Milkshake

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino

So much for blogging every other day in December. Ugh. So annoyed with myself. I hate to give an excuse but I will. Might as well turn it into a blog post…

A few months ago, Anna Rose and I started writing a screenplay together. Writing it for the girls of Action! We worked really hard and often – felt like I saw her every day. The outline took about a month, and then we were writing. A few scenes in, is a car scene. Why not use this for Conversations in Cars? And so began our focus on writing the short. Once we had a first draft, I brought it to Writers Group. Dane said AR could come if we wanted to get feedback together. She was thrilled, to say the least. Long story short, AR is now a member of Writers Group. Every week we would bring in a new draft. Get feedback. Then go back and work on it again.

Towards the beginning of December, the ball was rolling. Let’s shoot this thing. Get a crew together. I thought this would be a much longer process, but before I know it, we’re setting a shoot date for January 5 (well, AR is – she’s an animal). What?!! That is so soon. We don’t even have a final draft yet! And what about everything else we need? And all the people we need?

We’ll figure it out. And so, AR and I continued working on the script, now sending it to Greg and Ben for their feedback as well. This thing has changed so many times, but I’m happy to say that on Christmas Eve, AR and I spoke on the phone and nailed down a final draft. And I like it.

Now here I am, less than a week before the shoot date, and it’s all I can think about. This entire month has been consumed by making a “perfect” script and figuring out crew, equipment, costs, etc. I couldn’t think about anything else. So there it is. My excuse.

What’s the short about? Four badass chicks take a girl hostage. But they’ve got the wrong girl. Think dark comedy. Think Quentin Tarantino – he was our inspiration from the start. Somehow, I wrote myself as the hostage. Four badass chicks, and I play the victim. What was I thinking?? Idiot.

I’ve got the most difficult role. At least, I think I do. I’m nervous I won’t be good enough, but so pumped to challenge myself. This will be a new role for me. Something different. I know I am going to feel AMAZING when we wrap on Sunday night. For now, I anxiously count down the days.

Starting the year facing my fears. Feels good.

Happy New Year Everyone!

*Village People

When You Believe

On set of Christmas fun
On the set of Christmas fun

Action! decides to make monthly goals, starting in October. One of mine is to go on at least one audition a week. Need to get myself out there. In order to do this, I need to start submitting WAY more than I used to. Up until now, I have paid per submission on Actors Access (website). Basically, if I get a notice for an audition that I like, I’ll submit myself. The casting director will then see my headshot, resume, and reel. It’s $2 a submission for just your headshot and resume, and an extra $3 for the reel. I only just recently uploaded a reel (finally!) to my profile. So that’s $5 a submission. No wonder I’ve been so picky with my auditions. It’s so expensive!

That’s where Natalie comes in. Silly Stets, just sign up for the year subscription. I think it ends up being a little less than $80 for the year. I get my money’s worth within the first week of submitting. Amazing. Now I can submit for any and every audition. And I do.

Noticing a lot of Christmas postings right around now. Love it! A lot of it is theatre, which would be great if it wasn’t unpaid with shows every weekend in December – I wouldn’t be able to afford to live. But there is one USCĀ (University of Southern California) short grad film that pops up. The premise looks adorable – young Saint Nick lives in an apartment building and has been practicing getting into apartments during the night, thus breaking into people’s homes. A nosy neighbor (that’s me) comes around, knocking on his door, wanting to know more about this new tenant. So cute.

I arrive on the USC campus for my first time. It’s a really nice campus. Everyone is riding around on beach cruisers in true California fashion. Find my way to the film department and take the elevator to where the audition is being held in a classroom. A guy is sitting outside the room, going over sides. Walk past him and into the room where a girl sits by herself. This is the writer and director, Haley. I get the sides from her and go back out into the hallway to go over them. It’s a few pages of dialogue. As soon as I read through it in my head, I get the kid’s attention who is sitting outside the door. Wanna come read with me? He says sure, and follows me outside to a balcony. Perfect for practicing. We go through it twice and are ready to go. Sure, I could practice longer but I just want to get in there.

Haley has us read together. It’s a one and done. I think it went well, but I don’t feel like I had the chance to do ENOUGH. I wish I brought more to the role. I do tell her that I love the premise and that the writing is good – something I haven’t been seeing a lot of when auditioning.

I tell the girls about it at our Action! meeting the next day. I really want this part! They collectively tell me to email Haley and tell her that. So I do. Reiterate what I said at the audition and if she’s on the fence about anything, I’d love to have the opportunity to audition for her again. She gets back to me asking about my availability for the following week before she makes any final decisions. I don’t see the email until the end of my shift at work, and freak out a little that since I didn’t respond right away, she may have already went with someone else. But she didn’t! I get to play the role of Kate!

Cast and crew sans our talented photographer,
Cast and crew sans our talented photographer, Anne

Rehearsal on Monday at Haley’s apartment in downtown LA. Pretty sweet set-up she’s got, and that’s not even including all the amazing Christmas decorations everywhere. November 1st and I am officially in the Christmas spirit! My co-star, Josh, has not arrived yet, so I get to talk to Haley for a bit. Find out it’s not the same guy I auditioned with and that the third character in the short – Santa Claus – is AMAZING. I don’t get to meet him, because we’re not in any scenes together, but guys, he looks just like Santa! It’s crazy. And awesome.

Find out that Haley has four siblings and is also obsessed with Christmas, so, we have a lot in common already. I get to talk to her a little about the script. She sent us the most recent version of five pages and told us that if we have any suggestions, feel free to email her. I just can’t help myself. Email her just a tiny idea. It ends with Nick and Santa at the North Pole. I suggest ending it with Kate walking back into his apartment and seeing something that makes her “believe.” I don’t know what, but just a thought. Haley has decided to use that! When Kate walks back in, all the Christmas decorations will be gone, except for a snowglobe, sitting on the floor in front of her. “We can’t end it with that. My teacher says it has to end at the North Pole, but we’re still going to use it.”

Excellent! I’m excited. Josh arrives and we go through introductions and get right into the rehearsal. Lines, blocking, wardrobe. Thursday we’ll be filming, and that will be it for me. Josh has a couple scenes with Santa. I’m really only in the one scene in the apartment.

Thursday I arrive at Haley’s apartment and everything is set up, now with lights. She also has a crew of three others, all from her class. Josh is running late, so we get started with my individual shots. Josh then arrives and we get right into it. He’s kind of a weird dude, as many actors I meet are. Nice guy. By the end of the shoot I’m giving him a hard time about everything and he’s telling me to just be myself on camera (because my character is kind of bitchy —- good one).

I’m wrapped at 10. That’s it? Wow, that was so fast. I mean, it is only a 5-page script, but still. That was fun. Can’t wait to see it.

(Haley recently emailed to tell me that it’s almost finished and guess what… ended up going with Kate walking back into the apartment at the end. !!!)

*Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston