First Time Donor :)

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Finally! After having this on my list of things to do the moment I turned 18, I can finally cross it off. It was also on my list of 30 things to do before I am 30, so two birds with one stone πŸ™‚ It was something I have always wanted to do, but it also really terrified me. You see, my dad used to give blood all the time with no problem pretty much every time he was allowed, whereas my mom can’t fill up a bag and has passed out. I wasn’t sure which one I would take after.

In the end, I filled my bag, didn’t faint and maybe helped save someone’s life. My mom was there with me the whole time, only slightly laughing at the prospect of me ending up just like her. And the employee who came to make sure I was doing my job properly was super nice.

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Afterwards, I spent the day playing bocce, ladders and hanging out with extended family. Perfect end to a productive day πŸ™‚

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

I’m a Writer!!!

Perhaps the title is misleading, because I have spent so much time telling you about all of the writing I have been doing, with the Nano challenges, and I have actually been writing stories ever since I learnt how to write. But this time I actually got credited as a writer. Co-writer to be specific, on a short where I came up with my own interview questions. The entire experience has been amazing so far, from the day we filmed, this credit, the short being accepted at a festival, and me getting to work on another project with the creator…I was really lucky to end up on their team πŸ™‚

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In other news, Tuesday night’s acting class was referred to by some as The Amanda Show, because I had 3 of the 4 scenes that were being done, and ended up being the reader for one of the two audition scenes. I was definitely a busy bee πŸ™‚

My first scene was as Rose for In Her Shoes. Suzanna usually has me playing the younger sibling who needs to be sheltered and taken care of, so it was nice to play the big sister, since that is what I am in real life. It was a really interesting scene, since we are telling a story to another person, finishing each other’s sentences, and recounting a traumatic event from our childhood. My note was to see the horrible fight and not just talk about it, which I really think I got. I really enjoyed doing the scene, and love the way it turned out!

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Next was Barb, Erica’s mother in Being Erica. I think I could have gone further and raised my stakes, but it was also a whole lot better from when we did it as a cold read on the first class of the month. I didn’t have to remember the weird science fiction circumstances of Erica being sent back in time to see her mother as a teenager, I just had to imagine what it would be like as a pregnant teen in the 60s, when it was definitely not socially acceptable. I got a lot of the things I was trying for, but still think I could have gone a lot deeper.

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Finally, I played Thelma in a scene from Thelma and Louise that I had done before, which is why Suzanna asked me to do it, but I had actually been Louise last time, so it was still an interesting challenge. The first few takes I was mostly focusing on how scared and lost I would be, but for the last take, Suzanna suggested that I snap back at her, and sort of stand up for myself and get angry, which made it my favorite of our 3 takes πŸ™‚

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On an unrelated note, after discussing my lack of auditioning for the parts I get, I decided to check out my booking rate for 2015. It is really odd, because I have way less auditions than last year, but I have booked more. As I mentioned in my last post, it turns out that most of the things I am filming don’t come from auditions, they come from previously working with someone. This year, I have been on 2 auditions and sent in 5 self tapes. I will also count an audition from last year, because we are filming it this fall. That makes 8 auditions. Compare that to 9 things I have booked this year (plus one I got before being recast). This would give me an awesome booking rate, except there are only 2 of those auditions that led to roles. I feel like there will be a drastic shift once I join ACTRA and am no longer working with the same people, but for now, I really enjoy getting to work with people who have worked with me before and decided it was something they wanted to do again πŸ˜‰

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

-Maya Angelou

Filming in Cornwall :)

One thing that slightly worries me, but that I also love about my acting career is that I generally don’t audition for the parts I get. That might sound awesome, and it is, but I also don’t get the parts I do audition for. Once, they even wrote a part just for me after I auditioned for another part. I obviously can’t complain. Today I want to share about a short I should be doing at the end of September, and a role I drove to Cornwall for this weekend. The short I was offered after having an amazing time doing a quick scene for a film competition back in the Spring, and the role was for a film called Unfit Misfit, by 3 Angels Power.

