Pillsbury Crescent Dogs

Mid-August I posted the following little blurb on my professional Facebook page - || while this week was rather insane (two on-camera auditions - one TV pilot and one TV commercial; rehearsals for a stage play; voiceover session for a Pillsbury TV spot; and voiceover for Marketplace Events Home and Garden Shows - TV and radio spots in 5 markets), it's moments like this - noticing how the light is hitting a vintage Neumann microphone in the recording booth - that give me pause with gratitude and appreciation.

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And here’s the result of that session in the booth with the vintage Neumann:

Ten points for the copywriter who gave pigs-in-a-blanket a fancy-yet-accessible turn.

(By the way, have you ‘liked’ Leigha Horton - Stage || Screen || Voice  yet?  No?  Do! It’s an easy way to be notified of new Greenroom posts!)

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Spent today on set for a Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercial…I had auditioned for one of the speaking roles and was ultimately cast as an extra, which had me on set for the entire 10-hour shoot day over three locations (I was told it could have been 12 hours, so the early wrap was a nice surprise).


First location: Bang Bang Salon, Kingfield, Minneapolis

Camera-ready call-time: 6:30 am (ohmygod, 6:30 AM. *whimper*)

Wellmark On Set 1

Wellmark On Set 1

Second location: The Uptown Theater, Uptown, Minneapolis

This is what it looks like when you’re on set, “watching a movie.”  Real popcorn! Which means don't get a hull stuck in your throat and panic a little trying to stifle your cough so you don't ruin somebody's take.  But I wouldn't know anything about that.

Wellmark On Set 2
Wellmark On Set 2

Third and final location: curbside in Kenwood, Minneapolis

The best part about leafing through prop books on the table was discovering that one of them was the propmaster’s wife’s journal from high school.  I didn’t read it, but I did happen to notice that her prom picture was pretty tubular.

Additional bonus, I discovered my friend Ansa would be portraying my fella for this scene.  We joked about how, due to the camera lens’ depth of field, we’d likely be very blurry.  And that we are the best blurry actors in town.  And that we should just get very blurry, far off headshots taken and really sell it.  Oh the dangers of idle minds…

Wellmark On Set 3
Wellmark On Set 3

Behind the Scenes with Cloud Cult

Today brought my MTV and MTVu debut in the form of an incredibly sweet music video for Cloud Cult's Good Friend - from their newly released Love album:

We filmed it in three locations on February 2, and it was...cold. Ohmygodsocold.  As in, high-for-the-day-was-10-degrees-Fahrenheit cold.  Texts to a friend that morning consisted of helpful weather indicators like "my legs are frozen solid," and, "holy jesus it's cold."  Despite Mother Nature trying to kill us, the day was wonderful.

Without further ado, a behind-the-scenes look at filming for Good Friend:


 The park with the most fabulous old metal play equipment.


A portable ice-fishing tent served as our warming house.

This thing was a tiny miracle.


Musician toes + portable propane heater.


The playground was situated next to an ice rink covered in fresh snow.  The adult boys made a game out of seeing who could run to the edge and then slide the farthest.  There were very specific rules.  The child boys won.


Adam Whisner on the swing set.  In a sweet little bit of all things coming 'round, Adam was the Doug to my Kayleen in the last two Minneapolis productions of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries.  When we learned of the casting, our text conversation went thusly:

Me: You and me?  We're gonna be in a music video together.  That makes me happy.

Adam: We're going to be yelling at each other.  Next play we're in, let's just be in regular love 'n' stuff.

Me: It's a deal.


The imaginary friend rests.


Setting up the long shot while Adam and I wait on the metal bench swing.


Adam and I waiting on the metal bench swing.


The pretty, pretty long shot of the metal bench swing.


Reconciliation. Awwwwww.


Our intrepid director, John Burgess, standing in for "Sam."


"Sam," pre-spaghetti-head.


"Mom" and a spaghetti-headed "Sam."


Charles Hubbell looking up something terribly important relating to Captain Underpants on IMDB.


The light truck outside our third and final location, awaiting load-out.  The sweet, quiet end to the long, sweet day.

2012 in Review

In November of this past year, I took part in a little daily project on Facebook called The Month of Thanks.  Every day I sat down to write, publicly, something I was thankful for that day.  And let’s be honest, there are some dark, dark days in November in Minnesota.  Some days many of us are just thankful to wake up in the morning, the small victory of not having died in our sleep.  Ahem.  Um, did I mention we don’t get much sunlight ‘round these parts in the winter? Even so, it was a beautiful project to partake in – one that made me grateful for the gratitude alone.  And in considering this 2012 Year in Review, Day 28 of my Month of Thanks leapt off the screen at me:

:: Month of Thanks, Day 28: today's recording session was in a pretty, pretty studio I'd never seen before. And the longer video for which I was providing voice-over was really quite lovely (there was a commercial, too, but that was, you know, short and commercialey). I am profoundly grateful that a combination of luck, training, skill, and perseverance has enabled me to do what I love for a living.

That, right there, is the essence of so much of last year.  The joy of exploring new studios. Of meeting engineers, writers, and producers.  Of realizing that I am able to make my living doing what I love because of luck, training, skill, and perseverance.  No single one of those things alone would cut it; it takes every piece to create the balance.  Some of those things are in my control, some are not, but every one is a gift.  And for that, I am most grateful.

And so, without further ado, my performance highlights of 2012:




  • Continued part-time work at the Science Museum of Minnesota on the Science Live team – performing live science demonstrations and science-related short plays for museum audiences.
  • Traveled to Portland, OR to present to national museum colleagues the first draft of Kitchen Chemistry, a new live stage presentation I created for the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Joined the advance-publicity team for public appearances and started rehearsals for my roles as Anne Bonny and Mary Read (depending on the day) in the Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  


  • Voiceovers for Marketplace Events spots - fourth year running.  Ty Pennington and I on national TV and radio urging you to attend home shows across the U.S.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Coordinet.
  • Voiceover for Land O’Lakes butter – my first truly-national television commercial.  I had done plenty of spots in the past that were aired in specific markets all over the U.S. (and therefore recorded multiples with appropriate city names filled in), but not one single commercial that would be aired everywhere.  Network TV, cable, everywhere.  It was very exciting.  Recorded at Echo Boys for Campbell Mithun.  




