Local Independent Film Spotlight: David Walsh

It is great to have you back for another installment of “Local Independent Film Spotlight” (LIFS). This week I am pleased to present David Walsh.

I was very impressed with David the first time I witnessed him in action at the table read, led by filmmaker Eulonda Kay Lea, for her impending feature film. I had read the script ahead of the event, and David matched the lead character impeccably, as he brought it to life. When I met the affable gentleman following the reading performances, I said to myself; “That David Walsh is going to be a headliner someday”.

Read on to get to know David, and you will see what I mean. I can already guess, that you wouldn’t be able to help being swept up by his self-possessed charm and talent, not to mention learn a great deal from his experiences.

David, how are you doing – having a busy acting life?

I am well, not terribly busy on the acting front, but am in the process of launching a career doing voiceovers.

Voiceovers huh? That’s a special sort of performance in itself. How long have you been acting professionally?

Well there was about a 10 year gap that I wasn’t acting at all—just had a demanding day job that didn’t allow me the luxury. But I would say I have spent 10-15 years doing stage work, both paid and unpaid, professional and ‘non-professional’.

What inspired you to get involved with this craft?

I think it was a combination of a few things: 1) an affinity for foreign languages and cultures, resulting in a curiosity about people in general; 2) a love of films; 3) I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t want to know what it was like to “walk in someone else’s shoes”.

Where did you secure your performance training?

I took a few acting classes in college and then just started doing theater, whether it was paid or not. Work is work, experience is experience, and that’s the best training you can get. I would also say that doing as much Improv work as possible really helps free me as an artist and helps build confidence.

I agree! Nothing compares to “hands-on” training. Please fill us in a bit on your resume. 

Most of my experience has been on stage. I’ve done a lot of character parts and supporting roles, a fair amount of Shakespeare, some chorus work in musicals ( not a triple threat here, but can carry a tune, I guess ;-)) Love to do ensemble work and am a big supporter of “the supporting actor”, as I feel they have less of the script to rely on in developing character.

What is the most memorable performance of your career?

I think that’s a toss up between a comic role I had many years ago on stage as Leon in “The Wake of Jamey Foster” and a role that I performed last year in a reading of a dramedy screenplay by a local screenwriter.

Do you have a future dream role that you desire to get the part for?

That role I mentioned for the dramedy screenplay—I just feel I empathized, understood and loved the character, even though on the surface we aren’t that similar.

What is it about the local, DMV independent film industry that you absolutely love, and applaud?

I think that although that market had grown in this area, it is still fairly friendly and not cut-throat. I think more and more people are participating and this ultimately only be a good thing as far as diversity of cultures and viewpoints.

Do you have any criticism about the local film industry? Where is there room for improvement?

I think that whatever red tape can be eliminated and incentives given to production companies, while maintaining the security that many landmarks require should be encouraged.

If you had the opportunity to pack your bags today, and fulfill your acting career, for the remainder of your life without any gaps, in Hollywood, would you leave this area?

Well I’ve been in DC for half my life and have established community here. That said I am not ‘married’ to DC and would consider all options if such an opportunity arose.

Do you have a specific genre of film that you enjoy acting in the most? Comedy? Suspense? Horror? Romance? Other?

I think my favorite genre would be comedy, but good comedies are hard to come by and sometimes I feel I have the right timing, and sometimes I’m off.

What acting performance are you gearing up for these days?

I have an audition on Tuesday for a group that will be doing performances in various media—on film, voice overs, and stage.

Do you enjoy writing, and developing projects as well? If so, are you currently working on one?

I do dabble a bit, procrastinate a bit and pick up the laptop again. I have both a comedy and a dramedy love story I am working on.

What advice would you give someone just starting out as an actor in the DMV area, and has big hopes and dreams to make a name for themselves.

I would say to join The Actors Center, Women in Film and Video (not just for women!) and join any open Facebook group for actors/filmmakers that you can. To take whatever work you feel would be worth your time—paid or not. Take as many classes as you can, particularly Improv. One can never learn enough.

As we draw near to Oscar night on February 22nd, do you have a favorite film, and actors whom you are rooting for?

