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Check Out Whitney Wegman-Wood’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Wegman-Wood. They and their team shared their story with us below:

Whitney Wegman-Wood

Whitney Wegman-Wood is a driven and tenacious entertainer whose policy is to make every day an adventure and strive to never be boring. Born in Columbia, Mo to Fred Wegman, an aeronautics engineer, and Sharon (Hubenthal), a pediatric RN, she was raised in New Haven, MO. She attended Washington High School where she continued to pursue acting in many of the theater department’s plays. After graduating, Wegman-Wood continued her theater education at Avila University in Kansas City, MO. From there, she migrated to Atlanta, GA where she found work primarily in film and television. There she appeared in multiple independent films and series, including “Thesis,” “Meet the Browns,” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Taking a break from working Wegman-Wood returned to school at the University of Virginia to pursue an MFA in Acting. She now works full-time as a performer in California, New Mexico, and Georgia. In 2018, she received the SD Film Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Carson in the film Valhalla.

This year Wegman-Wood delved into other aspects of the film industry when she wrote and produced her first film, The Last Butterflies. The story of The Last Butterflies came to her as a series of nightmares that resulted in intense insomnia during the late fall of 2019. Rather than continue battling the sleep terrors, she decided one night to get up and put them in a cage. The chosen cage was a short film script.

The production of The Last Butterflies includes some amazing collaborators from near and far. Cooper Andrews (Shazam, The Walking Dead, Halt, and Catch Fire) performs as the film’s male lead. The film’s director is Patrick Rea (They Wait in the Dark, I Am Lisa, Arbor Demon), and its executive producer Sue Vicory (Panic at Park, Pearl, Original Jayhawk.) The Last Butterflies has a completely original score written and performed by Bobby Brader (Trolls, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and Ben Adams (Back in the No, Wild Boar).

The Last Butterflies is currently in its film festival run and had its World Premiere at the Arizona Underground Film Festival on Sept. 16th. 2023. The Last Butterflies will be screening at The Coronado Island Film Festival (Nov. 8th- 12th), San Diego Film Week (Nov. 11th- 18th), and has qualified as a semi-finalist for the Hot Springs International Horror Film Festival (Nov. 3rd- 5th) and the Mindfield Film Festival (Aug. 23rd, 2024).
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?

The road to being a working actor and filmmaker has had its fair share of obstacles. Often times when you think that you have found your big break something won’t pan out; production runs out of money, you are taken off your pinned status, etc. This is the nature of this business; a lot of rejection and false starts. On the flip side, there are many moments of unexpected serendipity and surprise. I think the important thing when pursuing the life of an actor is to know that there is no blueprint for how to go about it. Every actor’s journey to success will be vastly different. Some may find that they make inroads with casting, some are discovered doing theater, and others may choose to produce their own work.

For me, I have started down the path of producing my own work, which brings with it a different set of challenges. I am now wearing a lot more hats as a writer, producer, and actor. I have had to learn on the job how to be a producer while also learning to be the CEO of my production company Barnacle and Spoon. It has been quite the learning curve, but I love learning so I have powered through and garnered some new skill sets along the way.

I think that is maybe the most important part of tackling the adversity of this career, staying curious and being open to learning new things.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I would say that I am mostly known for being an actor, or actress if that is your preference. Recently, I am receiving more attention as a writer and producer because of my film The Last Butterflies. We are currently doing our festival run and I would say that, to date, this film is the thing I am most proud of in my career. I put so much of myself into it; my fears, my tenacity, my blood, sweat, and tears. I had an old professor when I was training in theater who always said, “Leave it all on the stage.” I feel like with The Last Butterflies I left it all on the screen. I have completely laid bare my vulnerabilities as a writer, an actor, and as human being. It took me many years since my early training to get to a place where I could open my heart like this, but it is an achievement I am deeply proud of.

What sets me apart from others? Does insanity count? I am dynamic and practice perpetual optimism. This is not to say that I am always optimistic but I will doggedly push through the bad stuff because, in the end, I know we have to fight for the happily ever after.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
I feel like I have been dispensing advice all through this interview. It’s the teacher in me; I can’t help it. Okay, I will opt for more practical advice for this one. For those just starting out, take a business class. Being an actor is running your own small business and the sooner you get a handle on how to run a business, the better off you will be. I wish that when I was starting out, I had been aware that taking a business class would be a huge advantage. I also wish I had known that it all takes a lot more time than you think and there is never really an end to the journey. If you are growing as a person and a performer you will always want to strive for more in your career, so loving the journey and the process is of paramount importance.

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Image Credits
Emily Sandifer Taylor Snyder Tara St. Charles Steve Allen David S Dawson

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