UPDATE: ALISON has become a Vimeo Staff Pick! Thank you for all your views, comments, shares, likes, and love!
It is with excited and scared and vulnerable hearts that we release our latest film, ALISON, publicly for the first time. It is now in the hands of the internet. I simultaneously want to cry and puke and hug everyone. This project has meant so much to me this year and I cherish every single experience it has brought with it: the crazy overly ambitious one day film shoot with the BEST crew in the world; the hours of editing holed up alone in my bedroom eating nothing but peanut butter; the amazing festival audiences who have embraced the film and laughed at all the right parts; the handshakes and new friendships and faces that are now in my life; audience members who have privately confessed all the deeply personal ways they can relate. Even the rejections and heartbreak and criticisms have taught me so much about myself and my art. I love film. And I love this community. Thank you for letting me make it and share it with you.
It literally takes a village to make a short film happen. I don’t have enough thank yous in the world for: My partner in life and crime and art, David Lester, who read the first draft and loved it and decided we should just make it and didn’t give me time to second-guess anything. He’s also an incredible director (no bias, I swear) who translated my script into something far deeper and funnier than what was just on the page.There are so many moments in this film that I thank your genius for.
Our fairy-godfather, Corey Shurge, who read the script and sent it to Kristopher Turner and basically made it all happen overnight. And he was the best continuity dude in town 😉
Kristopher Turner, who turned out to be the greatest scene partner anyone could ever dream of. I could gush forever but his work speaks for itself.
Robert Brunton, our cinematographer, who pulled off STUNNING WORK in the shortest time span imaginable. And invited us into his bathtub.
Andrei Ionesco, who patiently sat by my side for a week converting files, solving problems, eating candy, and helping me make sense of it all.
All of you, oh I wish we could list all the things you did for us on set and beyond: Hannah Anderson, Jessica giles, Matthew Edison, Jason Kennedy, Kenzie Brooks, Maddie Fordham, Chris Ross, Michael Schoemig, Nick Davey, Sean Lewis, Riley Godin, Zack Mancini, Jeff McNab, Emily Skoggard, Jesse Gillingham, Gray Aletter, Dazmo Camera, The Sweet Potato, The Shmooz, Jeff Brush, Nicole Spinner. None of this was possible without you.
And all the people who gave your invaluable feedback on early cuts, when nothing meant anything anymore: Michelle Alexander, Jen Aitken, Meghan Swaby, Hannah Anderson, Jessica Giles, Chloe Sullivan, Mandy Pipher, Antonio Cayonne, Matthew Edison, Kiran Friesen, Corey Shurge, John Fray, Samara Stern, Josh Vokey, Daniel Gold, Adam Goldhammer, Elana Dunkelman, and Kristopher Turner. I turned to you because you are artists I greatly, deeply, profoundly admire and respect and you all made this film better.
Dear Internet: Please be kind to our film baby. We love it very much and hope that you love it too. And if you don’t, that’s okay! Mostly we just hope you’ll share your honest thoughts with us. If the film does resonate with you, the greatest gift to us would be to SHARE IT any way you can. The more clicks and views we get, the longer this film will live.
Thank you. Now go, ALISON, go!
You can view Alison on the NSI Online Film Festival: http://www.nsi-canada.ca/2017/05/alison/
Or directly on Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/jessicaroseactor/alison
Follow us at http://www.alisonshortfilm.com
Had a whirlwind of a weekend shooting my latest project, “Alison”. This one is close to my heart because it is the first film script I’ve written, and it was an opportunity to explore a character that is very different from the things I’ve done so far. I was somehow lucky enough to share the screen with the brilliant Kristopher Turner — an actor I’ve admired for ages — who is as generous, kind, patient, and gifted a scene partner as you would imagine him to be. We were directed by my husband, David Lester (who previously directed me in Frozen Marbles), and shot by the brilliant award-winning Robert Brunton (check out some of his amazing work here: http://www.robertbrunton.ca). Eighteen hours of shooting aside (low-budget filmmaking is never easy!), it was one of those “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” kind of days. My heart is so full and happy. It is amazing when anything makes it from script to screen, but this project came together surprisingly quickly and easily and I think there might be something special about it.
I’ve always found the process of filmmaking so daunting, so it can take me ages to get my own projects off the ground. But it’s so worth it. Nothing feels more satisfying than wrapping a day on a film that was once just a floating idea in your head.
