1) Why did you decide to get into this industry?
I’ve always loved story telling whether it be dramatic, comedic, suspenseful, period or contemporary. As a teen in Australia I studied with a drama teacher who encouraged me to read all the classics. I trained as an actor at theatre school and was then fortunate to put myself through a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and art by booking acting gigs on television and film. I left Sydney to work in the industry in the UK and Europe prior to coming to the US. Writing screenplays and plays has also been hugely important to me and I’ve returned to Europe often to film as well as attend many Film Festivals with my films.
Photo: The Aerial Girl
2) What’s a defining moment in your life?
More than one defining moment! Living in London as a very young actor with no family or contacts was challenging, but I managed to work frequently on stage and some times TV. Also going to NY to study with great teachers and soak in the beautiful yet often harsh reality of life as an immigrant in NYC and forge ahead there with my acting. The third defining moment was when writer Terri Sissman asked me to help adapt and consequently, direct The Aerial Girl, a film she wrote as a play. Terri saw a play I wrote and directed for a festival at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollyood. Although I’d written and acted in films, I’d never directed one, so I was grateful that she gave me a shot. We labored over every detail for The Aerial Girl and it was well worth it. I’m proud of it and the experience tested me in more ways than I ever imagined. The film won a bunch of awards and screened at nearly forty festivals worldwide.
Photo: Opening night, NYC International FF. Screening of The Aerial Girl
3) What is your biggest concern with the future?
My biggest concern? Where do I start! On a global level, I’d say poverty and climate change. We’re also going through huge upheavals politically, not just in the US but in many countries. I believe that however we’re able to as story tellers, affect and educate, entertain and inspire, is of paramount importance.
Photo: On location with THE AERIAL GIRL with Joel Stoffer and Sarah De LA Isla
4) What is a successful moment in your career so far?
Adapting my play, Chasing Chekhov and starring in the film version shot in Prague and Pasadena. A period and contemporary story combined, it won the British Academy of Film & TV Arts/ Los Angeles ‘Best Film’ and ‘Screenplay’ award at the Member’s Film Festival. My film company, VisionFire Films, which I’ve run with my husband Peter Sands for a number of years, produced the film with Peter directing. Then I’d say the awards night at La Femme Film Festival in Beverly Hills where The Aerial Girl screened. Patty Jenkins was awarded for her phenomenal filmmaking career and a few minuted later I was surprised to win the Filmmaker Honorable Mention Award. I met amazing women that night and it was great to have a chance to chat with Patty.
Photo: Shooting Chasing Chekhov in Prague
5) What advice do you have for other women in the industry?
My advice would be not to wait for opportunities as they may not knock! If they do, great- grab them- but if not, make your own way. As a member of Alliance of Women Directors I see more and more women getting our there and making it happen, however difficult it may be. It’s so inspiring. Seek out great stories however you can, whether you direct or produce someone else’s script or write your own. If you’ve just started to write, be prepared to rewrite…. a lot. Really hone the script and go over it assiduously. Have readings! Gather actors to hear it out loud until it’s ready. Find supportive groups to help achieve your goals.
Photo: With Rutger Hauer and Peter Sands for screening of Chasing Chekhov at I;ve Seen Film International FF, Milan
6) What, if anything, do you collect?
I’m not a big collector as I tend to clear spaces often in my home. I like to de-clutter as it clears my mind. I guess I’ve collected a few paintings and photographs over the years. I also admit to having a fairly extensive movie DVD collection which I don’t even need as everything seems to be on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime!
Photo: with Ronnie Marmo and Lisa London at Garden State Film festival, NJ, with Finding Momma
7) What are you working on next? In addition, if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you on social media?
You can find out more about me at http://www.annasimonescott.com;
Currently I have three projects. With my film company and partner Peter, I recently wrote and starred in a TV spec pilot. Post is almost complete so we’ll be pitching and hopefully shooting more episodes in the near future. I’ve written a feature to direct: Tough 2 Love and I have a stage play, The Grass Couch, which was developed by a Broadway company and is moving to next phase of production.
Photo: Picking up the Filmmaker Award for THE AERIAL GIRL, La Femme Int. Film Festival
Photo: with actress/director Tasha Smith and Patty Jenkins taken of us on the awards night at LA Femme Film Festival back in 2011.