The Chimaera Project was so excited to get to chat with firecracker Paula Rhodes. As a multi-hyphenate actor/producer/writer/director…storyteller…and mom to two in Los Angeles, she had to squeeze us in between working on her first feature film Delicate State and all the other fascinating goings on she juggles effortlessly.
TCP: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. We can’t wait to pick your brain and see how you manage to keep so many things bubbling at the same time. But before we jump off, let’s find out more about Paula. So tell us, who is Paula Rhodes?
PR: Hmm. Well, I’ve always been a Storyteller, wanting to use my voice to spread empathy, share a laugh, and make others think. I think it was just in my DNA and am thankful my parents encouraged it. In the case of THIS project (feature film Delicate State) I was shocked by the (economic and physical) vulnerability I felt during my first pregnancy, and by the vulnerability I saw our nation experiencing. Social and mainstream media were literally tossing around the term Civil War flippantly, not pausing to take in all that that would mean. So, I channeled my efforts and voice into this film to both empower myself and hopefully our nation during our delicate times.
TCP: You are so clearly fueled by both your sense of justice but also a desire to help others navigate the often rocky waters of what that means as well. That can’t be an easy thing to do. Besides that being an almost Sisyphean goal, you must have your own personal struggle as well. Can you speak to that for us?
PR: I wouldn’t trade this journey, but no artistic path is ever smooth. I think we all struggle with self-doubt, economic balancing/realities, comparing ourselves too much, general life hurdles, and burn out. I see my peers (and I certainly) experience the rollercoaster of epic lows where you wonder what else you can do/think you’ve failed, followed (sometimes in the span of one email or call) by incredible highs where we soar on wings of joy and fulfillment. It’s a wild ride! But it’s also super normal in this jungle. I don’t know that “overcoming” them is possible, but buckling in and trying to enjoy (and understand) the ride certainly is. In all things, “This too will change” applies. I’ve learned overall, that seeing your own life as the biggest story you tell as a Storyteller (because we do tell it and do craft it) is the most empowering stance. And mostly, I’d have to admit that in all things, I’m still learning.
TCP: Aren’t we all (or we are trying to!) Thank you for that. So of all the various things you are currently working on what is fueling you at the moment?
PR: Oh, I would definitely say that Delicate State is my passion project.
TCP: And what are you hoping to do on that currently, since you have finished principal photography and are moving through post on it, right?
PR: In the short term, my goal is completing this film baby of mine. Check out www.SeedandSpark.com/fund/DelicateState to see some of our footage, story, team and get a feel for my Storytelling style (and between Feb 20 and March 21, 2020 – you can even help if you are moved). Thank you so much in advance for taking a peek.
TCP: We plan to check it out ASAP. So let’s talk about how you came to do everything you do: direct, as well as produce, and write, and act as well as, well, everything…what is it that drives you to create?
PR: I’d like to think my sweetspot as a Storyteller lies in the overlap of poignant, humorous, and wonder, in getting people to laugh enough to relate and fall in love so that they care about the journey I lay out and perhaps grow their empathy and open their eyes to something they hadn’t previously. I find literature and fantasy are themes I circle around a lot, though perhaps because I’m still hoping to grow up to be an Elf. If I don’t, I’m still pretty darn proud of this life story I’ve carved out for myself.
TCP: Well, not to call you out but we have seen you as an Elf (ElfQuest) and you were pretty magical. And kidding aside, it is evident in how you live your life. What would you say you are the most proud of?
PR: That is a tough one to nail down. I’ve been honored by each role I’ve been offered, blushed beyond measure by various award noms and wins, cheered for projects I’ve practically bled for as they take off, and managed to keep my career peddling along through/after two pregnancies and births, but if I’m honest, I think just the fact that I’ve stuck with it (through the thicks and very thins) and can say I HAVE a career doing what I love is what I’m proudest of. I wouldn’t trade it.
TCP: Yes! That does seem to be the best way to measure success: doing the thing that you want to be doing without apology. And how all those various things affect you. Is there one thing in your life that you think pointed you to where you are today?
PR: Hmm, I think my story is more of a Slumdog Millionaire series of domino events that all build on each other and lead to the next than one specific catalyst, ha! I could make a case for so many events and so very many people influencing me and who I am now. But, if I had to pick just one that changed me the most, it would probably be living abroad for a semester. Getting to see your corner of the World from the outside, seeing your place in the bigger picture, meeting people with vastly different experiences, and learning that you can find your way anywhere colors everything else you do after. When you travel, empathy grows. I think it’s so very important, ESPECIALLY now, to help fan the flames of empathy and help others grow theirs, and I hope that my Storytelling does that. It’s part of my heartbeat now.
TCP: That is a great way to look at life and your place in it. Is that the wisdom you would like to share with our readers?
PR: I think my best brain nugget is to not have an end-game goal. That’s a recipe for disappointment (either if you don’t reach it, or if you do and feel lost after), but rather to embrace the journey AS the goal. THAT you control and choose daily.
TCP: Perfect. Thank you again so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and help us open our world view a bit. We can’t wait to see your first feature Delicate State and congrats again on winning finishing funds to begin the post-production process. We are eager to see the next chapter of Paula Rhodes!
To learn more about Paula, follow her online www.OfficialPaulaRhodes.com on social media @Delicate_State and @paula_rhodes or visit her funding site between Feb 20-March 21 www.SeedandSpark.com/fund/DelicateState