Kimberly Dawn (also known as Kimberly Hester Huffstetler) is an actor from Gastonia, North Carolina who has been in the business for about two years. In that short amount of time she has been a part of many productions, both big and small , working on some 60 sets here in the southeast.
One of those movies is Darren Conrad's A Father's Love which is currently in production. Here's what Darren had to say about her.
"Kimberly Dawn and I have been good friends for several years! She has always been so kind and supportive of my work as an actor and filmmaker. As Kim became interested in the craft of acting, I started noticing her work and how professional she comes across both promoting herself and others. After Kim worked with me as Featured Background on The Kill Switch and Partners, I felt it was time to see her in action as a Principal Character. When I started writing A Father's Love, something about the way she speaks and the way she looks became my vision for 'Nurse Millie'. In shooting her scenes on Sunday, November 8, 2015, Kimberly showed me she can hold her own. She is very natural, organic, and soft spoken. She definitely has a 'Niche'. I was so proud of her on this film and will definitely consider her for other projects I write in my future. She is a very sweet, compassionate, and caring woman. 'A GREAT FRIEND and HARD WORKER!'"
I had a chance to speak with Kimberly this past fall to learn more about what she is doing. See the interview below to learn more about her and some of the movies she's participated in and the directors she has worked with.
War Room has been recommended to me but I haven't seen it yet. Tell me about your role in that movie.
Kimberly Dawn I was honored to have filmed three background scenes in War Room.... a hospital scene where I was a charge nurse. This scene was not edited out so you can see me briefly in that scene. I also filmed a church congregation scene which was cut, and a restaurant scene which may possibly make the deleted scenes because of the dialogue and content of the Script.
Where was it filmed?
Kimberly Dawn My three scenes were filmed in uptown Charlotte, Hickory, and Concord. They filmed mainly in North Carolina but I thought I saw the Atlanta Skyline so they may have filmed in Georgia too.
A nurse in War Room and you will also be playing a nurse in Darren Conrad's A Father's Love. Did you audition specifically for these roles?
Kimberly Dawn I auditioned for the nurse in War Room but Darren asked me personally if I would take the role in A Father's Love.
What was it that brought you to acting?
Kimberly Dawn Darren did a short on guns in school called The Kill Switch.. I have known him many years (we went to school together). We were Facebook friends... I attended his premier for two films he had done just because it was exciting and I wanted to show support.
He knew I had several years modeling experience behind me and knew camera etiquette. They needed background for The Kill Switch project. It was last minute... but He asked and I said "Yes!" That was October 2013. So this is my 2 year anniversary in film. It's been BEAST MODE ON ever since.
One of the actors on that set asked me if I would be filming in my own hometown the next weekend. I told them I knew nothing about it. They gave me the address and a time to be there. I showed up and filmed my first feature film Athena, Goddess of War.
In meeting other actors while waiting on our time to film, you get to know a lot about them. I shared the usual info about my life, being single for a long long time with three daughters. That I attended church and though not big on organized religion, I was a believer and went regularly.
A week or two later, received a private message from one of the actor friends, telling me he put my name on the list to show up for another movie, which will be aired sometime in November of this year (2015) I believe. It's called Mountaintop. This movie stars Barry Corbin, Lin Shaye, Danny Vinson, Gary Moore, Tim Ross, Burgess Jenkins, Coby McLaughlin, and Bob Gunton. It was for a church scene....and since I attended regularly, would be good at it as they said. (laughs) I filmed the church scene and got bumped to a choir member and a nurse too.
Looking back, I was totally shocked to find out that was not the norm. I am very blessed and honored to be a part of the film community. My fellow film friends are amazing. I don't have a dream to put on to film, (not yet anyway) so I really enjoy helping others making their dream come true.
When A Father's Love is filmed, I will have been a part of 60 film projects, 13 of which I have had speaking parts of some type. I have enjoyed meeting and working with everyone. The film community is very small. Every film site I have been on, I have seen at least one familiar face, and that includes when I would go to South Carolina, Georgia, or Tennessee to film. Very small community. My favorite thing about it is seeing everyone help their friends out. If someone lacks a cameraman or PA (Production Assistant), boom, etc , a film friend will pop up and fill in the gap. It amazes me how the community is so much like a family. I love it. We can catch up at the monthly film community meetings if we want to help market ourselves or just have fun enjoying each other's company. For as long as it Last, I am having fun and having a blast.
Tell me about some of the directors you've worked with and their style of directing.
Kimberly Dawn I'll discuss some of the directors that stand out to me the most, and of course Darren Conrad stands out the most because he is so detailed and thorough with all his film projects from beginning to end... He treats his main cast the same as he does the background. Making everyone feel important, because they are. He always has good craft services amd accommodates for all scenarios encountered. (For example: If its gonna rain, he will have extra umbrellas, or shuttles to the places where he knows the directions will be tough - always thinking about his cast and crew.) He always has an organized set and always speaks to his cast and explains to them what is going on (scenario, atmosphere, etc...) which eases the minds of the new and helps the seasoned actors to portray what is needed better. In the film world there is a lot of disorganization, so that stands for something in my book.
I have also worked with Bill Rahn on Virtuous and One Church. He is also a great director. He is professional, has a great eye for capturing the scene, yet can smile and laugh during the stressful times in shooting. He also speaks to his cast before or during filming as well, which means a lot to a person who is new to the business, or has no clue who is who and what is what on set.
Gary Wheeler is another one. I have worked with him on Mountaintop which will be airing in November 2015, War Room, and Christmas in the Smokies which will be coming out this holiday season too. Though I haven't gotten to talk with him much at all during these sets, I commend Gary on his production crews because everyone of his major production sets go quick and easy, and the crew always seem to work well together. They know each other's style and work ethics, so they all work quickly and quietly to get the job done, meaning that filming goes on schedule the majority of the time.
He and along with Richard Clark Jr., like to keep the filming as close to home in North Carolina as possible. Richard actually is from Gastonia where I am from, and runs THE INDEE movie studio on Main Avenue. He is also one to smile and have fun yet get the job done during set time. I filmed Christmas in the Smokies with him and that is soon to be out on Hallmark I believe.
David Temple is another director I admire.I had a very small background part in Chasing Grace but He puts his entire heart into his projects and cares about the cast, crew and audience. He integrates audience participation after his showings, which I think takes it to a different level and gives more of a home feel if you can hear how someone relates to the movie in their own words.
Alex Kendrick of War Room is also another great director I have worked with and admire. His set was so different than any of the other ones I've been on. They are very organized, everyone was so friendly and they even had a prayer team to pray over each set, the cast and crew. They gave out a daily scripture from the Bible that was very encouraging and needed for the tension some get before going in front of the camera.
He has a genuine spirit and heart about him, and also comes and talks to the cast before filming the scene. He goes the extra mile. After my last scene of the three I filmed for the movie, I realized I was wrapped and wanted to get a picture with him. I had sparsely mentioned to my other film friend how I wanted a picture before I left, but didn't get the chance. One of the ladies who were volunteering on set, said "You want a picture?" and I told her I would love one. They were about to shoot another scene in a few minutes, but she radio'd him, and he walked across a long grassy area from set just to come get a picture with me before I left. That spoke volumes to me.
A lot of times background actors feel less than best because they are treated that way. That day I felt like I mattered, and what we were filming mattered, and it's all because of the directors who care for and take the time for their crew and cast.
Just to mention a few others, Charay Vaughn from the movie coming out called Not Now and Chuck Williams, from the upcoming movie Shake off the World, and Shea Sizemore from the short My Luchador are also people who I admired while working for them. Each one puts emphasis on their people (cast/crew).
In this crazy chaotic film world, it's great to have s family that cared enough about you to want to take care of you and appreciate you when you are helping them make their dreams come true. Out of almost 60 film sets, there isn't a lot of appreciation being given out to others on the set from the directors and producers, so when you do see it...it stands out.
What's next for you?
Kimberly Dawn Right now I have a background set to film on Asylum which is being filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina the first of November. Mid November a A Fathers Love and I also have been asked to help with some casting and assistant directing on an upcoming faith based film called Education in Love written and directed by Trey Riley. This will be his first feature film and we are all excited about the project. It will be filming the first of the year and I plan to stay busy until then making it fun seeing ol' film friends and meeting new while helping make someone's dream come true.
Anything you'd like to say for those people just getting into acting?
Kimberly Dawn Follow your dreams. If you don't have one, follow someone else's until you do!
That is wise advice as helping someone else in the business accomplish their dreams can lead to you accomplishing yours.