Deanna Rashell

In front of the camera and behind Outlook Productions

Deanna RashellBorn in the San Francisco Bay Area and now calling Atlanta home, actress and producer Deanna Rashell has filled just about every on-camera role there is. Besides acting in films, she’s done commercials, conducted interviews, hosted and  emceed events, done product and film reviews, and been a presenter at trade shows. As for her behind-camera work, Deanna runs Outlook Productions, the film production company she founded in 2008, where she personally sees all of the projects through from beginning to end.

To say Deanna will be busy going into 2020 is an understatement. As this goes to press, she is producing and starring in a pilot which begins filming in February and she just completed a supporting role in a SAG feature film. She also tells me that she’s now on that production team and they are working on the next feature film in which she is slated to be one of the leads and a co-producer. She went on to add that she has two trailers for two projects she currently has in post production. Lean more on her past and recent projects, as well as how Deanna got to the level she is now, in the following interview she gave exclusively to Idol Features. Above left photo of Deanna at the November 2019 Pryor Cashman American Film Market red carpet event, and all following photos, courtesy of Deanna herself.

Deanna Rashell
Recent headshot
CHRIS CHARLES: You were born and raised in Vallejo, California, but now live in Atlanta. Is there anything you miss about the Bay Area that Atlanta just doesn’t have?
DEANNA RASHELL: I don’t miss the Bay Area at all! I actually feel like New Orleans is where I found myself and that I feel like was probably more like a true home for me. I do miss New Orleans; the people, the energy, the culture, and of course the food! Atlanta is great too, it’s just very big with lots of traffic. I’m still finding my footing here in Atlanta and making some great friends and connections along the way.
CHRIS: I see you’re credited as Deanna Rashell in some of your works and as Deanna Meske in others. There are also separate IMDb pages for you under each of those names. I also see that some of your roles are listed at one of those pages or the other, while some of your roles are listed at both pages. That seems very unusual, as most actresses have just one IMDb page with all their credits and if they were credited under a different name for certain films or shows, it will be annotated; “credited as…” It’s the first time I’ve seen someone listed twice at IMDb, almost as if you’re two different people. So my question is; how did that come about?
DEANNA: Rashell is my middle name actually and I decided to use that as my stage name. Almost all of my credits have been transferred to Deanna Rashell (on IMDb) and this is where all of my new credits are going, even though some of my more prestigious work didn’t make it over to Deanna Rashell, that is the only IMDb page I am using now.
CHRIS: Besides acting in films, you’ve done commercials, hosted shows, conducted live interviews, done product and movie reviews, and that’s just to name a few things. Is there anything you’d consider your specialty?
Deanna Rashell
Last Halloween. Deanna did her complete outfit and makeup herself.
DEANNA: Delivering a performance on camera is my main specialty. I’m really good with very powerful characters with high action drama and on the flip side, with very comedic over-the-top goofy characters. Those are my two most favorite areas to play in.
CHRIS: Growing up with four brothers and no sisters, you did a lot tomboyish things as a kid, such as riding a dirt motorcycle. Do you still ride?
DEANNA: Yes, four brothers. I had my own Yamaha 80 and loved it. We used to go dirt bike riding every weekend. It was a blast. I also learned to four-wheel drive in the rough terrain, drive boats, drive the stand-up Jet Skis, snowmobiles, snow ski, and I can single ski and wakeboard too.
CHRIS: You’ve done comedy, drama, horror, and more. Do you have a favorite genre or feel there is a genre that you’re best suited for?
DEANNA: That’s tough. I love comedy the most, but if I get to play a bad guy or a really badass character, then drama may come out on top!
CHRIS: As for your behind-camera roles, I assume you’ve pretty much ran the gamut there, as well?
DEANNA: Well, I have produced 28 short films and I directed about 16 of those. Some of them are micro-shorts anywhere between three and five minutes and some of them were a bit longer between eight and ten minutes. I’ve operated camera, edited, some basic lights, set design, shot lists, and writing. When I shoot business videos, I am a one-woman band, so I do it all and sometimes even make an appearance as a host in the videos. Honestly, when you are a content creator, sometimes you just have to do whatever needs to be done. I may be directing and starring, but you are likely to find me feeding the DP, taking out the trash, fixing someone’s costume amongst many other little things that may need to get done “now” in order to move things along.
Deanna Rashell
At Cirque du Soleil
CHRIS: Your film company Outlook Productions, has had some films that have won awards at some prominent film festivals, correct?
DEANNA: Yes, we had a film called Sunset Ship Crime and we won in two categories and were nominated in four. I actually won Best Actress in that film.
CHRIS: How big a team does Outlook Productions have?
DEANNA: It varies. When it comes to my business videos, it’s often just myself. I will run camera, do all of the editing, and do all of the set-ups. Sometimes I’ll have an assistant. On short film sets there could be anywhere from six to fifteen crew members.
CHRIS: Since you began your acting career, who have been some of your favorite people to work with on either side of the camera?
DEANNA: I really enjoyed working with Scott Bakula. He was not only a great actor, he was a really nice person and he was looking out for me in one scene and actually helped me a lot. It was a little intimidating being with so many stars for the first time and he helped me out. Recently I worked with a friend of mine; Joy Villa. I really enjoyed working with her as well. There have been a lot of great actors and actresses and a few good directors too.
