In the world of film and television, AJ Dean has carved a niche for herself as a rising host and producer. With her podcast internet show, Film Talk With AJ Dean, she brings together industry professionals to delve into the fascinating world of cinema. What sets AJ apart is her undeniable passion for the craft and her commitment to delivering engaging content to her audience.
AJ’s journey in the entertainment industry is a testament to her unwavering dedication. As the Executive Producer of “Another Man’s Trash” (2022) and “Shaken and Stirred: The Story of Flair Bartending,” she has proven her ability to bring captivating stories to life. Additionally, her role as Assistant Producer for the upcoming horror film “Desert Fiends” (2023) and Associate Producer for the “Big Moves” TV series showcases her versatility and expertise.
Behind the scenes, AJ holds the esteemed position of Assistant to Deborah Richards, a renowned Film Director and Development Manager at Butterfly Films, LLC. This collaboration allows AJ to tap into her creative prowess and contribute to the industry’s growth.
AJ’s journey began after graduating from Models International, Inc. in Carlsbad, California. She quickly made her mark as a model and even had the opportunity to be an extra in the film “The Underachievers,” starring Barbara Carrera. Her drive and determination led her to work in various capacities in Hollywood, including at Davis Companies/Davis Entertainment, Nielsen Media Research, and Michael Mesnick Celebrity CPA.
Not one to rest on her laurels, AJ pursued her passion for graphic design and obtained an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Portland Community College in 1997. Her dedication and exceptional skills were acknowledged with Honors and membership in the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society.
In December 2019, AJ took on a new role as Producer/Co-Host for the critically acclaimed NinonSpeaks Show with Ninon de Vere De Rosa. This collaboration yielded tremendous success, with the show winning 11 film festival awards, including Best New Web/TV Series and Best Pilot. It was during this time that AJ’s talents truly shone.
January 2022 marked a significant milestone in AJ’s career as she launched her own podcast show, “Film Talk With AJ Dean.” The show became an instant hit, garnering praise from both industry professionals and audiences alike. AJ’s commitment to excellence paid off as she collected an impressive 27 Film Festival awards, including recognition for the Best New Web/TV Series and Web and New Media categories.
AJ Dean’s remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers and enthusiasts. Her unwavering dedication, creative flair, and ability to connect with her audience have solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. As she continues to make waves with her podcast and upcoming projects, the future looks incredibly promising for this talented host and producer.
AJ Dean’s remarkable accomplishments are a testament to the power of passion, determination, and unwavering commitment to one’s craft. Her journey serves as a reminder that anything is possible in the ever-evolving world of film and television with the right blend of talent and hard work.
In a recent interview with StarCentral Magazine, AJ opened up about her extraordinary journey in the industry. This insightful conversation shed light on the challenges she faced and the remarkable achievements she has attained throughout her career. Let’s delve into the highlights of this compelling discussion.
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself?
I was born in Southampton, England but we immigrated to the US in the 1960s. I grew up on the West Coast, my family moved up and down the coast frequently and I was always attending a new school. I have lived in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, Washington, and Oregon. I modeled at 18 and always wanted to be an actress, but never pursued it seriously. Later I attended college and earned an art degree. When I was in my 20’s I lived in Los Angeles and worked on the administrative side at a few media/entertainment companies.
How did you become an entrepreneur in the film industry? What’s it like to be an entrepreneur?
Years ago, I was promoting artists and trying to find interviews for them. I contacted Ninon de Vere De Rosa, a well-known personality in Las Vegas, with her “Vegas Live With Ninon” show that was filmed at the Peppermill for many years. She asked me; it’s great to promote and help others, but what about you? What do you want to do? She then offered me an opportunity of a lifetime. She asked me to be her producer for her online internet show, “NinonSpeaks”. This was during covid and much of the world, including Las Vegas and the entertainment industry was affected. So I started learning about producing a show. With her help and guidance, I was able to do a weekly show for her and learned a lot. I credit her for giving me a chance and starting in this industry. I then joined the Clubhouse app. From there, I met the people I am working with today! I was able to meet incredibly creative and established professional film industry people Like Deborah Richards, Film Director from Las Vegas; Kimberly Skyrme, Casting Director, C.S.A., and Judah Ray, Hollywood Director, Screenwriter, and Producer and a whole host of other great people. I am an assistant to an awesome independent film director, Deborah Richards. She is extremely creative, and I am learning so much from her. She is like an encyclopedia of knowledge regarding films. Deborah’s recent movie, “Move Me No Mountain,” can be viewed on Amazon Prime US or UK – Check it out. Deborah is a ‘rock star!’ She is also in post-production for her documentary, “Shaken and Stirred: The Story of Flair Bartending,” which will be released next year.
The amazing Kimberly Skyrme, Casting Director, C.S.A., is also a producer and director. She is known for blockbuster movies “True Lies,” “Pelican Brief,” and “Deep Impact.” She has been such a blessing to me and asked me to be on her Butterfly Films Team as Development Manager. It’s a fun job! I love it, and she is the very best to work with. Kimberly gives “Commercial” and “14 Week Acting” classes and is an excellent teacher. She also teaches a workshop called “Inside Out Creative Method,” which I am a graduate of. I highly recommend anyone who wants to better themselves to take her classes and workshops.
