Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amy DePaola, Actress, Writer and Executive Producer of Greenview Entertainment

A native to the Tri-State area, Amy has produced a number of projects within the film, new media, and fashion and theater industries. Following her graduation from Manhattan College where she received her B.A. in Communications and Media Studies Amy began her professional journey as a fashion publicist with Think Public Relations where she produced numerous runway shows for Hachette Filipacchi Media's STYLE360 during New York City Fashion Week. The realization that the world of fashion was not her calling and the desire to return to her childhood roots of acting led Amy to the New York Film Academy in 2008 where she received a degree in Acting for Film. Amy has worked as an actor and a producer in both New York and Boston. Prior to starting her own entertainment and development banner, Greenview Entertainment, in early 2011, Amy was employed as a Producer with WET Productions, a New York City based 501(c) 3 non-profit production company that was changing the way the world sees women and women see themselves by producing female generated material for the stage and screen as well as an outreach program for New York City teenage girls: The Risk Takers Film Series.

Amy has worked with and employed many of the business's most talented individuals including Debra Messing, Blythe Danner, Carla Gugino, Ron Livingston, Carmen Electra, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Westfeldt, Emmanuelle Chriqui, David Alan Basche, Zachary Quinto, Rachel Dratch and Andre Royo  to name a few. She has studied with Josh Pais and Kristen Johnston, The Atlantic Theater Company, The LABryinth Theater Company, The Moscow Art Theatre and The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.

Amy recently launched her development company, Greenview Entertainment, which show ran the pilot and media venture 617 The Series and Greenview has also recently completed Michael Yebba's "Ordinary Man," which was shot on the Red One in August of 2011 and stars Ethan Embry, Brian Scannell, Jay Gianonne, and Brian S. Goodman.

Amy also employs herself as a freelance writer and has been see on and as well as on her personal Blogs; "The Boston Bucket List" and "Stepping Bostone." She now resides in Boston's North End and is in development on several projects that will be announced in 2012.

What is the current project your working on?

Currently my plate is pretty full. I am in post-production on a short film titled, Ordinary Man, I am in pre-production for a reality based web-series, I was recently cast in an indie feature that shoots in January and I am helming the continuation of episodes on the TV formatted web series, 617 THE SERIES, which is my company's main focus.

What are some of your favorite independent films and shorts?

Last fall I was in L.A. for the Bel Air Film Fest and I really loved this very clever short entitled "WORN," which was inspired by a text message after a disastrous night of partying that resulted in a bad one-night stand. I also am a huge fan of my colleague Michael Yebba's work and his short "BAD BLOOD" engages you to the point where you forget you are watching a short narrative. As an indie film enthusiast I've been quite impressed with some of the younger filmmakers who have come up in the last few years; my friend Alex Amoling is one of them, who recently finished his feature MORIAH. Blurring the line of the phrase "indie film" however, I really love Woody Allen films' like MATCH POINT and VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA. LA VIE EN ROSE sticks out in my mind, mostly for Marion Cotillard's stellar performance. And I can't pay homage to this category without mentioning EMPIRE RECORDS. Damn the man. Save the Empire.

What is the casting process like?

Casting 617 THE SERIES was a unique process for us. Because we were building an ensemble cast we really needed to find a group of six individuals who we felt had the chemistry to convince us that they had been friends for many years. We also were looking for specific personalities. We saw so many talented actors that we loved and would've casted in a heartbeat but the chemistry between the actors was most important to us. We began by casting one role - I won't say who - and built the cast around them. We spent the next three months casting and in fact didn't cast our last of the main six characters in 617 till one week before the first round of production on our pilot episode.

How do you measure success?

Success is measured by the amount of times you can laugh in one given day. If you can manage to laugh and enjoy what you are doing and how you are living your life doing it - than you are successful in my eyes.

How do you handle rejection?

I've gotten quite used to rejection because I am also an actress. I've just learned to always remember that you can only walk into an audition or a situation and be yourself. All the work and preparation has been done, being rejected is just a result of bad timing.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

Yes and no. I grew up wanting to be a performer of sorts; I was in plays and had dreams of being on Broadway, I auditioned relentlessly for films as a child and for a short period of time I thought about sports broadcasting. I've always wanted to be on T.V. and somewhere in college I lost a bit of that and first started my career in Public Relations in Manhattan. I soon left that to pursue an acting career. Since then, I've also begun producing and writing - the whole process of creation with a lens fascinates me - so yea, I guess you can say that now I want to be a filmmaker of sorts.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

When I began producing with WET Productions it was really the work we did with other female filmmakers such as Jen Westfeldt and Gina Prince-Blythewood who came to speak to the girls in the outreach program we ran for high schoolers in New York City that led me to go out and work independently. Ultimately though I have to give credit to my family who have been fueling me with encouragement to entertain since I was a little girl.

What is your opinion of a civil union vs gay marriage?

I believe that marriage is a right, not a privilege and this argument gives people a window to say it is a privilege. I am 100% for gay marriage. And then some.

What is the best thing about being a filmmaker?

Freedom! Freedom to create whatever it is we feel like saying at the moment or time. Recalling or retelling a portion of your opinions or life to share with the world. Also, sometimes we get the freedom to command our own hours - I enjoy the gym at off-peak hours.

What is the worst thing about being one?

I believe about 3% of filmmakers actually make a living on their work.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Between my acting, writing and producing I have been fortunate to be apart of roughly 25 projects over the last four years; whether they were student films, theater productions or films.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Woody Allen, Darren Arnofsky, Judd Apatow, Nora Ephron and the late Adrienne Shelley

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Well, I relocated to Boston to concentrate more on my work, so the biggest change for me was leaving my family, friends and New York behind. It took me awhile to get out of the 9-5 mindset and be comfortable with commanding my own career.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to become a filmmaker?

Read a lot, take in everything you possibly can about life and remember to take some time to enjoy yourself and remind yourself that its more about how many times you can make yourself laugh in a day than anything else.

What do you like to do besides filmmaking?

I love fashion. I love getting dressed up, for any occasion.

Have you had any other jobs before you decided to become a filmmaker?

I worked in Public Relations in the fashion and lifestyle sector and I also have worked in many, many odd jobs - I worked as a chocolate representative at Whole Foods', bars as a bartender, waitress, coat check girl; I've even done the marketing call center gig.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Friends, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, Happy Endings and Tell Me You Love Me are some of my favorite shows of recent.

How would you describe your film education?

I went to school mainly for acting. I've studied at the New York Film Academy, The Atlantic Theater Company, The LABryinth Theater Company, the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia, The American Repertory Theater as well as individually with Josh Pais and Kristen Johnston and many improv classes. As far as filmmaking goes and screenwriting most of what I've learned is from reading books as well as the trade publications like Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Up and coming. I think Boston is going to make a huge impact on the film scene. I also see the films changing from focusing so much on the stereotypical Boston crime story. Boston's a tight-knit community and I really enjoy working from here.

What is your favorite Boston landmark and why?

I love The Boston Center for the Arts, my first job (outside of a call center) here in Boston was there.

Can you believe the show "Falling Skies" takes place in Massachusetts, but is filmed in Canada?

Same thing with the film that Zac Efron starred in last year about the brothers from Quincy, what was it called? I'd probably remember if it was shot in Massachusetts....

How has social media changed the film industry?

Yes. Tremendously. All of technology has changed the film industry. It's saturated but can be useful. I sometimes wish it didn't exist but I have been fortunate to make some very valuable connections through it.

What's your opinion on crowdfunding?

I think anyone reading this should take a look at our Kickstarter.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Most of the time the storylines aren't as predictable.

Have you seen the webseries "Husbands"?

I hadn't until you just asked me. But I have since. and I'm obsessed.

You could go back in time and see any film being made. Which film would it be and why?

Requim for a Dream - because I want to know what Arnofsky said to each of those brilliant actors and

Camp Nowhere - because all those activities at that camp looked like a ton of fun.

What's your favorite quote and why?

And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music

- Nietzsche

Why? Because its the best way I can explain to my family and friends about the choices I have made about my life and career.

What is your opinion on movie remakes and sequels?

Remakes should only be done if they are being reimagined, like the Batman franchise has, if they are going to follow the same storyline like Footloose did, then no. Sequels also need to be done right. I don't think you should wait for box offices numbers to decide there should be another one. Know before you start making the films. Back to the Future is hands down my favorite Trilogy.

What is your opinion on book to movie adaptions?

It's an interesting process but just because a book is a good book doesn't make it a good movie.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I find that encouragement is the hardest thing for people to find when they want to independently produce or make a film. My best advice is to find anyone to talk to about any of your ideas. Just start talking about them, get your wheels turning and before you know it, if you are committed to your wants and desires they will come into fruition.


Thanks for doing the interview Amy. I'm always happy to do an interview with a fellow Bostonian. I will staying up dated with the goings on at Greenview Entertainment via social media. I wish you all the best with 617 THE SERIES.