"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Exhausted, but Happy!

I am so terribly tired. And I am so incredibly happy to be this exhausted. We've been doing 12 hour night shoots, from 5:30pm -5:30am the last 3 of our 6 days and I've only been able to get about 5 1/2 hours of sleep each night. I normally need about 9 in order to be a genial human being. Luckily, for me, when I'm sleepy, I can cry super easy. It's like, hey Elle, would you like a bottle of water? ::sniff sniff:: Yes, thank you! ::tear::

Let me tell you something about Patty Roberts. She plays my daughter in the film, and she will be a household name in another few years. She is so incredibly beautiful, and at 13, an age most girls are super shy and awkward, she is buoyant and charming. She has been the sunshine on the set, knows everyone's name (no small feat, especially when many people rotate in and out on a daily basis) and has the laugh of a chipmunk on a sugar rush. And she is so incredibly natural. I watched one of her scenes on the monitor a few days ago and thought, wow. I can definitely learn a few things about being relaxed and natural from her. I adore this girl. In fact, I've taken my mother role probably a bit too far, as I have talked about boys with her, saying, please, please wait until college, because boys will say ANYTHING to you to get that one thing and Michael Holmes, the actor playing my husband and her father, agreed, saying, "We really will. Listen to your mother." And then we made her pinky swear. But it's because we seriously love this girl! We're always eating lunch together and when we're bored, we always seek one another out.

Also, on set, it's been extremely fun finding out just how small or a world it really is in LA. Yes, Los Angeles has a thirty mile radius, but if you're out here long enough, you will be amazed at how everyone knows each other.
For instance, I used to work at a restaurant with the sound operator. And the makeup artist is a friend of one of my best friend's friends. The 2nd AD used to work at Sundance with my first college sweetheart, and Michael Holmes, who plays my husband, is in a play that's directed by a woman I went to college with and who I also had been directed by in a "Serial Killers" sketch show last year at Sacred Fools. And the director's girlfriend recognized me from the audition tape - Both her and the director had called me back on a film from 2006. She told me that their funding had dropped out the day after they had decided to cast me in it. And when she had mentioned the title of the movie from 06, the name sounded familiar. I checked my journal, and yup, I wrote about it and remember it. But seriously, with all these degrees of people, IS THAT CRAZY OR WHAT?

At any rate, I am the protagonist in the film. Which means I am in almost every scene. It's a lot of work to be scared. Breathing tempos have to change, eyes have to be wide and crying, and because we're working with a 3D camera, pulling frames into focus is a tad time consuming. But the crew, oh, the crew. No one works harder on the set than the crew. Our wonderful 2nd AD, says she sleeps but I don't believe her. Our 1st AD has the best one liners in the early early morning. Jon, the 1st AC is also great. And we have a lot of other PAs running around and asking if we want water or coffee.

We also don't have a designated holding area; a place to go when our scenes aren't up so that production knows where we are, so we're free to roam the house. I like where wardrobe is set up and you can usually find me there. I brought travel scrabble, and all three of us have played.
Here's Patty, me, and Michael all playing together. Michael said, hey, this is a great family shot. We should have someone take our picture! Good idea.
We are truly one happy family.

I haven't worked a set with this much camaraderie in a long time.

And the house! It's so incredibly beautiful. I love the bright yellow parlor and the dining room is the most beautiful lavenderish bluish color. A lot of the furniture in there is antique as well, and I love looking at everything. It was built in 1882, and there are sinks in the bedrooms, which seem so incredibly random, but I heard from the location manager that a few of them are indeed the originals. It's the Woodbury-Story House in Alta Dena.

I really love taking pictures of statures. This poor bunny lost its ear probably quite a long time ago. When I asked her how long it had been, she pretended she couldn't hear me and gave me a stony look. She's on the property. I thought she was cute, if not rude.

Cherubs are scary, right? Does anyone else feel this way?

This is hiding in ivy. It's super awesome. It's not a fountain because there's no reservoir beneath it, so it's just some angry faced urn waiting to scare you.

The house creaks and settles and also houses a raccoon, so while we're filming, we keep hearing scratching and otherworldly noise and it definitely adds to the ambiance.

Which book should we read...? Just kidding! It's the wallpaper! We're going to be doing that same gag in the film.

Me, Patty, and Jennifer Smart. She plays a ghost.
We've also already have been written up about.
I mean, hello! 3D! That's so cool!

I hope to have more pictures by next Saturday, but it's hard to grow the balls and ask a super busy crewmember to take my picture when they have so much to do.

And Boston Blond: that's an excellent question, but I won't be able to answer "Why are you an actress" until next month. It's a long story...

And I would just like to point out that I AM NOT waiting tables for half this month and am so excited and happy about that.


  1. YAYAY! OMGsh Lira!!!! this is soooo cool!!! hahahha we do have a lot of fun on set dont we!! :) i cant wait to get onto set on monday!!! see you then!! :D


  2. No worries. Keep up the posting on set--really interesting! Good luck with the rest of the production.

  3. Congrats my dear!! Looks like a blast!!! You too really look alike... like family!!

  4. 1) Cherubs are horrifying. 2) I adore you and am so happy the shoot is going well. 3) This also explains why we haven't been able to hang out and hopefully after you wrap we can fix that. 4) You're awesome.

  5. OMG this is so cool. I want to drag all my friends to see your movie when it comes out!

    BTWS I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you brought the travel scrabble. Yay!


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