Of the nominated films I’ve seen, so far I really loved “The Grand Budapest Hotel”—it was my kind of quirky, and ‘everyone’ one was in it. I also loved “Birdman” and the way it was directed—Keaton and Emma Stone, and Edward Norton were great. I haven’t seen “Still Alice” yet but Julianne Moore deserves an Oscar in general. If Patricia Arquette were not in the supporting actress category, I would give the award to (Meryl) Streep for “Into the Woods”—there’s virtually nothing she can’t do.

Please describe yourself in 3 words.

Sensitive, Curious, Funny

How can readers connect with you, and keep up with your wonderful accomplishments?

As of now, Facebook, but will be relaunching my website soon.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me David. I’ve always enjoyed working with you. Any final words?

Thank you, Diane! Keep fighting the good fight and always use your creative side!

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Local Independent Film Spotlight: Alicia Beth Dawson

When I met this week’s Local Independent Film Spotlight (LIFS) candidate, Alicia Beth Dawson was reading lines with actors who were auditioning for Jason Baustin’s crime-drama “City of Lost Souls” – which I also assisted on. Little did I know then that Alicia’s talents did not stop at acting. While working on the film, Alicia was also professionally beautifying our actors with make-up. As we got to know each other further, I learned that she was also a qualified hair stylist, and had screenwriting projects in the works.

Clearly I was fascinated, and impressed. I later got an opportunity to work with Alicia on one of her short film projects, directed by her acting coach, and mentor, Manuel Poblete. It was ridiculously funny, and intelligent…but I won’t give it all away now. Read on to learn about this interesting lady, and her diverse range of skills in the independent film industry.

Who is Alicia Beth Dawson in a nutshell?

In a nutshell…a complete nut! a complete control freak! a definite workaholic!

Whoa! I can imagine. Hairstylist, Make-Up artist, Actor, Writer, you are a quadruple threat in the film production world. With respect to your goals what is your chief focus, of those disciplines, right now?

Right now my chief focus is being a mom, I have a 5 year old son. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding. Hair is my main focus in the quadruple threat right now. I’m a veteran in the industry and I’ve loved every minute of it. My clients have been very supportive of all my other projects. I even run new movie ideas by them, they all volunteer to be in them! lol.

Alicia, that is very interesting, and cool! I enjoyed working with you on the short film, “Just Listen”, which you wrote, produced, and held the lead role. However,  you’ve also written an outrageously hilarious feature with Manuel Pobelte. Tell us about that.

“Just Listen” came about from a conversation I had with my parents. In my casting notices, an audition came through for “Orange is the New Black”, I’m a huge fan, so I wanted to submit for it. I was talking to my mom about it, telling her that I would have to be naked if I got the part. My mother begged me not to tell my father, as he walked in, and the rest turned into “Just Listen”.
Manuel and I have written a hysterical feature length movie that is centered around 5 friends who get themselves into tons of crazy situations…want to say more but I won’t, for now. 😉

Ok, can you at least tell us what your plans are for getting the feature produced?

My plans for getting the film produced… beg! lol. I’m hoping the story and script will draw tons of investors. Manuel already has people interested in the film just by telling them about it. I can’t wait!!!

Sounds good! What are the long term goals for the project? Wide theater release? Straight to DVD? Otherwise?

My goals for the project?..Wow, umm…I would say theater release.

What are your thoughts on film festivals? Do you have interest in taking your on-screen work the film festival route, toward notoriety?

I love film festivals! There are are so many talented filmmakers. It’s a treat to be able to see just a hand full at a festival.
I definitely have an interest in producing on-screen work. As far as notoriety, I love this industry and I love entertaining, so if one person likes my movie then I did my job and I’m a happy girl.

Do you have a specific genre of film that you enjoy writing, and creating the most? Comedy? Horror? Romance?

I love movies, all movies. What is my favorite?..depends on my mood. My dream movie would be the one that I get to incorporate horror, comedy, and romance all in one.

Now that, I can’t wait to see! What passion project are you working on right now?

The passion project I’m working on right now, is one that combines horror, comedy, and romance! lol.
This project is actually the first complete story I wrote. I am also in the middle of a horror story about a hairstylist, it’s taking me a long time to write..I keep scaring myself 😉

That’s hilarious Alicia! What advice would you give someone who has diverse skills like yourself, and wants to break into the entertainment industry?

