Contact: Wendel Sloan at 575.562.2253
PORTALES—Eastern New Mexico University in Portales is hosting the second annual High Plains Film Festival on Sunday, May 10 in the University Theatre Center. Special guests will be ENMU graduates and professional actors Michelle Tomlinson and Landall Goolsby, as well as documentary filmmaker Erin Hudson and audio recordist Jon LeBlanc.
At 2 p.m. films and clips from the workshop presenters and ENMU students and faculty will be screened, followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for the general public (free to ENMU students and employees with ID).
There will be workshops presented by industry professionals in the morning (must be pre-registered). The Film Festival begins at 8 a.m. with a “Documentary Production Workshop” with Hudson of Rotation Films and audio recordist LeBlanc. At 10:15 a.m. the students will participate in an “Acting for the Camera Workshop” with Tomlinson, Goolsby and LeBlanc. Then there will be a lunch with industry professionals.
The registration deadline for the morning workshops was May 1. The registration form is online at www.enmu.edu/filmfest. It is $10 for the full day.
For more information, contact festival coordinator Laurel Petty at 562.2229, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.enmu.edu/filmfest.
Biographies of the special guests are below:
Michelle Tomlinson is a film/television actress based in Los Angeles who recently earned the Pretty/Scary Award for her work in The Cellar Door, a horror and psychological thriller that is earning its own recognition for improving upon the girl-trapped-by-a-serial killer storyline. Other lead credits include Kevin Tenney’s Brain Dead (which has just been theatrically released) and the independent drama Indelible (recently named the winner of the 2007 Gold Eddy Cri Film Festival and received six nominations at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival). Tomlinson just wrapped shooting two pilots, The Seer in which she’s a series regular playing a detective, and in the upcoming Backfire in which she plays the gun-toting Nicole Dubois. She also recently shot a role on Worst Week for Director Michael Lehmann.
Landall Goolsby not only owns a video store in Portales, but appears in some of the DVDs. His credits include Video Store: The Movie, Target Versace, Gardens of the Night, and playing Andy Warhol on American Dreams on TV. Other appearances include Criminal Minds and Cold Case on CBS. His largest profile role was in The Eye with Jessica Alba. He has also appeared in The Last One, a horror film, and a pilot for Spike TV called 1,000 Ways to Die.
Erin Hudson is a documentary filmmaker originally from Albuquerque. Concerned, committed and passionate about storytelling, she is a producer, director, cinematographer, editor and educator. Her priority is to collaborate with communities and individuals to share stories rarely seen on the big screen. Hudson received her graduate degree in documentary film and video from Stanford University. Her short films have screened in festivals world-wide and she has received numerous awards, including a Student Academy Award and a New Visions New Mexico Award.
Jon LeBlanc, a New Mexico native, is a freelance engineer and audio consultant holding a degree in audio production from the Art Institute of Seattle. With over 10 years of professional experience, he is very skilled in music recording and live event production, as well as audio for radio, Internet, television and film. After moving to eastern New Mexico in 2002, he became production director for a Clovis radio group until its disbandment in 2005. From 2003–2007, he owned and operated an area venue which featured local and national independent artists and musicians. LeBlanc resides in Portales and is currently working on the production of a series of independent films.
Interview with Michelle Tomlinson
by Wendel Sloan
"If you work hard enough and smart enough, it's impossible not to see results." – Michelle Tomlinson
Q. How did ENMU prepare you for your career as an actress?
A. I wanted to act when I was a little kid but abandoned the idea in high school when I fell in love with video productions and worked on the technical side.
When I came to ENMU, I took a theatrical make-up Class with Felipe Macias and a beginning acting class with Dr. Patrick Rucker and completely fell in love with it all over again. Those two classes taught me the very beginnings of what it's like to morph into another person's "skin" to take on a character.
Thanks to Janeice Scarbrough casting me in my first play, "Romeo and Juliet," I started to gain a little bit of confidence in myself as an actor.
I was fortunate to get cast in several plays at Eastern. I firmly believe theatre gives an actor a strong foundation from which to spring into film and television.
ENMU, through the various classes and productions, gave me the freedom to grow and learn and thrive in my passion in a very safe environment. I practically lived in the theatre while I was there and learned as much as possible about everything I could from different acting techniques to theatrical make-up to stage-craft and stage combat.
It was also good for us to have to audition for all the upcoming plays each semester. You must know what that's like before pursuing a career in this industry. I learned a lot about the discipline of the craft and the intense focus it takes to take even a centimeter forward.
