What, and Leave Show Business?

People often times have an image of movie making that is very glamourous. They picture shiny trailers parked outside of an enormous soundstage studio or exquisite location, and usually also a well-appointed greenroom. This is not always the case. Studio shooting provides some of the comforts of home, the couches are cozy, and the hair and makeup areas are lit just like the set. Location shooting, however, has a unique set of challenges.

The location where I worked yesterday had all of them. AND we had a 6:00 AM call time, AND it was a 2 hour drive to each way for me, AND it was a 16 hour work day.

It’s fall here in the Northwest, gaining on winter. I built my first fire of the season on Monday. The building in Tacoma where we shot yesterday had no heat. This was not such a challenge mid-day when we were all on set with giant klieg lights shining through each window. The combination of huge cinematic lighting instruments (incidentally, gaffers ROCK) and lots of bodies made it almost unpleasantly warm. A kind PA woud turn a fan on us between takes, which helped a little. But once it was time for dinner, and we returned to the holding area, the only word was “bloody cold”.

And the shoot was in a beautiful historic building in the heart of downtown Tacoma, which is basically empty. If you’re in Tacoma, and you take the Pacific Avenue detour and then continue south, you’ll see it, as it’s the building on the street that’s closed that has all of the big green cranes with lights pointing in the third floor windows. The elevators worked when they wanted to, and the plumbing not at all. You heard me: NO RUNNING WATER. That means, no hand washing, no face washing, no way to wash a piece of fresh fruit, and no bathrooms. Ever picture a movie set littered with honey buckets? It was not what I expected nor something that I had ever experienced before.

Yeah. Luckily for me and some of the other ladies with delicate sensibilities, the crew made us aware of an accommodating Starbuck’s just down the way. They made me a great latte and the facilities were clean and working. If I had their address, I’d post it just for good will- maybe I’ll get it the next day I work.

Oh yeah, I’m going back.

That’s the thing I’ve learned about doing this job: it’s never what you expect, but it’s usually better when you add it all up. When you’re a day player, you get to spend a lot of time meeting and chatting with people who you may never have met otherwise. I met a beautiful young fashion designer and her totally gorgeous mom, a fellow actress with whom I have friends in common, and got to see several folks I met and befriended on my last film. All told, it was a great day- even with no bathrooms and even having woken up at 3:00 AM to be there.

And I got to play a little scene with Sean Patrick Flanery who my husband is a HUGE fan of. He is a fun but focused actor and it was great to sit beside him and react to his reacting. I can’t wait to see how that looks in the finished film. And we had a really good time, which is also important. I hope to work with him a little more next week.

Thanks to Denise Gibbs for the chance to do work on this film. Can’t wait until my next shooting day!

News for October

First announcement: The October Podcast for STAR TREK PHOENIX is available for download. We had a blast recording this edition and were thrilled to bring Ben Johnson aka Cmdr. Talis Jaryn to the podcast staff as the new host. I had the chance to interview Ben in this month’s edition and I can say that he’s a real joy. Remember, if there’s anything anyone would like to know, or to see included in the podcast you can email it to the producers at [email protected] or visit the Podcast Questions thread on our forum.

We’re working on a party for PHOENIX fans and geeks of all varieties to have a chance to mingle with our cast and crew. The date is tentatively set for November 1 and the location is TBA, but the place we’re looking at is HOT.

Also, I am thrilled to announce that tomorrow is my first day shooting on The Whole Truth I will be a courtroom observer and I look forward to working again with Denise Gibbs who I met and befriended on the set of Dear Lemon Lima as well as the super talented cast that has assembled for this picture.

Stories and maybe photos soon!

Coming Attractions

Hey all,
Two pieces of news. First, for the short term: I will be performing on October 16th at the Alibi Room in Pike Place at 8:00 PM in the first ever Seattle Cold Readers Showcase. It’s a really cool event in which local writers bring their scripts and local actors read them. It sounds simple, but I can’t think of a better tool for a writer than to hear their doalog out loud nor a better tool for an actor than to be given cold copy and an audience and be expected to put forth a character. Great idea! The writers will be there for us to talk to, so that will be an additional bonus for our performances. Also, fellow PHOENIX cast members William Michael Paul and Stephanie Hilbert are also part of the evening. If you’re in the Seattle area and over 21, it’s definitely worth checking out.

