Episode Fifty-Four: The Business of Acting Part 1

September 29, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

Being an actor in Hollywood requires strategic planning as far as marketing and branding yourself and Rachel Lien and Bryan McClure have been busy doing just that. They both moved to Los Angeles from Omaha, Nebraska a little more than a year ago after co-staring in the independent film April Showers and have already landed some notable auditions and the attention of various casting directors and agents. We also welcome back Jenna Edwards fresh off the road from her midwest journey to hear about what’s going on at Mattoid Entertainment.

Jenna Edwards- Producer

Jenna Edwards began her film career in Minnesota where she was signed on as talent with Easter Hailey. Quickly after being signed Edwards was hired by the agency as a full time employee giving her a head-start on her Hollywood education. After two years of rising through the Minnesota film community Edwards made the move to Los Angeles.

Soon after Edwards moved to Los Angeles she was hired by Agent Jamie Ferrar. It was while Edwards was working for Ferrar that she developed an interest in the casting process, before long she had moved from talent agencies to working in casting with such industry leaders as Sally Steiner (Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World), Barbie Block (Jonas, Pepper Dennis) and Allison Jones (Super Bad, The Office). During this time Edwards was also able to gain valuable production experience working on shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Malcolm in the Middle, and working with studios like Disney, MTV, FOX and CBS.

After several years of successfully navigating her career through the Hollywood studio system Edwards made the leap to independent film with her first feature April Showers. After her success with April Showers Edwards formed Mattoid Entertainment with partners Jeremy McGovern and Andrew Robinson where they made, In the Darkness,  the first narrative feature to ever premiere on Hulu.com.  Most recently Edwards made her way back to Nebraska, where she shot April Showers, to team up with some new filmmakers on a comedy film called Trunk’d.

Mattoid Entertainment’s Website
Mattoid on Facebook

Rachel Lien- Actor

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – Rachel’s desire to perform became apparent before the age of eight.  She soon began acting, singing and dancing on the same stage where such legends as Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda began their careers – the nationally renowned Omaha Community Playhouse. By the age of 12, Lien was garnering praise from theater critics and audiences alike. Roles in The Miracle Worker, Gypsy, and Annie Get Your Gun would earn her the Theater Arts Guild Award for Best Youth Actress, and the prestigious Mary Peckham Award for her stunning portrayal of Helen Keller.

Although aptly described as “a bubbly ingénue who can sing and dance up a storm”, Lien’s dramatic talents began to emerge on screen as well.  Appearing alongside other rapidly rising young actors such as Kelly Blatz and Daryl Sabara in the film “April Showers” (also starring Tom Arnold and Illeana Douglas), Lien’s depiction of Jessica earned high praise from director Andrew Robinson who described her as “One of the best raw talents I’ve come across in a long time.”  Her role in “Ticket Out”, starring Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Charlie St. Cloud) and Billy Burke (Twilight, New Moon), will further reveal her range of talent as the rifle-toting, orthodontia-challenged drugstore employee, Ellen.

With a year to go at the University of Nebraska – the urge to head to Hollywood was too great.  Armed with a trunk-load of talent, along with a sparkling, fresh and determined spirit, Rachel Lien recently arrived in Hollywood. She is presently working on Young and The Restless in a recurring spot, and is decidedly on track to become one of our next great American actresses.

Rachel Lien’s Reel
Rachel’s Twitter Page

Bryan McClure- Actor

Ever since he was young, Bryan has been interested in the arts.  He has studied many different art-forms over the years from studio art and graphic design, to acting. Bryan received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Creighton University in Graphic Design and now has his web business called Momentum Creative Studios.  His acting studies began at The Omaha Community Playhouse, where Marlon Brando began his studies. Bryan was heavily involved in the The Nebraska Film Group and film community in Omaha, Nebraska prior to relocating to Hollywood. In addition to working with Tom Arnold in Andrew Robinson’s film, April Showers, Bryan’s other notable credits include Lucky starring Colin Hanks, Easy to Assemble with Illeana Douglas, and The Scientist with Adam LeFevre and Bill Sage.

Recently, Bryan was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the 168 Hour Film Festival for his performance as Marko in the movie Bountiful. Additionally, he worked his way to the final audition (a Network test) for Nickelodeon’s new Power Rangers. He is currently studying the Meisner acting technique at the William Alderson Acting Studio in Hollywood.

Bryan McClure on IMDB
Momentum Creative Studios- web design
Bryan’s Personal Website
Bryan’s Twitter Page

The Slash Phenomenon

April 21, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under news

April 21, 2010

For my first official Film Method blog post I thought I’d write about something very near and dear to me. It’s what I refer to as the “slash” phenomenon. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve read about it. Maybe this is you. I recently worked on a film that was produced by two actors. The two actors also happened to be the producers of the film and one of the actors was also the writer and director. He was the actor/director/writer/producer. That would be 3 slashes and 4 titles in case you’re counting.

I’m not sure exactly what makes people say, “I’ve never directed anything before, so I’m going to start by directing something that I’m also starring in”. Why does this make sense to people? Many times I wonder if these people who have suddenly decided to take the huge leap into the world of directing have been on set in any capacity other than as an actor. Have they ever been a producer, an A.D., a grip, or, god forbid, a P.A.?? I have to say that I’ve learned more about filmmaking as a P.A. then I believe I ever would in any other position with the exception of producer and maybe 1st A.D. This is because you see how every department works and you interact with every department.

Being a film director requires so much more than many of these new directors seem to take into account and this is reflected in the extremely inefficient way the set is run. Planning the shot list with the DP is just the tip of the iceberg. You will also need to work with all the department heads to ensure that everything that’s in frame will fit with the look of the film (art dept, make-up, hair, costumes, props, etc). Have you or your DP done any storyboards? Do you know anything about lighting (you might want to learn in case your DP doesn’t)? All of these things must be considered in addition to knowing how to get the performances you need out of your actors. If one of those actors happens to be you then how do you know you are getting the performance you need from yourself? Are you going to depend on your DP to give you performance notes or will you just rely on camera playback? Have you figured that into the planning? I hope so, or you most definitely will not make your day or any day in your schedule.

Something else I notice when watching these very new directors direct is a behavior pattern that is quite disconcerting. It seems that the less experience they have, the more needy and entitled they act. They are more demanding and less concerned about respecting the crew’s time. This is quite an insult considering that these are normally very low-budget films where most crew-members are working way below scale.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that it can’t be done it’s just rare that it can be done well, especially at this level of filmmaking where everyone is generally very green. I’ve listened to new directors talk about their reasoning behind why they feel that they are the best person for the job and honestly it’s pretty frightening. They’ve written a script and they haven’t been able to find anyone to direct it that will understand their vision. Translation: I can’t find anyone that I will be able to manipulate into doing exactly what I say. If that’s the case, then you’re right, you don’t need a director, you need a P.A. Film is a collaborative art, but you wouldn’t know it from working with some of the people that I’ve worked with lately. If the vision and scope of your story can’t be correctly communicated or translated to another director, then maybe it’s not a story worth telling. If you can’t convince one other person to believe in your vision, how are you going to convince a room full of people at your first screening?

The title of director is a prestigious one, but one, nonetheless, that comes with a heap of responsibilities. Are you ready for the challenge to direct/produce/star/write? If so then I hope you’re ready for the ride of your life. Oh and remember, a little respect goes a long way when it comes to how you treat your crew, so does a good pancake breakfast.

Soonami Productions