We had the good fortune of connecting with Paige Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paige, how do you define success?
The older I get, the more I think about what success means to me. When I first started out, like so many creative people in the entertainment industry, success was all about making money and possibly gaining fame. As the years went by, and my knowledge and realistic view of how the business really works became more defined, I thought success was more about being respected and being viewed as a person who does good work. Now, to a degree, I still think that sentiment is an important one. However, as much I’d love to own a new truck or a have nice house; as much as I appreciate the respect that I’ve earned, I think success is more of a personal understanding of myself and my journey. Years from now, when I’m in the rocking chair, regardless of whether or not I’ve made a lot of money, or have earned an abundance of respect, I want to know that I spent my time well, and that I enjoyed the journey that I undertook. That’s a big reason why I’ve taken more creative control of my destiny, and started making my own projects and films.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to story-telling. I don’t know if it’s due to some mental disorder, or if it’s just how my mind works, but my imagination is always churning out stories, swirling around in my head. As a kid, I tried to write a novel and I even won a creative writing contest, but at some point, my creativity pointed me to acting. I loved the idea that I was my own paintbrush on the canvas of the world. I studied acting in high-school and college, and honed my skills in Chicago, where I made my home for many years. Writing, however, was always something I enjoyed. I was part of a sketch comedy team in Chicago, called The Cool Table, and a closely related theater company called XIII Pocket. Together, we appreciated many years of fun and success, and my acting and writing skills were nurtured by my talented and brilliant friends. As the years went on, people’s priorities changed, but the bonds are still there. Now I have my own production company, Lonesome Tree, that specializes in western films and how they can tell stories about the past and the present, what it’s like to be an American, and how people work together as a society. Making my own stories has been a solution, for me, to the challenges of the entertainment industry and all of the difficulties of leading a creative lifestyle. I can benefit from all of my past lessons learned, to better use my collected writing and acting skills.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Pasadena is a beautiful place, and I’ve always loved getting lost in it’s neighborhoods; walking around and admiring the beautiful architecture here. There’s also some really fun speak easy’s and outdoor patios here. Outside of Pasadena I would take time to show off Los Feliz, where I’ve also lived. A hike up to Griffith Observatory, followed by dinner at Little Dom’s is a dream of a day, and something I’ve done, often. Manhattan Beach offers a great day in the sun and sand. The oldest part of downtown LA, Olvera Street, has always been a cultural and culinary hit with me and my visitors, who often have no idea it exists. I love the old-school kitsch and tasty margaritas at El Coyote on Beverly. Lastly, I never miss a chance to treat my guests to some libations at my favorite LA spot, Idle Hour, the big, jolly, old barrel bar in North Hollywood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a teacher named John Rosenfeld that has really pushed me to make my own projects happen, rather than just wait for the phone to ring, and I always make sure to mention him, when I can. His influence on how I view my career path has really helped me evolve, as an artist, and as a person. My family also deserves a great deal of credit. My mom has always supported my career choice, my dad gave me a love of writing and appreciation of western life, and my brothers and my sister have always pushed me to keep fighting and be positive. I also have to give a shout-out to my creative partners, Sean George, Danielle Argyros, and Sal Neslusan for believing in my mad ideas and gladly dedicating their time to helping me realize my potential. My former sketch group, The Cool Table, lovingly showed me that being the master of my own vessel is possible and also really fun. There are so many others I could name, but the list would take more up space than this article has room for. Lastly, I have to recognize Todd and Jenny, my agents at Stewart talent, for sticking by me for so many years and treating me like a family member, rather than a business opportunity.
Instagram: @paigesmith76 – @lonesometreeproductions – @hernamewasnoonemovie
Linkedin: Paige Smith
Nick Holmes, James Smith, poster by Austin Hillebrecht