I have this dream to be in a Western movie… maybe it’s because I have spent the last 10 years working in the right time period at the museums I teach and tour at. Maybe it’s because I started to ride horses when I was a kid and grew up to show horses in Hunter/Jumper class or Barrel Races. Maybe it’s because I have been fascinated with archery and single action lever rifles. Maybe it’s because I have always wanted to be a badass woman saving the day. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with Back to the Future part three or Deadwood tv series (because Calamity Jane played by Robin Weigert blew up my heart and mind!)
Whatever the reason, when my friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography wanted to do something other than weddings and I immediately suggest an old Western photoshoot where I could pay homage to the likes of Calamity Jane and badass ladies in general.
The day before I hung out with my brother at the gun range as we both have our license and trained up on bolt action rifles and pistols, I have to be a markswoman if I’m going to duel at dawn in 1847! Turns out I’m a pretty good shot – look at that grouping and target hits below:
And a preview of what’s to come from the photoshoot: here is one of Ryan’s awesome photos of me in my full Calamity Adri costume get up!
So you want to be a gunslinger in the Wild West do you? Well so do I! That’s why I got my PAL complete with a full weekend learning about guns (eep!)
If you scroll through the gallery of pictures you will see the types of guns I learned to handle correctly and safely. I got 100% on my written and 96% on my unrestricted (rifles and shotguns) and a double 90% on my restricted (handguns) tests. This was an intense weekend! The first day was 12 hours and the second was 6 hours – all safety and handling and legalities of guns in Canada. I’m fascinated by guns in movies as part of character development or the time period they live in. Keep your fingers crossed and send good vibes as a Western script is up for funding and should it go through yours truly will be a leading gunslinger lady who is out for vengeance. This character would have an 1850 hip hugging Colt single-action pistol (see, I learned some things!) and she would be a dead-shot marksman. Looks like I will have to hit the range and work on my targets so I can shoot as badass as my character demands!
Next phase is a one-day workshop at Rapier Wit Studio to learn about the actor side of gun safety. This is when I will finally be able to shoot my historic gun and get a feel for just how much recoil/kickback it will have. Nothing says badass like falling on your butt after the gun shoots. I will have to learn to keep my feet planted and look my enemy straight in the eyes 😉
notice that it anchors to your chest and not your eye! That messed me up so much! But it’s really interesting to feel the different approach to mounted archery – it’s true, anchoring to your face/eye (Hunger Games style) makes for a very bouncy shot once on the horse. If you anchor to your chest it is much easier. I can’t wait to try this on a horse!
Adrianna is attending a playwright workshop at Hart House tonight to work on her Irish famine piece that got it’s start as a 14 minute show with Humber River Shakespeare Company as The Sonnet Show – she hopes to have a full length show inspired by these characters!
This past week I have been up at 5 am to go to set for a tv show you haven’t heard about (yet) and I can’t say (yet) but it’s really no big deal. In fact, that’s not really what this post is about.
This post is about education and how you can learn so many things and pack your brain full until you feel like saying, “why did I waste all that time and money on learning those things? They are so specific and I don’t use those skills every day – why did I do that?”
This is how I feel about stage combat. I have an Intermediate FDC certification that I will honestly say I have not maintained the way I had set out to do when I first started to rise in the ranks. I found that I wasn’t getting hired to fight – on set or on stage. I come back to it a few times a year but I am in no way a Fighter like some of my friends (who are Advanced, or even Fight Directors themselves!) but I do love a good fake fight. I am an archer and I own several weapons that I have been trained on. Alas, how often do I actually get to use these skills? Almost never in the practical sense.
Then I’m on set for this tv show and I overhear that these two guys need to “fight” and then he needs to “fall” and my heart skips a beat. The one guy is like “uhhh ok, sure” clearly nervous as he will be falling with no padding and no mats and it will be cement in the dead of winter. Fun. I can’t stay quiet – I immediately present myself and TELL HIM (not ask), but tell him I will be showing him how to fall safely. After I get the scenario that he will be tripped and he will fall back – I show him how to safely get himself to the ground, avoiding tailbone injuries and wrist injuries. I feel good. I feel SO GOOD that I can supply this information for him.
So the next time you are learning something or training in something I encourage you to not only do it simply because you love it (I can’t stop loving archery! And now I kinda dig axe throwing…) but because you will double that sense of joy when you can APPLY that oh-so-specific knowledge to actually help someone.
So I went to www.batl.ca for their open house tonight and I had a fun time throwing some axes with my little (he’s taller than me) brother James. I know I know: circus, archery, stage combat… I guess I’m still a bit of a scraper and you just can’t take the red hair out of my veins 😉
So I am a new student at The Second City Training Center here in Toronto. I am finally staring down my fear of doing an improvisation class.
“But Adri – you do improv all the time!? You fear it?”
To clarify, I do not fear improvisation. I fear improvisation CLASSES. For some reason, and this has been confirmed by not only my experience but other peers I have talked to; that improv classes are full of people who are hell bent on BEING FUNNY. Yes, all caps. BEING FUNNY is not my goal in that classroom, but I get caught up in this vibe, this environment that has been established by the majority of people in the room. Sometimes it even becomes a competition and that makes it worse.
Then there’s the fact that we are all at Second City and the pedigree of Funny People exudes from the very walls – I mean they have pictures of Martin Short, John Candy to name a few Funny People that studied at Second City. And it’s intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those faces up there is also a testament to the work that comes out from studying there. And it excites me to think that I am learning what they learned and following footsteps and doing my homework to be a good lil actor. I am grateful to be there. But the fact still is: the improv classroom is a bit of a war zone for me.
After day one I have the age old stomach ache that proceeds after intense third-eye judgement. It’s like a headache only in my stomach. And the over analysis begins and I do the “could shoulda woulda” routine as I walk too quickly away from class to get the hell away from everyone. But why?! I LOVE ACTING. I also adore being witty. Just the other day I met a group of people at a Casting Workshop and a gaggle of girls kept telling me I was so funny, so witty, so quick. And here I am loathing a dedicated 3 hours to such an event.
So this is my brick wall. This is the thing I have to conquer over the next 7 weeks of class. I have to not conquer improv – but the improv class itself.