CHRIS: You seem to travel a lot. You were in Edinburgh, Scotland for an awards event in September and in Washington DC just last month. Is traveling often the norm for you these days?
Deanna Rashell
At the Georgia Production Partnership holiday party earlier this month
DEANNA: Actually I haven’t been traveling as much as I used to I used to work as a spokesperson for Chevy and I pretty much lived on the road most of the year. I also used to live between New Orleans and Los Angeles, so I traveled between those two cities every three to four weeks, but this last year my travel has picked up a bit. I do travel for work a lot and sometimes just for play.
CHRIS: Do you have more episodes of your web series Government Lies in the works?
DEANNA: I have episode five right now with a new editor, and episode six was shot, but has not been edited or released. Once those two episodes get done, I do plan to write more episodes. A lot of people seem to really like that series. It’s just a matter of getting these episodes done. Unfortunately, I cannot finish off episode five because I don’t have the program that’s required. I had another editor who did most of the work and he used different software than I use.
CHRIS: Yes, I can relate to that. So, what other upcoming projects from you can we look forward to in the near future?
DEANNA: I’m in pre-production on a pilot called Soul Wars. I will be producing and starring in that film. I may actually direct it and find a main producer to take my place. We shoot that in February 2020. I’m also in production on a new romantic comedy that I will costar in with Joy Villa. We will be the main leads and that is called Hot Sauce. I just wrapped up a strong supporting role in a feature film called The Contrast, that should be out around April 2020.
CHRIS: I see you have several upcoming films that are currently in various stages of production. Do you know which ones will be released soon?
Deanna Rashell
Enjoying a cigar, of which Deanna is an occasional smoker of, by the pool
DEANNA: The Contrast will come out first. I do have another short film that I did for the 48 Hour Film Project, that is called Spellbound. I’m just tidying up the edit and doing some voiceover work now, so that it’s better than it was for the contest and I will release that film. I also plan to do a few more “Granny Diaries.” I really enjoy doing that series.
CHRIS: You’ve done a Southern belle accent for a few of your roles. What other accents have you done?
DEANNA: Russian and British. I don’t do them very often so they’re a little rusty, but I can get into them when I need to.
CHRIS: Are you really a cigar smoker?
DEANNA: (Laughs) Yes. I have enjoyed cigars for quite some time now, I don’t smoke them regularly, probably once every month or two to three months. Really just depends on what I’m doing. When I’m out and about, I do enjoy having a cigar with friends.
CHRIS: What’s been the most challenging skill you’ve had to learn to perform for a film or video?
DEANNA: Two. My ear prompter skill was a bit challenging, and playing a really emotionally fragile female is a bit challenging for me. I fit right into very strong, aggressive, and assertive roles or very comedic and ridiculous roles, but the victim roles require a bit more work.
CHRIS: Have you ever taken a role that you later on wish you hadn’t?
DEANNA: Hahahha, yes and I won’t tell you the movie because I actually made them change my name (smiles). Only one movie that I really regretted doing. There have also been some films recently where I just was helping out a friend or volunteering my time for a few hours and the quality wasn’t very good so I’m really trying to steer away from lower quality at this point.
CHRIS: Do you have any interests or hobbies most people don’t know about?
Deanna Rashell
Still from Hotel Zombie
DEANNA: Well, I really love to bake candy. I don’t do it very much anymore because I am a chocolate freak and if I don’t have anybody to give the candy to, then I will eat so much and it’s just not good (smiles). I also love the outdoors, I love the water, the ocean and I just love being in nature going on hikes. I’m in pretty good shape, so my stamina is pretty good when it comes to hiking and other sports. I grew up water skiing, snow skiing, Jet Skiing, and I also grew up boxing with the red boxing gloves with my brothers.
CHRIS: With that, I’ll thank you again for doing this with me, Deanna. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
DEANNA: Thank you. I would like to give a big shout-out to everyone who has ever helped me on any of my film projects and anyone who has supported the various fundraising activities for these projects. Without you, none of this would have been possible. I couldn’t have made any of them without their help! A few projects haven’t been finished, but they are still on the burner and they will get done. I’ve just been very grateful to have help when I needed it! There are some people that really help me in the beginning when I was trying to become a filmmaker! I would have to say my friend Paul, he’s from New Orleans, when I wrote my first web series called New Orleans Pie, he really made that happen. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and he showed up with his camera and his gear and he helped me create that story even though I had the script written, and the casting, locations, he really taught me a lot about filmmaking.

Deanna Rashell and Shirley MacLaine
With Shirley MacLaine in 2014 at the Los Angeles premiere of Elsa & Fred

Deanna’s most recent dramatic reel

See more of Deanna at:
Her Official Website
Outlook Productions’ Official Website
Her IMDb Page
Her Facebook Fan Page
Her Youtube Channel
Deanna on Instagram
Deanna on Twitter



About the author

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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.

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