In this new episode my guest is a very skilled Indigenous Actress, Writer, Director and Producer, the talented Amelia Rico.
Amelia talks about the paths of her career, and shares her complex experiences in auditions, remembering that they are also a key part of our job and always highlighting the importance of authenticity. She also gave plenty of advice to encourage rising actors out there to manage their professional material, websites, headshots or demo reels in order to get roles that fit them.
You can currently see her on Paramount in the 1923 series along with Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, also in Dark Winds on AMC, Mo on Netflix and more. Amelia and husband, Art Ornelas have been making their own films for many years, and they have now built the award-winning multi-media production company, Ricornel Productions.
To see her work and new projects visit : www.ameliarico.com or follow her on social media, on Instagram: @amelia_rico_films
**Visit www.nickymondellini.com/podcast and download the ebook “Learn to handle the NOs of the industry” for free, and subscribe to receive La Pizarra’s monthly newsletter with news about new episodes and various resources for the best development of your artistic career
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** Visit https://www.nickymondellini.com to learn about the work of actress, host and voiceover artist Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky Mondellini is an internationally known multilingual artist with more than thirty years of artistic career, her voice is heard in commercials on television, radio and digital platforms worldwide. She is the host and producer of La Pizarra since 2020.
Her work as an actress includes more than a dozen telenovelas, and drama shows, classical and contemporary Spanish plays, short and feature films, and the hosting of morning shows in Mexico and the United States, as well as on camera commercials, and advertising and corporate videos.
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Speaker 1: This is La Pizarra, a place where we explore creative minds in the entertainment industry on both sides of the mic and the camera. Here’s your host, Nicky Mondellini.
Nicky: Welcome to another episode of La Pizarra. I’m your host, Nicky Mondellini, and I’m very happy that you’re here. My guest is the talented Amelia Rico. Amelia is an indigenous actress, writer, director, and she is also director of digital production at Main Street Theatre in Houston. Amelia and I have collaborated in a few projects, and you can currently see her in Season 1 of 1923, Dark Winds on AMC, Mo on Netflix and more. Along with her husband, Art Ornelas, Amelia has built the award-winning multimedia production company, Ricornel Productions.
Before we go on with the interview, I just want to remind you that all of the episodes of La Pizarra are available on nickymondellini.com/podcast, and on lapizarrapodcast.com. There, you can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, and you can get the transcriptions for most of the episodes. Now, without further ado, here is Amelia Rico. Amelia, thank you so much for joining me today.
Amelia: Hello, hello. Nice to see you.
Nicky: It’s so nice to see you. I’m just so happy to be able to talk to you today. I’ve had so many questions since I’ve seen your work on TV non-stop for the past few years. It’s great. Before we jump into all of that, I just want to hear– Let’s just go back to the beginning. How did you start? Because we met a few years ago in an acting class, and we had a great scene together, and then we’ve collaborated since.
Amelia: I think it was like a decade ago, Nicky.
Nicky: Oh, my gosh. Oh, please.
Amelia: It’s been a long time.
Nicky: It’s been a long time, you’ve since become a mom, and well, things have been going great. Anyway, how did it all start? Like little Amelia, when was the time when you got bitten by the acting bug?
Amelia: Oh, it was very early on. I remember– and I tell this story quite often, so, I’m so sorry if you’ve heard it before.
Nicky: That’s good.
Amelia: When I was about five, my mom came in on me staring into the mirror just in tears, just crying into the mirror, and she’s like, “What are you doing?” and I’m like, “I’m practicing crying.” It was the most natural thing in the world to do. Needless to say, I do a lot of drama where I do a lot of crying. I’ve been practicing since five.
Nicky: It was just natural for you to start doing that. Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. That’s amazing. When we met in class, you said it was 10 years ago, but before that, you’d already started doing a few things. How was that like? When did you really start going into it as a career?
Amelia: Well, I went into from high school where I did drama in high school, and then I went into U of H, I studied theater acting, directing. From there, I started going more into film. I just started realizing that there wasn’t a whole lot of roles out there for someone that looked like me, back then in the early 2000s when I started college. Even in college, it was difficult to– I was there paying tuition like everyone else, but it was difficult to get in the door, to get on stage, even then when it was a learning environment.
