Lost and Found: Opportunities

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There have been a lot of really interesting developments since I last posted, though by now most of them haven’t panned out, so I am being cautiously optimistic about the last one.

It all started while I was on my way to acting class with Suzanna. I got a call from a casting agency asking if I was still available for a role (as an extra) that I had applied for over a month ago. It was supposed to be an ACTRA part, so I was so excited that I got it, and couldn’t keep the smile off my face as she told me that wardrobe would be calling. The smile stayed until class, because my scene with Shiva was more heated and emotional than fun and bubbly. We played around with different emotions for me, such as standing up to my mother or just being guilty, and it was a whole lot of fun. I also got to talk a bit to Suzanna, who thinks a conservatory-like program is a good idea for me, before I went home and straight to bed, since I had an incredibly early call time in the morning.

During our lunch break, I decided to check my messages, and got a call from wardrobe asking if I could come in. I told her I was on set both days she offered, so she asked if I could come during lunch the following day. On sets, you don’t really know when your lunch break will be, or how long it will last, but I knew we had just started our hour long break, so I rushed to the wardrobe department for a fitting. I didn’t get much information on who I would be, but the head of the department kept dropping hints, that made me so unbelievably excited ๐Ÿ™‚

On Friday, I got to spend another long day on set, with a chance walk letting me be in a lot more scenes than I was originally supposed to. These scenes involved a lot of running, which was a lot of fun, especially since I have spent most of the other days just standing there.

I was supposed to be back on set Saturday and Monday, but things change with these kind of productions, so instead I spent Saturday with my family and at a surprise birthday party.

On Sunday, I got to do something I have been begging people to do with me ever since our class trip in grade 8 or 9. For my brother’s girlfriend’s birthday, a bunch of us went to do Tree to Tree. Basically, there are ropes and stuff linking two trees together, and you have to go from one to the other. You are harnessed in so you won’t fall, but the heights get scary, and you sometimes forget that slipping won’t plunge you to your death. It was exhilarating, and I loved it, but I really need to build some upper body strength so I can go back and enjoy it a lot more. Apparently, my body weight is way too much for my arms to handle, and those pirate nets I used to climb as a kid are now my worst enemy. Maybe not this summer, but by next year, I will go back, and I will own that net and the handle bar!

On Monday, I purchased a whole lot of plays, because Tom (Todoroff) says you should read a play a day for a year. I have been working on Shakespeare, and decided that I would rather make my goal be to read every day, because I think understanding and appreciating the play is more important than finishing it if you don’t have a lot of time. One of the plays I ordered was The Children’s Hour, because I will be doing a scene from it at the September workshop with Tom in Montreal, but in the meantime, I watched the movie with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine.

I was kind of extremely crushed when the scene I had been booked and fitted for was cancelled. At first, it brought back all my insecurities, until I reminded myself that it wasn’t me that they didn’t want, the whole scene got cut. I started focusing on the fact that I was chosen for something that countless others applied for. It’s really sad that I didn’t get to actually do it, but the fact that I booked it is pretty awesome, no? And because when one door closes another one opens, I got an audition for a short film that will be filming for a weekend in September.

This last Wednesday, to make up for the fact that I couldn’t be on set, Carolyne and I met up to go see The Mortal Instruments and eat some frozen yogurt. There’s a twist at the end that leaves me unsure about how I feel about the movie, but I know that I definitely enjoyed catching up with Carolyne ๐Ÿ™‚

She walked me to class with Suzanna before heading home, so I could rehearse my scene with Bobby. It’s from Erin Brockovich, which I found really nerve-wracking, as Julia Roberts won her Oscar for the role. In rehearsal I was having some trouble with my cues, since I was supposed to cut him off a few times and wasn’t, but by the time we were putting it up on its feet, it was pretty awesome. It was a lot of fun to get angry and yell for a role, since I don’t really do it much in the real world ๐Ÿ˜‰

The next day, I had a call with the woman in charge of Tom Todoroff’s two year conservatory. I hadn’t realized that I had to do the whole online application, but I guess he can’t really take what we say at the leaving party at face value, so I filled out my application and sent it in <3

