Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Real Christmas

Two weeks ago I had a Christmas meltdown. I'm still housebound with the broken ankle, still scooting up the stairs on my butt when I'm by myself, still wearing an orthopedic boot, and still, for the most part, dependent on crutches.

My meltdown began dramatically with "This is the worst Christmas ever." My husband did all kinds of kindnesses to head it off at the pass, including getting a fresh Christmas tree, decorating, even helping bake cookies. And I remember all those things. But the thing I remember the very most is what he said.

After my litany of why this is the worst Christmas ever--I haven't been out to see any decorations, I haven't been able to shop, my own house isn't even ready--he broke in with, "But none of that is even Christmas!"

In the moment, I ignored him. But now I know he was right. Christmas was this Sunday night--sitting together on the couch. Football on tv. Shared blanket on our laps. Holding hands and falling asleep in the gathering dusk. Perfectly calm, safe, peaceful. Full of gratitude for the past and hope for the future and perfect love in the moment.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sometimes shit happens.

And happen it has.

I broke my ankle on set in November. It was in the middle of a scene, captured on film, and the audible cracking noise captured on audio.

I am completely housebound, 'walking' around on crutches and scooting up and down the stairs on my butt. I can't drive. I need help showering (which isn't nearly as fun as it sounds). Workable clothing options are severely limited.

There has been good news. No surgery required. It should heal just fine. The pain has settled. And, if all goes well, I'll be walking on one of those great big orthopedic boots sans crutches by two days before Christmas.

The bad news? The short in which it happened has to be done this year, and I can't walk to do it. The short I had lined up for next weekend will continue on without me (and I was super excited about it!). Remember Wanda the Wonderful? Well, you can't play a contortionist on crutches, so they are recasting as well. And last, a part that was written for me in a feature film being filmed in January will also be recast.

Yeah, it totally sucks. Honestly, I'm trying to focus all my energy on getting better, being positive about the situation and trying not to go insane in the house, so I don't think the disappointment is really going to sink in for a few months.

There are moments of grace. The most poignant one, and the one I will keep with me for the rest of my life, is the vision of my husband leaning over my broken ankle, washing my leg, ankle and foot so gently, as I sit above him and silently cry because I'm so scared and miserable and thankful, above all so, so thankful for him.

This accident has meant so much extra work for him--work he's taken on without complaint and with so much love. I wish it didn't happen. I don't see the good in it. But if the good is being re-reminded that I am incredibly lucky to have this man in my life, I got it. I'll remember it. No more broken bones needed to remind me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm back!!!

So, I took a little time off--well--about a month off--to be a wife. Specifically to travel to France for our wedding anniversary. No, we weren't there for a month, but when you're going to be gone for an amount of time, it necessarily (and in this case, quite definitively) limits your availability for auditions, rehearsals and filming.

I am glad to report it was the best trip ever. We had a wonderful time. And then when I got back, all unmotivated and nicely relaxed by daily chocolate croissants and twice/thrice-daily glasses of wine, I found out I had been given a role in a short film I auditioned for right before we left. And then today, not even a week later, a second role just landed in my in-box, all written for me and ready to go.

So November and December will bring work with new teams of people--I love expanding my Austin circle--and wildly different roles. Class starts up for me again on Tuesday too, so I'm good to go. Back in it and hoping that Cell kicks some serious ass at competitions in both Beverly Hills and Switzerland over the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A moment of grace

So, it's early. I have a travel mug of coffee in one hand and ballet slippers in another. Hair in a messy ponytail. Bag slung over my shoulder. And a voice, my voice, comes into my head--"I am living the life I wanted." Wait, and listen--I am living the life I wanted!

It's true. In a dark time a few years ago, a dear friend pulled me through. One day, she made me write down what I'd be doing if I could do anything. For me, that included a sunny apartment in NYC, a warm mug of coffee, a job that meant exercise, dance and movement classes during the day and performances at night.

And I realized that while the details are not the same, the feelings and emotions and satisfaction that I thought that combination of things would bring to me has come to me. In places and forms I couldn't even imagine when I wrote that fantasy down on paper. Better than I could have imagined, because it includes the comfort of my home, the love of my husband, a city that embraces rather than judges and a mess of friends who love me for me and want me to succeed. Holy shit. There's nothing more in the world anyone needs. It's an embarrassment of riches, regardless of what happens in this biz. The pursuit--the life--is the joy.

And then I got to my ballet class, and it was canceled. And, this morning, the messiness of real life is just fine too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Still Kickin'

I have this weird in-between feeling right now--have a few weeks in October when I'll be totally out of commission--which leaves me 'dead' time right now. Not enough time to really chew into something. Passing on opportunities that fall too close to those days.

I'm ready to be back in classes, but lots of the fall classes run through those two unavailable October weeks. So...I found a great playwright (new to me) that may be providing me with my new comic monologue. I'm working on that. Finishing up a book on the history of modern indy films. Going on auditions. Following up with contacts. And trying to feel like an actor, knowing sure as anything that two or three things will likely break at the same time!

If you stumble on this, send some positive thoughts out to my extended family. They need 'em, and I'm passing em' on as fast as I can.

Awesome news--I was watching the two filmed in Texas shows tonight--Lone Star and Chase-- and two of the actors from this summer's movie, Favor, were in them--Donny Boaz in Lone Star and Tamara Jolaine in Chase. I love seeing my friends on the big and little screens!!! Great job, guys!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Goodness, it's been a busy few weeks! The weekend after I got back from LA, it was time to hit the set of Orbit--a film directed and written by Jessica Dorfman, a UT grad student. Orbit is her thesis film--a coming of age story about a 13-year-old girl who begins to learn tough lessons about love, loss and growing up while attending her father's wedding to his new wife.

It's been a really cool experience--the wedding in the film is a Jewish wedding, so we've learned all about Jewish traditions in the process of researching and filming. I even learned a little Hebrew for the ceremony! It's been 100 degrees plus for the entire 11 days, and the extras have been amazing--cheerfully dressing up for a wedding every day, day after day, and then sweating through their finery. We've been filming at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, which is a gorgeous setting for a wedding--they've been so kind and welcoming to us. Really amazing.

Our last day is tomorrow--one more chance to dance the hora, enjoy seriously the best craft services ever (let me know if you need a contact in Austin--this guy is a rock star...) and spend the day with cast and crew. I'm already feeling that bittersweet feeling...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cell: The Web Series' ITV Fest Red Carpet Premiere

I might be the only one there who didn't know the red carpet was called a step and repeat. And now I understand why! The red carpet is a red mat--it's about the size of a king-sized bed with a pop-up backdrop behind it. You stand in line, squeeze in, have your picture taken and get out of the way! Again. Everyone else probably already knew this...

The party was great--enjoyed meeting everyone, found out about some cool new series (check out Squatters everybody--will hook you up with a link when the ocean isn't beckoning) and all around had a great time with everyone. Had my first taste of El Pollo Loco afterwards and some sips of honey bourbon before. Damn good stuff.

I know I should put down all the details now, but I've been uploading pictures, etc. for the better part of two hours (I'm slow), and now I need coffee and fresh air. Will reflect and post again later. XOXO!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clearly Not All LA Yet

How did I prepare for an exciting day at ITVfest? By starting with a healthy breakfast--a bacon, maple, butter biscuit. Nom, nom, nom!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Red carpets and the really important stuff

I'm in LA to tag along with the creator and cast of Cell: The Web Series for its ITVFest premiere. It's been accompanied by the normal internal drama--am I pretty enough? I'm not pretty enough. I could wear this--I don't have anything to wear. What am I going to talk to people about? It sounds shallow, because it is shallow. And I'm not going to lie to you guys--there's nothing like something like this to bring out the inner 14 year old. In me anyway.

My husband is working today, and he had a business dinner this evening, which means I had a lot of alone time to make myself crazy. But, at some point you have to take a break, and that meant dinner.

I found reviews for an Italian market--Bay Cities Deli--that's supposed to have the best sandwiches in town. I drew myself a map, walked over there, found a nice employee to help me order, found a fellow patron to enjoy a pleasant 'waiting for the sandwich' conversation, ordered a caprese, found a bottle of sparkling French lemonade, found some fresh cucidati (Italian date cookies), and decided to have a picnic on the beach.

