Last weekend I worked on a USC graduate student’s short film. It was the first live action film he’d ever made. I’m leaving the names out of this post because I did have a few complaints and I don’t want to call out someone who is just starting out.
Saturday’s call time was 6:20am since we were shooting outside and wanted to film as much as possible before the harsh sun really came into play. The setting was the alley behind his apartment. Theoretically this was convenient, but we shot almost a block away, so after a certain point I kind of resigned not to need to go to the bathroom because it would take forever. Day 1 worked out because I drank less, but toward the end of day 2 I was doing a little dance between takes, and not the “I’m really cold” dance.
Did I mention that it was cold? It was cold. It was cold aaaallllll day. And I know I shouldn’t complain since we don’t get snow out here and the east coast is currently just buried, but I was in a light jacket and short skirt, often sitting on the ground. Also I’m a total baby when it comes to being cold. Boooo Cold!
Anyway, coldness aside, things went ok. It’s always hard on someone’s first shoot since they are still learning the camera settings and trying to choose the best angles. Hell, I still can’t really keep track of the 180° line most of the time and I’ve been on sets for years. I had come down a few days prior so we could storyboard, which seemed to help. And there wasn’t any dialog, so that helped too. But it was pretty clear in the middle of the day we’d still need a lot of time on Sunday. Only thing was, Sunday was supposed to be rainy. So we really needed to get it mostly done. This was one reason I never bothered with my breaks. They were like- “you sure?” And I was like, “I’m fine. Let’s keep going.”
Only a few things seemed to go wrong. At one point in the story, I slide down a fence and sit on the ground, but we didn’t realize the fence was really filthy. So we couldn’t shoot anything from behind until the jacket could be washed. (It did get washed and came out fine.) There was briefly another actor there on Saturday, but since he wasn’t there on Sunday, I suspect he’s not making the final cut. I guess his shots were too bright since the sun started coming out, so they re-shot in the morning with the DP in the role instead. Oh well. That happens.
We finished around 5pm when the sun was going down.
On Sunday I had a 6:30 call time, but the DP overslept so we didn’t end up shooting anything at all until maybe 8am? I’m not sure. We probably could have since the director ran the camera most of the day anyway. I did at least bring my coat that day, which was good since it did rain a few times. It was a light rain and basically stopped by the time they got back to the apartment with the camera trying to keep it dry. Better safe than sorry I guess, but I was stuck sitting in the rain watching the rest of the stuff out in the alley. They really should try and put the students in groups of 3’s so the actors don’t have to babysit equipment.
We re-shot some things and finished out the things that were missed from Saturday. In the end I really needed to go to the bathroom, but I refused since it would waste like 15 minutes in just walking there and back.
It was only until about 1pm when I was finished, but I was slightly upset at the director that it took as long as it did. Technically he cheated and deleted files from the cards even though it’s against the rules of the assignment. They are supposed to be learning time management as well as conserving “film,” even if it’s digital film. The lesson is still an important one. So who knows how long we went on overwritten media. I wouldn’t have minded really if he hadn’t cheated. But I didn’t sign on for that. My time is valuable too, and I don’t want to be spending it cheating. It’s not fair to other students who follow the rules and just can’t get all the shots they wanted since they ran out of media. And it sort of drove me nuts when he stopped slating entirely so I had no warning when the camera was rolling. It was literally him just saying, “Camera rolling action.” No pause. I guess it doesn’t matter if he is editing and it’s a really short film, but I don’t know. I like doing USC projects because they teach their students to work a little more professionally. I’ve done these non-dialog films in the past and they never did stuff like that. I hope that USC isn’t getting lazy and this was just a fluke. I figure he’ll learn why this stuff matters eventually. Or not. Who can say? It’s not my problem I guess.
On the plus side it’s good that worked on a new project. It had been a little while since I shot anything, so I figured I’d get back to doing some student films. I haven’t been getting out to audition for paid gigs, but I should still be working in some way. Work begets work, they say. Let’s hope so.
So, I’m in the process of migrating my website files to a subfolder on my server, so there are a bunch of broken image links. I’m still updating the affected pages.
I recently got my first check in the mail for Contracted: Phase 2, so I made a secret blog post about the shoot. That reminded me that Delivery is released and I can unlock all my old blogs about the shoot!
NOTHING BUT SPOILERS AHEAD!
I just remembered another thing I did this summer! I was in a short film at Comic Con.
So I went to LA Nerd Night a while ago and one of the speakers asked if anyone was going to Comic Con, so I raised my hand. After the speakers were finished and people were just mingling, a woman comes up and asks if I’m going to comiccon. I say yes. Then she asks if I’d be willing to be in a short film they are shooting there. I said yes. I think that’s the most random way I’ve booked anything.
When we arrived, I went straight to meet up with them. I got changed and then the director showed the Kilted Trooper and I the dance we needed to learn. Then we went into a less crowded hall and shot our adorable little number. It was pretty fun. People were good about walking around us while we were shooting. At least once we got a nice round of applause when a crowd had formed. The guys in the suit was such a good sport because it was crazy hot dancing in that uniform.
