewed guest, Christian Hutcherson, I noticed part way through the interview that I had a little bloop/horn in my hair and I had to smooth it while on camera.
4. Always be learning
I started The Lightning Hour channel a couple of days before my college quarter started and I quickly realized that my Online TV & Video class couldn’t have been more timely. The class required using YouTube as a platform where the students would create and upload content. I had to learn various practical tools such as end cards, the channel trailer, recommendations for SEO, and more and it has all been used in The Lightning Hour channel.
5. The power of networking
I’m so grateful for the relationships from the networking I personally have done, and for the relationships of my co-hosts. It’s made it possible to invite these individuals on as guests and to connect with them about the impacts of the pandemic on their careers as artists, share about the artistic journeys and how they give back to others.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would love to be known as someone that inspires others to do random acts of kindness, to give back to others, and to spread love, not hate. I personally am inspired by the ways that others give back, and if each of us has that as a goal, we can make the world a much better place.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I have found it helpful to develop a routine that builds in time for rest and relaxation. Days can run in to nights in a lockdown environment. We have to do what we can to normalize life. I also am with family and being able to share feelings about what’s happening in the world, makes all the difference. I also have been grateful that we have the ability to communicate with others virtually. I think about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and how difficult it must have been to not have the luxuries we have for communication.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch with Michelle Obama. She is such an inspirational woman who values education, who encourages young ladies around the world to thrive and seems like such a fun, kind person.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!