Then outside in the world, there was just very little chance of me getting anything. I would go into auditions, and I would get a lot of great feedback from directors. People would be just like, “Oh my God, you did such an amazing job, blah-blah-blah.” At first, I was touched and I was like, “Wow, I might get this. They really enjoyed my work.” Then after several times of that happening and me not booking the role, I realized, “Oh, they’re doing that because I’m not going to book it, because they know they’re not going to cast me.
Because I’m not what they envision for that character for whatever reason, so, they’re reaching out to me before I leave to tell me how great I did.”
Because usually you would tell someone how great they did by booking them or by casting them in the role. Obviously, you did a great job, but since they knew they weren’t going to cast me, they would reach out to me and tell me about how great I did in the audition. I started realizing that theater wasn’t really going to get me where I wanted to go. Me and my husband bought a camera, we started doing films on our own, making our own films.
This was before content creators, before everything was digital. Our first thing ever was this big camera with the VHS tape in the camera. Then we moved to the little tapes, the little tape decks and then slowly but surely, we started going into digital and everything. Yes, we just started off as just creating things for myself, small, short films. Then I started to create things for other people. I just started realizing there was other people that also wanted footage for themselves as a startup actor, or whatever, or starting out, or someone like you who is seasoned but wants something new to show on their reel.
Then I started creating the Indie Film Workshop, which is something we worked on together-
Nicky: So much fun.
Amelia: -which was super fun. [chuckles] I love that. I love those two films we did together, were so much fun.
Nicky: They were. They were.
Amelia: That’s how I got started into film, getting my feet wet. There still wasn’t a whole lot back 20 years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot for someone that looked like me, even in film, but I was getting auditions, I was doing commercials, industrials, very few. Then in 2020, when COVID hit, and shut everything down– Well, I shouldn’t say just because of 2020. Because I did Yellowstone in 2019, which I think was very lucky. That was my first time I did any Co-Star TV role. That was my very first TV role, major TV role.
I think it was very lucky that I did it in 2019. Because then in 2020, when the tide started to turn, and people really started to pay attention to the fact that there wasn’t a whole lot of diversity on television and on film, and people started to speak out and ask for more. I was there, ready with my little Yellowstone Co-Star, my little bit of footage that I had from Yellowstone, and I was able to get an LA agent with that little Yellowstone Co-Star. From there with my LA Agent, I’ve been able to get Dark Winds and Grey’s Anatomy, which was a big one and 1923 now.
Yes, it all started with my little Yellowstone Co-Star right at the right time, I think. A perfect time when tides were starting to change.
Nicky: Yes, exactly. Going back to the Indie Workshops that you were creating, when I came to you for that, I believe I came to you first for to ask if you could help me re edit a demo that I had. Then when you spoke to me about this opportunity, I just thought it was brilliant, the way that you created it, because you’re functioning as a writer, as a director, you’re coordinating things, you’re getting the actors together, and we’re creating such fun material working on it. I think that’s very innovative and very enterprising of you and Art to do that.
I only have to say that ever since I’ve known you, you’re one of the most hard-working, talented people that I’ve ever known, because you are nonstop. Definitely, and you’re there. You have the goods, you are definitely a great actress. That scene that we did together in class, I just– You feel when you’re working opposite someone that gives you something and that you’re really creating something electric and it just works. It’s amazing. For me to see you right now in all these roles that you’re doing, and I want to ask you also just from that agent that you had, but if you’ve done something else within your reach out and your branding or your marketing that has helped you.
Because you’re in a very, very specific niche, and because you are prepared, you have the goods, you have all that experience, you have the disposition and all that. You’re just so ready. The stars aligned for you and everything was ready because you were in that mindset, and you had prepared the road to finally enter into that success that was out there for you. You’re doing it so well, that—
Amelia: Thank you.
Nicky: I’ve talked about you as an example to other people. I’m like, “Oh my gosh. Look at Amelia,” and just telling about how when you do the work and you’re there, and all the elements are ready, then success will come, but it does take patience and it takes hard work. I’m so happy that finally, with this diversity being opened up. It’s not only that they have more diverse roles, it’s for the people that are diverse but that are good actors that have everything ready and set, the experience and that have their goals ready and they know where they want to go.
