September 23, 2012


Hello there! Since starting BYU last January, I haven't had a lot of chances to perform or do anything fun like that. I've tried out for several things at the Y (a couple of plays, some singing groups) but haven't had any success. It's been really frustrating because often times I've been told I'm good enough to be involved, and one director even told me that I was her first choice. "But," she and others have said, "You're not a theater/music/arts student."

I found something that didn't have any of those things as requirements for participation. My friend's older brother, Wes,  does parody covers of popular music. One song he re-did lately was Tao Cruz's "Dynamite," changing it to fit an un-dead theme and naming it "ZombieNight." His wife suggested as a joke that he make a music video parody to go along with the song. Wes jumped on the idea and together, he and his wife began a project to get "ZombieNight" from the sound studio into film.

My audition for a part as an extra went well, and I got an email a few days later saying that I was invited to be in the film shoot in September. Yesterday was the day! 14 hours of zombie-ness took place, and it was a lot of fun.

Beautiful, isn't it? Kirsten, the artist who did my make-up, was very thorough
 (and no, she did not use a 2 x 4 to give me that bruise. Just paint, brushes, and sponges).
Gruesome, no?

Having been involved in theater since I was 4, full-face make-up was no surprise for me. The latex stuff, however, was new. Liquid latex is cold and smells funny, and when it dries it pulls your skin tight and makes it difficult to move normally. I was given a wicked looking burn on my neck, and the range of motion in my neck was cut down by about a third! But it looked cool. It actually freaked some people out when it was fresh -- they said it looked like I'd actually been burned.

All of us zombies looked wicked disgusting, but it was really fun. Wearing shredded, stained clothes and being covered in dirt and fake blood, bruises, burns, stab wounds, bullet holes, and other various injuries really brings people together. Barriers broken, people. So funny that friendships were started by people comparing their wounds and making up stories as to how they got them. Because when everyone looks like crap, it's really easy to fit in!

(side thing: it is much less awkward to have your clothes ripped apart by a woman than it is to have them shredded by a man -- that was weird)

Got this during a narrow escape -- you should see how the other guy looks.
I should have been more mentally prepared for the physical aspect of the zombie role. I've often been a character actor or dancer actor, where most of my portrayal has taken place through my movements (as Tantomile in CATS, a jitterbug in The Wizard of Oz, a wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to name a few). Acting like a zombie takes more energy than a person might think, because pretending not to have control of your body takes a lot of control (I'm a bit sore today, actually -- kinda out of shape much?). It's like being a dancer, but purposefully being bad at it.

I also should have remembered that filming for a movie is boring. It's what everyone who has ever been in a movie has always said, but as I've never been part of a project like this, I didn't realize how boring it truly is. Take after take of doing the exact same thing, each take split up by the crew having to re-position cameras, light adjusters and filters, set pieces -- the other extras that had arrived at 7am and I took it upon ourselves to shout "BACK TO ONE!!!" before the camera crew could do so. It happened so often that we just began to expect it. Hearing "THAT'S A WRAP" on a take was the best moment ever. SHADE! And WATER! Not to mention we could sit down and talk to each other before we were called back to set again.

I'm actually kind of surprised that the children on set weren't scared by the way us zombie grown-ups looked.
When I was a child, I probably would have been terrified. Then again, Lassie Come Home gave me nightmares, so. Yeah.

The make-up removal was quite the adventure. Don't tug on the latex (yeah, don't do it) when trying to get it off. Just roll it off and it won't hurt as much (blah).

Remarkably, this all came off pretty easily. Two or three gentle washes with shampoo and presto! Gone.
My zombie time has come to a close. There were good bits and bad bits, and I never quite got used to seeing people walking around with oozing cuts and gashes. Overall it was pretty fun and very different. It was good to be part of a creative team again. I met lots of really cool people, experienced the production aspect of a short film, and was able to dress up crazy without worrying that someone would shoot me. I mean, there are enough people out there who are ready for the zombie apocalypse that I wouldn't have been surprised if someone out of the loop had freaked out and shot at us on set. Hopefully they would have noticed all of the cameras and the fact that we were in the empty lot right next to the city's Arts building...but you never know.

Wrap it up and send it to a baby on Christmas, folks! This sequence of production is DONE!

February 27, 2012

Singin' in the Rain...

Once upon a Stake Relief Society Conference, my sisters, their ballroom friends, and myself were the entertainment that opened the meeting. The Stake Relief Society Presidency asked me to put a number together that matched the theme, "Learning to Dance in the Rain". They wanted it to be done to the song "Singin' in the Rain", made famous by Gene Kelly in the film with Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connnor. And so I did. Nothing much. Just a couple of ballroom partnerships and a girl with a green raincoat and umbrella. Dinner and a show! There ya go.

In true LDC fashion (haha) we weren't ready until the night before. Although I will say that last semester LDC was quite more prepared than we were my first year. The video isn't great quality and the person filming it missed the first couple of seconds, but it works, right? Yes. probably would have been better if I'd let them do all of the dancing. And...goal reinforced: loose weight. *sigh*

December 19, 2011

A Silent Night...

The past two weekends have been spent performing in LDC's annual Christmas pageant. At first our show A Silent Night seemed just another thing that I had to do. I wasn't unhappy about it, but neither was I super excited about it. It was just a show, a chance to perform and to make people happy. It just never seemed to mean much to me personally. I wanted people to come and see it so they could feel happy and be uplifted, but it was like the message of it wasn't getting through to me.

That was until our final show, after our president, Teddy, bore her testimony. I was finally able to really feel the message of our story. Before I knew the story and the music, and I loved all of it. I knew in my mind that the story was true, and that what we were doing was blessing many people and helping them through their hard times. But as Teddy spoke of the Savior, and of her upcoming mission, and of her love for each of us, it wasn't just a fact anymore. It was no longer just a fact in my head. It was real truth in my heart.

Christmas isn't glitter and sparkly lights and presents, toys and electronics and gift cards. Christmas isn't Santa Claus and elves and sleigh rides. Christmas is more than that. All of those things can be good and bring happiness, but it isn't what it's all about. Christmas, as Brother Eggett pointed out, is a big birthday party. It's Christ's birthday party! That's what it's all about. Shepherds were invited to celebrate by the angels, a formal invitation from God to announce the birth of His Son! Wise men came later to give gifts to the child, recognizing the little king. Today we continue to celebrate the most wondrous, miraculous birth of all time. Because that's what it's really about. Not the Christmas we see in the windows of every store and on the screen of every TV, but the Christmas we read of in the scriptures. It's the Christmas you feel, the Christmas that gets inside you and causes you to love people you don't even know, or people you don't even like very much. It's the Christmas that makes you want to be a better person, even if it's in a small way that nobody will ever know about. It's the Savior, the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of Lords! It's Him, and all He did. Because there wouldn't be an Easter without a Christmas.

Let Him in. Into your life, into your heart, into your mind. All we have to do is let Him in.

I'll share a little bit of our show with you now. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas!

Click here.

All praise to the name of the Father of Light!
One who listens and hears when I call.
Every step He ordains I shall walk without fear.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.

What can mortal men do while I'm safe in His hands?
He is God; on His word I'll rely!
In the midst of my fear I will trust in His name
for I know He will hear when I cry.

He knows all of my feelings,
the depths of despair,
all the limits my soul can endure.
I will trust in His name--I have nothing to fear
for in Him all my hopes are secure.

All praise to the name of the Father of Light!
One who listens and hears when I call.
Every step He ordains I shall walk without fear.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.

He alone can deliver a soul from its death,
lift a life from a wasteland of need.
He alone can replenish with blessings untold
until into His light we are freed!
We are freed!

All praise to the name of the Father of Light!
One who listens and hears when I call.
Every step He ordains I shall walk without fear.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.

Every step He ordains I shall walk without fear!
In His light I'll not stumble or fall.