I’m now about to enter the thick of editing. See you on the other side 🙂
So excited to work with these comedy geniuses on Man Seeking Woman! Check it out tomorrow night at 10:30 pm on FXX.
A fun peak behind the scenes at my day on set of ‘Sensitive Skin’ – as the ‘poor girl stuck in a box all day’ (But actually the very lucky girl who got to work and geek out with her heroes).
— Lakeshorts (@LakeshortsFilm) April 7, 2015
Thank you to the Lakeshorts International Film Festival for announcing me as the recipient of the AH! Emerging Artist Award! Frozen Marbles has been a project close to my heart for two years and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Special shout outs to director David Lester, my movie sista Hannah Anderson (who gives a breathtaking award-worthy performance herself), our writer Karen Moore, cinematographer Daniel Grant, producer Jason Kennedy, editor Daniel Reis, our unbelievably dedicated crew from production to post, and of course, all our indiegogo supporters. It’s easy to act well when you are supported and lifted by such a wonderful, talented artists.
You can now check out Frozen Marbles here!
Hi. Nice to meet you.
I’m an actor.
What’s that? Oh. Oh yes. I know how hard it is.
Yes, I know how few people actually “make it”.
Thanks for the reminder. It wasn’t necessary, but I do appreciate the concern.
Yes, I’m an actor. Yes, a real one. Yep, a professional real life actor. No… nothing you would have heard of. Not yet. But I will. Someday. I know it’s difficult to understand. But credits or no credits, I’m still an actor.
Enough about me…what do you do?
No, I won’t sign an autograph for you to sell on e-bay in twenty years. Ha. Ha. Oh, you’re serious. Well, sure I guess.
No, I don’t have a backup plan.
What do you mean a “real job”? Isn’t acting a real job?
Stability? Well, I guess my life may seem a bit less secure to people, but I’m used to it. I don’t think it’s frivolous. I take my life very seriously, thank you. If I didn’t take my life so seriously, I probably wouldn’t be an actor.
Why am I an actor and not a—what did you say? Um. Because I’m an actor. It’s who I am. My hair is red and I like peanut butter and I’m an actor. You know? Well, I mean, it obviously gets more complicated than that…but if I explain any further I’ll have to get all philosophical on you and bare my soul and stuff…and I have to get off the streetcar in a couple more stops…
No, not just anyone can be an actor. In the same way not just anyone can be a surgeon—
Why? Because I hear you need to go to medical school for that.
No, I don’t want to go to medical school. But I would happily play a surgeon in a movie.
It looks easy? I’m glad you think so. I think that means we’re doing our job. We work really hard to make it look easy.
Yes, there is actual technique, skill, and process involved in what I do. Well, it’s a bit hard to explain… but you do thorough script analysis… you break down the scenes structurally and identify the objectives and underlying truths of the characters. Then you translate that understanding into actions you can play to affect change in your scene partner, and then tap into the emotional circumstances so that you can—
Oh, sure. Take that call. I’ll wait.
No, lines aren’t hard to learn. Not really.
Rejection? I disagree. I don’t have to “deal with so much rejection”. Sometimes I’m exactly the right person for the role, and sometimes another person is a better fit for whatever reason. It doesn’t mean I’m not worthy or good in the role or that they won’t bring me back for something else. I think rejection is a misconception.
No, I don’t sing and dance. I wish I could, but I’m just an actor.
No other major skills, no. Well, I did a tap routine in grade 5 that I still remember…but that doesn’t really count. I know someone who eats fire. Maybe that can be my backup plan.
You’re right, I’m not a model. I’m an actor. I so love when you point that out. Yes, I’m short. I’m okay with it. I’m imperfect. I’m a human playing other human beings. I better be imperfect if I want to be honest and real and–
Yeah, she’s really pretty. No, I don’t know her personally.
When will I give up? I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I hope never. There is no timeline for making it. I hope I will do it as long as I want to do it…until it stops being fun or fulfilling or whatever. I hope I can do it forever.
This is my stop. I gotta go… nice to meet you too.. good luck with whatever it is you do…
Oh. Thank you.
Yes, I promise.
I won’t give up.
You too. And you can say you knew me when.
A year ago, I began collaborating with my partner, David, and a writer, Karen Moore (she wrote the very awesome BravoFACT short, Your Place or Mine), to come up with a film project we could all work on together. Karen went away and wrote Frozen Marbles: a quirky, funny, brave little film about two sisters who reunite to remember someone they’ve lost. It is a beautiful character study on the impact of loss on a family, and how we each deal grief in our own way. I will be playing one of the sisters, Jade.