It’s not just, oh, hire me because I’m different. No, but what’s behind you? Are you ready for that moment? That’s the most important thing. Going back to that question, have you done anything different besides getting the LA agent? Have you hired a publicist or how are you being able to just get ready and open up that avenue for yourself?
Amelia: Sure. I’ve been following a casting director from LA who does a lot of self-management for actors training. She has a book, her name’s Bonnie Gillespie, she has a book called Self-Management for the Actor. I recommend it for every actor from startup actor to seasoned actor. It’s just so many helpful ways to get you ready for that moment.
It’s not just getting your headshot. I know a lot of people think it’s like networking and things. That is definitely part of it, but there’s also your demo reel is something that’s like in this day and age, you have to have a demo reel. There’s just no excuse not to have a demo reel because even if you don’t have any footage, you can just film yourself on your phone doing a monologue.
Preferably not a monologue that’s already out there that’s been done in a movie. Just something you self-create would be probably more ideal, or even something that if you’ve done an audition for whatever, this or that, then you can use that for your demo reel. There really is not too much of an excuse anymore to not have a demo reel. I think they assume already if you have a demo real, you’re in a different category, and if you don’t, then it’s like, “Ah, you’re less likely to be seen.”
Then there’s just managing yourself with your time management. Not getting too fussy with like, “Oh, well I can’t bring out my website because of this or that, or getting too specific on the details.” Really just what she says is launch at 85%. If your website’s 85% done, just launch it. Get it out there. Making sure that you are making the connections that are going to be best fit for you as an actor. The most important I think thing I learned from her is definitely your bullseye. What is your bullseye? What problem do you solve for the casting director?
Like I said earlier on, when I was going into these auditions and they loved me, but they were never going to cast me. Some people may give up, some people may think, “Oh, this just never going to happen for me. I’m too brown, I’m too fat, I’m too short.” Whatever the ideas that would come into my head for that. Then you start thinking, no, “Okay, so maybe I am too brown, too fat, too short, whatever for that role, but if I go to the room next door where they’re casting the best friend or where they’re casting the nurse or,” you start realizing there’s a role for me, what I look like today.
I don’t have to lose weight. Not that you don’t have to be healthy, [laughs] but I don’t have to wait for me to lose 10 pounds in order for me to get headshots. I don’t have to wait for whatever, me to get my teeth fixed or whatever things are holding you back from moving forward to get your headshots, to get your demo reels, to get all these things done for yourself. There’s always that like, “Oh, well I just need to lose 10 more pounds and then I’ll go and get my head shots.” Just do it because there’s a role out there for what you look like today, who you are today, and you have to just figure out what problem you solve.
If you go into the right rooms, you’ll start getting more opportunities, more yeses, and less disappointing [laughs] roles like the way I was getting. I was just going into the wrong rooms was the problem early on in my career. When I started realizing, I don’t solve that problem, I solve this problem, that’s when things really started clicking. Another thing, which is more of a personal thing for me is that I really started to go into my, personally, not from my acting, but just personally started going into my ancestry and figuring out, that was just something that I’ve always been curious about is my ancestry.
Because as Latinos, we’re all raised we’re Mexican or we’re whatever South American country that you’re from or that your grandparents are from or whatever. You start believing that that’s your sole identity, but South America and Central America and Mexico, all that is integrated with Spanish culture. A lot of times you have that the indigenous people there integrated with the Spanish and created yes something new but that’s still a part of you. The indigeneity is still a part of us, a lot of us. I started to realize even though I grew up in a Mexican side of town in San Antonio, and most of the kids at my school were Mexican, I was always made fun of because of my slanted eyes, because of my straight black hair because I was a little bit darker, this or that.
I started to feel like I didn’t belong even within my own Latino group of people that I was always around. Then I just really needed to delve deeper into my ancestry. I started to do ancestry.com and figure out what my identity was as for myself, just for myself. Then when I started to go deeper into my identity, deeper into my ancestry, that opened up more for my career because then I started to really realize who I was. Without knowing who I was, I didn’t know what problem I solved.
