Dreams are coming true for Moviemaker Christy Oldham after hard work, determination, sacrifice
It was pouring down rain the day Christy Oldham packed up her belongings and drove to Plaquemine to tell her parents goodbye a little over a decade ago. Determined to pursue her dream, she weathered her mother’s tears and took her dad’s advice to heart.
Last week, back home to promote her new film “Barracuda”, Christy remains a determined woman who knows what she wants out of life and career. It has taken plenty of sacrifice, the very force of her will, but the rewards are now coming. She always knew she was an artist, not a housewife, a risk taker not one to settle into a routine.
“There is absolutely noting wrong with settling down, getting married, and having children right here in Plaquemine. It is a wonderful place to live one’s life. But that was not what drives me. I was taking courses at LSU in Veterinarian Science and I decided to take a class in acting. I was hooked. I wanted to be an actress. And, now, the experiences I have had over the last thirteen years as an artist have driven me to expand from beyond acting to writing screenplays and directing,” she explained as she sat in her parent’s backyard on a director’s chair labeled “Christy Oldham”.
The movie producer, screenwriter, director, and actress was in Plaquemine last week to promote her latest film venture with local television and print media interviews as well as to spend a bit of time with her dad, Jerry, and mom, Pearl. She is off shortly to the Flint (Michigan) Independent Filmmakers Festival and then returns to Louisiana to attend the premiere of her movie Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16 at the New Orleans Film Festival at the Chalmette Movie Theatre on West Judge Perez Drive.
This is a very important “rap up” time for Christy. She wants to attract multi-media outlets to expose her work. Independent filmmakers, who are not driven by studio producers, do their own promoting, especially through film festivals.
She hopes to draw as much attention as she can with distributors to see who will offer her the best options. However, one outlet she sees as a viable way to profit is to put her film on stream on her website. That will happen next month. To rent the movie got to www.barracudamovie.tv. To read more about the film go to her production company’s website at www.mercuryrisingfilms.com.
Right now Christy’s life is consumed with promoting her action Gridhouse-style film, which is sure to attract an audience of males and young women who admire a strong female character willing to take risks to do the right thing. Once the film has been promoted she will take a break and then begin final research and starting writing her next screenplay. It will be about a serial killer spree set and filmed in the Baton Rouge area and based on the infamous Derrick Lee killings.
Christy enjoys filming in Louisiana. She will soon meet with the La. Film Commission to start the ball rolling for her serial killer film. Parts of “Barracuda” were filmed in Plaquemine at the local police station and jail as well as at Plaquemine High School. Christy’s dad, Jerry, who is an operations supervisor at Georgia Gulf Chemicals in Plaquemine, scouts the area for good film locations for her.
Although she has been basically a self-promoter, Oldham hired an agent when she reached Los Angeles in the late 1990s and found work as an actress in independent films and television series. Two ventures were as a co-star in films “The Gods of Circumstance” and “The Legend of Black Annie”. She also appeared on the CBS TV series “The Eleventh Hour”.
She eventually met actor-director Shane Woodson and the two created Mercury Rising Films. Their first production was a well-received comedy “Cain and Abel”. She began writing the screenplay for “Barracuda” while working on “Cain and Abel”. Woodson directed and produced “Barracuda”, but Christy was co-director and co-producer as well as the lead actress and screenwriter, which meant she had a major influence on making the movie.
“I was fully absorbed in making ‘Barracuda’. It is very much my film. I spent a lot of my time writing it. Although I paint (expressionistic oil) and operate a dog sitting company in the Los Angeles area, putting together the film was very much a major part of my life in recent months. I sit dogs for people and spent time doing it in clients’ homes while they are away. I did a lot of my screenwriting while watching the dogs and homes,” explained Oldham.
When Christy is not actively operating her business, she contributes time to pet charities.
“I really don’t have time to own my own pet or to maintain one. Let’s just say I don’t own a television or watch TV. I am too busy and too occupied with Mercury Rising Films and my sitting business,” she said.
Oldham, who is in her late 30s, has never been married and feels no inclination at this time in her life to do so. She dates, but has yet to meet a man who matches her in the right way.
“I am career driven. I have sacrificed to pursue my dream and after thirteen years in the film business, I am proud of what I have achieved so far. It is a tough business. Before I began my own company, I would go to auditions with a hundred other women trying out for the same part, while my agent was sending more than just me to compete for the role. I began as an actress and now I operate my own film company. I plan to direct and produce my next film, but only take, perhaps, a bit acting part in it,” noted Christy.
Oldham had one bit of advice for young women: To go after their dream, whether it be to raise a family or pursue a career, take the risk and work hard and sacrifice for what it takes to succeed.
Back to that rainy day she bid goodbye to her parents, her father’s advice was” “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” She had a number of wooden nickels made to hand out to people. It is a reminder of the career risk she took and how it has begun to pay off.