Many people fantasize about quitting their day job to follow their dreams. Amber Mikesell made that fantasy a reality last year.

Many people fantasize about quitting their day job to follow their dreams. Amber Mikesell made that fantasy a reality last year.

Last year Mikesell left her position as an associate vice president of technology at Nationwide to pursue her increasingly busy schedule as a film actress and producer.

"It was not an easy decision," Mikesell said. "They were good to me and very supportive of the film career."

Though pulling the trigger was a tough call, it looks pretty smart now considering all the projects on Mikesell's plate.

She scored roles in Corbin Bernsen's soapbox derby drama "25 Hill," David Sabbath's small-town fantasy "God Don't Make the Laws" and "Who Am I?," a TV series on a new sci-fi channel called The Syzygy Network - all projects shot in Ohio.

She's a co-producer on short films "Doe" and "Alien Encounter" and the WOSU TV series "Game Changers." As a producer, she functions as a fundraiser and a project manager, making sure everyone's on the same page and everything runs smoothly.

She's headed to L.A. soon to pitch a TV series she co-created with Tobias Roediger called "Now Boarding," which is about a family that purchases a failing regional airline in the hopes of turning it around.

Mikesell is also the co-chair of the inaugural Arnold Sports Film Festival, an event in the ever-expanding Arnold Sports Festival designed to showcase professional and student films about athletes.

Before leaving Nationwide, Mikesell had been balancing her career and her film hobby for a while. A mother of one from Dublin, she found herself with more free time to indulge her acting whims as her son progressed to the age when friends are more exciting than Mom.

She took her first tentative steps into the film industry about three years ago by answering a local filmmaker's help-wanted ad.

"The film has still not been made," Mikesell said, "but that was my entry point."

Since then she has consistently expanded her network and firmly implanted herself in what she sees as a bustling Ohio film community.

"Everybody's so collaborative," she said. "We're building a strong internal network here."