Lights, Camera, and Action!

House of Temptation 2 casthaunted houseI’m scurrying around the house today, trying to get ready for my husband and my vacation this next week, and I realized that I had forgotten to write my blog! I also worked for a few hours this morning, so I guess I have a good excuse for being late, but I still have a million things to see to and so I decided I had better get this out of the way first!

As I was debating on what to write about, I got an instant message on Facebook  from my friend Hassan. Dr. Hassan Zee is a pretty awesome guy. I met him a couple of years ago on my commuter bus run when he and his partner rode in to Modesto from the Bay Area to check the area out. He was promoting his movie, Bicycle Bride, and we got to chatting about the town and who to talk to and the next thing I knew I was being roped into helping him promote his movie to the president of the local Art Council as well as the entertainment director of the  Gallo Theater, our very impressive local venue for anything artsy, musical, and the like.

We became good friends and he calls me once in awhile just to chat or talk about his films or whatever else may be on his mind. I enjoy our conversations–he is a very intelligent and interesting person, very different than most of the people I come in contact with on my bus. I feel especially honored that he considers me a friend. I mean, he’s a movie writer/director/producer for Pete’s sake! How cool is that?!

This past summer he needed extras for his newest movie, “House of Temptation” and so my oldest daughter and I packed up a couple of outfits and drove to Oakland to help him with a scene or two. It was a lot of fun, but I discovered that actors are a very different breed of people! They sat around in little huddles, muttering lines under their breath or staring daggers at the other people in the room. Everyone wants to have lines and if they didn’t get them they complained–LOUDLY!!One of the actresses was supposed to cry a bit in one scene, and she practically had a conniption when Doc told her what he wanted her to do. “I can’t be expected just to have all this emotion at the drop of a hat!” she exclaimed. “I need time to prepare!” Hassan just sort of looked at her, and then asked if I wanted to do it. I blinked but begged off. One of the cast members wives was sitting there waiting for him to finish up with his part. Doc asked her if SHE could cry and she just shrugged. He gave her the lines and she did them perfectly. She got the part. Apparently having lines in a film is a BIG DEAL if you are a serious actor, even if you are only an extra like we were, and Hassan gave both my daughter and I lines so we would have credits in the film. Yeah, I don’t think we were popular with the “real” actors!!

A few weeks later both of my girls, myself, and my granddaughter took a day off to go into San Francisco to shoot another scene. It was a lot of fun, but we found it challenging because Adrielle, who was nine months old at the time, was expected to remain quiet during each shoot. Have you ever tried to keep a baby quiet?! My daughter and I had handfuls of vegetable puffs that we took turns handing to her. As long as her mouth was full she was happy! It was a beautiful day in the city and afterwards we took the baby to the beach and enjoyed ourselves. If I had known acting was such a relaxing job I would have taken it up years ago!

I found it quite fascinating to watch the steps necessary to shoot each scene. The setting up of the shots. The constant listening for outside noises. (These sound guys have ears that a jack rabbit would envy! They would say “airplane” and my daughter and I would look at each other and maybe three minutes later we would barely hear it. How do they do that?! ) The filming is all done digitally now–no actual film involved. So the director can see immediately how the shot looks and adjust accordingly. Then they have closeups and we all have to sit still and not change anything–if my hands were folded in my lap they had to remain folded, etc. I thought we would have make up and hair done, but he wanted us au natural. Nothing was how I pictured it, and it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.

Doc Zee just sent the movie off to the Cannes Film Festival this past week. Suddenly I find myself nervous because I have no idea how I looked or how I did in this movie and I just realized that a bunch of famous people are going to be watching it! Argh! I haven’t seen the entire movie–just the scenes we happened to shoot. It is a horror film, shot partially in Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed. Doc is planning a Red Carpet Gala soon and is promoting the film through Indiegogo.  If anyone is on Facebook you can find out more about the movie and Doc Zee on his page, .

I’m pretty excited to see this film. I will probably hide under my seat , especially when I am on-screen, but also because frankly I’m just not into scary movies! I think it is pretty cool that I got to be in a movie–one of those YOLO moments–but the truth is Doc does great work. The film is an independent film but it is done very professionally. He has hundreds of hours of his own time and money invested in it. It was a privilege to work with Doc Zee and I enjoyed every minute of my 15 minutes of fame! Maybe I can have a bigger role in his next movie, provided I survive the showing of this one! Who knows? One day you all may be saying “I knew her when…”!