I also am grateful to the fabulous Judah Ray, a fine filmmaker who has been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years. He has given me incredible support, and he is such an amazing and creative person. It’s really a joy to work with great people, and Judah is one of them. Judah has a fabulous company called “DeckSyndicate.com,” where he creates high-end custom film decks for anyone who needs them. Judah is a dear friend who has supported my film podcast since day one – he is a gem! I admire and respect all of these great friends so much. It’s a lot of fun being an entrepreneur. You get to do various tasks with specific goals, and I like that.
I then started my own podcast show, “Film Talk With AJ Dean,” in January 2022. Since then, I have had incredible Special VIP Guests, including Butch Patrick, famous for portraying “Eddie Munster” on the hit TV series, “The Munsters,” starring Yvonne de Carlo, Pat Priest, Fred Gwynne, and Al Lewis. I simply adore Butch and Yvonne de Carlo, who played Lily Munster. So it was a real treat to interview Butch. Butch is touring across America right now in his reproduction “Munster Roadster,” so be sure you check his website at munsters.com to see if he will be in your local town soon.
I have also had the pleasure to interview Deana Martin, who is an influential American singer, actor, and performer and the very proud daughter of iconic entertainer Dean Martin. She is my favorite singer and has weekly shows on YouTube, Facebook, and Deanamartin.com. I have interviewed so many incredible professional film and television people. Since we are talking about my podcast, I want to give much credit and sincere thanks to Paul Vato, who has been my Co-Host for the past year and a half. Paul is a great actor, has worked with Nicolas Cage in ‘The Trust,” and even has his own podcast called “Paul Vato Presents”. Many thanks also to the delightful, The Angel, a fine Film/TV Composer & Record Producer who composed the music for my podcast.
What has been your greatest triumph to date?
Interviewing wonderful hearts. I want to thank all the great people I have interviewed on my podcast show. They are what makes the show fun, and I am so thankful and grateful for each Special VIP Guest. Because of them and the beautiful Rebekah Louisa Smith, The Film Festival Doctor, I have won awards.
What has been your greatest lesson, and how have you used that lesson in your life?
Never give up. The only one who is stopping you is you. There is a bright, beautiful world out there; seize it!
If you could travel back in time and alter one historical event, where would you go, and what would you attempt to change?
I would love to go back to the 1950s of the studio system in Hollywood. I wouldn’t necessarily want to change any history, but I would get a job in the makeup or wardrobe department in one of the studios. I wouldn’t necessarily want to change any historical event, but I would want to influence my circle to help women advance in their careers. We need more women supporting women, and I am all for that—films directed by women, written by women, and starring women. I have to mention my father when I talk about films. He loved films and movies, and I would watch all the classic black-and-white films with him. He loved war movies, as they helped him process his own experience as an RAF soldier in World War II. He always dreamed of working for the studios in the prop/construction department. One day he went to a studio to get a job, and the clerk behind the desk said that it would cost $400 to join. My dad only had $400 in the bank for the rent for that month, and the rent was due at that time, so he had to walk away. That was the end of his dream. However, his dream lives on in me.
What do you think you came into this life to learn, and what do you think you came here to teach?
I came here to learn through challenges and distractions that if you can keep going, you will eventually find your passion and purpose in life. I came here to teach it’s never too late to start your journey in life doing the things you love. I will be 56 years old this September, and proud of it. If I can do it, you can too! Do you want to write or direct a film? Go for it.
What projects are you working on right now?
Right now, I am doing my podcast, “Film Talk With AJ Dean,” and we are booked solid until December 2023. Isn’t that something? I love promoting people and the film and tv industry and enjoy learning about people’s lives. We recently submitted our “Film Talk With AJ Dean Starring Butch Patrick” podcast show to the Beaufort Film Festival in South Carolina, and we are so excited to participate in it. The film festival will be decides in December 2023, so cross your fingers and wish us luck! Butch is a Legend and a super nice guy. I also want to acknowledge Tom Devlin, a prosthetic makeup artist, who owns “The Monster Museum” in Boulder City, Nevada. You can check it out here: www.tomdevlinsmonstermuseum.
I also wanted to share an event a friend of mine, Debbie Bailey, Owner of “If The Broom Fits,” is having on Saturday, October 6, 2023. It’s called “Season Of The Witch Marketplace,” and it will be at 4145 SW 109th Avenue, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, from 11 am to 6 pm PST. It’s sure to be a fun event, so grab your besom or broomsticks and join the fun! I love supporting women-owned businesses; it’s so important!
What would you still like to attempt in your career?
I would like to get an unscripted horror TV reality show produced. It has a celebrity attached and an incredible makeup/prosthetic artist attached, and I think it’s a fabulous idea. It has never been done before. Any Development professionals interested in knowing more about this incredible idea who work at The Travel Channel or HGTV, please message me!
What advice would you give to those hoping to follow in your footsteps?
If you can, try to get an education in film. If you are able to, volunteer at a film festival. Sundance Collab is a great way to connect with others and take classes as well. Be of service to others if your schedule allows it. Have a positive mindset, be genuine, honest, and authentic, and build long-lasting relationships. Know that anything is possible, and you can achieve your dreams with hard work, focus and drive. Always give credit where credit is due. Thank you to Nicole Vegas Butler and Silver Moon Raven Wolf for the photos!
Special thank you to Evette Vargas and The New Hollywood Movement as well for shining so bright and being an inspiration.