  • Opening of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Started rehearsals for Rajiv Joseph’s achingly beautiful two-person play Gruesome Playground Injuries.


  • Voiceovers for KeyBank - this was the first session reading tags for their “Vase” (and another – the name of which I’m forgetting) TV and radio ads. 47 tags, to be specific.  Recorded at Todd Syring’s studio at Campbell Mithun for Campbell Mithun.  
  • Voiceovers for KeyBank (yes, more) – I ended up having several more sessions at Campbell Mithun this month – just a couple tags here and there – but still a delight to be in their studios every time.




  • Performances of Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, which merited some lovely press, a hug from a newspaper critic, and a sweet note from the casting director at The Guthrie.  AND a new “Facebook friendship” with the playwright.  An honor and a joy.  
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.




  • Performed/read at a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center for a new play, which I’m embarrassed to say I retained no notes about – so cannot recollect the playwright nor the name of the play, nor if I read a role or the stage directions.  For shame, Leigha.
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.


  • Voiceovers for more Marketplace Events spots – this was for home shows that would be taking place later in the year, hence weren’t recorded at the year’s first session in January.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Coordinet.




  • Read stage directions at a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center for A User’s Guide to Hell, a new play by Lee Blessing.
  • Opened Kitchen Chemistry, a new live stage presentation I created for the Science Museum of Minnesota about the science of spaghetti – covering topics from boiling water to starch structures to smell and taste perception.
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.


  • Wrote and hosted the filming of the third in a four-part series of short satirical 1950’s-style educational films, titled The Wonders and Worries of Nanotechnology:  Who Benefits? on behalf of the Science Museum of Minnesota for The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).  Film + Production by Teddy Media.  


  • Voiceover for The Gimmie Awards, General Mills’ bi-annual awards ceremony.  Recorded at Syring Studios for Campbell Mithun.  I have to admit that it was a little exciting knowing who the winners were and why before the winners themselves.

Featured Press

  • Interview and photo shoot for small feature article and very large photograph to run later in the month in Vita.MN, a local arts and entertainment magazine owned by the Star Tribune.  The focus of the article was my work in Minneapolis/St. Paul as a full-time stage, screen, and voiceover actor.  




  • Read stage directions at a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center for Way West, a new play by Mona Mansour.
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.


  • Performed on-camera as The Bride in Girls in Lane 4, Steeltoe Stiletto’s entry into the Minneapolis 48-Hour Film Project.  For our efforts, we garnered a “Best Film” nomination and walked away with a coveted “Audience Favorite” award.  


  • Voiceover of animatics (they’re like roughly-animated storyboards) for a new Land O’Lakes product, which I still believe is going through the development phase.  I’ve been told that if it does make it to market with this concept, I’m in for the final spots.  This is, however, a months-long process – so who knows.  Keeping my fingers crossed nonetheless, because optimism feels better than the alternative.  Recorded at Todd Syring’s studio at Campbell Mithun for Campbell Mithun.
  • Voiceovers for KeyBank – a few more sessions this month – just a couple tags here and there for their “Vase” TV and radio ads.  Recorded at Todd Syring’s studio at Campbell Mithun for Campbell Mithun.




  • Performed/read for a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center of a new play, which I’m embarrassed to say I retained no notes about.  This is the second of two in 2012 that I somehow didn’t manage to keep records on – what on earth?  My apologies to the playwright.  For shame.  Again.
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.




  • Read stage directions at a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center for Regulation 18B, a new play by Scott Wright.
  • Read the role of Diana Margineanu at a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center for No Hay Luz and the Search for the Red Bourgainvilleas, a new play by Domnica Radulescu.  Thank goodness for my four years of Spanish in high school.  Rusty as all get-out, but the foundation is still there.
  • Continuation of Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  I KNOW, right?  When on earth did this thing end?!  Labor Day.  And so this is the last time you’ll see this particular gig mentioned.  It was a hell of a lot of fun, but I was so, SO happy when it was done for the sole sake of not having to fuss with that wretched dirt makeup anymore.  That shit was satanic.


  • Voiceover for Cheerios – this was an incredibly sweet online video featuring a “panel” of really cute kids talking about how their moms don’t really realize that they still like Cheerios even though they’re not babies anymore.  Adorbs.  Recorded at Spotnik for Orange Filmworks.  
  • Voiceover for Marketplace Events spots – yes, more.  I love these people.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Coordinet.




  • Performances of the remount of Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries.  Man, I love this play.  Rajiv is brilliant.  He didn’t write it for me, but I want him to write for me always.
  • Started rehearsals for kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva la Soul Power! at Intermedia Arts.  This year’s show was going to be HUGE.


  • Voiceover for Target – the second iteration of a short film about inclusiveness - entitled Anthem  (originally voiced in December 2011 and entitled You Make Us).  Recorded at Media Loft.  
  • Voiceover for Crystal Farms’ Simply Potatoes – announcer on two fun radio spots featuring some fantastic Minneapolis/St. Paul talent.  Recorded at Babble-On for Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB). 
  • Voiceovers for KeyBank – a few more sessions this month – just a couple tags here and there for their “Vase” TV and radio ads.  Recorded at Todd Syring’s studio at Campbell Mithun for Campbell Mithun.
  • Voiceover for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program’s annual awards ceremony.  This was my second year back in the studio for this client, and it was an honor and a joy to be asked back. Recorded at Aaron/Stokes for Blue 60 Pictures.
  • Voiceover for General Mills’ Yoplait Yogurt – dialogue with the delightful Gary Bingner, announced by the equally-delightful Mark Benninghofen.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Shout! Creative.  




  • Read stage directions for a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center of The Toupee, a new play by Tom Dunn.
  • Performances of kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva La Soul Power! at Intermedia Arts.  This was part of a much-larger project called 28 Days of Good Energia, which included a full (and gorgeous) gallery exhibition, and it was, again, a whirlwind of activities and some of the most amazingly soulful and creative and funny people.  And incredible food.  Ohmygod.
  • Started rehearsals and research for my role as Nephthys in the Lost Egypt at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  The evolution of ancient Egyptian mythology is a fascinating beast unto itself – and oh boy was there a lot to learn for this project.


  • Voiceover for LifeTime Fitness – this was for an animated video that will, in theory, play on their exercise machines in gyms nationwide.  Recorded at LifeTime Vision for LifeTime Fitness.




