In Audrey's Shoes

The Rain in Spain…

Well I woke up bright and early this morning (well, it wasn’t so bright, actually!) for my first session with my dialect coach via Skype. He’s based in England, and several hours ahead so 7am was the only real reasonable time he had available for me. He’s in high demand! I was a bit relieved that his camera wasn’t working today, so he couldn’t see me propped up in bed with a barely smoothed over bouffant left over from yesterday and my ratty blue sweatshirt (hey, it’s been cold here!). I considered filming a few minutes of the lesson to share with you, but I look terrible and throughout the hour I became aware of how many funny faces I would pull (glad he couldn’t see me either!) when I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. I guess you’d probably get a laugh out of it. Maybe next week. We’ll see. 🙂

So I was thrilled to have a professional ear analyzing Audrey’s speech and helping me to break it down. Especially a British ear, because he’s familiar with British speech patterns that I’m not, and can also notice Americanized pronunciations that I might overlook.

He had four pages of notes to go over, of which we covered about three and will finish up next week.

He asked me to pull up a photo of Audrey to look at during the lesson as inspiration, and I chose this one:

A good, easy one to recreate, actually. Should put that on the “to do” list!

Anywho, we spent a whole hour going over his notes and practicing pronunciation. She has quite an interesting accent. He also had noticed that it changed slightly over time. That’s fascinating to me, and something I hadn’t noticed. If I get the role, I want to keep that in mind and hopefully work with him on each period of her life to get the accent right.

My homework this week is to choose a couple 2-4 minute audios of her speaking (interviews or acting – I think I’ll choose at least one of each) to work on verbatim, to prepare as I would a scene or monologue for a scene study class. Then we will go over them and work on improving them in our next session. I’ve gathered a few already from YouTube that I sent to him for the initial research, so I will probably choose a few from there, but if you can recall a good monologue from any of her films you want to suggest to me, please do! I know there are a few in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but perhaps some from her other films? This week I’m going to be rewatching some that I haven’t seen in ages – like Green Mansions and Secret People! What a busy, Audrey-filled week!

My New Year’s Resolution? Start Smoking!

Pretty funny, right? While so many people set their New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, mine is to start! Herbal, of course. My family used to be in the tobacco industry about a hundred years ago, and because they all smoked back then, I got to see the results. My grandma didn’t seem too affected, she died around 80 years old. But my grandpa died when I was a child, and all I really remember was the tracheotomy, the tube in his throat, the oxygen tubes in his nose… he was always seated in his chair in the living room. I was never tempted to start smoking tobacco.

This is a temporary resolution. Just enough to look like I know what I’m doing, to play a role, and then most likely never to pick up another herbal cigarette again!

I made a video of me smoking my second cigarette (I could lie and say it was my first, but I won’t!), so I could get some feedback on how to properly smoke, from all you smokers out there. I’m lacking an ashtray at the moment so I’m a bit of a mess. I’ll get it together eventually!!

Setting Intentions

I’ve been using the word “goal” a lot, lately, but for some reason the word “intention” came to mind just now and I started thinking about that practice of setting intentions. I admit, I’m not in the habit of doing it, but I should start! I have a few affirmations stuck to my bathroom mirror, but I think I need one specific to this goal. Something like,

I am a capable, talented, and prepared actor, and I take joy in the preparation for this role!

I don’t know, I’m not very good at this… Maybe…

I am right for this role, I am prepared for this role, and I am grateful for this role.

I could use your suggestions on this, affirmations were never my strong point and I can’t find any pre-written ones for actors online! ha!

In addition to thinking about intentions today, I also made a YouTube video about this project. I will be making more videos, since so much of this is about making progress with speech patterns, mannerisms, habits, etc. This one just goes over what I mentioned in my last post, but I wanted to keep the YouTube audience in the loop. 🙂

Audrey in Training

So I’ve decided there are at least two tasks I need to focus on when it comes to getting this role, and I’ve broken it down from there.

There is the business side to it all, and the creative side.

When it comes to the business side, I must be sure to be in contact with those in production on this series. I must somehow show them that I am a worthy candidate, and be able to secure a meeting or an audition.

