Filmmaking is for the Spontaneous and Courageous (AKA My Acting Debut)

A few weeks ago, writer/director Rodney Smith was out in NYC on a snowy night engaging in what he called "spontaneous acts of cinema." He texted me and asked if I wanted to join in and, yeah, I did! I met Rodney and actor Daryl Ray Carliles in Union Square ready to run around town and help Rodney shoot... well, actually, I had no idea what he was looking to shoot, but NYC at night with a camera sounded too fun to pass up.


When I arrived, I learned that Rodney wanted to shoot a 1-minute minisode for DOMINION, his upcoming webseries. The only problem was, while he had a script and an actor, he was short an actress. Yep, you see where this is heading - he asked this writer, soon-to-be director, to work on the other side of the camera.

My first thought was, "no way!" My second thought: Am I really such a wuss? My third thought: Damn, I wish I'd brought makeup.

In all of a minute, I decided to be brave and put the success of the shoot ahead of my fear of being on camera. I let down my hair, literally and figuratively, and took Rodney's direction plus Daryl's encouragement and went for it.

It ended up being a great night. We shot in Union Square Park, and then on a subway platform and in a subway car. It was all shot guerilla-style, just the three of us and a camera, and it was huge amounts of fun.

What I thought would be a lesson in acting turned out to be a lesson in what it means to be a filmmaker. Filmmaking is for the spontaneous and courageous, and when I was asked to leave my comfort zone for the benefit of the shoot, I'm proud I can look back and see that when I had to choose whether to step in front of that camera or not, my hunger for movie-making crushed my fear.

And now, without further ado, my acting debut:

Gearing Up for the New Year!

I've set some lofty professional goals for myself for 2011, a few of which I've been quite public about: Taking an improv comedy class, writing and directing a short film, and writing a feature-length comedy script. I want to achieve these goals so badly that saying them out loud to friends and family, basically, putting my butt on the line, is the way I've decided to keep myself honest and push through the inevitable scary days and insecure moments to come.

I plan to share my experience as a writer taking an improv class (yikes!), a writer directing her first short film (double yikes!) and a writer tackling a comedy feature film script (I can actually envision this one but it's still terrifying). To keep friends, family and colleagues in the loop, I've just added an email signup to this site for a monthly newsletter that will get rolling in the new year. I'll include a round-up of projects I'm working on, classes I'm taking (and feedback on those classes), new blog posts I've written and events that are worth keeping on the radar.

But I don't want to get so self-focused that I lose track of how I've gathered up the courage to set these crazy goals and pronounce them to the world. I'm taking this leap because in the last year I have developed a network of the some of the most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers and artists – people who are as supportive of others as they are talented themselves. I want to spread the word about their projects and events as well. Therefore, in each monthly newsletter, and on a new page coming to this site, I will highlight the work of one of my newsletter subscribers, giving everyone a chance to discover someone new or catch up with the latest work from someone they already admire.

I don't know yet how I'll make these selections. Perhaps a dart board or being open to bribes of chocolate and liquor but I'll work to feature a variety of artists and film professionals, people I already know and love, and people I have yet to discover myself.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, please sign up for my newsletter and join me for another year in this filmmaking adventure.

Cheers to a joyous, successful and prosperous(!) 2011!!