  • Closing performances of kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva La Soul Power! at Intermedia Arts.


  • Voiceovers for a gorgeous short film and not-yet-completed commercial demo made by a reputable marketing firm campaigning for a very large company.  Unfortunately, I’m unable to share more than that due to confidentiality requirements at present, but if they land the gig, I can share.  Recorded at BWN Music.  
  • Voiceovers for KeyBank – a few more sessions this month – just a couple tags here and there for their “Vase” TV and radio ads.  Recorded at Todd Syring’s studio at Campbell Mithun for Campbell Mithun.




  • Read the role of Jane for a new script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center of ColorLines, a new play by David Wiles.  Keep an eye out for further developments on this play.  Because wow.


  • Cast as host for on-camera industrial for DraxImage’s RUBY-FILL Strontium- and Rubidium-82 Generators.  Turns out my gig at the Science Museum has made me pretty adept at presenting information, like about machines that provide measured doses of radiopharmaceuticals, as if I know what I’m talking about.  Filming to take place in January 2013.  


  • Voiceovers for Marketplace Events spots - fifth year running! FIFTH year!  Love.  Ty Pennington and I on national TV and radio urging you to attend home shows across the U.S.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Coordinet.
  • Voiceover for Crystal Farms’ Pancake and French Toast batters – TV commercials. Recorded at Echo Boys for Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB).



At the start of last year I promised to dream bigger dreams and then run to catch them.  The dreaming did indeed happen, and continues unabated.  It is, however, now accompanied by blueprints for the life I intend to build.  Plans are afoot.  This is the year that I’m going to break ground on new land.



Good Signs

You know when the director personally walks you out of your audition and wants to discuss your availability for a callback with the client, and then at the callback gives you a high-five in front of the client after your read, you probably got the gig. And I did.

First on-camera audition in seemingly forever, and nailed it.   More details after the shoot.



2012 Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project

I was delighted to join Steeltoe Stiletto Films for their entry into this year’s Minneapolis 48-hour Film Project.

Steeltoe Stiletto 2012
Steeltoe Stiletto 2012

And for the team’s efforts, Girls in Lane 4 garnered a Best Film nomination, which is no small beans - out of 68 entries, we were one of just 10 nominations. Ultimately, we walked away from the Best of Show screening with a coveted “Audience Favorite” award.

Audience Favorite Award
Audience Favorite Award

This is my second time participating in the Minneapolis 48-hour Film Project, and second time on an award-winning team – my first go-round was in 2006 with Climaxx Pictures’ Burnout Trail, awarded “Best Acting (Ensemble).”

Makes me curious about the kind of charm a third time would be.

The National

A couple weeks ago I voiced my first, truly national television commercial.  As opposed to what – an only-partially national television commercial?  Yeah, yeah, I’m kind of arguing semantics here: I’m making a distinction between a single spot that will play all over the U.S. (as this one is) as opposed to a slew of commercials that will play in specific markets all over the U.S. (as the Marketplace Events Home Shows spots with Ty Pennington are). So, behold – my first national television commercial.  For Land O’ Lakes butter:

I was surprised to learn from a few friends that it’s already airing – at least in Minneapolis and northern California, anyway.

You ever have one of those career-defining moments where you think, wow – I’m really doing this – this is, somehow, actually real - I’m making a living doing what I love?  Standing in the editing suite, post-recording, watching my VO dropped over the final picture and music for this spot was that moment for me. There are no words to adequately express the feelings of joy and satisfaction and peace and comfort and gratitude and place that accompany a moment like that. And so I'll just sit back and let it be.

2011 in Review

While relatively tedious to compile, I’ve come to love these year-end reviews.  They remind me that I actually make a living at my craft, no matter how insecure I get during the course of the year about my abilities or accomplishments (or seeming lack thereof).  Lists like these remind me that I am doing what I love, and am being rewarded for it.  Lists like these remind me that my career choice bought me passage into my very first house, all on my own, and keeps me there.

Because let’s be honest - there is always a point (or five) in the year when I panic.  I think, ohmygod, they’ve finally realized that I’m a total fraud and NOW I WILL NEVER WORK AGAIN.  EVER.  This happens regularly.  Without fail.  And then I end up inexplicably landing another incredible gig and think, oh, well, okay – maybe I’m not that bad.  It is a joy and an honor to be so lucky.

Without further ado, my performance highlights of 2011:

January Continued part-time work at the Science Museum of Minnesota on the Science Live team – performing live science demonstrations and science-related short plays for museum audiences.

Marketplace Events spots - third year running.  Ty Pennington and me on national TV and radio urging you to attend home shows across the U.S.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus.

VOs for General Mills, but I took very poor notes about this, and have no recollection of what it was for.  My guess is that it was, perhaps, some pickups for the 42 spots I did back in December for Progresso Light Soups, Yoplait and Yoplait Light Yogurts, and Big G Cereals national TV spots.  Note to self in 2012: take better notes.  Recorded at Babble-On for Shout! Creative.

February Script workshop and stage-direction reading for public presentation of Carson Kreitzer’s new play, Behind the Eye, as part of The Playwrights’ Center’s Ruth Easton series.  Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park for a world premiere in April.

Not much else to report other than travel to Florida.  It was warm.  I remember needing that.  Oh yes, and travel to Madison, WI, to teach museum-theater techniques to institutions across the U.S.

March VO for the trailer of TRIUMPH67, an independent feature-length film that went on to become the official selection of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival.

Spent the day in studio at Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), recording the voice for a sultry character in The Winner, a pilot for Minnesota Stories – a new program dedicated to showcasing Minnesota writers.

VO for Target - a short film about inclusiveness called You Make Us.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus.

Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio at Minnesota Public Radio

April Table-read of a new script by Patrick Coyle at The Jungle Theater.

The Winner, recorded in March, airs twice on Minnesota Public Radio.

May VO for Cadillac.  With Laurence Fishburne.  I played his talking GPS.  Recorded at Babble-On for Fallon.

I bought my very first house, all by myself.  I think this is what officially makes me an adult, but I’m still not quite sold on that idea.  The only reason I’m including this here, amongst my gigs, is because those VO gigs are what made this possible.

Home, in as many words.

