Tuesday, February 9, 2016

LDS Film Festival Finalist

My short film The Phone Call is a finalist in the LDS Film Festival!

I submitted it in January as the first of three film festivals my goal was for the year.

We did it as a family and when I found out I cannot tell you how excited I felt.

My brain has been abuzz ever since. My family has been so incredibly supportive.  Even to the point where they sat beside me as I re-edited the video, made a preview, and made a poster/postcards.

I submitted almost everything yesterday, while my parents were here visiting.

At the acting class I told the class when I told them about myself that I was a filmmaker, even though I couldn't answer the questions that most seasoned filmmakers would know immediately. I have to remind myself over and over, and then in front of the class, that I am learning.

So grateful to have gotten in!

I'm a finalist in the LDS Film Festival. More information to come!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Damon with Actors in Action

A few weeks ago, I went to my first acting class since high school.  I have acted since high school, but I have been in sort of a self-study mode (so that doesn't include youtube classes--okay, serious actors reading this, please stop chuckling).

It was a really great class.

Damon was really professional, although I think I asked so many questions that he wasn't able to get all the things that he wanted to into the lesson.  Sorry, Damon.

But the questions that he answered were very helpful.

He is both a teacher and an agent. You may remember that I wrote about him in the post about Meals for Monologues.  He was the one that laughed during my monologue which really validated my efforts during that moment of heightened anxiety.

One of the things I was surprised to hear was that almost every time people will ask you to tell them about yourself.  He suggested writing up a two minute blip about yourself, memorize it and try to think of at least one thing that will make you memorable to add to the blip so they have something to associate with you.

I think this is really great information.  I am working on my blip and memorable piece of information.

There was a lot more.  I think I will be going agains sometime in April.

When I got there expecting to pay the fee, he told me the first class is free!  Awesome, right?!

This is not a paid endorsement.  Just my own experience.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What to Expect at Meals for Monologues

This morning I headed out to Portland for the Cast Iron Studios Meals for Monologues.  I got there about an hour before the place opened and was the third one in line.  I was a bit shocked because in NYC I went two to three hours early to a slightly similar event and was the 50th in line. 
 I took in some cans of beans.  The requirement was three.  I became friends with the amazing actors, Kate, Linda, and Kat, that were sitting near me. We cheered each other on and Linda, specifically, gave me some really great pointers since I am still new at this whole auditioning process.  She told me don't forget your slate and frame.  For those reading unsure what a slate is, it is when you introduce yourself before hand.  Nearly every time I practiced my monologue, I introduced myself to the imaginary casting directors watching. . . this time I forgot.  Oopsie.  I know I made two mistakes in my monologue, but I did my best at pretending I didn't and moved forward.  I also asked about the framing to find out if it was okay.  
Now for what to expect:
  • Get there early--like within fifteen minutes of the start time to get into line.  I saw a facebook message from Cast Iron Studios around 3:30 p.m. that said that they had one more hour for people to come in before they would be out of spots.  This is Portland, not New York, so it's easier to make it into the studio.  
  • Bring at least three cans of food with you.  Toys are accepted as well.
  • Have your two minute monologue all prepared
  • When I walked into the room there were three people there.
    • Cast Iron Studios representative, Lana
    • Damon--an agent.  They invite several different agents to come and keep time.
    • Casting Director, Eryn
    • a camera
    • lighting equipment
    • a computer
  • Do your slate (thanks, Linda)--introduce yourself and ask how you are framed by the camera--full-body or what.
  • Do not expect feedback--you're just giving them with a taste of what you can do.
When I started to leave, this entire group that came as a studio from North East Portland. When I said, "Do you want to be in a picture I am putting on my blog?" They posed in five seconds flat.   I had no idea I was biting my tongue.

I took in some thank you notes.  I hope Lana and Eryn get them.

Added Later:  I found out that the agent that was there was Damon Jones of the Actors in Action Talent Agency. Just thought you may want to know.

Monday, November 30, 2015


 I was able to make it to the Orientation and to the Studio filming class.
  It was a great experience.  I am looking forward to going back and learning more.
The first thing they ask you is what kind of show you want to do and each person has a great idea that they can't wait to share with the other people there and with the people tuning in to CCTV.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

CCAT 29--Corvallis, OR

Since writing the last post.  I found out about the public access station that I can go to and it is actually further away, in Corvallis.  Their website is currently experiencing technical difficulties, but it should be fixed in a couple of weeks.

 I think the classes are $100 a class.  I emailed CCAT 29 and I told them about my experience at CCTV and the girl that emailed me back said that they are very small compared to CCTV and that they are working on their schedule for November.

I forgot to mention that CCTV covers three channels.

Still determined to learn all I can, I am going to go find out about both of these places and I will update you on any new leads.

Thank you to the Grimm film crew for directing me to these places to learn more about filming!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

CCTV--Salem, Oregon

In an act of determination and hopefully a touch of inspiration, I went to see what I assumed was the closest public access television station, in Salem Oregon CCTV.

They were super friendly.  They gave me an overview of what their station does and what classes you can take. If you are a resident of Salem, Oregon they have opportunities galore for you.  You could even have your own show on their three stations. Plus, you could check out film, lighting, and sound equipment for free.

In order to do that, you have to learn the ropes.  First you have to take the orientation which is at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month.  They offer classes and check-out of filming equipment for the classes that they offer.  The Studio Production Class is free.  Then they have a Camera Class which shows you how to operate CCTV's HD camcorders.  It is a basic class and it is $25.   The Editing Class is also $25 and shows you how to use Final Cut Pro X.

I am hoping that they change their rules, or at least make it possible for me to pay a small fee so I can use their tools and learn all I can.

Remember The Martha Stewart Show? I miss going to it!