What advice would I give someone?..Oh my!..I am a complete control freak. I write the scripts, draw the story boards, do hair and makeup, produce the project, act in the movie, and laugh at myself everyday. The only way I can do all this and be Mom is having a positive attitude. I was once at a hair show in Las Vegas. While there, Robert Cromeans made a profound statement; ‘There are no mistakes in hair just discoveries’. I dropped the ‘hair’ and added ‘life.’ I apply it to everything. Of course some discoveries are easier than others, and some are less expensive, but you get the idea…lol.

That truly is inspirational. If you could live out the rest of your life just focusing on one of your gifts, which one would it be, and why?

One gift I would focus on would be writing. I started writing when I was 11, I was fortunate as a child to travel with my Nana. In the airport before our first trip she gave me a journal and said, “this is to write down all your stories from our trip, you can add pictures to it when we get them developed.” That journal became a gateway into my imagination. I have so many journals. I’m not a huge fan of writing on the computer. I would love to be able to sit and write all day.

I can definitely relate. With regards to the local film industry – In your opinion, do you believe that it can prosper outside of L.A. or New York?

I love local independent films. If the stories are good, the acting is strong, and the film has great quality, how could it not prosper. My wish would be for more people to watch independent films, and give them the credit they deserve.

As we seek to know you more Alicia, any final words?

Oh! I’m just getting started!

Alrighty then! Well how can we learn more from you, and stay abreast of all your creativity, and “power moves”?

If you’re in the Elkton, MD area, please feel free to stop by “Envy Spa and Salon” located at 707 north bridge st. Elkton, MD 21921, for a remarkable, and unforgettable hairstyling experience. You can also communicate, and stay abreast with me on Twitter (@aliciabdawson), and/or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aliciabeth.dawson?ref=ts&fref=ts)

Alicia, chatting with you has been fun! I don’t know how you do it all. We will delve further into that one day soon. In the interim, all the very best with achieving your goals. The good times, have only just begun. Go for the Gold!

Everyone, thanks again for checking in for another Local Independent Film Spotlight. Be sure to return next Wednesday to learn about another interesting and creative individual in our local film world.

Alicia Beth Dawson

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Local Independent Film Spotlight: Chad Eric Smith

Welcome back for another Local Independent Film Spotlight. Today I am elated to feature Chad Eric Smith. He is a talented, and brilliant local actor, as well as thrillingly imaginative story teller. After learning about, and viewing his recent short horror comedy film, “Dark Therapy”, I just had to learn more about Chad, and bring his story to you. You would understand what I mean after you’ve seen the witty “Dark Therapy”.

Stay tuned, and read on to learn more about the film, and its upcoming screening on Saturday, January 24th. I am confident that, like myself, Chad’s experiences, and drive will further inspire, and stir up your passion for theater and film.

Chad, how did you get involved with the world of acting, and filmmaking?

When I was 12, my Grandmother took me to the Arena Stage in Washington, DC to see my first play “Oak and Ivy,” which chronicled the loving but strained marriage of two early-20th-century poets, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. I left the theater mesmerized by the actors’ performances. I also left determined to perform at the Arena Stage one day. A little while later, my grandmother took me to New York City to see my first Broadway musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.” I was again awestruck. While in High School, I became a member of Children’s National Medical Center’s theater troupe, Teens Against the Spread of AIDS (TASA). It combined improvisational theater, poetry, and hip hop, to educate our peers, parents, and health professionals about important teen health concerns. All these experiences made me interested in acting once I got to college, and ultimately pursuing acting professionally.
After college, I performed in several short films and at many community theaters throughout the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area. I also was an extra in the big-budget Hollywood films “She’s Out of My League,” “I Am Number Four,” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” My first big role in a feature length film was as the mild-mannered and slightly socially awkward reporter Pete Henderson in the superhero comedy “Squid Man,” by writer/director Charlie Cline.

How long have you been acting?

I have been acting for a little over 10 years. I’ve been in a total of 18 stage plays, over a dozen independent films, a couple of web series, and a music video.

Wow! What bit you first; the acting bug, or writing and telling stories?

The acting bug bit me first. The first play I performed in was “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” by Steve Martin, during my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. The experience of performing in front of a live audience was exhilarating. So, I just kept doing it and loving it more and more. Writing and telling my own stories happened much later.

You have performed a wide range of characters. Your acting wheelhouse is pretty vast. Do you have a favorite character which you have acted? Please fill us in on your acting experiences.

