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Rising Stars: Meet Haley Alea Erickson of East Austin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haley Alea Erickson.

Hi Haley, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work life, how can you bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
As documented by many chaotic home videos, I have been acting, writing, and directing since I was a tiny person. If you are interested in a play about sexy pigs written by a seven-year-old… I’ve got the pages. I spent half of my childhood in Sydney, Australia, and made a move with my family to upstate NY at the age of 12. Sunny beaches and universal healthcare to snow-covered suburbia and seasonal depression. I went to Syracuse University for undergrad, where I studied Television, Radio, and Film at the Newhouse School and took years off my life learning to “party.” For the last decade, I have worked as a writer, director, actor, and comedian in Austin’s film and commercial industry. I work with the Austin-based production company and creative agency Banter. I have recently finished my master’s degree in Screenwriting at the Victorian College of Arts at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where I furthered my education in “party.” You can see my work on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Shudder, and live at the Fallout Theatre Thursday nights for  Good Fight.

Would it have been a smooth road, and what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I would not call it a road. More like one of those zipline courses where you are generally unsure of the route; the fall would be devastating, you are unqualified to operate the equipment, so you are learning on the job… and you have bad helmet hair at the end. But it’s a blast. I have been extremely fortunate in my journey. The community I have built along the way has supported me and given me opportunities I could never have been considered for on my own. The biggest challenge for me has been resisting being put in a box. I have heard “pick a lane” more times than I can count. I often wonder if I get in my way by trying to “do it all,” but I love it. The other massive challenges I have faced in my career have been around rejection. It is hard to keep investing in yourself when you have to bounce back from a “no” as often as this industry requires. The incredible irony about filmmaking is that you must stay sensitive and vulnerable to access humanity in your storytelling but it is that same sensitivity and vulnerability that make the reality of this profession so hard.

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My goal is to make cringe comedy films with a heart. I always look for humor in our emotional capacity for uncertainty and self-doubt. I’m interested in the existential nightmare of decision paralysis in a time when the options seem to be endless, but not without consequence. I write stories about grief and regret through the lens of comedy. I am interested in telling stories inspired by my life as a woman and my experience as a queer person in a binary world. My latest project, CALL ME MOMMY, will have its world premiere at SXSW 2023. The film looks at the pressure women feel to be perfect in motherhood. My creative partner and co-director – Taylor Washington – and I made the film as a proof of concept for a feature film we hope to make the next year. After losing my mother suddenly this past year, the movie has taken on a whole new layer of meaning for me. The film, undoubtedly, is a tribute to my mother and her life as a therapist and researcher for childhood development. Funny, the timing of life, no? Worth a giggle. Maybe more of a titter.

We all have different ways of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
My definition of success is constantly changing. Earlier in my career, I had a more precise vision of what “succeeding” would look like. As the years have gone by and life has (inevitably) “happened,” I have tried to focus on success as a mindset rather than a destination. I want to continue making films with artists I am inspired by and who make me laugh. I want to be surrounded by people I love. I would really like a pet cow. Of course, I have goals. I am committed to making a feature film, I would like to get a rep for my writing, and I would like to meet Jennifer Coolidge. I also dream of raising children. But I think little wins happen all the time. I mean, I just ate a burrito while wearing a sheet mask. I’m killing it.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bex Rodriguez, Taylor Camarot, Rebecca Dreiling, Steve Rogers, Kim Lowery, Brittany Hallberg, Ryan Ovadia

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