Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, I had a great time shooting a short film. It was my first film that I would be getting paid for and I was one of the leads. Last December I got a message on Facebook from a friend, Ryan, from acting class at Lesly Kahn that he was doing a short film and the director wanted to use me as the female lead. I didn’t have to audition, the director/writer, Christopher Stewart, trusted Ryan’s judgement. That weekend I went to Chris’ house to meet him and the third actor to join us. It turned out to be a tree trimming party and I had a blast with everyone there. I read through the script as soon as I got it and was laughing out loud! I couldn’t wait to shoot in January!
I play Zoe, a Christian Fundamentalist who is hoping to get married before she turns 30, which is only two years away, but the man needs to be perfect. And from church. I go on a date with Paul (played by Ryan Nolan), who is fresh out of rehab run by my pastor, so I know he’s on the right path. Everything seems great, until our waiter, Danny (played by Matthew Steven Herrick), gets into our heads.
A week before shooting we all met for a read thru and some rehearsal. Time was going to be tight at our location so we needed to be sure all blocking was set before we got there the following week. It was a 15 page script and the rhythm of the lines needed to be just right, so we ran through it a number of times that afternoon. We met one more time the following Saturday and we were ready and excited to start shooting the next day.
My alarm clock went off bright and early Sunday morning (ie. 6am) and after a quick shower and some fresh coffee from Peet’s (because getting up that early I definitely need coffee right away) I was on my way to my first day of shooting. We shot at a bar in Silver Lake, which was a mere 15 minutes from my apartment. And at 6:30 in the morning there is no traffic, a true rarity in Los Angeles. I had a fabulous make-up artist Austyn Cuccia to make me look pretty, then into wardrobe. I was the first shot of the day. Our fabulous Director of Photography (the DP), Matt Brodie, made us all look good on camera. It was a great Sunday shoot and we were done at noon as another event was coming in for the afternoon. It was actually perfect because I had a rehearsal down in Hollywood at 1pm, so off I went.
Monday morning came too quickly and once more my alarm went off before the sun came up. It was another great day of shooting and with all the cranberry juice Ryan and I drank (aka, fake red wine) it’s safe to say no UTI’s were happening, lol. We never had to eat the cold pasta so that was another upside. My favorite part was making sure all the wine bottles and candles in the background were in just the right spots. There was also fun in doing hair and make-up in partial darkness. But Austyn was fabulous and worked quickly when the lights could come back on in between takes. We wrapped on time and made plans to have a wrap party later in the week. There was extra snack and breakfast food that we got to take home with us. I grabbed whatever no one else wanted and have been passing out potato chips and individually wrapped danishes to the homeless of Los Angeles ever since.
Shout outs to the rest of our awesome and hard-working crew: Timmy Paul, fab producer; Stephen Parsey, awesome editor; Dave Beresford, stellar boom operator (and another Lesly Kahn student and friend), Colleen Nolan, amazing wardrobe; Mohamed El Emam and Brent Aronowitz, amazing PAs .
It was a fabulous two days. I recently got to see a first cut of the film and it looks great! It will be submitted to film festivals here in southern California as well as other festivals around the country. When you get to do what you actually love to do, a 6am alarm clock, cold pasta and lots of cranberry juice don’t seem to matter. For two days I got to be an actress. I got to shoot a short film with two other fabulous actors and an amazing crew. And I can’t wait for the next one!