In 2010, I enjoyed playing Walter Lee Younger in the Kuntu Repertory Theatre production of the musical “Raisin” and was awarded an Oynx Award for ‘Best Leading Actor in a Musical’ by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the African American Council on the Arts (AACTA). That same year, I also won an Oynx Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Musical’ for my role as Wilson Pickett in the New Horizon Theater production of “I Gotcha! The Story of Joe Tex and the Soul Clan.” Those two are a couple of my favorite stage roles because, on top of acting, they both challenged me to sing and dance, things that aren’t necessarily easy or comfortable for me. In film, my favorite, most gratifying role so far was as a mysterious drifter named Ahmad in the upcoming horror feature film “The Suffering,” by LA based filmmaker Rob Hamilton. It was by far my most physically demanding, complex film role. My character is a mix of charisma, madness, and danger. Check out the trailer at http://www.thesufferingfilm.com.

Fantastic! Well, let’s delve into your recent film, “Dark Therapy”, about a vampire with an irrational fear of blood, and seeks psychiatric help as a result. How was the idea for this short horror comedy conceived?

In the summer of 2013, I met local actress Devin Nikki Thomas at a table read for a script by filmmaker Harold Jackson III. Right away, she and I clicked. I thought she was funny. We had a very similar sense of humor and I was impressed by her quick-wit. So, we did what all strangers do right away: We became Facebook friends. We then decided to collaborate creatively. For me, it was an exciting and empowering opportunity to bring to life the type of quirky character I’m attracted to as an actor, and for Devin to be executive producer of her first film through her production company, Unitivity Productions, LLC.

You possess the main role of the Vampire, which was brilliantly performed. However, what was the writing process like? Did the ideas, and dialogue flow naturally, or were there instances of struggle?

Thank you! The idea and dialogue definitely came easy and a lot of it was improvised during filming. I knew right away that I wanted to create a cinematic-looking comedic skit with an improvisational flair, similar to Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” which I’m a big fan of. I’m also a big fan of Johnny Depp because of his knack for playing flamboyant, eccentric characters and I had recently seen him play a vampire in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows.” So, that was my initial inspiration. When I started brainstorming ideas for the first rough draft of the script, I first thought about a skit about 2 vampires who give up blood because they become Jehovah Witnesses. Then, the idea of a vampire with an extreme, irrational fear of blood popped in my head like a lightbulb and Devin was like, “I’m game.” I began writing it in November of 2013 and then sent it to Devin and she added to it.

Those are great places to find inspiration. How did you prepare for your role as the Vampire?

I named my vampire character “Erebus” because it is the name of the primordial deity who personifies darkness in Greek mythology. I liked the idea of his name representing something opposite of his harmless, apprehensive, and constantly mortified demeanor. I liked that juxtaposition and irony. I sent the script to Carl Randolph and Robert “Bob” Yoho Jr., who were the special effects/make-up artists for “The Suffering,” and they really liked it and came on board to help bring Erebus to life. Bob designed realistic-looking, custom-fit fangs for me and Carl did my make-up, nails, and gave me white eye contacts. Devin purchased my blousy shirt and lace front wig. Transforming into Erebus took a little over an hour in the make-up chair and really helped inform my mannerisms and voice.

In the film, it appears that the “fantasy world” collides with the “urban world”. Was this intentional?

Yes. Even the fact that my vampire character is wearing jeans in the film was a conscious choice to collide fantasy with urban. I remember seeing an interview by director John Singleton in which he said that when a filmmaker is very specific culturally, it becomes universal and special. Not to be all deep, but I really like the idea of universality being found within cultural specificity. So, I thought that having urban references, especially references that were very specific to the DMV, with a black vampire as a lead character, would be funny and relatable to many.

The role of the psychiatrist is played by Devin Nikki. She was a natural. What was the approach to this character in the planning stages?

Devin is great as Dr. Anne Rice! Her name is a nod to the popular author of the series of novels The Vampire Chronicles. Devin decided for her character to have a southern accent to make her character quirkier. She was also very meticulous about her character’s appearance, as well.

There is certainly comedy throughout the short, but the horror portion certainly does peek through, including a twist. It is a fair balance. How was this accomplished?

