Monday, 26 March 2007

Yay for experience and learning and fun!

The first night of filming for Masked Man on Saturday was a great night. I had a good time and also learnt a bunch of stuff about acting for film that I've not really had to deal with before.

I discovered some of my weaknesses in terms of film craft. Continuity, for one. In one scene I had a mobile phone on the table which I then picked up and took with me. Only after a few takes did I remember that I should've been making sure the phone was in the exact same position each take. Oops! They did take quite a few angles though so even if the phone jumps around the table a bit between the different takes, they'll be able to hide it in editing.

Of course in a production with an actual budget there would be a continuity person, or at least an assistant or two who would take care of those details, but even then the actor needs to be aware of it.

Similarly, I had to be especially careful to make sure that I matched the same actions to the same line of dialogue. In the first part when leaving the table I had to ask the director to look back over the footage to remember on which word I had stood up. In another part I had to speak while walking from one room to another, and by then I was getting used to the memorisation of position/dialogue so when I got the timing wrong it felt really wrong.

The director didn't give me much feedback on my actual acting so it was hard to know how I was doing. Some moments I felt really good about and others I really wasn't sure. But every time I asked if something was okay everyone seemed happy enough so I guess I was doing okay. One moment I wasn't sure of was a sequence where I opened a door to find a gunman on the other side, who then follows me back inside and shoots me. However after the first take, the director (who was playing the gunman) told the cameraman to come round behind him to get the shot of my face reacting to the gun; he said "I need you to get Sumara's reaction, it's really good." That was very nice to hear. (I hope he was right!)

There was one part where I had to lie on the floor (having just been shot) while the gunman ran past me to chase the other girl. It was a bit of a challenge to lie there with my eyes open and staring blankly while heavy boots stomped right past my head!

Overall I really enjoyed myself. The production team (Powered Productions) are all lovely fun people who just love filming and I got along well with everyone. The screenwriter/actor Kylie made yummy dinner and we mucked around and the cameraman snuck around catching us being silly on camera. It was fun.

There's one more night of filming (this Saturday), and I get to be stabbed to death this time, so that should be fun too!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007


Ok, sorry. I hate it when people don't update their blogs for ages but I think I'm the worst offender!

It's only because my life is so darn boring!

Ok, no, it's wonderful and fulfilling and a great big exciting Journey of Life. Is that at all convincing?


The casting for the film extra work went fine. It was just a case of filling out the forms and being measured and having a photo taken. One of the requirements was that extras must be prepared to have their hair cut to suit the period - which means pretty short. Sounds fun. It will be a couple of weeks before I hear about that. Keep those fingers crossed!

We've had one rehearsal for Masked Man and shooting starts this Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it. The team are all lovely and friendly and hardworking. They were even happy for me to bring the girls to the rehearsal; they had a great time.

Other than that... losing weight in the lead-up to Easter is just such a lost cause. I am hopelessly addicted to chocolate. I've already had to replace the easter stash for the kids once (doesn't help that Noel's been away so I'm lonely and he's not there to stop me!). Terrible, I know. I'm still doing heaps of exercise though so hopefully there's not too much damage being done.

On the mental/emotional front lately - I've been freaking myself out with how much of my emotional energy has been going into "starting an acting career", to the detriment of my darling family. So I'm going to be trying to not focus on it so much. I figure these kiddos are only small for a short time, and I plan to be alive and kicking for quite a long time yet, so what's the hurry? (I know, I've said things like this before! I occasionally have issues with perspective in life, don't I.) Plus, we maybe want to have another baby next year so basically, that's more important for the immediate future.

I have no plans to stop acting or working or anything. Besides anything else I'm still desperate for paid work of any description (well... not any), but if I can get a little bit of momentum without trying to move too fast, I'll be a happy girl.

Let's see, what movies have I seen lately...

Blood Diamond... loved it. It made me think "this kind of film is why I want to be in films". The story is fairly average and predictable (compelling nonetheless), but the characters are beautiful, and beautifully acted.

Leonardo DiCaprio's accent only had a few irritating moments - he sounded Australian every now and then... but nothing that detracted for more than a second from the character and his story. I admit I was sceptical of all the reports saying Leo's all grown up and improved by leaps and bounds.. but it's true, he has. I actually believed that he was an adult, despite the still-baby-face looks, who had gone through all that history.

Djimon Honsou deserves every bit of praise he's been getting for his role, it's brilliant. I kept thinking how hard it would be as a native African to portray that story. His "devoted father" moments were great but his "unsure partner" moments were even better.

Jennifer Connelly was just your standard charming-American-girl, but you get that. Every film needs one of them, apparently. I did think she and DiCaprio worked together very nicely.

Overall, the film made me cry - a LOT. If you have kids and this film doesn't make you cry, then seriously, you have freaky emotional control. There are some very very disturbing images and sequences - and I was crying not only for the real children that the film depicts, but for the child actors who somehow had to portray all those awful things. I will be very interested to see a "making of" featurette and find out how the children did what they did.

Secret Window ... a Depp one from 2004. Loved it! I love Mort; don't care if he's psychopathic, I love him anyway. Johnny is brilliant in a very understated, everyday way. And John Turturro is wonderful. I'm going to have to start looking up other Turturro films because I'm really liking what I see of him.
My favourite thing about the film is that Johnny did his own driving for the crazy-maniac-reversing-through-a-carpark opening sequence. Loved it.

The Little Mermaid ... (and The Little Mermaid II )... ha, well, I do have two little girls. And their daddy loves to buy them movies! Plus, you can't beat Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian for a lovely little sing-along.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to Harry Potter - that's what's been keeping me away from the computer lately... ah, Harry... and Ron, and Dumbledore, and... etc etc...

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Good news!

Ok, I finally have some actual news about some actual progress!

I scored a lead role in an amatuer short film called "Masked Man". I get to die - twice! (one death is a dream). That's shooting towards the end of March. If nothing else, it'll be a decent bit of acting to put on my showreel.


I'm a bit excited about this one - I have a casting this week for extra work on a pretty big film in Sydney. Yay! As I said ages ago I was resisting doing extra stuff but this is one of Australia's biggest upcoming films, and plus, I need to start doing pretty much anything to get some paid work. Cross all your fingers and toes for me because this would be an awesome opportunity to experience a big-budget film set in action.

I still don't have an agent so I was very lucky to get a casting. I emailed the casting guy directly and hassled him, politely of course, a few times for information. Just call me Miss Assertive. If they like me they're going to refer me to one of the agencies they deal with. Keep those fingers and toes crossed!


I went to a meeting last night of a "Working Actor's Group" at my old drama college (Wesley Institute in Drummoyne). There was an agent there I was keen to meet, Elvis Joseph. The organiser, my gorgeous friend Sarah, and I were the only ones to turn up but we managed to talk with Elvis for almost 3 hours about marketing, headshots, CVs, agencies, the current state of film in Sydney, and Christian film which Elvis is currently researching. A lot of it was very helpful and I got some good feedback on my current headshot (which is great because I'm getting new ones done very soon).

Sarah and I had a bit of a play in front of a camera, seeing which was our "best side" and the ways different angles look. I reckon my right three-quarters (halfway between front-on and profile) looks best. But overall I was a bit shocked. The camera really does add 10 pounds, as they say, and I felt really fat and ugly - especially compared to waify thin Sarah. Normally I'm quite happy with how I look, but I have been trying to lose weight and I have about 10kg to go to my "ideal weight". Hopefully the camera will like me more (or I'll like myself on camera more!) then. It was good motivation though - I dragged out the old aerobics DVD this morning and did two workouts today. Watch this space for the return of the old skinnier me!