Spotlight on Short Films: “The New Tenants” (2009) Best Live-Action Short Film Oscar Winner 2010

Short films don’t get the recognition that they deserve. They are often the springboards for feature films.  The 2006 feature film Cashback, was actually the expanded version of its 2004 counterpart. In fact, the feature film version of Cashback includes the full 18 minute Oscar-nominated short film within it.  Short films have a running time of 40 minutes or less, and are fairly easy to overlook. However, many actors, from big name stars, to every day working actors, participate in short films. I have done several short films that can rival any feature film in terms of their quality and production values. They are fun and a great way for us actors to build our resumes.

The 2009 short film, The New Tenants, won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film in 2010. It is a Danish Live-Action short film that stars name-actors like Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Whole Wide World) Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Superbad) and Liane Balaban (Last Chance Harvey.)

Summary via IMDB: A prying neighbor, a glassy-eyed drug dealer, and a husband brandishing both a weapon and a vendetta make up the welcome wagon. Set amidst the as-yet-unopened boxes and the hopes for a fresh start of two men on what might just be the worst moving day ever. Their new apartment reveals its terrifying history in a film that is by turns funny, frightening, and unexpectedly romantic.

It is definitely worth checking out. In fact, here is the film in its entirety. The running time is 20 minutes 41 seconds. And it’s totally worth it. From the acting, to the simple plot, to the cinematography, it’s a wonderful film:

Speaking From Experience: Losing a Role

Today, I lost a role. Normal. Because of my hair…Not normal to most people seeking employment in the everyday workforce, but it’s all too common in this industry. When I saw Jessica Chastain at an industry event, she had mentioned how crazy the business is, and how, for an industry that deals with the imagination, they really don’t have much of their own.  Every once in a while, I get fed up with how ridiculous this industry can be sometimes. When I told friends that I lost the part because of something as minor as my hair, their reactions went pretty much like this:

I know, right? Growing up, I loved when I’d see an actress with curly hair. I was seeing a part of myself reflected on the screen. Faces like Julia Roberts, Keri Russell, Julianna Margulies, and the previously blogged about, late Brittany Murphy, all had naturally curly hair. Key word: HAD. Since that time, they’ve all gone down the straight and narrow path of hair styling. I mentioned in my post about Brittany Murphy, that she had trouble getting roles because she was a brunette. Maybe it also had to do with the fact that her hair was curly. If you look at her work in the television series Almost Home, and movies like Clueless and Freeway, she had curly hair for all those projects. Take Julia Roberts as well. It was fine in the late 80s and early 90s to have curly hair like she did, because that was in fashion. Maybe I should have been up and coming in the 70s and 80s. I’d have cornered the curly-hair market. Nowadays, it’s all about silky smooth locks.  The fashion industry spends billions of dollars a year in order to tell me that my hair is too frizzy, curly, and needs to be “controlled” with straightening serums, creams and flat irons.

Just because you may not see a curly-haired gal in television and film all the time does not mean that we aren’t out there. I look up to my friends Eileen Galindo and Olga Merediz BECAUSE they remind me of myself. I really do hope I get to act with my supremely talented and gorgeous friends. I have a feeling we could play relatives or something.

I’ve had roles where I had to straighten my hair, so why should that make a difference now? Well, this is a very very fast moving business, and I didn’t have what they needed in the moment to make them give me the job. I can ask questions and make myself crazy about this. But I chose not to go insane simply due to the fact that I know I didn’t fit what they were ultimately looking for. It wasn’t about my talent, it was  as simple as my appearance. My hair is a part of me. It’s part of my personality. It’s what sets me apart from everyone else. At least I know I’m not a terrible actress. Other things are on the horizon for me, and something great might be just around the corner.

I don’t want to be just another boat that gets lost in the ocean. I want to be the lighthouse, creating a glow that helps the boats find their way home to the shore. I want to blaze a trail with my curly hair.