It was certainly a collaborative experience. The original script had a simple comedic ending. When Devin made edits to the script, she added a darker ending and I loved it. It accentuated another idea I was trying to present, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Omar Juarez (Bad/Splice), our awesome Director of Photography, also edited the film and did some cool color correction that really hit the nail on the head regarding my vision. He was assisted by Manuel Santos. My father, Jonathan Bey, is an Emmy award-winning producer and composed the film’s original score, making it sound simultaneously quirky and ominous. I told him to think of the music of composer Danny Elfman. Audio engineer Michael Balasia further enhanced the sound of the film and added a few really funny effects. The wonderful performances of actor Niko Tarlay and actress Honey St. Dennis definitely helped emphasize the comedic/horror balance, as well. Everyone really elevated the project superbly, in my opinion, especially considering that we shot the film in a single day.

The comedy film premiered at the West End Cinema in Washington, DC, in October 2014, and later went on to receive awards for the film work, and acting performances. Please tell us a little more about that.

Yes, it premiered at the West End Cinema as part of the 2014 Reel Independent Film Extravaganza. It was a thrilling experience and the audience loved it! There was lots of hearty laughter. The following month, at the National Press Club, the Television, Internet & Video Association of DC (TIVA-DC) awarded Unitivity Productions, LLC a Bronze Peer Award in the “Independent Short” category for “Dark Therapy” and awarded me the Gold Peer Award in the “Acting on Camera – Fiction Male” category. It was a very exciting and gratifying night!

“Dark Therapy” will also be featured at this Saturday’s (January 24th) Rosebud Film & Video Festival, at the Artisphere in Arlington, VA. What is the significance of that for you?

I’m just really happy that it’s continuing to be accepted into film festivals so that people can see it on the big screen. In fact, on that same evening, it will also screen at the Indie Night Film Festival at the world famous TCL Chinese Theatre on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame! I’ll be flying to LA, for the first time, to participate.

How can fans, and avid movie-goers get tickets to attend this weekend’s screening?

Folks in the DMV area can purchase their tickets for the Rosebud Film & Video Festival at https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/rosebud. Ticket’s are $10. If they are in the L.A. area, they can RSVP for the Indie Night Film Festival at http://www.indienightfilmfestival.com/event/3-3/.

What are the extend of your plans for “Dark Therapy”, moving forward?

We have submitted “Dark Therapy” to several film festivals all over the world and expect to get responses throughout the remainder of the year.

In your opinion, what is the forecast for the Independent Film climate in the DMV area? We’re not L.A., New York or even Toronto but do you think that the independent film industry can thrive locally?

Yes, I think the independent film industry can thrive in the DMV. There certainly are lots of talented people in the area. As a DC native, I would like to see more and more filmmakers and producers capturing the images of the diversity and historic landmarks that make the city so great. I do think, though, that DC officials need to do a better job at creating economic incentives to attract more film and TV production companies. From the things I read and hear about, I feel there’s too many jurisdictional and bureaucratic hurdles in DC, which dissuade filmmakers. That in return makes it more challenging for local actors to find high quality, paid gigs to audition for. That’s also part of the reason Devin and I decided to produce our own project.

What advice would you give to budding actors, and storytellers in this area, seeking to recognize their dream of performing and filmmaking?

I would tell actors to be selective about the type of work they choose to be part of. Don’t compromise your personal integrity just so you can add a credit to your resume. Being an actor is as much about your brand as it is about the craft. And your brand is made up of both what you choose to do and what you choose not to do. I recently saw an interview with actor David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma,” and he said something that really resonated with me. He said, “You erode your talent by being in things that are lesser than your talent. You are only as good as what you subject yourself to by way of the material, the people you work with, and the parts you accept.”
I, also, definitely recommend doing theatre. I believe theatre is the best training an actor can receive because it truly is the actor’s medium. It’s where the actor has the most say as to how he or she portrays the character he or she has been entrusted with. Plus, the energy one receives from a live audience is an amazing feeling. If you are a film actor, arrive on set on time, know your lines, listen and react to your scene partner, and be cognizant of continuity so the editor will love you. With regards to technique, well, as the late, great comic George Burns once said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Priceless advice! So what’s next for Chad Eric Smith?

My upcoming roles include me as a restaurateur in the feature length romance “Last Night,” by writer/director Harold Jackson III, a distraught artist in the feature length drama “Secret City Bluz” by writer/director Ambessa Jir Berhe, and a werewolf suffering with alopecia in the feature length comedy “Zombie Ted,” by writer/director Anne Wells. I’m also currently writing a new original comedic screenplay.

