I remember choreographing a dance to Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” in third grade, then convincing my teacher to give my classmates an afternoon break so they could watch my friends perform it on the playground. In college, I was the hippie activist chick who was constantly harassing people to attend my numerous protests, demonstrations, and performance benefits. I’ve also always been the friend who puts together the reunions and road trips and surprise parties. For whatever reason, I enjoy instigating or, at the very least, being a part of making things happen. I live for the pay off of seeing all my pre-production planning come to fruition, whether it be for a fundraising event, a 24-hour play fest, a commercial, or a New Year’s get together with my buddies from college.
SYNLAWN I did the location scouting, costumes, props, and casting for this fun shoot.
CITY OF ONTARIO I handled the casting, in a matter of days, for this very complicated spot. Also helped out with props, costumes, and overall scheduling for the shoot.
LIRA This spot was my first time working with macro-filmmaking, so there was a lot of trial and error in terms of gathering props and accessories. I basically bought and borrowed everything gold and sparkly I could find, then worked with our cinematographer and another co-worker to see what worked best on camera.
ALEENE’S GLUE I came up with the idea to turn this glue commercial into a love story during a pitch meeting and our director and copywriter developed the idea from there. I also handled the casting.
MARJORIE MASON CENTER I came up with the tagline, “When you’re ready, we’ll be here” for this PSA, and suggested my friend Maegan for the lead role. I found the house we shot at and also decked out the van with “mom” props.
FRESNO FIRE DEPARTMENT This PSA was a beast that included coordinating two peewee football teams worth of extras, as well as their fans and cheerleaders. We were already down a crew member the day of the shoot, I had the flu, and our director broke his toe early on that morning. So this is a pretty fun spot that came out of quite a miserable day of filming.
FRESNO SURGICAL HOSPITAL This is one of my favorite spots. I handled the casting, locations, props, costumes, and set decoration. The man in the wood shop? He actually isn’t the actor we originally cast, but he owned the shop where we were planning to set that scene. When we saw how genuine his love was for woodwork, and how endearing he looked in his own space, in his own clothes, we decided to use him instead. (We still let the other actor get in a few takes for his reel.)
GOSSAMER GROVE I did the casting and scheduling on this one, and secured some of the locations.
ELAINE’S PET RESORT Another fun one, because dogs! I got to cast all of the people (and some of the puppies) for this commercial. Also found lots of cool houses to use (god bless Airbnb and Zillow), and handled the set decoration and costumes. As happens often with crews on set, my foot also makes a camera at 19 seconds in. Blink and you’ll miss it.
THEATRICAL EVENTS In undergrad, I produced several dozen charity shows as well as helped the theater department plan our annual drama banquets. One of the most memorable events I planned was a sold-out benefit immediately following the attacks of 9/11 that took place near the beginning of my senior year. It was the easiest time I ever had getting people to volunteer, as well as the easiest time I ever had filling seats. If that’s not a testament to the healing power of art, both for audience and performers, I don’t know what is.
In recent years, I helped start a group called The Fools Collaborative. We are a collective of theatre, film, and visual artists based in and around Fresno who work together to raise awareness and funding for various philanthropic, community-orientated, and social justice projects. We formed during April of 2016, during the worldwide #Shakespeare400 movement that was happening in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. A group of about 50 of us planned and produced a month’s worth of Shakespearean events all over town – everything from 24-hour play fests to Shakespeare-themed pub quizes and movie nights. After that, we spent a year holding events to help raise money for The Martin Family, in support of their adoption efforts. This included a site-specific dinner theater production of Blood Relationsat The Old Hotel Bistro in Clovis, CA. Since then, we've hosted events for the Rainbow Pride Festival, laughed our way through a difficult inauguration night with a one-night engagement of Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, and played around at Rogue Festival with our drunken, homespun version of Twelfth Night (S'Will). I've been at the helm of every event, with a strong and supportive team of other artists assisting me in execution.
The following images are from a production of Real Women Have Curves at the Selma Art Center. I initially signed on to co-direct, but ended up taking on the roles of costumer, prop mistress, and set dec designer as well. That commitment was a lesson in itself, but don't these ladies look lovely?