Thursday, 21 July 2016

Made it to the Quarter-Finals!

This was a pleasant surprise in my in-box this evening (July 21). Made it to the 2016 Quarter Finals!

Stage 32 Happy Writers 2nd Annual Feature Screenplay Contest Quarter-Finalists Announced

By Stage 32 Staff - Julie

Friday, 15 July 2016

Seems I've been 'acting up!'

Whew! Didn't realize it had been so long since I posted on this blog. Time flies when you're acting!

Over the last 18 months, I've appeared in quite a few productions and, along with that activity, toured or visited a  diverse array of real estate in going to auditions or reporting to the set!

Reasonably well-lit hallway

Sometimes, these buildings are in isolated or remote spots. Or, located in former industrial properties where I end up wandering the spooky corridors, trying to find the exact room. Usually, I meet fellow actors on the same sort of quest. Or, someone who already found the right spot and is just leaving  their audition.

I've added a couple of examples - although these were fairly safe-looking places - to show what I mean. One was in Kitchener-Waterloo, the other in the far reaches of what locals call Scarberia (in reality, Scarborough, which is part of Toronto.)

Tenantless office building

Wild and lonesome places!

Of course, what is more interesting are the shoots I've taken part in. It's probably easiest to do this in reverse order. I played Dina Welles in the futuristic/sci-fi feature 'Transmission'... A female party-goer in 'Women Not Permitted'... the mother of a woman dying mysteriously in 'Fragile'... another mother in 'Poet Professor', which was also a feature film... and Elizabeth, the much older, age-inappropriate girlfriend of the protagonist in 'The Clean-Up'.

Elizabeth (The Clean-Up)

Mother and son at the art gallery (Poet Professor)

In industrial or commercial work, I have portrayed a photography customer in a recruitment video for LeMine Group... someone with mental health challenges for Epilepsy Toronto... a transfer patient in another recruitment video for Spectrum Health... and the wife of a football fanatic in 'Grounded', for the Lung Association, in which I appeared with Michael"Pinball" Clemons!

And, lastly, there's training: basic stage combat at Second City and PAL certification for firearms (both long guns and hand guns) with Rapier Wit!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The year in review... and what got away!

In keeping with the start of the new 2015 year, here's a quick look back at what went on in my acting career in 2014.

The feature film I appeared in, in May 2014, was released and started showing at festivals in the US. FriendsDon'tLetFriendsDateFriends is a rom-com, written and directed by Rhonda Parker, and in it, I play Shirley Regal the mother of the protagonist.

I saw the movie on the big screen at the Screening Room in Buffalo in November. I'm including a copy of the poster - if you're lucky, you can get one signed by the cast and crew, like mine. I think the producers sell them at showings...

One of the write-ups for FriendsDon'tLetFriendsDateFriends (The Public, November 19, 2014, p. 21) stated that "Filmmaker Parker provides tart dialogue for characters played by actors who don't look like they've rolled off a Hollywood assembly line". I thought this was a great compliment to all involved.

I also shot a few commercials and industrial videos over 2014, and was in a TV/web series called Mangoes.

As for "the ones that got away", I was selected for three parts in the last part of the year but, as you will read, didn't actually perform them.

The first was in a music video for the Billy Talent "Kingdom of Zod" release. I went for the audition on a Wednesday evening but, when I didn't get called for the wardrobe session on Friday, assumed I didn't get the part playing a politician's wife. Time passed, as they say, three days to be exact. And then, the day before the shoot, when I got home from meeting a friend for dinner, I found both an email and a voice-mail from the casting director. Turns out, they called the wrong actress, the director really wanted me. But by then (8:30 in the evening), the casting director thought it too late to "crush the other actress" as she put it. (As it happens, had I not been so polite about turning off my phone while having dinner, this story might have had a different ending.)

Haven't seen the video, so no idea who got the part or even if they left the politician and his wife in the final cut...

The second was a part in a TV pilot. I also thought I didn't get the role of a psychiatrist but, lo and behold! One fine Sunday, after I came in from clearing up leaves in the backyard, I found a voice-mail from the producer. Was I available? As it turns out, by the time I called back, they had had to cast another actress in the role. Ironically, this was the day after I watched the feature film in Buffalo and, had I known I'd be needed, I could easily have stayed in town to shoot the pilot.

The third part that got away was playing a ghost. Again, by the time I emailed back  - 2 hours after the invite was sent - they had cast someone else.

I take comfort in thinking that, in all likelihood, Meryl Streep doesn't have to deal with this anymore but, if she does, heaven help the rest of us!

