The Appointment – film production update

The film shoot is finished! It was a nerve-wrecking nail-biter leading up to the shoot date last Saturday, and then it was a race to finish filming! I can’t believe we did it! It all actually happened, we pulled it off! Ok, let me start from the beginning (I’ve had a week to let it all sink in and finally update this blog)…

The shoot dates for my short film ‘The Appointment‘ were set to be November 8th and 9th ever since pre-production started. Everything was coming along as planned, cast and crew were set and ready to go…except the location. We were frantically looking for alternatives up until Wednesday, 4 days before filming was supposed to start, but my heart was set on this one location ever since I laid eyes on the photos of that particular mansion, especially the interior.


The property owner was out of town and his real estate agent told us that filming there was most likely a GO, but we needed to wait until he got back and get confirmation…there are people living there, after all. Wednesday we got it and we set up a walkthrough for the next day, Thursday. BIG PHEW!

The location didn’t disappoint… as a matter of fact, it was better than we could ever dream of, and the main room was almost ready to go. It just needed a few minor touches like a painting and some furniture getting switched out, and some props added! Lucky for my set designer Jose Iturriaga, who by that time was ready to have a coronary, because he didn’t have anything to go on until Thursday to plan out the final touches.

setpicMy co-star Mike Burnell facing me, set photographer Stephanie Scurry and boom operator Marci Bretts on the right. Photo credit: Micah Minor (our gaffer)

There was just one caveat to all of this….instead of filming there for two days, we only had permission to use the location for ONE day! Yep. So, my co-director Jared Jacobsen and I did some last minute trouble shooting of the scene blocking, arranging the shot list and re-thinking some FX/MUA intensive ideas. A critical moment in one of the scenes had to be changed a little to save time, which turned out to be much better anyway. We got it all figured out and nothing had to be cut, amazingly enough! All I can say is: don’t be too married with every detail in your script – flexibility is KEY! Sometimes you even have a better outcome than originally envisioned.

destinyMy character ready for The Appointment

I was thinking about blogging about the shoot in detail, like I did back when I worked on Nicolas Simonin’s “Vincent” (now called ‘Seizures’), but I thought it might be more interesting to do a list of “best of ” or other highlights instead.

Biggest lessons learned:

Have faith, follow your gut, trust that you picked the right people. Don’t micromanage. Know what you want, but be open to suggestions, welcome ideas. Be flexible and be willing to let go of pre-conceived ideas that are simply not feasible or no longer necessary. Work with what you have. Make the best of it. Take a deep breath. Also, secure your location earlier if you want to be able to get any sleep the week before the shoot ;)

Most surreal moment:

Seing the cast and whole crew arrive, unloading and setting up all their gear in the early morning. I remember thinking: “Whoa, all these rad people, all that stuff!!! They all showed up and brought all this…for lil’ ole me? For my project? Am I dreaming?” I almost had to pinch myself. I am so lucky to have all these people in my life!

organizedchaoscolorFilming made possible in the first place by Stephen Mickelsen (center) of Bad Cat Films

Best decision:

Having my friend and filmmaker Jared Jacobsen co-direct. There’s no way I could have pulled this off without him sharing my vision and taking such care of my little baby. Having him to bounce off ideas and troubleshoot last minute changes was crucial. It was also my first time directing, duh. He also made it possible for me to step into my character and focus on the acting part. I’ve worked with him on previous projects and having seen how he can handle even the toughest challenges, I knew he’d be the perfect guy for the job. He deserves all the kudos in the world!

PiaGoofNothing could distract Jared, naaahthinggg! (I tried)

Biggest challenge:

Co-directing and acting in every scene…there’s not much time for anything else. I think I ate one banana, some M&M and grabbed a few bites of some rice dish before we packed up at end of day. I didn’t even get to tweet and instagram, as I had planned! The demand for full concentration for so many hours at a stretch was intense for sure! I wound up using my little ipod whenever I had the chance (mostly, when ‘standing in’ for myself, heh..) to tune out the crazy hustle and bustle and focus on my character. It was more useful than I could have ever imagined and it kept me sane enough. That, and as mentioned above, Jared being my co-director.