Film, Theater, Television, New Media and Everything In Between: Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and honored to get to share my passion for the arts with the world on WordPress. There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with the topic of entertainment. However, I think that there are very few blogs  that come from the perspective of an actor. I’m not talking about your Hollywood starlet or your dashing leading man; I’m talking about your honest to goodness, work for the day and still has to audition every day-ACTOR. Technically, I’m considered an actress, but for the sake of clarity and to not get too gender-specific, I’ll use actor.

Now, for the introductions. My name is Stephanie Gould and I am an actor. I have union status in both theater (AEA) and film & television (SAG-AFTRA) and have been living and acting professionally in NYC for about 6 years now.  My goal with this blog is to provide my audience with a unique view of the industry and the craft itself. I’ll equate it to being in battle (in a sense, fighting for what you want) and reporting from the trenches.

I’m still in the trenches. I fight every day for my career. I want to keep nurturing it and grow from my experiences.  I also believe that in order to grow and thrive as an artist, no matter what the medium, there needs to be a community that is, dare I say it, supportive.  More often than not, I see other artists (especially actors) try to tear each other down and raise themselves up through gloating or a “know-it-all” attitude. I, at times, especially early on, was guilty of this too. But I can’t blame actors. It might come from the fact that we are really proud to achieve something, whatever it is, in an industry that prides itself on being very exclusive. It’s the big boys club. Like Frank Sinatra said of New York, “If I can make there/I’ll make it anywhere…” And it’s true. As an actor in New York City, it’s difficult.

The whole industry is difficult. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. That’s true of any profession. If being a doctor were easy, we would all be doctors. It takes a very special individual to realize their talents in a given field and pursue them. I have a talent for acting, I know that. I also have a talent for writing. In some respects, I’ve been writing before I could actually physically do it. Apparently, I would tell my mother stories and she would record them on either a tape recorder (old, I know) or write them down. I’ve been telling stories, whether fictional or not, since a young age both on paper and on stage.

I’m glad that I get to meld my two loves into one project. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper called the Crier and I reviewed films (mostly) and occasionally predicted awards shows. I want to use that as a jumping off point for this blog. Not only do I want to review films, television, theater and the ever expanding “new media” categories, but I also want to do it from a specific perspective. I’m an actor who is, in general, at the beginning of my career. I’ve only been considered a “professional” since I filmed the movie Dribbles in 2005.

I’ve been acting professionally for the past 8 years or so. And I’ve been in the unions since 2009. However, I feel I can offer enough of a daily insight to make things interesting. I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth.  I’ll relay the information about auditions (without mentioning specific casting people, directors, etc.) and even general frustrations and triumphs.

There is a blog that was acquired by the industry trade publication Backstage called Audition Update. And, while it’s a wonderful resource to use for audition purposes (i.e. where they are held, who is in the room, whether or not they are seeing non-union) it has it’s drawbacks. There is a specific section that rubs me the wrong way. It’s called The Bitching Post. Up until very recently, I was one of those people (although not active in the forums) who, for lack of a better word, bitched about anything and everything that went on in the industry. It’s not to say that one can’t vent their frustrations, but when it bleeds over into your everyday life and makes you a Negative Nancy, that’s when things have gone too far.

From the audition process to projects themselves,  I want to say, here and now, that a bad attitude, whether it is in jest or not, doesn’t help move things along. In a great many ways it hinders the growth of an artist because they are so hung up on faults and things that they might find irksome. The industry is hard enough, so why do we as actors make it even more difficult through self-deprecation and put-downs? I think the important thing to note is, the entertainment industry is a wonderful industry with artists who look at life from a different angle. Why not make it a positive one? Let’s take this journey through the industry together. Let’s review films, watch television, go to the theater and watch web series with gusto. Let’s learn from each other. Thank You for taking time out of your day to come and visit my blog.

Happy Viewing,


For more information on my career please visit my listing on: IMDB