(Featured image courtesy of Max Brandin Photography)
As divisions between actors and writers and directors begin to break down, Hollywood is starting to be run by the multi-talented star, someone who can fulfill any those roles (and more) to help create a unique personal vision. However, this doesn’t discount the importance of collaboration, as multiple other voices are always needed to chime in to help cultivate a project. One place where that range of talent and penchant for teamwork is developed fully is film school. Combine that world with already-developed experience in the industry, and you’ve got your next superstar.
That superstar is Chloe Ray Warmoth, current film school student who has a strong history of exciting roles under her belt with more on the way. She spoke with TV Wasteland about the world of young Hollywood, the importance of tenacity in the industry, and how she’s further developing her agency behind the camera.
Growing up in a “medically inclined” family, Chloe always thought that she would find herself going down a similar path. However, despite their jobs as a doctor and an occupational therapist, her parents both harbored more artistic sides, and she specifically recalls their father making an effort to introduce her to foreign films and offbeat music, after which they’d gather around the grand piano to sing together. Due to these unconventional influences, Chloe and her siblings all grew up with a more “nuanced” taste than other kids their age. Her parents “had no idea I was going to be acting or filmmaking,” but they built her artistry through their own loves that they’d passed down.
Though you often hear stories of young actors being plucked out of audition rooms and breaking big on their first try, the reality is a lot less glamorous. For a lot of actors of any age, it’s all about making your way into as many audition rooms as you can, and not even Meryl Streep could book them all. “Rejection is something you adjust to almost immediately.” Warmoth’s best advice? “The second you go on an audition, you have to forget about it.” A lot of the time, that ends up coming naturally in the quickly moving cycle, but the best way to keep your peace of mind is to keep yourself focused on whatever’s coming up next, so that the callback or booking can be a wonderful surprise. And according to Chloe, a lot of those rejections don’t even have anything to do with you. “A lot of the time, it’s your hair color, your height, your look, your vibe, and so you kind of have to learn to be insensitive about everything… You’ll get what’s right for you, and you won’t get what’s wrong for you.” Warmoth found herself learning this really quickly, and she thinks that most other young people (especially girls) will too, because otherwise, “you’re just going to live your struggling artist life depressed.”
In the fourth season of Fuller House, Chloe appeared as Coco, a classmate of Ramona Gibbler. She loved being on set for a multi-camera show because “things move so much faster.” You can give your all from the very beginning and nail it in just a couple tries. The work week is still just as jam-packed with things to do, but the time is spent differently. While you can spend days shooting just a couple scenes on a single-camera show, a multi-cam program is more like a play. There’s rehearsals and blocking and rewriting, crafting every bit just right so that when the cameras turn on, you’re fully prepared to get what you need right off the bat. Thursdays are for location scenes, and Friday is when the live audience comes in to watch the whole process come together. “You get dozens of times to run through the script with your coworkers, to sit down at the writers’ table with the cast and discuss what worked today and what didn’t” as representatives from the network and lots of other people all get their eyes on every scene to get it just right. “There’s a lot of workshopping and collaboration,” which was especially exciting for Chloe on this set because she was able to work alongside people she’d grown up watching on TV, like Andrea Barber. “It’s a very special experience if you’re an actor and you get to be on a well-budgeted multi-cam show. It’s a great week of your life.”
A couple years ago, the popular chat fiction app Hooked began its first foray into live action short films with Trevor and the Virgin. Warmoth starred as the titular virgin, and she described the experience as “so, so fun… Each time we filmed more, the cast and crew just grew closer, and the episodes got better. It reflects our bond.” The comedic aspects of the series were definitely amped up in the second episode, and “we’re more in on the joke of: this is cheesy college romcom.” Chloe recently wrapped filming on the next four or five episodes, which will definitely continue to play up that lighthearted energy. The series will be retitled, though a new name hasn’t been chosen yet.
In fact, the next few shorts in the series were “such a unique and incredible experience” for Chloe because they were all filmed virtually. “They sent everyone these Pelican cases with the new iPhones that have the three lenses, shotgun mics, and lights… as much as they could.” Everyone would film their own coverage and shots individually at home, while the director could see the livestream and give minute-by-minute suggestions. They had their own lights, and the team watching on Zoom could tell them, “Turn the brightness up by ten percent” or “Make sure you’re rolling on your lav [mic].” Chloe found the experience especially gratifying because actors don’t usually get opportunities to perform other roles on set, but alone in her home, every job was up to her. “Being able to do those things makes you realize how collaborative a set really is.” While the series may look and sound a little different just because there was no gaffing crew or cinematographer, Wamorth hopes that fans will grant a bit of a grace period because “instead, it’s the actors in their homes in real isolation… From what I’ve seen of the footage, I think it’ll turn out very well.”
Chloe stars in the just-released feature film Greatland, described as a dystopia where “no one is naturally born.” Warmoth’s character Ugly Duck is the only one who was born naturally, and she’s acquired that nickname because she stands out from the rest of the people. “There’s something off about me when you watch the movie… like I’m glowing or standing out in a weird way and it really contributes to the overall theme of the film.” The Greatland society presents itself as a utopia of freedom, fun, and fluidity, but the people there may not be as free in their choices as they think. The protagonist Ulysses wants to save Ugly Duck from the elites who run the country from their remote paradise of an island, but to do so, he has to break free of his comfort and recognize the flaws in the world around him.
The themes of narrative media and a wealthy upper class exploiting the working people are incredibly relevant to today’s times, and the original script happened to also address a virus, which grew to have an expanded role in post-production as it had more of a prescient role than anticipated. Much of the film is centered on an election where both the candidates are talking animals, and “the way that the media pushes them… they become these huge figures in the lives of Greatland citizens” even though they literally cannot think for themselves. Warmoth likened it to our most recent presidential election, where the theater of it all made it difficult at times to really focus on the messages and the ideals presented by each candidate.
“What’s so interesting about the industry and young Hollywood is that it’s ridiculously small.” It can seem huge and overwhelming at first, but the more she went to auditions and events, the more she saw the same people in every waiting room. “A lot of people can view that as competition, but if the same girls are popping up over and over, then you have to realize that the group is just thinning out to the people who really love what they do, work really hard, and are persistent and want to make it.” Chloe loves her group of actor friends because they all support each other, and even when they end up against each other for the same big roles, they all know it’ll go to who it’s meant to. “Young Hollywood is doing a great job of transitioning into a world of support and love for everyone around us, realizing that there’s space in the industry for everyone.” Of course there’s always the flip side, the people who will get angry or defensive over losing roles, but Warmoth strongly believes that success will be found by the people who deserve it. “The industry itself is built on relationships, so if you’re tearing others down for their accomplishments instead of supporting their achievements and building relationships, then later when they have the opportunity to help you, they’re not going to.” Chloe especially enjoyed going to the Young Artist and Young Entertainer Awards to see her friends being celebrated for their work, which may not have been recognized anywhere else. She herself won both awards in 2019 for her guest role in Fuller House. “Within young Hollywood, these award shows give us an opportunity to celebrate each other and to celebrate the achievements that are huge to us.” For the people who are ready and willing to foster those uplifting connections, the world of young Hollywood can be an enriching and supportive place.
For any young performers trying to make their way into Hollywood, Chloe highlighted the importance of “persistence and homework.” Wanting a spot for fame or notoriety is not going to get you very far, because people can tell when you have a genuine drive. “Everything is an art form in this industry,” and while there are essential business aspects to film just like any other, “your job [as an actor or director] is creative… You need to put your heart on the line, and if you don’t, no one will connect to your work. No one will care. If you don’t put all your persistence and effort into everything, then the people who do will always beat you out.”
