Brackish Waters Filming, Uncategorized

Brackish Waters Filming (Post 1)

A few weeks ago, I was cast in a movie that’s being filmed locally here in Maine. I thought I’d do a blog about the experience and take you along for the ride.

The casting of this movie actually stems back a few years when I was in a ten-minute play festival that the writer, Shelly Curtain, had entered for submission to the festival. I was cast as a woman named Terri. A woman who traveled back in time. Just like Claire in Outlander!!! Ahhhh! (The writer had never heard of Outlander before I mentioned it…she will by the end of this shoot! Fair warning Shelly!) Anywho, the play ended, we all went our separate ways. In the years that followed, Shelly turned the ten-minute play into a full-length play, and then into a screenplay. She cast all her parts and had even begun filming, but there was one role that had to be recast. The role of Terri. The very same part I played in the theatre version.

Fast forward to this year and the local middle school’s speech competition where I was one of the judges. Guess who I was paired up with as a judge? Tim Pugliese. The lead actor of Shelly’s movie. Tim and I spent much of the day together exchanging bad puns and past role experiences. Shelly was there too and she and I worked as judges later that day and after then, some time after the competition, we got to chatting and she asked if I would be willing to audition for the role. Small world.

This is Tim as Darius Reed

To make a long story short, too late (10 points if you know what that movie that’s from) I was sent a monologue and a scene to read with Tim. Get this: the fictional town where this story takes place…it’s the same fictional town I made up for Doppelganger! Bucksville. Her town was in Maine, mine in New Hampshire. But still, how freaky is that?

Anywho, I arrived at her house where most of the shooting will take place and was surprised to see that she had literally transformed her house into the set of a 1900’s inn as the script dictates. It was wild. Like walking onto a stage set in someone’s living room.

See?

We talked a bit about what the movie was about, where they were in the filming process and what sort of time commitment was going to be needed etc., then it was down to business. Acting time. The monologue was a tough one. The emotional tone bounced around a lot, as a good monologue should. Anger, sadness, laughter. My audition wasn’t as polished I had practiced at home but it did the trick. I was offered the role on the spot.

The first day of filming for me will be on Sunday. I have about six lines in this first scene (mercifully) and I’ve got them down. In theory. It will be interesting to see how long shooting six lines will take. I’m guessing a wee bit longer than it would take to rehearse six lines in theatre haha.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how my first day of shooting goes.

 

Danielle Bannister, author and movie actress. hehe 

 

 

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It’s All Good

On Saturday I went to my ex-husband’s surprise 40th birthday party that I helped decorate with his new wife, the stepmother to my kids. His parents were there too. My former inlaws. It should have been an exceedingly awkward evening, but it wasn’t.

Instead, it was filled with hugs, laughter and friends.

Were there challenges to the evening? Sure. Putting 40 helium-filled balloons into my tiny Kia Rio on a windy day was a bit comical. Telling my daughter no more Coke (the 1/2 glass was more than she should be having with braces on at 7 o’clock at night) or getting my son to put more than one carrot on his plate were tiny issues. Figuring out the best way to properly cut a wheel of Gouda cheese brought about its own set of challenges, but the company? No issues there.

My reaction after we all shouted “Surprise!”

Over the years since our divorce, my ex and I have come to realize that just because we weren’t right for each other in a marriage sense, doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. In fact, because we share children together, the opposite needs to be true. We absolutely have to be respectful of each other.

When my husband and I split, we made a pack not to let the dissolution of our marriage tear our family apart. We could live separate lives without ignoring the other person’s existence. We were determined to stay friends. In that way, we are teaching our children compassion and kindness, and yes, love.

My children know what a gift our mutual respect is. They often confess that they are so happy that we don’t fight like many of their divorced friend’s parents do. I am too.

That’s not to say we don’t have issues co-parenting. Of course we do. But we work through them together. As a family does.

With that, I say to my ex, welcome to Club 40.

Danielle Bannister, Author and party goer

 

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When a couch is more than a couch.

I did something wild and crazy this week. I bought a couch. That may not seem like that big of an event to blog about, but it was cathartic for me. Let me explain. No there is too much, let me sum up. (A million points if you get that reference)

A few years ago I made the scariest decision of my life. I left my marriage. I left with a couple of suitcases and the clothes on my back. It was, far and away, the most terrifying thing I’d ever done.

While I have no doubt that our divorce was the right thing to do, and my ex is happily re-married to a woman I call my friend, it has taken me years to rebuild what I let go of.

When I left, I said goodbye to so much of the ‘stuff’ we had acquired in our eleven years of marriage. Furniture, dishes, DVD’s, books, games… I walked away with basically nothing and no real plan on how I was supposed to survive on my own. It was a pretty dark time.

I moved into the basement of a dear friend for a few months while I got my head back on (she was a saint for putting up with me and my kids during all this.)  After about six months, my ex moved out of our house and I moved back in. I had to restock everything, save for the few things he didn’t want: a couch, a wobbly kitchen table, some paintings, etc.

Money was extremely tight but there were basic things I needed, like plates to eat off, towels to dry off with…Things I didn’t have now that I wasn’t living at my friends. I bought the cleanest looking dishes I could find from Goodwill, found furniture pieces from friends or yard sales, and slowly, as money allowed, rebuilt the smaller stuff like plants, books, movies, curtains, a hair dryer…

The couch he’d left behind for me, however, remained my nemesis. While I was grateful to have a place to sit, it remained a constant reminder of those rough years…the years of dire financial and emotional struggle. The couch represented everything about that time: it was ugly, uncomfortable and falling apart. That couch was me. And I hated it.

For the first time in years, my tax return wasn’t earmarked for a major car repair. I had no doubt what I was doing with those funds: I was getting that new couch. With my head held high, I went out and bought the softest couch I could afford and I got it new. That was important. I didn’t want to buy this second hand. This one thing had to be new. I had to be proud of it, because it was a symbolic statement of my life at present; the new and improved version of myself.

It may just be a couch to you, but to me, it means I’m moving forward. That I’m succeeding, even on my own, and that’s something to take comfort in.

Danielle Bannister, author and new couch owner.

 

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When the curtain goes down…

If you have ever done a play before, you will likely remember the days following the last curtain as either a time of great relief (if the show was a horrible experience) or one of great sorrow (reserved for those shows that really spoke to you.) My last curtain fell on Sunday and still, my mind drifts back to the play. My brain is happily letting go of the insane amount of lines, but the memories of the show have etched themselves firmly in place.

 

lines
Sooooo many lines.

 

Just like a good book hangover, a good play can linger inside the mind. While Shooting Star was a play designed for a woman a few years older than me, more extroverted than me and far more free-spirited than me, I knew I had to do it. Granted, I had my doubts that I’d be able to pull a role of this magnitude off, which you can read about here,  but the script…man, that script was just too good to pass up. There aren’t many plays (or books or movies for that matter) for this middle stage of life, and few that capture how we deal with things that happened in our past quite so well. The play was funny, poignant, and for me, made me think a lot about the choices we make and how we deal with them.

For those unfamiliar with the play, it’s a two-person play. A former couple who reunite at an airport that gets snowed in, some twenty-five years after their breakup. They ended their relationship on a sour note, and now they have roughly twenty hours stuck at the same gate together. What do you say to the person who broke your heart? To the man she’d gone to therapy for over for years? To the woman he hated because she insisted on an open relationship? Truths were told, the ugly ones that no one has the guts to admit, reconnections were made, and ultimately, conflicts resolved. The play does not end with them together, but stronger now that they have forgiven each other for past mistakes. It’s a gut-wrenching show about how we deal with the things we don’t have the courage to say and what happens when we do.

Some 'Reconnecting' time...*cough
Some ‘Reconnecting’ time… *cough

Often times, when Nathan and I would come out after the curtain to greet the audience, we noticed that they had tears in their eyes. They longed for the picture-perfect ending but fully understood why it was denied them. That’s life. It’s messy, complicated, and our choices dictate the path we go down. Learning to embrace the road you’ve chosen is not easy sometimes, even if it is the right road to be on. For me, the play had a happy ending, even if they didn’t end up together. They grew. They let go of past hurt and they were able to be fully present for their kids. The audience knew it was the right road for both of them, and yet, they were still sad that those two couldn’t make it work. I’ll miss that…being able to make an audience experience emotions they weren’t prepared to feel. I’ll miss our cast and crew who knew the power this show held.

The play would make a wonderful book or movie. Bittersweet. A thinker. I suppose that’s why it’s still with me. Great writing can do that.

So, thank you, Steven Dietz, for the opportunity to explore Elena and Reed. I hope we did them the justice they deserved.

 

age-make-up
In our age makeup.

 

Danielle Bannister, author and thinker

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The Show Must Go On…

For those who live in the New England area, you know that we are living under two plus feet of snow (with another 6-10 inches coming tomorrow).

crap

Yeah. That’s the end of a shovel just barely sticking out of the snow bank. It’s snowmageddon here, which, as a Mainer, I’m used to. We have shovels, we have plows, we have winter gear. It’s still annoying. It brings things to a halt for a few days…which normally isn’t an issue, but I have a play opening on FRIDAY!!!  I haven’t performed in a play for YEARS. I wanted to dip my toe back into acting…you know, try out for a small role maybe, and instead got cast in the first show of the year as a lead. Go big or go home, right? The ironic part? the play is about two people stuck at an airport due to, wait for it…a blizzard. So long as that blizzard stops by Friday, we’ll be set (and so far the weather is looking fine for the first weekend.)

