Friday, 27 September 2013

A Chat with My Muse Elizabeth Frances...Part 1

I know I haven't been putting anything on here and I'm greatful for those who have been sticking with me.  Quick update:  Red Serge is being edited and will hopefully be coming out before Christmas.  The Cistern is being written.  It's going to be the flagship for The Alcrest Mysteries (official name pending) of which I have over a half dozen novel ideas for.

Which brings me to todays topic.  Way back in February 2013 I had the idea of writing a novel and documenting it's Journey (The Cistern)  On part 3 of that journey I introduced you to the two main characters, Spencer Alcrest and Chrys Wanderingspirit (Alcrest)  I'm a 1/4 of the way into writing the novel and the characters are really alive and vibrant.  The female character, Chrys (short for Chrysanthemum), is physically based on an actress named:  Elizabeth Frances.

Basically I wanted the character to be Native-Canadian so I Googled Native-Canadian and Native-American Actresses and looked at pictures until I found one that seemed to explode with my ideas for Chrys.  I Tweeted Elizabeth telling her about my idea and she was excited to be my muse.

Here is a little bit of an interview I did with Elizabeth.

Quick snipit from her bio:  Elizabeth Frances is an Actor/Writer living in Los Angeles, CA. As mixed in heritage as America itself, she is Filipino, Cherokee, and Dutch/English. Elizabeth was born on a military base in Okinawa, Japan, and was raised in the diverse community of Oceanside, CA. She is always searching for the meaning and importance of "Cultural Identity," and what that means in America today.

First question, tell us about yourself.  Who is Elizabeth Frances?

EF:  I am a woman with a free spirit and lots of love and passion for people. I am 5'8" of joy, positivity and fun. But i also have a serious side, I am committed to my family, my friends, and making the world a loving place through my love of acting.

What's a day like for you?

EF:  I typically wake up around 6am and hit the snooze button. I am such a heavy sleeper that i put the alarm clock on the other side of the room and/or set for several time increments.

I head to the gym and usually meet my clients (I work as a personal trainer part time) and have a great time learning about them, their lives, and doing my best to effect a change or shift for them towards their goals. It is a great place to learn about/study people.

Then it's time for MY workout (a run or lifting or yoga, although less yoga lately). After that I spend time working on a web series I'm writing, or taking a meeting, or going to an audition, or if it's a great week a shoot. I love to meet up and coming professionals like me, because it's like playing football in

college. You're so excited and inspired to play that you figure out any way to do it until you get into the NFL. So i'd say in terms of my career I'm a college football starting quarter back. haha.

I find time to see a friend and my boyfriend and we will cook together (save money and stay healthy) and he'll catch me up on the great movies that I haven't seen. and vice versa. I'm ashamed to say, I've never seen Goodfellas and that's the current box to be checked.

Then I'll write again, or right now I'll watch videos and research for the play I'm doing. I want to understand as much about the outside circumstances as I can so that I can understand what kind of world and community my character lives in, what shapes her views and opinions. Then I comb through the text like a kid at the beach looking for treasures in the sand.

Sometimes I'll work out again, create ideas. Right now I'm helping a friend with a piece we are going to shoot with puppets about if Cinderella had a mother. I can't wait!
Then sleep. It should be earlier, but I have a hard time sleeping before midnight.

What was life like growing up?

EF:  I grew up in Oceanside, CA raised by two wonderful parents and a brother, and we always stayed a really close knit unit, even if times were rough. My brother and I would put on some kind of performance, usually it involved singing and in my case, acting like a clown. I was very lucky that I had a wonderful childhood. That's thanks a lot to my folks.

Is that when you first wanted to be an actress?

EF:  At a young age I knew I wanted to act. I was on stage in third grade, we had to recite poetry about the rainforest and I didn't want mine to be boring, so I created this whole performance with the text, and it was a moment mid "performance" and i knew. Even though I was a kid, I knew, kinda the way you can fall in love and be like "he's the one" but maybe even deeper. It was "this is my purpose" and then I was hungry for it. I'd jump on the city bus and head to downtown and learn as much as I could from the local players who were doing Shakespeare. I started with Shakespeare and continued. In High school drama club, classes in downtown San Diego that i paid for with my first job at an In-n-Out. And now it is my way of touching, changing, putting a mirror up to myself and society. When I'm acting it is the place I can be most vulnerable and safe at the same time. It's such a privilege to be an actor because I get a chance to express with my voice, my body, my intellect, my guts.

You have a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and have been in plays and some smaller
Drunktown's Finest..filmed in New Mexico
No, Elizabeth is not really pregnant
movies.  You just finished an indipendant film called Drunktown's Finest which had Robert Redford as the executive producer and will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival...where do you hope your acting career will go?

EF:  In how I envision my career, I'll be a full time actress with leads in feature films, creating characters that have depth and color, are sometimes funny or amusing, but also represent woman who I want to be seen on screen. I want every role to be a new challenge. I'll do theater once every year (or two), and I'll have a production company with some of my dearest friends who are very talented writers, actors, artists, and the vision is to provide a space to create films from unique and diverse voices. We will make films like Magnolia, Fruitvale, smaller budget pictures with BIG stories. That way we will have more control of the message.

I don't really have a clue what it is like so I will just ask...what is it like being a "struggling actor?"

EF:  The "struggle" of being an actor is having to accept that there is a lot out of your control. You hone your craft, seek out opportunities vigorously, make fans, study people, study life, learn how to bare your sole, study, audition, get roles, loose roles, never get a chance at roles, write your own roles, and you continue to go forward. It's definitely a marathon not a sprint, and you never know which mile your at, and that can be the most daunting thing. Sometimes you think you have .2 miles left, but really it's 16 and you're already mentally and emotionally exhausted, but then you get a chance, you find your guts and the reason you do this and you pick yourself up the next day, and work just as hard or harder. And the hardest lesson of it all, is learning how to "be". Learning how to let go (whether on or off the screen/stage) and just trusting that you have and are everything you need to be, and you continue on your path. Maybe that's life...

What's the strangest thing you've auditioned for?

EF:  Hmm...strangest thing I've auditioned for...maybe in college...I played a fairy tinker in an adaptation of Peter no, I helped my buddy with a film in which I played "self" as a gorilla, and a spider, and a Siamese twin elephant foot. It was strange, but a blast.

Is there any actor, director, etc. that you would like to work with?

EF:  Who would I want to work with...yikes that's a long list, Ang Lee, Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, Kathryn Bigelow, Steve McQueen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Julie Taymor, did I say Ang Lee? haha. I think there are directors that are out there that I haven't heard of yet that I wanna work with.
Actors, lots, great ones, ones that challenge me, challenge their audience, and give give give of themselves.

Elizabeth is also in a film called Ghost Forest which also stars someone who some of my friends would know as the face of the video game Bio Shock.

List of Elizabeth's films
Drunktown's Finest - 2014
The Ghost Forest - 2013 .... Check out the trailer
Feeding Mr. Baldwin - 2013
Hunting (Cannes 2012) - 2011
Slightly Imperfect - 2012
Anne Wynn (Nguyen) - 2009
For more info on Elizabeth Frances check out her web site

To read the second part of my chat with her and to see how Chrys's answers match up to Elizabeth's keep checking back or subscribe over on the side there.

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