June Script workshop and stage-direction reading for public presentation at the Playwrights’ Center of Scratch, a new play by Shira Naharit.

Started rehearsals for Minnesota Middle Finger, Ben San Del’s Minnesota Fringe Festival entry.  Yes, Fringe is in August.  We started way, way early because of everyone’s insane schedules.  I think when all was said and done we only had 12 rehearsals.

July VO demos for Hormel, recorded at Modern Music/Fischer Edit for BBDO.

Co-wrote and produced a short satirical 1950’s-style educational film, The Wonders and Worries of Nanotechnologyon behalf of the Science Museum of Minnesota for The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).  Film + Production by Teddy Media.

August 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and my performance in Ben San Del’s Minnesota Middle Finger with the incomparable John Middleton and Tim Hellendrung.

VO spots (more, again) for Marketplace Events home shows with Ty Pennington – TV and Radio.  Continued airings on HGTV and ABC.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus.

Three-day script workshop at The Playwrights’ Center of Outcasts of Eden, a new play by Andie Arthur.

Served as host/barker for the AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion at the Minnesota State Fair, on behalf of AFTRA.

Cast in kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva Las Roots! to be presented at Intermedia Arts in October 2011.

Script workshop at The Playwrights' Center


September Cast as both Anne Bonny and Mary Read in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s next major exhibition, Real Pirates, as well as cast in the publicity crew for advance event appearances.  Exhibition opens mid-February 2012.

Attended the 7th annual Ivey Awards – Minneapolis/St. Paul’s version of the Tonys.  Very, very swank.  Very, very inspiring.  I know I said that last year, but I still mean it.

VO spot for General Mills – radio spot for Yoplait Yogurt in the NYC market.  Recorded at Audio Ruckus for Shout! Creative.

Real Pirates coming soon to the Science Museum of Minnesota

October Cast in The Peanut Butter Factory’s next production, Rajiv Joseph’s Gruesome Playground Injuries – a two-person show with Adam Whisner to be presented late winter/early spring 2012.

Went on a three-day writing retreat to northern Minnesota with the company of kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva Las Roots! to create character and storyline.

VO narration for short documentary Does Every Silver Lining Have a Cloud?, a look at the effect of nanosilver on the environment, created by the Museum of Life + Science in Durham, North Carolina, on behalf of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net).  Recorded at Babble-On.

VO for the National Marrow Donor Program’s annual council awards ceremony recognition film segments.  Recorded at Aaron/Stokes for Blue 60 Pictures.

Script workshop and stage-direction reading at the evening performance of Sarah Gubbins’ new work, The Water Play at The Playwrights’ Center.

Performances of kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva Las Roots!at Intermedia Arts.


November Performances continue of kaotic good productions’ The Cooking Show con Karimi & Comrades: Viva Las Roots!at Intermedia Arts.

Got my eyes did.  Yep.  Lasik.  No more contacts or glasses.  This changes everything on stage and in the recording booth, for the better.

Spent the day at the Hennepin County Courthouse, serving as a key witness in Faegre & Benson’s mock trial program.

Spices in the Viva Las Roots! kitchen.


December VOs for Marketplace Events Home Shows with Ty Pennington – fourth year running!  Recorded at Audio Ruckus.

Appeared on Kare 11 News morning program as Anne Bonny, marketing for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Real Pirates exhibition opening February 2012.

Script workshop and stage-direction reading at the evening performance of Kira Obolensky’s new play, Vasa Lisa at The Playwrights’ Center, co-presented by Ten Thousand Things.  Workshop in preparation for a late-spring full production by Ten Thousand Things.

Real Pirates get sassy with the news crew at KARE 11.

Epilogue 2011, you treated my career well, and for that I thank you.  2012, we’re going to roll up our shirtsleeves and till this soil for continued growth.  My last major career goal was to make my living as an artist, which I have been doing for the last few years; it’s time to dream bigger dreams.  And then run to catch them.

The One-Two Commercial Punch of HELL-to-the-YES!

This evening brought a thrilling two-part televisual surprise: I arrived home to find the TV on, muted, with a rerun of the American version of The Office bumbling along (nothing terribly remarkable about that – but wait! There’s MORE!). TBS then broke for commercials and I was blindsided by the trailer for Rango – the new animated film starring Johnny Depp as a gecko; the very same animated film that features my longtime soul-friend Rick Garcia’s music and singing voice of the mariachi owls.

I damn near burst with pride.

And just when I thought I couldn’t have been more pleased – I noticed that the trailer was directly followed by one of my Yoplait Light yogurt commercials. I don’t do the main VO, mind you, just the tag at the end - “Find Yoplait Light cups on sale this week at your neighborhood Albertsons” (or Jewel-Osco, or Acme, or Cub, or Farm Fresh, or Shaw’s, or Kroger, or Fry’s, or King Soopers, or Smith’s or what have you).

But still! Following the incredible talent of my dearest Rick (and, of course, Johnny Depp – I mean, HELLO!) on national TV was pretty freaking sweet. And made mid-winter Minneapolis just a little bit warmer, starting with my heart.


But seriously, I mean it.

Backstage on SAGIndie

Just found this little gem of an article about SAGIndie’s involvement at Sundance this year, and what SAGIndie does in general:

"Our function is strictly to educate independent filmmakers on how to hire professional talent for independent film and to explain to them how it can be done economically."

I've reviewed the SAGIndie contracts recently and they are, quite frankly, fantastic.  And it's reassuring to learn that SAGIndie is willing to go further than just plunking down a contract on a table.

Why don’t I read Backstage on a regular basis?  Seriously – it’s kind of ridiculous all the things that I ought to do as a professional performer, yet don’t.  Being a new member of the Screen Actors’ Guild has brought on a spate of useful and surprising information.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I was a little stupidly giddy about it.

2010 in Review

End-of-year lists can be so tedious.  I know this.  And yet here we are.  Because the only thing more tedious than end-of-year lists is searching for some documentation of some thing that happened a year or two or three ago, and not being able to find anything about it because I was too lazy/tired/overjoyed/myopic/disassociated to actually write about it.  I therefore offer up this end-of-year list as a compendium of my professional shenanigans so that searching for them in the future won’t drive me crazy.  You’re welcome, Me. Be sure to thank me later. In 2010 I made my living in front of an audience and behind the mic.  And for that I am so deeply in awe.  So deeply grateful for my fortuity.  While our economy is not nearly as bad as 2009, it’s still in terrible disarray and record numbers of people are still unemployed.  Even so, I was able to make a modest living via my profession; a modest living that didn’t require me to engage in morally questionable behavior (the kind where one would accompany a raised eyebrow with ‘actress’ in air-quotes).