How can we stay abreast with your actor, and filmmaking work?

The best way to keep updated on what I’m doing is by “Liking” my Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/ActorChadEricSmith. People can also follow me on Twitter @ChadEricSmith and Instagram @Chad_Eric_Smith. In addition to being an actor, I’m also a musician. Some of my music can be heard on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/chad-eric-smith.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Chad! I would like to wish you much success with “Dark Therapy”, and all your future endeavors. Again, your story is inspiring. I am convinced that the your limitless imagination, and purposeful drive will transport you to your goals, and even further.

To everyone, I highly recommend securing your tickets for this Saturday’s screening of “Dark Therapy”. It is a entertaining treat!
To reiterate: Tickets for the Rosebud Film & Video Festival at https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/rosebud. Ticket’s are $10. If they are in the L.A. area, they can RSVP for the Indie Night Film Festival at http:/www.indienightfilmfestival.com/event/3-3/. 

Chad Eric Smith

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Dark Therapy Poster

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Local Independent Film Spotlight: Lauren Cash

Welcome to the new Local Independent Film Spotlight. Each Humpday, aka Wednesday, Ladydewriter will feature the interesting personalities which make up the Local Independent Film industry in the DMV.

Today, I am tremendously pleased to introduce Lauren Cash. I first met Lauren at an acting workshop, at Bello Talent Management, in Takoma Park, Maryland which I was assisting with. Since then I’ve admired how she’s made inroads toward accomplishing her goals as an actress, and real player in the independent film world.

Follow my conversation with Lauren below:

Lauren, where are you originally from? 

Originally, I am from Maryland which is where I currently reside today.

What got you interested in acting…where did the inspiration come from? 

I got the role of Dorothy in a summer camp play and I just kind of fell in love with the craft of entertaining. It was so fun and just a great way to interact with other people, the whole experience just really inspired me.

How long have you been acting professionally? 

I have been acting for about 5 years now. This is my first time I can fully say that I have a better chance to ‘go for it’ in a long time since I graduated from Howard University last year. I have proudly put a lot of time into school and I believe education is important.

Did you receive formal acting training? If so, where from?

When I went into acting seriously, it was during college and I didn’t really have any formal training, aside from improvisation groups when I was younger. College is where I started taking classes within Howard University’s Theatre Department, such as Creative Drama. Now I have completed scriptwriting and media production classes via the Communications Department at HU. Currently, Manuel Poblete assists me in acting training within his company, Bello Talent. I am in the works of receiving training from John Pallotta as well.

What are your ultimate goals or aspirations within the world of acting? 

My ultimate goals in the world of acting would be to get recognition and use my talents for the greater good. It would be nice to be able to use my name to further promote campaigns that mean something such as anti-bullying or domestic abuse. Overall, I want to be able to help and communicate with many people.

What roles have you done in the past? 

I’ve played Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ a Hispanic bartender, cocktail waitress, assassin, hotel clerk, car buyer, and the girl next door. I’ve also played a drunken girl for a play titled Abandoned as well as the lead in music videos by artists Pro’ Verb and Heron Gibran.

Which one was your favorite role? 

All of these roles were so much fun to play, especially an assassin where I got to hold a prop gun and feel super bad ass! However, my favorite role would have to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz because of that initial feeling of being bitten by the infamous acting bug.

What are you currently working on? 

Currently I am working on my acting skills, and gathering opportunities – through classes and networking events – as well as writing my own script. We also just wrapped up shooting for that cool, assassin role, for the film Self Control which was a lot of fun! I will be headed to New York for the upcoming Manhattan Monologue Slam as well, which then turns into a networking event. Can’t wait!

Tell us more about the script you’re writing. Are you looking forward to producing your own film?

I think it’s always been in me to be a writer and I would love to produce my own film (aside from the 3 minute short that I wrote and produced for my media production class).

Growing up, I always loved to write. My friends and I used to bring a book to school and write in a story, passing it along to the next friend to read the new part and continue the story with our own style. You never knew what the person before you was going to write, but we did this for a long time throughout middle school. It was refreshing and an experience that would be too cool not too remember. As for the book… we didn’t always write during the most appropriate times in school. Definitely a great experience.

So what current personal project idea are you working on?

