Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Filming the Pilot for "Turn"

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since we were filming the pilot episode for AMC's new TV show, "Turn"!  You can download the pilot episode for free on Amazon right now by clicking HERE.  It does have some graphic images (related to violence and death), so I don't recommend it for young viewers.  To learn more about the show and the actors (including Jamie Bell from Tin Tin and Kevin McNally from Pirates of the Caribbean), visit the film's IMDb page.  At the end of this post, I'll share screen grabs so you can see where I show up in the pilot!

We live in a small world.  I was placed with this gentleman for a scene, and as we chatted, I found out that he was the son of the man I had heard on the radio for years every Saturday morning, hosting the Swinging Years program!

So how did I end up in "Turn"?  I went to an open call for background extras, stood in line with Shaina and Michelle for HOURS, and finally got my minute (or less) in front of casting director Erica Arvold.  Basically, you were given a sign with your name and number, you walked in the small room, had your picture taken (one smiling, one not), and then walked out.  I can't even imagine how many people were there, if it took us three hours just to get to that point.  (Side note: a big snow storm hit while we were inside, and we couldn't even complete the 1.5 hour trip home because we were sliding and sometimes spinning in the snow.  We eventually made it back to the park-and-ride where I had left my car when Michelle and I met up with Shaina, and we had family members with four-wheel-drive come rescue us.  Quite an adventure!)

Amazingly enough, I was one of only 8 women who were called back for multiple days of shooting.  The upper class ladies and prostitutes only shot for one day, but those of us who were middle class townspeople got to shoot for five or six days.

It was quite an experience!  First of all, in an email from the casting office, we were told NOT to wear orange, due to the nature of the location.  I admit I was completely baffled.  What kind of location would require you not to wear orange?  I found out when I got there.  Lots of high barbed wire fences!  We were filming on land belonging to a correctional center.  It was a little nerve-wracking when my GPS tried to take me out the wrong way and I ended up driving around some high security areas, lost and unsure of how to get out of there!

I was scheduled for a costume fitting before my first day of shooting, so I went in and got to dig through a box of corsets trying to find one small enough for me.  Haha!  Then I was fitted into a dress by Amy, who also did my fitting for the Lincoln movie a year and a half before!  She even remembered me.

The first day I went in for work, it was early and rather chilly outside, and most people stood quietly in line as we waited for our turn to get dressed in the wardrobe tent.  I guess a few of the guys had already had their coffee, though, because they were chatting and introducing themselves to people.  One of them introduced himself to me, and then asked if I was a prostitute.  I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped as I sputtered and struggled to process what he had just asked me.  When the initial shock died off, I realized he meant the role I was to play as an extra, and I was like "No!  Definitely not!"

A few minutes later, another guy essentially asked me the same question, and then my friend Alex Miller (who was a redcoat), arrived and came up to me, and jokingly asked if I was going to play a "lady of the night," and I was like, "IF ONE MORE PERSON ASKS ME IF I'M A PROSTITUTE, SOMEBODY'S GETTING PUNCHED IN THE NOSE!"  Haha!  But seriously...  (I'm so glad I wasn't asked to play one, though!  I guess having a sweet/innocent face really comes in handy.)

My friend Alex Miller

Two days of the filming really stand out in my memory...  The first involved changing into my costume at 5:30am, in a tent with no heaters, when it was something like 32 degrees outside.  Let me tell you, it takes a great force of will to undress in 32 degrees.  I was thankfully allowed to wear long johns under my dress, but my forearms were exposed.  I wore a short cape which helped a little, but we suffered from bitter cold most of the day, with a wind that would cut right through you.  We were able to keep our coats nearby and put them on when we weren't filming, but even then I was cold.

Haha, this is what I looked like most of the day.  I was likened to a turtle.  :-D

I think it was later that day that we were moved to a different location, where they set up a tent and heaters for us.  That was wonderful!!!  (It might have been a different day, I can't remember.)

The other day I'll never forget was quite eventful.  I was called in for part of the afternoon.  I went through wardrobe, hair, and makeup, and waited in the holding tent for a while, then was put on a bus with some other extras and taken to set.  Soon after we got there, though, they broke for lunch and we came back to the holding tent without shooting anything.  Everybody gathered under the huge holding tent and got in line for lunch.

{Let me tell you - the catered food on this shoot was AMAZING!!!!!}

The weather was starting to get kinda bad (dark, rainy, windy) while we were working our way through the lunch line.  I can't remember when I first heard the news that there was a tornado possibly heading in our direction, but that was a little disconcerting.  Well, I had just gotten my food and was looking for a place to sit when things got REALLY BAD.  The rain was a torrential downpour, thunder and lightened crashed above us, and the wind gushed through the tent with alarming strength.

Someone in charge started shouting for everyone to go to their cars.  Commence stampede.  I frantically dug in my backpack and found my keys, then had a wild time trying to dash through the downpour and get to my car while trying to hold my skirts up out of the mud, grab my hat as the wind threatened to rip it from my head (it was pinned into my hair), and not lose my plate of food (there was no way I was leaving that yummy lunch behind!).  I made it into my car, with me and my plate of food soaking wet.  And I lost my cream puff somewhere along the way.  That was unfortunate.

I'm happy to report that the tornado never fully hit us, although it was looking really bad there for a while.  The wind did reek havoc on the hair and makeup stations under the tent, and part of the set had to be repaired before they could shoot the next day.

As far as weather goes, that's definitely the most dramatic experience I've ever had on set.  And one I'm not anxious to repeat.  :-)  I think all the actors were actually sent home after that, so I didn't end up filming that day after all.

My friend Nate Sisson, who was working crew. Notice the "Screenwriters" t-shirt! This was the fifth production that we had both worked on together.

I was so happy to see Jerry and Mark again! They were two of my bosses on 
"Alone Yet Not Alone" in 2010 when I was a Props PA.

I was really glad for the experience to be on this film set.  After working on so many independent films, it's always interesting to observe a big studio film (or TV show) in the making.  It's also fascinating to watch bigger-name actors at work and observe their process.  (And no, I didn't meet any of them.  Extras are not allowed to talk to the actors.)

The sets were really neat (some of them had been used for the John Adams mini-series and the Lincoln film!), and of course I just love dressing up in period clothing and being a part of an historical drama.

Okay, here are the pictures of where you can see me in the pilot!

Soon after the 10 minute mark - I'm sitting on the bench

Same scene - walking in the background

About 24 minutes in - walking up the ramp

Around 42:20 - on the left of the screen

At 58:15 - on the left, standing closest to the barn

Later in the same scene, still closest to the barn

They shot the rest of the first season this winter, but due to my schedule (and the extreme winter conditions), I didn't reapply to be an extra.  So you'll only see me in the pilot.

The second episode is now available for viewing on AMC's website (for the next 25 days).  I have not seen it yet.

Disclaimer: I can't vouch for the rest of the show because I don't know what kind of content it might hold.  It's a secular TV show, so you can undoubtedly expect the kind of content that you would usually see in secular TV shows.  Consider yourself warned.  :-)

Concluding thought: Using a porta-john in women's Colonial garb isn't easy or desirable.  Nor is it pleasant to watch ants and ticks crawling around while you're in there.  ;-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Casting Call - "Rather to be Chosen"

Hey, gang!  My friend Daniel Knudsen at Crystal Creek Media is casting for his next feature film! I really enjoyed watching his first feature, "Greed of Gold," and have high expectations for this one. Here are some details:

Project TypeFeature Film 
Submission TypeSelf Response 
LocationGreater Detroit, MI 
Production DatesMay 26 - June 21, 2014 
Audition DateVideo submission before April 21, 2014 
Casting CategoryFeature Film

Log Line: Will a man accuse the woman he loves to save his company and family fortune? Principle photography for Rather to be Chosen is set for this spring/summer 2014. Daniel Knudsen (Creed of Gold, A Horse Called Bear) will be directing the film. Submit your resume and headshot along with your video submissions to Crystal Creek Media for consideration.

For auditioning instructions and to see a breakdown of the roles available, click here:

You can find the movie's Facebook page here:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I traveled to Ohio from April 1-4 for the filming of "Wanted".  What a crazy and wonderful time we had!  After all the months we put into pre-production, it was surreal to actually and finally be out there filming it, and even more strange for it to fly by so quickly.  Here are some thoughts and memories as I try to untangle the blur of activity in my mind...