And in the longer term: I am going to my VERY FIRST sci-fi convention! OryCOn 30 is a science fiction and fantasy convention hosted by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc. and being held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront the weekend of November 21-23. STAR TREK: PHOENIX will be on Lower Level 2 adjacent to the entrance to the exhibition hall. If you’re going to OryCon, or thinking of being in Portland that weekend, you should come by and check us out!

And in other news, I know folks are reading my blog because suddenly I’m getting spam in my comments 🙂


So two engineers, a PhD and an actor from STAR TREK walk into a bar….

Are you waiting for the punch line, because there’s not one. That was my real life weekend. I had the chance to drive across the mountains and party in Leavenworth, WA. For those of you who don’t know, Leavenworth is one of those wonderfully kitschy Bavarain Village towns, and they REALLY do Oktoberfest. If you’re a person over 21 and have a way to get there- you should. It was a fabulously good time.

Watching the lady yodel while she played “Edelweiss” on cowbells was worth the entire trip.

Next year I think the cast and crew of STAR TREK should all get together and go. The only thing that could have made the night more fun would have been more geeks.

You’ve Probably Already Friended Me

But in case you missed it, today I took the cyber-plunge and joined Facebook. I joined at the request of the other Producers who have set up a community for cast, crew, and fans of STAR TREK: PHOENIX. Ok, so I knew Facebook was popular. But what I didn’t know was that everyone I’ve ever met had a profile already. Five minutes after I registered I had a dozen friend requests from people I see in real life and talk to via email regularly.

Turns out I was the last person in America to sign up for Facebook (actually, that’s not true. Ben A hasn’t set his up yet- I was the NEXT to last person in America). So if you haven’t friended me, I’m there for the friend-ing.

In other news, NaNoWriMo is still down. Oh well. October is for bugs, right?

Awesome Photos and Lots of Forums

Amazing news from the PHOENIX. Our photos are in! You can see all of our beautiful, shining faces HERE. Aren’t we cute! Most of you know how rotten I think most photos of me are. Turns out all I need is an amazing photgrapher, very particular lighting, and little airbrushing and I look good. Who knew?

And in other news, the ST: PHOENIX forums are searching for moderators. So if you’re a computer-type and you’ve got the kind of internet access that would let you become the cyber-police for the Federation, give us a shout out at [email protected] and let the webmaster know that you’re interested. That includes you Mom and Suzy; I would love to have my mother and/or stepmother be the ones telling folks to mind their cyber-manners. You too, Tara- you could go all librarian on them. 🙂

And in other forum news: the NaNoWriMo forums are up and running early this year. Happy 10th anniversary NaNoWriMo! Get to your regional forums and check out the work that the tireless staff at NaNo HQ has already done to re-launch the site. ML’s are all scrambly trying to be ready a week early, but we’re #1 here and we were all on top of it.

All for now. The Universe is all askew at the moment, as I have the flu. Back to my bottle of NyQuil….

Starship Woes and Writing Parties

Hey there! It’s been a while and I bet that there are several of you out there thinking that I’m slacking again. Truth is I’m just busy.

Being a producer on STAR TREK: PHOENIX has been a ride already, but I’m loving that I have a say in the creative direction of the show. Wednesday night we sat up until late (in a coffee shop- THANK YOU SEATTLE) and hammered out some final design decisions as well as some detail in the overall story arc that has us planned through the end of season 2 and yet still open to a few individual episode submissions from our writing staff and the world at large. I’m thrilled to announce that one episode in season 1 and 2 in season 2 are to be penned by yours truly. As a person who wrote their first book at age 6 I must admit that I am more than a little thrilled at the prospect of writing a teleplay that is going to get shot. WOW.

I should mention, since I failed to, that the September Podcast is now online and available for your listening entertainment. And believe me, it is entertaining. The four of us producer-types met along with our volunteer coordinator, and had a few adult beverages before recording. Ben’s answers to the prepared questions were great, but then he was all miffed at mine, because they were very polished. What can I say? I was raised by an attorney and great orator, came up through Junior Miss and Miss America, and majored in Public Relations. Of course I sound like a politician.

The “woes” I speak of in the title refer to some growing pains that the series is undergiong. If any of you reading this in California or Florida are great 3D modelers and would like to contribute, we could probably use your help. Needing some new VFX people isn’t such a huge hurdle, it just makes us nervous.

Our first day of shooting will be on October 25th and it will be for two prequel mini-sodes that should be available mid-November for download online. One of them is the reveal of the moment my character finds out she’s being sent to the Phoenix. Should be a day of great fun. Speaking of great fun, there’s a cast and crew social tomorrow night- so I’ll have some pics of us in our civvies to post next week. And the October podcast is recording on the 10th, so that should be available by mid-month. We’re hoping to feature our staff photographer as well as our wacky group of producers.

Photos of the cast are being finalized as we speak (just saw a preview of two- and WOW) so there should be links up any day.

Keep eyes tuned to ST PHOENIX online to watch the updates appear.

Photo Opportunity

Today we shot the first set of cast photos for PHOENIX, and all I have to say is that the day was amazing! I will post a link to the pictures as soon as any of them are finished and made public, and I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Our Captain, Ben A, has the old-school Captain Kirk-ish command presence and sex appeal that will make every STAR TREK fan to find this series nostalgic for the old days. Ben J, our first officer, has the charm and the presence to balance the Captain’s occasional necessary stern-ness. Nicole, Lt Vu’Shan the Science Oficer, is the perfect blend of shyness and expertise on screen. Our CMO, played so flawlessly by James Alden is haughty and snobbish and an absolute hoot to watch. Pretty boy Austin Hunt and uber-pilot Celes are played by Aaron and Jön in such harmony that it was hard to believe it was their first day working together. Roy, our resident Romulan, might as well be a clone of Nimoy and is almost scary good.

And as for me: I’m the rock star (more in the rebel sense than the celebrity sense) redhead in Engineering with just enough attitude that you can see it in the photos.

Pictures to come!

The Producers

Yesterday I was very excitd to have been invited to attend a meeting with the Executive Producer and Co-Executive Producer of ST:PHOENIX and the Executive Director of Puget Sound Access the studio in which we are planning to shoot. The meeting was very successful and we look forward to a long and happy relationship with our friendly neighborhood Public Access Television provider.

I am also thrilled to announce that two PHOENIX cast members who have been actively involved in the creative process have been recruited to the crew side as Producers; and one of them was me! The other new Producer is the multi-talented Ben Andrews who plays Captain Bryce Avari. The two of us met with Leo and Jön last night to prepare for a production meeting this Saturday during which all manner of great news is going to be announced.

Sunday is our first photo shoot and will be another chance for the cast to meet and greet one another. It wil be so amazing to see the bridge crew all decked out in our Starfleet Regalia for the first time. I love my bright red uniform and can’t wait to get my communicator badge. And my size 2 uniform pants look great with my pretty European low-heel leather boots.

Photos from Sunday’s shoot will be posted as soon as they’re released, and trailers and mini-sodes are coming soon to the internet.

I love pants!

For those of you following the saga that is ST: Phoenix, you may or may not know the trousers situation. Our wardrobe department asked us to find our own breeches to go with our uniform blouses because there was no way in this galaxy or any other that the limited staff could complete tunics AND trousers by the photo shoot on the 14th. Pants are notoriously difficult to make and require a LOT of fitting to make them look good.

So we need to find our own pants to match a fabric swatch and then the wardrobe department may tailor them if need be. As PR rep for the production, I fugured I should look early so that I can share any thrilling finding with the rest of the cast. Well, I found the perfect pants today, and I found them at Target of all places.

And I tried them on in a 4, thinking that with all the dieting I might be a size smaller. Lo and behold- they were TOO BIG! I had to buy them in a 2!! A 2!!!!! Very exciting.

And it gives me an extra boost of self confidence as I go to audition for The Comet Chronicles tonight. Yay pants!