I have to wear these pants for the next four days, so sitting in the sand was out, but I found a bench, enjoyed my sandwich, enjoyed my lemonade, and enjoyed the people watching. I slogged (literally--not pretty) through what felt like miles of sand to get to the Pacific Ocean. I stood on the edge and let the waves submerge my feet. It felt wonderful. I took pictures of the sunset. I wrote "I love you" in the sand and took pictures of that. I took pictures of my own feet, and the waves, and an abandoned sand castle, and a tree (I think) that looked like a penis, and a path, and a fence, and a statue and before I knew it, my whole brain had reset, and I was blissfully happy.

I had a sunset. A very simple sandwich. The opportunity to travel with my husband. Fresh cherries waiting in the room. A sweater and the cool breeze that necessitated such things. And when I am old, and the only way for you to see the me I am now is through my eyes, I. will. still. have. those. things.

And those are the only things I need.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Daytime Confidential Shows Cell

This awesome shot of Jourdan Gibson (Sarah) and Beth Chamberlin (Brenda) was on the web site Daytime Confidential today talking about Beth's role in the season finale of Cell's season one. Her fans from Guiding Light seemed to really enjoy seeing her in such a strong role--we did too! She scared the crap out of us!

Can't say enough about what a kind woman she is in 'real life' though--speaks volumes about her acting chops. And yes--that's me (Lara) lurking in the background in the white wife beater. Scott Mullins (Drew) is in the yellow shirt; Robert Tamble (Robert) is in the front left and Martinique Duchene-Phillips (Joan) is in the front right. All three deserve mad props--the guys for having to wrestle Jourdan all day (not as much fun as it looks) and Martinique for having to wrestle Hilary Wagner (Katie).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cell: The Web Series

More than a year ago, I read a script by Mark Gardner that I loved. It was smart and real and compelling and properly punctuated. And it referenced King of Pain, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Sting after my brain irreversibly and inexplicably tied the best date/day of my life to a Sting song. TMI. Sorry.

Anyway. Since I read that script, I've been wanting to work with Mark Gardner. And this month, I was given that opportunity when he invited me to appear in the Season Finale of Cell: The Web Series, which is the magic that started out as that script I read such a long time ago.

I was thrilled. Not just to work with Mark (who ended up being as great as I thought he would be), but to work with an amazing, amazing collection of people--from Jourdan Gibson, who has brought Sarah to life to Danny Cameron's turn as Brian and Kevin McCarthy's work as The Man. And if seeing their performances wasn't intimidating enough, Beth Chamberlin, an Emmy-nominated actress, joined the cast for the Season Finale. And that doesn't even mention the crew that Mark managed to assemble, which is like a superhuman who's who of the best of the best around here. (And there are some great people around here.) They help to explain how on a complicated shoot, we managed to wrap early, not once but twice. After finishing more than we thought we could.

Anyway, enough talking. Watch it.

Fantastic Fest??!!

Fantastic Fest has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, only one of which is that this year's SXSW experience was so fantastically fun due in part to a bumper that was originally created for SXSW Presents: Fantastic Fest @ Midnight.

You can probably imagine my excitement when the infamous Joe Nicolosi called (seriously, tell me you've seen his work! If not, for the love of God, check out this video.

And no, it's not the one I pimped for a month straight. I'm not even in it, and I'm pimping it! He's that good!) Aaaahhh, I digress.

So, Joe called and asked if I wanted to help him out with a short he's been working on. And I said hell yes. Really. That's what I said. So we did a little shooting this week. And I saw a little sneak preview of the in-progress film. And it's awesome.

Hoping Fantastic Fest feels the same way and that I see you guys there!!!

Acting intensifies...everything.

I spent last night catching up with some of the cast of Cell: The Web Series before the lovely Jourdan Gibson heads off to LA and the rest of us catch up with her at iTVFest in a few weeks. What an amazing group of people. Really. Every one is nicer than the one before. And as I sat at the table with them, I thought again about how really lucky I am. And how every down moment this crazy passion has incited is followed by two or three really wonderful ones that more than compensate.

For me, acting allows me to wear both rose and ash colored glasses. Right now, they're rose.

