Archive for category Creativity
Don submitted for a gig and got invited to submit a video audition. Luckily on this one, we had a whole week to produce this. But due to other commitments on other days of the week, we needed to get our part of the submission produced in about a day and a half.
Our friend Mark Klein has a really nice place. It occurred to me to ask if he might allow us permission to film at his place. There would be minimal setup on our part, and we’d have room to move around and work. Mark, bless him, said yes.
Mark has worked on moviemaking in the past, so that’s why I took the chance and asked him this time. He told me stories of when he and his friends were shooting movies on 8mm. You had to send the film off to be developed. And wait for it to come back. You didn’t even know what you had till days after the shoot.
This is digital filmmaking. Each format has its strengths and weaknesses. But for us to be able to shoot a scene, then look at it and make adjustments immediately – for that aspect, I am grateful.
Don did all the setup and planning and math and figuring and angles, blocking, scene setting. Everything. It is a dinner table scene, and he needed to play against people, even if they were not interacting in the scene. Mark agreed to help, sitting in the scene, and giving Don something to act off of.
What’s my role in this gig? Cinematography.
Oh yeah. Someone needs to read the other actor’s lines off camera. And time them to the scene. I did not do a good job.
Don did. With minimal information, he turned this scene into a SCENE. He found ways to act that I never would have thought of.
It’s pretty amazing to watch.
This is Don. On so many of the headshots we take and submit, he is stoic. This is the real him. He is always laughing and smiling.
Chisholm Trail – Past and Present is a documentary about the 2017 cattle drive to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. It is produced, directed and edited by Amanda Ball and Donald J. Krejsek.
There are a lot of behind the scenes stories and still photographs on this blog. Search the September 2017 archives.
Don and I had a blast out on the trail. We are thrilled and honored to be included in this slice of history.
The list of drovers can be found at the movie’s IMDB page.
When you are a filmmaker, you have to make many, many decisions. One of the decisions was…what do we do about the music?
Do you use old time songs that are in the public domain? Do you record new material but make them sound old? Do you use entirely new modern material? I was discussing this with my Dad, and he said, “All I can think of is Momma’s song.”
My grandmother, Mattie Belle Keenon Ball, passed away in 1979. When my Dad was in Vietnam in the 1960s, he purchased two early model reel to reel tape recorders. He took one overseas. The other he gave to his parents. They used these early tape machines to send letter tapes back and forth. Only one of these tapes survived. And on this tape, both my Granny and my Granddad talked and told my Dad stories. On this tape, my grandmother sang the song to my Dad that she had sung to him when he was a boy.
“When the work’s all done this fall.” The song itself is in the public domain. The fact that we have this recording that was made by my grandmother, over 50 years ago, makes my heart runneth over. (And makes my eyes puddle up.)
Just a few sky photographs. I can look at one of these and take a deep breath and enjoy the “wide open spaces”.
Creativity has been at a total standstill in my world and in my head. In fact, I had my still camera lost for about six months! Thank goodness I found it.
I miss creativity, but that part of my brain is taking a vacation. When it turns “on” again, then I will be back at it.
I hope you are all well and happy and safe!
This is the last movie we worked as actors.
July 1 starts the new fiscal year for the Oklahoma Film Commission rebate program.
That means, if you are an actor, July in Oklahoma means that there are lots of opportunities to get acting gigs.
So, Don and I start submitting. We knew that we had submitted for a gig for Wednesday. Tuesday I head off to my day job, planning on checking messages on my lunch break and again after work.
When I looked at my phone at 4:30ish, I had a ton of messages.
The casting office had texted us at 12:56pm that we had been cast for the gig. They were sending an email. You had to confirm the email by 2pm.
Yep – that was a whole whopping 64 minute window there.
Don had his phone with him the whole time, and got the text in time. But, the email never came through. And you needed to confirm via EMAIL and he never got it.
I went to my lunch break and contacted them back saying that we were available, and was the slot still open? (Yes, I know it was way later than the 2pm deadline, but I wanted to try.) At that point – (by now it’s after 5pm), we learned that the location was way, way, way further away than we knew.
Don still hadn’t gotten that first email. I contacted them after 5. We both figured that we can kiss this gig goodbye.
At 6:36, we got the confirmation text. We got the job!
We knew we had a massively long drive to get there. We can do it. But I am scared of an early call time, and I have done NOTHING to prepare. Haven’t checked over the car, haven’t gotten cash for the day, haven’t prepared snacks/water/drinks/emergency supplies, haven’t prepared wardrobe, etc.
After we are confirmed on the job, we get an email with instructions. It is all basic stuff, bring three outfits (they told the location of the film’s setting and what type of attire is desirable), no cameras on set, don’t approach the main actors, behave on set, etc. Just basic stuff. And luckily for us, the call time is 2:30pm.
