Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
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.
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.