Without further ado, my performance highlights of 2010:



  • Began rehearsals for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s next exhibition – The Dead Sea Scrolls: Words That Changed the World, wherein we would perform a three-minute introductory monologue for visitors every 7.5 minutes.  In all honesty, it was mind-numbing, but the visitors were mostly appreciative.
  • Interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio’s Chris Roberts about my line-memorization techniques – ultimately compiled into a clever on-air story and accompanying slideshow with fellow actors Steven Epp, Mo Perry and Clarence Wethern.
  • The Big Oscar Crunch 2010 – wherein I try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as humanly possible before the awards ceremony.  The fun of doing it that way is not only seeing excellent movies, but actually feeling invested in more than just the red carpet.
  • Started rehearsals for Spring of Freedom/Summer of Feara new Iranian play by Ali G. Ravi , produced by Table Salt Productions.
  • VO gig for Carlson Companies – got to put Nurse Evelyn Marsden’s darling English accent to good use.


  • Devastated to drop out of Spring of Freedom/Summer of Fear due to a harrowing family crisis which, because it apparently wasn’t bad enough, led to a nasty case of shingles.  Yes, shingles.  Probably the worst three weeks of my adult life to date.
  • Called in by the lovely Barbara Shelton at Bab’s Casting to audition for a new WB pilot Mike and Molly.  The network was looking for someone 30 pounds overweight.  I was exactly that (not anymore, thanks to a newfound love of yoga), and so happily went in.  Between the script (and the eventual casting choice), it became quite clear that LA thinks 30 pounds overweight is the same thing as obese.  Surprising?  Not really.
  • Called in by the Guthrie Theater to audition for the role of Eunice in Streetcar Named Desire.  Almost missed the e-mail because I assumed it was Guthrie marketing spam and was about to delete it.  Didn’t recognize the sender’s name, though, so opened it.  Close call.
  • VOs for Nexxus demos/animatics.  These are voice-overs for a concept by the ad agency for the client.  If it gets approved by the client, the agency then films the spots.  Since I almost never watch commercial TV, I have no idea if these ever made it though the pipeline...my guess is no (especially since many of these were the same as, or similar to, the ones I did in April 2009).


  • VOs for Nexxus demos/animatics – two more sessions.
  • Public reading of Casa Cushman, a new work by NYC’s Tectonic Theater Project (the folks who brought you The Laramie Project, at the University of Minnesota Nolte Center.


  • Crickets. Both figurative and literal.  Aside from live science demonstrations at the Science Museum of Minnesota, it appears that I did nothing performance-related in May.  And I went camping.
  • On Tuesday, May 11, amongst of a jumble of scheduled meetings and things to do, I found written in my calendar, “Hell-cat Maggie and Slops McConnell.”  I have no idea what that means, but I think it’s funny, so thought I would share with anyone who is still reading by this point.  Kiss, kiss.

June More crickets.  Figurative.  See May.



  • 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and my performance in Walking Shadow’s critically acclaimed See You Next Tuesday.  I was so excited to be back at the festival that I advance-purchased an Ultra Pass, with which I ended up only seeing three shows due to an emergency hospital visit and an emergency vet visit.  2010 was not turning out to be a great year for health.
  • VO spots (more, again) for Marketplace Events home shows with Ty Pennington – TV and Radio (listen).  Continued airings on HGTV and ABC.



  • Obscenely busy month that had almost nothing to do with performing.  Included business travel to San Francisco for continued work on behalf of the Science Museum of Minnesota for NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network), with a little leisure travel to San Diego and LA on the side.
  • No! Wait!  Because of my General Mills VOs in September, this is the month that I was required to join the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG)!  That’s right, I got my SAG card in October.  October was not an actorly loss, after all.


  • Started rehearsals for a three-week, 30-hours/week workshop of Casa Cushman – in collaboration with NYC’s Tectonic Theater Project, choreographer Carl Flink, University of Minnesota Department of Theater Arts and Dance, a couple other U of M departments that I can’t recall at the moment, and The Playwrights’ Center.
  • Sent live the brand-spankin’-shiny-new leighahorton.com.


  • Performance of Casa Cushman at the Northrop Auditorium.  This was a wild ride, and at the end of it all, despite some crazy-cray-cray, it was kind of awesome.  And I kind of loved it.
  • VOs for General Mills (42 in total) for Progresso Light Soups, Yoplait and Yoplait Light Yogurts, and Big G Cereals national TV spots.  I just about died and went to heaven.
  • VOs for Marketplace Events Home Shows with Ty Pennington – third year running!
  • Authored and published a children’s book for NISE Net, Alice in Nanoland, which, as you read this, is being mailed to 200 informal science education institutions (science museums, children’s museums, etc.) across the nation in the 2011 NanoDays kits.  What a curious little experience that was.

And there we have it!  The months of 2010 demonstrate both feast and famine and average out to healthy; December being, by far, the most entertaining (well, for me, anyway).  I continue to stand, mouth agape, at the wondrous profession I have chosen and the beautiful trajectory it has taken thus far.  I cannot wait to see what delightful paths await!

An Actor Prepares (Her Taxes)

Taxes. Bleh. I’m not going to wax poetic about the royal pain in the hoo-ha that is filing taxes every year - especially actor taxes that come in the form of a slew of W-2s and 1099s, a kajillion itemized deductions, and a bevy of industry-specific tax questions that tend to escape the expertise of the average tax preparer. Instead, I plan to arm you with the best resources I have: ONE - Fox Tax. These fellows know their business. They know artists. They specialize in artists. They’re affordable to artists.

TWO - Actor’s Tax Tips. Free! A brand spankin’-new blog by local actor and tax whiz and all-around responsible and intelligent guy, Mark Bradley.

THREE - The Actor’s Tax Guide. Not free! But totally worth it! Chock-full of industry-specific tax info for you, handy-dandy worksheets, organizational advice, AND tax-deductible! By the aforementioned Mark Bradley. And he’s local, so if he steers you wrong, you “know where to find him.”