So even though that meant hauling my tired ass to the gym this morning (really, one of the benefits of this pursuit is I have to stay in shape), when I got there, the 90 year old woman who is a fixture in my class did her thing to Ludacris, Lady Gaga, Pitbull, and then gave us all chocolate cookies she'd baked and tied into individual packets with purple yarn.

Our cool down song is "What a Wonderful World." It is.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The strangest summer ever...

The scheduling woes continue...I thought having a feature film canceled would be the worst (and the last) of the summer's surprises. It's still the worst, but it's not the last!

Wanda the Wonderful's Dallas shoot has been rescheduled from this week to next January. The good news? More time for yoga so that I'm believable as a contortionist. The bad news? Squeezing into a leotard right after Christmas. Yikes.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I am a Luddite.

This is the leader of the Luddites:
Who--British textile artisans
What--Social movement to protest new technologies like mechanized looms
Why--Looms that could be operated by unskilled labor resulted in the job loss of skilled textile workers.

Today, Luddite typically refers to someone opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general.

In true Luddite fashion, I'm against the modern interpretation of the word.

It's true, technology led me to align with the Luddites. I hate my cell phone. I hate the awkward pauses that stilt conversation. I hate not being able to hear. I hate trying to switch between calls--any friend knows that if I try to do that, I'll invariably hang up. To be fair, I have trouble with regular phones too--transposing numbers. Dialing strangers. But these foibles are easily managed with a quick, heartfelt apology.

All that being said, I have three computers in my house--and the two laptops are mine. I have this blog. I'm on Facebook. I have three email accounts (one work, two personal). I have written web sites and email blasts and online ads to supplement my income. I have two flat-screen tvs, and one of my cars talks to me. (Not in my head--through the GPS.) I love my microwave, and my refrigerator, and my dishwasher.

But when I go on vacation, I go on vacation from my phone and my computer, and it's a relief. When I want peace, I stay away from technology. I have a library card, and I use it. My nightstand is stacked with books and magazines and the Sunday NY Times, print edition. No e-readers. I am still buying books, and I have a wall-sized book shelf in my office to contain them. And I like it.

I like looking over the spines. Seeing the odd connections that can be made from books who happen to rest next to each other. A separate bookshelf holds the entire (minus 3-4 books) collection of Nancy Drews, and their yellow spines fill me with nostalgia.

But back to the Luddites.

What I'm opposed to is more closely related to the loss of a place for skilled labor. In today's world, what I'm opposed to manifests itself as the creation of hype instead of the cultivation of talent. My heartfelt wish is that the creation of talent and the presence of talent could supplant creating the buzz and ephemeral excitement that are the illusion of talent.

That's truly Luddite speak, because those days have never existed, really. Even for those whom talent propels forward, buzz and hype finish the job.

So now, it's on to embracing the ease made possible by the technologies. That I can self-promote from my sofa, and then, in my quiet, Luddite ways, turn off my computers, pull my Uta Hagen books off my bookshelf, and dedicate myself to the craft.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coming Soon: The Spider in the Bathtub

Awww, you guys. One of the highlights of SXSW for me this year was finding a really fun, funny and informed movie watching partner. In a serendipitous moment, I left the Texas shorts screening early (sorry guys), to make sure I would be in line in time to see Barry Munday. Directly behind me was Chris Mass, writer and actor in Chalk and all around hi-larious guy.

Well, Mr. Mass recently worked on a new feature film script with Kat Candler, and man, did they do a great job. I'm not going to lie, when I heard it was 'family-friendly', I groaned a little inside, but I should have known better.

The script had heart; it was genuine and funny and engaging. And the actors involved in the script reading were amazing! Arthur Dale as Turtle was so sweet and endearing. Nick Walker as Bojo--funny!!! Blake Smith (look for him in Esther's Follies) as Pittman was goofy and charming. Kyle Coward as Harry and Jasmine Skloss as Maddy did a great job as the siblings at the heart of the story. Dana Wheeler-Nicholson was fragile and funny and unhinged as the coping mom, and John Merriman did the hardest job--"Narrator/Misc Roles" with aplomb. Great graphics and sound effects from the supporting crew. Lots of fun for everyone.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cannot divulge any secrets, but...