Then I got an email that prevented me to go to the audition for the short film. It’s sad because I was looking forward to working on my auditioning skills and possibly being cast, but I can’t think of a better excuse to have to bail on an audition than because you have been cast on another project and the filming overlaps! It is another non-paying, indie movie, but it will be filmed in Quebec City, so they will cover my food and give me a place to stay. It is a horror movie, and without revealing too much, I am kind of the damsel in distress. I can’t wait to start filming next week, especially since a guy from the New York Intensive will also be on set with me ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent the weekend in Quebec City with my family, and have been rewatching all of the DVDs from Suzanna’s classes. I wrote down everything that I feel I need to work on, with a lot of them showing up very frequently. Almost every scene has the note to stop playing with my hair. Often I need to stop moving my hands, my shoulders and my head. At first, I was thinking I couldn’t see the improvement from one scene to the next, I was always doing the same bad habits, but there was a shift probably at the beginning of the summer. I don’t know if it is because I have been doing less bubbly scenes and more emotional ones, but I feel I have a lot less notes for myself in the last few scenes. And I finally understand why Suzanna often has to tell me to stop smiling. It’s okay when I’m talking, but I look kind of funny just standing there, smiling when I listen, especially when we are in the middle of a fight. But at least I know that I don’t look miserable while walking around in every day life, since my face seems to revert to a smile when I leave it to its own devices.ย 

I have been making a lot of lists and plans and budgets recently, and they do reassure me, but now more than ever, I understand that I have chosen a career when you cannot carve your plans in stone, and I am okay with that. ย I like to think that everything happens for a reason. I can’t always see the reason, like when a scene I was going to be in gets cancelled, but some day it will all make sense. And as Tom told us in New York, its the wondering and the fighting and the journey that are the most exhilarating part, not the career. I am still really looking forward to the career, and pretty sure it will be awesome, beyond my wildest dreams, but I am still going to appreciate the journey while I am on it!

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“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”

-Zig Ziglar

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Sunshine and Someday :)

I realize that the weather has been a prominent factor in my last few posts, and with good reason. On Wednesday, I was out for a walk with my family when I found out that I would be spending the next few days on set. Wardrobe asked that we dress for early spring, with lots of layers, so after lots of deliberations and hunting for lost shoes, my mom and I came out with a really cute outfit that would keep me warm if it were early spring, but that had enough layers that I could ‘strip down’ to a summery dress between takes if it got too hot.

I was on set for 4:45, got ready and was all set to go when one of the ADs decided I looked like a teenager, and sent me to hair and makeup. I came out in pig tails, and am pretty sure I still looked cute (though there were no full length mirrors). That is, until we decided to go see wardrobe. I had been told by other wardrobe people that I was fine, but all of a sudden, I didn’t fit in with the time period and to make me look younger, I got a slightly cringe-worthy costume that made me look like a 12 year old. Luckily, I am no stranger to funny outfits, most of which I had chosen myself, so I decided to laugh at my getup.

Laughter was the reaction I got from most of my friends when they saw me, but as soon as I was on set, the magic of movie making took over and the outfit was forgotten. Well, mostly, but it was kind of impossible to forget that you are wearing a turtleneck when you are basically hanging out in a greenhouse on a summer day. Every day on set it got a little better, as they tried to fix the problem, which I would say they managed by the last day.

I won’t go into the scene or what I had to do, but I have always been a wallflower, so the movie set that some people left due to the heat, it enthralled me. I don’t have any aspirations to work behind the camera, or to call the shots, but I do have a greater understanding of what they go through, and how to make things appear a certain way, even if it isn’t so. I also saw what I can aspire to. Yes, as extras we wake up at the crack of dawn, and some of us had to stand all day, even though we often weren’t on camera, while they filmed other sections or changed lenses, or all the other things that make you wait on set. But, I got to see what the actors do. They have stand ins for the time it takes to set everything up. They can go back to the trailer when their section isn’t being filmed. And they don’t have to be on set until everything is ready for them. That being said, they don’t always take advantage of this. Sometimes they hung around and chatted with the extras instead of going back to their trailers. One of them explained the scene to some newcomers while they set it up. And when one of the stand ins had a back problem (or so I heard through the grapevine) the actor decided to take his place and be his own stand in. And it was also comforting to see that they had to deal with the intense heat and pretend they weren’t melting as well. Not that I enjoyed the fact that they were suffering, but it was nice to know that we were all going through the same thing.

On my last day on set, I had the amazing opportunity to be one of the visual effects. I went to a building and got my picture taken from every angle/direction, so my likeness could be manipulated to build a crowd. I don’t think I’ll be able to tell which ones are me, but it was still a really exciting experience ๐Ÿ™‚ Not to mention, that to thank us for enduring the weather and long days, we got two little gifts from production, that I will post here once I am able to, and will treasure forever!

