Category Archives: Acting

Talking to Angels

Last week, I had the honor of being the sole actor in a short film written by Jennifer DiMarco following an eight-world plot that I submitted. I asked her to challenge me with song and dance, as I’ve not done either onscreen before—and very few people have witnessed me sing or dance for reals.

But the script turned out to be so much more meaningful and challenging than I could have expected. Here’s why:

Eight years ago, I was hospitalized after two back-to-back concussions caused me to faint and lose motor control of my speech. As someone who speaks her mind every day, whose love language is words of affirmation, it was terrifying. But I kept much of that terror to myself, and instead outwardly turned my fear and frustration into humor.

Yet now, I find myself embarking upon careers that rely solely on communication. Since my injury, I have vowed to never take my voice for granted.

Dance and music have become prominent modalities of self-expression in my life. While many of you have witnessed my comedic (and surprisingly sober) lyrical interpretations at the bar, the beach and the sidewalk, so much goes on behind closed doors. I don’t just sing and dance when I’m happy. I sing and dance when I’m frustrated, scared, angry, and sad. I sing and dance when I have something to say and something to feel, but too often I do it in the shadows of my home.

No more.

“Talking to Angels” is my first film dancing debut with movement that is “haunting, sorrowful, strange and mesmerizing” (Jennifer’s words!). I thought it would be laborious to choreograph but the script and music so moved me, I ended up completing it within two hours. “Talking to Angels” is my first film singing debut with a “wordless, peaceful and haunting” (Jennifer’s words!) Gregorian chant that I wrote in the shower. Singing without words is not easy. Challenge accepted.

I play Cynthia Locklear, a soldier on a generation starship who hears voices in an alternate universe. Only she hears them. Only she speaks to them. “Talking to Angels” will be a contender at the Take 8 Film Festival in April. I’m so very nervous and so very excited, but also so very grateful for this script that is, itself, mesmerizing.

Not a Method Actor…

I’m going unplugged for a week. I might have service where I’m going, but I might not. I won’t be looking at my phone. I won’t be bringing my computer.

I’m going to dive into the life of Alice Godwin, a woman who is haunted, lost and searching for answers and closure from the past. A poet whose ups and downs are controlled by stimulants and depressants. A role for which I googled “how to take shots” and watched videos titled things like “adults drunk for the first time,” then rehearsed in a mirror with a shot glass full of water that I somehow happened to have and nearly threw my neck out over-exaggerating my portrayal of the art of drinking tequila. A character who is in some ways like me but, clearly, unlike me in so many others.

I am going to tell Alice’s story, along with the story of three other female writers and the unsolved murder of the family that came before them. Beware “The Unspoken”—it’s as haunting as it is empowering.

My Feature Film Premiere

On Jan. 22, I will be sitting in the audience of my first ever feature film premiere. And let me tell you, it’s giving me all the feels.
 
In the psychological thriller “The Trees Have Names,” I play Dr. Barbara Riley, head doctor at an insane asylum. And guess what? You can watch me play a doctor in one of 2 ways: in the theatre or streaming online.
 
So listen up, friends in Florida, Ohio, Denmark, Jamaica, Bahamas and Australia–you’ve got no excuse. Follow this link to purchase the $10 premiere tickets.
 
Throughout the filming process, I explored new parts of the beautiful state of Washington, learned drastic differences between film and stage acting, and networked with colleagues who have become friends.
 
This is what working for an independent film company means to me. With Blue Forge Productions, I’m a member of a growing artistic family. BFP was founded by backyard dreamers who encourage all of us backyard dreamers to achieve greatness. They don’t set standards with a high budget; they set standards with a heart of gold.
 
The first five weeks of the year, I’m working on five–yes that’s right FIVE–film projects with Blue Forge Productions. So be on the lookout for BIG announcements coming at you over the next few weeks.
 
As always, thank you for supporting my dreams. Now, go follow yours!

