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.
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!