Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Big Things Come in Small Packages. Not that I'm super small, but I would at least say relatively, and I assure you there are big things inside me. Big dreams. Big ideas. Big determination. Big attitude sometimes. Actually, big head too I've been told, but that's neither here nor there since it's on the outside... actually I think if it's referring to ego it counts as inside. Dammit.
The screening Thursday night was super intense. It turns out, there's no way to mentally prepare to see yourself on a 50 foot movie screen, in 4k, with surround sound for the first time. You can try, but you won't get all the way there. I was a little bit of a mess. High anxiety, with anticipation and fear but I also felt very lucky because I was surrounded by amazing people who support me and want to see me succeed. Ryan (Ryan Bellgardt -director, writer, producer...) sent out an email a few weeks ago and told us he had secured the 400 seat theater downtown for the private showing and we needed to send in our list of people we were inviting. I am so grateful to the people who accepted my invitation to come see it. The horror genre isn't the main cup of tea in my circle, so I felt a little apologetic. I wasn't asking them to come watch a horror movie. I was asking them to come watch me in a movie. Me in a movie. Me: in a movie. It's still strange to say.
The weeks leading up to the screening I can honestly say that I was looking forward to it, but I felt very cool and collected about the whole thing. It was just the next step, no big surprise, I mean we all knew it was coming. You audition, you film, they release the trailer and then they show it, release it to DVD, I actually don't know the process or timeline very well at all. I'm learning as I go. Anyway, People kept asking if I was excited and I thought, sure. I suppose... wait should I be more excited?! Am I not excited enough? IS there something wrong with me? People's questions always make me paranoid, like their expectations of what I'm feeling are more normal that what I'm feeling. Therefore, I'm not normal. But my reply was always, "yeah, I am! of course" (give the people what they want)
Then the day finally comes and I wake up way too early, like two hours earlier than I normally do, plus I couldn't fall asleep the night before so I was short a serious amount of hours. Great. So I'm up, and then on top of the lack of sleep- my stomach is twisting and cramping and I'm wondering what the hell is going on. And I realize that, physically, my body is much more excited and anxious than my mind is... but don't worry, my mind was about to catch up.
Throughout the day I tried to distract myself but it was no use. I even had flowers showing up at work- delivered to me as a congratulations.
There's a thing that happens when a girl sees a flower delivery person. First we get super excited because there's a possibility that the flowers are for us. Someone thought we were super special and made this effort. Then almost instantly, the doubt creeps in, really it's more like we check ourselves because we don't want to look like a stupid fool getting all excited if the flowers are not for us after all. Even on our own birthday, our own anniversary, we still have to go through this process of reeling ourselves back in because there is nothing worse than shocking disappointment. So we talk ourselves down, be courteous to the delivery person delivering these shitty flowers for some other self righteous bitch. (Sorry, I got carried away) But really, we're okay. Just trying to be realistic. This is a lot happening inside the brain of a woman during the few seconds it takes a delivery person to say "I have a delivery for..." and you just want to scream at them to stop torturing you and get it over with.
I know, I've warned you all before that patience is not my strong suit. So knowing full well that I have every right to assume they're for me- on the day of my movie screening!! I say, "Those are super pretty!" and she says, "They are! They're for a Jenny Franklin!" and I immediately deflate thinking, "Is there a Jenny Franklin that works for Kendra Scott?? "Because... I tell you, we have an insane amount of people that walk into our store thinking it's our neighboring jewelry store next door and say, "Is this Kendra Scott?" Seriously, at least once a day. But, I can see the envelope of the card on the little stick and it says Connie- this evil devil woman cannot decode the letters of the scrawling script. But, I can recognize my own name in any code. Now, I'd really just like for her to leave so I can look at my card in peace and find out who loves me. That intense little emotional roller coaster had left me a little drained so I sit down to open the card. A few names linger in my mind but they're all erased when I see that it's Danielle, wishing me luck on my big night since she couldn't be there. And of course it's Danielle. She's so thoughtful.
My day continued to be about the screening. I don't even know why I went to work. It was no wonder I couldn't think about anything else. My brain was on a single track. A single, shaky, barreling at top speed, with questionable structural integrity- track. What to wear, when to leave, who to text, how to wear my hair -straight or curled(?), is this too much makeup (?), do I need to have someone there to take photos or will they have someone (?) Will KZ follow through with her threats to hurt me for wearing one of her designs, the leather jacket, with an Herve piece (?) plus- how much alcohol do I need to calm the eff down (?). I never have any problems answering these questions for others, or telling other people what to wear and how to wear it, with a whole string of fashion advice and tips to go along with it, but turn it around to myself and it's all cloudy. I just want someone to give me a clear answer. Its like when someone asks what day it is. Seems like everyone knows the answer or quickly makes it their duty to find out in the same breath, and I assure you, the person who asked actually could have answered just as quickly(!) if it were someone else asking, but they just didn't take that extra second of thought because they wanted the easy way out. They wanted the affirmation.
I greeted my friends as they arrived at the private screening. I invited quite a list, but many had scheduling conflicts and couldn't make it. Some had miscommunication issues, I couldn't stay on top of it since I was working open to close each day with Danielle out of the country on her vacation. But, my friends made me feel very loved. Mike & I have no family here locally so their support was arriving via text all evening and I was elevated by their excitement. I think about all the people who came. Each individual and what they contributed to that moment. I have my husband by my side, keeping me moving in the right direction at the right time. He's telling me he knows I'm going to do great, because everything I apply myself to I make certain it's perfect. I have my friend Tanita, playing paparazzi, arranged at the last minute, and making sure I have documentation of the evening, because you know, what if I never get this chance again? What if this is a fluke in the grand story of the universe and this wasn't even supposed to happen to me, but someone else, and now that I've basically stolen this opportunity from it's rightful owner, the error has been corrected and it ends this path I've stumbled on. Bridge is out. Turn around. This is as far as you go, bye bye little star. You lucky little accidental star.