First of all, I had quite a time trying to get out there!  I don't recommend flying with United.  Unfortunately, they usually seem to have the cheapest rates (Southwest isn't an option where I live).  I was supposed to fly out of VA at 1:43pm and arrive at the Dayton airport by 7pm.  However, my layover in Cleveland kept growing longer and longer (stretching past four hours) as we waited for the first officer to arrive.  I didn't arrive in Dayton until around 11pm, so I was taken straight to my host home (arriving around midnight).  So much for a fun evening with the cast and crew before production started.

Completely exhausted after my long trip, I fell into bed...and didn't sleep all night.  No idea why.  

Script supervisor (and dear friend), Rebekah Cook

Monday, I was thankful for a late morning call time, so I could rest for a while and enjoy a long chat with Rebekah Cook - my roommate, fellow actress and filmmaker, and friend of four years.  We were picked up at 11am and taken to Nathan Jacobson's house (where we filmed most of the movie).  All of the crew was there, and it was wonderful to be reunited with so many dear friends!

We shot one of my scenes with Rusty Martin that afternoon.  Rusty is so much fun to work with!  In between takes, we were speculating if I could fit inside the heavy bag he was punching in the scene.  We purposed to try, but it turned out to be filled with foam that we didn't dare remove (you're welcome, Nate).  ;-)

Tuesday, I had the day off, which was good because I ended up feeling very sick most of the day, thanks to my usual exhaustion sickness (nausea, etc.).  It doesn't normally hit that soon, but I had come into the production completely wiped out from several intense weeks filled with lots of hard work and heavy responsibility leading up to that point, and hadn't slept two out of the previous three nights.

I had come to the Jacobsons' home Tuesday morning, and then found a bed to crawl into while everybody left to film at the bus stop.  Later, they came back and started setting up in the room where I was resting, so I relocated to another bed in a different room.  I felt like Goldilocks.  I had no idea whose bed I was using, but they all seemed to be fair game, so I made myself at home.  :-)

By the middle of the afternoon, I was finally feeling better and joined the crew outside for lunch.  The weather was so beautiful!  Later, I spent time just walking around barefoot in the grass (I've been waiting to do that for so many months!), and even laid down in the yard for a while and soaked up the sunshine (careful not to stay out long enough to get sunburned).  The rest of the day, I enjoyed  taking pictures and chatting with people when they weren't busy.  We also filmed my behind-the-scenes interview.  Thankfully, the questions weren't too hard.  I really hate doing interviews.  I'm not very good at thinking and talking on my feet.  This is why I'm an actress and not a public speaker.  Haha, just give me lines to memorize and I'm happy!

That evening, I enjoyed some wonderful bonding time with this cute little guy when Joshua Jacobson, his wife Sarah, and their two little boys, Joshua and Ethan, came for a visit!  (Josh is Nate's older brother.)  Such a delightful family!  That's 11-month-old Ethan I'm holding in the picture.  We became great friends!

Wednesday was a big day!  The last of our actors, Andrew Cheney, had arrived, so our whole "family" got to act together.  Andrew and I played Peter and Rachel Johnson, Eliya Hurt was our daughter Amy, and Rusty was Luke, the boy we took in through foster care.  Let me tell you, we had so much fun together!  I loved working with each of them!  Such talented actors. 

One of our morning scenes was outside, and I was wearing an open-front sweater over a tank top.  The rest of the day, I was wearing a high-necked t-shirt.  That evening, I had to switch back into my previous outfit, and as I slid into the makeup chair and looked in the mirror, I remarked about how strangely red my chest was.  I didn't even think about it being a sunburn because I didn't think we'd been outside long enough for me to get burned, but Mary (the makeup artist), pointed out that it followed the neckline of my tank top and sweater.  Yikes!  Thankfully, she was able to cover it up with makeup.  

