La Famille Ep. 1 Table Read

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.

I will be having a reading of episode 2 in the near future, so be sure to be there!

Film Festivals!

In other news, loyal viewers, the pilot episode for the La Famille limited series is a semi-finalist in the Filmmatic Drama Screenplay Awards and a finalist in the Flight Deck Film Festival. And Super Break-Up is a finalist in the Flight Deck Film Festival. Many film festivals have had to cancel their events this year with the goal of moving their selected films to their festival next year or have gone entirely online. The Nashville Film Festival is one that is happening entirely virtually this year.

Now here are my beautiful laurels.

Execution, and Roll Credits

Hi all,

A while back I discovered a site called Kanopy.com, where you can see 10 films for free each month using your library card.  The selection is made up of classic films, indie films, and foreign cinema.  I was searching for the French film version of Les Misérables with Gérard Depardieu, and came upon Le Retour De Martin Guerre with him playing the title role.  It turns out it was a huge hit at Cannes in 1982 and deservedly so.  It won a César (The French Oscar) for best screenplay and was nominated for best costume design at the Academy Awards.

Basically, Le Retour De Martin Guerre is based on the true account of Martin Guerre, a man who lived in southwestern France in the 16th Century.  He abandoned his wife and son to join the army and then supposedly returned home after nearly 10 years.  However, the man claiming to be Martin Guerre was really an imposter who managed to fool the people in the village and Martin Guerre’s wife for three years.  He was executed for defiling marriage and falsehood.  For those people who have no idea who Gérard Depardieu even is or have only seen his American film appearances, this is a fantastic introduction to back when he was a young heartthrob.  His performance as the false Martin Guerre will have you nearly believing that he is the man himself, but has just that bit of dissonance that makes you wonder if you’re right.  This is clearly masterful acting at its best.  And Martin Guerre’s ill-fated wife, Bertrande, is played by the lovely Nathalie Baye, a reknowned French actress you might remember from playing Frank Abagnale’s mother in Catch Me If You Can.  She gives a very subtle performance as a woman whose life and fate is very much controlled by men.  Bertande attempts to do what she can to ensure her own happiness, but in the end, she only encounters tragedy for trying to be a good woman and to protect her children.  And her outfit in the courtroom scene is simply gorgeous. The end of the film is incredibly heartbreaking and disturbing with the execution of the false Martin.  And then the credits roll right after the character dies.  It’s like “scene direction: execution, and roll credits.”

My first introduction to foreign cinema was actually Cyrano De Bergerac starring Gérard Depardieu at an art film house in Portland when I was 8.  That was my first time seeing a movie in the theatres with subtitles.  My parents have serious standards when it comes to arts and culture in our family.

Gérard Depardieu et Nathalie Baye lors du tournage du film ‘Le Retour de Martin Guerre’ de Daniel Vigne en novembre 1981, France. (Photo by Jacky COOLEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Christmas Palm Trees

Hi All,

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.

Zip On Your Alligator Skin

Hi all,

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.

Boxing Day

Hi all,

It’s been two months since my last blog post.  I just didn’t get back to the blog.  Tomorrow I drive off to LA! (or today according to the blog calendar).   I have some potential places that I will be looking at and I hope I get one of the good ones.  You can be assured that I have a day job in the works; I just need to resubmit some things.

I revived my role of the Young Woman in Spirit, the short play that I did back in 2013 at the Herberger Festival of the Arts.  The performance was on December 13 at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts.  It was freezing cold outside and I had to wear a sweater with my sleeveless dress to not get hypothermia!  I was really happy to play the role again and be onstage one last time before leaving.

I attended the Filmstock Film Festival Actor’s Showcase, but wasn’t able to make the film showings.  I had considered being part of it again and everyone thought I was, but I couldn’t think of what piece to perform.  I had my mind stuck on moving anyway.

