Hello to everyone who reads this blog. Today is the start of something very special.
A few weeks ago, I asked my good friend Evan Sneider if he would consider blogging about his experiences working as the star of GIRLFRIEND. Lucky for all of us, he accepted.
He has a lot to say and so I've decided to tease all of you and break it up into installments, the first of which will begin right now. So, without further ado, I turn it over to Mr. Sneider. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Shaun O'Banion (my man!) asked me if I would write something for his blog telling about my experience acting in and working on my first feature film. I hope you enjoy reading it. Thank you for making this offer to me, Shaun. You're such a dear friend.
I've loved every minute of GIRLFRIEND.
Before acting in GIRLFRIEND, my first film work was in Justin Lerner's thesis film THE REPLACEMENT CHILD. Before that, my acting experience was in theater, but I'll tell you more about that later.
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I've learned that it is the same when a movie is made. It takes a lot of people to "put it together" (a lyric from my favorite composer, Stephen Sondheim). Some people work on a movie way before filming starts, alot of people work during filming, and some others after filming ends, but first you need a script. I thought I'd start by telling you my experience of the start of GIRLFRIEND..
One day I had plans to go to lunch with my friends Justin Lerner and Dan Turnbull. During lunch Justin and Dan started talking with me about doing a film that I would have a starring role in and wanted to know how I would feel about that. This touched my heart SO much and it was a real WOW moment for me. I was SO excited to think I would have this kind of opportunity. I loved acting in THE REPLACEMENT CHILD, so to have the chance to act again with a really big role was SO incredible. I told them that I would LOVE IT, and I couldn't wait to get started!
A funny thing happened later that night. I was telling my Mom about my lunchtime conversation. Knowing how the thought of starring in a movie would be a dream come true for me, and how unlikely things like that happen, she thought possibly I was doing some wishful thinking, or had misunderstood. She quickly learned it was really true.
But first, Justin had to write a script. The story of GIRLFRIEND. or more the character of Evan Grey is based on me, but GIRLFRIEND. is a work of fiction, not my true life story. I have some things in common with my character, but many differences too.
After some script revisions Justin and others were busy with casting director Brad Gilmore, auditioning people and making many decisions. More planning began with many people doing many things, more than I totally understand, but I know producers were busy needing to get $$$ and make alot of other arrangements and decisions, hiring many talented people so GIRLFRIEND. could actually be filmed. It takes alot of people, not just actors to make a movie.
I was so excited and looking forward to getting to work on the film. To get to act and to get to meet and work with alot of new people.
I was very happy when I found out that I would actually have some things to do before filming began. One was to help for casting and one was to help me prepare for my role.
Justin called me one day to tell me they were going to be looking for the right person to play Simon and a few other roles too and were holding auditions. Justin was flying east with producers Jerad and Krstina Anderson and our script supervisor Giulia Setembrino. Our east coast producer Sarah Steinberg Heller would also be at the auditions. They wanted me to come to the auditions to help by "reading" with the children auditioning for the part of Simon. They also wanted me to "read" with Seth Chatfield who they wanted for the part of Jeremy, Joe Turnbull who they wanted for the role of Willie Jones and Darren McDonald who they wanted for the role of Darren Jones, Willie's son.
It was so much fun helping with the auditions. It was such a fun day also because it was the first day that I met Jerad, Kristina, Sarah and Seth who have become such dear friends to me. (I had already been good friends with Joe and Darren for a long time.) Since Sarah and Seth live on the east coast, we've been able to see each other even after filming wrapped. Everyone has been so wonderful to me. I couldn't wait for the day when we'd be working together on the film. On another day, I drove around with Justin and he showed me houses and other places in the area where we'd be shooting the film. That was fun too. On a seperate trip back to Wayland, Justin introduced me to Craig Divino, who was a friend of Justin's from Cornell. Craig is a talented actor, but Justin wanted us to meet ahead of time because Craig was going to be my acting coach. (Craig had also worked as the fight co-ordinator on Justin's film THE REPLACEMENT CHILD). We got to talk a little bit about relaxation exercises he wanted to teach me and also talked about what to expect when we started filming. Craig was very helpful and I learned alot from him. Craig and I have also talked with each other about our acting and theater work.
Check back for PART TWO: FILMiNG BEGINS.