Inspirational Woman: Amelia O’Loughlin | Actor, Writer & Founder, Frieda Films

Amelia O'LoughlinI’m an actor, writer, and the founder of Freida Films.

Alongside running my production company, I produced the recently announced short film I’m Still Ethan. I also wrote and starred in the production alongside Phoebe Lorenz, Dave Johns and little Louie Collibee. What drives me, what excites me and gets my ass out of bed in the morning is storytelling. Always has been. As early as I can remember I would dress up and boss around anyone who would listen.

My career in the arts began in dance, I then moved onto physical theatre, improvisation and comedy, performing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and various other theatres, I lived in Barcelona and performed Shakespeare with The English Theatre Company of Barcelona and fell majorly in love with acting; I had no film skills or experience until training in NYC. And no experience as a writer/ director until I found a quiet place with pen & paper, wrote a play, and saved every penny I could to produce it and tour London theatres. Sometimes just doing it, and worrying about it later, works. I went to uni, learned what I liked through doing a load of stuff that I didn’t like, watched and read and devoured everything I could, and then I think it’s a filtering system: you just keep getting clearer and clearer, closer and closer to that sweet spot. It can change too, whenever you like. Right now, working on brilliant, bold, evocative, powerful film is occupying most of my waking moments.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Oh yeah, a million times.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Of course, we all do. Thankfully. Art is about expressing something and connecting with people. Challenges make us interesting. If you don’t feel anything – if your belly doesn’t burn with some passion or frustration for something you really want, if you don’t know that feeling picking yourself up off the kitchen floor, then I’d argue it’s actually a hindrance to your creativity. Audiences want to see real experiences and emotions in the content they watch. Challenges are part of life.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Getting the thumbs up from my mum.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Trying your very best to silence the voice of doubt.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

No mentoring as yet. But I have been so incredibly lucky to meet and connect with people who’ve opened doors for me and taken a chance – they’ve changed my career. Information is gold in this industry, and knowing people is – as ever – part and parcel of the job. However terrifying it might seem to introduce yourself to someone and start a conversation from nothing, do it. I chased my hero down the street once.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I’d like to see the culture on film sets allow for women and men to celebrate their differences – or lack of – and not feel pressured to assume certain characteristics that are needed to be taken seriously – or to be heard. We’ve all been on sets where the egos are high – I do not agree with people of any gender identity needing to behave in a certain way in order to do their job. I worked with a female assistant director recently who had to shout much louder than ever male AD I’ve come across; that could be coincidence or that could be that the crew didn’t feel any real threat from the former. That’s what Freida Films is all about; the work and the collaboration; never one-upmanship.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

You are here, first and foremost, to enjoy life. After that, comes storytelling. Don’t lose yourself in the wanting – in the pursuit of things that will soon be on their way.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Of course one of the biggest fishes right now is releasing I’m Still Ethan to the world; as well as the creative direction on this project, a large part of my role as producer was exploring where this story can go – where it will fit into the world and how its potentiality could manifest – that’s why I’ve partnered us with organisations who’re at the forefront of change, as well as the brilliant creatives over at Enon Films. This project has some legs alright, and I’m forever grateful for so many seeing that.

Future wise: I’ve been working on a series since last summer, it’s my biggest baby yet and I cannot wait to see where it goes. This was a different kind of challenge for me, it required pouring my heart on to the page, for the first time in this way. We’re just at the beginning but the fulfillment, the truth and freedom that comes with making something so personal, makes it so worthwhile. The future is bright.


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