And now, here it is the week we open. (Ack!) I’ll be honest. I started this whole journey with much trepidation. A two person show means half of the lines are on my shoulders and as I said, I hadn’t acted in many, many moons. Could I still do it? Could this 41-year-old brain still remember lines, let alone THAT MANY? Could I still remember not to upstage people, find my light and use my gut to speak loudly? On top of that, I had never worked with the director or the other lead and this is a very intimate play…lots of laughs, tears, and kissing. Full on make out scene! (That’s sort of a bonus part of being an actor…) Sure, the script was great but how would the three of us work together? Would we gel? Could we do the show justice?

Over the course of the rehearsals, we all eased into the material. Got comfortable working with the words and with each other, and slowly, things all began to align.  Lines begin to stay in the old noggin, blocking began to click and before we knew it, tech week was upon us. For you non-theatre people, tech week is the week before the show goes up, where you add in lights, sound, costume, makeup…begin working with the real props…In short, it’s a week where a LOT is thrown at you; new things to get used to. Suddenly, lights are blinding you, music is playing under dialogue you knew would be there but are now hearing for the first time for and that quick change you have to make, is a lot faster than you bargained for. But it’s fine because you have that week to figure it out…A week to practice hearing those sound cues. A week to adjust to the lights. A week to figure out how to set that costume in just the right way so you make it on stage on time.

Well, you have that week if you aren’t dumped on by snow. Two of our tech rehearsals were lost to this storm.

But never fear! We are professionals, with a kick-ass show that I’m really excited (and nervous) to perform for local peeps. This entire process has reignited my desire to act, as I knew that it would. It’s a rush, much like writing is. Getting to step into someone else’s shoes for a moment and live another life. It’s pure joy.

So, if you’re in the area, come check us out!

promo-1

Shooting Star, written by Steven Dietz

You can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/395809237436838/

 

Danielle Bannister, Author AND Actress 

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Today’s the day!!!

EEEP! It’s Release Day!

live

Doppelganger is now LIVE! 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb 
ibooks: http://apple.co/2k3K0LY
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B
Nook: http://bit.ly/2iVELzY
Paperback: http://amzn.to/2jNHuww

Blurb

Julie Green was NOT having a midlife crisis.

Her move across the country from sunny LA to the unsuspecting town of Bucksville, New Hampshire, was NOT about her being up to her eyeballs in fake people and even faker tits. It was NOT about hating her job as a temp and most definitely did NOT have anything to do with her ex-boyfriend or his wife getting pregnant with kid number three.

No, this move was going to be her chance for a ‘do over.’ A quiet life in a quiet town.

Or, at least, that was the plan.

A case of mistaken identity thrusts her into the public eye, tossing her into in a world of flashbulbs and shadows. Not the ideal situation to meet her potential Mr. Right, but her newest temporary gig was unlike any she’d ever held. The chance of a lifetime… Will it get to be too much, forcing her to cut and run–or will she find out that love stories aren’t just for the silver screen?

Teaserto-do-list-avail-now

Happy day!!!!!

Danielle Bannister, Author, and Release Day sharer.

 

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How it all begins…

I thought it might be fun to share the first chapter of my latest release. It gives you a taste of the voice of the book. 🙂 Because WordPress doesn’t seem to believe in the tab button and aligns everything to the left (which is super annoying if you’re reading a book.) Therefore, I made screen shots of the paperback! Hope you can read them! If not, the book comes out on Feb 7th! Hehe.

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Page 3-4.jpg

pages 5-6.jpg

pages-7-8

 

pages 9-10.jpg

That’s chapter one, folks! Want more? Only a few more days to wait! 🙂

doppelganger-wrap

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jg8W77

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2kd4K7b

ibooks: http://apple.co/2k3K0LY

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B

Nook: http://bit.ly/2iVELzY

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2jNHuww

Danielle Bannister, Author, and chapter teaser.

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“Morgan”

Last week I introduced you to Doppelganger’s main character, Julie. Today we meet her famous look-a-like, actress, Morgan Malone.

If you read last week’s post What’s in a name? then you’ll remember that I based the looks of the main character on my own friend, author Julie Cassar. So for Morgan, I asked my friend what movie star she is often mistaken for. Without hesitation, she said Amy Schumer.  Okay then. Amy Schumer it is. In my little journal that has character bios and plot notes and such is a picture of Amy Schumer. She’s “39” and is one of Hollywood’s top-paid movie stars who just happens to own a mansion in the same small town that Julie decides to move to.

to-do-list-coming-feb

Now, I can’t get into much more about Morgan as that would give away the plot, and giving spoilers is something I’m not a fan of.

Next week, I’ll be sharing the first chapter of the book to give you a taste of what’s to come.

