It's always great to hear about an artist's success with one of my pieces, so I was happy to hear that actor, Kamy Johnson, received an award for Best Comedic Monologue, with my monologue, "Ferret Envy," at The Filmstock Film Festival in Arizona (check out her video at the end). Filmstock is a film festival in the Phoenix Valley which screens fresh and entertaining shorts to its audience, and provides an engaging and rewarding festival experience to the artists. They even might throw in a little paint-bombing to boot! They've been around for 6 years, but 4 years in, they already made Movie Maker's top 20 short film festivals. I am a huge fan of indie shorts, and this is definitely on my list for a trip to the SW.
I asked Kamy about her experience at the festival, as well as the process for crafting a winning monologue performance:
What is your background in theatre?
Children's Theater, Shakespeare, Musical Theatre and Theatre.
What made you decide to enter the contest?
I participated in the Actors' Showcase. I did it the year before and I had a lot of fun. It is really great to see local actors perform and there is a wide range of variety in material that each actor picks. Actors have done Shakespeare to Movie Monologues to Contemporary Theatre. It is the only block in the Filmstock dedicated to live performance and is very popular.
How would you describe the experience being at Filmstock?
It is a lot fun. The Filmstock Film Festival specializes in short films and they get submissions not only locally (AZ) but around the world. They are categorized into different blocks: Animation, Drama, Comedy etc... It draws out a lot of the local industry filmmakers and those outside of AZ. It's great to watch films, hang out with friends and filmmakers and people who love doing what they do.
How did you decide which monologue to use?
"Ferret Envy" is a dream for an actor because it is so well written. It is s very "active" monologue, meaning it is not just a one note story. The writing is full of different turns and twists that an actor can really have fun with. A lot of the humor is what is not being said which, in a way, is still written down by a good playwright, if that makes any sense. In a way, there is two performances: what is actually being said and what is not being said. To me, that is incredible.
What was the response you received after your performance?
Very positive. It was unique and people haven't seen this monologue.
What tips do you have for other actors in preparing and choosing monologues for contests?
I read a monologue as if I was in the audience watching it. Whether it is Drama or Comedy, ask yourself, will it hold the audience interest? If I find it interesting then I pick it to perform. In preparation of the piece, just keep it simple. Don't try to act the whole life story of the character in the monologue but be present in the moment. To top it all off, trust the audience. They are very smart and you don't have to act everything out for them. They can fill in the pieces for you. So, go forth, conquer and act!
*Thank you to Kamy, for sharing her experience and tips with us! And thank you to Filmstock for bringing a worthwhile opportunity for artists to present, learn, network, and have fun!
(If you're interested in submitting to Filmstock, their process is currently closed, but you can click here to check out how it works, as well as benefits to participating.)
Check out a recording of the very talented Kamy, and her performance of "Ferret Envy!"
Share your thoughts: Have you attended a film festival before? How did you enjoy the experience? Did you make connections that you've kept since? How does watching a short film compare to watching a feature-length movie?