Sur le plateau :)

29 Jul

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 :)

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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 ;)

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

27 Jul

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 ;)

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 :)

“Just be comfortable with who you are.”

-Chris Pratt

Sets and Scenes

23 Jul

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 :)

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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 ;)

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 ;)

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.


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 :)

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 ;)

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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 :)

“Keep going. Start by starting.”

-Meryl Streep

The Right Kind of Jealousy

15 Jul

What was meant to be a pretty busy weekend turned into a writing extravaganza, so I am now back on top of my word count. Unfortunately, it also means that I didn’t get to have brunch with Carolyne, and filming for a french webseries I am participating in will be postponed.

Another thing that happened this weekend, was Comic Con in San Diego. Since I spent my weekend writing and walking around town, you know I wasn’t there, but my twitter and facebooks feeds were bombarded with trailers and pictures and enough to make me see exactly what I was missing. Personally, I would love to attend comic con just to listen to the panels and walk the floor and live in that atmosphere for a weekend. But even more, I dream of being invited to comic con to actually be on a panel. To have a project that is so highly anticipated that people line up outside Hall H to see our trailer. And more than anything, I want to play an awesome and fierce character who gets me on EW’s Women Who Kick Ass panel. As I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I have to admit I was jealous, and maybe a little worried that I would never make it to comic con in any capacity. Instead of letting these two emotions fester into one of those ‘I’m never going to make it’ moments, I used them as inspiration. I let myself be jealous for a moment, and then I decided to do something about it.

Comic Con will be in San Diego through 2018, so I made that my year to attend. Or, hopefully, to be invited. I realize that this really doesn’t give me a lot of time, but as long as I am working towards my goals and making progress, I will be happy. For starters, I finally did another agent sendout, and I am making my daily goals count. I currently have an ‘ideal’ 5 year plan, as well as a more lenient list of deadlines for myself, which I consider more realistic. There are a lot of things in the acting industry that are completely out of my control, but I am going to make sure that everything in that list that I can control, I will get done. Even the ones that scare me or make me nervous. If it takes more time to get where I want to be, that’s okay, as long as I know I did everything in my power to achieve my goals.

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One of those things I have to do is work on my craft, which I did last night in my acting class. I missed last week, so Suzanna had a guy from the Monday class come in just to do the scene with me. When I was doing it last night, I felt that I was all over the place and not connecting with him and not liking him enough, but we did 4 takes and watching the last one this morning, I really like it. I need to cut down on the facial expressions when I am listening to him talk, and learn to just be still in the moment, but other than that I am really happy with it. And looking forward to filming a scene for Carolyne’s demo next week :)

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”

-George Edward Woodberry

Night shoots

10 Jul

This past week I have done lots, but also a bit of nothing. As in I have constantly been doing things, but not crossing anything off of my list of things to do. My week started off with some night shoots. I got to be a reporter, which I really enjoyed. Not because I actually did anything different from the other extras, but I got to stand right at the front, and actually got to hear what the actors were saying. This includes their lines, while they were rehearsing, and their banter between takes as well. It was really interesting to see how differently the actors will do the scene based on whether it is their close up, or if they are off camera. Some delivered the same performance no matter what, while others slightly improvised the lines when they weren’t on camera. We also used a drone, which was an experience on its own. I spent most of the time in heels, holding a microphone, and meeting old and new friends :)

2015-07-08 13.24.53Since I was filming at night, my days were shorter and slightly off kilter. I had planned to do so many things this week, but mostly just spent my time walking and going out with family, either for lunch, for supper, to the movies, or to Trivia Night at a bar. We didn’t win, but it was a whole lot of fun. And maybe it was because I read some bad reviews for Terminator before I went, but I enjoyed it. A lot.

As for today, I had my first session to learn the British dialect. Classic RP to be precise, although I had to figure that out. I’ve always had a version of what I consider to be a British accent, but it was very vague and non-specific. I used it once in an audition for a student film, but other than that, I only used it with my brother, who laughed at me (he was maybe 12 at the time, so I wouldn’t take it too personally, but I didn’t use it much after that). After today, I am much more confident with it, and glad that I will be narrowing it down to a particular dialect instead of sounding vaguely like I’m coming from the UK.

Now I have to learn some lines and catch up on a lot of writing. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

“I’ve always tried to go a step past wherever people expected me to end up.”

