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“I’d like to start a movement to see more people with disabilities and deformities represented in film and art” With Actress Andrea Holz

I grew up with a physical deformity. I suffered from idiopathic scoliosis. Having been through the surgery, and experience life as someone…


I grew up with a physical deformity. I suffered from idiopathic scoliosis. Having been through the surgery, and experience life as someone with a visible disability, and then living as someone with and invisible disability I have better learned to understand the struggles people face when having been faced with such a thing. What I would someday like to do is start a production fund for people who have experienced these pains, and give them the space to pursuit their art. These are the voices I want to see represented in film and  art.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Holz. Andrea is a one woman creative team, 4 time award-winning screenwiter, actress and comedienne.. Whose feature screenplay Stalker Friends is getting a lot of heat in the festival circuit.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I always knew that I wanted to be part of film. At 16 I opened up a phone book (Yep, that long ago) and looked up every talent agency in Toronto. I found my agent and started acting classes immediately. I was an actual film geek in high school. stayed in memorizing monologues every weekend. It was my everything.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I love reading memoirs. My favourite one is called I’m With The Band. It was written by Groupie Extraordinaire, Pamela Des Barres. She hosts these amazing travelling memoir classes. I was cleaning out my closet and I was struck on the head by book. It was like a sign or something. I remembered reading it in high school on lunch and receiving judgemental books from disapproving teachers, but loving it all the more. This blow to the head immediately prompted me to do some research, and explore if she had a website, more books, or may teach classes, and She did. She came to Toronto for the first time, and met a group of amazing women. They were all artists in one way or another. Part of the workshop calls for writing and reading aloud, which is probably the more most powerful introduction a person can have. I met an amazing woman named Sheena Lyonnais. She invited me to write for her two blogs, and it was one of the best things I ever did. Though at first I wasn’t sure I was qualified, but she helped me. She taught me how to write outside my comfort zone, and I loved it. The time I spent reviewing bands and interviewing them really, just helped me learn more about myself. I am so grateful to Sheena and time I spent writing for torontomusicscene.ca and blondmag.ca.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

That’s a great question, as I constantly feel like I’m first starting, but the funniest mistake would be when After completing my first screenplay, I HATED IT. I shelved it for 5 years. One day, on a whim I began submitting it into film festivals, and screenplay competitions. It’s doing great! Have faith in your work! rewriting can suck the funny out of a story for a writer, but remember Stand-up up comedians, and rock stars perform the same material every night. Writers should try and keep that in mind.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I currently am in pre-production on my 2017 award winning short screenplay Boned. We are planning to launch our crowdfunding campaign in early 2019. My short screenplay Happy People Anonymous is being produced. It will be starring an amazing actress named Karen Frances, who is 100% one of the hardest working people I know, and I am so proud that she will be taking this on. Having her take an interest in my story is a huge honour.

I am also in the early stages of developing a pilot about a cosmetic company in the 1950’s.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I think one of the most interesting people I’ve interacted with is actually someone I met before I really figured my career out. I was 18 when I met Pauly Shore. It was the first stand-up show I had ever attended. After the show we connected over Myspace. As an aspiring actress, I was looking for advice. He urged me to try stand-up. it was couple more years before I took his advice. Once I did I managed to find my voices both a performer, and as a writer.


Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Truthfully, I turn to my peers for help. They are going through similar struggles, and are very supportive. having friends with strengths that are different than your own is in my experience, the only way to get through. Sometimes you think you have a mountain of work, but if you look from a different perspective you might find an easier way.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I grew up with a physical deformity. I suffered from idiopathic scoliosis. Having been through the surgery, and experience life as someone with a visible disability, and then living as someone with and invisible disability I have better learned to understand the struggles people face when having been faced with such a thing. What I would someday like to do is start a production fund for people who have experienced these pains, and give them the space to pursuit their art. These are the voices I want to see represented in film and art.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. There are many paths you can take to get you where you wanna go, and none of them are gonna be easy.

2. Just because you enjoy a role, doesn’t mean others will enjoy you in it.

3. Learn to produce (I wish I started here) you hold WAY more creative control as a producer.

4. Take directing, and camera operating classes even if it isn’t what you want to do. Otherwise, filmmaking is like trying to call 911 in a foreign country where you do not speak the the language.

5. Prepare yourself to restart on repeat.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

-F. Scott Fritzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I grew up poor, with a physical deformity, and not much else. When I had an operation and overcame my physical struggle, my appearance changed and so did the way people would treat me. I’ve lived two lives. One of the scoliosis kid, and one the pretty girl with big boobs. Both of these are troublesome, and having lived like this has granted me a large amount of patience for those who weren’t lucky enough to know opposing hardships.

Though it was difficult, I do think it was a real gift.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. 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?

My college professor, Andrew Clark helped me realize my potential as a writer. I remember having a meeting with him in my second year of college. We discussed a character in a play I was writing. I was explaining that I wasn’t comfortable hurt my characters any further. He then informed me that I was a writer, and strongly advised that I never start drinking or abusing any substances. Shortly after, I was awarded the Eugene Levy Award for Writing, and then was awarded a scholarship for the post-graduate scriptwriting program. From that I created Stalker Friends. My feature screenplay Stalker Friends, a heartwarming tale of what happens when two stalkers fall in love while stalking other people. This script has gone on to become an award-winning script.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Adam Devine. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. His body of work is beyond inspiring, and truthfully, the perfect person to star in Stalker Friends. His ability to stay true to his comedic voice, act, produce, and still hit the stand-up clubs is something I truly admire, and aspire to.

Originally published at medium.com

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