Once On This Island had a grand performance on two weeks back. I was really glad how it all came together and for the magic that happened. My part was pretty challenging playing an older man who goes through some harrowing experiences. One number had me going from one side of the stage to another, have three challenging key-change, no support from the orchestra, solos, fall down, and get beaten up. The show does not stop and hardly anyone gets a break from being onstage, dancing, and singing. And with that, my accepting of unpaid gigs will finally end. This was a student production at ASU so that was understandable. From now on, the talent buyers out there will be paying me. I came to a realization from knowing many people who have regular jobs and act that acting should pay your bills, not have your bills pay for acting. I also know a number of people who have made acting mostly pay their bills.
Pick Me! was accepted to the Eastern North Carolina Film Festival. It’s a new festival that started this year and played Sept. 12-13. I found out about submitting to it on Stage 32. Pick Me! did not generate any ticket sales, but I was glad someone out of state actually liked it. The film company that began the festival is working on distribution agreements for the short films in the festival.
I got behind on networking for the production team of The Go-Girls, but I will get on that. I am attending a workshop with major producer Marc D. Evans about getting film scripts produced. It’s through the Phoenix Screenwriters’ group and the founder, Carlo, reached out to me personally to attend.
I am mostly stepping away from theatre right now. Two of the ones that pay weekly are not near where I live and did not express any interest in casting me, and the Equity ones have once again not even given me a callback. I can’t keep letting it make me depressed and feel that I’m not good enough. Theatre takes too much time anyway. Film, Commercials, and TV will always pay more money on average. But if Broadway comes calling again to Phoenix, I’m so there. Maybe film is the best place for me.
I am currently reading The $11 Billion Year by Anne Thompson. She is a veteran entertainment journalist specializing in film and in the book she recounts the banner year of 2012 in Hollywood and the changing trends of the film industry. I have surprisingly not done much reading into how Hollywood works; I was so caught up in getting an Equity card. It’s going to be a SAG-AFTRA card first at the rate things are going.
I have an upcoming audition with the Black Theatre Troupe for a production called Tommy J and Sally. It sounds absolutely fantastic and I would be love to be a part of it. But mostly, it’s film from now on.
I wanted to share with you the trailer for Climbing Stairs, the short that I filmed this summer. The editing process should be finished by mid-October. My friend, Luca Patruno, wrote the script, directed, cast, provided the food, got the crew, and is editing the film. Right now he is attending Chapman University and is already getting hired on major film shoots. In the future, I would like to submit the film with Pick Me! as a double-feature at Filmbar, a local bar and cinema specializing in local independent film.
Looks like I missed a post for July. Two weeks ago, my friend, Luca Patruno, and I made our film short, Climbing Stairs. He organized about everything and even bought lunch. I had the pleasure of working with Brian Osback as DP and Robert Price as the Head of Sound. I was so happy how everything came together and the film looks really good. I never imagined my film on a whim would end up this full-fledged and awesome. The trailer is now available on YouTube and here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFBZDOAb9R4
I am in steady rehearsals for Once On This Island. Be prepared to be blown away by a hurricane of talent. If you are in the area on September 8, the performance will be at 7:30pm. Tickets are free and available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/once-on-this-island-tickets-12300614469
I was also just cast in The Murder Mystery Company’s Phoenix troupe, which is the third highest-grossing murder mystery dinner theatre in the country. It will be an ongoing gig. Additionally, I have an audition for paid fundraiser performances of Oklahoma set on an actual cattle ranch tomorrow.
I have a significant local audition for the film of a web series that I have long wanted to audition for next weekend. I will move forward with finding people to join me with producing The Go-Girls. I connected with director/producer, Jake Katofsky, on Stage 32 for advice about making my feature. It turns out that special effects, location shooting, and the like will make the budget about $200,000, and this does not include publicity and marketing costs. I could have it filmed in Phoenix for less cost than LA, but I really want it filmed in LA. A scene in Third Street Promenade is not feasible for an indie film.
