I recently finished filming the SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget film “Cold November” that I was able to audition for through Moore Creative Talent. It was one of those projects that I could have said no to very easily. I would need to film in Hibbing for 3 straight weeks (my family wasn’t too thrilled about that), this was only the director’s second feature film, the lead was an 11 year old on a very tight schedule, all being filmed during one of the most unpredictable times for weather in MN (we had sun, rain and snow alternating throughout the filming). A continuity nightmare! The cast and crew were being hosted in family and friends’ houses because hotel rooms were cut from the budget to free up some funds .
I know it sounds scary. Red flags everywhere, and yet, I felt a strong sense of commitment and drive from the director, Karl Jacob, when I met him on Skype for the callback. He is originally from Hibbing and had assembled an almost entirely Minnesotan cast and crew and is very passionate about bringing the northern Minnesota culture to the rest of the world. The script spoke to me on many personal levels and I felt I could trust Karl after just one meeting (he’s just that kind of a guy!), so I decided to go for it.
It turned out to be one of the most memorable and wonderful filming experiences I’ve ever had! The cast was super talented, fun to work with and did an amazing job! The crew (some very experienced, some straight out of MCTC), all stepped up and each person did the job of many! The housing situation ended up encouraging a great family atmosphere and I gained wonderful new friends in our host family, cast & crew. We learned curling from our host family’s son, sat in a sauna many nights (which I learned is a Finnish word and properly pronounced SA-OO-NA), jumped in a freezing cold lake, saw northern lights and learned all about the culture of deer hunting from deer hunters during the deer hunting season.
What I’ve learned is to give projects a second look before turning something down out of fear. Really look at the project to decide if it is something you believe in and if you trust the people behind it. Sometimes taking a chance on a project that feels right, even if it looks questionable, can change you in ways you could never have imagined.
And I have newfound respect for the color BLAZE ORANGE.