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I have a habit of getting into things without asking enough questions, because I am so eager to be on set and act, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the end, the three sisters and their mother were really nice, and so enthusiastic and devoted to their project. We were thrown a huge curveball when we were supposed to start filming the scene, and they handled it like complete professionals, as if it didn’t even faze them. We went to a beautiful location and some of my experiences were firsts, while others were very familiar. I had never had to jog on camera before, other than quick scenes of me running away from someone. This time, I was legitimately jogging on a path, as if I do it every day. So glad I have been working on that, or I would have been a sweaty mess! The familiarity came from me being tied up. If you saw The Dark Shack, you know that is how I spent most of that film. I can’t tell you more about the movie, but you can find out for yourself when it comes out around Halloween πŸ˜‰

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Other than filming and working on future projects, I had a Military Disaster Day at work, saw some movies and reorganized my entire room (thank you Paul and Daddy <3 ) The Military Disaster Day was at McGill, so we got to pretend to be in a chaotic situation, where military doctors would have to triage and treat us. It was a lot of fun, and I say this after spending the entire time pretending to be unconscious. I don’t know if I say this enough, but I love my job at the Sim Center πŸ™‚

The movies I saw were the Man from U.N.C.L.E. with Carolyne, and Ricki and the Flash with my parents. I really enjoyed both, and would love to hear if any of you saw any really good movies this summer that I should check out πŸ™‚

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

-Jane Austen

Websites and Background

If you are reading this post on my website, then all of these changes are why it has taken me so long to post. If you are reading it in an email, come over and see what I’m talking about πŸ™‚ I went through nearly every theme available to me and tried a million different things before launching at 85%.I think I am good with it now, but if you come back and everything has changed…well, that might happen…

I am going to condense what has been going on, since a lot of my time has been spent hiking, learning lines, recreating my entire online profile and learning about new platforms. I did, however, have quite a busy weekend, with birthdays to celebrate πŸ™‚ The first was family, but the second was a fellow actress who is a pretty amazing human being as well. In addition to acting and working with me at McGill, she has a crochet company that makes really cute hats, clothes, bathing suits, scarves and cactuses. Or, you know, cacti if you prefer. You can buy her fabulous products atΒ www.miyukicrochet.com . Carolyne and I both went to her amazing apartment for some pictures, meeting all kinds of really interesting new people, and then driving around for quite some time looking for parking. I am obviously not used to trying to park downtown on a busy Saturday night πŸ˜‰2015-08-15 22.15.31

In the end, supper was delicious, I met really amazing, strong #girlbosses and will now be attending Brunch In The City next month. I had seen the posts and pictures about it last year and wanted so badly to attend, but wasn’t sure I would know anyone there. Now I get to go with Carolyne, and I had dinner with the brilliant mastermind who started the whole thing!

Unfortunately I didn’t get to go to class with Suzanna for the past two weeks. I was on set both days, for the same thing. It was just as background, but I think yesterday might have been my favorite day as an extra so far. Last week was very much like most of my other days, where I absolutely love watching the actors work and getting to know some like-minded people. It isn’t that I think their talent will rub off on me from spending time with them, but I’m not ruling it out either πŸ˜‰ Truth is, I love the entire process. Even when my feet are killing me and we are redoing the same shot for the billionth time and I know I’m not even in the shot, I am still on set, doing what I love and I am a part of something awesome.

Then yesterday happened. After reading Lean In for Graduates, I have been trying to put myself out there more and doing a lot of things that make me slightly nervous, This led to a completely new on set experience for me. I had taken some classes with one of the stand ins, so I got to spend most of my day having a really nice time talking to him between takes. Then when we had a break for supper, a friend from work showed up with the cast, as she would be in the scene that evening. Normally, I might have stayed back and let her have her space, not sure if she would have wanted me bothering her, but I decided there was no harm in saying hi, and ended up spending most of my break talking with ‘the stars’ as my fellow extras referred to them. I do love watching scenes with actors I know from TV, but it is so much more exciting to watch them interact with people you know, and to get to watch them do their magic. My dinner conversations were inspiring and my day on set was so much fun, mostly because of the people. Not to mention the director, who is going on my bucket list of people I need to work with. Every scene ended with praise and something motivational instead of the traditional ‘cut’. I have my fingers and toes crossed that I get to go back on this set, and someday, maybe I won’t just be standing in the background πŸ˜‰

To finish off, I have added some new pictures on my imdb page, if ever you wanted to check them out πŸ™‚

“Some people like to call me cocky or arrogant, but I just think, “How dare you assume I should think less of myself?”

-Ronda Rousey

Quebec City and A Table Read

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I just spent a lovely weekend in Quebec City, celebrating some birthdays, eating at fancy restaurants and taking in the historic views. On Saturday we walked around the city, even scaling some hills to get better views, before spending Sunday morning exploring a canyon that housed a waterfall. It wasn’t the hike we were expecting, and there were a lot of stairs, but it was absolutely beautiful. I also wowed with my slightly more than non-existent skills on the monkey bars. I promised to keep working on my upper body strength so I can do the whole thing next year πŸ˜‰

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Yesterday, in addition to working on some scenes and establishing deadlines for myself, I had a table read for the tribute Diablo short film that I will be a part of. The entire cast wasn’t there, so we really got to spend a lot of time and work on the scenes with the people who were there. This is the project where I absolutely love my part that is completely on brand, the script is really good, I knew the guy in charge, got the part without auditioning, love the people involved and am pretty sure the film will actually be seen and shown places. Needless to say, the table read was a lot of of fun, and I am super excited to start filming πŸ™‚

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β€œMost people focus on the wrong thing; They focus on the result, not the process. The process is the sacrifice; it’s all the hard parts – the sweat, the pain, the tears, the losses. You make the sacrifices anyway. You learn to enjoy them, or at least embrace them. In the end, it is the sacrifices that must fulfill you.”

-Ronda Rousey

Wraps, Plans and Webinars

After a slightly emotional last day on set, I am now wrapped for Un Jour En Societe. In my head I thought it would be the easiest of my filming days, because it didn’t involve any lines, so no memorization. Instead, I had to keep walking as people catcalled me, and eventually crumble into bed basically defeated. That shows me to no longer think things will be easy just because I don’t have to learn anything. All in all though, it was a really interesting experience, and I absolutely cannot wait to see the finished product!

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On Tuesday, I started taking care of business before going to class. I signed up for ballet classes this fall and started my business plan, which is nowhere near done. I still haven’t decided if it is a really tedious, or a really fun thing to do. It does make you think though, since you need to figure out a million things about yourself and the industry you are trying to build a career in.

As for class, it was the cold reading one, so we got our scenes and worked with them while being on book. I am paired with Carolyne πŸ™‚ with slightly confusing imaginary circumstances. As in I play her mother, that she goes back in time to talk to as a high school student. That would be interesting enough in itself, but there’s also a huge secret that is weighing on me, and the scene is really high on emotions. I can’t wait to see what happens when we really dig into it on Tuesday πŸ˜‰

On Wednesday we went back to the mountain for another hike, this time a shorter path with a higher incline, which was a nice little challenge. Once I got home, I got down to business. First, I watched Wendy Davis’ Audition Game Webinar, which was free and held a lot of valuable insight. Some of it is the kind of stuff I know but need to remind myself of, but she also took the whole ‘enjoy auditioning’ advice to a new level. Instead of just seeing auditions as an opportunity to act and do what we love, Wendy sees them as a game, that she can win every single time, regardless of whether or not she booked the role. She uses a list of criteria that she scores herself on after every audition, and as long as she gets over 90%, she considers the audition a win. You should check her out if you have the chance πŸ˜‰

