Michelle Y. 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

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

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe: Being a female entrepreneur in Arizona.

Marion Houghton sat down with us for the……wait…..wait…….THIRD EPISODE of Up in Smoke !

The show has already proven that there is a Walmart-Supercenter-sized-amount of incredible women doing art and starting their own thing in Arizona, and Marion is no exception. The co-founder of Anidaso – an Arizona company that circulates beautiful, handcrafted purses and accessories from Ghana and resells them in the US –  gave us the scoop on her company and its focus on mindfulness, as well as her life-changing road trip.

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Now pause this reading nonsense and go listen to episode 3 of Up in Smoke here!!!

“So what exactly is this Anidaso company and why is it in Arizona?” you ask. (Although technically I asked because I was the one on the podcast with the mic…but here’s an answer below so plz don’t hate my awkward parenthesis statements. Listen to the question on the podcast here. bye.)

In Twi, a dialect of Ghanaian, “anidaso” translates to hope. The company and it’s official name came to be after a serendipitous meeting between Marion and her co-founder, Kaitlyn Fitzgerald. Kaitlyn sprouted the idea of a for-profit company after she experienced firsthand some of the drawbacks of mission trips. She began selling the bags from the trunk of her car and met Marion shortly after. The two combined to form a company that focuses on the concepts of mindfulness and community building.

“We consider our company currency to be mindfulness. Mindfulness is what moves us, it’s how we operate everything that we do,” Marion said.

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The “Diana” Dora Bag from the Anidaso website.

The young entrepreneur talked about the creation, concept, and mission of Anidaso on the podcast (which you can listen to here) and quickly spoke about the blog she curates, before moving more onto her own background and how she navigates Arizona.

Some of her biggest advice? “Your vibe attracts your tribe.”

Marion went on to explain the rhyme in that she is who she hangs out with and is a big believer in attracting supportive friends and giving a big Beyonce BYE to the rest. She also goes out of her way to attract similarly minded people in Arizona by planning small meetup events around the valley. Currently, she organizes Phoenix “Mindful Meals,” and “Mindful Morning,” sessions, always filling her creative guests with food and thought.

unnamedOne of the best parts of this podcast (other than Marion’s wonderful startup advice) is her story about how she got in her car solo and took a road trip across country.

SO LISTEN. IT’S GOOD. I PROMISE. YOU’LL LEARN THINGS. LAUGH AND FEEL BETTER.

Listen to episode 3 of Up in Smoke here!!!

Then ask me about the roadtrip I’m planning this summer….. ;]

—-Jamee

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe: Being a female entrepreneur in Arizona.