On a personal note, two weeks ago – in the middle of developing the campaign for this film – I lost my grandmother. Somehow, even when you anticipate something may happen soon, you are never quite ready or prepared. I couldn’t help but feel strange about the timing. I experienced very personally and deeply exactly what this film is about. Grief is something that touches all of us, is so human and universal, yet rarely discussed and understood. There is so much strangeness – even awkwardness – in trying to be there for someone who has lost someone. What can you possibly say? How can anything make it better? It is a difficult thing for any of us to articulate, and in the middle of a time where we all unite over a shared loss, so often tensions arise as our ways of coping conflict. We reveal so much of ourselves. If there is any reason to create a film – or any art for that matter – it is to help us better understand those experiences and each other.
I also believe in this project not only because I’ve been by its side since its inception, but because I know the people involved are some of the most passionate, hardworking, determined, gifted filmmakers around. Many are at the beginning of their careers, and we are proud to give them the spotlight.
So here’s the challenge. Making movies is expensive! Who knew? We have spent the year applying for grants and working to raise money on our own, and have now reached out through crowdfunding to help us go all the way. If you can take a moment to view the campaign, and share with a social network or two, you might be my best friend.
AND: Just as I was ready to publish this, we found out that Frozen Marbles is now featured on IndieReign’s Project of the Week competition! The winner receives $100 from IndieReign, and tons of exposure around the web. So exciting! Please take a moment and VOTE for us here: http://blog.indiereign.com/project-week-will-it-be-life-itself-shepherd-2154-cutter-or-frozen-marbles/
Check out our nifty campaign tracker device!
And our campaign video!
— Frozen Marbles (@frozenmarbles) November 28, 2013
Please share your thoughts with me & spread the love around. Hippie style.
UPDATE: You can now view Frozen Marbles here!
I’ve been a giddy little actor this week. I had the extraordinary privilege of being invited by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre into a workshop of Kathy Kacer and Jake Epstein’s new play, Therefore Choose Life. Does it get any better than being asked to spend time in the wonderful company of Avery Saltzman, Trudy Weiss, Paula Wolfson, Kathy, Jake, and our brilliant director Jen Shuber, to talk, share, act, shed a few (good) tears, and explore a beautiful piece of writing together? The answer is no. It was truly a magical week.
I am so proud of Jake and Kathy for everything they achieved – the final product is tremendous. I can’t wait until they share it with all of you!
Happy New Year, Friends!
The past few months have been a complete, utter whirlwind, but there is much goodness to share. I recently returned from my first “grown up” trip to New York City. It was perfect. I finally saw my first Broadway show (and first OFF Broadway show too!). I even met one of my very favourite playwrights, sang Happy Birthday to him (along with, oh I dunno, David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver!!!!!) and told him straight to his face how much I love his work. I don’t think he saw when I ran under the stairwell after so I could cry from happiness (true story). Also, the bagels are so delicious in New York I might have a problem.
So, I <3 NY. I came home so inspired, refreshed, and ready to take ACTION. Nothing like a little trip to NY to get your blood flowing and heart racing and energy back in the game.
And here is the other BIG news:
I have recently launched an initiative that I have been quietly but passionately working on for many months now: The Actors Connective Toronto – http://www.actorsconnectivetoronto.com.
I am so excited about this. It is a VERY long story about how this came to be, but essentially I felt that us dear Toronto actors have been missing out on a supportive, collaborative (but also butt-kicking!) community for a very long time. After doing some research, I realized online communities like A.C.T. exists for actors in places like New York, LA, and Vancouver – but not here. So I decided to create one. I have been OVERWHELMED by how much positive support and help I’ve received so far. So many wonderful folks have volunteered their time and energy to help me produce articles, interviews, and blogs, and after receiving over 300 likes on our facebook page in the last two of weeks (and counting!) I can tell this is going to grow into something amazing. (Also, a very special thanks to Jen Ponton, Glenda Braganza, Ian Brown, Jeb Beach, Tzabia Siegel, and David Lester for being so instrumental in helping me get this off the ground).
Please check out the website and let me know what you think!
Stay warm & cozy…
Hey readers, my website and blog’s ON AIR! Stay tuned… more coming!