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I don’t know when I will next be on set, but I am using this time to prepare for my class tonight, to learn a monologue and some sides for an audition on Friday, and I spent a lovely father’s day with my dad and grandfather. I do hate waking up at a time that some of my friends are going to sleep at, but I love being on set, no matter how big or small the role, because it lets me dream. Being a tiny part of something is amazing, but it also makes you think of what it will be like when you are one of the main parts of it. When you are the actor that all the extras are watching from the corner of their eye. I hope I will be like some of the actors from this film, talking and joking with those around me…someday ๐Ÿ™‚

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“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

-Robert Frost

First Talking Scene!

I have spent the past few days celebrating my birthday, working and having dinner with family. But the real fun came yesterday when I got to film my first talking scene of the movie!

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We started filming late afternoon, mostly walking shots along the water. I didn’t have a jacket at first, so it was kind of chilly, but it was nice in the sun and there were beautiful locations. Our final destination was beside a beautiful lake, with the sun starting to set…mesmerizing. We got settled in, then James (who plays Josh) and I got to do one of our scenes together. We rehearsed a couple of times, then went for it. We did it from many different angles, so not the one take we had planned on, but I definitely enjoyed it!

We built a fire, and were just going to film us around it, but it was such a beautiful shot that the writer decided to get some dialogue in. He had told me earlier on that if he liked what you were doing, you might get a more prominent role in the film, and that is exactly what happened here. He took a scene that was supposed to happen between two characters, and added Josh and Amanda into it, giving us some of the other characters’ lines, and also improvising some new ones. The smoke was insane and getting in our eyes, but the fire also kept us warm.ย 

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If ever I have any doubts about what I want to do for the rest of my life, I just have to be on a set, or filming to see that this is it. Yes, I love writing, but there is always a character in every story I write that I plan on portraying when the book gets adapted into a movie ๐Ÿ™‚ So many people say that if you can do anything else and be happy, absolutely anything other than acting, then do that. I know I can probably be happy without it, but I can’t see any career or hobby that can make me nearly as happy as acting does.

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“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”

– Dolly Partonย 

First Day On Set!!!

I had the week off from acting classes, but got to learn actual lines, and do some real acting. Not that we don’t do real acting in class, but this footage is actually intended for mass distribution instead of to be viewed by myself and my classmates.

With the help of my brother, I got all of my lines down before meeting my scene partner on Thursday. I had forgotten the script at home, and was worried that it would make me look unprepared, but I think I more than made up for it by knowing my lines. We went over them together until we both had them perfect, and even got into discussing our characters’ backgrounds, similarities and differences. We were all set to start filming on Friday, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Unfortunately, Friday didn’t work out, but we got to start bright and early on Saturday. All the actors came at different times, so that we could discuss our costumes and get any questions answered. Not to mention we got to hang out and meet the other actors. Some were playing extras, just for fun, so they had even less experience than me, but others were full of advice, and willing to help should I need it. We also had to get our makeup done, which didn’t involve much for me, but for some, it was quite the ordeal…

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We headed out to a beautiful location, beside the water, with buildings that were boarded up for the winter, but definitely looked like they could be the abandoned buildings we needed. We had a guy there specifically to film scenes with a lot of movement, so we were supposed to do lots of running and hiding and stuff, but I had to leave before we got to that point, because I got this role long after my parents’ surprise 25th Anniversary Party had been planned. We did get to do a lot of walking into the town, looking around, not spotting the bad guys who were following us, and I also got into a little action, which I hope you’ll get to see when the film is finished ๐Ÿ™‚

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I think it’s amazing how your feelings change when you are doing something that you love. It was freezing cold on Saturday, even with the big jacket I got to wear, and I actually really had to pee, but I loved every second of it. I would have smiled the whole time if it would have fit with the situation. Doing the same thing over and over again from different angles will probably get old at some point, but for now, the whole thing is so exciting and new that I can’t wait to be able to film more scenes, with dialogue and more interaction. The guy who is in charge of it was telling us all of his plans about festivals and posters and a webseries and I just couldn’t help but be so grateful that I get to be a part of this project, and I can’t wait for every step of the way!

Once I wrapped for the day, I rushed to pick up my grandmother and headed over to my parent’s party. It was a great success, they hadn’t been expecting it, and were really touched. My parents aren’t always incredibly happy with my dreams and ambitions, but they always support me 100%, and I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if it weren’t for them, and that’s not even mentioning the fact that I wouldn’t be here at all without them. I love them from the bottom of my heart and so proud of them!

I also got to spend some time with all the family that I don’t always get to see, but love every one of them, including this beautiful baby girl that I got to meet for the first time. Babies are kind of my weakness, so it was reluctantly that I gave her back….

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I was supposed to film today as well, but an outdoor scene wouldn’t have gone so well with all of this wind and rain, so I really can’t wait until we have some nice weather so I can get back on set!

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“The Journey of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step…”

-Confucius