To the Wonder — on the silver screen
It has been a lifelong dream of mine to see myself on the silver screen. I have worked numerous productions and movies. Each time, you hope you are edited in. But, when you aren’t, still…you aren’t disappointed. It’s just amazing to be a part of the experience.
So, Friday, April 12, 2013, To the Wonder opened in the US in limited release.
And for the first time in my life, I saw myself on the silver screen.
It is amazing: a dream come true!!
About the movie:
You know when they find the ‘sound bite’…a few, choice words to describe the movie??? Here is mine:
To the Wonder … a visual representation of existentialism.
About the making of the movie:
I worked the film one day a couple of years ago. I had driven to Tulsa to audition. I couldn’t find parking. I ended up on the wrong side of this hotel, and had to walk and walk and walk to get to the back of the line. Well, when I finally did get there, and waited an hour, it was evident that they would not get everyone thru the process before the closing time. So, I left.
The next weekend, there was an audition in Bartlesville (where the bulk of the movie was shot). I went EARLY. Got in, thank goodness.
Then, on the days when they need extras, they post, and I submitted, and I was lucky enough to get it.
It was a good shoot. Watching Terrence Malick work is an education. Many directors plod along, only doing what’s planned out in advance, never seeing anything else; never taking a risk. Mr. Malick works on the fly. He can see something and set it up and shoot it, very quickly. It was such an education to watch him work. And watch him, I did. I always seemed to be where the action was. The 1stAD kept finding me and putting me where things were happening. Usually they find me…and move me to the back–which is fine. I’m just happy to be there.
About the viewing experience:
It’s been a long week. Worked late several days at the day job. I knew there was a premiere in Bartlesville, at the Community Center on Friday, April 12 at 7pm. When I looked a couple of days ago, they had added a 10pm showing.
But, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I just don’t know if I can handle being out that much and that long. So, I call and ask if I can still get tickets to the 10pm show (still not really believing I have the energy to go). They say they have tickets.
Well, the universe arranged for me to get off work early. I didn’t ask. It just happened. And, if I’m off early, I can make the 7pm show, and still get home early enough to get in at a reasonable hour (midnight). So, I go…off to Bartlesville, which is 2 hours. I have enough time to get some supper out. So, at 5:50, I think I’ll drive by the Community Center, and buy a ticket early, then go eat and come back. Well, when I got there, it was covered up–people and cars everywhere. I duck in, find a parking space, and wind my way among humanity, to the box office…where the sign says, “7pm show sold out.”
Okay, it’s my own fault for not calling to check. What to do? I buy a ticket for the 10pm show. I have 4 hours to kill, and I’ll get home at a ridiculous hour. Would I even be safe to drive? My backup plan was to get a motel, which I will do. I really, really, really wanted to see this movie on opening weekend, and it opened in very limited release. My choices were Bartlesville on April 12, or wait 2 weeks for Tulsa or wait 5 weeks for Oklahoma City. (Or see on VOD, which I really didn’t want to do. I wanted to see the big screen.)
Okay….so, I bought the 10 pm ticket, and turned around, and a patron walked up to the box office and said she had tickets to sell. I said, “I’ll buy one of them!” She said, “One?” I said, “I’ll buy two if that’s what it takes to see the 7pm show.”
So, I bought them from her, which meant I got to see the earlier screening, and I can make it home before I pass out from exhaustion. So, I have 3 tickets for 1 person! Okay…..
I needed to eat supper. But, if I leave, I’m not gonna get a parking space when I come back. There was a food truck out front. I bought supper there, sitting in my car to eat. Took some pics of downtown Bartlesville, then it was showtime.
I made my way upstairs. This was the weirdest seating plan I have ever seen. Seat 1 was in the middle of the auditorium. Odd numbered seats were to the right. Even numbered seats to the left. Very odd and distracting.
Once settled in, I got to visiting with a fellow writer. Her name is Paula Fairbrother. She is a writer and actor. She has a theatre degree, and she’s working at many creative fields (much as I do). It’s amazing when you meet these people out in the world, and they just “get it”. It’s been my experience that most people do not “get it.” I’ve met several creative people in the last couple of weeks, and it really restores your faith in humanity.
After all, as Paula said, it was serendipitous that we met. The timing was perfect. I wasn’t even planning on trying for the 7pm show, and figured I’d have to wait till Tulsa (which has showings on days when I’m not working day job) 2 weeks down the line. Everything fell into place.
THEN….a lifelong dream happened. I saw myself on the silver screen. It’s only for a second. No one but my tiny creative inner circle of friends will notice or even care. But it happened.
We got our first movie acting job, maybe 6 years ago (unpaid of course!). It was for a tiny, independent short film, and who knew how far this acting thing would go? From that, I worked my first feature (as an actor) in 2008. Then, as movies kept shooting close by, I keep auditioning. I keep telling people, “If we’d moved to LA to try to break into the movie business, we would not have gotten as much action as we’ve gotten in Oklahoma.” The film industry here is huge.
Then, you drive home in the dark, worried about deer and planning on sleeping in the next day. There is a sense of wonder, and contentment…and a sense of “This HAD to happen.” Maybe not on this particular job or production, but at some point, the numbers have to stack in your favor and they edit you IN a movie, rather than OUT of the movie.
This makes up for those days when you wonder if you are absolutely crazy for trying this kind of life. For the days of headaches and frustrations with the day job; to the days of bipolar-ish mood swings, to the days of poor health….
From the heartbreak of loss, to the heartache of men knowing they can’t compete with your love for your art; to men who fall in love with you, then try to cage you and take away the thing they loved you for in the first place…
From the days when you tell someone that you worked a major motion picture (and they give you that blank stare, as if you are speaking a foreign language), to the people whom you thought were in your corner, but aren’t; from deciding how you define success (accomplishment? money? recognition?), to how you handle failure; from making a list of the compliments and encouragements you’ve received; to the days of extreme lows….
…you get to a day like today.
I am an actor, on screen, in a major motion picture.
Sometimes….life turns out to be pretty cool
Pics of downtown Bartlesville