My friend Stephanie brought me flowers, which I proudly cradled however pretentious it appeared. At this point, you know- I'm in a movie, clearly I'm an attention seeker PLUS playing a sexy mistress wearing lacy lingerie, so it doesn't get more pretentious than that. What's a bouquet of flowers going to say that hasn't already been spelled out? On that note tho- that's what I love about my friends. They are so proud of me. They brag about me and lift me up and share my posts and bolster my confidence and promote me so that I don't have to (as much). And it feels so good. It's what I need to keep going, to keep driving towards my next goal and all the goals after that. When they brag about me they make it sound so genuinely not even about me. They make it sound more about them - because they are so much cooler because their friend is in a movie! Which adds a nice variety getting across the same point.
When I was younger I was in theatre. I loved being a character and playing on different areas of my personality tree, just grasping onto a branch and exploiting it and becoming only that. Because, I think acting is better when you have something you can relate to and as people we are so very round, so very faceted. We are so many things all at once, but at varying degrees. So, you pick that thing in yourself that you can draw from, but you focus in on it and make it the prominent part and display only that and become mostly that characteristic. Or maybe that's just me and I have split personality disorder, which would be completely fine because it works out well- and it totally explains a lot. I loved the school plays, I thrived on the bright lights and the acoustic sound of my voice bouncing through the room, and the murmurs of the audience. I could feel the shift in the audience when I heard my cue and walked out on stage, revealing my new character. Satisfying their anticipation of seeing me. I've always loved to perform. Before the highschool theatre stage it was my living room with a sheet tacked to the wall as a backdrop and a pair of leggings on my head to simulate beautiful, and colorful long long hair.
(keep scrolling, I don't have a photo of that)
I want to say that I was completely confident at the Gremlin screening. That I knew I'd nailed it and I was just excited to be sharing it with these select 400 people. I wish I could show you the side of me that has no doubts and no fears. But, the truth of it is, I'm too close to it so I couldn't anticipate the perspective of my friends and what they would think. My biggest fear was that the lights would come up and I'd look around and see only faces filled with pity, and some pats on the back saying, "Well, Con. Um. Good effort? I guess? Hey at least you tried. And!! You looked so pretty! So there's that." And really, I did feel both. I was confident and scared all at once. It's a really strange contrast to how I felt while filming because while filming I was working, doing my job, I had compartmentalized and separated. I did what I needed to do. I didn't anticipate this kind of fear.
I knew each moment before I came on screen- it was highly distracting to wonder what people were going to think. I wanted to watch the movie and just enjoy it, but every fiber in me was so tense and I don't think I could inhale while I was on screen. But at the end of each of my scenes I thought, that was really good! I don't think I could have improved that... it was so much better than the version I had in my memory. Plus, watching the movie in its entirety was so amazing. It was so good and I was so proud of how great it looked, how deep the story felt, how connected the characters all felt. I was so very proud to be a part of it. It blew my expectations away. It was interesting to hear the reactions of the audience. Its safe to say this specific audience was much more vocal than a regular movie theater audience would be. Each seat was filled with someone who had a personal connection to the making of the film, besides the obvious seats of the people who were instrumental in the making of it. There were laughs that were expected, or at least hoped for, and there were laughs that were unexpected and confused me. And that was interesting to find out later during conversations with Ryan and others to hear their thoughts about that.
After the show, I was surrounded by emotional faces filled with pride and excitement. There were hugs, there were huge smiles and there were compliments. Genuine, sincere, well thought out compliments. Specific, detailed compliments that could have only been heartfelt. I wanted every hug to communicate my appreciation to these friends. Words were failing me and I could mostly just say thank you and say "it means so much to me that you're here".
I considered not going to the after party because it was getting close to 930 and we told our babysitter we would be home at 10. But, that was a fleeting thought quickly banished by the reality of the whole evening's experience. This is the first screening of my first movie and I'm celebrating it to it's fullest extent! I can't not go. So Tanita offers to go to our house and relieve the babysitter which freed us up and ... we made our way to the after party. We congratulated each other, we hugged. We took photos and we stood around hashing out our experiences. I was really happy to meet Adam's wife and laugh through the uncomfortable conversations about the love scene between Adam and me. I mean, it's such a great topic to discuss. Being able to laugh about it and tell little stories about it just adds to the experience and makes the memory of it more special.
I really was very touched by all the feedback I was getting. The people who came up to me to tell me that my performance was incredible. That they were compelled to tell me how talented I am. That they were rooting for me from the beginning and knew I was the perfect fit for the role. I thought about that and how real the comments felt. People who aren't just saying "congratulations! good job!" but the effort and thought they were putting into their comments is what touched me. I met David Hamilton, who is the composer for Gremlin, and his comments really touched me.
I'm humbled by the the experience. I'm motivated by the genuine compliments about my performance. I'm fueled to do more & be more. I want to learn how to become better and get my technical skills up at the level it takes to land another role. I have the passion, I have the dedication. I think anyone who has ever worked with me knows that- when I'm on a project you get me and my 100% commitment to making it perfect, plus you get all my resources and I will bring it. Everything I have. Beyond passion, I know I still need need to become a better actress- technically. I'm taking acting classes to tighten up my skills and learn how I can take this all to the next level. And, hopefully this experience and the contacts I've been able to acquire can facilitate that. I'll keep doing this because it's what I love. It's what I really really love. And as long as I can make it work and wedge it into my life, with my children and my husband and my acting - I'll keep seeking more.
And I cannot wait for you all to see it when it's publicly released SUMMER 2017!