FranciaAward winning and kick-ass FX/MUA Francia Cohen doing my make-up and calming my nerves at the same time

Best safe of the day:

Michael Ledoux, who initially volunteered as PA, but stepped up to the plate and filled in as script supervisor as well. My original scripty called me the night before the shoot and had to bow out due to being down with the flu. (He sounded horrible, poor dude). Crisis averted, Michael was ON it! His motto: “Make it a great day“. He did.

michaelpeterMichael the hero, working with Peter Mickelsen, our rising star DP 

Most impressive feat:

Finishing what was supposed to be a 2-day shoot in one day – all thanks to the best crew I’ve ever worked with… a well-oiled machine. I can’t believe how well everybody worked together. No divas, no egos, none of that stuff. Each one of them had a vital role in making this happen and they didn’t just ‘show up’ – they all went the extra mile. Wanna know what an utterly fierce, committed and professional crew looks like? Like this! Same goes for the cast: prepared and ready to go, saving us countless re-takes. All rockstars!

PeterMicahFierceas I said…FIERCE! Peter Mickelsen and Micah Minor

frankFrank Forth, the best sound guy in town, not messing around. (Sweetest guy, too) 

jeancook1Let’s not forget J.R. Thrasher slaving away in the ‘kitchen’! His chili at the end of the day probably saved lives. And gave us all wings ;)


…and the McGuyver Award goes to:

Elsa Mickelsen – Production designer, on-set photographer, wardrobe goddess, genius finagler of things. Even though I had added inlays and even a grippy thingy inside my high heels, they were still giving me trouble as my heel kept slipping out when walking.

shoe tapecolorElsa came to the rescue and her trickery frigging worked like a charm! I was finally able to strut my stuff with confidence. Ah, Elsa… always making sure I looked like a lady and spoiling me by making me feel like a superstah! I could get used to this. I still kinda expect her to pop up behind a couch somewhere with her camera

ElsaGunsOh yeah..we forgot to bring our prop gun… Elsa to the rescue, again!


Feel-good moment of the day:

This is one of those moments that actors hate and I’ve been guilty of it, too: Finding out that one of the actors got the role as a favor or because he/she is a friend or family. Well, GUILTY! One of our friends, Billy Colestock, who is not an actor, was so into this film thing once he heard about my project, he kept bugging me and asking if he could be in it. I told him all the roles had been cast and, no offense, he wasn’t an actor. He didn’t give up and persisted, so…I found a tiny part for him. And he nailed it. Hmm..persistence does pay off! The best part is, once he arrived on the set and saw how professional it all was and he got his mic put on, there were literally stars in his eyes! It was such fun to watch him get his kicks. He said being in a film was on his bucket list and now he could scratch that off. Glad to help out!



 Well, there you have it. The story so far. We are now in post-production. Forging ahead!

Next up: meeting with the editor. Stay tuned!

Back to back

For the first time ever, I’ve been cast in two feature films scheduled to shoot back to back in the next few months (yay!).. but because I’m superstitious, I won’t talk much about them here, yet. However, if you follow my Twitter or Facebook accounts, you’ve probably already figured it out.

I prefer to talk or write about things once they have been DONE :)

So, what have I been up to the last few weeks? I filmed three, yes THREE, short films back to back! They’re all in editing or post production right now, so I don’t have much to show or link to yet, but I will as soon as I can. Here’s a little info for now:

First up was ‘Bad Decision‘ (dir. Brian LaValle) – a crime caper in which I have a small role as an angry tenant. I’m not sure if there will even be enough footage for my reel, but I did it as a favor for some filmmaker friends and because they’re fun peeps. This also marks the first time I made myself gag in a certain scene. Yes, it was THAT gross, I almost puked. You’ll see, mwuahaha. Most realistic prop I’ve seen in a while. We had some fun with it for sure!