It all went back to what problems you solve, what rooms do you need to go into? You have to know who you are, what boxes you check. One of the big ways Bonnie Gillespie teaches us to do that is we take a picture of ourselves, just a plain picture of us looking at the camera and one looking to the side. We can test our friends or whatever, just send those pictures out and be like, “What do these pictures convey? What do you think? Do you think this person’s a bitch? Do you think this person is nice? Do you think they’re bubbly? Do you think they’re seedy? Do they look caring? Do they look mischievous?”
You check all these boxes of adjectives for yourself, and you start realizing, oh, so I’m fitting into this vibe of, like for me, I was getting mother, I was getting nurse, I was getting caretaker, I was getting someone who worked for CPS or something like that. I was getting these kinds of feedback from people, from my headshots. Then I started realizing so then I can start going for these kinds of roles. That just took off and then you start realizing this is where I belong, and then this is where I’m going to get the yeses.
Nicky: Yes, absolutely. In light of that, we’re going to play your demo now so they can see exactly all the roles that you have been booking. Here’s Amelia.
Amelia: What do you want?
Speaker 2: Does Sally Growing Thunder live here?
Speaker 2: Are you Sally?
Amelia: What do you want with her? She hasn’t done anything.
Speaker 2: I need to speak to your daughter, alone. I could do it here or I could take her down to the substation. You choose.
Amelia: Hey, Anada. Hey. She said it was just a–
Speaker 3: Walking beauty, officer.
Amelia: The Baptists have day schools on the reservation. One is only a quarter mile from my house.
Speaker 4: This is your granddaughter you say?
Amelia: My granddaughter.
Speaker 4: For an Indian child to attend a day school, the school must be within two miles of the child’s primary residence.
Amelia: That is with me. She lived with me before they took her.
Speaker 4: Where are her parents?
Amelia: Her mother is no more. Her father works the reservation herd.
Speaker 4: Mother’s dead. Father abandoned her.
Amelia: Not abandon. Working.
Speaker 4: Not at her home. That’s abandoned. The law states for an Indian child to attend a day school, they must live with their immediate family in their primary residence.
Amelia: I am her family.
Speaker 5: You have to save him.
Speaker 4: That’s the plan.
Speaker 5: He’s an elder in the tribe. A language keeper. He has teachings, stories that have been passed on for hundreds of years in [unintelligible 00:20:43] the ancestral language of our people and this land.
Speaker 6: Before I’m in too much pain to remember my own name, do you think you can save the placenta for me?
Speaker 7: Of course. We’re taught to bury it on Squamish land. So she always knows where her home is.
Speaker 6: [screams] I can’t do this.
Speaker 7: You can and you will.
Speaker 8: Yes you’re almost there.
Amelia: Thanks for the help. I’ve had run-ins with a few of these fellas in the past. Northside Nation.
Speaker 10: Yes. Took down a faction in Austin once though those arrests lacked tonight’s pizazz.
Amelia: I’ll be sure to make note of that. We have space in the cruisers to take the kids back to the hotel, but we’re a few seats short.
Speaker 11: I got shot and you leave with the fact that I fainted, what the hell’s the matter with you?
Amelia: Mr. Gray sir you’ll be fine once they treat you at the hospital.
Speaker 11: No, no, no. No hospitals.
Speaker 12: Sir, you were in a mass shooting, you’re in shock. You definitely require medical attention.
Speaker 11: I said no hospitals. Okay.
Amelia: Actually, it’s not a mass shooting. Only three people got shot and it takes four people to be mass.
Speaker 12: Yes, but the shooter also got shot, that’s four people, so yes it’s a mass.
Amelia: No, see, the shooter doesn’t even count.
Nicky: Of course, all of those are fantastic roles. All those opportunities that you had are just great and there’s more and more of those. Do you think that besides knowing yourself and knowing which rooms you’re going to go into, it’s also a question of having a good conversation with your agent and saying, “Hey,” because of course, you can self-submit, you can look at the keywords and everything and self submit a lot of that but you still have to have your agent negotiate the contract and everything else.
Also have that talk with your agents and say, “Hey, look, you know what? I think the types of roles that you’ve been sending me to are probably not exactly what I fit for because I haven’t been booking. I’ve been working on my branding, on knowing myself and these are the types of roles that I would like to see more coming my way. Can you help me out?” There’s ways to talk about that and of course, I think an agent will be happy to have that conversation because they want you to book. [laughs] They want you to–
Amelia: Definitely beneficial [laughs] for both parties.
Nicky: Of course, and offering a whole bunch of people.
Amelia: Yes, a lot of actors are kind of afraid, sorry but a lot of actors are kind of afraid to talk to their agents. I noticed that younger actors, they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know if I should tell them how to do their job.” It’s like, well we’re working together, trying to do something together so it’s definitely beneficial to have both of you on the same foot, you know?
Nicky: Yes, for sure. I think definitely agents are happy when you work on your own branding and marketing and just be very specific of how you present yourself and what you are good for and you have that either on your Instagram or your Twitter or wherever your social media, whatever platform you mostly are on because job seekers and this is also good for or true for voiceover, but also for on camera, they’re going to want to see you in every aspect of your life. Then they’ll go and they’ll check your Instagram and see your just casual selfies or your family pictures or whatever you in any X situation then that will spark an idea and, “Oh, I think that she’d be good for this role or for that role.” It just helps a lot to see all of that, so definitely have that conversation with your agent. I mean, that’s helpful.
Amelia: Definitely. You have the conversation with yourself [laughs] first and then have the conversation with your agent because the other thing is, you should be just truthful and honest. Yes, it would be great to play Juliet, to play the ingenue. Those are the dream roles but if you’re not going to be filling those roles, if people aren’t going to cast you as the Juliet role, you’re just going to lead yourself to heartache. [laughs] Continuing to try to strive for the ingenue roles when you could easily play the best friend or play whatever other character you probably better fit.
Amelia: That’s one of the things that I realized especially for women is that while working with the Indie Film Workshop and working with other actors, is that a lot of the times we try to fit a certain box that we think is the ideal and if you just broaden that horizon, broaden your own perspective on what problems you solve, I think that’s beneficial for you for your career. You don’t have to look 29. [laughs] You can be whatever age, you don’t have to– A lot of actors, they put this age range that is like 15 years. Don’t do that.
Just narrow it to a five-year age range.
Amelia: The more specific you are, the more likely you’ll hit that bullseye. You need to be very specific with everything, with your head shots, your demo reel, it all needs to kind of go into the same little bullseye there. You’re hitting that same bullseye, so you’re not just shooting everywhere. You want to make sure that all your media, everything, all your tools are going in the same direction.
Nicky: Oh yes, oh absolutely. You have to have all those marketing materials ready.
Amelia: Yes, marketing materials. You don’t want to be over-photoshopped, because if you’re over-photoshopped, you look like you’re 25 and you walk in the room and you [laughs].
Nicky: You do not look like you’re headshots, so then what’s the point?
Amelia: You’re kind of shooting yourself on the foot there. [laughs]
Nicky: Exactly, and I’ve heard casting directors say that a lot. I’ve overheard them say, “Yes, so-and-so came in and they do not look anything like their headshot.” I mean, what the heck is that? They don’t like that. They want you to come as is. They want you to always present yourself and in the pictures and of course, as time goes by, yes, we have a little bit more wrinkles here and there, but there are roles for every age, and you have to be honest.
Amelia: Look at Helen Mirren. [laughs] She’s still out there doing all kinds of roles.
Nicky: All kinds of roles. How was it? Please tell me to be there and you’re in those pictures with Harrison Ford on one side and Helen Mirren and I would be on cloud nine right there.
Amelia: Yes. [laughs] I was acting very cool. Very down to earth but yes it was very exciting to meet them both. Harrison is a big kind of role model for my husband, so that was an especially big moment for him, so I was just honored to be able to give that experience to him because he was completely in another planet. He was just floating on air the whole night because that was something he shared with his late father.
