Blog Archives

The beauty & glory

About a month before my Dad died, we were watching the sunset from my parents’ back deck. Golden skies melted over fields of spring wheat, their ten acres disappearing in rolling hills down to the darkening trees. With the last of the warm light on our faces, he said to me …

beauty and glory tweet.JPG

I found this again recently, and it sent a dagger of breathlessness through me. He was so right. He *is* so right. We don’t know the hour of our departure. If we did, wouldn’t that make every sunset worth soaking up? If you agree, maybe you’d like to share this.

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Tell people what we’re doing here. We’re soaking up the beauty and glory for the dark times.

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I didn’t go blonde, but I did eventually start writing this story, and I capped it with an ending I think he would be proud of.

A little beauty, a little magic, a little glory.

Love,
Wonder

Grieving out loud.

Grieving out loud.

I always used Twitter for fun chats and a quick way to share info, but suddenly it also became a way to capture a life changing experience in a few phrases.

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See You On the Other Side: origin stories

See You on the Other Side

 New Beginnings

My Dad died unexpectedly almost three years ago. The tragedy completely rocked my world and forever altered my life. Digging myself out of a hole of grief, and watching my mom battle depression and heartbreak sparked the creation of this film. This painful experience is intensely personal, but also profoundly shared with everyone else who has survived similar tragedies. When your heart breaks, the world’s heart breaks. And when you heal, the world heals too.

Me and Dad

Me and Dad

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When your face is your business card

It can’t be too flashy. Shiny material can look a little cheap. Leave the tiara at home – keep it simple. Faithful.

It needs to say who you are, without giving away all of your secrets. Authenticity first, and a little mystery behind the eyes.

You hope they call. You hope it’s a solution to their problems (casting problems, ha!)

 

Wonder Russell

Wonder Russell

I’m very happy with my new headshots by Lisa LeVan! If you’re in the Seattle-Tacoma area, be sure to schedule an appointment with her.

From surival, art.

I posted about this on Facebook and it seems like a worthy endeavor to declare here, too.

It’s been on my heart a lot lately, a quiet insistence that I have a story to tell even if I don’t want to explore it. I read this article this morning (long, moving, difficult, grievous) and it wrecked me. But through it all came again the need (rather than a desire) to develop a one woman show around the events of my Dad’s death.

It emerged in a 48th Street exercise led by Gary Austin, a 30 minute improv that found me playing childhood games and indulging in huge imaginative explorations of time and space — all to avoid reality. All to avoid crying. I felt kind of like this:

 

After the improv, Gary knew there was something under the surface and started asking thoughtful questions until he found the wound I’d been protecting. It was too early to be that vulnerable, but he made me realize that the pain would ground and magnify the playfulness.

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We’re artists. We take our lives and turn them into works of art. It’s how we process. It’s how we give back. It’s how we stay alive: We share it.

 

Two Films at SIFF!

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be appearing in two films at Seattle International Film Fest 2014!

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TEN YEARS LATER, by Kris and Lindy Boustedt, screens Sunday May 25, 11am at the SIFF Uptown in Queen Anne. We will be there to celebrate and hope to see you!

FRESH PAIR is a SIFF 2014 Fly Film and screens Monday May 26th

PS: While you’re enjoying the country’s biggest film festival, look for my cameo in this trailer…

SIFF Membership from First Sight Productions on Vimeo.

Will Act for Health Care

In the most recent Seattle Intensive (Actorswork) workshop, we were asked to name a fear we hold about acting. Instantly, I thought of some of the risks within film work, such as:

  •  Lack of control when your performance is chopped up in the editing room
  •  Fear of others’ perceptions of you as a person, (sometimes because of how a performance is edited)
  •  Fear that the film will be badly finished, impacting your career marketability
  •  Fear that your Grandma will see that one love scene

All valid. I battle all of these. But this time, my greatest fear wasn’t “bad” characters or villains or challenging roles or editors I don’t trust… My biggest fear was “acting as commerce.”

My greatest fear may baffle most actors: acting for money. Specifically, I mean having to take a job I’d otherwise pass on, just for the paycheck.

I recently read about an actor who takes his roles based on whether or not healthcare is provided. He may have been a tad tongue-in-cheek but there’s still truth at the core. This discussion isn’t the merits healthcare, it’s why we act.

Acting for me is completely different from a “job.” When I sign on, I want it to be with a mixture of joy and terror, the inward tug of knowing I’m beginning an adventure. And I want it to pay, don’t misunderstand me! But I don’t want a paying gig first, and a compelling gig second. As Amy Poehler hinted during the Golden Globes …

Heh.

The journey has highs and lows. You’ll be swamped with work one month, and then you’ll realize a certain casting director hasn’t asked for you in a year (gulp – true story).  Sometimes you have to take jobs that aren’t exactly winning material – that dry teleprompter-laden training video, for example. Or heck, a national commercial (!) for fast food that you loathe, but it pays your rent for a year.

I just know that I’m an actor because I’m a compassionate, emotional individual who loves to connect deeply. I want that to always be the driving force behind why I take (or don’t take) an acting gig. Most importantly, I need to trust that as long as I am true to myself, the right gigs will continue to find me.

 

 

Gary Austin’s workshop: highlights

This weekend I galivanted, played, cried, explored, failed, joyed, thrilled, danced, derobed, and foolished in Gary Austin‘s ever-amazing improv workshop.

In the rare moments I wasn’t on my feet, I had the opportunity to furiously tap out a few notes onto my phone, to share with you today.

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Women in Film panel

Last night was one of those evenings that found me dragging after work – I wanted to head home and go to bed, but there was this interesting panel going on at the Women In Film – Seattle chapter, with some filmmakers I admire:

Lindy Boustedt (This Is Ours, Ashland), Sue Corcoran (All I Want is Christmas), Jane Charles (Sold), Megan Griffiths (The Off Hours, Eden), Elizabeth Heile (Journeyquest, The Gamers: Hands of Fate), Kat Ogden (Safety Not Guaranteed), and Cornelia Moore (The Dark Horse, Camilla Dickinson)

I went. And I’m so glad I did. Isn’t it great when that happens?

Here are some highlights I tweeted from the evening. The topic was “Production War Stories.” Tales of trial by fire and passion in the face of obstacles. Inspiring!

Sue Corcoran went to AFM with 5 stories to talk to distribs find out what was selling – ALL I WANT IS CHRISTMAS resulted #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

“Always cast the soul, not the body.” #AGYST #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

Dir @thecinechick got the script for EDEN at the Salt Lake City airport after THE OFF HOURS played at Sundance. #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

If you’re a director, a writer, you need to commit to that, spend the time and money, travel and meet similar people. #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

Trouble with hiring “volunteers” or “interns” on union gigs due to labor laws, L&I – difficulty of breaking into union film #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

Looking at next movie as transmedia, working with a marketing firm to increase reach, promotion (Sue Corcoran) #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

For budgeting strategy: who is the audience and how are they going to watch it? #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

Talking about the importance of actors invested in the story, who love being on set, who love the crew. #WIFpanel #AGYST

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

. @thecinechickworked for 5 years on no budget movies building relationships before ever getting paid. #WIFpanel

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

And the quote that got the most traction of the night…

“When you find good actors they become family, you don’t let them go.” – @krisandlindy #WIFpanel #acting #AGYST

— Wonder Russell (@bellawonder) January 9, 2013

Thank you to Women in Film for a great evening! I hope to be on that panel someday.

“Always be Acting.”

Richard Dreyfuss

Richard Dreyfuss (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

 

Can’t go wrong with this simple wisdom from Richard Dreyfuss:

 

 

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