All Night‘ (dir. Sanns Dixon/Screendynamics Entertainment) – a suspense/thriller short in which I play a phone operator, set in the 80’s. I dug out some old wardrobe for this one and got to know really cool people, too. I still have to record my end of a phone conversation, but other than that, I think they’re almost done. Can’t wait to see it! I walked in thinking it was a really ‘simple’ role, but it turned out quite technical when it came to the blocking (a term used for stage and film acting, describing a series of movements and reactions that include exact placement, props, and dialogue in a timed sequence within a scene for the benefit of well-framed camera shots. Phew!). It was challenging but I totally dug it! Great ‘workout’ and experience addition!

Scratch‘ (dir. Brad Bruce) – a horror short in which I play a frustrated mom dealing with a teenage daughter and wimpy husband. It was a small role too, but really fun to play. Mad props to the director for being flexible with us actors and letting us be creative! I have a funny feeling there might be an ‘outtakes’ reel. Horror film peeps are the most fun to shoot with, I swear! I loved the script, too. It’s got some complicated SFX, so it might still take a while till we get to see anything.

Oh, one of my three character above gets whacked . . . Can you guess which one? You’d be surprised ;)

Funny thing is, after I was done with the three short films, I didn’t have anything lined up til the start of May. I lamented to my best acting buddy Mike about the whole ‘feast or famine’ thing and resolved (or should I say ‘made lemonade out of lemons’) to use the in-between time to continue with my other artistic endeavors. Well, lo and behold, out of the friggin’ blue, a director, with whom I had worked on two features a few years ago, offered me a role in his new one without needing to audition (actors love hearing that from directors) *SWOON!*. Of course I said yes (before I even finished reading the script – at this point, I trust him. I would totally let him guard my stash of chocolates). So, yay! Then I realized I had three weeks to get back into acting shape after fighting some stubborn cold/throat bug for about 15 days AND memorize a shitload of dialogue for way more scenes than I had anticipated. Be careful what you wish for!



Well then, excuse me…I gots some memorizing to do!

Toodles! Thanks for stopping by and reading! :D

Witches and Ghosts…

(…seems an appropriate enough blog title, with Halloween right around the corner!)

First, there are witches…

Last week it finally happened, after months of preparation for the costume, FX planning, character study and german translations, the ‘Stitch Witch’ came to life! William Wall of Metro City Films is the mastermind behind the full length fantasy/adventure feature ‘The Immortal Edward Lumley‘ and I can’t wait to show you more very soon. The movie is in the homestretch and from what I’ve seen, it’s gonna be ah..maze…ing!!!

In the meantime I CAN show you a few pics from the preparation and makeup session (which was about 2-3 hours). William was also so kind to provide me with the first still shot from my scene.

Not knowing how my skin would react to rigid collodion, we first tested it out on my forearm, before putting it on my face. So far so good!

Almost done with the makeup and FX (by the amazing Francia Sears Cohen). Ain’t I purdy?


I had so much fun playing this role and I believe (hope) you’ll get a kick out of it too! All I can say, without giving away anything, is…she has personality issues; and I think it’s no wonder she spends a lot of time alone, heh.


The witching hour is here! Still shot from ‘The Immortal Edward Lumley’.

I will keep you posted about the progress. As soon as there is a new teaser or trailer available, hopefully within the next month, I will post it in a new blog!


….and then there are ghosts:

I’m also very excited to announce that I’ve been cast as paranormal investigator Marina Hoffman in the horror feature ‘Ghostline‘, by Dean Whitney (dir. of ‘The Body Bag‘). As part of the preparation and research for my character, I will be tagging along a real ‘ghost hunt’ with ‘The San Diego Ghost Hunters’… *gulp* I’m stoked and terrified at the same time!

Make sure you ‘Like’ the Facebook page for ‘Ghostline’ here to get updates and find out about contests & prizes! You can also follow on Twitter under @GhostlineMovie.

The movie is currently in pre-production and filming is scheduled to start in the spring of 2013.


I love Halloween season.

Being in film projects that are genre-related only adds the cherry on top! Have a creepy, crawly HALLOWEEN everybody!