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-Interview by Nic Brown-

Actress, writer, & director Kimberly Amato

What does someone do when they have a BA in Psychology and a MA in Forensic Psychology? Well after she finished an “externship” at Bellevue Hospital's prison ward, actress, writer, and director Kimberly Amato decided to follow her dreams. This meant passing up an offer to work at the infamous Riker’s Island prison in New York to pursue a career in acting.


Of course Kimberly hasn’t let her education and experience go to waste. She uses her training in psychology to help develop some of her most memorable characters, such as Raven from Susan Adriensen’s UNDER THE RAVEN’S WING. Kimberly also gives fellow actors and actresses a hand by running a web design and promotion service called Affordable Acting Tools.


Now this multi-talented artist is taking a break from her projects to talk with us about how she got started in film, how it’s sometimes hard to let go of a character, and why you might catch her playing video games when no one is around!


Nic - Kimberly, how did you get your start in acting?


Kimberly - I think I was born with entertainment in my blood. My mother was a 4 star thespian in high school and went to the National Thespian Convention in 1962. My father played the guitar and sang. I can remember family get togethers where my dad would play with my grandfather as I sang. When I was older I got my first performing role in a school play. I was a cuckoo clock with one line. It was the beginning of my desire to entertain people through television, film or theater.


Nic - You mentioned that you enjoy theater as well. How is working in theater different for you from your work in television and film?

The women behind UNDER THE RAVEN'S WING:

Susan Adriensen (left), Jessica Palette (center) & Kimberly Amato (right)

Kimberly - On stage there really isn't room for error and if you actually make a mistake you can't acknowledge it. On film or television, you can do it again and again until you get it right. I also stage manage a lot so it is, in my opinion, more stressful getting a play working properly during the actual performance than it is writing, producing, editing and performing in a film project.


Nic - You were in Susan Adriensen's film UNDER THE RAVEN'S WING. Can you tell us about your role in that film?


Kimberly - I portray Raven, the lead character, who is very complex and disturbed. She grew up not being able to trust the people around her. What we all take for granted, like the love of a mother, grandmother or guardian, Raven was denied. She struggles to find her way in the world of rules, societal norms and responsibilities. In the end, she creates her own word of rules that she, Jessie and Angel follow. Raven is so immersed in her delusional world that she cannot see how she has become the same as those who abandoned her when she was a child.


Nic - You've been in a diverse variety of independent films. What type of roles do you look for or like to play?


Kimberly - To be honest, I look for a character I can really sink my teeth into. I've been lucky to play a wide variety of characters and all of them have been multi-dimensional. As far as which characters I like to play, I love being the anti-hero. There just seems to be so much more you can do with those types of characters and who doesn't love being bad?


Nic - So if you had the chance to play a character from one of your favorite films who would it be?

Kimberly Amato's new TV Series Pilot: PARTY GIRL

Kimberly - I would love to be Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs or Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.


Nic - As an actress and a filmmaker, who have been some of your biggest influences and why?


Kimberly - In Hollywood, my greatest influence would be Jodie Foster. Not only does she have a successful career on both sides of the lens, she also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale. Outside of Hollywood, I feel my family has influenced me the most. They've all supported me while I earned my masters degree and pursued my career in filmmaking. They always manage to keep me grounded.


Nic - What do you find to be the most challenging part of acting?


Kimberly - Letting the character go at the end of the day. During Raven, there were so many emotionally draining scenes that sometimes it was hard to let it go. You're trained to dig deep and place yourself in the characters mind set to feel what they would feel. I found myself still feeling the roller coaster mood swings while the cameras were off for the day. I was no longer in character, but the residual effect was there.


Nic - Do you have any aspirations to work behind the camera more as a director or writer?


Kimberly - I love all aspects of filmmaking. I actually directed and co-wrote a TV Pilot last summer. It's called "Party Girl" and it is being submitted to various festivals. I'll admit it was hard work producing, directing, performing, editing etc. but it was worth it. It's a great feeling knowing that after all the union paperwork, re-writes, bloopers or what have you - at the end of the day, you have a project you stayed with from start to finish. I would love the chance to continue developing my skills in all aspects of production.


Nic - "Party Girl" sounds interesting. Can you tell us more about the pilot/series?


Kimberly - The series is all about being a first generation born in America, something Amanda Ramirez and I can relate to. The series follows Belen (Leni) Figueroa, a party planner who receives unusual party requests from her clients. She also deals with rumors of an office romance and a flaky co-worker. All the while, balancing her responsibilities to her family.


Nic - You're marketing "Party Girl" as a pilot for a television series. How is that different from a film?


Kimberly - We're finding that it is more difficult to get the pilot seen. You can go to various festivals, but you have to submit it to the TV Pilot divisions. You cannot submit it as a short because viewers want a beginning, middle and a conclusion for a short film. However, when you shoot a pilot everything is left open for the future episodes. Yes, we have a conclusion to what occurred in the pilot, but it is still open ended for more episodes. That in itself makes it more difficult.


Nic - In addition to your work as a filmmaker, I understand you also have a business helping other actors/actresses to promote themselves. Can you tell us a little about that?

Kimberly Amato as Raven in Susan Adriensen's UNDER THE RAVEN'S WING

Kimberly - I've started running Affordable Acting Tools ( to help actors with their resumes, demo reels and websites. I've been designing various websites over the years including my friend Michelle Tomlinson's website and Under The Raven's Wing Official Film Site. It's something I have learned along the way and I wanted to be able to offer those services to actors who might not necessarily be able to do it.


Nic - That sounds like a good service. On the subject of websites, how do you feel the internet is changing things for independent filmmakers and for mainstream Hollywood?


Kimberly - I think the internet has made it easier for the modern day filmmaker to reach an audience. You can create a web series and upload it on a site like YouTube and have multiple global viewings in a short period of time. It allows us to share projects with the global community that might not have been produced otherwise.


Nic - Kimberly, can you tell us something about yourself that people might be surprised to find out?


Kimberly - I am a very professional person, but I am such a kid. I'm an avid gamer and truly enjoy playing video games. I also really like going to Disney World.

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