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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Former Belle graduate writing books, film in L.A.

  • In the Los Angeles world of acting, James Craigmiles says that there are two types of people — waiters and doers.
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  • In the Los Angeles world of acting, James Craigmiles says that there are two types of people — waiters and doers.
    "By waiters I do not mean the type who carry trays," he said, "but rather those who wait for their agent to get them an audition or to be told to take acting classes. Doers make it happen."
    The actor who grew up in Belle is a doer. He has just released his first full-length novel titled "First, Last, Only..."
    He also has a new independent film called "Right Side/Bright Side" which is in the finishing stages.
    "I haven't been one to wait around and hope something comes about," he said."So the movie came out of that."
    The book which is published by Art Out Loud Productions, headquarted in Illinois, is currently available on Amazon as a paperback and an eBook. Craigmiles explained that it is a somewhat biographical tale about lost love.
    His debut film follows a similar theme. The film which features award-winning Emmy actor Leslie Jordan as well as Miss USA 2006, Tara Conner, is about the equality of love and the need to be treated equally, according to Craigmiles.
    If you would have told this Belle High School senior in 1998 that he would be acting and living in Los Angeles some 20 years later, he says that he knew he would be acting but not necessarily writing books and producing movies.
    "Since I was 4 years old, I knew I wanted to be an actor," he said. When my family moved to Belle, I was 12 and I acted and sung in every musical and play that I could. "
    After graduation he attended Culver-Stockton College in Canton for a few years before dropping out to tackle the theater scene in St. Louis.
    In 2002, he "stuffed" his car with all his worldly belongings and his meager savings and headed to the big city of Los Angeles and began to go to audition after audition.
    "I've always been a good storyteller," he said. "So writing became an outlet for me to be creative. In no way do I pretend to be a great writer, I've had a good editor that has helped me put my book together."
    He says that "Right Side/Bright Side" was the hardest thing he has ever done, but it was well worth it.
    "We hope to enter this in a number of film festivals and are confident that we will win a few."
    Craigmiles told the Daily News he has never been more happy living and working in Los Angeles.
    However, he hasn't forgotten his mid-Missouri roots. In April, he plans on flying home to meet with a number of investors about funding "First, Last, Only..." as a movie project.
    Page 2 of 2 - "My vision is to film 80 percent of the movie in Missouri," he explained. "The other 20 percent will be shot in L.A."
    In the meantime, Craigmiles offers this advice: don't let small-town life keep you from dreaming big.
    "It doesn't matter how small your town is; it is about that drive in your heart."
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