Stefanie is a dancer, singer, and Twitch host, having written, produced, and acted in the award-winning short POLE; the first film funded through Twitch.TV. She believes strongly in education, and her mission is to inspire compassion and understanding through media featuring women leadership and multiculturalism, championing each person’s strength, value, and worth.
How did you get started?
Plays throughout school, musical theater, show choir, and dance recitals sparked my love for the performing arts. Since I always loved entertaining, I made the choice to leave my business job to pursue my passion – a career in the entertainment industry. The road is rough, I made $200 in the first year after I quit, but I learned so much and have no regrets in taking the plunge.
What inspiration has spurred you on?
Keep training, taking classes, volunteering, and giving 100% to your projects that align with your career aspirations and your beliefs. Giving is important and empowering, whether it’s time toward that low (no) paying dream role in an indie film, or to a cause that you cherish.
Even while this creative path is not always financially stable, I make it a point to give a percentage of income to my charity of choice, WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization for teen girls in underprivileged communities, because I believe in championing young female voices everywhere. 100% of graduating seniors go to college; not because they’re given scholarships, but because they earn them. They “Hamilton” their way in!
So far, my Twitch channel has donated over $5000 to WriteGirl; we’re currently selling my Twitch channel logo shirts, with all the profits go towards WriteGirl. Also, building a life is important. I love singing, so I googled “Los Angeles choir” to find one to be a part of. Now, I’m in a 160-person choir that recently sang on Civilization 6. Creating community is important.
We’re big fans of your Twitch channel! Tell us more about that and your video gaming side.
I love our Twitch community. Twitch is a streaming platform where streamers play video games and interact with chat. They’re amazing, supportive, fun, love games, and are generally a diverse group of terrific people all over the globe. We have viewers in Denmark, Switzerland, the UK, the Midwest, New York, California – it’s incredible how bonding of an experience it can be in chat. It’s also great for us introverts, who want to chat and connect but not with so many people in the room. Two viewers began dating and fell in love in Europe – the first time they talked to each other was in my chatroom!
Stef’s Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/stefwoodburn
I also love working on Geek & Sundry’s channel, it’s been beautiful to see how we all celebrate and support each other, through charities, projects, or when one of us is going through a tough time. Our community is fun and inclusive – anyone can join!
What’s been your favorite project to work on?
I’m really excited to have created my short film POLE, the first film funded through Twitch. It’s about a financial analyst who steps out of her comfort zone and joins her best friend in a pole dance competition. So far, POLE has had the good fortune of being an official selection for 11 film festivals and we have won 5 awards. We aim to create the feature version of it.
Acting is my main focus, I’ve recently enjoyed roles in Lootcrate 80’s fantasy short film QUEST (swordfighting), and LURK, where I get to play a vampire slayer in a fan film based on Joss Whedon’s graphic novel FRAY. My favorite projects focus on strong female characters who also reveal their vulnerability. I also love learning movement, so the physicality of dance training and martial arts training is exciting.
Stef’s Reel: https://vimeo.com/217335107
It sounds like you do a lot; how do you balance it all?
Dance class and meditation for relaxation and to keep me centered. Also making personal time for things I enjoy, and putting them in the calendar, knowing and trusting it won’t always be this busy, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to make headway and spearhead projects now.
I’m still learning how to say no. Saying ‘yes’ to everything can be overwhelming. I maintain balance and a healthy lifestyle by prioritizing and doing what is important to me.
Have you ever had a problem booking a location?
Absolutely; so many logistics pivot around location; time and day available, price, parking, shots, feel, look, etc. One time we were looking for a room to shoot, and we couldn’t find what we were looking for – and we were shooting in the next few days! We just needed one day, but most locations seemed either out of our budget or not what we were looking for.
What do you like the most about Wrapal?
It’s easy to use, like an AirBnB for locations. If I had had this while looking for a location, it would have been much less stressful. It’s nice when there’s clarity of what to expect, the price point, size, and pictures of the location.
You take on a lot of really badass roles; describe the ultimate fight scene you’d like to film.
A combination of hand combat, swords, lightsabers, and vicious wit. I’ve fought with all these things, but none with mastery yet. I love learning from stunt teams, they’re so talented and knowledgeable. It’s fun to focus and train in something that I don’t get to use everyday, such as mixed martial arts.
Which games are you currently playing? Which is your favorite?
I play a variety of indie games and some popular games. I’m currently playing Diablo, GaoKao.Love.100 (a Chinese dating sim where as a boy we must study for the biggest exam of our life AND navigate the challenges of having our first girlfriend), and bridge. Yes, bridge the card game in which the average age of today’s competitive player is 71. I’m in a bridge documentary, in which four young people train with the world’s top coaches to compete in the daring world of a national bridge championship. So much fun!
What has your experience been like seeing the “nerd culture” grow so quickly in recent years?
I think it’s terrific. I love that smart is now cool. When I was in 4th grade, I was sent to a Gifted & Talented program where we were all nerds, and rigorously trained to be so. Integrating back into a general education program in middle and high school was tough. I felt extremely awkward, and I was one of few girls in advanced math and science classes.
Now, it’s vastly different from jocks and cheerleaders being the cool ones. Intelligence, wit, gaming, general geekdom – these qualities are cherished. I joke that D&D groups are basically the new boy bands (shoutout to Critical Role)! Silicon Valley is my favorite show, and a lot of my roommates in the past few years quit their day jobs to run start-ups. I highly value intelligence and creativity, and it’s a joy to see women become increasingly prominent in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).