I have a project in mind but I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my personal work so I have been grooming this script for two years. It is a drama with a suspense feel to it, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

What advice do you have for someone longing to, but doesn’t know how to break into acting in this area? 

I would tell that person to get great headshots because that is the first thing that these casting agencies see when you submit for a role. There are sites also, such as Dragonuk and Pat Moran & Associates which is a great start. Also, don’t be too good to take on an extra role just to see how film shoots are run on a highly, professional level. The hours can be long but it is a great start to get the feel of it all! It is also a great time to network with the fellow actors and sometimes even the production crew!

Rejection is also going to come but it is important to pick your head up and keep it moving. Sometimes we are our worst critics. It is important to work on your craft and find ways to improve because no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement. If you don’t work on your craft, then chances are rejection may know you more than you want it to.

Keep focused, Have confidence and the rest is history!

Thank you Lauren! This is fabulous advice.

I am grateful to Lauren for talking with me this week. Her story is certainly interesting, and I can’t wait to see her grow further. The sky is the limit for Lauren as she strives to use her talent to give back to the community. Cheers Lauren!

Tune in next Wednesday as Ladydewriter highlights another fabulous personality in the local independent film industry.

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Discovery Channel new boss says no more giant snakes and megalodons

Oh my! What a position to take.
What else identifies the Discovery Channel most distinctly from other networks? Did I miss something? Has the popularity of Shark Week declined?
If I were this new Discovery Channel boss, I would be careful about how I re-invent the channel. It has stood out independently, and made a significant mark on the television industry. Still change is good. However, I beg to advise “New Boss”; tread judiciously.

‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ Will Premiere Tuesday, Sept. 8

It’s a new era for Late Night. First Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Myers, and now Stephen Colbert. It’s the changing of the guards, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I was already completely gung-ho for Jimmy Fallon when he reigned the 12:30am time slot, and I could not be more elated that fresh blood is now also being interjected into CBS.
Kudos, and high praise to David Letterman for all that he’s accomplished over the years, but this change is certainly welcomed. The only down side is that my dear sweet Jimmy Fallon will have some competition, but I am confident that he is up to it.
Welcome to 11:30pm Stephen Colbert!

‘People’s Choice Awards 2015’ Announces Attendees And Performances

Here’s your chance to have a vote People! Whose performance stimulated you the most? Whose talent, or program’s story do you think deserves an award? It’s all about us; The People. Check out all that is ahead for the 2015 People’s Choice Awards, and Have Your Vote!

Obama Slips Up On James Franco’s Name, Calls Him James Flacco

President Obama officially chimes in on the Sony Hack debacle, and commits the ultimate epic fail for avid movie, and James Franco fans like myself.
Hilarious, or just simply a no-no? What do you think?

Life Passages X – New Places

Madeleine slowly gazes at the entire quaint book store with intense curiousity. “Um, Did we travel to another time zone, or what?” Madeleine thought to herself as she concentrated on every graphic novel, with weathered covers, and every antiquated, and used book, and dated magazines.

“Earth calling Maddy, come in Maddy!” Devon says while waving his hands in front of Madeleine’s face.

“Uh?” The startled Madeleine quickly utters.

“You’re back from outer space?” Devon asks in a jovial tone.

Madeleine smiles “Haha. Funny!” She replies. “Where did you find this place?” She asks Devon as she gave the shop another full look over.

“Well Mads…Is it cool if I call you Mads?” Devon asks with a smirk.

“Um…sure.” Madeleine replies eagerly awaiting the rest of his story.

“Cool! This is actually my grandfather’s store.” Devon begins to explain. He’s been collecting graphic novels for a very long time, illustrating and writing them too.”

Madeleine’s eyes opens widely. “You’re telling me that your grandfather is famous?”

“Ahhh, I didn’t say that.” Devon quickly interjects. “He’s always been an artist, and worked for a well known company to help publish kids books for some time, but always wanted his own shop.”

“Wow! This is…this is something.” Madeleine responds.

“Right? Hey, Come meet my Grandad.” Devon says quickly, then grabs Madeleine’s hand to lead her over to meet his Grandfather.

“Hey Grandad!” Devon greets his grandfather who is arranging comic book memorabilia behind the cash register.

“Hey, hey, hey there little Devon.” Devon’s grandfather, Solomon replies, while greeting his grandson with a huge smile and warm hug. Looking up from his embrace, Solomon notices Madeleine. “So who’s this?” He asks Devon.

