Michelle Allen on quitting her corporate job to become an Arizona Actress

Woah——- please prepare yourself for the erotic thriller that is Episode 5 of Up in Smoke (I will explain later).

Raina was going on two hours of sleep and I was functioning on a 100% caffeine so you can bet that the beginning of this episode is probably the closest we have gotten to sounding like druggy hosts of a pakalolo podcast.

MORE IMPORTANTLY—- Michelle Y. Allen sat down with us and filled us in on a couple of local films she has been working on, as well as how she went from being an IT help desk specialist to a lead actress in the Arizona film, “Dark Dignity.”

Listen to Ep. 5 of Up in Smoke with Michelle Y Allen here or keep reading below:

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After working at an IT help desk in a corporate insurance office for 11 years, Michelle Y. Allen decided it was time to switch her focus to acting.

Two years earlier, her corporate company had put out a casting call for a training video. Michelle used the audition opportunity simply to get away from her desk. After landing the lead, Michelle started to further explore the possibility of acting in Arizona.

“In 2005 I left my job to pursue an acting career and I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even know that I wanted to be an actor, I was always very shy in front of lots of people,” Michelle said.

She went on to take local acting classes, act in local college plays, work on movie trailers and seek out new audition opportunities.

“I knew my chances of being successful were, like, zero. But that’s OK because when you have a dream and the means to follow it – why not!?” Michelle said.

After sitting down with her husband and downsizing her income, Michelle was eventually able to devote all of her time and attention to her acting career and leave her job.

Now acting in one of the starring roles of the locally filmed and produced movie, “Dark Dignity,” Michelle hopes to continue honing in on her skills. She also spoke briefly about a lot of the “hobbyists” that make it harder for Arizona to become a sustainable filming environment. (Listen here homies).

“To me, hobbyists are people who have a good time doing it, they still have other jobs, they have things that they have to do (besides acting). They’re not really into learning their craft, or learning more about the layers of the onion,” Michelle said.

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With the goal of building a thriving film community in Arizona, Michelle is now working on another locally produced film, this time an erotic thriller. (Michelle talks about how the film, “Finally You,” is helping her to grow as a producer in the podcast here.)

Her advice to actors and actresses looking to get into Arizona’s film scene? Michelle said to take classes (like the ones at Verve Studios with Amanda Melby), check the internet for ways to get involved, and to get out of your comfort zone.

“Don’t be afraid to say what you want; just go out there and do it and don’t be afraid of what people think because whatever they think doesn’t matter anyway,” Michelle said.

Specific audition websites that she recommends for finding Arizona auditions include:

  • Durantcom.com to look for auditions for crew, acting, behind-the scenes positions in Arizona.
  • Facebook for the Casting Calls Phoenix page and other Arizona acting related pages.

+++++++You can hear even more advice for women looking to get involved in Arizona’s acting scene in Ep. 5 of our podcast.

Note: We were not on drugs.

Note: Yes, the closest comparison for an “erotic thriller” is SAW II + porn.

LISTEN TO IT. 🙂

-Jamee

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