Second, I wrote some scenes to potentially film with Carolyne for my demo reel. One of my resolutions this year was to film something that I wrote, so this would be a way to cross that off, and hopefully get some really nice, on brand footage for my reel at the same time. I still need to find someone who is willing to film it, but I think it will definitely be easier to work my way up from short scenes to longer ones, to a short and then to a feature, rather than just jump right into my own production. I feel like I have a lot to learn about the other side of the camera, so baby steps and trial and error will be my best education πŸ˜‰

Third, and this one probably shouldn’t have been so scary and taken this long, but I asked some colleagues if they wanted to form a Mastermind group with me. I have mentionned these before, and am just so excited about the idea of a bunch of people getting together every month or so to help each other achieve goals, and to hold each other accountable. When I realized that both of them had joined the Bonnie Gillespie bandwagon, I knew that I had to put myself out there and ask. Luckily, they were both really interested, and we should be starting it in September πŸ™‚ Which means I have a bunch of research and planning to do πŸ˜‰

On Thursday, I went to see Mission:Impossible Rogue Nation as well as the Fantastic Four. One of them has been getting bad reviews, but other than feeling like they could have had a bigger build up to the ultimate showdown, I enjoyed both films.

Yesterday, I worked at McGill and biked to another town with my mom for supper, but I also put some of my to do list on hold to watch the Ms. In the Biz Roundtable that popped up in my inbox. I have a page of notes that can double as inspirational quotes from it. If you aren’t familiar with Helenna Santos and her awesome website, you should definitely check it out.Β In theory, it’s building a community of women in the acting industry, but it is also so much more. From the Hire a Ms. tool that encourages you to hire female directors for your projects, to all the awesome articles that come out, it is really a little goldmine. And I can’t wait to read her book that I ordered!

Finally, I got an email from Valerie Waters going on about Ronda Rousey and how inspirational and awesome she is, and then stumbled upon a bunch of quotes from Chris Hadfield that make me think their books will be the next ones I read, and there might be a lot of quotes from the two of them in the near future. Be warned, and also let me know if you have read any books that you find to be really awesome and inspiring πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend everybody!

β€œDecide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”

-Chris Hadfield

Job Offers and Catching Up

When I wrote my last post, I was on my way to film my second day on a French film called Un Jour En Societe. The location was about an hour an a half from where I live, at a pub that basically let us take over. My character is a waitress/ barmaid, so I pretty much hung out behind the bar all day, sometimes saying lines and interacting with other actors, but sometimes just standing there and trying to look like I belonged. They didn’t close the pub while we were there, so every once in a while, a real customer would come by with an order, and I would have to defer to an actual employee. However, as the day went on, I got to know where to find the different beer bottles and cans, their prices, and even got to pour a few draft beers. By the time I was wrapped, I even had a job offer. I am not currently planning on working in a bar, but it is nice to know that I have something to fall back on πŸ˜‰

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As far as the actual acting went, I was probably not the nicest employee/coworker/bartender, but it was a lot of fun to play someone and do things that I probably wouldn’t do. It was also a much bigger cast than my first day on this project, so I got Β to meet a lot of new people πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, setting up and some scenes took longer than planned, so my last day of filming was postponed to this afternoon.

On Thursday, I went to see Trainwreck with my mom, then went back to the campground I spent my childhood at to have supper with some family friends. It kind of broke my heart a bit to not be a part of it anymore, especially when people who watched me grow up would come over and say hi. Not to mention the street that bears my name…

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Friday and Saturday I worked on setting up my office in my room, editing some scenes for my demo reel, and went to see Southpaw. Originally I had no interest in seeing it, but we wanted to do the whole VIP thing, and it was actually surprisingly good, even for someone who doesn’t care for boxing. The performances were really touching, especially Oona Laurence, who plays the daughter. Every time her heart broke, mine broke with it.

