Maia Knibb is an actress based in Los Angeles. Known for her work in various web series, such as White Noise (2017) and Satori (2017), feature films Status Quo (2013) and Ashburn Waters (2013) and in short films such as 7 Things That Are Better Than Your Valentine’s Day Boyfriend (2015).
We met with Maia to talk about her work and plans for the near future.
Hi there Maia! Since 2011 you’ve been living and working in California and you have studied in both UCB and Margie Haber Studio in Los Angeles. What attracts you to living in the city? What has been your favorite part of working and living here?
Oh how I love California. Cali is great because, as you’d expect with a state that has a higher population than all of Australia, there are so many projects happening, and so many opportunities for diverse casts and genres and stories to be told. So from a professional standpoint, I can suddenly play in worlds which don’t exist in Australia (anything from college life to tapping into America’s fascinating history). As for living in California, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the fact that things are happening 24/7—it’s only a minor change from my little Sunshine Coast!
You have performed in both theater and film contexts, in a national theatre tour and in shorts and feature films. What can you tell us about the differences between film and theater? Do you prefer one over the other?
I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to work in both theater and film over the years—I really think that being able to do a play after a long bout of filming is the most amazing thing. I think the two are totally different. Yes, you’re absolutely telling a story in both, and in most cases grounding your work in truth and compassion. But so many different factors are at play with each style of performance. With film, subtlety is your best friend, and you can potentially dig deeper and explore more nuances in your performance. But on the flip side, you might have to play an emotional moment 15 times in a row, so who knows how genuine the performance is by the last take. Theater is fun because you are often telling the story in a linear fashion, allowing the character to grow as the story progresses, but you are definitely playing to a totally different audiences.
You have recently starred in an upcoming pilot for White Noise as the lead role. What can you tell us about this project?
Yes! This is such a great project. It’s an incredibly clever, fast paced show that allows audiences to get an interesting look inside the crazy world of radio. There’s a lot of politics, schemes, and manipulation, and in the middle of it I got to play a fun and bubbly breakfast radio host, who gets dragged into this mess. Stay tuned for season one!
Recently you have been working on a couple of feature films and short movies, some of which, like Cacius, have gone on to win awards at film festivals. How would you compare the feature film experience with the short movie one?
I think as an actor you definitely have more opportunities for character development when you’re working on a feature, and casting is a bit more diverse. I think with short films casting is a little bit more stereotyped. For example, in my new feature film, I’m playing a cool, punky, rough character, which is the opposite of my bubbly, warm nature, but the production team were happy to work with me for this. For shorts, I always get cast as the same sort of character, which is totally fine—there’s only a short amount of time to tell the story, and obvious casting is just a part of it.
Since working in the industry I’m sure you have had the luxury of meeting many great individuals. Any working relationships that have been particularly inspiring?
Oh for sure! I did a series with an actor/ director who is probably one of my biggest inspirations, and we still work together to this day—he’s really busy starring in a few TV shows and directing for Universal, but we’re actually in the early stages of pre-production for a feature film that we will both be starring in, which is super exciting. I love that about this industry, that you can keep working with different people, and that different projects bring you back together with some of your best friends. I actually get to act alongside one of my best friends Tricia Brooks, when she’s not being whisked through every show on TV, and on our last film we got to work with some comedic geniuses, who popped over from shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Baked Goodes.
Are there any new movies or series in the works that you can clue us in on?
So much is happening in the next year or so, it’s super exciting. Before the end of this year I’m squeezing in a few more shorts, a film festival, a TV show, and the lead in a feature film. But in the meantime, all the episodes of Making Madison, my last series, are available online!
Be sure to follow Maia on Instagram: @heymaia