Q. What are the most important things you expect to teach the students attending your acting workshop at ENMU?
A. Besides the obvious of how different acting on camera is different from acting on stage, I hope to impress upon them the intense focus and discipline you have to have to pursue acting in general. It's easy to be a big fish in a small pond, but you need to be okay moving to the ocean and becoming a minnow again.
Q. What is making a horror movie like behind the scenes?
A. Short answer: So much fun!
Long answer: A ton of work. Depending on the intensity of what you're about to shoot, you need to remain focused as much as possible while on set.
Sometimes there are safety issues to take into consideration or fights to choreograph or where to stand to get shot with blood properly for camera – even how to not jump when you're shot with blood or you'll screw up the shot!
It's an incredible exercise in imagination. You can have some really long days on a horror flick due to special effects and if they don't go right...having to wait for the gag to get set up again, etc.
There are some intensely creative minds when it comes to special effects in the horror genre.
Q. What is the Hollywood life like, and are you having to do other things to make ends meet?
A. Hollywood life is really what you make it. There's a challenge in finding the balance between going out and trying to meet people by going to networking events and auditioning and trying to figure out the quagmire of the industry. Add to that any kind of day job, and it's pretty nutty for the first year or two you're here.
I do still have other jobs. I live a blessed life by working with an acting coach named Amy Lyndon and I am also an acting coach myself. I'm really fortunate to be able to be all about acting 150 percent of the time. It's virtually impossible to lose my focus living like this. I'm allowed the flexibility a lot of actors aren't with what I do to make ends meet.
Q. What are the ultimate challenges or goals for you as an actress?
A. Hours in the day! I tend to, whether on set or not, work extremely long hours. By work, it could mean: working with Amy, coaching my own students, going to networking events, looking for a new agent, doing an Internet radio interview show, doing online interviews for various publications, attending screenings, submitting myself for projects, auditioning, etc. It's important to me to keep creating my own momentum and I can't do that by sitting on my duff.
As for goals, there are currently four feature films that are awaiting funding that I am either to star in or play one of the leads. Every one of them has massive potential and I would love for this recession to end soon so we can get to it. Two of them are very action oriented, and that's the direction I feel my career going and I'm thrilled.
I'm also set to direct a short film for a friend in the coming months and am really excited to try my hand in that arena and see what comes to fruition with it.
Q. Other thoughts?
A. Life is short and it's vital to follow your dreams no matter what the odds are that people think are stacked against you. If you work hard enough and smart enough, it's impossible not to see results.
Landall Goolsby Pursues Hollywood Dream
by Wendel Sloan
“I may not be in front of a camera with Spielberg yelling ‘Action,’ at least not yet, but I am living my dream." – Landall Goolsby
Landall Goolsby not only owns a video store in Portales but also appears on some of the DVDs.
Since graduating from Eastern in 1993 with a bachelor’s in theatre performance, he has pursued an acting career in Hollywood. “My first theatrical film, oddly enough, was called Video Store: The Movie,” Mr. Goolsby says.
Not yet a household name, he has done whatever it takes to make ends meet.
“I started walking dogs in exchange for acting classes,” he says.
He was a live-in housesitter/dog walker for six months in a Bel Air mansion, started a celebrity fan mail service and spent eight years as a personal assistant for Hollywood writers and actors.
Born in Portales, Mr. Goolsby has made steady progress – including "Target Versace," his first large feature film role. His "Gardens of the Night" played at the Berlin Film Festival.
He prepared carefully to play Andy Warhol in an episode of "American Dreams" on TV. “It was for one line and I rented all these Warhol documentaries.” Other appearances include "Criminal Minds" and "Cold Case" on CBS.
His largest profile role was in "The Eye" with Jessica Alba, shot in Albuquerque. Except for one line, his part got cut. “Still, it opened up some doors.”
Mr. Goolsby had a significant role in "The Last One," a horror film. He also shot a pilot for Spike TV called "1,000 Ways to Die." He auditions for more of the “character-y type roles. ‘Nerdy’ and ‘uptight’ are two words I have gotten to know very well. I also have had success with creepy characters, and my glasses get me cast in the cerebral roles.”
He did a TBS promo for the TV show "My Boy," where he met comedian Bill Engvall. Other actors he has met include Peta Wilson, Naomi Watts and the late Heath Ledger.
Living at the foot of the “Hollywood” sign, Mr. Goolsby says that any success is a bonus.
“I may not be in front of a camera with Spielberg yelling ‘Action,’ at least not yet, but I am living my dream. Anyone can do anything. You just have to be clear about what you want and go after it. Oh yeah, and get a dog. That’s the other secret.”