-Beverly Sills

The best friend mindset

5 Jul

Our minds are really incredible things. I have been reading a lot of articles lately about the difference between successful vs non-successful people, or even hot vs not hot girls (horrible title, but the article was really good) and they all seem to imply that a huge part of it is due to a shift in mindset. Which means that I can work as hard as I want, but if I don’t think I’m good enough and I don’t think I’ll make it, then I probably won’t. Unless I am auditioning for a really shy person with absolutely no self-confidence. Then I would nail it. But, as far as my life in general is concerned, I would much rather be the successful and confident person, so I am working on making the shift.

Carolyne and I are kind of working on it together, planning to do all kinds of exciting things that we don’t normally do, which would force us to get out and interact with people. We will still be having lots of froyo and going to the movies, I hope, but I am definitely noticing a shift in our goals, which used to be entirely acting career related, but now encompass life goals and awesome vlogs about jewellery.

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Tuesday’s class with Suzanna was smaller than it usually is, which always means we will go over. Since we think we have extra time, we always get to talking and sharing career advice and end up taking longer than if we had 2 more people to go through. Still, I love the discussions about background work, agents and brunch places :)

We only did our new scenes, so I was Julia Roberts’ character from August Osage County. I always feel intimidated when it is a big role like that, so I tried to work really hard on the lines and know where they were coming from, but then I forgot my line in the first take and spent the next ones trying so hard to mess up the lines that I forgot to live the life and connect. It got better by the third take, but I think I would have to work on it and go again to do it justice.

July 1st was Canada Day, but it was also the launch of Camp Nanowrimo, which I think I already explained is another opportunity to write a book in a month, but this time you get to decide how many words you think it should be, instead of having to get to 50 000. I was slightly ambitious, and put 75 000 as my word goal, so I have spent most of my weekend writing to get there. I also binged on a few netflix shows, but made it to 18 000 words so far, so I think I’m doing pretty good.

After finishing the new season of Orange is the New Black, I figured I would catch up on the last two episodes of The Mindy Project, and was excited to see Laverne Cox in one of them. She was a slightly over the top stylist, but she said something I found really meaningful. Mindy was being really hard on herself and thought she was fat and unattractive, so Laverne’s character pointed out that she would never talk to her best friend like that. She would be supportive and loving and tell her she looks great. Then she reminded Mindy that the person in the mirror is her best friend. Mind blown. And back to my theory about the mind shift. I need to stop bringing myself down and talk to myself like I would my best friend.

You get a lot of chance to binge on netflix when you are trying to reset your sleep cycle to prepare yourself for a few night shoots in a row. And sometimes, you get a message from a guy who saw the picture you posted to say you were available for said night shoot. A guy who is filming a pilot and thinks you would be great for it. Meeting with him is one of the many fun things I have planned for this coming week. I also heard back from the guy I had auditioned for a while back, who sent me a script and asked if there were any roles that interest me in it. Looks like I will be spending a few days on set at the end of July :)

“If you carry yourself with confidence, and you move through the world with your head held high and your shoulders thrown back, you don’t need to be a double-zero.”

-Gabrielle Union on body confidence

Scenes and Writing

25 Jun

It turns out that when I have too much time to go over something, I over-analyse it. I mentioned last week that I would do an experiment for class this week, and see how awesome I could be if I worked on the backstory and internal going-ons in the scene since I was already familiar with the words. Luckily, I can take direction, and knowing the words meant that it wasn’t a problem to change things from the way I had seen them. The verdict is that I definitely want to learn my lines as quickly as possible, so that I can get into the emotional journey and the moment before and so on, but I will be taking a different approach for how I work on the text after the lines have been learnt.

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As always, it was really fun to act with Carolyne, which we get to do so rarely. I had to get used to playing a slightly dumbed down character, and Carolyne was also going against type. It was lovely playing off of her and quite the experience.

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There was only one scene that I wasn’t in, so that was the one I filmed and it was really good. Very emotional and with accents as well. Apparently, I absolutely have to see Moonstruck now. The last scene was Picture Perfect and I had 2 really small lines to deliver, but we still sat at the table with the people doing the scene, pretending to small talk and such. For next week, I have a scene from August Osage County, which is kind of intimidating, considering who played the roles in the movie, but also really exciting :)

As for yesterday, it was a holiday here in Quebec, so I got together with a bunch of fellow Montreal writers and we all worked on our stories in a cafe. I can’t tell if what I am adding to the story is making it better or worse, but it was nice to hear about other people’s writing process, learn how to write a query letter, have sociological debates and get asked my opinion on psychological backstories :)

“You can fix anything but a blank page.”

-Nora Roberts


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