When is it a good time, as an actor, to just say no???

When I was a little girl I loved performing, just as all small kids did, and am confident that small children still do. I bet there isn’t one of you reading this who hasn’t made every single person at a family gathering sit and watch your interpretation of a Disney movie, or do your damnedest to lip sync your heart out to your favourite band. We were little. We were innocent, and we were narcissistic, although I mean that in the sweetest, kindest way, because as children we were self centered, but in a truly “I’m being creative, watch this.” Pure and joy filled, rather than an “I am sooooo awesome, watch this” ego affected, fashion. This usually starts to happen as one gets older way.

Anyway, back to me.

Ego ; )

I had always had a calling to be on stage, started dancing at age four, and my mom likes to remind me that even if I didn’t know the steps, which happened OFTEN. Not sure what it is with my brain and why I couldn’t retain the sequence of movements?? But alas, I struggled with it all through my years as a dancer. My mother would say I would just smile the brightest, largest shit eating grin that you could picture on a kid. I loved it. I was in my element when I was dancing, singing, or as I got older, acting.

Then life happened, babies, came, travel to incredible exotic locales where hubby was filming various projects, and my acting took a backseat. So now, I don’t have an agent, and I’m no longer actively pursuing acting gigs, if somebody offers me a part I’ll read the script and decide from there. This is precisely what happened with a project I agreed to appear in. It was one scene, no large commitment required from me. Perfect. Totally doable. I read through the script and it had a very sci-fi “good vs evil vibe”, about Lucifer and Michael. I figured if shot properly it could be pretty bad ass. I mean who doesn’t love a well done film about one of the oldest stories on the planet? I know, I for one do.

Last night there was a screening of this project, in a church. Also sorta cool given the plot. I enlisted my sister-in-law, who other than my two best friends, has always been one of my greatest “you can do ANYTHING” champions on the planet, as my date. Then hubby finished work at an unusually early time Friday, and was able to come as my other date. We were excited, the roles were at long last reversed, and Yannick was attending a screening of MY work. It had been YEARS since this had been our situation, so he was more than happy to come and watch my one scene. Now, I wish I hadn’t brought him. Not because it wasn’t a solid first effort from two start up directors/producers, who used to be actors, and like almost every other actor on the planet, myself included, is sick of the bullshit of trying to get work via auditions. All the juicy roles are cast before the casting calls even hit your agents computer, usually with U.S actors, because for some reason in American film makers minds, Canadian’s just can’t do it as well. I cry, bullshit on this all the time, and not because I’m Canadian, more because I happen to know that most performers North of the border have toiled away in the theater (which hones your craft in a way no number of years on TV or film could ever do) they have humbled themselves to sit on set for days, sometimes weeks, watching and learning how a film set works, as they wait for their few lines as the reporter in a huge court scene. Canadian actors kick ASS. So, I for one was very much looking forward to this movie screening last night. But while sitting in the audience I couldn’t help but ask myself, over and over again; “when is it okay to say no to a role??”

Because ten minutes in…the acting was strong, except for one performer who was most definitely acting alone the entire film, every body else was completely believable, I wanted to leave, but my dinner reservation wasn’t until 9pm, the film began at 7:30pm. I didn’t have as much trouble with even the one weak actor, as I did with the entire way the “good vs evil” was portrayed. It was so fucking preachy that I found myself saying during the entire movie: “Jesus.” or “Oh God.” But not in the way that the film makers were probably hoping I would, entirely in the way of “oh wow…why? WHY, are they hitting the movie goer over the head with this bible business? WHY??” For the rest of the screening, I sat there going “hmmm.”

Something, probably none of you know about Yannick and me is that from the time we were twenty-two until twenty-seven we were part of a non-denominational church, that was international. So when we lived in Toronto we served in the Toronto arm, in New Zealand we went there and served, same with San Diego, and then LA. About two years in the church tapped us to be a part of the Arts and Entertainment Industry, to be leaders of the men and women coming to Christ who were also in the A&E world. We jumped at it, a) because we loved God, b) we loved our church (big mistake) and c) we thought people were lost and needed to be saved. We did plenty of door knocking, plenty of baptizing and gave away a shit ton of money. Like lots. I knew the bible like the back of my hand, and counseled women on lustful thoughts, deceit, and submission to their husbands. I was all in baby! Then the church began fighting over which arm got our 10% of Yannick’s earnings. San Diego wanted it, Toronto said our roots were there, and LA said; “but they’re moving here.” Everybody fought over our bank account to the point where it put a sour taste in my mouth. Then, they miscalculated our “special missions tithe” by like TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars, and refused to make the correction. Instead telling us, “God would provide, if we had faith.” Well I have a story about how this played out, but that’s going to be a non-fiction book one day, therefore you must wait.

So, now, back to my point; I’m not one of those squeamy “Ugh God talk” type of people. I agree, now, many years later since leaving what we thought was a church, which really was a cult, to let others live as they choose to live. That if there is a God, that I trust and believe that He is almighty and will deal with those who don’t please Him, in His own way. I don’t need to get involved. And this is what I felt the entire time of watching this movie last night. I felt like, “guys. Come on. Believe what you want to believe, don’t hit people over the head with the ‘you’re going to hell and only God can help you if you walk in the light’ fucking hammer.” It is, as we used to call it in our church “UNRELATABLE” there is no way in hell these two, lovely men are going to convert one single non-believer with this film. Not one single person, I’m afraid to tell you. There’s just no way. So instead of starting the dialogue of “our film hasn’t received distribution” with the belief that it’s because there is something wrong with all the non-believers, perhaps you could re-edit the film to make it more about the fight between “good and evil” without all the damnation business. Also, my suggestion is take the story away from the father/son relationship and focus on Lucifer and Michael’s relationship/ and brilliant performances, perhaps then, you’re film will find it’s way.

As for this recovering actress, I for one will be much more diligent going forward with any future film/TV roles I’m offered, you have my word.

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