I was an extra on True Grit, y'all! For two days! In a town they built in Granger! I can't tell you a thing about it, except for it was awesome, and in my woe-is-me place, I realized I hardly mentioned it. So it was awesome! And I got to watch both the Coen Brothers in action, plus their cinematographer, a total bad ass, plus the entire crew, who were amazing, plus Jeff Bridges. Everyone who worked on it rocked. And the food was awesome. And I'm hoping I can say this much, this vaguely, without ticking anybody off.

So fun!!!!!

(Oh, and this picture is by Joe M. O'Connell's web site. It's the hotel where I spent quite a few hours!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

On those tough days

Hey guys--this is courtesy of Randall Munroe who is a physicist (in the sense that I'm a journalist--we have the degrees) and an amazing cartoonist whom I love, although I've never met him, so I suppose I love his mind. Anyway. Visit his site: xkcd.com for more. Like this.

Learning experiences

Currently living by Sandra Bullock's mom's quote--if you want to be an artist, you have to practice every day. Here's where it gets hard. Disappointment about the feature is still at the surface. But disappointment lets me know I'm still engaged. It's good. To mis-quote someone else, Randy Pausch, this is one of those brick walls that gives you the chance to prove how much you want something.

I went on another audition last week. Declined the part. Another important step--choosing what will further me, not just saying yes, yes, yes. Met some more really great people, so all was good.

I think all of us have a little of that starshine in our eyes--the thoughts of premieres and autographs and movie stars. But, even if you're insanely talented and lucky, that'll be the smallest fraction of your time. The rest of the time will be you by yourself working. You with other actors working. You in 'normal life' trying to make your relationships work and pay your bills and make a difference that's more substantial than what you do for your day job. Basically it will be your version of the life and challenges that every blessed person in the US faces--ie, you're not in a fight for your survival every day, you have the luxury to fight for contentment.

So. I'm working on my relationships. I'm paying my bills. I'm trying to relax every now and then. And I'm stretching, so I can play a contortionist at the end of July. That's my normal life, baby!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Wow. What doesn't kill us?

Favor is currently on hold. We shall blame it on the economy. Behind the scenes, things are still moving fast and furiously, so it's just a matter of a little more time to tie up some loose ends and do this thing up right.

Cessation was slightly sudden, however, and resulted in a couple of weeks of trying to regain my balance and figure out what the hell to do with a sudden glut of free time.

What to do, what to do? Audition. I'm two for two--parts to be filmed this coming July and August. More news when I know more. Yay!

And the cancellation means I get to both travel to meet my new nephew and make a trip to LA.

It may sound like I'm desperately looking for silver linings, but the true silver lining is I don't have to hunt too hard to find it. Life is good. The stuff that matters the most is solid. And I got to watch Jeff Bridges in action on set in Granger. That's a good month--no, a great month!-- regardless of the motherf&*$ing economy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Favor: The Synopsis

Two months from now, we will be more than halfway through the filming of Favor, a project I became part of one year ago this week. The year has brought lots of changes. More people, more funding--for me, a different part. The important things remain the same--the heart, the dedication, the strength of the story. Since I've done a crap job explaining that story in past posts, here is a more official synopsis...

No divine edict can be undone...

A comic book writer questions his sanity when he finds the villains and monsters he created have come to life.

Kevin West, a famous comic book writer and illustrator, has created an intricate and dark story set in a fantastical realm which is cursed with eternal night. The Darkwoods is a place where magic and creatures of legend still reign. Here sleeps Kyma, a titan of the ancient world, who was banished to a watery prison for betraying the gods. She is worshiped by a Darkwoods gypsy cult, led by their villainous shaman Odysseus Lejune, who will stop at nothing to awaken their ancient queen from the unearthly depths.

The only people that stand between the murderous Lejune Clan and the rest of the unsuspecting world are the heroes of Kevin's comic book saga, modeled after himself, his niece, Rachel, and his fiance, Summer. Detective Brooks and his 13 year-old spitfire side-kick, Maggie, are determined to stop the Lejunes from performing the ritual sacrifice of his love, Eleni, to free Kyma.

When his fiance is kidnapped, Kevin begins to disintegrate as he discovers her captors are the villains he created. Now he must take up the mantle of the hero he wrote and face his alter ego's arch nemesis in an attempt to rescue his fiance, his niece...and his sanity.

