--By Audrey Larson
I recently attended a school-group performance of Wheelock Family Theatre
’s rendition of the age-old Tolkien classic The Hobbit
. Having read The Hobbit and seen all Lord of The Rings movies and the first Hobbit movie, it was hard not having unrealistic expectations.
I was pleasantly surprised. The actors were good. I especially liked the portrayal of Bilbo Baggins, (Andrew Barbato
) and his unique mannerisms and facial expressions which prompted many laughs from the audience of school children. Most dwarves were played by children, which I think was a good choice, though in some lines the supposed “dwarf” accent was a little off. It was exciting to see that many children involved in the production. The stage combat could use some improvement-- the sword-fighting scenes seemed a little slow and unconvincing. You may be wondering, what about the iconic character of Gollum? Well, does the actor compare to a computer generated figure in the multi-million dollar Hollywood hit? Of course not. But for a human being with costume limitations he effectively conveyed the slimy, half-human character. An adorable ensemble of younger children as hobbits and spiders was a fun touch as well, though the three trolls were my personal favorite- very true to the book with good “troll voices” and just as hilarious.
The set was appealing-- a multi-level mountain-like scene made up of rocks with surprise doors. The staging worked for most scenes except the forest scene, where I would like to have seen more greenery. The dragon Smaug in the final scenes was a highlight for most, and definitely not a disappointment-- a huge shimmery red creature with a booming voice. Along with some nice touches of fog and lightning flashes, and background music, the lighting and set were quite well done.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would definitely recommend seeing this production if you get the chance, though I think those who have read The Hobbit will better understand the story. Overall, kudos to the director and actors for an exemplary performance.The Hobbit plays through November 24th 2013 at Wheelock Family Theater in Boston, MA. Tickets can be purchased through their website.
Teen actress Kaylee Bryant recently starred in the indie feature film MARY LOSS OF SOUL, which filmed in Massachusetts and is now in post-production. Kaylee plays 15-year-old Mary Solis who vanishes from her family's lake house and returns without any memory of the traumatic events she experienced -- and without part of her soul. Even while a shocking mystery surrounds her disappearance, and her disembodied soul begins a grim haunting, the Solis family's biggest fear is watching Mary's true sprit wither away. We interviewed Kaylee about her acting career, how she began, and her experience filming MARY LOSS OF SOUL.
Please tell us about yourself:
I’m fifteen years-old, and live in sunny California where I can follow my dream of having a film career. Having been homeschooled since I was twelve, I’ve been able to accelerate through my classes. So, while I should be going into my sophomore year, I’m actually starting my junior year of high school this fall!
When did you start acting? What got you started? What do you enjoy about acting?
I started acting when I was around eight years-old. I started modeling at age seven and was fortunate to do seven seasons of Ralph Lauren until I was around ten years old. I loved being on set and working, but I wanted to do more. That’s when I started to transition into TV and movies. I enjoy everything about acting—it really tests who you are as a person, and uses all your skills. I love being able to take on different characters, and bring whatever I have to a role. It’s a great experience.
... [acting] really tests who you are as a person, and uses all your skills. I love being able to take on different characters, and bring whatever I have to a role.
Still of Kaylee Bryant (Mary Solis) in Mary Loss of Soul
Tell us about your acting experience: Still of Kaylee Bryant (far left) on Disney Channel's "Dog With a Blog"
I’ve had an amazing acting experience so far. I did my first Disney Channel episode when I was twelve years old, and have been lucky to be welcomed so warmly into the Disney family. Disney Channel is such an amazing learning ground. They make it safe to be yourself. It’s also taught me to be comfortable in my own skin, and have a sense of humor about growing up—even when it gets tricky. I’ve also loved playing Mary in MARY LOSS OF SOUL
, a character who’s grounded in reality—even though so much happens to her and around her that’s supernatural in nature.
You’ve worked on a couple Disney Channel shows. What was that experience like?
I’ve had the pleasure of working on three Disney Channel shows which includes “Dog With a Blog”
, “Kickin’ It”
, and “A.N.T. Farm”
. With every Disney show I’ve done, it’s brought me a new and different experience. I love that I always get to play fun, different characters—from a mean cheerleader to a dorky girl with a lisp!
Tell us about your experience filming MARY LOSS OF SOUL. How did you like staying in MA? Did you get to do some sightseeing? How long did the filming take?
