Actors have it rough. Often dependent on others for creative expression and denied any sort of blueprint for success, many feel isolated and adrift.
Not Grace McPhillips, well, not anymore. McPhillips founded The Chicago Acting in Film Meetup Group in 2007. Feeling “stymied as an actress,” McPhillips decided it was time Chicago actors had access to a support system, “fellow working actors [with whom] to share concerns and successes.”
Three years later, her group has grown to almost two hundred members, each “go-getters who take charge of their own careers.” No accident; McPhillips is selective, asking that those interested apply for membership. “Protecting our group's professionalism,” she says, “is key to our success.”
Though actors are often perceived as competitive, McPhillips doesn’t worry about sharing her secrets. Says McPhillips, “one of our goals is to help each other be smarter Chicago actors. When we share what we know, we learn and we grow, and everyone benefits.” Another goal? To keep film production local. “For every dollar spent on a production in Illinois, something like three dollars is made for the state and local economies,” says McPhillips. “We want opportunities here so we don't lose people, and money. It’s important for actors in Chicago to be able to make a good living and provide for their families. Film and voice over production feeds actors here much more than theater. And who doesn't love watching our beautiful city in films and commercials?”
To assist in these goals and others, The Chicago Acting in Film Meetup Group will host its “Annual Networking Night and Holiday Fundraiser” on Monday, December 13 from 7 p.m. to Midnight. Held at Chief O’Neill’s Restaurant and Pub, the event includes entertainment, a raffle and more. McPhillips says she’s looking forward to the event, specifically the chance to “celebrate the year, and plan projects for the New Year.”
With prizes including a Bulls ticket package, a private vocal lesson with Mark Burnell and a headshot session with Teresa Cesario, the raffle offers something for everyone, whether an actor or not.
According to McPhillips, "what happens in the Meetup stays in the Meetup,” but what happens at the fundraiser is anyone’s guess.