The short version: Melissa McNerney is an American actress and film producer currently based in Tampa, FL.
The backstory: Born and raised in Orlando, FL, I began my journey as an actress like many of my peers — on stage. After moving to New York where I earned my BFA in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College, I made my professional stage debut in an original theatrical series titled The Human Variations. From 2009-2013, I co-developed the 4-piece site-specific project in New York with colleagues from my alma mater alongside director Ellen Orenstein (The Seagull with Alan Cumming). Other favorite stage roles include Ma Joad in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Major Barbara in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. It was my work in theatre that absolutely laid the foundation for my work as an actor and seeing/reading new plays is something I truly enjoy.
After joining the Screen Actors Guild in 2011, I started experiencing a shift in work that I wanted to start leaning into. From theatre to TV, I began playing small roles on shows including The Good Wife, All My Children, and Boardwalk Empire. In 2015, my family life relocated me to Florida, where I quickly began working in the film, television, and commercial market. Since then, my commercial work has rapidly expanded including dozens of regional and national spots for many recognizable brands in the U.S. Recent film credits include Loreen in Deep Down, Michelle in Celebrity Crush, directed by Oliver Robins (Poltergeist, Airplane II) and Chloe in Fingers (with Michael St. Michaels, The Greasy Strangler). Fingers enjoyed its world premiere in April 2019 at the Chattanooga Film Festival and Celebrity Crush premiered in June 2019 at the Dances with Films festival in Los Angeles.
I’m thrilled to be close to completion on the feature film Death Cast - a feature I produced in my home state of Florida with over 30 hard-working Floridian cast and crew. My work as a producer also includes shorts, most recently Deep Down (Dir. Caleb Wild) and Seeing Things As They Are (Dir. Daniel Stein) in addition to the sci-fi pilot, Mirrors, where I also played the supporting role of Angela Logan. I also work in Production Design and Management, recently completing work on multiple commercials (Under Armour, University of Virginia, Jacksonville University) as well as narrative projects including the features Hot Mess in a Wedding Dress (2019 World Premiere at SIFF), and the 1930’s feature Draupadi Unleashed (2019 World Premiere at NYIFF). With additional projects in the pipeline for 2019, I anticipate a busy season of work both in front of and behind the camera.
Women in Film and Television Florida
Along with receiving a post-production feature film grant from Women in Film and Television Florida, in December 2018 I was voted in as a new board member for WIFT Florida and took the seat as the Tampa Bay Branch Chair. Dedicating time and resources to this organization on a state and local level has become an important endeavor for me to undertake. Supporting the mission of WIFT to provide education and opportunities to professionals in this industry is what I like to call a "no-brainer". Collaborating with colleagues and local film-friendly organizations to create events including seminars on drones, legalities of filmmaking, music licensing, creating pitch decks, producing and more is something I have enjoyed developing for the Tampa Bay Branch. I’ve also enjoyed working with local businesses, film commissions, vendors and filmmakers to encourage production development in the state of Florida.