Rusty and Eliya

Thursday morning, I woke up at 6:30am with one of the worst sore throats I can remember.  Both of my roommates woke up with sore throats as well.  I was drinking hot tea, taking vitamin C, chugging water, and sucking on cough drops all day.  But the pain (and exhaustion) just kept wearing me down.  Right before one particular scene, I was having to fight back tears.  Ironically, I had to laugh in the next scene.  Making yourself laugh without a reason is hard enough, but when you're actually wanting to cry, it's a lot harder.  But part of being a professional is pushing through and doing it anyway, so I forced a smile and did the scene...several times.

Everyone was so sweet and kept checking on me and asking what they could do for me all day.  Suffering is a lot easier when you have kind people taking care of you.  :-)

After we wrapped filming on Thursday, we all put on our Wanted t-shirts for a big group picture.  Then we ran around taking pictures with each other.  I didn't manage to get pictures with *everybody*, but here are the rest of the ones I did get...

Production manager Leslie Naugle (one of my roommates)

Jerica Henline, who made my hair look fabulous every day!

My adopted family - Andrew, Abigail, Eliya, Caleb, and Levi Hurt!

The Bolzman Bros! (Andrew, our 1st AD, and Philip, our Gaffer)

Micah and Amelia Austin, part of our awesome camera team!

Mary Smit, our stellar makeup artist who always made me look my best!

Sarah and Dan Stibral, who did a rockin' job as our Art Department!

The lady of the house - Susie Jacobson - who so graciously let us take over her home for the shoot!

And our fearless writer and director, Nathan Jacobson!

Thursday was my last day, which was so sad!  It was hard to believe my time in Ohio had come to an end so quickly.  I hated to leave!  Between wrapping at a late hour, taking pictures with everyone, THEN doing a promo photo shoot with the green screen, and having a hard time tearing myself away after was 4:30am before I finally got in bed.  

Friday morning, after four hours of sleep, I packed my suitcase, headed to the Jacobsons' for lunch and goodbyes, then was taken back to the airport.  Thankfully, my trip home was less eventful and I was home by 10:30pm.  Mom said I looked awful, and that's pretty much how I felt.  I had a full blown cold by that point, and hardly had the strength or energy to walk across the room.  As hard as it was to leave Ohio, it was good to be home where I could rest and recover after a couple of intense months.

If you want to see behind-the-scenes pictures as they are released and hear about post-production news, here are some links where you can follow us:

Instagram: @roundtableproductions

And of course, our website (which will be set up more like an official website some time in the future):

Before I close, I just want to give a shout-out to one of the best, most professional crews I have ever worked with.  I have worked with a lot of film crews (including most of these guys on previous shoots), and let me tell you - this crew was top-notch.  They knew what they were doing and they did it well.  Working with a professional crew makes my job as an actress so much easier and so much more fun!  Seriously, it makes a BIG difference.  And this was a fantastic experience!

"Wanted" is going to be an incredible short film, and it's all due to God's blessing on the project.  His hand has been so evident from the beginning, and He was very gracious in so many ways while we were filming.  From favorable weather, to securing locations, and right down to the fact that I didn't get fully congested until AFTER I was done filming...these are just a few ways that God provided for all of our needs.  I can't wait to share this film with you when it's done!  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Extras Needed for "Polycarp" Pickups in Ohio

Want to be an extra?  Live in Ohio?  Keep reading!

To start with...  The first picture posted from "Polycarp: Destroyer of Gods" with me in my role as Sabina!  Yay!!!

In other news, they're doing pickup shots for that film in a few weeks, and they need EXTRAS!!!  So if you live within an hour of Loveland, Ohio, here's the info from the Henline Productions Facebook page:

Still have a few slots open for the 8th & 9th. We are primarily in need of men, ages 20+. Please pass this along and help us spread the word! (please fill out one form per person interested.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Casting Call - "Mitosis"

Calling all actors!  A friend of mine - Hannah Miller - is casting for her upcoming short film called "Mitosis."  I have seen a short film that Hannah and her sisters made a few years ago and was VERY impressed by the high quality!  I know this will be a film worth being involved with and would highly recommend auditioning if you fit one of the characters they're looking for.

You can find all the information HERE, where you will be able to download instructions, see character descriptions, and access a cast application.

