Posts Tagged :

acting

915 1024 samantha

Acting in my First Feature Film

I’ve been a little MIA these past few weeks and haven’t been keeping up with my blog or Instagram as much as I should. I’m still here! But this week I’m writing all about why I’ve been a little MIA…filming my first movie!

What an experience this has been! I can’t even begin to explain it. It’s crazy to think back on the countless auditions where I wanted a role SO bad and would spend days thinking about it. And this time, the opposite happened. I did the audition and that week just so happened to be a crazy hectic week. I left the audition and didn’t even think about it. I let it all go and decided it was out of my control. The next day they asked me to come back for a callback! After the callback, they called me the next morning to tell me I got the part and from there on out has been an absolute whirlwind.

Expectations & Predictions

Leading up to filming, anything and everything was running through my mind. I journaled about a lot of this because I was SO excited but also completely overwhelmed. My character is one of the main characters along with two other women and we are in almost every single scene of the film, except for a few flashbacks. How was I supposed to memorize an entire feature length script by day 1?! We also got the script in full one week before filming, All I had ever done were scenes for auditions or acting class. What will the other actors be like?! How will I balance my day job/time off?! Will I be any good? Haha. I mean the questions were endless. Like anything else in life, I had to tell myself to stop worrying or playing the what-if game and just focus on doing my job really well.

Set Life

The saying “hurry up and wait” truly came into play on this film. I experienced first hand what it’s like to arrive on set at 7am and begin hair and makeup, be done with that by 9am, and wait around to film until 12 or 1pm. Not everyday was like this, but it’s something I hadn’t quite gone through before. This movie filmed in LA so I was lucky to go home at the end of every day. But. you really have to work at keeping your energy up while waiting to film and sometimes that can be challenging. One day we only got one scene in before lunch. After lunch all I wanted to do was take a nap but we had to push through and get that energy up again.

I also knew the days would be long, usually 10-12 hour days, but our last day the cast and crew agreed to push through and we did a 20 hour day! That was insane. I’m so thankful that everyone on our crew was professional, friendly, and hard working. Everyone from sound, to camera, to the MUA.

Getting into Character

One of the most exciting things for me was putting all the preparation and character work I had done leading up to the film into action. As they would call us to set each day, sitting there under the lights, going over my “prior instant” as my character, right before they would call action, I just LOVED that feeling. Getting to feel like I’m my character and delving completely into this other world made me feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. I love exploring people, their motivations, what makes them who they are, etc. Doing this film only made me more excited to get to dive into other characters in the future.

What I learned / Advice (to my future self, too)

There are so many takeaways from this film, probably too many to list, but I thought I would list a few!

  • Show up prepared.I always feel better when I know that I’ve prepared as much as I can. My acting teacher told me that Meryl Streep shows up to the table read completely memorized and ready to go. That is dedication!
  • It’s okay to ask the Director if you need something.There were times when myself and the other actors felt that we would be able to focus more on our performances and just beour characters if we didn’t have to wing the blocking. We asked to go over the blocking of scenes a few times and that made the world of difference. Sometimes I think the Directors have so much on their plate, it’s okay to ask for things.
  • Be confident in your choices.One day I had a scene with a wonderful actor, Tom Schanley, and it was apparent that he was a seasoned, professional, and wonderful actor to be around from the moment he walked on the set. He really taught me to be confident in the choices I make as an actor. He was 100% confident in his choices and took control of the scene/his character (in the best way, not overpowering).
  • Bring your own snacks!And stay hydrated. Ha, I’m kind of joking but also kind of serious. The crew was so nice and always had great snacks on hand, but it’s nice to have a few snacks on hand you know you love. And staying hydrated and drinking a ton of water was probably the key to me not getting any headaches during the shoot.
  • Be nice and kind to everyone.This isn’t something I necessarily had to learn because I believe that’s how I was raised to begin with, but being on this shoot was a definitely a nice reminder that people take notice. I know that I take notice when people are rude to others or bring a lot of drama and you never know who is about to recommend you to someone else for your next job. I made a great connection on this shoot through the makeup artist and that was such a lovely surprise that I never saw coming.
  • It’s okay to take time for yourself on set.Being on set for long hours, surrounded by people 24/7 can sometimes be a lot. If you’re part introvert like me, it’s okay to chill out in another room or outside for a few minutes to gather that energy back. It doesn’t mean you’re anti-social, you’re just decompressing for a few. Then when you’re preparing for the next scene again, you feel much better!

 

All in all this was such a great learning experience and I will cherish everything from this production. I know I will always continue to learn from every production I’m a part of and I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead me to next.

I’ll definitely keep everyone posted on more details about this feature film when I can!

Thanks for following along!

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

681 1024 samantha

What To do When Doubt Creeps In

When in doubt, don’t stop.