I loved so many different things about Massachusetts. We did a lot of filming on a lake and in the woods. The scenery is very different from California—it was picturesque and green! Sadly though with my crazy shoot schedule, I didn’t get to see much other than our set and my hotel room! I did have the pleasure of walking through Boston for a day and enjoyed being a tourist. We filmed for about 3 weeks. That being said, it doesn’t count all the amazing people who are still working today in post-production.
I've loved playing Mary in Mary Loss of Soul, a character who's grounded in reality--even though so much happens to her and around her that's supernatural in nature.
Still of Kaylee Brant (Mary Solis) and Jose Zuniga (Victor Solis) in Mary Loss of Soul
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened while you were on set?
I can’t say that there was just a single funniest moment! There are too many to choose from! I’d have to say that the funniest memories I have are all from our late night shoots when all the actors and crew got delirious! There was always that point in the night, when everyone has already worked so hard, and we’re all so tired and punchy, that everything seems hilarious! I think that those times were when we really bonded us as a cast
and crew. What was the hardest scene you’ve ever filmed?
My character is really multidimensional. It wasn’t just the emotional scenes that were challenging, but there were a lot of physical things I had to do. It gets exhausting running through the woods in the dark, taking a quick break and doing it again and again! Before filming, I went running every day to build my stamina. Even with the extra training, I was still completely dead by the end of filming.
My advice would be to not be afraid. Be absolutely fearless and you will go far.
Still of Sam Myserson (A.J. Fisher) and Kaylee Bryant (Mary Solis) in Mary Loss of Soul
What is your dream acting job that you’d like to do one day?
Honestly, I’m living my dreams right now. I’ve always had a love for Indie films—they are the essence of great storytelling mixed with the passion of filmmaking. If I could do films like MARY LOSS OF SOUL
my entire life, I would.
What advice would you give to young actors who want to pursue their passion?
My advice would be to not be afraid. Be absolutely fearless and you will go far. Also you have to be passionate. There will be so many challenges that if you’re not seriously passionate about this job, it won’t be worth it.Thank you so much for sharing with us, Kaylee!
Find out more about the supernatural thriller MARY LOSS OF SOUL by connecting on Facebook
. You can also visit the film's website
. The production company hopes for a theatrical release of MARY LOSS OF SOUL in 2014.
Please tell us about yourself:
Hello, my name is Alex Dhima
and I am 11 years old. I live in Milton, MA. I just graduated from my elementary school, Collicot, which I spent 5 years at taking French alongside English. I also do a lot of other things when I’m not in school: I love to play soccer, football, basketball, bike and swim. Plus I enjoy drawing, Lego building, playing the piano at an advanced level, eating a lot of Provolone cheese and a bunch of food, studying a lot of math, and most of all acting.When did you start acting? What got you started?
I started acting 4 years ago when I was 7 years old. Initially it started as a part to complement my piano recitals and my parents thought that the acting part would help me connect better with the audience and also express myself better.
Tell us about your acting experience:
While continuing with my piano recitals I decided to take acting more seriously and attended “Acting for the Camera”, a class taken a number of Saturdays at Boston Casting
, to get more familiar in front of the camera. I got cast in 4 student films and one of them, WISHBONE
, was nominated for “Best Drama” and I was nominated for “Best Actor” in the Campus Movie Fest
in Los Angeles. I am also working on 2 web series; RED CIRCLES
and FAMILY PROBLEMS
I found out that acting in a theater setting is different from acting in a movie when I was working on “Real Realism” (you can read an article about it here
). This was a contemporary theater play and I was one of the 5 characters, staying on the stage the whole time for an hour and ten minutes.
I enjoyed so much musical theatre with Boston Children’s Theatre
over 3 consecutive summers performing in Footloose, Legally Blonde and currently Pippin.
In addition to the above, I also got cast for a Care.com commercial
and an educational video.
What’s it like working on a webseries as opposed to a film?
Working on a web series opposed to a film is actually not that different, but for filming a web series you need to film much more often than films. Usually, I film episodes every weekend or every other weekend and sometimes we don’t do scenes from the same episode when we film. Each episode takes an estimated 8 or 9 days (8 –9 weeks) to film. In some ways, I would have a deeper understanding of my character in a web series because since you film often and for a longer time, it gives you a chance to learn more about the character than films (as far as my experience with student films).
What’s your method for “getting in character”?
The way I usually get into character is by thinking about what is going to happen in the scene. Mostly, I think of what my part is and how I become part of the scene and then I usually adapt myself to it.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened while you were on set?
