30 August, 2009

What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happenin'!

WELL. Where do I even begin?

I did it. I landed a lead role in a feature film. We shoot in Punjab, India for two months...I leave in a month, at the end of September!

People keep asking how excited I am, if I'm jumping around all the time.

The answer is "no." Yes, I'm excited--of course I am! But I haven't honestly had a chance to sit and think about all of this! I am very aware that this begins a new stage in my life...but I think all the dreaming and wishing and trying and struggling has helped me through the years. It's happened, just as I always knew it would. Why should I be surprised?

This is all coming out wrong. I don't mean to say, "Well, naturally I got this part." I just mean that this success is something I've been dreaming about for 25 years. It seems right that it's happening now.

And maybe it hasn't happened yet because the universe knew I wasn't ready. Maybe I'm at a point in my life where I can handle this. Maybe my mind and heart are open to what the universe has for me...?

But this isn't a blog about spirituality, though that does come in to my acting. More on that...some other time!

What do I say? I figured when this ever happened, I would be jumping up and down and screaming and, as my parents have recently joked on Facebook, taken out an ad to announce it to the world! But I haven't. I've felt quite calm...I am the epitome of West Side Story's "Cool."

Here Be The Video!

...only without the ultra-cool Jerome Robbins choreography! Well, okay...when no one's looking. ;) I'm more A-rab at the end, "POW!"

(And now this song's stuck in your head. You're welcome!)

I'll get back to THE SIXTH RIVER, but first I want to talk about the project I just finished today. The past few weekends have been dedicated to a short film called THE HERE BETWEEN. It's based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce (An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge). I'd read it years ago, and the story always stuck with me. It's not one you forget...  The Twilight Zone made an episode about it, and I believe it was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Julian Iliev (pronounced eel-ee-en   ee-lee-ev),  kept the basic plot, but changed the storyline, if that makes any sense! I don't want to give anything away, or take away from the shock and drama of it, but it's a very powerful piece. I can honestly say this is the best film I've done to date.  I played one of the town tarts...it was wonderful to go from tootsie-wootsy-tipsy and partying to bam! This is real. This is happening...this isn't a fun party in the middle of town, after all.

Here's a few stills from last week's rehearsal. It wasn't on location, and hair and make-up aren't done. When I get more, I'll post them.

I don't know how long they're going to spend in post, or what their exact plans are (what festivals, etc), but I'll let you know!

THE HIGHWAYMAN is set to begin filming this coming weekend. I shoot Sunday, which is glorious! It's a three-day weekend, so I have Saturday and Monday off. In theory. "Off" is sort of a relative term these days, isn't it?

My time off now includes--on top of regular household chores, etc--finding my character, memorizing my script (which is in English and Punjabi), learning more about Punjab and the Sikh culture, learning beginning Punjabi, lose a few pounds, tone up, get my visa, vaccinations, and malaria pills (it's like I'm going to Kenya all over again!)...and somewhere in there "get plenty of rest, relax often, remain stress-free," as the director and her husband have advised me. :)

I'll be putting WILD GEESE, my short film, on the back burner for a bit. I can't say I'm super-upset about it, because I'm putting it aside to be THE LEAD IN A FILM SHOOTING IN INDIA!!!! Not so bad a trade-off. I do have good news about my short film, though. A production company has expressed interest in it. I wrote my first treatment--I'm too tired to explain what that is, so here--and they've offered to executive produce. Yay!!! They have access to Irish Film Commission funding, so let's hope that works out. (What I really hope works out, though, is securing Cillian Murphy!!!)

Here's a bit about THE SIXTH RIVER:

The word "punjab" means five waters or rivers. Carrie is an American studying all the states of India for her book. When she comes to Punjab, she discovers the sixth river--which to her is its people, culture, and heritage. But in reality, these days it's more alcohol and drugs. She meets up with an old college friend and through him meets Dev. I don't want to say too much about it...and I am under contract to not speak about certain details! So I will continue to say, "And then a bunch of other stuff happens."

This isn't a Bollywood film, where people break into song and dance...though I would love that!!! There are songs, but more featured in the background. (See Rang de Basanti for an example)  Gulshan Grover will be in it--he's a pretty big star over there, as you can see by his resume. Over 300 films!!! They just signed a popular sufi singer as Dev, Lakhwinder Wadali.

Here's his video for "Jaan."

His website is www.lakhwinderwadali.com, but it's currently down. His first movie is coming out soon, and that album (his!) was just released today, so I'm thinking that has something to do with it.