FOUR - Backstage.com’s Actors’ Assets. I just found these articles today when looking up what it means to be a “Qualified Performing Artist.” They’re well written and quite informative. I must say, though, $16,000 cap on your adjusted gross income?! What a joke. Too bad “Qualified Performing Artist” and “Successful Performing Artist” seem to be mutually exclusive.

If you, too, have a little bundle of actor tax preparation secrets up your sleeve, by all means, do share. Misery does love its company, does it not?

2009 In Review

Oh dearest 2009, how I neglected to give you a proper adieu. But because I always need to have the last word, your shenanigans shall not go untouted nor unscathed. This here is my farewell parting shot: The past year brought a load of work, a load of appreciation for the work I was getting, and one giant, lazy attitude toward writing about it.  Of particular note, midway through 2009 I was able to make a return to performing for a living.  “What?  What do you mean?    Actresses in the Twin Cities aren’t filthy stinking rich and famous?!”  Surprisingly, no, not so much.  See, periodically a girl like me is obliged to suck it up and take a part-time “day job” to keep some steady cash rolling in while filling in the rest with voice-overs and stage work.  What is this world coming to?

What happened was this: in June I was cast as Nurse and First-Class Stewardess Evelyn Marsden in Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota, as well as joined the museum’s Science Live Theater cast. When at the museum, but not in 1912 costume, I bust out my mad knowledge of nanoscience to thwart an Evil Scientist From The Future, as well as demonstrate the important properties of surface area by blowing giant fireballs and discussing chemical reactivity.  It has been a joy to perform regularly for the (what by now must be) thousands of audience members taking an interest in science.  Additionally, I am responsible for coordinating and moderating public forums for adults about nanoscale science on behalf of NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network).  Moreover, it’s less than part-time, and voice-overs and stage work really ARE filling in the rest.  Even in this wretchedly hobbled economy.  My stars are indeed lucky.  And I thank them regularly.

So here, for posterity, are my performance highlights of 2009:

January Marketplace Events spots - Ty Pennington (that dude from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) and me on TV and radio urging you to attend particular home shows here and there in the U.S.  TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.  Read more about my sister's hilarious request.

February Nothing of note - sometimes that’s a good thing.  Looks like I was in rehearsal.  Not always a good thing.


  • Performances of Adam Szymcowicz’s The Captivity Plays at the Bryant Lake Bowl
  • After 18 months of pain in the form of oral torture, treatment was completed and my braces were removed.  I was rewarded with awesomely perfect teeth and new-found confidence.  Join me in reliving my happy dance.
  • Supervalu spots - radio spots for grocery stores around the U.S. - Albertson’s, Lucky, Supervalu, Shaw’s/Star Market, Cub Foods, Jewel-Osco, Kroger, Hornbacher’s, etc.

April Nexxus spots - I don’t believe these were ever aired - just voice-overs for a concept by the ad agency for the client.  If it was approved by the client, the agency would then film the spots.  Since I almost never watch commercial TV, I have no idea if these ever made it though the pipeline...my guess is no.



  • Caroline or Change, The Homosexuals’ Guide to the Universe, Tiny Kushner - now these didn’t involve me at all, save for my presence in the audience.  But I found the first two to be incredibly moving, incredibly powerful pieces of work.  And I was thrilled that Minneapolis was able to honor such a fantastic playwright in this way, and that such a fantastic playwright got to workshop a brand-new play in our fine city.
  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition opens at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  This is my new “day job” wherein I get to spend part of my weekdays engaging with the general public and informing them about Miss Evelyn Marsden’s life and the hospitals aboard the ship in a darling English accent. Personal ship preparation stories here.
  • United Health Care spots - my first political spots, something about calling your congresspeople somewhere in New England. Connecticut maybe? Urging you to take a particular stand on some kind of health care legislation.  Don’t remember the particulars, but got to work with the guys at Shout.  And I absolutely adore Mark Benninghofen, so it was a joy.

July Joined the Science Museum of Minnesota to work on NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network) projects - both performing live stage plays and demonstrations that deal directly with nanoscale science, as well as coordinating and facilitating adult public forums about nanoscale science.  This is only 10 hours per week, and I love it.  And it makes me feel a little closer to my scientific heroes of audio over at RadioLab.  And to paraphrase the words of my delightfully brilliant colleague Michael Ritchie: I realize that my day job can never be bad, because I work in a place with musical stairs.


  • Fringe Festival fail - this was hard.  This was very, very hard.  The Ministry of Cultural Warfare, the company I have both figuratively and literally sweat and bled for since 2000, planned to do a show.  Due to a Perfect Storm of really crappy circumstances, I had to remove myself from the process, and we ultimately had to back out of the festival at a late date.  It was heartbreaking, and the fallout was equally heartbreaking.
  • Marketplace Events radio and TV spots - the plus side of August was that Ty Pennington had some more home shows to promote, so it was back into the studio to add my special female aural sparkle.
  • The Minnesota State Fair - I spent an afternoon as host of the Labor Pavilion at “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”  They gave me a wireless mic, put me in a Green building and the adjacent pavilion, and let me loose amongst the various Labor kiosks and the throngs of fair-goers.  There was trivia, there were hand-crafted on-the-spot copper roses, there were nurses and flight attendants and machinists and steel workers and everything in between.  At the end of my shift, they snapped a photo which made its way into the national AFTRA magazine.

September I spent nearly half the month on the road, traveling to Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco - this was for my work with the Science Museum of Minnesota on behalf of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net), and it was incredibly inspiring.  It did indeed involve some performing, but it also involved meeting with social scientists to consider the social, political, and ethical implications of nanoscale science, and how to get audiences considering these aspects, as well.  We also met for the purpose of setting goals for years 6-10 of NISE Net’s grant funded by the National Science Foundation, and it involved learning how other organizations engage audiences in learning about nanoscale science.  Inspiring, and the locations were fantastic.  I love the Pacific Northwest.

October Lead role of Hannah in Table Salt Productions' inaugural show, Burned at the Gremlin Theatre.  Nothing like spending an hour before each performance putting glue on my face, letting it dry and manipulating it and coloring it to make it look like nasty scar tissue.  While it was a serio-comic post-apocalyptic tale, it was a joy to make a foray back into dramatic work.  Read a little more about it.