One of the funniest things that have ever happened to me while filming is me trying to “complete an obstacle course”. When we were filming once, I had to go out the door and the camera was right in front of me, so I bent down and went under the camera. Then when I came back in, I had to twirl around the camera, which was right in front of me again. After, the director yelled cut and said in jest to stop thinking it was an obstacle course. I started cracking up.
Alex in the middle of filming a scene in WISHBONE What was the hardest scene you’ve ever filmed?
The hardest scene I’ve ever filmed was the first episode of Season One of FAMILY PROBLEMS
which was the last scene we filmed. That day, it was one of the coldest days and I had to wear a short sleeve shirt. The worst part is that it also started to snow.If you could choose, what three actors would you really want to work with someday?
Some day, I would really want to work with Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Johnny Depp (Heath Ledger if he was alive).What is your dream acting job that you’d like to do one day?
My dream acting job is to be in a well known Hollywood Movie that would require my BEST acting skills and all my efforts will pay off.What advice would you give to young actors who want to pursue their passion?
My advice to young actors is to keep going and not give up. If you audition for a movie and you don’t get the part, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad actor, it’s just there was someone better than you. So keep on acting and practicing and you’ll soon find yourself improving and being number 1!Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed, Alex!
ABOVE: Alex was nominated for"Best Actor" at the Campus Movie Fest in LA, for his performance in WISHBONE
Meet Countdown cast member of the day… Maayan Ziv-Kreger!
Maayan, age 12, enjoys painting, drawing, and acting. She has some experience with acting and is excited to be a part of a movie! Maayan takes a drama class and has been in a few school musicals, such as The King and I, Peter Pan, and The Little Mermaid. She also performs in a chorus.
Maayan plays 10-year-old Tori in FYP’s first project, Countdown
Please tell us about yourself:
My name is Gigi Cappetta
. I'm 8 years old and I'm from Hershey, Pennsylvania (where they make the chocolate, I LOVE chocolate).
I have lived in California and Maryland, too. I attend cyber school since October of this year when I filmed two movies and missed too much school to continue on in public school. I thought being home every day would be so much fun, but it's actually a lot of work. It turns out that I'm learning better at home, without all the distractions and noise in school.
My favorite hobbies are dancing and horseback riding and drawing. I love to travel too; the beach is a favorite place to go especially to see my relatives in South America.
When did you start acting? What got you started?
What do you enjoy about acting?
I professionally started acting at age 5, but my parents will tell you that I have been acting since birth! When I was little, around 3 and 4, in daycare, I used to stand on anything I could find and perform songs like "Copacabana" or "Bad Romance" or "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" for all the kids and staff. They would clap and cheer and I really loved that.
Everyone kept telling my mom that I needed to be in show business. Mom laughed it off for a few years.
My dad urged my mom to let me attend an open call and when I got on that stage (actually it was a catwalk) and I did my thing, I was the happiest I ever was. They signed me to the agency that day. The rest is history!
My first job was a modeling gig for the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
. I am the little girl (daughter) on their website. It's still up and will be for 4 more years. Shortly after this jobs just began to skyrocket for me. I have been busy ever since.Can you tell us about some projects you're working on right now?
I'm filming a web series called LEGENDS - THE DARK KNIGHT
. It is an amazing series written and produced by the Poke the Bear
team out of Ebensburg, PA. Poke the Bear team had cast me in their big suspense, thriller feature film MOREAU
which is slated for release in Spring 2014 (after it does a festival circuit.) In MOREAU, I play Young Charlie and that is my biggest role to date.
ABOVE: 4 Seasons Philadelphia Hotel Shoot. BELOW: Gigi on the Moreau movie poster
We filmed MOREAU over a two week period in the gorgeous Allegheny Mountains in PA last fall. I was cast out of 700 applicants for the role of Young Charlie, but luckily they cast me in Legends with no audition! That was a first!
I filmed 8 movies in 2012, so am just waiting for stuff to start coming out! I did play young Mariska Hargitay in a film this year (DIAMONDS TO DUST
), that was cool! And I worked with Ralph Macchio
(The Karate Kid) and Fatima Ptacek
(who is the voice of Dora) on a feature film coming out this summer called A LITTLE GAME
. And I have a short film I played a lead role in called CHARITY CASE
doing the festival circuit right now.
