Posts Tagged :

actor

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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!

 

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1-minute short film
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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!



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