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Life & Work with Vanessa Boss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Boss.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My passion for storytelling was sparked from the adventures I experienced as a child; playing make-believe with my big sister, having free-reign to explore the magical island we lived on in Hong Kong. That time of my life holds some of my most cherished memories, feeling connected to the world around me, to family, to nature and my imagination. I moved eight times internationally before I was sixteen. I was very fortunate to get to see the world and experience other cultures from a young age. The joy, the adventure, and the challenges in moving every few years- were defining in who I’ve become as an artist.

Collectively we may not all share the same story, but we do all have a heart that needs love, a soul that needs to be witnessed, and a deep longing for connectivity with others. I love creating beautifully flawed, often neurotic characters because nothing is more beautiful to me than imperfection and the journey to accept our own flaws.

After graduating from Emerson College in Boston with my BFA in Acting in 2015, I moved to Los Angeles.

I never thought I would become a writer. I thought I would purely be auditioning and acting in other peoples’ stories, but I started to realize that I had a lot to say. Guided by wonderfully supportive mentors, I began feeling a stronger calling to write. In 2018, I began writing my autobiographical one-woman show “Uprooted” (directed by and developed with Jessica Lynn Johnson), that later premiered at Solofest 2019 and had a very successful run at The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019. It is also an official selection of the prestigious LA Women’s Theatre Festival.

Telling my story changed something in me. I found a deeper connection to my love of storytelling through writing. So I was inspired to start my production company Uprooted Films and wrote our first short film “I Propose We Break Up.” Along with Dir. Alyssa Carroll and DP Michelle Kwong, we are in pre-production with plans to film in May 2021! As the writer and executive producer of “I Propose We Break Up” I have loved every moment of putting together our badass creative team and have found my calling in creating and starring in my own films. I plan to continue to grow my production company, Uprooted Films, and tell empowering stories while collaborating with inspiring artists.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Since 2018, I have been moving forward with my creative projects with a lot of momentum. I think whenever you produce your own work there are a lot of tasks that can be overwhelming. But what has been very liberating for me as a producer is learning that there is always a way and if you want to make a project happen, the most important part is the drive to achieve it. After that, everything else is figuring out logistics. It’s super satisfying to me to put all the puzzle pieces of a project together! In 2019, I immediately went from my solo-show “Uprooted” to writing my film “I Propose We Break Up.” I had already selected my DP and Director with a tentative film date when the pandemic hit.

Thankfully, I adapt well to unexpected changes! Pandemic or not, as a producer, being able to adapt to factors you can’t control and problem solve is SO important. One of my most influential mentors, my acting coach, Craig Archibald, says “make everything make you better.” He encourages his acting clients to be champions even through the hardest of times. This pandemic has challenged all of us- but it has also been an opportunity for growth. I decided to use the time to edit my script so that “I Propose We Break Up” would be ready to get back in production the moment it was possible again.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am super excited about my new film that I wrote and am producing “I Propose We Break Up.” “I Propose We Break Up” is about a social media influencer, Clara, whose dreams come true when she finally gets engaged. All Clara’s ever wanted is to feel chosen, but when her fiance postpones the wedding, Clara realizes that she’s lost grasp of who she is behind the filter. With the help of a therapist she meets on Instagram, Clara combats her social anxiety, makes new friends and learns that true love can arise from unexpected places. This will be my production company Uprooted Films’ first short film and it feels amazing to be back in the pre-production process. I’ve put together an incredible team of artists (Dir. Alyssa Carroll and SP Michelle Kwong) and we are fully prepared for a safe shoot in May 2021.

After its completion, we plan to submit the film to numerous festivals and also use it as a pitching tool for an eventual series we could see on platforms like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. You can follow the making of the film on our Instagram @iproposewebreakup

Prior to writing “I Propose We Break Up,” my solo show “Uprooted” premiered at Solofest 2019 and The Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019. “Uprooted” is also an official selection of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival and I will be performing a piece from the show on March 29th, 2021 via live stream. Tickets are available online at LAWTF.org

“Uprooted” is about emerging as your true self, being seen and finding home. I grew up internationally, moving eight times for my Father’s career. At 11 years old, I developed anorexia, an eating disorder to cope with the lack of control I felt over not knowing where home was. In Uprooted I play over 40 characters, many of whom represent different parts of myself. Elda, the elder tree; my inner wisdom; Nerva, my anxiety; Anastasia, the anorexic; Puddle, my pain; Froggy, the frog in my throat. Together we embark on a journey back in time to revisit the defining moments in my childhood to eventually find home.

Since my shows, I have spent time working with eating disorder recovery centers in Los Angeles as a guest speaker and guest artist, leading workshops for ED patients in recovery which has been the greatest gift my show has given me. I am incredibly proud of “Uprooted” and once live theatre is possible again, I plan to do more runs of the show throughout the Los Angeles area and potentially bring it to eating disorder recovery centers and theaters across the country.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
The most important lessons so far boil down to: trust yourself, be disciplined, enjoy the journey and create community. I’ve built a strong practice in my craft that I am wholeheartedly committed to and I surround myself with artists who inspire me to be at my best. I’ve met so many remarkably talented people along the way who have become long-time friends and collaborators. It’s very rewarding to have a trusted network of people who I think of when I create my projects and who are supportive confidantes. I also have several mentors who I trust for advice and guidance. What energizes me the most about producing is getting to bring together artists that I am super excited to collaborate with and see the resulting magic!

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Image Credits:

Rachid Ait Chris Jon Photography Theo and Juliet Photography Katherine Raymond, KT Graphic Design Studio Jennifer Tiedemann

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