Happy New Year!

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Friends Don't Let Friends Date Friends (feature film)

Our location for the day
In late May, I had one of my most enjoyable days on a set when I went to Medina, NY to appear in the rom-com "Friends Don't Let Friends Date Friends".

It was also the first time I had worked with a woman director - hello? is this really the 21st century - and, I'm proud to say, Rhonda Parker is one of the most efficient directors I have yet worked with.
The porch, where we shot some key scenes

Perhaps it's because she has herself worked on-camera that Rhonda is very precise at explaining what she wants?

Most of my scenes were shot in or outside a lovely Victorian house.

Rhonda shooting footage of Della, played by Amelia Favata

My character, Shirley Regal, is a single Mom who is raising her daughter Della, and spending her free time going to bars to pick up guys, fueled by alcohol. A lot of alcohol actually...
Rhonda and I at the end of the shoot

The role of Shirley is quite unlike any I have played so far. As well as submitting my head-shot and reel for Rhonda to view, I took a couple of selfies in proposed costumes. These led Rhonda to cast me in the part.
Shirley on a good day...
...and on a not-so-good night!

The film is scheduled to be finished by September - stay tuned for more information on where you might be able to see it!
The hosts media-savvy son...

...and his equally techno-savvy older brother!

To see a current trailer for the film, go to:
Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Acting and real estate

You may be wondering what acting and real estate have in common.... although some actors and actresses do end  up owning some nice real estate!
Rochester, NY: Studio location

What I'm referring to, instead, is the great way acting allows me to scope out real estate in different parts of town, not to mention different parts of the world.
Outdoor sculpture/The art museum is close by

Sometimes I get to go to new areas when I'm auditioning, other times, the opportunity arises when I'm on location for a shoot.
Interior detail

Early March 2014 found me in Rochester, NY, for an audition for a sitcom. The actual location was in a part of town called NOTA - Neighborhood of the Arts.

Later that same month, I was in Vaughan, ON for a shoot - this landed me in a private home, in one of the newer subdivisions built to the north of Toronto. I didn't have a chance to take any photos but, a couple of weeks later, in early April, they called me back to shoot some more footage.

Yonge St., looking north

Yonge St.,looking south
This took me to North York, ON - on a stretch of Yonge Street near where my family used to live. As anyone who once lived in the Willowdale neighborhood knows, the stretch of Yonge Street between the 401 and Steeles Ave looks
nothing like it did all those years ago.
Entrance to Pinewood

Pinewood Studios
In April, I landed a small part in the Guillermo del Toro feature film being shot in Toronto - working title "Crimson Peak" - so it was off to Pinewood Studios for a fitting; the film is set in the early 1900s. It always surprises me that there are any wild, lonesome parts of Toronto left but Pinewood Studios is in a spot as-yet un-captured by the condo developers.

Wild, lonesome places

 And late May found me working on a feature film in Medina, NY... but I'll write about that in a separate post!

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Well worth waiting for... (Spiderman video)

UPDATE, January 22, 2014: Just got word from the producers that this video has hit 2.5 million views at the following site. Check it out!

Several weeks ago, I posted some behind-the-scenes footage from a skit I took part in.

The video has now been released and can be viewed via the following link:

Details from the earlier post can be found under posts for 27/09/2013

Titled "Spiderman's Ultimate Foe", the video traces an incident in Spiderman's life when he finds his "strength, stamina and emotion" tested.

Director Patrick Maloney thanked me for my work and said 'you did a fantastic job".

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

No such thing as a free lunch? You bet there is- we got paid to eat!

Sunday a.m. & even the 401 is bearable!
In late August, I wrapped a shoot for a trade-show video, to promote a hearing aid product made by Unitron.

The shoot took place in Kitchener-Waterloo, in a rather lovely part of town, known as Belmont Village.

Setting up inside...
...and outside

The shoot was managed by Memory Tree Productions.

I'm showing a few stills taken, day of the shoot.

Yours truly, in the outfit that made the cut.

Not all talent had to provide their own wardrobe!

As with most non-union shoots, we had to provide our own wardrobe, meaning we were asked to bring 3 outfits appropriate for a fine dining scene. I'm wearing the dress and shoes the Art Director chose from my offerings.

Actors are just as good at waiting outside as inside

Actors perfecting the honorable art of waiting...

As well as the lovely weather, we all got to enjoy the scrumptious food prepared by the restaurant where the shoot took place, Janet Lynn's Bistro.

I also got to spend a great day chatting with my co-star, Andrew Bee. It helped that we had a number of interests in common, notably natural approaches to health!

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer