Here is the video of the reading of the second episode of La Famille. Autumn Silvas plays our girl Kattie and she is so very good. She made my dreams come true! And I recruited my friends Mark Needle and Nicholas Thurkettle to play those hard to cast guy parts. (There are never enough men!)
Episode 2 Synopsis: The story of our series continues when Dawn is inspired to tell Samantha about Kattie, her grandmother, after reminiscing about growing up on the bayou.
The second story switches to Dawn’s mother’s side of the family in recounting the experiences of her grandmother, Kattie, from the end of the Civil War onwards. Kattie’s mother is extremely abusive and makes her the sole caretaker and breadwinner of her family. Her father died 5 years before. Eventually, Kattie marries the kind Jacques Charpentier and they have 9 children, the youngest of whom is Thérèse, Dawn’s mother, to whom Kattie gives birth at the age of 50.
As you’ve seen, I now have a new commercial agent, Robertson/Taylor Agency. They were one of my top ten commercial agents to be signed with and now I am. I also got a theatrical agent meeting but we had different career philosophies, so I decided not to sign with them. You can’t let desperation rule your choice of representation. I also did my campaign for managers and I am in the midst of my Equity theatres across America campaign. The more hiring people who know me, the better.
In other news, the reading of La Famille, Episode 2 is happening on Zoom on Saturday, October 17, at 2pm on Zoom (of course). And the link to the event is: https://www.facebook.com/events/663378994561016 You will find the link to the reading of Episode 1 on that blog post. And also on the new CactusFlowerPictures.com where you can see my short films in their entirety (also available on YouTube.com but more fun to watch on my site!). I’ve never had a website for my production company before. So please get in touch there too as I also offer writing services.
I really want the pandemic to end soon and hope our next election is not a disaster. The arts and film production are really affected right now and we need all the hope we can get.
Next up, I’m working on finishing up all four episodes for my limited series version of La Famille. I’m having an online reading on Zoom for the pilot episode on this Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2pm and you can RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/794606601355410 I am recording the reading if you can’t make it and posting the video on the site.
Here is the lowdown on the series:
Logline: A Cajun woman heals her relationship with her alienated daughter through the tales of the extraordinary women of her family who fought fate to achieve their life’s happiness.
La Famille is a bi-lingual (English/Cajun French) historical drama limited series with one-hour episodes each meant to be presented in two volumes of 4 episodes each. It is comparable in tone to The Avonlea Series, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and How To Make An American Quilt.
Episode 1 Synopsis: La Famille starts at Dawn’s 60th birthday party. Her younger daughter, Samantha, is again at odds with her siblings and not wanting to talk to any of her family members. Dawn sees that she is unhappy so she begins the stories of the women of her family to show Samantha that she is loved and a part of the family.
The first story is about Dawn’s paternal sixth-great grandmother, Laurette, and her relationship with Acadian woman Madame Richard. Laurette, a wealthy French Huguenot, goes with Madame Richard when she and her family are exiled in La Grande Dérangement. They all end up in Louisiana eventually, where Laurette has a tumultuous marriage to Jean-Claude Devereaux, a man from Quebec.
I will be having a reading of episode 2 in the near future, so be sure to be there!
That means my SAG vouchers are up to 2. (One of them I thought I had didn’t count because the pay was deferred.) It does take several weeks to process official vouchers. You can also check eligibility on the SAG website or call them to confirm.
You might remember that pre-quel short that I said I was going to film. I announced it on Twitter and all over Facebook. Well, here comes Super Break-Up: the story of how Amelia, Goddess of Discord’s, first boyfriend broke up with her over her powers because no man wants to die if they tick off their woman. Amelia can instantaneously destroy anything she wants and has complete control over time. I don’t know when The Go-Girls feature will become a reality, so this is what you get until then. I actually filmed this in February. David L. Peters was my director/cinematographer and the majorly awesome Mark Needle was the 1st AD, Grip, Boom Handler, and Editor. And he also bought the pizza. (I thank the pizza delivery person in the credits.) Richard Arzola so graciously composed the music for Imdb credit. Veteran actress Athena Massey kindly let us borrow her gorgeous house in Calabasas for filming. The short was part of the Show Your Shortz event at Flappers Comedy Club and Mark’s retrospective screening of his projects past and present. You can check out his work at My Extraordinary Productions.
So here is the full short available on YouTube and Vimeo:
I’m really making large gaps with these posts. I hope your holiday season is starting out merry. I’m singing in a Christmas concert with my church choir. Here is the event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/582314988874089/ It’s this Saturday, December 15, at 2pm at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Venice, CA. Then I’m off to visit home for three weeks just in time for my parents to move out of the family home. It’s the only house I ever lived in and where all my memories are stored. I’ll be seeing all my friends in the Portland area whom I don’t see very often. It’s slightly cold in LA right now and it’s to the point I actually have to wear a sweater to bed.
La Famille episodes one and two are written but three and four need to be finished. I only have to take each section for each woman in the original screenplay and add 25 to 30 pages and edit all of them. Then it’s the push to get this thing produced and in the hands of the right people. The Go-Girls feature is officially cancelled. I couldn’t get any money or anyone reliable to help me, so I had to finally tell everyone it was over. I will be filming a pre-quel short that needed to have the production date moved due to Thanksgiving and the wildfires. After, I will submit it to shorts festivals and see what happens.
On Veterans’ Day, I booked a co-star in new re-creation series and I had one line. I got the most money I have ever gotten for a day on set, making my year total earned for acting $600. That may look like a small amount, but it’s the most money I’ve ever made (except for when I did Rejected No More.) There have been theatre auditions with the last one looking promising, but in the end, I wasn’t cast. But my Shakespeare was on fleek. So, no theatre credits at the moment. I got my first SAG-AFTRA voucher from background on a music video. I need two more of those to be eligible.
I got behind on my mailings so I’m making up for that now. I did get two commercial callbacks in a row in July and September. I met for a solo coaching session with Chris Game about my not getting callbacks and he helped me fix it. I’m hoping for many more commercial auditions and finally booking them. And finally getting some SAG-AFTRA TV/Film work. Getting back to class is tough for me because of my finances. I have to be able to pay my rent, but I really need to be in class.
Happy Mother’s Day! I made sure to call my Mom today because I love her so much. We’ve really become friends as well as mother and daughter.
Today’s blog title comes from one of the panels that I attended at the Film in California Conference two weekends ago. The event was held at LA Center Studios and has been going on for many years. The keynote speaker was the amazing actor, Courtney B. Vance, who got his start in professional theatre. I needed to go home early due to a conference call for the 48-hr Film Challenge team that I was chosen for. I was one of many actors so I will have to hear if the script they write for the competition has an acting role for me. Whatever happens, I will help them out any way they need. As you’ll recall, I’ve been on three 48-hr film challenge teams, including the IFP Phoenix 48-hr Film Challenge from which Business Casual came. Well, the second panel I attended that day was about women who work behind the scenes. The panel included TV director Millicent Shelton, cinematographer Loren Yaconelli, Chief Creative Officer Rachel Shane, and veteran Production Designer Jeannine Oppewall, who all talked about being a woman in the industry and how they have made their mark in male-dominated positions. I really loved when in response to the question about who inspired them, Jeannine Oppewall responded that she was her best support and motivation back when she was one of the few female production designers. She also said that every morning she “zipped on [her] alligator skin,” which is a motto I need to use from now on. The industry will be tough and I’ve got to just push through. While I have never wanted to have a technical position, I can certainly take my inspiration and motivation from any of the veteran ladies in the industry. There was also a panel for the Amazon series, Bosch, which is exclusively filmed in and around Downtown LA. It sounded like an interesting cop series, which my Mom would love if she had an Amazon subscription. My parents now have a Netflix subscription, which can have additional users, so now I can watch anything on Netflix! Unfortunately, The Handmaid’s Tale is on Hulu so I can’t watch that right now. And there were exhibitors from every county of California with free cookies, chocolate, phone chargers, and even popcorn. Of course, I also picked up the brochures and business cards even though I have no idea how I’m going to film in San Francisco.
This past week I auditioned for Mary Poppins at Glendale Centre Theatre and I got a dance callback, but I haven’t heard if I was cast yet. I’ve gone on EPAs for other theatre productions and no news from them yet. I will be sending in a self-tape audition for a staged reading of a brand new play in Louisville, Kentucky, which will be in June. And I have another self-tape for a table reading of a pilot that I procrastinated on. Then, I had an audition for a paid short film yesterday for the cutthroat CEO/Agent in a Black Mirror/Westworld type of world. I did have an acting teacher say I had an extreme casting. So, I’ve got some auditions right now but I hope for bigger, Union bookings on recognizable TV shows, plays, musicals, and films. I’m praying to God double time to make it all work out.