Aside from that, I'm not working on much other than preparing for our upcoming move to Los Angeles. Can you tell us about the auditioning process? Do you get nervous? Do you have any tips on auditioning?
YES! I got very nervous in the beginning. That's totally normal. The more you audition the easier it will get, I promise. I recommend to all kids who want to act to start with modeling. It's less pressure to start and you can ease into the process of being on stage, in front of people and all the things that go with the spotlight being on you. Also when you are in front of the camera, for an audition or filming, whatever - just pretend like it's you and the camera and no one else in the room. It's really important to be able to clock out noise and other distractions.
Once I had an audition where they had me reading a really serious script while someone next door was banging on pots and pans. It turns out the director was looking for a child who was very focused and could perform under such conditions…I didn't book that one!
What are some fun things you got to do on set?
Once I shot a scene where we played with a cotton candy machine and I ate and ate and ate pink cotton candy until I got sick. I also got to swim in a pool, roll down a hill in the leaves under moonlight, and shoot an Xbox video game scene with a bunch of cheering Italian soccer fans which was awesome. I also love going to make-up and getting made up with special effects. It's so cool. Acting is like playing dress up with slightly older kids. I love it!
What's the hardest scene you ever filmed?
There were a couple of scenes in MOREAU
where I was in sort of scary situations with the lead character, Moreau, who was a very bad guy. We talked about it before the scene, everyone did, the actors, my parents, the director. We had code words that I could say if I was not comfortable and everyone made it a nice as they could. I'm not going to lie, it was still a bit uncomfortable, but as the filming went on I got better and better at it.
It's almost a year since those scenes, now it doesn't even bother me to play scenes with bad guys. You can't just play the cute kid all the time. If you want to get better at acting, you have to take bigger roles and sometimes those roles will be challenging. If you make those scenes an opportunity talk with your parents about what's happening, you can actually come away with a great learning lesson and even some street smart skills in addition to acting skills.
A screen shot of Gigi in MOREAU
What advice would you give young actors who want to pursue their passion?
Tell your parents you really want to try acting. Take a class on acting, even some voice lessons if you want to do theatre and singing roles. Be serious about it and know that it's competitive because there's a lot of kids out there who want to act. So you have to really work at it. There's a lot to gain. Focus, have fun, be yourself - that's most important because casting directors are looking for the real you - don't dress up too much and never wear make-up or big bows for auditions, always look your own age and remember… there's enough work for everyone who has the passion to act! And never look back after an audition. Forget you ever went in. This way, if they call you it's a bonus, and if they don't, well, you long since forgot about them. Be happy.Thank you, Gigi! It was a pleasure interviewing you.
You can find Gigi on Facebook
Meet Countdown cast member of the day… Matt Keilty!
Matt is 12 years old and lives in New Hampshire with his mom, dad, brother, sister and cat. He has a passion for acting, filmmaking, and comic book history. Over the last year and a half he’s played lead and supporting roles in six college student films (see one here
), a Hallmark film, an Italian restaurant commercial
, a webtv documentary
, and two stage plays.
In his spare time Matt enjoys creating lego stop action animations, pivot animations, and home-made movies that he posts on his own Youtube channel.
Matt plays 9-year-old Luke in FYP's first film, Countdown
ABOVE: Matt during a scene on the set of COUNTDOWN, being filmed by Producer/Director Audrey
Kayla Schechter, age 9, is excited to be a part of Fountain of Youth Productions
Aside from acting and her passion for drama, Kayla enjoys singing and writing original short stories. Her other hobbies include reading and enjoying nature. Kayla is a 3rd grader at Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA. She is in the middle of a brother sandwich with both an older and younger brother at home. In her own words, being involved with FYP “totally rocks!”
Kayla plays 7-year-old Riley, in FYP’s upcoming short film Countdown
Kayla filming a scene on the set of COUNTDOWN with lead actress and her movie "sister", Avery
Meet Countdown cast member of the day… Liam Murphy!
Liam is eight years old, turning nine in June. He is in third grade at Beaver Brook Elementary School in Abington, MA. He is on the Student Council and likes lacrosse and flag football. Liam enjoys playing pranks and telling jokes! He is in the Boy Scouts and as of recently he likes to express his creativity and imagination through acting.
Although Liam is a novice to the industry, he recently participated in a music video for a Boston Band, Gentlemen Hall
(which will be released shortly). Liam takes direction well and really enjoys being in front of the camera exploring his emotions and telling tales!