“Oh! Grandad, this is Madeleine.” Devon introduces her with broad arm strokes resembling a game show assistant.

“Hello Madeleine.” Solomon says as he draws closer to her. “You’re one of Devon’s school friends?”

“Yes sir!” She begins “Well, we go to the same school, but we just met.” She continues.

Solomon chuckles. “Ok. So you’re new friends then.” He announces. “What are you kids up to, today?”

“I wanted to get Mads into some exciting novels Grandad. The ones at the school library have got nothing on these.” Devon proclaims.

Solomon lets out an enormous laugh. “Well let’s see what we can find to satisfy the lady.” He utters, as he gestures Madeleine, and Devon to follow him.

Madeleine continues to gaze around the store in amazement. “I didn’t know a place like this existed!” She thought. “I can certainly get lost in a place like this.”

“So here’s the retro Sci-Fi, Fantasy section…” Solomon interrupts Madeleine’s thoughts. Solomon pauses, smiles, and looks directly at Madeleine. “Madeleine are you with us?”

“Yes sir!” Madeleine quickly replies.

Madeleine continues the tour with Solomon, and Devon fully engaged with Solomon’s stories, including offering up questions of her own.

“Mr. Solomon, so uh, Can I come here everyday after school?” Madeleine asks shyly.

Devon jumped right in; “Everyday?…What, are you a rich kid or something?”

“Oh hush now Devon!” Solomon immediately responds to his grandson. “It’s none of your business what she does, and when!”

Devon retreats, while Solomon encourages Madeleine. “Feel free to visit me here anytime young lady!” He says to the slightly shaken young woman, who took some offense to Devon’s words.
“You can come by, and just read if you like.” Solomon continued. “You don’t have to buy something. Devon is just jealous anyway. Basketball practice takes up most of his week, but he wishes he could consume books everyday.”

Madeleine nods, and puts out her hand to shake Solomon’s. “Thank you very much Mr. Solomon, but I have on intention of being a freeloader.”
After a firm handshake, Madeleine stares at Solomon, and continues. “Thanks for everything. I will be back”. She then walks toward the door as though Devon doesn’t exist.

Devon looks at his Grandfather puzzled. “Go after her Junior. What’s wrong with you?”

Devon staggers for a second then runs out after Madeleine.

To be continued…

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Life Passages IX – Common Interest

Like studying a book, Madeleine takes every opportunity to observe Devon all while searching for some new and exciting literature in the science fiction section of the school library.

“Hmmm…” Madeleine thought to herself. “He’s a cool jock who’s hiding out in the library, and he even seems nice…What’s he’s story?”

“Found something?” Devon interrupts Madeleine whom he notices clenching a book and gazing in his direction.

“What?…Huh?” Madeleine looks down at the book in her hand. “Um, well it’s…a consideration” She finally manages to say with slight embarrassment.

“Which one is that?” Devon asks as he jumps to his feet and saunters toward Madeleine. He puts his hand out, gesturing for her to pass the book over.

Madeleine awkwardly releases the book she had casually selected. “Oh…ok. Sure.”

“Ah, this one is okay but if you like I can recommend a really good series?” Then he paused. “But it may be a bit heavy if you’re just getting into this stuff.”

“What is it?!” Madeleine asked excitedly. “I’m up for the challenge. I’m all for getting lost in books right now.” Her voice lowers, as though having a side conversation with herself “Clearly, I have no life!”

“What’s that?” Devon looks at Madeleine with a puzzled expression.

Madeleine focuses on Devon again. Her eyes light up. “So what’s this book series?”

Devon laughs softly. “Are you sure you’re ready?” He asks.

“I was born ready!” Madeleine responds with a tone she perceives as a “tough guy” from the movies.

Devon laughs out loud. Madeleine joins in with him until they are hushed by other library patrons.

They look at each other and continue giggling softly

“Let’s get out of here!” Devon eventually says, in a whisper.

“What?…” Madeleine responds

“You didn’t think ‘the best book series’ ever would be in this excuse for a library did you?” Devon interjected immediately.

“Um…I guess not.” Madeleine replied “Ok, let’s do it!”

Devon drops his books and the pair leave the library, just as the end-of-school bell rings, almost in a jog.

To be continued…

 

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