A Realization

I usually start my days by journaling morning pages (lately it’s seemed like I have no time!) but I also keep other journals about life milestones or specific journeys I’m on. I have two journals, one for Screenwriting and one for Acting that I like to write in every now and then documenting big goals I’ve accomplished in those areas, breakthroughs, things I’ve learned along the way, etc. and I recently started flipping through my acting journal. It’s crazy to read everything I’ve written in there since 2014! I wasn’t pursuing it as seriously as I am now but even then it’s so funny to read my thoughts back then.

I read the Jenna Fischer book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide a couple months ago and ever since then it clicked in my mind just how long the actor’s journey can be. I think the same goes for any creative industry though. It can take years and years and years of hard work and breaks to finally “make it.” I had this funny feeling happen recently. I told myself that there was no other option right now but to go after my dreams wholeheartedly and with so much hustle. I don’t recommend the days where it feels so exhausting you might need 10 cups of coffee to finish the day BUT it certainly felt forward moving.

Hustle Hard, Hustle with a Purpose

Why else do we hustle and work so hard for something non-stop other than for the idea that we will get a break one day to get to do something we love? I think “breaks” come in all shapes and sizes but it’s that feeling of: okay this is all for something bigger and this is a stepping stone.

But recently I booked a part that I wanted SO bad and I was so happy, so excited, so ready to take on this challenge and yet…doubt creeped in.

“Doubt is a signal of the creative process. It is a signal that you are doing something right—not that you are doing something wrong or crazy or stupid. The sickening chasm of fear that doubt triggers to yawn open beneath you is not a huge abyss into which you are going to tumble, spiraling downward like you are falling through the circles of hell. No, doubt is most often a signal you are doing something and doing it right.” – Julia Cameron, The Artists Way

That reminder is probably the biggest gift any of creatives can give ourselves. A reminder to recognize the doubt and then keep plowing through to the other side, because on that other side is a wonderful experience that could very much change our life in both big and small ways.

“For an artist, the first doubt is like the first drink for a sober alcoholic: We cannot afford to romance it. The first doubt leads to the second. The second leads to the third, and in no time you are staggering , hurting yourself on the sharp edges of the furniture…When doubt moves at an artist, the artist must learn how to step aside and let the charge pass by.”

Whatever you’re hustling towards and whatever opportunity has landed in your lap, don’t let doubt deter your confidence or your passion. We can do this. When in doubt, don’t stop.

 

What’s something you’ve been doubting lately that you could use a little encouragement with?

1-minute short film
1024 539 samantha

What I Learned from Making a 1-Minute Short Film

Last year, I wrote, produced, and acted in a 1-minute short film alongside some talented filmmaker friends of mine. We came across a 60-second film contest put on by Moet and immediately hit the ground running with this idea. The challenge was to create a short film around the theme “this is your moment.” It was one of the most amazing experiences to date!

First and foremost I learned that a great idea, even a 1-minute idea, takes time and effort to become a clear, succinct story. My friend and director of the film, Jonathan Coria, met with me one evening and we hashed out a vague idea I had. A few hours later, we turned that vague idea into a short (very short) story with an arc and inspirational ending. One thing I learned was that no matter how “small” a project may be, it still requires a lot of time and effort. Treat your shorts like they’re a feature. Comb through the vague ideas until they’re specific. Even though there were no words in this script, I went over it multiple times to make it the best it can be. I’m a firm believer in setting the script aside for a day or two and coming back to it with fresh eyes, so I did exactly that before locking everything in.

Our short, Shoot for the Stars, follows our main character Jane as she dreams of what it would be like to turn her idea into a film. We follow her through daydreams of casting, directing, editing, and finally back to the epiphany that started it all. This is her moment.

The film was set in a single location which certainly made it easier considering we only had 60 seconds. We were lucky enough to be able to use a vacant town home that was open for a few more days before tenants moved in. That was a huge weight off our shoulders not having to worry about renting a location space. Especially with a short film like this we had practically no budget, so I tried to be resourceful as possible in making this happen.

I’m grateful for this experience because I underestimated before-hand how much time it took to set up all the props up, how much stuff (props, equipment, etc.) we loaded into the town home, and how long it would take to film. We were ambitious in how we went about the shots, but that also led to more time-consuming set ups. Watching our director and DP work together taught me so much about camera, lenses, and the rigs they set up to get the shots we wanted. I learned to ask questions now because there’s no better time than to ask your friends on a short film where everyone is still learning.

All-in-all our 60 second short film took 12 hours to film. 12 hours of getting the choreography of the camera with the actors right, getting the lighting perfect, and getting the shots that blended into one another just right. 12 hours of working with an amazing crew that made this shoot so fun and rewarding.

