We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Rhodes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Keep going or give up?! It’s never really either, it’s always a question of evolution. You’ll always take everything you learned on to your next chapter, whether that’s in the same arena or another, whether you plot the course way in advance or are pushed into a new lane. We can level up in a million different directions, but each one brings the things we’ve learned from the last along for the ride. Life and creative careers are both surprising by nature. You’re you through it all. Adjust perspective accordingly.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For my Second Grade Career Day, I told my class I was going to be a Storyteller/Fashion designer/First Female President. Although I turned out to be sadly lacking in the fashion category, and I hope my political aspiration gets reached by someone else first, I’m thrilled that I listened to eight year old me and leaned into Storytelling. Be it acting, voiceover, writing, producing, or directing, I’ve tried on lots of hats that help me tell stories, I apparently hate free time, but I love that I’ve been able to slowly and steadily grow my work in all of these directions, supporting my family doing what brings me joy. It’s never been “easy” or resembled anything predictable (any career in the arts is essentially cutting your own path through a jungle), but I wouldn’t trade it. Today I voice a number of characters in some amazing cartoons and games, pop up on screens in various film/TV/commercials, have produced some award-winning content, have a number of scripts, blogs, and a children’s book series written, and am nearly done with post on my feature directorial debut. The lessons I’ve learned along the way are enough to fill a book (oooo, another project idea!), but perhaps the most important one has been to enjoy the journey. We are never guaranteed to reach a particular goal or benchmark, especially in artistic endeavors, but if we find the joy and pride in the DOING of it all along the way, then we’ve truly won. Plus, that joy acts like a magnet in bringing more opportunities one’s way. At the moment, despite all of the hurdles 2020 has thrown in our collective path (raising a glass to my fellow parents muddling through distance learning here) I’m really thrilled to have two big games coming out soon, a national commercial shot, a few various recurring cartoon characters to voice, some podcast adventures, a female-driven high fantasy script called The Last Book in the final polish phase that I’ve gotten to collaborate with some of my favorite women on, and my feature film nearly done. Here’s hoping Delicate State (They’re expecting, but not Civil War), which I shot over the course of my first pregnancy with leads as two-man crew, remains a cautionary tale and stops trying to veer into the realm of documentary.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I stared at this question wistfully for far too long. Remember friends being able to come to town? Remember going places? *SIGH* But in the spirit of looking forward to doing so again, here’s some of my favorite places to visit and take guests in Los Angeles (in normal times): I love bringing people to Aroma cafe in Studio City for brunch. It’s got a varied and tasty menu, but the lovely garden setting and stellar people watching make it a go-to for a casual celeb sighting plus baked good. From there I might take visitors to check out the original Batcave (Bronson Cave in Griffith Park), then stroll up and down Magnolia Blvd (Magnolia Park area) in Burbank, where there’s a regular food truck night that turns the area into a community block party and Porto’s Bakery. The shops are super fun and unique, from antique shops, thrift and gifts galore, studio resale shops, the adorable Audrey K Boutique, and a fantastic new store called Best Friend Central created by the effervescent Carrie Diaz as a currated clothing and event space. If this were an outdoorsy friend, we’d probably do a hike to the Hollywood sign or to Sturevant Falls and maybe even camp at the ruins nearby at Hoegees Campground while they were in town. We may explore tide pools at Leo Carrillo beach, or escape up to Sequoia National Park. They may love a trip to Tito’s Tacos for classic LA faire, or Clifton’s Republic for Hollywood history meets quirky cute, though to be honest we’d probably recoup from our adventures around my fire pit with wine at home. If this were more of a heels-wearing pal, we’d probably hit the Malibu Wine Safari, whatever fun pop-up event was going on at the time, hit a film festival (there’s nearly always a film fest going on somewhere in town), and do a fancy night out at The Magic Castle for dinner, drinks, and some fantastic magical performances. I’d probably also bring them along to one of my favorite seasonal adventures. If they were visiting in Spring we’d get dressed up for a day of Huzzah’s at The Renaissance Pleasure Faire. If it were Summer I’d angle to time their trip so we could go to the absolutely magical Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. If it were Fall we’d take a day trip up to visit Greenspot Farms in Mentone, where a petting zoo, mini tractor rides, haunted hay ride, produce, pumpkins, mazes and mini train provide so much of what I love about Autumn with my family in a picturesque setting. If it were Winter, we’d toss on our jackets and hit Desconso Gardens Enchanted Forest for a night of otherworldly lightscapes and wonder. Clearly visiting me means chasing magic and probably wearing costumes, be forewarned. Oh MAN do I miss doing all of these things. Once we can again I am gonna appreciate them so much more. Until then, stay safe.
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?
There are SO many who are an important part of my journey, but I’d LOVE to give a shoutout to The Chimaera Project (chimaeraproject.org). These amazing women are such fabulous champions of filmmakers identifying as women and an important part of my community. From networking opportunities to a grant that is helping me complete my directorial debut, and sponsoring a Slamdance screening (that Covid sadly postponed), they are a key part in helping me level up to my next chapter. The icing on the cake is what stellar humans they happen to be as well.
Other: Follow @Delicate_State on Twitter for the latest on my feature film.
Cathy Baron, Mark Burmeister, Beau Ryan, Brent Bailey, Kevin Pazmino