Also, here is a video from Hannah about the casting call...

Break a leg!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Update on my Films

Hey, everybody!  Just wanted to give you a few quick updates on some of my films.

"The Senior Prank" has now been renamed "Touched by Grace."  Here's the post from their FB page: "After consultation with the distributor, the film will now be renamed Touched By Grace. The DVD will be released this summer. New artwork and trailer is in production."  I don't know about you, but I'm VERY excited to hear that it will be available on DVD this summer!!!

"The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club" is now available on DVD or as a digital download!  It can also be streamed:

"In His Steps" is available on DVD:

"Uncommon" is available on DVD:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Christian Worldview Film Festival 2014

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the very first Christian Worldview Film Festival (CWVFF) in San Antonio, Texas.  This festival was created to fill the gap when the San Antonio Independent Film Festival (SAICFF) dissolved.  I had attended the SAICFF for the past three years, and the CWVFF did a great job of picking up the mantel and carrying on.

I flew to San Antonio on Monday and my "Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club" friends (Justin, Amanda, Seth, Harmony, and Mr. Cade) picked me up.  We walked along the Riverwalk in the sprinkling rain, had a grand time, and eventually ended up at the Guadalajara Grill for dinner.  Nathan Jacobson (writer/director of "Wanted") had ridden down to Texas with Jonathan Potter and Johnathan Schutz, and they joined us at the restaurant for a great time of fellowship.

There was a Guild on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, with workshops led by talented artists in a wide variety of occupations - actors, composers, editors, writers, producers, etc.  I really enjoyed attending workshops on acting taught by my friends Rebekah Cook, Mimi Sagadin, and Rich Swingle, as well as keynote addresses by Phillip Telfer and George Escobar.  In addition, I bought the tapes to hear the writing workshops by John Fornof, and can't wait to listen to them!

Rebekah, Mimi, and Mr. Escobar

I actually missed half a day during the Guild because I was feeling sick, and then I missed the next two days of the festival because we were working hard to raise the rest of our budget for "Wanted" before the Kickstarter campaign ended on Sunday.  It wasn't ideal to be spending so much time on the campaign while we were down there for the festival, but God worked it out for the best because several of our friends there came to our aid, and without the time and skills they contributed, we wouldn't have been able to do everything that we did to bring in the rest of the money.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Wednesday evening was our Meet-and-Greet for "Wanted."  There were some conflicting events going on, and I really wasn't sure how many people would show up.  We wanted to host it in the outside courtyard at our hotel, but it was too cold so we moved it inside to the lobby.  To my surprise, we had over 40 people come!!!  It was like a big party!  Some people even stayed two hours.  I am so grateful for everyone's support!

Nate, Rusty, and me with writer John Fornof.

Signing posters!

Thursday and Friday, a few of us stayed at the hotel most of the day working on our fundraising campaign.  We are so thankful for Paul Hastings (producer of "Roses," and very knowledgeable about crowd funding - in fact he taught a workshop on that subject at the Guild!), who came alongside us during this time and gave us a strategy to implement during our final days of the campaign.  It made all the difference!

Friday night, I was rescued from the hotel and taken to dinner by Garry Nation (Polycarp himself!), and his wife, along with Nate and Rusty.  It was a very refreshing outing, and such a joy to spend time with them!

 Next, we actually got to go to the Festival for the evening!!!  Just in time for the first screening of "The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club"!  Amanda and I dressed up in our waitress costumes and handed out surveys that Justin had cleverly printed to look like they were on guest checks from a restaurant.  It was amazing to watch the film with an audience for the first time, and to hear their reactions and feedback!  They laughed and laughed...and cried...  There was a screening the next afternoon as well, and both rooms were packed out with standing room only.  Everyone loved the film, and was very touched by the message!  Praise God!