That was exciting for him to meet Harrison and I mean, of course, I love Harrison as well and Helen, she was just so sweet. They were both very, very, very nice people. I couldn’t have been happier with the whole experience, just being able to talk to them, have dinner with them and just be friendly. It wasn’t at all like, “Oh, you’re a star and I’m just this millenial actor.
Nicky: You can’t be geeking on them like that.
Amelia: To me it kind of felt like that but they didn’t make it feel awkward or anything. We were just equals sitting, having dinner, talking. That was a lovely experience to have with them both.
Nicky: Oh my goodness. Tell us about just like 1923, there was eight episodes, correct?
Nicky: Do you know if there’s going to be another season for 1923?
Amelia: There is.
Amelia: There’s a second season planned. [laughs] I think they start filming in the summer for the second season. Definitely yes, it ended in a cliffhanger.
Nicky: Yes, it definitely did.
Amelia: We’re all waiting with bated breath.
Nicky: Without giving anything away from the story and your character, you have some very powerful scenes there, but your character will not be in the following season, but I am so happy and I really want people to– Those of you who are listening and that have not seen the series, you have to because it’s amazing. A lot of what you do there, you’ve learned how to speak in the Native American tongue and there’s several of them, so how did you do that?
Who is helping you or coaching you with that?
Amelia: For 1923, I had a language coach, a language consultant. Her name is Berdino Real Bird. We call her Birdie. [laughs] She was our Crow language consultant. I spent a lot of time with her just hanging out just because I was out in Montana for weeks at a time and really with not much to do in a very small town in Montana so there’s really not much to do at all. We would often just hang out together because she didn’t like to eat alone and I liked having company to eat as well, so we would go and have dinner.
We did have moments where we would sit when I had to do Crow language. Even when I was speaking English, I wanted to make sure I had a proper accent for my English voice as well. I did spend a lot of time with her just listening to her own accent and also just online listening to other people’s accents that were from the Crow tribe. She would listen to my Crow.
When I spoke Crow, she would listen to us and have us repeat and correct any little difference or any little syllable or whatever that we were mispronouncing. She spent a lot of time. She was very, very, very specific with that and I’m very grateful to her for that because that was very helpful. Already, we had the Crow language down. All we had to do was do the acting.
The thing is with how she describes the Crow people is that when they speak, they don’t have a lot of inflection or intonation. A lot of you’re acting, how do you act while you’re speaking Crow? A lot of how they speak is not monotone, per se, but it is a little bit on the flatter side, so there’s not a lot of peaks and valleys and it’s not super melodic.
Amelia: I have to be very careful, even when I’m speaking English, to be very– If you notice-
Amelia: -when speaking, that I’m very subdued and I don’t have a lot of peaks and valleys when I’m speaking. My speaking voice isn’t melodic at all.
Nicky: You’re right.
Amelia: That was very helpful with her. With Dark Winds, Sheldon was our Navajo consultant. He just gave us the Navajo– He would speak it for us and give us a little clip of it. That’s pretty much all we got for that one so that one was a little bit more difficult. He was on set so we could ask him questions if we had had a little difficult time or anything or if we had any questions, but he didn’t stop us or anything. [laughs]
I know some of the Navajo fans weren’t too keen with some of our Navajo. I’m not sure about my Navajo, but I think, for the most part, our Dene was pretty good on that one, but we had a little bit less help or a little bit less specific help than with Birdie. Birdie was very specific. [laughs] She’s like, “Oh, it’s got to be eh, eh, not, eeh.” [laughs]
Nicky: Well, that’s so interesting, really. To learn two completely new languages and the mannerisms and everything are also, I think, quite subdued. It’s like they’re always calculating everything around them, just taking a lot more in touch with nature and a lot more paste and stuff. Then when they speak English, at least from what I’ve also seen on other shows like the English that was on Netflix, it’s like two words, not here or don’t know or whatever, instead of a complete sentence. It was only a response of a couple of words here and there.
Amelia: That was one thing that we had to be very careful with, is that we didn’t want it to fall into any kind of stereotype of how Hollywood has previously portrayed Native Americans to be simple or to make them seem like they don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re very intelligent. They’re, for one, speaking a second language. Right here, they’re not speaking their native tongue if they’re speaking in English. Then that would be one reason why they would speak in simpler terms rather than in full sentences.