In the meantime, the book is up for pre-order and the paperback is live if you just can’t wait until Feb. 7th to get your hands on the digital copy.

Until next week!

Pre-Order Links

Doppelganger (Pre-order)
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb
ibooks: http://apple.co/2k3K0LY
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B
Nook: http://bit.ly/2iVELzY
Paperback: http://amzn.to/2jNHuww

Danielle Bannister, author and book teaser

 

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What’s in a name?

“Where do you come up with the names for your books?” That’s a question I get a lot. Honestly, if a name doesn’t just come to me, I grab this:

So many names to choose from.
Old Faithful

I flip open a random page, close my eyes and point. Somewhere along that area will be the name I pick. Obviously, sometimes the name I point to is sooooo not right for the character, but I usually find a good name on that page or the next. Arbitrary name selection is how I roll; unless it pops into my noggin from the first time they need a name. I hate having to name characters. It slows the thought train having to pick a name so when one just comes to me, I’m a  happy camper.

Such was the case for the main character of my next book, Doppelganger. I knew immediately who she was going to be:

jules

Julie “Jules” Green. I named her after my writer pal, Julie Cassar, and she totally knows it. She was one of the very first people to beta read this book so I made sure to get her thumbs up before attaching her name to the final copy. It seemed fitting to name this character Jules, because the real Julie is the one who gave me the idea for the story. I was in line, at the grocery store, texting Julie about the fact I had writer’s block after finishing Enigma. She asked me what I was doing at that very moment, and I told her the boring details of unloading my cart, and she said, “So what if your character was in line at the grocery store and she looked up at the tabloids and saw a picture of her.” Boom. Doppelganger was born.

Last names I tend to rely on google as that does require a bit of research to make sure the surname makes sense with the first name and where the story takes place. In first drafts, I’ll put that research in brakes: [insert last name here] and keep writing. Those details are better left for the editing phases, not the first draft “writing phase” when everything you write is gold (or, at least, you tell yourself it is so the inner editor doesn’t stop you every two minutes and cripple you with self-doubt.)

For each book, I keep a journal. It lists the character’s name, specifics about them, like hair color, eye color, job etc (because I KNOW I’ll forget the small details like that.) The journal also holds the timeline and notes, pictures I find that remind me of the location, etc. For the character picture, it was easy. I based Jules looks on my real friend, Julie.

jules

Tall, blond hair, blue eyes. Easy peasy.

The other characters? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to the blog. 🙂

 

Doppelganger releases Feb. 7, 2017

You can pre-order it here:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb 
ibooks: http://apple.co/2k3K0LY
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B
Nook: http://bit.ly/2iVELzY

Danielle Bannister, Author, and character name generator.

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Drum Roll, please…

For the last few days, I have been teasing people on my facebook pages about my latest release. Taking off a layer of tape each day as we got closer.

blog

Today you get the full reveal: The cover, the Title and the Release Date! Woot! Woot!

…. SHOW ME THE COVER!

….TA-DA!

doppelganger-wrap

DOPPELGANGER! That’s the title! It’s going to release on February 7, 2017.

For those who can’t read the back because, let’s face it, that is tiny print on a screen… here is the blurb:

Julie Green was NOT having a midlife crisis.
Her move across the country from sunny LA to the unsuspecting town of Bucksville, New Hampshire, was NOT about her being up to her eyeballs in fake people and even faker tits. It was NOT about hating her job as a temp and most definitely did NOT have anything to do with her ex-boyfriend or his wife getting pregnant with kid number three.
No, this move was going to be her chance for a ‘do over.’ A quiet life in a quiet town.
Or, at least, that was the plan.
A case of mistaken identity thrusts her into the public eye, tossing her into in a world of flashbulbs and shadows. Not the ideal situation to meet her potential Mr. Right, but her newest temporary gig was unlike any she’d ever held. The chance of a lifetime… Will it get to be too much, forcing her to cut and run–or will she find out that love stories aren’t just for the silver screen?

Pre-Order Links:

Doppelganger: http://amzn.to/2hXJCCb

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2iLJx1B 

Other platforms coming soon.

This book is unlike the others I’ve written in that, it’s not romantic suspense, like the Twin Flames Trilogy, it’s not specifically a romantic comedy like The ABC’s of Dee, though there is some humor, and it’s not dark like Enigma. Doppelganger is a light and fluffy romance. Just the thing my brain craved after the darkness that was Enigma. It’s still hard for me to think about that book.

This current novel going to be book one of a series… sort of… I have two other books written in first draft form (which means they need LOTS of work). These books will take place in this same fictional town of Bucksville, NH. There will be a few crossover characters but each novel will be a stand-alone, connected only by the town they all live it. I really loved the idea that even in a small town (like I live in) everyone has a story. A story just waiting to be told.

Danielle Bannister, Author and cover releaser.