Ellie Mae Smith – Arizona Nomination by Jeff Smith Photography by Scott Hayes Photography Issue 76 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: EllieMaeSmith is the youngest American to write a script for a feature film that was produced. She not only wrote it, but also starred in it with Dean Cain, Eddie McClintock, Denise Gossett, and Tatum Mathews. It will be out in November 2024. She has been in over 15 feature films in the last year, and was Little Miss AZ 2021. She is also in Theatre, completed 10 plays as well.
Photography by Scott Hayes Photography
What would you like to talk about? I would like to talk about my career. More specifically how I am the youngest screen writer to have their film produced in America, I would also like to talk about the films and plays I have done and my new script and novel I have in the works.
Tell us about the feature film you produced. What is the genre and what is it about? Hope is a Faith based family friendly drama about a family's world that gets turned upside down, but by the power of faith, Hope and love they managed to get through it.
What inspired you to write a script for a feature film, and what inspired you to write about that subject in particular? Ever since I was young, I loved to write. And when I got into acting, I wanted to produce a film of my own, so I wrote a screenplay. I wanted the script to have a positive message, and as someone who has dealt with loss I'm real life, I wanted to bring comfort and positivity to those who have gone through the same thing in their lives.
Photography by Marissa Smith
How did you go about getting it from your hands into the hands of someone who could help you get it produced? Well, this is actually a funny story. I was on the set of Miracle Manchester with Dean Cain, who plays Superman in the Adventures of Lois and Clark. We were talking about how his father had been a film producer, and how he made films. I mentioned to him that I had a screenplay. He asked if I had it with me. I pulled it up on my laptop and he loved it! Dean presented the script to the owner of JC Films, Jason Campbell, and told Jason that if he would produce the film, he would love to be a part of it, and the rest is history. So basically as they say, Superman came to the rescue!
What was it like starring in the film? Tell us what a typical day is like making a movie. Starring in the film was my dream come true. A typical day on a film set usually starts when the sun comes up and ends late at night, but in between those times there’s a lot of waiting around while they film other scenes. There is a saying in the film industry , “hurry up and wait”. We start off with hair and make up, then go to wardrobe and get dressed for the scene you are shooting. Then you talk to the director about what shots you’re doing, read through lines with the other actors and then you shoot your scene. They can be very long days, but it’s not work when you love with what you’re doing in my opinion.
Photography by Marissa Smith
What other films have you been in? I’ve been blessed. I’ve done 18 films in past 2 years, most are in post production still. You can watch Miracle at Manchester and Twitter Files on JC Films Plus streaming service as well as on Prime Video, Tubi, etc. Chowchilla is available on HBO Max and sometimes does reruns on TV. Hope will be on streaming services any time.
Which was your favorite and why? Hope is very special to me because I got to see it come to life from start to finish. From an idea in my head, to my pen and paper, to Dean Cain, and then to production was pretty amazing!
What do you think others might not realize about being an actress? Acting starts from the first step auditioning. A lot of people don’t realize it takes 100 auditions sometimes to get that one yes. You must have thick skin and a lot of patience in this industry, but it’s all worth it in the end.
What is your new script about and what drives you to get it finished? My new script, A New Believer, is a story about how a father and daughter’s relationship grows through pain and suffering from his past. The father‘s childhood was extremely painful. The story is based solely on the daughter, trying to bring her father to discover his Faith.
Photography by Marissa Smith
How would you describe your writing style - and your writing strategies? The first step of my writing process is to plan out the characters. I like to map out who they are, what they like or don’t like, their goals etc. Then I map out the plot and where I see the story going. Once you start to write your story, you can always make changes. I have learned with Hope, you are never done writing until you wrap on the film. Changes are made on the fly while you are shooting scenes, and sometimes things just look or feel better on Film while you are in the moment.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I believe my hard work and dedication to my craft and everything I do hopefully can inspire others. I am a Christian girl. I only choose to do Faith based or family friendly films because I don’t want to do anything that is not honoring God, or promoting evil.
What do you feel passionate about or could talk about forever? I could get into a conversation with anyone who would listen about Harry Potter and Animals. I have read all of the Harry Potter books and seen all of the movies. I also have six dogs who I could spend all day talking about!
How did you find your photographer,Scott Hayes Photography? What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? We found Scott Hays out of Scottsdale AZ online. We also have worked with AZ local Steve Chadwick, but thought we would reach out for a different style of photography. Both Steve and Scott are amazing artists.
Look for Ellie Mae in issue 76 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!