This past month or so, in addition to wrapping the Cohort and filming a short that I wrote, I also got to live a multitude of lives in other people’s projects. I am clearly very behind on the blog, but they still felt worth mentioning, so here is a little bit on each of them.

Another 10 Minutes

This was an interesting project, where I had so many lines, but am never on camera. Except for maybe a glimpse of my legs as I walk by. The film concentrates more on someone’s reactions to everything that I am saying, which is really a lot. Normally, when I am not on camera (and even often when I am) I feel like I have to go fast, to get through my lines. When I am a reader, it’s because I feel like the person auditioning is the one they are interested in, so my lines don’t matter. Which obviously isn’t true, because you shouldn’t be an actor waiting to say your line, and my lines gives them a chance to show how alive their character is when they’re not speaking, just listening. As for when I am on camera, I am not sure if it is to show that I know my lines or some fear that my scene partner will cut me off and think that I am done if I pause. The director in this case did not want me to rush through my lines though, and he wanted pauses, so it was definitely an acting exercise for me. It was also a lesson, or a reinforcement of one of my usual practices. You see, this was the first time I got to rehearsal and to set without knowing my lines. I knew the way it was being filmed meant that I wouldn’t really be on camera and could read my lines for most of it, but I am usually someone you can count on to know her lines, including the voiceover monologue that no one was expected to memorize. Everything went fine and no one even commented on the fact that I had the script with me, and maybe he was expecting it, but I personally felt horrible. I had a bunch of lines to learn for other things where I couldn’t have the text with me, and I used that as an excuse to just familiarize myself with my lines. Which worked out this time, but is something I don’t want to be doing again. Finally, it was nice to not only meet some new friends, but to encounter some friendly and familiar faces behind the camera.

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Augustine

I met the fearless writer and director of Augustine on the set of Over Easy, where he played the Tall Guy to my Woman. I played the title character of Augustine, who is a woman of few words. And interesting actions. We had a rehearsal, which was mostly a read through of the script with a meeting to explain the storyboard and wardrobe and such. He also asked us a bunch of questions about our characters, so we weren’t just people saying lines, we knew our back stories and where we were coming from. It was nice that he didn’t tell us, he let us figure it out, so it was like we played a part in creating them as well. The actual filming took two days, and was so much fun. The Champlain students who were in Montreal this semester were all so sweet and funny and it was a blast working with them, even if Augustine never really smiled. We had cupcakes for one of my costars’ birthdays and it was basically a wonderful weekend doing what I love.

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Talion’s Law

This was a Trebas student film that I auditioned for and booked the same role, of Sabrina. This used to be unheard of for me, but has been happening more and more lately, which is awesome (not that I don’t love getting parts because people like working with me, or me as a person, but it’s nice to book stuff because I can act, too). The script had a rewrite between the audition and the rehearsal, so it was a bit of a cold read once I got there. I was very excited to see Lorraine was a part of the cast, and even ran my scene with me a few times at the rehearsal when my actual scene partner had to leave. Everyone on this set was so nice. I don’t know how many times I had to refuse snacks and refreshments, before ultimately giving in to homemade goodies, fresh fruit and fancy teas. There was makeup, a set photographer, and the most supportive and encouraging director, who was possibly just trying to make us feel good, but continuously seemed impressed by how great we all were, and how well we took direction. Either way, I left there feeling extremely appreciated and well taken care of.

Antoine’s Cow

This one wasn’t filming, but I did participate in a reading of the translated version of this originally French play. We had a table read a couple of days before with the playwright, then did the reading in front of the translation students who had done the honor of making it English. It was a great experience, not only because it was a fun play and a chance to live the life of a pretty interesting character in a slightly absurd play, but I also got to meet some really cool people in the process. And I know this line is something I say after almost every single project I work on, but I truly mean it, every single time.

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Background

Something else I have been doing a bit of lately is background work. This is a great way to earn some extra money and learn set etiquette at the same time. I personally love watching the actors work and familiarizing myself with set terminology. It is also an excellent way to meet people, a lot of whom will also be creative types like actors, filmmakers and musicians. I also did some volunteer background work, to help out someone who had really been a humongous help to me, but I got a dance show out of it, so I’m pretty sure I still owe him.

“For me acting is about the art of it and it’s about being on a film set and doing your thing, painting a blank canvas.”

-Shailene Woodley

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