Local talent agencies supply actors to productions large and small, but first you’ve got to get your foot in the door.
When 9-year-old Lila Jane Meadows of Roswell heard an agency, the one that gave Chandler Riggs of “Walking Dead” fame his big role, was taking submissions, she jumped at the chance. The only problem? The agency was looking for boys and short people. Neither described Lila Jane but that didn’t stop her. She submitted anyway and surprisingly the agency signed on the young actress at the end of 2018.
“Being the youngest of five, our daughter could not have pursued acting in film if we had to travel to LA or New York,” says Nita Meadows, Lila Jane’s mother. “The tv and film industry in Georgia is booming. It’s accessible and feasible to pursue here.”
Lila Jane, a polite, outgoing kid with a background in musical theatre and competitive dance, went on a dozen auditions her first eight months at the agency. Her first callback was for the “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” She earned the role of Tammy Faye’s daughter, and her first experience on film was alongside Cherry Jones, Andrew Garfield, and Jessica Chastain, who was nominated for an Oscar for her starring role.
“It was the best four days of my life; it was so cool and surreal” says Lila Jane. “Before that experience, I felt like I never heard about people getting picked for roles who were from Georgia. Being on set felt like my dreams of acting in movies until I’m old could come true.”
The infrastructure in Georgia has grown to support the growing pool of local talent. Lila Jane has taken acting classes designed for film and television, classes that were harder to find 10 years ago. She also had Zoom calls with casting directors who gave the actors tips and lessons on auditioning and acting during the COVID-induced shutdown in 2020.
“We’ve heard from casting directors that they’re impressed with the talent here,” says Nita. “Georgia has arrived. They no longer need to go outside of it to find talent.”
Since appearing in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Lila Jane, now 12 years old, has gone on many more auditions. She recently booked a commercial and hopes to continue acting in films and television