Photo courtesy of True Moxie Photography.
Charissa J. Adams.

Filmmaker and actor vies for a reel opportunity

By: Christy Wolyniak
Local actor and theater presence, Charissa J. Adams has a unique opportunity to compete on the first season of a new multi-platform reality program, "The Reel Deal." Actors, composers, and directors will work alongside celebrity mentors to create a film in just one week for a shot at fame and visibility.

“The fact that 'The Reel Deal' puts a spotlight on the behind -the-scenes action of what makes a movie is exciting to me, and that the public gets to see that. People can watch the behind-the-scenes on DVD, but it’s not the same as the as-it-happens obstacles that we have to overcome and all the work it takes to make a movie,” said Adams.

Adams began performing in church plays at the young age of six, but her first of many spunky roles was Phebe in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in Theater, starred on TNT’s acclaimed show, "Leverage," and is currently performing in "Diana of Dobson" at Seattle’s Taproot Theater.

During her audition for "The Reel Deal," this feisty redhead unleashed a bit of her own spirit during a monologue as Dolly Parton’s character, Doralee, from "Nine to Five." Not to be messed with, some might say she could “turn (a man) from a rooster to a hen in one shot.”

“I bring to the show a dedication and excitement about filmmaking, and I’m a team player. I love collaborating with people to tell stories. On a level of who I am as an actor, one of the types of characters I can play is the unexpected little bad ass – the spunky best friend that will punch the guy in the face that is stalking you,” laughed Adams.

Working under a deadline does not fade Adams, who has participated in film projects including the 48-Hour Film Festival and SIFF’s Crash Cinema every other month, where groups of filmmakers make a four-minute movie in just one day using whatever means available. "The Reel Deal" will be Adam’s first encounter with reality television.

“People’s true stories are fascinating. What they choose to do with their lives, be passionate about, obsess over, and how they react to the circumstances they are put in will always interest other human beings,” Adams commented. “I think that’s why movie-making is important and interesting, and why storytelling has been a part of our lives for as long as we have existed.”

The Reel Deal hosted auditions using multiple online formats such as YouTube, Scribd and Soundcloud before sifting through the 27 thousand entries. Shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "American Idol" have America addicted, so indie-filmmaker Adryenn Ashley decided to fill the gap in the reality television world by shining the spotlight on and possibly launching the careers of these undiscovered artists.

Now 120 candidates are collecting votes in hopes to make it into the final 21 spots for the show’s first season.

“The audition process has been really encouraging and collaborative for a competitive reality TV show. All of the contestants really connected on social media,” said Adams.

For Adams, the experience with "The Reel Deal" came at an opportune time. She was at the point in her career where she decided that film would be a constant rhythm in her life regardless of major acting opportunities.

“I came to a point in my career where I was tired of waiting for people to give me permission to do what I wanted to do,” said Adams. “’We were all kind of in that place of, ‘Yes I have things professional happening for me, but I want something that’s artistically fulfilling for me to be happening consistently.”’

What began as an idea quite literally out of a hat soon blossomed into written, filmed and edited shorts with a group of friends, all within the constrained timeline of a weekend. Packed hours of artistic collaboration soon emerged into "Light a Match Productions," which highlights strong, female-centric stories.

The group has already made four shorts ranging in genre from dark comedy, post-apocalyptic, and romantic comedy with plans to continue making films once a month on YouTube and possibly a website, later expanding into 30-minute features.

“Light a match. It’s the idea that we’re starting really small and who knows what will come from that,” remarked Adams on the company’s name.

Adams has certainly sparked a flame within her tight-knit film community of Seattle and she hopes to ignite her passion for film and acting through this ‘reel’ opportunity.

"The Reel Deal" has secured celebrity talent, nontraditional distribution available to more than 300 million devices, and a groundbreaking partnership with, a new voting platform that will allow audiences to peek into the future of the entertainment industry, and engage with the content, contestants and celebrities.

Season one celebrities include Host David Chokachi (Baywatch), Don ‘the Dragon’ Wilson, Dustin Diamond (Saved by the Bell), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Holly Fields, Judy Norton (The Waltons), and Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager).

“If nothing else, the smallest possible result is that all of the contestants really bonded together and I think several projects could come out of that,” said Adams.

The final candidates will be announced on May 29, and Adams hopes to be among them. Voting began April 24 and ends Thursday, May 15.

To vote for Charissa Adams and secure her seat on the show, visit or check out her personal site:

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