Liam plays eight-year-old Kyle in FYP’s current project, Countdown
Liam in the middle of a scene on the set of COUNTDOWN with lead actress and his movie "sister", Avery
Please tell us about yourself:
My name is Charles Everett Tacker
but everybody calls me Charlie. I am 9 years old and I’m in the 4th grade at John W. Decas Elementary School in Wareham, MA. My favorite things (besides acting) are riding my bike, hanging out with my friends, making short films on my Mom’s computer, and playing Mine Craft. When did you start acting? What do you enjoy about acting?
When I was 4 I had my first audition, but I didn’t get the part. I was an extra in The Town when I was 5 and right after that I did my first student film. It was for Sean Goller who was going to Harvard. I really like acting because I get to be somebody else all the time and the sets always have a lot of cool people to meet. Then I get to go to premieres, which is a lot of fun too.
Tell us about your acting experience:
I have done about 20 or more student and independent films. Last summer I was an extra in THE WAY WAY BACK
. That was a lot of fun because they filmed at Water Wiz. My mom drives me all over the place, to New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. We travel a lot. Can you tell us about some projects you’re working on right now?
Right now I’m working on A PREDATOR AND ITS PREY
, which is a really cool story about a little boy who has special powers and an evil snake. I just finished my scenes on PROVOKED
, a feature film that is going to be really scary. I have 2 things I’m doing in Connecticut. One is a short film called FIREFLY JAR
, which is a really cool film and the other is a web series that I can’t really talk about yet. Soon I will be working on HOPELESS
, a 3D zombie movie and HENRY AND GRETA, a feature film that is kind of like Hansel and Gretel. Charlie with his Runner Up For Best Actor award at the 2012 Boston 48-Hour Film Project
Can you tell us about the auditioning process?
Auditions are kind of fun I guess. Sometimes you get sides (the audition script) before but sometimes you don’t. If I do get sides, I practice them with my Mom or sisters but if I don’t I just go in and do what they tell me. You can’t get all the jobs-- but you really can’t get it if you don’t audition. And Skype auditions are pretty cool. You don’t have to drive anywhere but I have to keep my niece Hannah quiet and sometimes that’s hard.
Do you have any tips?
I would say to not be nervous about the audition. Just do your best and have fun. They (the casting directors) love that. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened while you were on set?
The funniest thing that ever happened on set was when I kept tricking Arthur Wahlberg with the fart app on my iPhone. And when I was filming I FELL SILENT
all of the crew guys were tossing me around like a basketball until my Mom caught us and made them stop. That was fun. What’s your method for “getting in character”?
The best thing I do to get in character is to read the script and then figure out how I’m supposed to be. I pretend I’m not me but I’m the person in the story. That’s how I get into character. Charlie on the set of THE LADY IN WHITE with Arthur Wahlberg
What was the hardest scene you’ve ever filmed?
Kissing a girl!!! It was just last weekend and it was little peck of a kiss but it was hard! What advice would you give to young actors who want to pursue their passion?
I would say to always make sure to have fun. My Mom asks me all the time if I’m having fun. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s worth it. Thanks for the interview!
Become a fan of Charlie on his Facebook page
Charlie at the premiere of STILL LIFE with friends (L-R) Paige Flagherty, Andrew Ferrell, Christian Hagopian
--By Audrey Larson
One year ago today, Fountain of Youth Productions
It all started at the movie theater. Shay
and I saw Mission Impossible 4.
Afterwards, we talked about movie-making. Funny thing, we discovered that we were both interested in behind-the-scenes and learning about filmmaking. Shay and I already shared an interest in acting as we were in a drama class together. The more we talked about making movies, the more excited we got. Our imaginations went into overdrive.
“I always wanted to put together a group of kids to make a movie," I told Shay. "Wouldn't it be cool to have kids
directing, filming, making costumes, doing make-up, acting? ”
That night Shay called me. “Why don’t we just do it?" she said. "Make our own movies.” And here we are one year later, preparing to shoot our first short film
Then came our brainstorm name: Fountain of Youth Productions
. And there it was. Our vision.
In between then and now we've been meeting like crazy. We designed our website, planned a kick-off event (see the pictures here
), created our Facebook page
, spread the word to email groups, wrote and revised three scripts (we chose the best one to film), held two open auditions
, and cast our first project
Looking forward to new experiences and milestones in our second, fun year of FYP 2013!