Although we didn’t win the Moet contest, I wouldn’t have changed this experience at all!

Here are some of my personal key takeaways:

  • I learned that collaboration is key.
  • I learned to overestimate how long it will take to film.
  • I learned that it’s the small details that matter. Days before the production we were making sure we had the small props that mattered and we stayed up late the night before adding in the last minute details we thought would matter on-camera.
  • I learned that sometimes when you’re funding your own dreams you have to wear all the hats, and that’s perfectly okay.
  • I learned that there are so many wonderful people that lend their time and talents to make films happen. We couldn’t have made this without the people who volunteered to make this 1 minute short happen.
  • I learned that being thorough in development, all the way through to post production can make you stand out. I know we did the very best we could and we were devoted to this creative idea.
  • I learned that winning or losing a contest doesn’t not put a value on our worth and our talent.
  • I learned that coffee is a necessity (actually, I’ve always known that let’s be honest).
  • I learned that this was just a stepping stone in our careers and if making a 60-second short film was this exhilarating and rewarding, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for our next film.

Be sure to follow along on social media to keep up with our next project and films!

What It's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host
681 1024 samantha

Sam Chat: What It’s Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

This past year I’ve had the amazing opportunity to act as the On-Camera Host for Shea Properties. It was completely new territory for me that I was excited to navigate and I truly had no idea what to expect. It has opened many doors for me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, scared me a little, allowed me to work with a great team, and had me livin’ my best life at times eating ice cream as my job! If you’re interested, feel free to watch some of my interviews!

When I was younger I always thought it would be cool to be a news reporter or to interview people on the red carpet. I had no idea I would end up having a job doing something similar and find it to be SUCH a fun, rewarding experience!

What it's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

The Job: What do I actually do?

When I tell people that I’m the on-camera host for the media team of a real estate company, I usually get a confused look. I get it! It’s not something you hear every day. I tell people it’s like E-news! Except I’m not reporting on celebrities. What I do is introduce retail shopping centers from Shea Properties and tell everyone all about what that specific center has to offer. So I’ll tell you all about what stores and restaurants their shopping center in Laguna Beach has or what their center in San Diego can offer. The cool part about the job is we then go to each restaurant, clothing store, etc. and interview the owner or chef and talk to them about their specific place as well as what they think is so great about that retail center.

Typically I’m given the “script” the day before or sometimes even the morning of to go over and memorize. This includes an introduction to the center, a line or two about following us on social media, and then introduction lines to each store. We usually come up with specific interview questions right before the interview so we can get an idea of what the store owners or restaurants also want to highlight.

The Perks

I have to say that we have a great team! It makes being an on-camera host that much easier and more fun when you can laugh with your crew! We’ve had lots of laughs when I was about to introduce a store and a motorcycle drives by, car alarm goes off, plane flies overhead, etc. and we bust up laughing and have to start over.

One of the best parts of the job is that after interviewing say a restaurant chef for example,  I get to try all the food! Our camera guy will film the food for promotion as well as me trying it. Let me tell you, it is not easy trying to eat huge sushi rolls gracefully on camera!

It’s fun getting to be really interactive with the people I’m interviewing, which can be anything from trying on/modeling clothes from a boutique store or taste testing beer at a brewery.

Why this job inspires me

I really enjoy talking to people and it’s amazing to see why so many of these people felt the need to open up a gelato shop, for example. So many of the people I interview are more than shop owners or restaurant owners. They saw a need for something in their community and wanted to be the one to provide it. They have a passion for starting their business and I think that’s something we can all appreciate!

The Nitty Gritty

Here are some things I never realized until I started this job.

  • Some people are HIGHLY uncomfortable being on camera and it’s my job to make them feel comfortable. That means smiling through any awkwardness and trying to think of questions off-hand. We did have someone who ended up backing out of an interview due to being so uncomfortable on-camera. I will say that we usually prepare most questions beforehand so we don’t have to cut too many videos together but it helps to be able to come up with questions.
  • You have to smile bigger and talk louder than it seems like you are. When I first started they had to tell me to smile bigger many times because on-camera it wasn’t coming across as much as I thought it was!
  • Being in heels for 8 hours is no fun
  • It was a habit to nod my head throughout the interview which I’ve learned to tone down a lot.
  • The clothes! I had to find bright professional attire with no patterns that might clash on camera and had to be sure not to repeat outfits too often!

Overall this has been a great experience and has prepared me for future on-camera hosting or interviewing! I don’t know where this path will take me, but I’m excited to continue along and have fun working as their host! I hope you found this post helpful if you’re considering doing something similar or if you have any questions feel free to contact me or DM me on Instagram!

If you liked this blog, check out my other SamChats here.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave



Get free tips & tools to harness your constant creativity!


(Don't worry — I hate spam just as much as you)

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!