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Yesterday, a bunch of us went up to the top of Mont Saint-Hilaire for what will hopefully become a weekly tradition, before spending the day playing bocce ball and catching up with some family from out of town. I can’t wait for the weekend getaway that we are planning πŸ™‚

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Sur le plateau :)

Since I had promised a while ago to write lots of short posts instead of cramming everything into a single one, I thought I would give you a little update before heading out again.

First of all, there is a short I did a few months ago, Sasha: Portrait of An Artist, that has been selected for the San Antonio Laughs Film Fest. Huge congrats to the entire team πŸ™‚

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Second, I was on set Monday. A French set. Where I had to have a heated argument and talk fast in a language that I don’t normally do that in. I told you I would share how it went and…I think it went pretty good. The writer was from France, so he told us we could change words and adjust the lines to make them sound more natural, so having the option of not saying the lines exactly as they were written got rid of some of my nervousness, so I was able to say the lines exactly as they were written. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? My costume is absolutely hilarious, a smorgasboard of clothes I never would have put together, but that is the fun part of acting, wearing clothes and becoming someone different from yourself, while still being you. The two guys in charge were really nice and kept thanking us for agreeing to be a part of the project. They truly seemed to love it and be so happy with the response they had received so far. It is definitely an interesting concept for a movie that you will all have to check out when it is done πŸ˜‰

Yesterday I wasn’t personally on set, so instead I finished my book for CampNanowrimo. I am past the 75 000 words, so I have technically already won the challenge, but I still want to write an epilogue, so I don’t truly consider it done. Yet.

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I spent the afternoon playing games with my cousin’s cousins, then headed to acting class. This was our audition week, and last month we had only worked on one of the scenes, so I only prepared the scene from Eat, Pray Love that we had done last week. My reader was unfamiliar with the script, so we had a few really funny slips of the tongue, and it was a challenge to not laugh, but try and use the mistakes instead. Then, as it turns out, Suzanna wanted me to do both scenes. I didn’t have the script for Along Came Polly, but she did. Instead of going crazy over the fact that I hadn’t worked on the lines and wasn’t 100%, I decided to launch at 85%. I knew the scene would be terrible if I cared more about getting the lines than about being truthful, so I read the scene once and then just let it go. I was surprised how well I actually remembered what I had to say, and think I managed to get a line better than I had last time when I knew it by heart. I didn’t care about forgetting or not being word perfect. This isn’t something I would do in an actual audition, but as far as class goes, I think I got a better acting workout by just going with it.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Brunch…Two days in a row

In addition to all of the lists I frequently post on here, of things I want to do this year, this week, this month or in the next 5 years, I also have a list on my computer. It is sort of like a bucket list, but there are also a bunch of items that are just things I would like to do or try, like eating a red velvet cupcake, which I got to cross off years ago when I was in L.A. After watching Sex and The City, getting dressed up and going for brunch in the city was definitely something that I wanted to do, but I didn’t realize that I had put it on my list until this weekend.

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We spent Saturday doing whatever my father wanted, because it was his birthday. We ended up walking from my brother’s to the lookout on Mount Royal, back down for a delicious brunch, then we went back up the hill to go to the movies. We saw Spy, which my mom and I had already seen, but it is just as funny the second time around. To finish off the day, we went to a driving range so my dad could prepare me for eventually playing a round of golf with him.

On Sunday was the brunch I had planned for, and I dressed more accordingly than hiking clothes. Carolyne and I had reserved at Holder in Old Montreal, and it was fabulous. The whole atmosphere felt fancy and European, the staff was welcoming and bilingual, the food was yummy, and they let us stay there for two hours without ever making us feel rushed or pressured to leave. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for a nice brunch spot, and had a really great time with Carolyne. We finished off our day with a little bit of shopping and some menchies, because, why not?