On the creative side (the fun side!), I must “become” Audrey.

I’ve been making notes on what steps I can take to understand and emulate Audrey to the best of my ability, and these steps will become my roadmap. I’m going to share with you some of what I plan to do to “get into character.” Some of these may seem silly, maybe trivial and unnecessary, but as an actress you just don’t know what may end up being a key to an important part of your character (I hate referring to her as this, but it’s a role in a production). Audrey relied on her costumes to help her get into character, for instance.

Physically, although we are very close in measurements, I’m going to put some effort into losing an inch or two from my waist, and losing a bit of my upper arm fat through exercise.

The specifics of that plan are as follows. I will be taking ballet class more regularly, and also adding some yoga to my daily routine. Any additional exercise is of course welcome! I’m going to be sure to drink much more water than I usually do, as this flushes out the system, makes you feel fuller, and can help you lose weight. I have a friend who lost I believe 40 pounds and mostly what he did differently was stay hydrated! I’ve also read that hot water, especially in the morning, is good for all of this as well. Looks like I’ll be drinking a lot of tea! I will also be cutting back on sugar and carbs, and in my free moments, being a weirdo and planking on the floor.

As for my facial features… this one is tough. With make-up and the right lighting, yes, I can resemble her. We somehow have features similar enough to make people comment nearly every time I leave the house that I “remind them of Audrey Hepburn,” and yet when you take our features one by one, they’re all different. I’ve decided to see if I can add some chubbiness to my cheeks (I have such defined cheekbones) by some “facial yoga” exercises. Mostly a lot of smiling sort of things. My face already feels sore. Hydration should also help out with this a little bit, plus aloe massages and whatever else I come across. I’m wondering if “flexing” my nose will widen it? As for my little lips… praying the hydration reaches them as well.

One thing an actress playing Audrey must master is her accent. I didn’t trust myself to do my best on my own, so I called upon my dialect coach (confession: haven’t used him in 2 years) and fortunately he had some time to help me out. Starting in January, after he does his research, he will teach me her accent. He is so thorough, too. I have a 300 page pdf with as many audio files just for Received Pronunciation. I’m so lucky to have found him and have the money on hand to pay him for his help!

After learning her accent, I plan to speak like her in as many situations as I can, until it becomes second nature.

I’m also toying with the idea of spending a few months in London this year, in part to be around non-American-English accents, and in part to get to know what it might have been like for her to live there.

If I can manage it, I’m also considering spending several weeks in Holland and Rome, after London. I’ve made quick trips before, but I want to know a little more about these places she spent so much time in. I want to have some of the same (or rather, similar) images in my mind, the experiences of walking those streets and hearing those languages. And of course, I’ll do my best to learn a bit of the languages as well. I’m still working on French but surely I can handle a little bit of Italian and Dutch, too! I’ve already got my little language books (I’ve had them for years, but decided to do my best with one language at a time).

I was reminded yesterday of how much she smoked… and I don’t smoke at all (Nail biting was my preferred bad habit. Now I carry a nail file with me everywhere). So I looked up the kind of herbal cigarettes used in film, and ordered 10 cartons of a lightly flavoured cigarette. Then I started getting into it and bought a cigarette case on Amazon, and, to be a little modern, a cool electric lighter. I figure it’s small enough to put into the case with some ciggies. I hope. Oh, and I found a sweet little pocket ashtray on etsy that I couldn’t resist. Why on earth did people stop using these?! We need to bring these back, and quit tossing cigarettes into the streets.