Then with Crow, they’re very monotoned. When they speak in English, it may sound strange to the American ear because in American we have all these melodic tones to us. I had to be very careful because there was a fine line between doing it, how a Native Crow would speak, and then falling into this stereotype of how they have a Native American speak in old Hollywood films. You know?
Nicky: Yes. Exactly.
Amelia: Then Dene is different because they’re a different tribe and they have different ways of speaking. They don’t have that same problem of being very monotone. I shouldn’t say problem, but that aspect to their voice or to their language that it’s very monotone.
Amelia: With that one, I think we felt a little more comfortable being more expressive with our voice than with the Crow. Crow, it was very specific. The director would come to us and be like, “No. We need you to give a little bit more oomph or give a little bit more emotion.” It’s like, “Oh, but Birdie told us not to.”
Amelia: Then you have to go between what may be more authentic and then something that’s just more theatrical.
Nicky: Amy, you got to make it work for TVs. I’m not going a far away too much from what it is, but you do need to make it more interesting for people to really get engaged with it. No, I think that’s wonderful. What’s next for you now? Which of the shows are you going to be on? Dark Winds again or what’s coming up for you?
Amelia: I’ve just been auditioning. I’ve had a lot of opportunities that are coming my way and that I can’t speak too much about. Yes, I’d go back to Dark Winds. I’m not sure if they’re having me back. They’re not having me back for this next season, unfortunately, but you never know. I’m a witch. [laughs]
Nicky: There you go.
Amelia: You never know. I might pop back up on a later season.
Amelia: Definitely. I’m putting it out there to the producers. Still a possibility. You never know.
Nicky: Trust me, you’ve been in several things already, so yes, and you’re someone that they know works well and is a professional and then just does whatever you need to do. I mean you’re there. How about your kids? I know Alejandra was starting to do some things, right? What are they doing?
Amelia: She’s been getting such great opportunities. Definitely, better ones than I got in her age. She’s booked a couple of commercials, but as far as major roles, she’s been able to audition for some amazing– That alone, if you’re an actor and you’re watching this, celebrate your auditions, celebrate your callbacks, celebrate your opportunities just as much as your bookings because that, to just be invited into the room is, on its own, something to celebrate.
Nicky: For sure.
Amelia: She got to audition for Sweet Tooth on Netflix, which I love that show. That show is so amazing. She got to audition for– I’m pretty sure it was– No, it was. It was Endor. It was quite a few years back. We’re waiting to see what it was because it was shrouded in mystery when we auditioned for it, of course, because it was a Marvel or it was a Star Trek.
Nicky: Not Marvel. Star Wars.
Amelia: It was a Star Trek thing, but it just said untitled Disney project is what it was called at the time. Then we realized, now that it’s come out, it was Endor that she had auditioned for. That one, she got a callback for so we were all very excited for her. She got a callback for Sweet Tooth as well. She’s had a lot of great opportunities, a lot of great callbacks. She hasn’t crossed the finish line just yet, but she’s only 10 [laughs] with that much already at 10. I’m sure it’ll be-
Nicky: Oh, it’ll happen.
Amelia: -something is bound to happen.
Nicky: Yes, it’ll happen. Then she has mom to talk her through, if this opportunity didn’t come, it’s okay. Your role will come. Each audition gets you closer to the one that is the job for you. It’s the process and the job is the auditioning. That is the job, right?
Amelia: Yes. Auditioning is definitely part of the job. People forget about that.
Nicky: Booking is the icing on the cake.
Amelia: Audition for the job.
Nicky: If you book it, that’s icing on the cake. You have to be preparing for those auditioning opportunities. Anyway, where can people find you, Amelia? Of course, I’m going to link to your Instagram account. Tell us where people can find out more about you, about the things that you’ve been doing also for Main Street Theater with the digital theater as well. Then you got nominated and you won. Right? Did you win an award? I think you did.