  • Workshop and public reading of Dog and Wolf - an incredibly well-crafted, powerful,  and riveting play about a Bosnian refugee by Catherine Filloux, in which I played the lead, Jasmina.  This play is being produced Off-Broadway this February.
  • My first public nanoscience forum about privacy, civil liberties, and nanotechnology.  It was a small group of about 15 people, but helped me get my feet wet.  Now that I’ve done something in the accepted mold, I can hack it and make it more interesting, accessible, and engaging.  Watchout Twin Cities - you’re about to get schooled in nano.


  • more Marketplace Events spots - this time for home shows around the U.S. in 2010.
  • Caribou Coffee spots - The tone and delivery in these spots makes me feel like we’re sitting on a front porch swing, lazing the day away.  And they’re all about handcrafted oatmeal.  And I got to spend some good time with my friends over at Babble-On Recording studios.  I love those engineers.
  • General Mills spots for Tuesday Taco Night - you know you’ve made it when your VOs keep getting interrupted by a mariachi band.  Plus more time at Babble-On!  Whee!

Plenty to share for January already - but it’s a new year, so it gets a new post.  Here’s looking forward to a peaceful, prosperous 2010.  And I'll actually work on getting all of these 2009 (and future) voice-over spots posted for your listening pleasure.  It's not as hard as I make it sound, and yet here we are.  Soon, I promise.

The System

I got up at 6:30 am last Sunday. For anyone who knows me, this is medal-worthy in and of itself. I got in the car and I drove it at 7:50 am.  Miraculously without incident, I was on location by 8:15. I was acting for the camera by 8:45 am; reciting lines that had been mostly memorized, improvising on command, even.  The issue with all of these things is two little letters - a and m, put together.  Yeesh.  Perhaps a modest 2,000 lb commemorative statue erected downtown is a more proper reward-to-accomplishment ratio. All this early morning insanity was for my role as Nerve 123080 in The System, Cristina Cordova and Juan Antonio del Rosario’s latest adventure – a feature-length independent film “in which a red blood cell and a neurotransmitter set out to save the world.”  It is, of course, about many other things – the effect of cocaine on the body, class warfare, socialism v. capitalism...I could go on, but I won’t, because you just need to see it and I can assure you it will be good.  Juan Antonio and Cristina, as you’ll recall, were my directors for Chasing Windmills, the web series in which they also played Q and D, respectively.  I adore them, and I adore working with them – so an 11-hour good-time was had by all.  Yep, 11 hours for me that day.  11 hours that led to the introduction of some seriously first class actors and some actors who are seriously first class people.

One of the highlights of my afternoon involved fellow actor Sean Erik Hoffman (in the role of Sacco) making up a hilarious 1980s-style sitcom-opening-credits-song about Trotsky (played by Gary Keast who had just finished rocking the hell out of his Big Speech) – Sean did a little dance and sang, “if you’ve got a pizza, he’ll share it with your friends! – TROTSKY!”  Picture a stoic Trotsky walking along a sidewalk, suddenly jumping into the air, clicking his heels together, arms spread wide – freeze frame.   We found it hilarious.  Perhaps you had to be there.  We were punchy.  Sacco also nicknamed me Nervil, which was just shy of completely adorable.

To wrap up the day, sweet Cristina gently touched a finger to my forehead and said, “don’t forget you have this on” – she was referring to the barcode that had been stamped and re-stamped there throughout the day.  Only the Nerves (there were three of us) were stamped…I guess I felt special, so I kept it on until I got home, when I tackled it with makeup remover.  And yet it remained.  Then I tried Aloe.  Didn’t work.  Soap.  No dice.  Baby oil.  Denied.  I posted about it on Facebook and got a speedy reply that led to toothpaste.  It stung a little.  And it worked.

Anyway, keep an eye out for this puppy’s release. It was a hell of a lot of fun to film (Juan Antonio and I tend to get a little giggly when we’re supposed to be working together), and I imagine it’ll be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. In the interim, you can follow the film’s progress via the blog and Twitter.

An Ounce of Perspective

Every year, often quarterly, I notice a small void between performance-related activities and idiotically dive into a vortex of emotional self-abuse. It starts with a broad, all-encompassing, “I’m not doing enough as a performer!” and twists and whirls its way into a tight, frenzied, “Why am I kidding myself?! – I’m past my prime! – I used to be moderately good, and now I’m just a lazy-good-for-nothing-egotist-with-a-ridiculously-inappropriate-sense-of-entitlement!” It ultimately whittles down to a quantum-level slide through the fabric of reality as we know it, into an alternate plane of absolutes – “I don’t EVER do ANYTHING! EVER! My vocation is a JOKE! People are STARVING and DYING, and I’m panicking about my weight!” followed by inconsolable tears and self-loathing. As if there ever was any doubt whatsoever - I am the stereotypical “needy” actor. If I remember correctly, my last director opted for the term “psychotic.” Lovingly.  It’s important to remind myself of this, lest I wind back up in the downy comfort of denial – “no, no –I’m different.  I hate needy actors.  I consider myself one of the few performers who can actually function normally in civilized society.”  Because man, that warm blanket is co-ZY.  And it is a harsh awakening to have that ripped off the bed.  Which happens.  A lot.

In times like these I’ve learned that my calendar is one of scant wormholes back to this particular reality (and God bless Moleskine). An hour spent with my little black book, a pad of paper, and a pen is easily worth several weeks of therapy.  I leaf through, page by page, writing down all my performance projects since the start of the year.  That said, I invite you to join me in an exercise for sanity - behold this year’s accomplishments, thus far:

1/04/08 – Voice-over gig for the Kansas City Lottery 1/07/08 – Joined AFTRA 1/28/08 – Voice-over gig for LifeTime Fitness 2/07/08 - (and onward) Performed in the Twin Cities Chekhov Festival 2/23/08 – Performed “Mrs. Man of God” in Columbus, Ohio 3/01/08 – Performed as the Red Carpet host for the Shack Nasty Costume Ball 3/24/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center 4/06/08 – Performed via video in Gremlin Theater’s “Everywhere Signs Fall” 4/21/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center 4/30/08 – Voice-over gig for Landscape Structures Inc’s GlobalReleaf Project 5/07/08 – Voice-over gig for Cellular South 5/10/08 – Performed as a defendant in Faegre + Benson’s mock trials 5/12/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center 6/11/08 – Voice-over gigs (two) for Target (HP Pavilion and Toshiba Laptops) 7/11/08 – (and onward) Performed in “Slasher,” as part of The Playwrights’ Center’s annual PlayLabs series 8/11/08 – (and onward) Rehearsed for + performed in “Wellstone!” 9/05/08 – Voice-over gig for Kona Grill 10/07/08 – Performed in a round-table reading at The Playwrights’ Center 10/29/08 – Voice-over gigs (seven) for General Mills’ Totino’s Pizza products 11/16/08 – Begin rehearsals for and performance in “A Christmas Story” in St. Croix Falls, WI

Add to that nine other “close calls” and castings that didn’t work out due to schedule conflicts, and that’s not a bad year.  Big breath in…..ahhhhhhh, reality.  So nice to be home.

The Best of Minneapolis

The weekend before last was a whirlwind of filmmaking chaos and excitement – the 48-hour Film Project sat upon Minneapolis, and the town was appropriately aflutter. To put it plainly, 60 production companies (that makes Minneapolis the third largest in the nation, thankyouverymuch) got together for our assignments on a Friday evening at Cuzzy’s, a bar that should only seat about 17 people but somehow crammed in about 139 before the revolt and subsequent move to the parking lot. There, each company drew out of a hat a genre written on a slip of paper. Genres included such gems as Restoration Drama, Musical/Western, Foreign Language Film, Comedy, Mockumentary, Spy, Sci Fi, etc. After everyone had their genre in hand, the 48hFP Dudes in Charge (DIC) announced a character name and profession, a prop, and a line of dialogue – all of which had to be used in our films. Then we were released with the instruction to get back to Cuzzy’s and the DIC with a completely original 7-minute (max) film by 7 pm on Sunday. Yes, a mere 48 hours to work some cinematic magic.

And so we did. We had the best damn team these Twin Cities have ever seen – it is rare to be amongst so much staggeringly good talent across so many fields, from cinematography to music to editing to acting – I was so proud. Tired and cranky come Sunday, but proud.


And, as it turns out, for good reason: we’ve just been informed by the DIC that our little ditty was selected to be re-screened as part of the “Best of Minneapolis!” Yay, us! So – grab whoever is nearest, and swing on over to the Riverview Theater on June 27th at 7 pm to view “Burnout Trail” and the 12 other besters. I only saw 10 out of the 60 when ours first screened last Tuesday – I can’t wait to see the others!


This experience hereby makes it on my personal "Best of Minneapolis" list. Indeed.


UPDATE: Well, a girl goes fishing a day earlier than planned, and all hell (the good kind) breaks loose! I just returned yesterday from the northwoods and it looks like while I was getting in touch with nature our film was getting in touch with the "Best Actor Ensemble" Award! Congrats, team! SO proud.


Oh man, I just saw more edited footage of The Monster of Phantom Lake, and dang, it looks good. So why the title of this post? I’ll tell you why. In that same footage I noticed a huge continuity flaw with my hair. “Huge” only because it’s based on vanity; but noticeable nonetheless (and therefore something seemingly worth obsessing over).

The offending issue: by the time we got to shooting the last two scenes on the schedule, my curling iron had jumped off this world’s Functioning-Gadget Coil. Being that I work for an arts non-profit, my hair remained markedly straight for scenes 28 and 30 (the final scene). Big whoop, right? Yes, it IS a big whoop because I HAD FORGOTTEN THAT I WAS IN SCENE 29. The same scene 29 that gave us 89% humidity and a 3 a.m. wrap-up. Oh yes, curly-haired scene 29.

In an ideal world where scene 29 didn’t exist, it could have been accepted that Ms. Stephanie Yates set her hair in curlers before she left University for her study-weekend with Professor Jackson, but after a full day-and-a-half of tromping through the woods the curls naturally fell. BUT since scene 29 DOES exist, it looks like the curls had naturally fallen come scene 28, but upon arrival at the teenagers’ campsite (scene 29) Ms. Yates appears to have been attacked by woodland creatures with curling-irons.

I can’t wait to see the curly-to-straight-again transition from scene 29 to 30.

    Storybook Voice: “Yes, children, on the other side of the forest, there are woodland creatures with flattening-irons. These two opposing gangs of style-savvy fauna have turf wars with one another involving jazz choreography and snappy musical numbers. There’s no killing, just some nasty scorch marks and the distinct odor of burning fur.”

And the worst part of it all – the hair looks way better straight (especially considering the humidity during the first few weeks of shooting was making my curls all weird and gross anyway). Gaaah!

I wonder what the director would say if I requested a re-shoot of scenes 1-27, + 29? Kidding, only kidding.

    Cue Music: When you’re a bear, you’re a bear!…


The Kissing Scene

Last weekend we finished filming The Monster of Phantom Lake. The final scenes included the ultimate destruction of the monster costume by having the monster walk into, and then for the sake of the movie, out of, the lake. It looked pretty sweet, and our monster was a total sport. Especially despite the forced re-takes caused by the speed-boat morons in the background trailing a water-skier (it’s illegal to have gas-powered watercraft on that particular lake). Then there was the kiss. The kiss that we decided not to rehearse for the sake of making it look spontaneous, the same kiss that ended with the cheesy cheek-to-cheek post-kiss bit (where we’re both facing the same direction and looking dreamily off into space) a la Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Or Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Or Judy Garland and Tom Drake. Yes, my father raised me watching musicals, and I couldn’t help but open my big trap to make the suggestion - once spoken, it simply had to be done. I always thought it looked dorky when I watched it happen in those old films, now I can safely report that it feels at least twice as dorky as it looks.

So, now it’s editing time - I can’t wait to see it all finished and shiny with a score and everything. Although I am terrified of the audience response, and wish the Riverview Theater had secret two-way mirrors facing everyone so I could watch their reactions. Alas, no such luck. This is where the lack of immediate feedback just kills me... between on-camera work and voice work, I won't know until long after the fact if I've engaged the audiences or not, and can’t make adjustments based on the energy in the room. We’ll just have to wait and see… wait… and… see…

Five points if you can name the source of that last line – because my memory is terrible.