The pilot might turn out to be a film based on prospective marketability.  That’s some fancy business speak, but the project is still on.  I can’t tell you the finer details yet until it happens.  The Go-Girls has a poster and we will finally launch that crowdfunding campaign, plus some equity crowdfunding and hitting up more investors and producing partners.  The company will be officially set up and we will get started.  I will be hitting up some actors, maybe personally and not through agents.  I will have to see what works best.  Using a casting director is ideal as that is what a producer should do.  Here is the poster for your viewing pleasure:  go girlsposter1

Lightning Round

Hi all,

I give this blog this title in honor of monsoon season.  There was rain and lightning last night and that should be continuing this evening.

Phoenix Comicon was last weekend and I only attended for two of the days.  My parents were here and I had an audition for Southwest Shakespeare Company on Sunday.  I went as Dazzler and Tessa/Sage from the X-Men.  Recently, the Arizona Avengers released member profiles for people who cosplay lesser-known characters.  I was really excited to be included.  I don’t know how much I’ll be able to cosplay because of lack of time and budget.  There was a really funny panel in which people dressed up as characters from Axis Powers: Hetalia and had the nations answer questions.  I asked Canada how Quebec was doing.

I attended an interesting panel about the work and career of Hayao Miyazaki.  The latest Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was Here, opens today, June 5, in Phoenix and other select markets.  It’s already playing in New York and LA.  The film is being distributed by G Kids and they would love to have everyone see the film opening weekend.  I love the Studio Ghibli films and my favorite one is Howl’s Moving Castle.  Check out tickets and screenings at http://gkids.pgtb.me/PVJnlG

One big part for me of Phoenix Comicon was attending the premiere of the top-ten films in the Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge, including the one I was in, Special Space Units.  The short film is now available on YouTube.  It was written, edited, directed, and filmed by Douglas Proce.  His company is Connected Films.  Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO9nRWB-zyc  And no, I don’t still have that malady you see in the film.  My friend, Tyler Woida, also had a top-ten film and it was amazing!  He brilliantly used stop-motion animation and light effects.  He has a channel for his production company on YouTube and will probably be posting his film there soon.  www.youtube.com/user/HynMayProductions

I am finally putting together some definitive plans to produce, The Go-Girls.  My friend, Lee, and I met to talk about business plans and he actually has the Movie Magic program and generously made me shooting, actor scene, and location lists.  One of my film colleagues is willing to help me out with crowdfunding and distribution plans.  I got side-tracked these past two weeks.  Of course, they say you need a really good marketing video for crowdfunding.  I’ll be taking my inspiration from film colleague J.P. Frydrych’s Kickstarter campaign video for his short film, The Terminizer.  His company is Jump Ship Productions.  Here is the link to the Kickstarter page:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jp-frydrych/the-terminizer

All these YouTube posts reminded me to share something: the commercial that I was in for the Adobe Creative Cloud through Burning Suns Films.  It’s officially called “Pitch The Monkey.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erUAWH7Ze6M  Check out the other commercials on their Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/BurningSuns  These guys are amazing and extremely professional.

And in the really great news section: I meet with a filmmaker tomorrow to discuss playing the lead role in his SAG-AFTRA film short.  This makes me feel like a celebrity!  The film sounds really good and I really appreciate when people make union contract films and pay people.

No other casting or audition news other than that.

 

 

Spring Forward

Hi all,

I didn’t intend to take two months to get back to the blog.  My March had a series of unfortunate events.  First off, I had a car accident the day before my birthday.  Fortunately, it will be covered by insurance.  But my acting mobile will be in the shop for at least 8 days.  Then, my birthday twin, my grandpa, died while the family was visiting Arizona.  I scrambled to get a flight to get to the funeral in Portland.  I haven’t been able to think straight and I’ve felt sick ever since.  I had two migraines in a row one week and then two in a row the next.  I never get them like that unless I have food poisoning and have never had it happen twice within the space of a week.

