The new president of the Chicago Acting in Film Meetup (CAFM) is Erin Chenoweth, who was living in LA and working in New York until May, when she decided to move to Chicago “because the acting community is amazing.”
Chenowerth and 17 new board members were introduced to members attending CAFM’s 6th annual Holiday Hurrah at the Bottom Lounge on Dec. 15.
A SAG-AFTRA and Equity member with 20 years of performance experience, Chenowerth joined CAFM on the advice of her agent. BMG Talent’s Jamie Henderson told her, “Go meet these people. They’re awesome. You’ll get pointed in the right direction.”
She replaces CAFM president Grace McPhillips, actress, writer and producer of two successful indie features. McPhillips founded CAFM in 2007 after discovering an inexplicable difference in the day rates that she and another actor were paid for performing the same role in a corporate healthcare film.
“We were going to work at like five o’clock in the morning and she says, ‘Oh my gosh, the things we do for $250 dollars,’” McPhillips recalled.
“I was making $850 that day. And I thought, wait a second, we should be making the same rate. We’ve got to start talking to each other because we’re at the bottom of the totem pole.”
VP Steve Scholz is also leaving the board, “to reduce confusion and make room for the new team.” He joined CAFM in 2008 and has served since 2009.
Before introducing the lineup, McPhillips expressed gratitude for the board’s efforts in helping achieve the dream that inspired her to form the group seven years ago.
“I knew that if I could find more like-minds, we would open doors to create opportunities for each other,” she explained. “We’re going to continue to grow. We are a body of work.”
Afterwards, an exhilarated Chenoweth echoed her passion.
“The community itself is what’s going to help you move to the next level in your career,” she said, “and the beauty of Chicago is that everybody takes everybody with them.”
“It’s such a profound group and it’s been founded by these wonderful people who have laid such a groundwork. I want to make sure I can uphold that.”
CAFM 2015 Executive Officers: President, Erin Chenoweth; vice president, David Goodloe; 2nd vice president, Chandra Michaels; secretary, Matt Schaefer; treasurer, Jill Thiel
2015 Board Members: Angela Beckefeld, Cassandra Schiano, Deborah Craft, Genn Jackson, Josh Greiveldinger, Raina Lynn, Rosa SanMarchi, Shannon Novak, Valerie Querns, Michael Ward, Guy Wicke, Hillary Marren and Mike Latone.