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Nightmare becomes a dream come true

Burbank woman turns the phone sex job she loathed into movie gold.

September 09, 2011|By Cassandra M. Bellantoni
  • Christy Oldham at her art studio home in North Hollywood on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. Oldham is a filmmaker with a feature film called Barracuda that she wrote, produced and stars in. It has been nominated for best picture at the Burbank International Film Festival. The people in her paintings are members of her family. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Christy Oldham at her art studio home in North Hollywood…

Where you stumble lies your treasure, and that’s just what struggling actress and filmmaker Christy Oldham found during a brief, dark period, when she became a phone sex operator to pay rent in Burbank.

The treasure came in the form of raw material and passionate motivation, which fueled the fire of her new film “Barracuda,” being featured at the Burbank International Film Festival on Sept. 15.

Oldham wrote, produced and starred in the film, which is about a phone sex operator turned vigilante who drives her Plymouth Barracuda across the country, bringing sexual deviants to justice.

“I did the phone sex job for three months and I was done. I couldn’t take it anymore. I am tarnished for life, unfortunately. I know things [about men] that most women shouldn’t know, but it lit a fire in me, like hell blew up,” Oldham said in a recent interview.

Oldham said nothing was ever handed to her, so she developed a strong work ethic from a young age in the tiny Louisiana town of Plaquemine, where her young parents didn’t quite understand her love for writing and storytelling, which presented at an early age.

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Not finding what she needed in a small town, Oldham said she headed out as a young adult and worked as a nude figure model while she attended LSU. While there, she was introduced to a Marlon Brando biography and the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which became catalysts for her desire to pursue an acting career.

“I met a lot of creative people and learned to sketch — I didn’t realize yet I was storyboarding. I wanted to keep going and decided to move to Denver,” Oldham said.

In 1998, Oldham was headed to Flagstaff, Ariz., with a friend she met while attending Denver Center for the Performing Arts, when they came upon a sign that read, “Los Angeles 500 miles,” so they took a left turn, fell in love with Hollywood, and she never looked back.

Life in L.A. wasn’t easy for a small-town girl who didn’t even know what S.A.G. stood for. Oldham said she made ends meet for many years by working as a background actor and tending bar. While background acting, she met her current partner at Mercury Rising Productions, Shane Woodson, who directed “Barracuda.” Their first production was born.

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