I've heard a few of the songs for THE SIXTH RIVER, and I love them. One is done by the Wadali Brothers (who I think is Lakhwinder's father and uncle), and it's amazing.  When I first heard it I thought it was a prayer. Beautiful. It looks like I'll be able to sing in one of them, so I'm excited!!!!!!!

Okay, I'm exhausted. I know this probably doesn't answer all your questions, but it's a start, right?

Everything changes now.

Don't think I'm not thrilled about that!

19 August, 2009

Patience, Little Sister

I've been trying to keep people updated via my Facebook statuses...unfortunately, certain people only catch certain updates, and some not at all. I wanted to hold off on writing a new blog, but...ah, who cares? I'm excited!

(Lots of links in here, for your learning pleasure! ;)  )

This is what's going on:

I have accepted a role in Tangra Productions' short film The Here Between, based on Ambrose Bierce's  "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." The film will be set in the 1930s, though my particular costume (as the town...err...girl-for-hire) is more flapper-esque. :)  It's going to be a lot of fun. We're rehearsing Saturday and Sunday, though I may not make Saturday's, and we film the last weekend of August.

The weekend after that, I shoot my scenes for The Highwayman, based on the poem by Alfred Noyes. (These literature interpretations are right up my alley!) I'm not positive when filming will wrap, as they're still trying to get enough funding. This is how non-Hollywood movies are done, folks. Not a lot of money...so it takes a while to get them completed!

I'm about 99% sure I didn't get the nurse role (mentioned in my previous blogs), but a friend of mine did get the football player: watch out for Tre Mosby, folks! When you see ads for a movie called The Frankenstein Brothers, remember Tre!

Now, onto the really exciting stuff!

As you know, I'm up for the lead in a Punjabi film entitled The Sixth River, being filmed on location in the Punjab region of India. This is an incredible opportunity for me--I just can't tell you enough how excited I am! I've been in touch with Ish amitoj Kaur from Noor Nissan Films.

She called today to let me know that she's sending the contract for me to peruse tonight, and we'll be going over that later on. They'll be flying me to LA this Friday (or possibly San Fran on Wednesday) to meet with everyone. As the filming begins 5 October, they'd like to make a decision as soon as possible. All this does not mean I have the role. It does mean, however, that I'm one step closer. :) And this is probably the biggest turning point in my career.

I know it's hard for "civilians" to understand this world. But even if I don't get this role, this is still HUGE for me. It would be for anybody in my position. An unknown actor, constantly trying to put themself out there, struggling to prove that they've got the goods. Finally someone's willing to take a chance! And if they don't, I'll at least know that by golly, people like me! ;) It's a big deal, and I'm not going to let people tell me it's not.

This isn't Bollywood, though there will be some songs and a couple dances. Take a look at Rang De Basanti (or here) to get a better idea. :) Our story is about an American girl who goes to India, working on her book and visiting an old college chum. And then some other stuff happens. ;) What? You want me to give it away?! Heck, no--go buy a ticket when it comes out!  :D

And as if all this wasn't exciting enough, I just got news yesterday that a British production company with access to IFC funding options is interested in producing my short Irish film. To that, all I can say is:


Funding? Wouldn't that be nice?! Funding means it'll be that much easier to get Cillian Murphy attached, which in turn means I might get even more funding! Which means...I can film in Ireland, rather than finding someplace in Colorado that sort of looks like Galway. It means I don't have to stress too much about costumes from 1691, and what's in the cottage, and whose cameras and lighting I need to borrow. With Cilly, it would also mean the biggest stressor disappears: the casting of Boy. There's no one else for this role. Sorry, but there isn't. (Plus, when I actually meet him, I can then officially start calling us Chrillian.)

Tee-hee.  Hey, you don't really expect me to change with success, do you? Once a dork, always a dork!

And I just thought of something!  I might be able to help my friend Patrick Monaghan with his film, The Scattering. You may remember I dedicated a whole blog to it a few months back...? Maybe not. :) Anyway, if I'm in touch with the IFC in some way, shape, or form...maybe that'll help Patrick.

I always believe in helping others out. Not necessarily giving them things, you know? But giving them the opportunity. When I'm big and famous, I'll be helping friends or family out, sure.  But only by helping them get their foot in the door. After that, they have to prove themselves.

That's all I want for me. Getting through the door is the hardest part. Showing people I've got what it takes? No problem--but you have to find a way to show them! Ugh.

I still haven't written my short! It's been a little hectic around here. That doesn't look like it'll be changing anytime soon. But...it kind of looks--and I hesitate to say this for fear of jinxing it!--like I might be able to quit the survival job within the next 6 months.

Knock on wood, good juju, good energy, light a candle, say a prayer, whatever it is you do: do it!

I'm hoping this next blog will have even better news. Until then--

Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally...golly, what a day. :)

12 August, 2009

Jai Ho!

Have a callback tomorrow for a SAG feature film. Casting is being done in LA, but they're filming here in Denver, which is nice. I think it's a "Dude, Where's My Car" kind of a movie. Not exactly my type, but whatever! Hopefully you'll see me as the nurse! One line--woo-hoo! ;)

I'm also super-crazy-excited about a film shooting in India. I don't know how many people they're looking at for the lead, but I'm one of them.  I wish I could put sound clips on my blog--you'd be forced to hear my excitement!!!

It's from an Indian-American production company (NN Films)...I'd be filming for about a month...they pay all expenses, plus a very small salary. A month in India? Doing what I love? Yes, please!

Plus, I can shop for saris and linens and all the gorgeous woodwork and stuff! Yay!

Oh--there's a small chance I might be going to Sundance this year with some friends. :) Our friend's sister (both Indian-American, coincidentally) will hopefully have her film accepted--we're almost positive it will! And then we can support her film...schmooze on the slopes...grab some SWAG...sip cocoa...and pass out my business cards to EVERYONE!!! Please visit her site when you get a chance: Mridu Chandra

At this moment, I am happy. :) Except for this pounding headache that keeps reappearing, but I'll just sing it away! Tra-la!!! Tra-la!

04 August, 2009

Room For Life

Dia dhuit!

Quite a bit has happened in the past couple of weeks--pretty exciting! I had two film auditions last week, and was asked to do a table read for two scripts. We had "rehearsals" last week, and this week we're reading in front of an audience.

This is more for the writers. They finish a draft and want to hear it read out loud by someone other than themselves! So there are a handful of us doing it. There really wasn't a part for me, so I'm the "narrator," which basically means I read all the action, narration, camera shots, etc. I didn't think I'd be reading much, but I read the ENTIRE TIME! I love it. :)

Yesterday's was what I call a Greenpeace meets Mission Impossible script, and tonight is a comedy action-type script with vampires and demons. Very cool. And funny as heck!

I have to go in to the agency tomorrow to get pictures taken of my hands! They're submitting me for hand modeling. Woo-hoo! I'll be like George Costanza and wear gloves all over the place now. :)

I've submitted myself for a web series, and a female lead for a film being shot in India next month. (Oh, I would LOVE that!)  I try to keep my eyes and ears open for gigs--let me know if you hear of anything!

OH! Gary is trying to win a contest--he'll use the money to make a kick-ass film. And, naturally, I'd be in it! So--could you vote for him?!


The good thing is, it's pretty darn funny.

I'm still plodding forward on my shorts. :) I've decided to concentrate on the Irish one first, since that will take more time and resources. You'd think I'd want to start off with an easier one, right? But this one is talking to me, and I have to get it out. It'll be in Irish, and it's a little controversial...but I'll write it in such a way that lets the audience decided for themselves which is which. Doesn't make any sense, what I just said, but I'm not divulging the story for others to steal!

I'd originally thought of this as a feature--actually, all the shorts I'm thinking of started that way. :) But in the role of Boy had to be Cillian Murphy.  Of course. Roll your eyes all you want, but once you know the story, you'll agree! There's no one else for this role.  It's going to be a very quiet film, not a whole lot of dialogue. The roles are Boy, Girl, Baby, and Man.  And in the 17th century. (Don't ask me how I plan on filming this! It will get done! It is written, and so it is!)

I talked to my agent about trying to get Mr. Murphy, and he gave me some really good ideas. I think the story is such that it will attract his "people" enough to get it to him, and if I have a letter of intent, I can get funding.

Am I holding my breath?

No...I'd like to live several more decades, thanks. But--you know me. Try and get the best. Shoot for the moon, right? If I miss, I'm still among the stars!

I'm excited about this one for so many reasons--one of which is it can be turned into a feature if it does well. It can continue where the story left off, or there can be a prequel. I'm doing so much studying these days. Even though their background won't come up (or only a bit) in the short, I have to know where they came from, how they got where they are, etc. I have to know who their grandfather was, why their father died, etc. I imagine some people don't write that way, but it really helps me.

I've temporarily titled it Wild Geese, for not only the Boy and Girl, but also because of what happens in Ireland's history at that time. I hope I haven't said too much. If people steal my things, I can show proof that I did it sooner!!! Don't make me come over there and sue you!

I've started learning Irish, more seriously this time. I go on vacation in a couple days...the travel will be perfect to go through some lessons!

Slán go fóill!