If you followed my other blog at all, you might remember the short little series I did about Audrey last year. Well, I’m so glad I did that, because it’s now an easy reference guide for myself. I’m going to follow her diet which I went over HERE , and her exercise habits HERE . I went over her fashion choices HERE , which I think I already implement pretty well. Not to say that I try to dress like Audrey every day. Her advice was to not try to dress like someone else, but to find what works for you and be yourself. It so happens our fashion sensibilities do overlap somewhat, but I’ve also found that I adore more 1940’s silhouettes as well. I’m very happy with my style right now, and I feel my vintage wardrobe – even if it’s not identical to Audrey’s – gets me in the right mindset. This post HERE gets more to the core of Audrey, past all of those physical considerations. Her kind of inner beauty is something I continuously strive to cultivate in myself. And while playing Audrey, it must shine through. I know (because I’ve been told more than once!) that I can come off as withdrawn or aloof, and I think I need to work on that. I’ve never met Audrey, of course, but I can’t imagine people would think that upon first meeting her. For myself, it’s more of an anxiety or shyness, sort of a protective shell, I suppose, that I’m not even always aware of. But I’ll work on it! For you, Audrey!

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions (especially on the business side of things, because I have an uphill battle with that, I’m sure!). And don’t forget, you can find me on Instagram!

About This Blog

Over the past few years, I’ve kept a blog over at www.dreameroftheday.com, although as you can see, I haven’t written anything there in the past year (I’m not much of a blogger!). But because this is a specific project I want to document, I decided to set it apart and give it it’s own space on the internet. So here we are!

And what is this project, you may ask?

While awake at 3AM, in London, a few weeks ago, I was browsing Facebook and came across this article:

Nearly fell out of bed.

Let me back the truck up a little.

I became an Audrey fan as a teenager, after renting Breakfast at Tiffany’s for my grandmother and I to watch. She had told me it was her favourite film. I knew nothing about Tiffany’s except that they made pens (she had a silver pen marked “Tiffany’s”), but I assumed it was some kind of café somewhere… I mean where else would you get breakfast? I was so fascinated with Audrey, because she was so different to all the actresses I was aware of at that time. Olivia Hussey was the actress who really inspired me to act, and I wanted to look just like her. My hair was already to my waist, but that bust… no lotions or bras could get me to look like that. And I tried. By the time I was out of high school, I was nearly 5’7″, 105 pounds, 32A and size 8.5 shoe. Nothing seemed to fit me, my teeth were a mess, I didn’t know how to apply make-up or do anything with my hair… and so of course I left for Los Angeles.

That same year, Jennifer Love Hewitt portrayed Audrey Hepburn in a television movie. At first, I admit, I kind of liked it. It was probably the first “documentary” I’d seen on Audrey. But I soon learned how wrong it all was. So I started doing my own research. Between work as a background actor, I’d spend days at the Academy Library, going through microfiche and files of letters and papers (which I did again this past year). And on set when I wasn’t working, I was writing. I had stacks of index cards with every fact about Audrey I could find, notebooks full. And I wrote. This was my mission.

But life got in the way, and I had no idea how to ever make it become reality, so it sits in volumes on my bookshelf. The dreams of 20-year-old me.

So now, in 2018, to see that there is a production that is actually going to get made, and will most likely be accurate and well-written, all I could think was “maybe this is my chance.” And maybe my only chance.

Of course the voices in my mind tell me, “oh, no, they’ll probably want someone like Natalie Portman or Lilly Collins, someone bankable, someone known… you’re nobody, what chance do you really have?”

But then there’s the voice of hope, shouting at me, “don’t give up that easily! You have no idea what they want or who they want. You are just as talented as any other actress, and you have more passion for this project in your pinky finger than any of those well-known girls. If you don’t even try, then you’ll never know if you could have gotten the role. What do you have to lose?”

So I won’t give in to that other voice. That voice that tells me I’m not good enough, that I shouldn’t even bother, that I’m delusional. I have plenty to offer, and several months from now I’ll have even more to offer.

In this blog, I’m going to document my journey. I have no idea how often I’ll post, or what I will post, really. But this is the journey of an actress with a passion for a role. This is my journey to “becoming” Audrey Hepburn. My goal is to make myself into the best candidate to play her on screen. Audrey has given the world so much (and she wouldn’t even understand how!), and was such a unique human being, that she deserves the best of everything. If a series is going to be made about her, it’s got to do her justice. She’s given me so much, that this would be my way of giving something back to her, if I succeed at my goal and actually get the part.

So, let the journey begin!

via Gfycat

“Won’t you join me?”