By Catherine Woo
Welcome to NYWIFT, Eileen Wolter!
After working as a motion picture lit assistant at CAA, working on the Universal lot, and writing lots of coverage in LA, Eileen brings her creativity to us in New York! She holds a BA in Art History & Film from Vassar College, studied acting as The Atlantic Theater Company and The Actors Studio/The New School, and studied writing at UCLA, NYU, Sundance Collab, Stowe Story Labs, and NJ Play Lab.
Eileen tells us about her fascinating family history, covering Fashion Week for Comedy Central in 1993, and attending SNL dress rehearsals.
What brings you to NYWIFT?
I moved from LA in June 2021 and had been a member of WIF. I was looking for a community.
As a writer and performer, what kinds of stories and characters are the most exciting to you?
I believe all stories that are honest and true are in some way love stories. Those are the ones that resonate with me as a long-time film lover and actor. These kinds of stories can happen intergalactically or in the suburbs. I just want to feel something or make someone else feel something.
You have a fascinating family history, with a Muslim Albanian father and an ancestor from the Salem Witch Trials on your mother’s side. How does your family’s past influence you as a storyteller?
I am very aware of the privilege of my existence. My paternal grandmother made it out of Europe via Italy on one of the last boats before Italy joined the German side in World War II. She knew no English, had recently lost an infant to whooping cough, and never learned to read or write yet she was the most amazing storyteller I ever knew. She loved movies and all I wanted ever to do was honor her and entertain her. My maternal side is more a mixture of European nationalities with similar stories but none I was ever so close to.
In your experience, how do your roles as a writer and an actor inform one another?
Despite studying acting for many, many years it was only when I studied story structure and writing that I felt I understood how to act. It all came together, and I really think most actors should know what writers do and vice versa.
Some of your past credits include working at Comedy Central, Diane Von Furstenberg, Saturday Night Live/Broadway Video, American Horror Story, and more. Do you have any roles or moments that stand out as favorites to you?
The pandemic was good for me in terms of reconnecting and focusing on what I had done and what I still could do. I have been really fortunate to have had some great jobs and co-workers but one that really sticks for me was one of my earliest and that was covering Fashion Week with Roger Ross Williams for Comedy Central in 1993. And being able to attend SNL dress rehearsals when the likes of Adam Sandler and Chris Farley were there. I mean, just wow.
Do you have any projects currently in the works that we should keep an eye out for? What can you tell us about them?
I only returned to acting this past year to impress my kids but have been really busy both before the strikes and since. Mostly background stuff but I did do a lead in student short I’m excited about and am going to be the lead in play workshop at the New York Theater Festival in early December.
You can also read more about her new play, The Pause, about three New York couples getting together during lockdown for what ends up being a revealing dinner party. You can purchase tickets for December 4th, 6th, or 9th here.
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