So who am I in all this? A murderous Lejune, the favored daughter of Odysseus, Cassiopeia.

Friday, April 16, 2010

House of Wax and more

Despite my previous post disavowing a predilection for horror films, I've been watching some of the top 100 horror movie moments as brought to us by Bravo. (Could be a really old list--I don't know. I stumbled onto it watching Silence of the Lambs clips--long story.)

Some I agree with. Some I'd never seen. And one reminds me of the first scary movie I (think) I remember ever seeing.

Let me preface this by saying that many of my most well recollected memories have turned out to be at least partially fictitious. But in my defense, I believe them fully. As I do this memory.

When I was about 5, we lived in a century-old house in North Kansas City, Missouri. (The house wasn't creepy, btw. Nice house.) We walked to a neighbor's house, which I believe was in the same direction as the church we also walked to every Sunday morning, past a tree that rained purple berries that stained the sidewalk that was flanked by a chain link fence. (All this to show you how real these 'memories' are...)

I think we ate dinner at this house, and afterwards, my parents and their friends settled down to watch a movie on tv. This was long before even VHS players in every home, and this movie was black and white. (God, I don't know if their tv was. Different story.)

For years and years, I didn't know the name of it. All I remembered was that this creepy guy (who ended up being Vincent Price), was capturing people and dipping them in wax and putting them in a museum. And I think some lady walked in and recognized her relatives and started screaming or something. Anyway. It was deliciously macabre. At least for this five-year-old. Until we had to walk home in the dark.

So, the first horror movie I ever saw was House of Wax. The real one. And I think it joined the very Grimm fairy tales, the Roald Dahl stories and, eventually, Stephen King, into one dark, dark vein in my brain.

Oh! And considered not horror but "Crime Fiction" with enough horrifying elements to keep you enthralled, check out "Out" by Natsuo Kirino. Great read. One more recommendation? This is years' old now, but if you haven't read any of King's son's work, Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box is great fun.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bloody good.

My brother and I were talking about the timing of projects I've been working on over the past year, and how odd it is how things come together and go out. Right now, there's a surfeit of blood. To the point that I've been asked if that's all I do. The projects over the next year will balance that out a bit--so casting directors? If you're afraid I only do gore, please reconsider. I promise I can emote without screaming.

Oh, and this isn't my brother. This is Lynn Crecelius. He's an actor. My brother is a kick-ass clothing designer and entrepreneur in Boston. His store, Proletariat, is where you need to look.


So. Most of April, May, June and July will be dedicated to the feature film project Favor. The last few weeks have brought a lot of change and a lot of excitement. The last few months have brought a lot of exercise, stunt training, and fun with cast and crew.

This project is unlike any other I've been involved with. It's a true labor of love for so many of the people involved--many of the cast and crew have worked on projects with each other for years, and the love and respect they have for each other is palpable and translates onto film.

It's also chock-full of undiscovered talent. Make-up/special effects artists who rival anything I've seen (see work above). Costume and set design that is otherworldly. Leadership who can pull the best out of cast and crew, and an honesty in relationships that's only possible when the cast really trusts and respects each other.

It's going to be awesome.

And for just a touch of the girly? Tried on my costumes today, and hot damn are they awesome. Seriously. I want to put them on now and wear them until the film is done.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Nonfiction Dirt" or...on extras

So. My last teacher was big on: "Don't be an extra. Don't sell yourself short. Hold out for the part, and if there's no part, go after a different part." Or that's how it seemed to me.

But here's the deal. A few years ago (quite a few), I had the chance to be an extra for Friday Night Lights (the movie). And they wanted me on set for a week. But I was to start a new job that week, a non-acting job, so I told them I couldn't do it. And I was disappointed.

So when I heard that extras were being cast here for two brother filmmakers that I love, on a period piece--a Western!--that would entail period-accurate costuming, hair and make-up, I thought--man, I'm doing it.

And I went to the casting call wearing only the bare minimum make-up, and they told me it was too much. So I went to the bathroom, washed my face with the wall-mounted hand soap and the brown paper towels, and came back, all red-faced and blotchy, and they said--better. We don't want pretty. ;)

So I stood against the wall and had my picture taken and tried to look as pathetic as possible. And still I thought--there's no way. Because the woman kept saying my eyes were bright, and that wasn't a good thing.

So when they called, I was shocked. And I thought, I'm totally doing this.

And because I'm not all informed about period-specific clothing, I knew nothing about:
-the black, heavy, burlap-textured tights you fold around a band around your lower thigh
-the lace-up pointy boots
-the crinoline
-the breath-impairing corset
-the UGLY green calico farmer dress
-the brown leather gloves--gloves! In Texas! In May!
-the plaid woolen shawl
-the total lack of make-up

And ta-da--a costume so magic it makes you automatically as miserable as if you actually did live in the wild west in real life--ie a woman surrounded by rough men, expected to cook and clean and care for animals and care for everyone else and never rest.

Totally, totally cool. So my sig other and I were at the LBJ ranch today, and on the ranch is an 1870's farmhouse which was PERFECT for imagining where I might live. And right up the road there was a kitchen that, while set up to be 45 years later, still gave some insight into how hard it was to cook back then--well, compared to now--and this is going to be SO fun. I can't wait.

Although leave it to the brother to point out the too obvious. In regards to my being chosen for this film: "Hmmmm. I'm not really sure that's a compliment. Don't they always cast people who are slightly odd looking?"

Yes. Guilty as charged.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back to work

Had a great time at Austin Actors Studio last week--chance to work on a comedic monologue that has somehow oddly segued into scary land. Clearly needs more/different work. Also an improv with Tim and a cold read with Manuel. Nice to see how meaty the scenes are in CC Courtney's class--can't wait to see what everyone ends up doing with them.

Rainy evening rehearsal at the DAC to get back into a short that was begun last fall--so good to be working with Lynn again on such a powerful, character-driven piece. The elusive lines are being nailed down, one by one.

Finished up the week with Lynn's shoot. It went so well--great group, lots of fun, and ended with a huge plate of County Line BBQ and a corner seat under the talking longhorn overlooking the sunset on the Texas Hill Country.

This week looks to be just as packed, with stunt training, a table read and a costume fitting. Not bad for a short week preceding a three-day weekend!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


So I'm embarrassed to say any more about the SXSW bumper, but these articles are so cool, I can't help it. You don't have to click if you've had enough (which I would TOTALLY understand).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SXSW 2010: What a week!

What do I say? From the energy just standing in line to pick up badges last Thursday, to watching Four Lions tonight, every moment of this festival has been just so much fun.

Thanks to the amazing reception of Joe Nicolosi's Stay Inside bumper, I've met so many great people! From the Texas shorts to documentaries Marwencol and The People v. George Lucas to the hilarious Four Lions, it's been a great week of movie watching. And what a difference watching a movie in a theatre full of true-movie lovers! Not a single cell phone ring, whispered synopsis, etc., just people totally into the experience.

I wish I could capture it in a bottle, uncork it every now and then and breathe the excitement, energy, friendship, good will, etc. in. As it is, I'm just going to make sure I'm there in 2011. Thanks to all who shared this experience with me--thank you SO much!!!

And to the lone wolf whistle before the Midnight viewing of Monsters, you're a sick man. ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SXSW bumper is a success!!

So after missing the first few days of SXSW Film, I'm standing in line to see The People v. George Lucas, and a few people come up to me to compliment the bumper! Just standing in line!

So then I go inside, and the director of SX comes out, and she says she wants to introduce a very talented guy, who happened to make a bumper that they love so much they're playing it all the time, and who also made a spectacularly funny short (Star Wars Retold--google it and watch).

And then they played the bumper!

So the first time I saw it, not only was it lauded by the director, and introduced by Joe Nicolosi himself (mwah!), but it was shown in The Paramount, in downtown Austin, in one of the most beautiful theatres I've ever seen, for an audience of 1,000 people.

And I watched it, and still liked it, and then loved the short, and enjoyed the movie, and left, and got stopped three more times on the way out for people to tell me they loved the bumper!

And the whole week has been like that! Really great people liking the bumper, and letting me know they liked it, and more importantly, loving film, and talking film, and greeting complete strangers in line, and striking up conversations like they're all from Texas, and it's just been a completely amazing experience.

