Indie Filmmaker Alexandra Boylan On Taking Control of Your Career
March 29, 2019
Hollywood is a tough town to make it in—especially if you’re a woman. People from around the world flock to La La Land with the hopes of ‘making it big’ and living out their dreams. But for some, that dream never comes to fruition. That’s why Alexandra Boylan—actress, writer, producer and indie filmmaker—says she forged her own path, making her dreams become reality.
“I never thought I’d become producer, writer and bad-ass hard worker,” Boylan says. “I thought I’d be the next Emma Stone; pampered, driven to set. I’m glad it didn’t happen because who knows what kind of human being I would have become. If everything came easy to me, who would I be? I am who I am because I had to get in the dirt and grind.”
Boylan moved to Los Angeles back in 1999 at just 19 years old. A college dropout and pastor’s daughter, the small-town girl from Georgetown, Massachusetts, set out to become a movie star.
“I spent the next 10 years of my life trying to figure out how to work in this town,” Boylan says. “I was homeless after a year of being in L.A. I lost my apartment and I lived in my car for a month.”
Boylan worked as a waitress while auditioning for acting roles. Failed audition after failed audition and with minimal acting gigs booked, she decided to make an extensive life change.
“In 2009 I was 29 and I woke up and realized if I kept doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, I was going to be a 40-year-old waitress,” she recalls. “I was unhappy and struggling. Everything I did wasn’t working, and I didn’t know how to change it.”
So, she packed her bags and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a move that would come full circle, allowing Boylan to eventually live out her dreams. But first, she humbled herself by experiencing new beginnings. Boylan became a companion to elderly people and learned skills as a production assistant and stand-in on various movie sets.
“When I moved to New Mexico, I think my mentality was to give up everything and see what else life had in store for me,” Boylan states. “I went there to kind of re-center myself because I wasn’t healthy. When you get knocked down and rejected for 10 years, you can imagine you’re not the healthiest person you can be.”
But that is exactly where her life began to drastically change—for the better, and Boylan moved back into filmmaking in a whole new way.
“I met a group of awesome indie filmmakers and I was like, why don’t we start making our own stuff?” Boylan says. “When you love something, you’re always going to be tugged back to it. My heart still wanted to be in the entertainment industry.”
Boylan and her newfound friends and co-creators began writing, producing, directing, editing and creating their own content.
“I had so much fun being a part of every aspect of creating and I found these amazing filmmakers to do it with,” Boylan reminisces.
In 2011, a few short films and web series’ later, Boylan and her team would produce their first feature, Home Sweet Home, a thriller/horror.
“What was so incredible is we ended up selling the movie to a major distribution company and the movie got distribution in America and all over the world—and we were able to parlay that into a career,” Boylan says.
A career that morphed when Boylan began using her Christian upbringing and desire to reach an untouched audience; to create faith-based films.
“My sales agent—who is now my executive producer—said horrors are saturated, but faith-based family isn’t getting content that’s quality at the moment,” Boylan says. “She said that if you can make a film with the quality of Home Sweet Home in a faith-based family, you will blow the competition out of the water.”
Boylan’s first faith-based film was called Catching Faith, a female driven football movie that Boylan says is her most successful film to date. Maybe it also has something to do with the other common theme running through her films: female driven content.
“I’m really passionate about making movies about women and I saw the landscape in faith-based films; that no one was talking to women, they were all talking to men,” Boylan says. “Why? Why aren’t we speaking to the audience who is buying the movie? The women, mothers, and children.”
After Catching Faith, Boylan and her team created A Wish for Christmas, Catching Faith II, and At Your Own Risk. They are currently in pre-production for their next feature Switch, about two girls in high school, one of whom is a bully and the other her victim, who end up switching lives and learn what it’s like to walk in each other’s shoes.
Today, nearly 20 years after her journey began, Boylan is back in L.A. with a life she could never have imagined: a solid career as an award-winning actor, storyteller, writer and producer with the ability to tell stories she wants to put out into the world. But that may not have happened if she hadn’t decided to take a risk, become her own boss, and create the life herself she had always imagined.
“I think there are signs in the universe; in the world and life,” Boylan says. “If it’s not working, you have to rethink it. What can I control? What’s out of my control? How can I make strategic decisions so I’m not in the same place five years from now?”
Boylan’s films have been distributed through Netflix, Universal Home Studios Entertainment, Pure Flicks and Image Entertainment. Catching Faith is currently streaming on Hulu and available at Walmart, while it, A Wish for Christmas, Home Sweet Home, and At Your Own Risk can be found on Amazon and iTunes.
Catching Faith II is due out fall 2019.
Written by: Allison Collins-SmithAllison Collins-Smith is a twice Emmy-nominated journalist who has worked as a television reporter and anchor in markets around the country. She has covered a variety of stories from the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Trump’s travel ban in the fourth circuit court of appeals. Allison has also won AP awards for her work and a Catalyst For Change award from the Arc of Virginia for her reporting on the disabled community. Allison just moved to Los Angeles with her screen writer husband and two cats and is excited for all LA has to offer!