Death Rally

I Was Meant For The Stage...

... but I sure do miss those film sets. The last time I actually performed on a film set (and not just background work) was in August of 2008 for Death Rally.

Recently, a friend asked me to appear in a short she'd written. It's an MIP (Member Initiated Project). This means it's a type of co-op production for ACTRA members. I won't get any money or union credits for the work I do, but I'll be toning my film acting muscles and I'll also be working with pals. Oh, and I actually get to perform in French for once! I don't see anything wrong with that.

There's a certain vibe on a film set that makes it different from a stage production. On sets, at least the ones I've worked on, I always find there's this kind of hive mind going on. Some kind of uber sense of teamwork that comes from knowing you have a very limited and often intensely condensed time frame to work with.

Not to say stage work isn't intense, it's just different, often a touch more relaxed. Today at rehearsal, I wasn't happy with the work I was doing. I was promptly told not to worry about it because we still had two weeks to work out the kinks. And it's true, I do have some time, but if this was film? Forget it! Make it work now or forever hold your peace (or you know, pray you have a good editor).

Oh and film sets often have food. I like food.

It's Not About The Lines

The most annoying question that you could ask any actor is, without a doubt, "How did you manage to learn all those lines?" Acting isn't about learning lines. This was no clearer to me than on Thursday night when I attended the premiere of Death Rally, a short film I worked on last summer in which I have the lead. Prior to seeing the final cut of the film, I had been told by the director that they edited out most of the dialogue because it simply did not flow with the feel of the film. The movie has this great comic book look to it and by cutting out the lines between my character and her husband you get a good sense of the tension escalating between the couple.

The director was worried that this would bother me but, once I saw the film, any reservations I may have had instantly melted away. The movie is great. It's funny, gross, very well done and the lack of dialogue leaves plenty of room for body language.

I've heard actors (celebrities mostly) say that they can't watch themselves on the screen. I had no such problem. Maybe this stems from being a theatre performer. I would kill to be able to see how I'm doing on stage.

Watching, I realized that I was present and in the moment. I was listening, paying attention to my scene partner, and reacting to what he was giving me. I was doing good work, all without dialogue. In other words, I was acting. That's what it's all about; not the lines.

*************************************** I am proud to have been a part of this movie and will gladly work with Actum Imago Productions again (hint hint - hire me!). It has already had a screening at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival and was just picked up by the Terror Film Festival in Philadelphia. There's a possibility I might even be at that screening.

In the meantime, I leave you with the trailer for Death Rally (including most lines that have been cut from the film).


Tell Me What You Want and I Will Make It So

Yes, I'm a Star Trek nerd. I'm also a big stinking liar (though not about the Star Trek thing - you never lie about the Trek). You see, not a day goes by that I don't bitch and complain about being stuck doing some form of administrative theatre work, be it marketing, front of house, stage management, finding sponsors or even writing. I complain because I keep saying I don't want to do any of those things. I just want to ACT. It's been at least a year and a half since I've been in a show where I didn't need to have any other care except to show up and be an actor. I even did script analysis and wrote the English press release for the awesome short film I shot this past summer. I am getting really sick of it.

The thing is, I'm totally lying. I love being involved in the performing arts in any way possible. I also love having some form of control over the product that I'm putting out (and yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is a product - and hee, I said "put out" and giggled because I'm 12). I love the rush I get from small victories like selling a t-shirt, an ad space, or, better yet, solidifying a donation. And most of all, I love realizing that I am really good at something (or a lot of things, actually, as the case may be).

People tell me all the time what I great job I'm doing (and please don't stop, because I love hearing it and it makes me work harder!) and I've always kind of brushed it off. I mean, is it really that hard to show up early, coordinate 5 volunteers into position, sell some merchandise, and, oh yeah, smile? Apparently so. Then again, I think it's the smile part that people have trouble with. I never do, not at the theatre. That's how I realized I was lying. I just love being at the theatre so damn much, I can't help but smile. And that makes my job incredibly easy.

Can't you feel it? There's beauty and excitement in what we do. We're creating something, something so big no individual could ever accomplish it all on his own. The show doesn't begin and end with the actors on stage. They are but one small piece of the puzzle. And if any of the other pieces (including the audience) are missing, the picture is incomplete. Whether you're selling a ticket, writing a press release, showing someone to their seat, contacting a potential donor, calling the show or performing in it, you are important.

So I will keep working behind the scenes and in I will keep sitting in front of them to ensure that the magic keeps happening.

That said, I really wouldn't mind if someone would like to cast me in something (and let me focus on doing just that) like, now. Or tomorrow. You can cast me tomorrow, too, if that works for you.

I Know What I Did Last Summer

As previously mentioned, I first started this new version of my blog back in August 2008 after my first foray into professional film. It was an awesome little short film entitled Death Rally. Well, after all this time, as trailer for the movie is finally available and you can watch it right here! Please note, this is a horror/comedy and is NSFW.


The website has also been updated with cast and crew info, so please go check it out! Once I know when the movie will actually be screened and released, you can be sure I'll be letting you know all about it right here. Until then, enjoy the trailer above and the show poster below!



Ed. Note - Since I feel like I'm starting a new chapter in my life, it felt appropriate that I have a new blog to go with it. I am a professional actor

Towards the end of my shoot on a wonderful little horror movie, the director forbid me from denying that fact. Mostly because he was sick of me haranguing him for saying he was not a professional director. Don't you hate it when your good advice gets thrown back in your face?

Well, he was right.

I've had a crazy month of August. The first two weeks were taken up by said horror movie and I audited a very inspirational acting course.

The movie reminded me how much fun acting was, how much I loved being on set, and how great it is to be part of a team working passionately towards something that's bigger than yourself. Even the incredibly early morning wake-up calls (did you know there's a 4:30 in the morning now?) only reminded me that I was getting up to go do something I absolutely adore doing (and if that happened to include cutting people in half with a chain saw or sending someone off a cliff, who was I to argue?).

The course made me realize that I was being a lazy actor. If I'm honest with myself, I know that I expected lots of great parts with very little effort or preparation. I'd go into an audition and just expect talent to carry me through. I would complain about how hard I was working to get things done, but I was really wasn't working at all.

So, for an upcoming audition, I prepared like mad. I wasn't going to let old habits stand in the way of what I wanted. I was going to get this part. I read the script a few times and immediately picked a scene that struck a cord with me. I brushed off my monologue and put it on its feet. And then I did something that I never allowed myself to do in the past. I got help. Thanks to two really great friends, I got to play with both scene and monologue. They helped me discover things about the characters and make good choices. They were lifesavers.

I arrived at the audition feeling rather grounded. I was feeling happy just to be there. Adequate preparation had already taken away about 50% of my nerves to the point that when I realized there were five extra people in the room than what I had envisioned, I didn't freak out. I was actually glad for the opportunity to play in front of more people. And play I did. I didn't take my self too seriously and had fun. Yes, Nancy, acting is fun!

And then I got a callback.


Then I took a page out of my amazing friend's handbook. I went to my resume and added the credit to the list. I was letting the universe know that I believed it could happen.

Guess what? I got the part.

I laughed uncontrollably for about two minutes when I received the news.

Nancy Kenny will be appearing in Rabbit Hole this October at the new Gladstone Theatre (Get your tickets now!)


On Monday morning, I went and took the crazy to a whole other level. I walked into work and I gave them my notice. After about four years of floundering about in full-time jobs, I realized that if I wanted to truly be a professional actor, I had to either shit or get off the pot. Well, gosh darnit, it's time to shit!

To tell you the truth, no decision has ever felt so right before.  It was time.

I'll be at my current job until September 12, and then rehearsals start for Rabbit Hole. My contract is for six weeks until October 25th.

After that point, who knows, but I believe (and it's about damn time I did) that I can be an actor and still manage to take care of myself.

Besides, if ever I'm royally fucked, I'll just move in to my film director's basement and take his DVD collection hostage. Because I am a professional actor and he created a monster.