We got back to the hotel around 11:30 that night.  We were getting ready to go into our respective rooms, when my friend and fellow actor Josh Murray messages me on FB and says, "Looks like you guys made it, congrats."  When that popped up on my phone, I instantly dropped my stuff and swiped over to the Kickstarter app.  When I saw that we had indeed passed our goal of $10,000, I started screaming!  In the hotel hallway.  At 11:30 p.m.  No, I wasn't thinking clearly.  But I was deliriously happy!!!  (After loosing major amounts of sleep and working so hard for weeks, I think I was slightly justified.)  :-)

Nate wasn't actually with us at the time, so we went in search of him and found him soaking wet in the hotel lobby.  He had been with Paul Hastings, Jason Vaughn, Nathan Webster, and Dustin Ledden when they found out the news, and had promptly gotten thrown in the pool by way of celebration!

Well...let's just say there was much rejoicing.  And very little sleeping that night.  I was much too excited to fall asleep until after 2am.  In fact, Rusty and I went downstairs and did some swing dancing and line dancing with Caleb and Courtney Vetter, Arielle, and my roommate Rachel.  But one of the highlights was when we all circled around in the hotel room and lifted up our thanks to God, because He is the one who made it all possible.  There was nothing we could do in our own strength to bring in that money.  We trusted God to provide, and He did.  It's nothing short of a miracle.  Over 50% of our goal was raised in two days.  When everyone thought it was impossible, our goal was met and passed with more than 30 hours remaining!  That was only God.  :-)

Celebrating Friday night with our hero, Paul!

Saturday, with the huge load of meeting our fundraising goal off our shoulders, we were finally free to enjoy the Festival!  For the most part.  There was still work to be done, but we brought our computers to the event location and I was able to talk to a lot of people when I wasn't drafting follow-up emails for our technical wiz, Jonathan Potter, to send out.

I was also trying to get lots of pictures with my friends on Saturday since I hadn't done it sooner...

With my friend and fellow actor, Torry Martin! This guy is amazing!

With my new friend and talented actress, Mimi Sagadin!

Love these guys.  Can't wait to be on set with them soon. :-)

Reunion photo for "In His Steps," which was also screening at the festival!

Saturday night was the Awards Ceremony!!!  We went back to the hotel, frantically changed clothes and tried to freshen up a bit, and rushed back just in time for the ceremony.  Which means we didn't get any nice pictures beforehand.  Oh well.

"The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club" was a selected as a finalist for best feature!  Very exciting!

After the ceremony, a huge group of us met in front of the Alamo and visited for a while.  Here's a picture of our LITTLE group - my roommates and the boys next door (plus Zack on the far left, who became part of our little family).  Most of us rode together every day.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Kenney.

Later we walked down to a Mexican restaurant on the Riverwalk and had a huge long room to ourselves.  I have no idea how many people were there...  We had a great time!

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Hudelson.

By the time we left (well after midnight), I had reached the state of sleep deprivation where I was starting to slur my words and could hardly walk in a straight line.  It was pretty bad.  But with help, I made it back to the car and was very happy to fall into bed that night.

Sunday morning, I finished packing, had lunch with the guys next door (plus Jason Vaughn and Nathan Webster) before they all headed out, and then my friend Anna Becker picked me up at the hotel and took me to her house for a few very fun and relaxing days.  (It ended up being an extended stay because ice in Virginia canceled my flight on Monday.)  I finally made it back to Virginia on Tuesday, but my luggage didn't.  Thankfully it arrived the next morning and my brother picked it up from the airport, then picked me up from a friend's house, and I finally made it all the way home.  Home sweet home.  It's always good to come back.

Final reflections...

The film festival is an event that I look forward to every year.  In fact, it's one of the major highlights of my year.  A big family reunion.  A time to meet new friends and network within the Christian filmmaking community.  A time to learn from godly leaders who graciously share their wisdom and knowledge with us and offer to meet us on a personal level.  A time to see new films and support our fellow filmmakers and actors.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Phillip Telfer (of Media Talk 101) and his amazing crew for putting together such a great festival, and to all the speakers who came and shared of themselves with us.

To all my friends -- I can't wait to see you next year, Lord willing!  (Or better yet, on a film set before then!)

To everyone who met me for the first time -- I'm sorry you only saw me in such a sleep-deprived state.  Haha!  I promise I can put together coherent sentences a little easier than it may have appeared.  ;-)

To everyone else -- if you're looking for a good Christian film festival to attend, I highly recommend this one.  Mark your calendars for March 10-14, 2015!