So tonight, I'm finally taking the significant other to see it. And I'm giddy!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oh, the glamour

So when I was five, I wanted to be an actress or a princess, which according to a tempera paint self-portrait from that time meant wearing a ballgown and, apparently, a long blonde wig.

Oh delusional five-year-old Aimee. If only you'd known that real acting could mean gallons of fake red-dyed karo and hershey's syrup, 8 hours spent wet in the woods--in February--capped off by a swim in a frigid lake (really)--and that it would be even more fun?

Five-year-old Aimee would have understood instinctively the joy of standing in the sun in a dusty parking lot eating white bread sandwiches and nilla wafers with people she'd only just now meant but already really liked. She would have appreciated how a full-blast heater and a warm blanket would have felt at the end of a long day. She would have marvelled at all the people who just seemed to know when to pick up and move, when to tell a joke, when to hug, and how she seemed to fit seamlessly among them.

She would have. She still does. God, this is so much better than glamour. This is joy.

Stunt training goes outside

So on one of many trips to Houston over the past month, I finally took a friend up on his offer to go indoor rock climbing (thank you Danny!). It was a blast, and Danny and his friends were so generous with their time--helping me both on the ground and on the wall.

Thank God.

Because the very next weekend took me outside for my first rappelling session--stunt training gone wild as it were--and without that little bit of experience putting my life in the hands of one rope and one person, I don't know if I could have actually leaned back in that harness and walked down that wall.

As it was, it totally rocked. So thank you Nate Legacy. And Robert for spotting me when I climbed up. And Donny for being my knot-tying coach. And Sarah for going first.

SXSW Bumper Premieres March 12!

So I got a call from an insanely excited director last week. Turns out he was thrilled with how the SXSW bumper turned out, and so was SXSW! No longer will it be reserved for Midnight and Fantastic Fest Shows--they've decided to play it before certain red carpet premiers as well!!!

Said director, Joe Nicolosi, did a great job. I went over for a sneak peek last week and actually had fun watching it (rare--usually I'm too busy giving it a too critical once-twice-thrice over).

Joe has a short film in the festival as well--Star Wars Retold--so look for it, and look out for Joe. Great guy. Great director.

Work with him if you can--you'll have a blast.

Lazy or busy?

Both? Not only for not blogging in (yikes) more than a month. Sure, February was crazy. But it's a matter of priorities. It occurred to me tonight that I feel rusty--I went to the Austin Actors Studio meeting for the first time in a month last week, heard everyone talking about the latest exercises in our acting class and felt like I was falling behind.

Yeah--I was out of town for at least part of every week last month. Yeah--I finished up the SXSW film project in that time. Yeah--I had a meeting on another short, kept doing stunt training, kept up with my outside-of-stunt-training-training. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I didn't read any acting books. I didn't do any acting exercises. I didn't even write about not doing any of the acting homework (lucky you).

And while waiting on the script for the feature film this summer is a fact, it's equally a fact that I can be--and should be--working on fundamentals in the meantime. It's a matter of priorities. I find the time for the physical workouts--must find the time for the mental ones too.

Starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Last week I took my first Meisner class with a new teacher. (Seriously, we're so lucky here in Austin--my first teacher studied with Meisner for four years--this one TAUGHT with him!)

We began at the beginning with repetition exercises. This was new to me--I've never started that at the beginning before (odd--it's definitely time).

My first go-round went well. My second? Well, it didn't go well, which was even better for me--sparked amazing insight from this new teacher that gave me so much to think about. Why "Lavender"? That was one of the words two people repeated--now stuck in my head. I didn't think I could sit there, watch two people say lavender and get so much out of it.

Next class is tomorrow. Hoping to incorporate what I learned last week.

SXSW Midnight Bumper

Tonight I began working on my background prep for a SXSW Film Festival bumper. I'm insanely excited about this project--great premise, kind director, free pass to the festival and a day spent shooting in the woods. What more could a girl ask for?

This one did spark a strange round of questions with the husband, though. The "how would you feel ifs" and "what would you do ifs" that inevitably sound a lot more crazy uttered aloud.

But it looks like all the stunt training may come in handy even sooner than I thought...