Amelia: Yes, I did. The Book of Magdalene, I was very fortunate to be able to direct that for them in 2021 when theater was shut down [laughs]. Due to the pandemic I was uniquely qualified to direct this beautiful play because I not only had done theater quite extensively and studied theater in the past. I also was a filmmaker and did a lot of their promo videos, me and Art did their promotional videos throughout the years since like 2010 or something, 2009. I had quite a few years of just doing projects for them. Contract projects for them.
Then this opportunity to do a digital play because theater was shut down. We weren’t able to have a live audience. They knew they were just going to have it online streaming. They asked me to come in and direct that, and because it’s online and because it was streaming, I was able to submit it to a lot of theater festivals. We got into two of them. That was really exciting to be able to be a part of that. Actually, I think it was three if I’m not mistaken. One was early on and then two just recently. To be a part of that and to just put out diverse content.
I’ve been working closely with Main Street Theater these past couple of years along with Sloane Teagle, one of their new staff members to just get more diversity behind stage and on stage and to just open up more opportunities for everyone. Designers, actors, theatergoers even– [crosstalk] I’m really proud of the work we’ve been doing as a theater to get just more perspectives out there. Right now they’re doing the Oldest Boy, but by the time this [laughs] plays, I’m sure that’ll be over. They’re doing a lot of great work.
Nicky: Do you think there’s going to be more of this digital type of theater in the future, or no?
Amelia: No, I think it was just that very specific time where–
Nicky: It was the only way to-
Amelia: -theaters were looking for something to do. [chuckles].
Nicky: -watch theater. At that point. Yes.
Amelia: It was the only way to watch theater, for sure. I was very lucky to be able to be a part of that because everything was shut down, and there were very few streaming opportunities out there because very few theaters had the ability to do that at the time. Then I got to get reviewed by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times [laughs] because there wasn’t a whole lot of content out there. We were lucky enough to be one of the few people that still had content out and we were able to get the theater out there in those huge publications. That was very fortunate, and I was honored to have been a part of that for that product.
Nicky: That’s amazing. Where can people find you then on your website, you have all the information as much as your social media.
Amelia: Yes. My website’s ameliarico.com. I’m an Instagram person, so I do mostly Instagram. I do have a Facebook a public-
Nicky: [crosstalk] Facebook page.
Amelia: -actor Facebook page. Mostly I do things on Instagram. I always forget to update my Facebook. I’m like, oh, yes, I should have probably put that also on Facebook. If you want to see more of my work, all my newer stuff, it’s going to be on Instagram more likely. Then there’s my website, ameliarico.com. On Instagram, I am @Amelia Rico films.
Nicky: Perfect. One more thing. I always like to ask my guests what is that thing that they recommend. You’ve also already given a few tips regarding marketing and all that. What is one thing that you want to say to people that are actors that are maybe stuck in their career and they want to advance? What is one thing that you would’ve wanted to hear when you started out that you think might help them?
Amelia: That you are exactly how you need to be. That you do not have to change who you are. Just discover yourself. Discover who you are and you’ll succeed. Just keep trying with yourself as yourself. Go out into the world as yourself and then your abundance [unintelligible 00:45:38]—
Nicky: That is beautiful and so accurate because it’s authenticity what is right now the most valued thing that there is at least. That’s what a lot of people say, casting directors and everything that I’ve heard say, is they just want people to be authentic and just be yourselves because there are opportunities for everyone. Well, anyway, thank you so much, Amelia, for talking to me today. This was amazing. It was great to catch up with you.
Amelia: Yes, it’s lovely to talk to you. It’s been so long. Nicky [laughs].
Nicky: Yes, yes. We have to change that for sure. Maybe another indie film workshop. Coming soon, on a computer near you. No. We have to do that. Wonderful. Okay, Amelia, well, I’ll put all the links in the show notes. Well, everyone listeners thank you so much for tuning in, for being here in Season 8 of La Pizarra. Just stay tuned for more things, more wonderful episodes to come, just like this one with the wonderful Amelia Rico.
Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us on La Pizarra. Want to listen to more episodes? Visit lapizarrapodcast.com or nickimondilini.com/lapizarra where you can sign up for our newsletter and get exclusive previews of future episodes as well as resources for your creative business. Tune in next week for another interesting interview.
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