Today's guest blog comes from actor, photographer, singer and Stage 32 member Felicia Mariah D'Ascanio from Astoria, New York. Felicia Mariah is a glowing example of how networking online (and in this case, right here on Stage 32) opens up doors and possibilities previously unavailable, and how connections made online can lead to connections, jobs and more opportunities in the "real world".
Felicia Mariah discusses how she moved to New York with no contacts, yet almost immediately got involved working on a short film through Stage 32. Starting from connections made online and then at a Stage 32 Meetup (if you haven't checked out the Meetup section yet, this is your sign!) the short was cast and crewed, shot, and completed in a matter of weeks. Felicia Mariah now has a tribe of film creatives readily available to collaborate with in her area, as well as friends in Australia, all as a result of putting in the time and work networking on Stage 32.
I hope this inspires you to get out there and make things happen!
I thank Felicia Mariah for her contribution to the Stage 32 Blog.
A year ago, I moved to the big NYC and was a bit overwhelmed. I’m sure you’ve been there too. New to the city and you don’t know anyone. Anyone you do know is well immersed in his or her own lives and you’re just… there. Staring up at the buildings, thinking, “Where the heck do I begin?”
That’s when I first signed up with Stage 32. I didn’t realize at first how valuable this community of creators was until recently when I really started to explore the forums and the other features that Stage 32 offers. After my last project, I couldn’t be more excited with the group of people I now have in my network from all ends of the production spectrum. What is even more incredible is that all are ready to help one another out with advice and assistance on projects.
The day for filming came and we had quite the team! On top of the 5 of us who originally met on the project, we now had a makeup artist recruited by the assistant director and a dir. of photography, another Stage 32 connection that is working with me on another project.
As with any production, we all had our pre-production work to do. I had a lot of fun in the research process for my character, Tahnee. She’s a bit immature, boy-crazy, and has a bad attitude. Halfway through the film, she is infected and possessed by the looming evil spirits in the apartment, along with one of her roommates. The fact that this is a persona I don’t get to play with too often made it that much more fun.
I’ve found that creating the character before the work has kept my recent projects alive and inspired. And with this, I’ve found that creating the character goes way beyond memorizing the lines. It’s once you hit the point where the lines are yours that you can actually start doing the work. And by work, I mean play.
Now, onto the actual production!
It took place in an awesome apartment that Liam & Emily (director & actress) were renting out on Airbnb. It was the perfect location for three young women roommates. The background was very vibrant, furnished well, and didn’t need much set dressing. Airbnb, for the win.
My experience in the past, shooting usually takes way longer than first estimated on the call sheet. We got a bit of a late start, but we still finished right on time! Dennis (dir. of photography) had this great rule of thumb: For every page in a script, add one hour of production time. When Liam had written the script, he wrote it in a way to simplify everything, due to his short amount of time in NY. With his apartment in mind, he created dialogue to work around one shot, and one angle as if the final production was to be a documentary vlog. This made the production run quicker and very smoothly. It even allowed time for us to play with a green screen backdrop and other directing experiments that could be later edited to up the fear factor.
All in all, we had a blast, as you can see from these sneak peeks of some behind the scenes action. Did you know that lipgloss can be used to create the illusion for a tear soaked face without drying up to quickly? Check out the 4th image in the grid above. Having a makeup artist on the team really bumped up the production. She had never worked with SFX makeup on a production before and she NAILED it!
I’m known for bringing my camera on set, behind the scenes, and pretty much using it for any opportunity I have. This time around, I had a lot of help from Monique (AD) who used my camera to snap away and caught a lot of great moments. If you’d like to check out our behind the scenes photos, click through here.
Without further adieu, I present to you, the final film!
Thanks for reading about our experience and I hope that you enjoy our piece. This was a learning experience for all of us and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the prep for Tahnee as well as how this project came together on all ends of production. The discussion starts now!
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As always, Felicia Mariah is available to respond in the Comments section below...