Definitely one of the more unique experiences I’ve had at the con. Here is the short:
So, I took a break from blogging for a bit. I could say I took a break from acting, but really my normal jobby job was super busy for a few months so I didn’t have enough time for everything. Plus some misc personal life stuff was pretty stressful for a while. But things are ok and normal now. Unintentional break, over!
In the meantime I worked on a few student projects down at USC. I volunteered at a home for teen girls to help with a writing class a friend was doing. My husband and I did a very silly Hulu ad, which I haven’t seen, but apparently a friend of his mom’s did!
Oh and, Delivery: The Beast Within came out on DVD and got some more good responses. I preferred the theatrical poster, but this one is at least better than the UK version. They ended up photoshopping my face on another body, so I didn’t recognize it. I was like, “Those aren’t my ankles! I wish they were, but they are not!” They haven’t announced the streaming or cable dates yet, so I guess those deals are still in the works.
Then this month I get to be in another movie. I can’t say what but it’s going to be very fun. I can’t wait. As a bonus I booked it because they saw me in Delivery, which is pretty rad.
I’m also going back to class with Craig. I haven’t been in class in forever, so it’s so nice to be doing that again as well. All in all, I’m feeling optimistic about 2015. I’m hoping to be more focused than I was the last half of this year. I feel like I got pretty derailed and now I’m taking steps to getting back on track. Wooo wooo! (that is a train noise.)
Anyway, happy holiday season!
Last week, Delivery: The Beast Within was sent out into the world.
Tuesday it dropped on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, as well as on cable. Oh, as well as on, like, every pirating site, of course. Really that showed up before the US release, and apparently it was the US copy, not from the UK or Australia as I would have thought.
Then on Friday, it screened at 5 theaters across the country. LA, NY, Chicago, Indianapolis, and San Diego. It was a midnight movie, so I didn’t hold my breath for a full house, but it was very fun to celebrate before hand with friends and to see it with them in a theater, like a regular ol’ movie.
Friday was also when iTunes released it. We thought they were going to delay it for home video release later this year, but maybe they were just waiting to do it the same day as the theaters.
Ain’t It Cool News
Negative (in the interest of fairness):
We also did some more interviews. Adam and Brian talked with a bunch of folks. I did 2 phone interviews. Actually one I did in October, but it’s up now. they edited out the part where I talk about seeing it at Feartastic, which was coming up at the time.
Slack Jaw Punks (#77: Star Of Delivery: The Beast Within, Laurel Vail)
Now that the film is released, I intend to go back and make my blog posts about the production public. I don’t want there to be spoilers for people who haven’t seen it yet and Google it. I haven’t looked at them since the shoot. It will be fun to remember everything.
It turns out we are playing at the Laemmle both Friday and Saturday nights! Both are basically midnight movies.
Yesterday Delivery (they kept the title the same) came out on DVD and VOD in the UK. Seems like people are into it so far!
“The main performances throughout Delivery are surprisingly great. […] Without such strong leads Delivery may have been a less memorable affair, but Danny Barclay and Laurel Vail manage to excel as the two-person centerpiece of the film.”
“It really helps that Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay, who play expectant parents Rachel and Kyle, are actors who know how to play natural without it looking like they are performing to a script.”
“Kyle (Danny Barclay) and Rachel (Laurel Vail) are judged just right. They are cute without being unbearably saccharine or schmaltzy. […] To have made DELIVERY about any other couple would have sacrificed the authenticity of the sequence of events. Without Kyle and Rachel being followed about with cameras, the narrative would have felt more accidental, coincidental and scattergun.”
“Rest assured though, DELIVERY is no DEVIL’S DUE, and as far as found footage horrors go, this one knocks it out of the park.”
“Delivery does indeed deliver a nice, short sharp horror film and knows not to over stay it’s welcome with an ending that would put anyone off a first time mother having a home birth.”
“This film stayed with me a little longer that I thought it would and that has to be commended.”
” The actors all hit the spot […] The tension definitely escalates, palpably, as events progress.”
Last week I auditioned for a USC graduate production through their interactive research department. They want to create a short film to demonstrate new technologies they are developing. It will basically serve as a proof of concept as they move forward with development of the tech. I’m pretty excited to see how they are shooting it, since it will require a lot of CG. Unless they are further along in development than I think.
I’m also exited because they gave me a bigger role than I originally went in for. I went for the older character, since I’m never sure if I pass for under 25, and as in the case here, they could just have me read for the other role anyway. I don’t think they were too concerned with the character’s listed age from the breakdown.
Thankfully, my jobby job is still slow enough that I can easily take a few days off. This summer will be interesting because we are going to be slammed. And the longer we wait for designs, the more busy we will be in June-August. Yikes! I’m only mildly concerned as far as acting gigs. Summer is when a lot of TV shows go on hiatus anyway.