The time for my day job to resume is upon us and I am certain to get some sub assignments this coming week. Quitting the day job is not happening any time soon.
My summer just got busier. I had a print ad audition on yesterday with the legendary casting director, Gay Gilbert, for whom I auditioned a year and a half ago for a student film. I’m crossing my fingers I book a part. My friend, Luca Patruno, is back here for summer vacation and we are going forward with filming, “Climbing Stairs,” and have a firm shooting schedule. I am very glad we are able to finally film the script. Additionally, I was cast in a student film called, “These Are the Breaks,” as the friend of the female lead. That should film at the end of July, or thereabouts. And there’s more: I was also cast as Tonton Julian in a landmark ASU Senior Thesis of Once On This Island. I always thought it would be cool to be in this excellent musical. What is unique about this production is that the director had audio-only auditions sent by e-mail. He decided to make casting choices on voice and ability rather than physical appearance or gender.
One really large project I am undertaking is producing The Go-Girls into a feature film in LA. I am just in the planning phases, but I have connected with people on Stage 32 and professional Facebook pages for advice and collaboration on making the film. I already have a lead actress and producer, which are both me! I downloaded a film budget form from online and filled it out. I think the tentative budget should be around $90,000. A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar through IFP Phoenix about crowdfunding campaigns. The whole thing was four hours long. Two of the guests spoke to us via Skype about their experiences with crowdfunding and also their production companies. The founder of Seed and Spark was one of them and she told us how her company works for supporting indie filmmakers through providing focused crowdfunding and distribution opportunities. I believe the case for most crowdfunding sites is that they are suitable for projects with budgets of $200,000 and under. I heard the average feature film campaign is for $50,000. I put together a tentative budget for La Famille and it will definitely be about $8 million. If either script could be produced for less, I would totally go for that. However, I wouldn’t do that at the expense of actors and crew being paid a living wage.
My friend, Lee, read La Famille and loved it! He was kind enough to make edits for me and even met with me to discuss them and gave me the marked copy of my script. I really appreciated it and having corrections made on a physical copy is the only way I can edit. Staring at the computer too long makes my eyes hurt. You can read the scripts for The Go-Girls and La Famille on my profile on Stage 32 at http://www.stage32.com/profile/21717/anna-sahlstrom
These are great undertakings, but it’s about time I got things rolling in my campaign for industry domination. There is nothing that I love more than acting and writing.
It’s time to update the blog. The film premiere is set for Kameleon, the foreign film that I had the pleasure of dubbing with many other colleagues. The premiere is set for Thursday, May 29, at 7pm at the Tempe Pollack Cinemas. Ticket sales will benefit Sojourner Center, an organization that provides refuge and assistance for women and children escaping domestic violence. The link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sojourner-center-movie-event-fund-raiser-tickets-11355746343
I have been noticing that there is a group of other actors and myself involved with and auditioning for many of the same projects. That is a very good feeling and it makes me feel that I’m doing well and have become a reliable talent. Many film industry people say that being reliable is the number one trait they look for in talent. I think that in some cases, they’re looking at a union card and major credits. I remember that Bonnie Gillespie said that industry people who use union status as a barrier to hiring someone are making an excuse because they can pay the fee and Taft-Hartley you. On that same note, the local AriZoni awards for theatre split their actor categories into Professional or Non-Professional (Amateur). I really don’t appreciate that because not having some silly card doesn’t mean you’re not a professional. You are not calling me an amateur under any circumstances.
I am just about finished with my round of auditions for the Equity theatres. Since I’ve come to Phoenix, one of these theatres has closed down and the other was on hiatus. I think that one has come back to stay. I felt really good this year about how they went and I hope I have some good news for you soon. I also auditioned for an award-winning dinner theatre and it looks promising. That audition went really well. Sometimes you can tell if you’ve made a real connection in an audition. That is what you should always do, but the reality is you might just be showing them your shopping list. What I mean by that is what one of my course tutors at Drama Studio London said. He told us that we needed to focus on what is happening in our scene or monologue and on the other person. We can’t let ourselves be distracted or be thinking about any personal issues or chores we need to do. He said brilliantly that, “No one wants to see your Tesco (UK grocery store chain) shopping list.” This means that when you think about something that is not in the scene, the audience or director can see it.
I have some project ideas, but there are always things to audition for. I auditioned for a campaign for a mobile app in North Phoenix at one of the coolest offices I’ve ever seen. I think the gig would be a lot of fun. I am continuing to work on ideas for producing The Go-Girls, La Famille, putting together a charity concert, and how about a production of Songs for A New World?
I started acting with a drive for theatre, but have since gotten a number of paying smaller film and commercial projects. I’m glad I’m open enough to go with it. I didn’t think that film or Phoenix would open doors like this. I am so glad to be part of the film community and to have their respect and trust. Here comes the LA countdown.
It’s a crazy time in the Anna-verse. I am in the process of moving and it’s taking a while. The big auditions are starting to be announced and I’ve made my audition appointment for Phoenix Theatre and Childsplay. I will also be auditioning for the first time ever for a character company that performs at children’s parties. I need to come in character and sing a song.
This weekend I record my part for the feature film dub project. I will tell you about that once the entire thing is available. It’s a really prominent project. And the last performances of Guys and Dolls start tomorrow. It’s your last chance to get tickets.
I attended the Phoenix Film Festival and it was fantastic yet again. I did not see a single film that creeped me out. I went to see Jake Squared, which stars Elias Koteas as a man making a film about his life who has his past selves and former loves appear all at once to guide him on the way to finding true love. It was really unique in its format. After that, I saw Life Inside Out, which I also loved. The lead actress and her son wrote most of the music and starred in the film together. It really touched my heart and was true to life. I then went to see the IFP Film Challenge Finalists presentation and I got to see the short, Rigged, from my pals, Studio Gaijin, in which I was an extra. Last night, I had the privilege to see the film Belle, a period piece about a real-life young lady who overcame societal discrimination to find a life that makes her happy. That film will actually be appearing in select cities throughout the country.
I did my edits on La Famille and sent it to my producer acquaintance and my new buddy from Louisiana. I want the script to be as awesome as possible and get produced ASAP. I really want The Go-Girls to be produced too.
Yesterday was my birthday and my grandpa’s too. Guys and Dolls officially opened last week and we’ve had a full house each night. As always, I worked during the day in a classroom and rehearsed and performed at night all last week. Now not only am I a Hot Box Girl, I get to play the role of Mimi and say some lines. I get to twirl a ribbon and wear a calypso costume for the Havana scene and bear my mid-driff as a sexy farm girl. Of course, I wear a body-shaper leotard, so you don’t see my actual tummy. The show runs Thursday through Saturday, at 7pm each night. The site for tickets is http://www.donbluthfrontrowtheatre.com.
I was also cast in a VO film project through a local production company. I can’t provide details beyond that as it’s a major project. It’s an excellent step in the right direction.
I received the news last week that The Go-Girls did not win the screenwriting contest. They had me film Interview videos so people could get to know me and my script. I actually learned how to make films on my computer on iMovie and add opening graphics. I never knew how to do that before. Now I can film auditions anytime I want. The link to the playlist is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdzazEYOsJo&list=PLtdOV1g2RdSv1vvfa6pEeHIMkvkZvOv_Y
I’m also just about finished with La Famille. I should introduce you to all the characters. I promised to send it to someone a really long time ago. I’ll have to find someone to translate much of the dialogue into Cajun French. If you’d like the job, let me know. The script has a great deal of characters and locations.
I’ll be finding new housing sometime next month and it looks like there are many affordable options. I have to find Summer employment or book a great deal of commercial principal roles. I have applied to children’s theatres and learning centers. I have even more places to contact.