So, this is my first blog post. I never really had anything to write about until this last week. I’ll try to keep it brief! But I have a whole crapload of love and thanks to hand out so bare with me.
On Sunday, I wrapped the feature Ghostlight. Saying it was an intense two weeks is an understatement. I’m still trying to bring back the ol’ Lisa. Disgustingly chipper and always smiling. She’s emerged a few times- albeit with some liquid help. Helllooo Jameson.
To go back- about 6 months ago Jeff Ferrell approached me about reading for the lead in his new feature. I’d worked with Jeff on a short called Morella 4 years ago. I met some extremely talented folks on that shoot including Collin Joseph Neal and Dennis Kleinsmith. SIDENOTE: You never know who you’re working with. I never fully realized this until Ghostlight came around. I was floored that Jeff wanted to work with me again and entrust such a huge part into my hands. Of course I replied ‘Holy balls yes!’
The film was originally slated to shoot early June but had to be pushed to late August. I was incredibly disappointed, to say the least. In that short amount of time we lost my other lead. We scrambled to find another actor capable of such heavy material and the ability to carry the film. Jeff and I had both worked with Brian Sutherland (he on Fatkid Rules the World, me on All My Presidents.) Jeff met with him and instantly signed him on. He then began a pretty substantial rewrite. When I received the final shooting script, I was a wreck. I couldn’t even say some of the lines out loud without sniveling like an idiot. It was so much better.
I was scheduled to take a Steven Anderson workshop the weekend before shooting. As in class ended Sunday night at 11 and I had to be on set the next morning at 9 am. I started panicking. I tried to back out, expressing my concerns at workshopping another character. But that sneaky Steven, he suggested I get him the script and he and his writer would custom tailor a scene around my character and I could explore her all weekend. GENIUS! I was paired with the wonderful Sarah J Eagen. Sarah played my sister. We had a gut wrenching scene and it took it’s toll on both of us all weekend. By the time we performed the scene, we were sobbing fools. Sarah became my sister, my ally. Someone I got to bring to set with me. I don’t know if I could have gone to where I did without her.
Then came two weeks of loooong shooting in Everett. The first day we shot one of the opening scenes then went right into probably my most emotional scene in the film. I blew through tissues. I looked like shit. And I didn’t care. I was so immersed, so surrounded by support and love that I lost myself to the character, to her life and to her sorrow. It was incredible. The last few days of shooting were the hardest for me in terms of fear. I overcame some things that have haunted me since I was a child. I didn’t want to. I fought against going there. But I figured, Lisa you’ve come this far. Man up and just do it. I have no idea how it turned out. I couldn’t watch the playback. I pretty much blacked out. But I had such a wonderful supportive team with Nin (my twin!) ready with tissues, Shawn as my heart, and Andrew always taming my freaking frizzy ass hair!
The DP Domenic was a tremendous talent. So much so I didn’t think once of how the shot looked. I simply trusted his vision. And Jeff. He allowed us to play and move and create and cry. He didn’t care if we were word perfect. He listened to our ideas. He nurtured us fully. His right hand man Jim-oh Jim. Jim was the rock for the production. Making sure we got every shot and kept things on track. Plus he was funny as hell. And Collin making sure every light was perfect. And he worked with the vigor of a 14 year old. 17 hours shooting? Pfff! I’m gonna run up these stairs with 30 pounds of gear and smile the whole way. And the rest of the crew who rocked the hell out of the set: Nin, Shawn, Andrew, Davin, Gabe, Corey, David, Tyler, Jason, Kat and everyone else I’ve missed. I love you all.
AND MY FELLOW ACTORS! Never in my life have I seen such dedication. Such utter talent. Every one was completely committed to the life of the character. Every time I looked at Russell Hodgkinson I’d burst into tears. The poor guy. And Dennis scared me out of my skin every time he looked at me. And Ramona and Armitage and Jeff you all haunt my dreams. So terrifying you were and Ramona your voice was hypnotic.
My little Eden. Working with a kid actor is always a gamble. She was so good, so professional and so unaffected, I truly felt protective over her. I could talk to her, as Mira, and she’d respond back as Emma. It was tremendous to watch. And Brian. You raised the stakes for me. As an actor, as a human, as an artist. I couldn’t give anything less than all I had because you were right there with me, mourning, crying and navigating our screwed up life. You were a rock for me. Your natural talent is an amazement to witness. I think it’s you that Daniel Day Lewis’d my ass. And you made me laugh when I thought I’d never smile again. Thank you for your friendship. And a big whiskey cheers to many years of working together!
Right after we wrapped I went to LA for another film I did that was screening at the LA Shorts Fest. It was good timing. I was finding myself introverted, quiet and filled with loss. Not mine, I knew. But I had felt it so strongly for two weeks it was hard to chase away. The sunshine helped. It’s been a week since we wrapped and today is the first day I woke up feeling mostly back to normal! Yay! Insert vomit inducing optimism here_________.
I know I’ll still have moments. Mira is a part of the deepest place in my heart. I’ll never forget her, nor do I want to. I’m so grateful for the experience of Ghostlight. For the wonderful people I met and worked with. For the dedication from the whole crew to make not only a good movie but an impacting one. I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Oh one last thank you. To my family. For without you I wouldn’t be whole. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, your support and general excitement in what I do. And to Tony, your love for me allows me to explore freely in my craft for I know I come home to a love more powerful than just about anything. Thank you for standing by me, even if you don’t fully understand why I do it.
Ok- I think it’s time to pour a drink and start writing a comedy!