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

Friday, 27 September 2013

Does your Spidey-sense tingle?

I've fallen behind, a bit, on posting to my acting blog.
The always-messy business of setting-up!

But back on April 28, 2013, I portrayed Aunt May to someone's Peter Parker in a video entitled "Uncle Ben's".

I'm still waiting to see footage of this shoot - although the director promises it will be fantastic -so, in the meantime, here are some pix from the shoot.

It took place, as many shoots do, in a donated house; this one is on Adelaide Street West, in Toronto. (All this means is that the homeowner has to disappear for a few hours and the cat - if there is one - has to be sequestered.)

Not only actors wait around, here's the sound guy - waiting!
After make-up, we got down to work, which involved continually taking peppers out of the fridge and chopping incessantly at a carrot. (But hey, that's what they teach you to do in film school!)

What I liked best about the shoot was that it was super-efficient, no real wasted time. Kudos to the crew from the production company, Random At Best.

Oh, and the apron I'm wearing - we had to supply our own costumes - is my own design, one of my "Team Family" aprons from Harobed Designs! (It was suggested to me, as appropriate, by two comic book aficionados I met the week before at a craft show!)

...and again, close-up!
Aunt May...

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Give and Take - especially in cold weather!

The scenes were shot in an office above the landmark Spot Coffee on Delaware Ave.
Back in January 2013, I had the opportunity to take part in a couple of scenes for the feature "Give and Take", being shot in Buffalo, NY. (Gail Golden is the Producer).

Although my role in this film was SOC - Silent on Camera - and not a speaking part, I jumped at the chance because there was an IMdB credit lurking in the wings, plus it was being shot in Buffalo, NY, where I used to live. (And, for all you heritage buffs, there are some incredibly beautiful old buildings in the "Queen City".)

The "change room" was actually the hallway

Note the features: skylights and old-style light fixtures

The reference to the weather in the title of my post reflects the fact we were asked to wear summer clothes - in the depths of winter. Try shivering in a toga in a stairwell, even if the lights are adding some heat!

That meant hauling out the lighter stuff, seeing if it still fit, and packing a bag to take to the set.

My costume for the cattle call audition scene

My toga look
There were actually two scenes - one was set at an "American Idol" style cattle call audition, the other was set at an audition for a Caesar salad commercial.

We were asked to vary our look, if possible, between the two scenes. I put my hair up, some actors brought wigs or donned spectacles.

(As you can probably guess, acting as an "Actress at an Audition" was a real stretch in the skills department!)
The toga scene was shot in the stairwell

Director and production manager in action, at the top of the stairs

I've taken some behind-the-scenes photos for my blog, as I always do. The film is now in post-production and seems to be moving along at a fast clip. The premiere is set for September 2013.

Thanks to my fellow actors for snapping the pix of me.

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Getting started (film in progess)

A retired actor kindly lent his country home for the first day of shooting

Neighborhood attractions included this old wooden church
In November 2012, I began work on a film that we'll be shooting, in installments, over the next few months. The reason for staggering the shoot, rather than filming everything in sequence, is to capture the different seasons, as they change, as part of advancing the story.

Our first segment was timed to be shot in the fall, so we all drove up north in Ontario, to just outside Midland. Luckily, it was a sunny and dry day, before the large snowfalls the area is famous for arrived.

Crew and cast arrive and unload - Yep, that's an actor, front and center (where else?)
Another interesting aspect of this film is that it's a period drama, set before and during the Korean War. I play Angela, one of the lead characters. Other than that, I'm keeping details of the story under wraps until the film is fully shot.
Period props had to be sourced, including this older wheelchair (circa 1930)

We also shot the day following  in one of Toronto's parks, again, we were blessed with excellent weather for an outdoor shoot (although thermal underwear was a must!)

Larry and I on the set in the park
I'm providing a few "behind-the-scenes" shots as well as a photo of myself with one of my co-stars, Larry Harris.

As and when future shoots happen, I'll post updates on my blog.

Copyright Deborah C. Sawyer