09 August 2011

I just found out that you have a page on IMDB. I was surprised and disappointed to see there was no picture of you or description of information on you. Is this your choice?

Behind the Scenes

It is by choice that I do not have a photo posted on my IMDB page. I’m not trying to be an actress--- the times I have ended up in front of the camera or on the stage (I did a couple of productions for Miracle Theater in Portland) it has always been by special request of the directors. I haven’t the slightest idea how the audition process even works.
I much prefer being behind the scenes, in production.
Most of my production work has been in catering and/or craft services. While not my life’s ambition, it is the one department that always gets paid something, regardless of the budget--- everyone has to eat. Besides, when you’re the one with the M&M’s and the Red Vines, everyone is happy to see you!
Ideally, I like to do Production Stills, though usually that’s one of the last things accounted for in a film’s budget.
A pretty picture of a pretty face is irrelevant to what I’d want to pursue in production work. In fact, it can even work against me. I look very young for my age, and while that’s great for an actor, it’s not as good for crew. I feel like you have to work a bit harder to prove yourself to the veteran crew and be on guard against exploitation.
The very first film production I ever worked on, it was with the same producers who are currently in town filming a TV show. I was a locations intern but asked if I could snap a couple of shots during the production. After the first day, the UPM’s assistant asked to see my photos.
“Wow, these are great! Can we have them?”
After I stopped laughing and caught my breath I responded “Ha...that’s cute! Uhm, no. But you can buy them!”
He looked utterly confused and wandered off. Later, we became friends and he admitted to me that he (and the producers) had thought I was just another young and eager 20-something intern they could exploit, that I would just hand over my work for the glamour of it all.
Ha! That’s cute...
They did try again, too. They threatened lawyers, they tried to go around me and get my images from the department head for whom I was interning. I sent them a more-polite-than-polite “fuck you” letter: “I’ve been informed by so-and-so that you are still interested in acquiring my images. As you were unable to contact me directly, I can only assume you have misplaced my contact information. Included for your convenience...etc.”
I never did hear back.

My youthful good looks also almost cost me at least one job, that I can remember..
I was interviewing with Judy Becker (production designer on Brokeback Mountain and Garden State, to name a few). We were having a great chat, I’d won her over with my very frank answer on dealing with the egos of actors and musicians. I was practically hired. Then she asked me how long I’d been shooting professionally.
“Fourteen, fifteen years...” I said.
“What? Since you were eight?”
I assured her I am much older than I look. She stared at me for a while as though she were trying to decide whether I was lying.
Finally, she smiled “Ok. We’ll see you Friday!”
Relieved, I shook her hand. Then I realized something was amiss. “Oh wait, do you want to maybe look at my portfolio before I leave?”
It’s that Colombian charm--- works every time!

So yeah, until I get a wild hair and decide I want to be an actress, there’s really no need for a photo. With the exception of a rejected on-set suitor (or two) and the producers who tried to steal my work, any of the people with whom I’ve worked (some of the best in the business!), would vouch for me. They know I work hard, am pleasant to have on set, and that I’m equally respectful of everyone (from the interns to the UPMs)--- that’s worth more to me than a flashy IMDB page.


Behind the Scenes

Have any burning questions for the Infamous CoatCheck Girl? Ask me anything!

1 comment:

  1. P.S. That first production I did that tried to steal my work? To this day all they have for photos are screen captures and 3 or 5 photos taken by the photographer they DID pay. Unfortunately they were too cheap to pay him for more than a day or two, so he missed all the good stuff, like the explosions.

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