Headshots, IMDb, & Following My Dreams

venzel_stacey-headshot

I have a hard time sitting still, so you can imagine how short the iPhone amateur affordable headshot photo shoot was with my sister. It’s like trying to get that perfect picture of a Labrador Retriever puppy. Wave some food in front of the camera and you’ll have one chance to get that shot, so you better not miss it. Yes, I am motivated by food.

I much prefer a candid, natural snapshot to a posed one. Photos of genuine laughter are my absolute favorite.

But ten months ago, when I set out on this creative journey, my sister captured a look that could work for my auditions, that didn’t feel like me posing in front of a camera. A smile that said, You wait for it world; I’m comin’ at ya. And eyes that said, Rejection, you don’t scare me.

And now this barfy headshot is staring you in the face telling you to follow your dreams. Because I did, I am. And I think the world is a little better off because of it.

Check out my IMDb page that, like my dreams, will always be a work in progress.

And if you ever get lost, anxious, or frustrated on the road to your dreams, hit me up. ‘Cuz I been thurr, done that.

P.S. I do need legit headshots so if you know anyone with experience taking photos of dogs, I’d be a good subject.

The Broccoli Apocalypse

Yes, that’s right. I co-wrote a play called “The Broccoli Apocalypse.” And co-directed. And I’ll be co-starring in it, too!

poster

This short futuristic comedy celebrates Fringe Month (experimental theatre!). It’s part of The Libertinis’ Matchmaker Showcase which paired together strangers to create a mini masterpiece in 4 weeks.

“The Broccoli Apocalypse” was the result of brainstorming with my partner-turned-friend. It follows the human connection between bohemian graphic designer Tula (me!) and corporate guru Joan (Sunny Monroe), who is living the American Dream. The duo interact in the bathroom of the frozen food company they work for during times of a crumbling economy, climate change, global food shortages, and spiraling international trade relations.

And it’s a comedy, you say? Yes, of course. Because Tula has an Etsy store that sells hats for cats, so she might make it out of this thing alive.

If you’re in Seattle, come check it out at the Pocket Theater on Oct. 29 @ 8:30 PM.

Unsteady, A Tribute to Friendships Through Body Poetry

Dear Friends,

The past 12 months have been particularly difficult for me. As the 1-year anniversary nears of Hurricane Joaquin–the catalyst to a year of countless uphill battles–I can’t help reflecting on the strength I’ve found through friendships. I feel like I’ve aged 15 years in this short time, but I would have aged 30 years if it weren’t for those who love me unconditionally.

I wondered how I could express my gratitude to you all. It only seemed fitting that I offer you my creative side, because you all have been so supportive of me following my creative dreams. So on this Labor Day, I present to you my labor of love. This is my love song, my poetry, to you.

Scriptwriting and Directing Debut!

I’m excited to share my first film writing and directing production!

Before I get into the nitty gritty, here’s the link.

Last week, I had the opportunity to partake in a film crash course geared at writers. Blue Forge Productions held Forge Flashpoint in Port Orchard, WA. When the clock started, I had two hours to pen a short film.

Writers and actors had to bring all proposed props and costumes with them to the previously undisclosed location.

The experience of writing under the pressure of time reminded me of my youth writing competitions for Power of the Pen. Students had three 40-minute rounds to write stories inspired by the three one-sentence themes of the day.

I spent the first 30 minutes drafting a list of characters from the actors on-site, tossing around themes and debating the genre. I opted to “hire” the one child actor available and, after brainstorming different settings for the small stage that acted as the set, a scene and plotline developed.

The film took me a half hour to direct. I learned how much patience and joy is employed when directing a five-year-old who is tired and hungry. The project was a welcome challenge and opened more creative doors for me!

You can watch the montage of short films now through September 30. You can also vote for the best film and actor by following the link when prompted. Winners will be announced October 1 and the winning film will be aired at a short film festival on October 30.