National Post: Slamdance Diary: Day 3 – On acting, temper tantrums and humanizing an anti-hero
This week, Toronto filmmakers Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson will take their new feature film, Diamond Tongues, to the Slamdance Film Festival — the Park City, Utah, film fest that acts as an unofficial counterpoint to the more glitzy and star-filled Sundance. As the filmmaking team prepare for the journey, they’ll file one diary entry per day right here. Today, star Leah Goldstein on lessons from the film industry.
Everything I’ve learned about the film industry has been through my involvement in a film about trying to be in the film industry. I’m not an actor. Thus, I’ve been contemplating how it was, exactly, that I ended up playing the lead in an independent film about to premiere at a festival in Park City, Utah.
My mind has brought me back to a memory. I am turning four and having a costume party in honour of my birthday. I’m wearing a lace dress and a long veil made out of a window curtain that I secretly like to pretend is my hair. Everyone else in attendance has come as Batman or a Ninja Turtle and has brought with them a Barbie doll-shaped box, expertly gift-wrapped in pink and purple by their mothers. I have no friends of my own because I haven’t started school yet so my mom has invited all my older brother’s friends as stand-ins. Everyone around me thinks it’s weird that I’m younger and much smaller than they are. They probably also think it’s weird that I’m not dressed as a Batman or a Ninja Turtle.
Because it is a hot summer and because my parents have just returned home from a two-week trip to England (during which they’d left my brother and I in our grandparents’ care for the first time ever), I have developed two questionable habits. One is throwing temper tantrums, and the other is taking off all my clothes. Sometimes I do both at the same time. As I look around at the room of Batmans and Ninja Turtles I can’t tell who here has seen me enacting said personal catastrophes through the living room window.
Most of them don’t know me and if they do it’s likely from hearing and witnessing one of my epic meltdowns. There is no reason for me to be comfortable in this situation. Quite frankly I should be embarrassed, especially by a four-year-old’s logic, but I’m happy as a little lace-clad clam. I’m grinning and proudly sporting a pin the size of my head that reads “I’M 4.”
In Diamond Tongues, I play an aspiring actor named Edith Welland who has no idea how to become successful. While you or I would just work hard, make and cross off to-do lists, and try to learn more about our craft, Edith always finds a way to do the opposite. She wants to be the hero so badly that she can do nothing but be an anti-hero.
She’s highly unlikable, unabashedly narcissistic and someone you would never want to befriend, date or be like. But she’s also undoubtedly human, which is why I wanted to attempt acting for the first time. Like I said, I know nothing about acting and very little about film. I am going to a city where two film festivals co-exist side by side and completely overtake the tiny ski town of Park City, Utah. They attract thousands of people who all have one thing in common; they’ve been busting their asses to work in film through many hard years and countless sleepless nights.
So how did I get there? A plane and a rental car. But really it was because two directors approached me after seeing my band play to an ultra cool (and ultra bored) crowd at Mongrel Media’s TIFF party back in the fall of 2013. There will be no reason for me to feel comfortable at Slamdance, but I’m hoping if I bring a pin the size of my face that reads “I’M 4” or maybe “I DON’T KNOW HOW I GOT HERE” or “I THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL,” everything will work out fine. And if not I can always take off all my clothes and throw a temper tantrum. I’ll let you know.
Leah Goldstein (a.k.a. Leah Fay) is a member of the Juno-nominated indie rock band July Talk. She makes her acting debut in Diamond Tongues.
Source: National Post