SKYLA P.M. and How you should NEVER expect a rehearsal in FILM.
You can find the short I did “SKYLA P.M.” on you tube here:
This short was shot in 2007/2008. I was still working on sets. I was non-union and it was a student film, though student films are not un-professional. I remember when because the director of Skyla ended up helping me shoot my PSA for Stand up 2 Cancer “The Monster” the summer of 2008. I went down to Chapman University to audition. We also shot it at Chapman. I think I did OK. I seem to recall that the director told me she went with someone else, but that she might use me in the future or if anything happened. It was weird when I think back on it. It was weird because a week before we were supposed to shoot I get contacted by Nicole, my director to tell me that who ever she had cast backed out. It was almost as if she knew something might happen. She also told me she had re-written the script. I don’t think though that I ever read her original script or received it beyond the pages I used in my audition.
Well now I had a week to learn 10 pages of dialogue and when you watch the film you see there is really just me and the actress who plays Skyla, and a nice woman who comes into the bathroom to interrupt us. It actually was not bad. I memorized more sometimes for my law classes and in about the same amount of time. My director helped, though not at my prompting. To save set time we met for an hour or two the night before the shoot and went over the lines and my actions. I never met my fellow performers until the day of the shoot.
Shooting took place on a weekend day entirely in a bathroom. We got there in the morning, I think about 8 or 9 and were probably done by 6 pm. It was still daylight when I was wrapped. I remember that my fellow actress told the director “She is good.” They did not know I heard them. I don’t think she expected me to be good. I knew my lines and I had been thrown into enough situations on sets where I had to pretend to like or be in a relationship with someone I just met that it was not difficult to pretend to have a relationships with the actress playing Skyla. It does help though to work with someone who has been trained and knows how to give a true performance.
I don’t know where SKYLA has played, other than a showcase at Chapman I attended, though it is on IMDB. I do know someone who knew me told me they saw me in a short and at the time SKYLA and I think “Beauty” were the only shorts out in the public to be seen. Though my PSA for CANCER “The Monster” was also on-line as well.
By the way, I am straight. And the one thing I did I regret, and it is a little thing that no one ever comments on. My character is a germ phobic. Grabbing Skyla’s hands in the mop fighting scene is not something my character would do. Though we do barely touch and it might have be considered a heat of the moment action for my character, it is the one thing that bothers me to this day. I should have made a different choice maybe. Considering this was my first major role on a set after years of learning and working on sets and learning to cold read and learning the craft, not bad. I am actually trying to remember if it was an action described in the script and need to look back at it. I know fighting over the mop was in the script. Plus I touched more her wrist than hands.
Recently I attended a workshop by a casting agent and she pointed out that she has seen people have careers that fluctuate, and seen people come and go and arrive again, and also seen people who no one thought would work, slowly build up a career over time. She said something that rang so true. We all learn and grow if we allow it and are open to it. She did not say it with those exact words and I add the allow part. But it is true. People who cut someone off from one bad audition or one bad performance are being completely closed minded and foolish. It is very foolish to underestimate talented or gifted people determined to create art and to connect to the artistic experiences of life. I am learning that if one door closes to what I truly love, then I simply look for another door in the same industry to knock on. One person, one company, does not have the right to make any NO permanent. PERIOD. Even the US Government has to take someone to trial to remove their rights and privileges or we really have become not a democracy or a republic, but a police state.
I needed to write about this. I think I needed people to know both how hard this film was for me to do because I had only a few days to learn my line and do the job. I worked on over 200 productions over 5 years and your average 12 hour day on a set was lucky to finish 8 to 14 pages. The crew deserves kudos too , and made it easy to complete. We finished it in about 8 hours. Trust me when I say that is a good job. Our only issue was the air conditioning system in the bathroom that could not be turned off, but I was never asked to do ADR so it all worked out.
Later someone started calling me and phone harassing me claiming to know my director. I would get strange calls from a woman sometimes in the middle of the night. It was not my director. At one point the person claimed to be my director’s sister. I did not want to upset the woman calling me but at the same time they kind of scared me. I eventually broke off contact with my director because of these calls. I also look back and wonder if because of this film people on set did not think I was in the closet. I 100% support gay rights, but I am straight. I think what people do privately is no one’s business and at the same time the rules of polite society should apply to all relationships- lying, cheating, hurting people and disrespecting relationships and boundaries should be unacceptable regardless of orientation. Rape is rape regardless of the parties age, sex, or orientation. Cheating is also cheating and I personally do not like people who intentionally hurt others that way.
Too see a list of those who worked on this short see IMDB here: