OK, all child actor parents or any parent of an actor love to see their kids perform on set RIGHT!!! What an honor it is to actually work on set and eventually see oneself on TV or the big screen. This is a short story of how my little Actor Princess Ellery inspired me on set in July 2010.
Ellery was cast as a lead for a Feature Horror film titled “The Butterfly Room”. This film is being funded by the Italian Government and as you can guess the Director is Italian, super gent to work with and an excellent Director.
The film shot earlier this year for a number of weeks and locations then a few weeks ago Ellery enjoyed 3 days of pickups. And as you might have guessed most of the scenes she shot were the more intense emotional scenes. So most of the “Butterfly Room” family is back on set for a few days, the camera is rolling and we are all moving right along. The first 2 days of the pickups Dana joined Ellery on set, so not to be left out of the fun I offered to take day 3.
Day 3 - Its like the scenes build throughout the day until the final scene, which is a very intense, tricky and emotional one. There were no props or dialog from any other actor for Ellery to draw from, so it was her chops solely that had to make the scene believable. Ellery throughout the day was being her usual spunky self and having a blast working and filming. Back to the scene, Ellery comes over to me and shares with me that she isn’t sure if she can turn the fountain on, you know the TEARS. So I’m saying things like you are so talented and such a great actress, this is a walk in the park for an actress like you. I’m attempting to inspire her thus building her confidence, you must appreciate how tricky this scene really was, and I can’t wait to see the final cut.
So its time to film the scene; Ellery comes over to me and directs me to where she wants me to stand while she’s filming. She is ensuring that I’m in her sight at all times; it’s very interesting to me what makes an actor tick!
I move toward my directed mark when Ellery stops ask me to help her get to that place in her mind where she can subtext her thoughts then connect with the emotion of the scene.
So I kneel down on my knees and start to personalize the visual image I think will work for her and she likes it, we lock it in then starts for her mark. So I’m in position and Ellery is ready to shoot – ACTION!!! Ellery works through this layered scene then turns around for the end of the scene where she is beyond frightened and scared then here comes the crying, screaming for her mommy and the tears that go with it all. Cut! The entire crew is astonished at her amazing performance and I am too. Ellery totally drew me in as I found myself completely lost in the truth of the scene, I mean blown away by her work WOW!!!! The same scene is shot again for an even a closer view and Ellery does it again just as before. Once the director called out cut I watched and comforted Ellery as she came out of her emotionally shaken state. Now the director wraps Ellery compliments her many times over and eventually hands her a beautiful bouquet of flowers followed by a warm applause from everyone, Ellery was so touched and proud.
Once Ellery and I bid our farewells we jumped in our car and headed home. As we talked of the day I shared with Ellery that she cried as easy as I can breath and for her to never ever doubt her ability to become so emotionally real. As we spoke it occurred to me how inspiring it was for me to see my 9 year old daughter reach the depth she did and how very talented she really is. This day renewed my faith and belief as to why we are out here working so hard to create a career path for our children. I was truly INSPIRED by Ellery to continue our journey. You must understand that I had not been that involved over the past 2 years due to my busy work schedule, managing a large and busy hotel keeps you rolling 24x7.
In the end Ellery did excellent work and the film, which will premiere in Italy 2011, will be a great one I’m sure. I will always remember this particular scene and appreciate how much Ellery has grown as an actress since her start in the summer of 2006.
May The Force Be With You!