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.
Today’s blog title comes from the musical Chicago. In one of the many little quizzes they have on Facebook, I received the result that the Broadway musical I should star in is Chicago. I love Bob Fosse’s choreography. I have been cast in Guys and Dolls with Don Bluth Front Row Theatre. I am very glad to be onstage again and I’ll be playing a Hot Box Girl. I’ll be doing a great deal of dancing. The show runs from March 6 through April 12, Thursdays through Saturdays at 7pm. You can purchase tickets at http://donbluthfrontrowtheatre.com/etickets/index.php?cPath=6
I also auditioned for a VO feature film this past Sunday produced by DB Rich Productions and it went really well. I would be excited to be part of the project and it pays.
I have heard from the people at 8 Sided Forum and they have posted my statement of purpose. Here is the link:
I now have to make a series of videos answering interview questions. I’m not well-versed with editing and filming so I have recruited my friend to help me out. It was recommended that I post the videos this week. I have to squeeze that in around rehearsals.
In the meantime, I am also working on my song repertoire and my vocal technique. I have been meaning to call my acting coach to go over my monologues. I have been working on a monologue from the character Jenny in Abstract Expression by Theresa Rebeck. It’s mostly run-on sentences and a bit of babbling. It’s a challenge going for both film and stage. I also have to finish La Famille. I have about 78 pages done so far.
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make another post. I was going to wish you Happy New Year and I thought it was going to be grand. I am taking voice lessons once again and attended an excellent workshop last night. I was even going to make a film this weekend but tragedy struck and my director and leading man had to pull out. This has been a really bad week and I have found out I need a new place to live in a few months. I really need some financial help to get back to LA and be able to afford housing in the interim. There is now a donation page for my GoFundMe campaign. Simply click the link and the page will come up. Anything helps and a little adds up to a lot when a large number of people donate. I have no means of repaying your kindness but thank you so much for your generosity.
I hope to have some better news to report soon. Sad posts are not good for self-marketing, but I really need support right now. I have no clue what I can afford right now.
I have an audition tomorrow for The Last Five Years and for Julius Caesar on Monday. I’m waiting to hear if I got into another show. I long for the day I can be onstage again.
I hope your Holiday season is merry and bright. This is the first year in a while that I haven’t been in a show for Christmas, but I guess that gives me more time for Christmas fun. I will be visiting home for Christmas and my mom and I will be shopping and baking cookies. I will be coming back in time to march in the Fiesta Bowl Parade with my fellow Arizona Avengers. I attended three industry-related gatherings in a row two weeks back: one was a going away event for a producer friend of mine, one was my agency’s Holiday party, and the third was Filmstock. I really enjoyed the Filmstock Festival and I attended on the night they were doing dramatic shorts. My favorite was The Last Piper, an amazing film made by Norwegian film students. I couldn’t believe how incredible the quality and acting were. There were also two SAG-AFTRA shorts, one of which starred a few people from “Breaking Bad.” I have been really excited to see how Filmstock has grown to now have festival dates in four states and the increasing professional quality of the films.
I recently sent postcards to casting directors in New Mexico. I have been given advice to make one-sheets and there was an article about pilot season in Backstage online that said sending e-mail press releases was the best way to get casting directors to call you in. I have always heard that unsolicited e-mails are not accepted and that it’s extremely rare for someone who is non-union to be seen for a pilot. The Actors Network advice is to do “odd-size mailers,” which is a postcard in an envelope. I usually do that, but I had old stamps that I needed to use that were the right amount for sending postcards not in envelopes. Postage keeps increasing.
In the New Year, there will be a New Media project, a proposed charity concert, exciting news about the script contest, more auditions, and hopefully some major bookings. I will get myself back to LA some year soon. A buddy of mine is already well on the way to relocating.
Merry Christmas to all, may your stage lights burn bright!