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As for today, I am nervously working on lines and on finding wardrobe for a movie I am filming this week. It is in French and I have a lot of fast paced dialogue, which is slightly nerve-wracking because I learnt French in a school setting and then mostly used it at work, not places where you get into heated arguments and talk fast while being upset. I will let you know how it all turns out πŸ˜‰

Finally, there are 5 days left in July, and I am at a little over 70 000 words in the book I am writing for Camp Nanowrimo. Just 5000 words and I am done πŸ™‚

“Just be comfortable with who you are.”

-Chris Pratt

Sets and Scenes

Sometimes, I feel like absolutely nothing is going on for me career-wise, and then I look at my schedule and realize I have something every single day. That is what has happened to me since my last post. If this trend could keep up for the rest of the summer, and my life, that would be amazing πŸ™‚

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I spent two days on a French production pretending to be a high school student, which showed me that no matter how young people (including myself) still think I am, I am way older than actual high school students. Not that I have all the answers or have all these life experiences, but I am more like the American TV show’s version of a high school student πŸ˜‰

After both days, I went out with friends, first for a birthday supper for my cousin, and the next time to see Ant Man with that same cousin and my brother. I didn’t have all that much prior knowledge on Ant Man, but I really like Paul Rudd and love my Marvel movies. It definitely impressed. We were laughing almost the whole time, and I loved all the appearances from other members of the Marvel universe. If you do go see it, wait for the 2 post-credit scenes, don’t just leave after the first πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, I was also on set, as a civilian mourner at a military funeral, so not the happiest of fake situations, but I made a lot of friends and frequently pushed myself out of my comfort zone, initiating conversations and actually getting to know people.

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Saturday, was another day on set, but one that was much smaller, and was actually an alley. We filmed a really short scene for the French webseries I am participating in. I was only there for an hour or so, but everyone seemed really nice, and I still have another couple of scenes to film for the project. If you’ve been counting, that makes 4 days on set in the span of a week. Definitely something I would love to get used to πŸ™‚

On Friday, after some technical difficulties a few days before, I managed to have a skype meeting for a short I will be filming this summer. I only knew one person on the project, but my tech problems on Wednesday allowed me to get acquainted with the girl in charge of the project, so that on Friday I wasn’t so nervous when after discussing my character, we did a read through. I ended that skype call so much more confident and so excited to start filming. I don’t know if I mentioned that I now have a list of criteria in order to accept non-paying work, and this project meets every single one (I would do a project if at least one of them is met, so this is really good). It is a part that I love, with someone I know, in a really cool project I want to be a part of, that will be shown somewhere that might be able to advance my career, and on top of it all, I didn’t have to audition, the role was offered to me based on my previous work. Have I mentioned that I am soooo excited?

On Sunday I was busy with family, and got to do my absolute favorite arm workout, of carrying my niece around for a few hours. If you have no motivation for lifting weights and working out, I recommend you find yourself a baby, preferably one that is related to you, not one that you kidnap off the street. Bonus points if she is absolutely adorable and almost never cries πŸ˜‰

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Finally, on Tuesday, I had my acting class with Suzanna. I had a scene with Shiva, from Eat, Pray, Love again, but I wasn’t playing the main character this time. What I really loved was that I had the words so memorized that I didn’t have to think about them, and could actually try something different every take. I wouldn’t do that if we were on set filming, but I let my instincts guide me, interpreting a line differently than it was in the film, which brought us to play with the character until the last take was a combination of instinct and work that I might want to put in my demo. Carolyne was on camera for me, and she knew from watching that I would want to do this, so she purposely got me nice and close and well framed. I think it is really funny how in the first few takes, when I tell Shiva that she has friends here, I actually looked up at Carolyne. I fixed it in future takes, but the subconscious impulse was there.

After everyone else left, Carolyne and I redid our scene from Battle Creek for her demo reel, but she insisted on setting up two cameras in a way that I could get a good, clean shot of it as well, in case I wanted to use it. I watched all of the footage from class today, and I really love the scene. It is cute and funny and will definitely lighten up my demo πŸ™‚

“Keep going. Start by starting.”

-Meryl Streep