Wednesday we have a time set when we are going to leave. Each of us has wardrobe, emergency supplies, and we each brought snacks/beverages. 99% of the time, production provides water &/or food. But having been stranded on a gig once, without basic supplies, I will do everything in my power to not go through that again.
We stop for lunch along this (very, very) long drive. At least we are fueled up – food-wise I mean. The weather is gorgeous. We have had days earlier this month with massive heat already, but lucky for us, a cool front on Monday took the temperature down by about 20* (F).
Since I couldn’t take pics on set, and I can’t share details, here is my one photograph:
We saw a whole lotta highway on the way to this gig! LOL
We got there early. We found a circle of folding chairs under shade trees. We asked if this was where we were supposed to be?
It turned out to be the best afternoon. Everyone on this production treated everyone with dignity and respect. That goes such a long way towards making an acting job be a good experience. At first they said they might get a trailer for us. But the weather was so nice, and it was pleasant, and our green room was a nice afternoon spent under shade trees. The on camera location was close by. They had great craft services. The business next door opened their restroom to the production. Our basic needs were taken care of.
The best part was the other actors that day. We met some great people. It was fun to hang out and share stories (both acting and non-acting stories). We exchanged contact info. It is great to meet like-minded people who do what we do.
We all laughed – a lot!
For privacy reasons, and to comply with our instructions, I won’t reveal any specific details about the gig. We were released a lot earlier than I thought we would be. It would have been fine if we had had to work late. I was expecting to get home about 4 am. Getting home any time before that would have been nice, and we got home well before that time.
That being said, I was still pretty tired. Don drove all the way there, and most of the way back. (Thank you!)
I hope everyone out there is doing great – and I send you all best wishes as you are out there, too, in pursuit of your dreams!
Photography has been back burner lately – very back burner.
But we have had interesting (and scary) weather, and one day I was out with the camera.
Something about this just haunts me. It makes me want to look and see if Robert Johnson is sitting on this corner, guitar at his feet.
Mother Nature has the power. We are helpless to change it.
But if you pay attention, sometimes she hands you a reward. If you are paying attention. For something so rare, will be fleeting….then gone…
There is one thing that I didn’t anticipate about being a playwright.
The theatre is all about acceptance. It is a safe space. It is about sharing. It is…a community.
Being accepted into this group, fills one with warmth.
I didn’t anticipate this. It is enough to have someone select your play for performance. It is wonderful to be invited to see this performance. It is astounding to know that a whole group of strangers have volunteered their time and efforts to work on your play, and memorize, and practice, and rehearse, and on and on. There are cues for them to learn. They have to set up lighting and sound cues. The stage managers have to set up the stage in seconds – and they have to get it right. The actors have very limited time in the performance venue to get used to the ins and outs, work their blocking, work with their scene partner, and still “sell the performance”.
I am only the playwright. In a sense – I have the easiest job. I sit – (probably in my pajamas) – in my easy chair – with my laptop on my lap. And I write. I can do this at my leisure. On my own time. I can take as long as I want to craft the play. I can rewrite. I can throw out the elements that don’t work. I coordinate back and forth with my writing partner. We bounce ideas off of each other.
It is a thrill when we, as playwrights, get to go to a theatre and see our play performed.
I had such an honor this past weekend at the 2019 Stillwater Short Play Festival. They utilize blind selection, and I consider it an honor that they have chosen our play to be performed. This is the fourth time they have chosen us.
Our play this year is a comedy called “Speed Dating” by playwrights Amanda Ball and Karen Ball. It has four speaking parts – one male and three female.
I had the opportunity to meet two of the performers in the lobby,
Klayton Valega and Veronica Allen.
The other performers in the play with speaking roles were, Sharyl Pickens and Courtney Octoo-Lee. Extras were Jacob Boyd and Archibald Octoo-Lee. The play was directed by Debbie Sutton.
It was fun. I laughed out loud! So did the rest of the audience.
What fun! To see something that began as a seed of an idea, to be brought to full fruition by a group of strangers…strangers who become a group-with-a-purpose and accept me as one of them!
I thank you!
Out of this community, like a spiderweb, lines grow between other plays, groups, peoples, projects, and theatres.
Mr. Valega and Ms. Allen (pictured above) told me that they met because of our play. And because of that, they ended up doing another play in the festival called “Last Dance” by playwright Len Cuthbert.
And, in my humble opinion, this play “Last Dance” was the best play of the night. I had tears in my eyes.
Whether you laugh or whether ‘your eyes commence to puddling up’ – it is The Theatre that brings us together!
Thank you all for including us.
Below are some photos of the day:
We are thrilled and honored that one of our plays has been chosen for the Stillwater Short Play Festival.
The play is a comedy written by myself and my writing partner, Karen Ball.
The festival will be held the weekend of May 4 and 5, 2019 at the Town and Gown Theatre in Stillwater, Oklahoma.