I had the privilege of attending the AT&T Shape Entertainment and Tech Expo at Warner Bros Studios this past weekend. They had the expo in San Francisco last year. I got a free ticket through one of the Meetup.com groups that I’m part. Normally it costs $100 to attend. One of the guests was Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker and the new film, Detroit. She talked about her process of filming and bringing the audience into the story and the tension the characters feel. We were able to experience a VR project she did called, The Protectors, which puts you in the place of one of the park rangers on the Gamala Wildlife Preserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on patrol to stop poachers. I have never experienced anything like that before and I was absolutely astounded that they were able to film in 360 degrees. Anywhere you look with the technology, there is something to look at as if you are actually there. I got to see the camera that lets you do that and it’s $40,000 to purchase. They also had an exhibitor hall where you could view other VR films, motion capture technology, and new innovations in immersive sound. I’m not technical so it blew my mind. They had a animated short you could view called Apex and it was so real and immersive that viewing it actually scared me. It features an urban landscape on fire with giants coming right at you and a part where you are stuck in the sky looking at liquid land beneath you.
Another feature of the expo were the free tours to the backlot and sound stages of the studios. I’m still enough of a neophyte that I was enthralled. We got to see houses and neighborhood sets as well as what they use for jungle and lake scenes. We even saw the place that was Melotte’s in True Blood. I found out that even indie films can rent out parts of the major studio lots for filming. Then, I boarded another tram to see the film production exhibit with green screen and technical displays. They had costumes, part of the sitcom sets, and a memorabilia gallery where you could hold a real Oscar from 1949. I also got to see the vehicles from the Batman films. I’m a Marvel fan, but I love Batman. I couldn’t resist being a tourist, so enjoy the photos.
I’ve been up to so much. First off, I now have a commercial agent! I’m with Aqua Talent and I hope to be getting auditions soon and booking some commercials. I really want to act and write and produce and create full-time. And right now, I’m taking class with Chris Game in his How To Book Everything class at Acting Up Network. (I swear it’s the only place I want to take class from now on.) Basically, you learn how to book any type of TV or Film audition in the class and how to work with the camera and your choices for the maximum performance.
I had to run the crowdfund campaign by myself for The Go-Girls. I had no money to hire anyone to run it. I did everything I could with my mostly full-time work schedule and even hired a promotions company to send out press releases and create social media ads. I posted on social media several times nearly every day. It was expensive enough getting set up with a tax ID and business license expenses. I only got $155, plus two contributions off the site. We are about as far from $200,000 as possible. We could go into production with a bit less than half. When I posted a job for an Executive Producer, there were very few responses. Other people have funded features in this budget range and they did it somehow. I know how to produce no-budget and micro budget films. I just wanted to be in something spectacular to show that I can be a leading lady and give other women a chance to shine. I have an amazing cast who love this script and badly want to make this film. My Development Executive is negotiating a possible investor deal and I’m on the lookout for possible investors.
I’m auditioning for a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. I’ve always liked the musical and have always wanted to play Olive Ostrovsky. And they will be having another round of auditions for the Independent Theatres of Los Angeles. The previous round of auditions was booked up by the time I got to audition.
As you’ve probably noticed, that one producer is no longer on the project. Sometimes you encounter people who want to make it their show and don’t have your best interests at heart. Well, onward the Go-Girls go! I have cast all the other roles. Special thanks to Film Independent for the use of their space for casting! I have some really exciting and accomplished people acting in the project. I am currently finalizing the funding plans and have filed federally and in CA to accept investors. Please check out the website at www.gogirlsfilm.com. If you’re not an accredited investor, you will be able to contribute to the funding campaign shortly once I figure out the best way to do that.
In acting news, I got a callback for a national brand commercial the week before last. This is exciting because I currently don’t have an agent and it’s my first callback with an LA casting director. I continue to submit to agents and connect with casting directors. And I also recently completed the Soap Opera Intensive with Bob Lambert, Casting Associate for Days of Our Lives. He will be teaching the class again on April 20. Please visit www.actingupnetwork.com for details. You will love his class as it takes you through auditions to preparing a final scene for a screen test. He even loves my headshot! Basically, you should go to the Acting Up Network site period because they are always having industry seminars and at least two ongoing scene study classes. Jodie, the head of the company, is so awesome! I am also attending an exclusive TV taping this week with the Film Funding Club, a group of people who produce films or would like to produce films (like me!). Nancy Fulton is the head of the group and she has many seminars, events, and extremely useful articles. You can find her contact information and more about her services at NoBetterFriend.com.
Oh, and I’m taking ballet classes again with Align Ballet Method. You can learn ballet too in a really supportive environment (of course, you can’t automatically get the 14+ years experience I have!). Go to AlignBalletMethod.com.
Basically, that’s what’s going on right now. I’m singing in the church choir for the Holy Thursday mass, going to Good Friday service, and singing Easter Sunday! Yes, I’m that Catholic.