In The Trenches—The Founder’s Daily Report: Day 344: Switching Hats

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In The Trenches—The Founder’s Daily Report:  Day 344:  Switching Hats

Day 344:  Last night was interesting.  I had to switch hats.  It was the first time I read the script solely from an actor’s perspective.  My reaction?  “Holy shit!  This part is huge.”  Now, before you label me totally nuts because how could I not know how big a part it is as the producer?  Well, yes, of course, I already know that as a producer.  I’ve been developing this script since October 25, 2011—the day one of my front teeth broke off—so yes, I know how big my part is.  But reading it from the POV of actress instead of producer was a bit of a wake-up call.  I spent the entire evening highlighting lines, thinking about character motivation and intention, and staying calm.  I’ve taken a big bite with this project and I have to make sure I can chew it all properly.  Big gulp.

I not only stayed calm last night but I calmly started getting excited.  Oh, how delicious it is to slip on the familiar, comfortable, beautifully plush hat of being an actor.  I have so many things I love to do in my career.  I forget just how special acting is to me.  It truly is my first love.

Me as a Bellette in my first film, circa 1990

Speaking of firsts, the first film I ever acted in was when I was a junior in college.  I was going to California State University, Fullerton, at the time and it was a big deal to me when I got cast in a UCLA graduate thesis film.  I remember driving into “the real city” for the shoot and arriving to see the script supervisor—she was a student too—driving up in a Bentley.  A Bentley.  “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” was all I could think.  I should have made friends with her.  Her daddy’s money would come in handy about now.  The name of the film completely escapes me now.  It was a period piece set in the 50s and I was a back-up singer with the Bellettes.  This was when I actually could still sing.  I remember I had no lines and  all I got to do was mime singing, “ooooooooo, ooooooooo,” over and over again, take after take, back when they shot on actual celluloid.  It was a blast!

I wonder what happened to that film?  Did it go on to win any awards?  I don’t remember getting invited to a screening so maybe it was never finished.  I certainly know that feeling with my documentary—five years and counting.  I wonder if the film student/aspiring director ever went on to have a directing career?  Where did all of the crew end up?  All of the actors?  I will never know because I didn’t keep any information for it anywhere and my memory for names totally sucks.  They did give me this one poster of my character that was a part of the set that I have kept all of these years.  Whenever I look at it, it makes me smile.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have….hats you love to wear.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.

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