Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Pennies" - a 2006 short film

In 2006, Amy Adams worked on "Pennies", a 25-minute short film about a young single mother who would do anything for her daughter. It's listed on IMDB but Amy is not credited for some weird reason.

Amy's younger brother, Eddie, is one of the writers. He also appears in the short film and so does Darren Le Gallo. "Pennies" premiered on October 20, 2006 at the St. John's International Women's Film and Video Festival. It was shown in other film festivals including the Bahamas One World International Film Festival.

Here's the full synopsis:

"Pennies" is the story of Charlotte Brown (Amy Adams), a waitress and young single mother who will do anything for her daughter Jenny,and when push comes to shove, she does. With a menacing figure on the other end of the phone and a time limit of two hours,she must raise enough money to ensure that she sees the smiling face of her child again. Charlotte's customers are her only hope. The clock is ticking as we see the desperate young mother dealing with one eccentric customer after the next,displaying her charming vulnerability and inspiring strength through all the chaos. With her feet firmly planted on the ground, Charlotte maintains her focus and attempts to beat the clock and save the day.

Warner Loughlin, the director, interviewed Amy in November 2007 during one of the Festivals:

So, as you know from studying with me, my technique is really about getting rid of the idea of substitutions and having to use tragedy from your own life to get to an emotion. And also refuting the idea you have to be a bad person, bad boy, bad girl, or go through heinous tragedies in order to be an artist, which I think is bull.

Well, I’ll talk about how before I came to coach with you I had a huge hurdle, in that in my own life I felt very powerless. I didn’t have a voice. And so in my acting I had a really hard time getting to a true emotional place, because it was too threatening. It was too dangerous to go somewhere as a character that I felt I personally couldn’t come back from.

So, a good friend and relative, Eddie,
[LAUGHS] suggested I come to his class with you. I was always very resistant to classes, because I didn’t want some teacher to use whatever pain I have gone through to get me to that dark place. When I tried to access my own personal pain I froze up because that’s how I deal with trauma - I become blocked, even as a human being. So, I tried to do that with my acting, anytime I've tried to cry in a role by thinking about something that has happened to me personally, I froze.

Anytime I tried to scream by thinking about times I've been angry, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t even really say the lines. So, when I came to you and I learned this technique of creating a life for your character, I felt like I became the instrument for the character, rather than the entire song. And I was able to use myself more like an instrument as opposed to the whole orchestra.

What a great analogy.

And, you know, I was able to find my voice and to find tears and to find levels, because I was able to have a safe place to go, that I could come back from. With your technique, in character prep, when I visit a character’s life, her past and create some event, good or tragic, that belongs to her. I don’t take ownership of that pain with me. I don’t take it on as my own.

So, when I return from their life at the end of the day or the end of the scene, I am in a healthy place, as opposed to feeling as though I have gone through something horrible as myself. So, this allows me not to be scared to go there, which allows me freedom as an actress to do anything, because I don’t own it, it belongs to my character.

With thanks to Mac Prescott, WarnerLoughlin.com and MatthewGodbey.com.

11 comments:

John said...

It sounds pretty interesting...

emily said...

sounds good. do you have any idea where we could see that?

Nani said...

This blog is amazing. Thanks for making it and updating it so often!

I would love to see this short. Sounds good.

Desperate mothers always makes for a good theme in a movie.

Anonymous said...

I just submitted her to IMDb.

Dan

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know about this one! Is there any place we can see it?

Amanda C. said...

yeah, I wanna see it too. Where could we?

Stephany said...

Thanks for submitting her name to IMDB, Dan.

To those of you who ask where you could see "Pennies", I'm afraid it won't be easy. There isn't a huge demand for short films.

Production on "Pennies" started in 2002 and finished in 2003, but wasn't released until 2006. Eventually it aired on Comcast Cable after being in several film festivals but I don't think we'll ever be able to see it.

macefrancis said...

This comes a shock :P

Thanks, Stephany

Lane said...

Hmmm... this film actually did not play in the AFI Film Festival. It sounds interesting though...

Stephany said...

Thank you, Lane. I have removed the AFI reference :)

Anonymous said...

well you can see it on youtube