When I told them that the film crew from Grimm had suggested I check them out, by mentioning their station specifically.  That made them smile and Arlan Robinson, the man that came to talk to me at the desk and Community Facilitator, joked, "The only way we could get a higher recommendation is if it came from the President of the United States."

When he found out I was an extra he told me about one of the other people that has an Oprah-like show at CCTV in Spanish, was also an extra before.  Then he said, point blank, "What is your show idea."

From all that I have read, if someone asks you that you are supposed to have an immediate response ready.  So I stuttered, "Something to do with family history and stories from the past."

In my defense I don't want to give all the details of my show-in-my-head out casually.  I want it to be official and catered to the listener with complete preparation.

Eventually, it is my goal to have my work to the point where I feel proud to have it on television.  W, my sweet husband, reminded me that my work has to be really good to get on there.  No pressure, right?! [Gulp].

Already my brain is in overdrive clarifying my show idea. I already have part of the first episode story boarded.  Now I have to find a resident of Salem (or hopefully Marion county) to go to the Orientation with me.

Hoping. Hoping. Hoping.

P.S.  These photos are from Brooklyn, my watching Blue Bloods filming (not as an extra) if you remember.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What Would You Do?

We'd gone on the carousel and the train circling the zoo and went to play on the toys. Eventually the boys were chasing the huge Canadian Geese and then stopped to plant trees (acorns).

I was exhausted, not sweaty but perspiring, and hot—it was 83 degrees Fahrenheit in October. We were leaving to get into the car.

The boys ran through a small maze to get out to the road when I noticed three girls picking
on one girl. They were about 14 or 15 and they were shouting mean, awful things at her (gratefully not swearing), but I didn't want my children to see that and I especially didn't want them to say mean things to anyone. So I did what any good mother with two kids would do. [Significant pause.]

I mentioned it to my friend with me She was playing with the kids completely oblivious to it. She listened for a moment and marched right over there and calmly talked to the shouting girls; explaining that they shouldn't be talking to anyone in that way because children were watching, etc.

She was so good I could have started clapping. Instead, I got on my teacher stance—you know the one—the you'd-better-listen-up-because-I-am-watching-you stance. Their arguments against my friend were fruitless and, well, corny.

"You have no idea what is like to be our age. We are popular and all she does is sit in the park and read." Okay, I have to admit I did laugh a little out loud at their arguments (thinking—oh dear is she in for a surprise when she grows up).

To which I replied in a somewhat entertained voice, "Well, going to Harvard isn't a bad thing." Don't tell me, that is genius, right?!  I am kidding.  But I did say that, I am attributing that to pregnancy brain--I was five months pregnant at the time--note the cute belly.

The girls stuttered, "Well! We're leaving." They marched across the road and into the depths of the park.

I couldn't help but call out, "Just so you know, if you do that again she can call the police and have you picked-up." I couldn't think of any of the right words.

 My friend and I consoled the girl left a little letting her know we admired her strength in standing up to the girls and for her apparent thirst for learning.

Then, we walked a few feet away just in case the girls would come back immediately after we left and our two boys, aged 4, ran to the stream nearby to watch a turtle sunning himself on a rock. After discussing the sequence of events with a little, "Does this really happen in real-life like this?" A woman came up to us and said something toward the effect of, "Thank you for standing up to those girls like that."

You were the first ones to do it in a long time." To which she paused and we said it was despicable or something.

Then the girls came back and said, "It was all fake!"

I replied by giving them hugs and saying, "I am so glad!"

The lady said, "I am from ABC news and what just happened was recorded and if it's okay with you we'd like to interview you for the series in Primetime called "What would you do?"

To which okay friends, this is where my normal level-headed self stepped out for a drink of mental water or something because I was nowhere near my usual mental capacity. I was enough there to think—the boys are by the stream I'd better go get them—but that was about it.

They interviewed me and it went something like this.

Interviewer/her (names didn't stick at all—mental vacation, remember?): Can you tell me what just happened there?

Me: There were three girls, uh-no, four and they were arguing. Well, actually there were three girls arguing at the-uh-fourth girl and it was not good. Is that what you wanted (obviously not).

Her: What were the thoughts going through your head as you talked with them?
Me: Is this real? Do people really do that? Why would they do that here? Sorry (I felt sorry for them coming up with this idea and me seeing through it but not really).

Her: (obviously getting a little peeved at my answers and my daughter beginning to squirm in my arms dropping things and me bending down to pick them up while stepping out of the way of the camera and microphone to check on the boys still coming up with ways of rescuing the baby turtle and the camera man asking me to step to the right--again). Can you please restate the questions in your answer because the audience won't hear me ask the questions.
Me: Er—(bend down to pick up the silky—again), sure.

Weeeeelllll, you get the idea. By the time we were done Sarah was crying, I was feeling a little worried that the microphone man was going to bop me on the head with the microphone, and the boys had come up with a brilliant plan of an underwater airplane to rescue the turtle. But the turtle was really fine because it was just sitting where it's mommy could see it (or something)—the ABC crew member was watching them the whole time—but I don't know them from Adam (as my Mother would say) and I wanted to be sure for myself they were okay.

Right afterward the crew interviewed R and his friend Alex. They told the camera crew all about the turtles and then I had to take Sarah away because she was crying. When I looked back Roscoe was trying to "catch" the microphone right above him. The whole situation was extremely . . . interesting. [Mental mommy cringe and chortle].

In the end, we didn't actually make it onto the screen for that part and my friend seemed so at ease and able to say just the right thing. I was so proud to be her friend!

Do you want to see it?

I know, technically this is acting as myself, but it was on television and I had several friends recognize me.  Also, how wonderful is to to be caught doing something good--even if I was the person standing next to the person doing good. It still counts, right?!