Today I am writing to you, black and blue, with a neck in pain and a hand that is sprained. Had these injuries occurred while playing a sport, or walking (I am a klutz, so walking can sometimes be dangerous for me), I would probably be in a foul mood right now. But they happened on a film set, so instead, they are the battle wounds I get for doing my own ‘stunts’.

After my last post, I went to the Actor’s Fight Club, which is basically a chance to rehearse for the Tom Todoroff workshop which is tomorrow. It was my first time meeting Emilie, and we have a lot to work on, so I had to modify my filming schedule so we can rehearse today. But as far as the rehearsal went last week, I think we need to get more familiar with each other, with our texts (mostly when I have to cut her off) and with the customs of the 1930s. We had already figured out our costumes, but we forgot that people also acted differently back then. It all led to a lot of research 🙂

On Thursday I had my first day as a Standardized Patient, where I was supposed to get an ultra-sound. They didn’t end up getting to me, so I got to read my book, and was asked to come back the following day. In my eagerness to please, I volunteered for the 7:30 am slot, instead of a later one that would let me wake up at a decent time.

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This ^ is the book I read while waiting for my ultrasounds. I highly recommend it, although perhaps not in such a hospital atmosphere. Wearing the gown and reading about cancer (although the book is about so much more) made me forget I wasn’t actually sick and was just being a live practice dummy. 

Getting to actually do the ultrasound on Friday was interesting, to say the least. My mom sympathized with being goopy, remembering the ultrasounds she had when she was pregnant, but we actually went through 20 or so ultrasounds in a row. I had goop all over, and until my bladder filled up, words like ‘collapsed’ and retroverted uterus’ were being thrown around. I eventually figured out that my bladder was the thing that was collapsed (which is normal after you go pee) and my uterus was just hard to see with the empty bladder. My take away is to never go pee before an ultrasound.

After this, I walked to my voice class with Julia. I clearly need to practice more at home, and devote more time to it, but every time I go there, I feel there is a breakthrough from where I start out, to where I end up after the hour. Being on set has made it kind of hard, since there isn’t much alone time, but I have taken to doing my vocal exercises in the car. The only problem is that you need to have the text memorized, because reading and driving is not the safest.

I had lots of plans for the weekend that didn’t work out due to some unexpected circumstance, but I did get to enjoy some family time and work on my lines and voice and such before driving to Quebec City on Monday.

I was a bit skeptical, since I hadn’t auditioned for the part, but I did research everyone on imdb and decided to just go for it. Thankfully, everyone on set is really nice (at least between takes) and I am learning a lot.

One of the main things I am learning is to stand up for myself. I won’t reveal too much about the movie, but my character is sort of a damsel in distress, who gets kidnapped. This is me and my captors after our first day of filming. It is about 1:30, and afterwards we went home and watched the rushes (what we filmed during the day). Other than yesterday, when we finished early so I could drive home, that was our earliest wrap time.

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So, about my sticking up for myself. This is an independent film. There are different levels of indies, but this one is non-union, no pay, and basically a bunch of people who are still learning, myself included. Because doing your own work is often the best way to show what you are capable of. Unfortunately, it also means that you don’t have stunt doubles or choreographers, or special effects. Now I admit that I am a klutz, but I am drawn to strong characters, so I love that the girl I play in this movie fights back. I enjoy being tough and rolling with the punches (almost literally). But I have to get rid of the shyness. The first night, there was a pretty big fighting back scene, and I was told to let my co-star know if he was too rough or if it hurt or anything, but I didn’t want to be the one who complains and can’t do it. So, I sucked it up. I continued to keep quiet until the second day of shooting, where I fell on my hand, with my kidnapper pretty much on top of me, and had to spend the next morning at the hospital to assure my mother that it was not broken.

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It was an unfortunate accident, but two good things came of it. One, I started speaking up when the stage fighting hurt. And two, I got to read the Children’s Hour. The thing about filming that you forget when you decide to be gung-ho and take the pain is that you have to do it over and over again from different angles. 

After the past few days with very late shooting, I got to come home early last night so I can rehearse and do my workshop tomorrow. Pretty nervous, but excited that Carolyne is going to come check Tom out. As for filming, I ache all over, there are certain parts of me that make me want to cry when I move them, and I was freezing most of the time on set, but I loved it. I am filming on location, which is a check off my bucket list, I get to have a microphone hidden in my clothes, I cried my eyes out for a scene, and on a very cold night, I even got my own stand in. It is exhausting and hard work, but so rewarding and I love it! 🙂

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 “Success is falling 9 times and getting up 10.”

-Jon Bon Jovi

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