Let me back step to what I have been up to.  This past weekend I was part of the table read for the film, The Last Responders: Life After Death, and we all gave the screenwriter feedback afterwards.  It can be nerve-wracking having your script critiqued, but necessary for development.  Having table reads for my scripts is not really my style.  I generally edit them by myself.  Both of my scripts are finally fully-edited and ready for production.  I did approach someone to direct The Go-Girls, but I haven’t heard back from him yet.  He’s generally really busy and soon to break out in a big way.  I’m really shy about approaching people and I’m not sure if I should start the funding campaign with no one attached.  The next thing I did this weekend was being an extra in a Burning Suns Entertainment commercial for Adobe.  They have an entire campaign of 40 commercials to film.  Back in February, I was the lead in one of their commercials in which I had a real monkey for a boss.  She was a lovely macaque, but I was really scared of her because monkeys are skittish.  I felt great being on-set, though, and playing an important character.

You might be wondering about the further fates of my two short films.  I haven’t heard any further news about distribution for Pick Me!.  I should call the distributor again.  As for Climbing Stairs, you’ll probably never see that one because there is not yet a coherent edit.  It’s a hard decision not to show something you’ve created because it’s not up to proper standards.

I have scheduled the first of the Equity theatre auditions.  Surprisingly, one non-Equity theatre that pays a weekly salary did not grant me an audition this year.  I have auditioned for them twice before.  I’m not sure if they re-scheduled them or what.  I did call to make sure they received my submission and was told that they were still looking through submissions.  No news yet on the Broadway revue that I auditioned for or the performance group I auditioned for months ago.

I did a five-week class at the Actors WorkHouse.  Duane Daniels is a genius, who is even writing a book about his acting theory.  One of his philosophies is “If it feels good, don’t do it!”  That really freed me to stop being a control freak and actually pay attention to what I’m doing and saying.  I didn’t realize how mechanical I had become.  The class was actually a music in acting class with some singing.  Only two of us in the class had an actual interest in singing.  I look forward to getting back there again.  I finally saw my voice teacher again to go over my audition pieces for the big auditions this year.  I am going to get out there, stop second-guessing myself, let the material breathe, and stop believing I’m a second-class actress!

The Power of One

Hi all,

Looks like I missed January for blog updates.  I just received my first acting paycheck of the year from the Skittles commercial in which I was an extra in December.  The commercial didn’t air during the Super Bowl, but that’s alright.  It was also in Phoenix this year and no, I didn’t have tickets, but Chris Pratt and Chris Evans did.  I had the opportunity to work six days at the NFL Experience in downtown Phoenix and it was a great deal of fun.  The pay was good and I didn’t have to work shifts that were too long.  However, that’s not the acting news you’re waiting for.  I was also cast as a stand-in for the Pro Bowl rehearsal through Good Faith Casting, who brought me in for the Skittles commercial.  I look forward to working with them again.  I got to pretend I was one of the players drafted into the Pro Bowl and give mock interviews.

I bought the domain name for this blog, so it will now be http://www.annasahlstrom.com.  My friend, Stephen, the amazing film god re-edited my demo reel for easier posting.  I have known my reel was too long and with the wrong cuts the moment I received it.  Additionally, if I am going to renew my Actors Access subscription after four years, I really need a competent reel.  I need to re-instate my memberships and LA connections so I can get a lot more opportunities.  I haven’t yet heard about Bogie and Bacall.

I’m going to strive to go to the Actors WorkHouse as often as I can so I can continually train.  I have an audition for the production of Twelfth Night with Class 6 Theatre company on Monday night of next week, so I have to really practice my monologue.  I will also be auditioning for a production company for their future commercials, feature films, and other projects.  The Sunday before last I auditioned for Burning Suns Entertainment, headed up by the famous Bobby Shook, for their upcoming commercials.  All these projects pay, but as for union contracts, I’m not sure there are too many of those upcoming in the Phoenix area.

I have made some changes to La Famille, with specific focus to the first 15 pages of the script I shared at the In The Works reading series.  I understood that the history the script deals with needs a great deal of explanation as most people don’t know Acadian/Cajun history.  I also short-changed that character and made her part much too short.  I am going to get The Go-Girls campaign going.  I need to put together my pitch to potential production partners, cast, crew, and directors.  A fellow stand-in at the Pro Bowl shoot told me there was no reason I couldn’t go ahead and get the funding campaign started.  He told me I need to quit waiting for someone else to get started.  I need to establish the Cactus Flower Pictures mission statement and industry presence.  To clarify: I am not trying to be like a major studio, just a small collaborative production company for my work and that of others if it gets to that level.  This is not a replacement for submitting to acting projects.

I did a bit of fan page promotion on Facebook and I now have 107 likes, up from about 65 just two weeks ago.  Also, the paperwork has gone through for Pick Me! with the distributor.  More details on that as they come.  I additionally have registered the copyright of the film with the US Copyright Office.  I found out that you have to list the company producing the film if more people than yourself worked on it.  I’m just learning these things.

Pray for my success.

December to Remember

Hi all,

Here is the last post of the year considering there are only two weeks.  Merry Christmas! or whatever you celebrate.  This is my favorite holiday of the year.  I love the Christmas shopping, the beautiful lights, baking cookies, the tree, Christmas carols, Santa Claus, and spending time with my family and friends I haven’t seen in a while.  I am also a very faithful Catholic so I see this as all about the birth of Jesus and how He changed the world.  I tried to keep myself engaged with acting during this festive month.  Casting director Mark Sikes, who has a weekly blog on the Showfax page of Actors Access, gave a challenge to actors to not let December pass them by.  I wasn’t sure how many auditions I would get and what I could book not being in LA and having an agent.  I’ll tell you in a moment what I accomplished.

First off, let me tell you about being in the Filmstock Actors Showcase.  The whole festival took place at the Harkins Valley Art and now includes short films from around the world in the categories of drama, comedy, animation, and documentary.  I performed Ariel’s Harpy speech from The Tempest and I received rave reviews.  They had an onstage director, Alejandro Montoya, who is a filmmaker from New Mexico.  He was awesome to work with and gave us all redirects after our initial performance of our piece. He told me to do the speech like Patton’s speech from the film.  It’s my Dad’s favorite movie, so I knew exactly how to do that.  I had a lot of fun acting like I did back at Drama school.  I also got coaching on the monologue from Duane Daniels at the Actors Workhouse.  I attended a free workshop at his studio and really loved it.  I would take classes there every week if had more money.  It’s only $30 per class.  He helped me move the monologue in the direction of making it how Ariel would actually do it, not Prospero.  Before, I made it an angry monologue, but Ariel is mischievous, light, and funny, so I changed my portrayal to show that.  I will inquire about getting the footage of the performance to put on my Social Media.

Remember the casting office where I got to audition for the commercial?  I booked another commercial shoot and it’s a big one.  I can’t divulge any details at this time, but look for it soon.  That certainly added to my making December count.

My script, La Famille, got to be part of the In The Works series reading this past Tuesday.  You get to have an excerpt from the screenplay, so I went with the first 15 pages about Laureatte.  I didn’t get any French speakers to read the script, but it was really cool to hear my words.  (I put the French bits into English. The French parts are not all translated because I’m not fluent in French and don’t know the Acadian/Cajun versions.)  The young lady reading Laureatte did the cutest French accent ever and I wanted to hug her for going for it.  I was really happy with just about everything that I wrote, but I knew I needed to add more.  After the read, the audience can give the writer feedback.  They said that I needed to have more explanation of the history, since many people don’t know the history of the Acadians/Cajuns.  However, they were really impressed with my research and my characters though they were differing opinions on how well they felt they knew the characters.  I will definitely be fixing the first part and adding a lot more explanation and scenes with Laureatte, Madame Richard, and the other characters in that part.  The most important change will be Dawn giving the audience (and her daughter) the introductory explanation of the history.

I signed up for the SMFA: Get in Gear for the New Year challenge hosted by casting director, Bonnie Gillespie, which is about getting actors on the right track to get hired in 2015.  I’ve done the homework so far and received some useful feedback on what my headshot says about me and how to target my materials.  SMFA stands for Self-Management for Actors and it’s the guide she wrote for actors to be successful in the industry.

I hope that amazing things will happen for me in the New Year, like finally being union eligible, getting significant credits on my resume, making The Go-Girls into a film, and getting La Famille produced (after edits, of course).  But first, I’ll go ahead and enjoy the holiday season.  I can at least take Christmas off, right?