When did you first discover acting?
I started acting in Christmas and Easter Programs at Church as a child. Then I followed in my sister’s footsteps and joined the forensic team in 7th grade – 10th grade competing in Original Oratory, Humorous Interpretation, Duet Acting, and Storytelling. Later, I began to receive lead roles in High School and College productions. In 1988, I heard about an open casting call for extras in the movie “Roots: The Gift” that was being filmed here in Nashville. I went to the open call and was cast as an extra. On the set, I received a lot of encouragement from the crew and the assistant director that made me feel like I really had something special. So after the movie wrapped, I signed with a union agency. There was not much union work coming my way but I still wanted to work on my craft. I did some community theatre and toured as a background singer for a local Hip-Hop group, UTOPIA STATE. In the Spring of 1998, I signed with a couple of non-union agents and started to build a professional resume. Today, I have one agent and also receive work from relationships I develop independently like with “Flowers for Fannie”.
What was your first acting role?
My first professional principal role was in August 1998 when I was cast as a co-host for a Ruby Tuesday industrial video. Then in November 1998, I landed a principal role in a Lowe’s Home Improvement Series. I felt very blessed to receive such large roles just signing with a non-union agent.
What music videos have you been in?
I’ve been in “God So Loved” Jaci Velasquez and “I Am/Shades of Life” Billy Gilman. My favorite would be “Under the Hood” Billy Ray Cyrus because we also performed that song at the “TNN Music City News Country Awards” show.
How did you get into film acting?
I performed in a few student films and did some extra work in television movies. In September 2003, I was cast in “The Psalmist” (Lifeway Christian Resources).
What Faith-Based Films have you been a part of?
Along with “The Psalmist”, “Digital Dairy: Laura” (GodFilms), and “Flowers for Fannie” (Mainstreet Productions).
Tell us about your role in “Flowers for Fannie”.
I play the role of Claire who keeps house for Fannie Fairchild. To me, Claire seems to be that “still soft voice” telling Fannie what she should do even though she ignores her. Claire sees what Fannie does not see. Even though Claire knows that Fannie is not going to change until Fannie decides to change, she will still whisper in Fannie’s ear of the right thing to do.
How does your Faith impact your work as an actress?
I ask myself, “Am I representing God well?” and “After this project is over, will I still be an affective witness for Christ?” I feel that God has blessed me with amazing gifts and I want to make sure that when people see me that they also see HIM.
What do you do when you are not acting?
I do substitute teaching, sing on the Worship Team at Church and try to get some rest.
What are your future goals?
I desire to successfully support myself solely on my acting and singing abilities. My ultimate dream would to be a part of this regional faith-based movement. I seek out faith-based film and television project all the time. It’s wonderful to see the number of artistic endeavors to further God’s Kingdom and this is what I want to do with my life.
I think Tyler Perry’s success is a great example to those of us who want to make an honest living of sharing the Word of God in the Film and Television Industry. “If we build it – they will come.” Whether I am performing in front of the camera or working behind the scenes to develop projects, I want to be in the midst.
For clips of work that I’ve done, you can visit my channel at www.YouTube.com/PattiNicoleWheeler.