Warmoth has also worked on a few music videos, her most notable being Maren Morris’ Girl, and she sees those projects as pure fun. “You don’t have to worry about sound or acting so much… You don’t really have to root your intentions in the other person.” Acting is a job that she loves, but it’s also one that has to do “multitudes of homework” for, but music videos allow her to live in the moment a little more without the usual stresses of remembering her lines or maximizing her performance for each of the dozens of takes. She recently starred in Winnetka Bowling League’s Congratulations, and dancing and singing alongside a band she admires was “a dream come true,” something that she wouldn’t have been able to do if she were working in any other industry or living any other life.
Chloe began her own journey behind the camera a few years ago, and as a freshman studying Film Production at Chapman University, that road ahead of her is sure to be a long one. “I’ve always had this itch inside me, and I’ve always had a complete raw passion for filmmaking, aesthetic, and production design.” She’s incredibly grateful for the collaboration that the college environment provides, and even in the middle of a pandemic, the dedication of her peers has allowed her to create projects that she’s so proud of. “We knew that the only way we were going to succeed as filmmakers was to immediately get that crew together.” One particular thing that she loves about her class is the fact that not everyone is immediately going for the usual directing emphasis. Everyone she knows has an idea of their unique and specific path, and it allows for incredible nuance in every aspect of the process. That’s rare for a film school, especially in a brand-new freshman class. Just over one semester, they’ve created more than thirty short films together, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, Chloe will be directing their first feature film in Michigan this summer. “If anyone reading is contemplating film schools, I think Chapman just inspires creativity and collaboration above any place else. You instantly have the opportunities and equipment and resources to make industry-standard films, and the people are just the most passionate people on Earth… It’s so contagious.”
Chloe named Marley Rankin as one of her best friends and “an incredible female director” who she often collaborates with in both directing and acting roles. In the spring, “we’re making it a focal point in the semester to do an all-female crew on a film… because this semester we started feeling like all of our films, especially in the camera department, were reliant on men, and we didn’t want that.” Even though she admitted that there’s a shortage of cinematographers in their class who are women, she sees it as their responsibility to foster each others’ talents and develop their own voices in all mediums without the traditional male influence.“I think it’s important that we all establish this female connection instead of any competitive nature because women in Hollywood are a dime a dozen, but positions are one to ten” as compared to men. “There’s room for everyone if you’re doing what you want, and you’re pursuing it with your whole heart.” Warmoth has found that the key to success as a female filmmaker is collecting support from peers, and the more women that can make up that base the better.
Not long ago, the Warmoth siblings made their first feature film West Michigan in their titular home region. Directed by her brother Riley, the story follows Chloe’s Hannah, who’s navigating universal teenage issues, issues with an obsessive relationship, being on the cusp of adulthood, adn “all the complexities that make being a seventeen-year-old especially difficult.” Hannah and her brother (also played by Riley) go on a road trip to visit their grandfather before his death, allowing them to capture some of Michigan’s most picturesque landscapes. Hannah “doesn’t love her life. She wants something different” from Michigan, so when she runs into a group of nomads, she ends up connecting to nature and adventure and learning more about herself in the process. One of Chloe’s favorite production stories came from this set, on a day when she had to be hospitalized. She was in the hospital all day on painkillers, but she had to return to set that night because they were already behind schedule. The next morning, she had no recollection of anything they’d done, but the scene was completed and they were able to move on. That story is a fun one, but it also really demonstrated the dedication of everyone working on West Michigan who would overcome the frenzy and the obstacles to get the job done. Every film has problems, and according to Chloe, “what will be reflected in the work is how you overcome those problems and how you decide to make those solutions.” The movie just received distribution, and the cast and crew are gearing up for a release in April. “You can see the indie love and effort put into that film, and it makes the heart all that more special.”
See Chloe Ray Warmoth in Greatland right now on Prime Video, and be sure to watch out for West Michigan, coming soon.