Indie queen Tracey Birdsall tells us about her two new projects, Dawn of the Crescent Moon and Do You Like Your Balls?
How did we get to your two new films?
Both DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON and DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? actually Premiere this Saturday, August 23rd at the Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, CA back to back! It’s fortunate that they both are accepted (and have Nominations for Awards) and that Del Weston (Festival Director) was kind enough to put them back to back. The award that DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? is up for is Best Comedy Scene, and the instant horror classic DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON is Nominated for: 1) Best Horror Film, 2) Outstanding Cast Performance in a Feature, 3) Best Special Effects, 4) Best Supporting Actor (Barry Corbin), and 5) Best Actress in a Feature (Shiree Nelson).
How would you describe both DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON and DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS?
DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON is a classic horror film with all of the necessary elements for a future cult classic. It follows teenagers out to discover the Legend of Blood Lake and the treasure therein associated. My character, and that of Barry Corbin, have the journey of walking the audience through the journey of the Legend. As a twist at the end, however, Cyrus (Barry Corbin) is onto the fact that me and my partner are also there to hunt for the treasure.
DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? is an outlandish comedy best described as a mix between Seinfeld, the Hangover Franchise, and Ted. The whole cast (except me) are complete comedians! When I first read the script I couldn’t stop laughing and I just had to land the part. When I was on set, I just couldn’t stop laughing. When I was in post and saw it over 300 times, I still couldn’t stop laughing… Maybe it’s a testament to my sense of humor, but the jokes in this film get better every time I hear them!
What attracted you to the films?
The Producer and the Director of DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON are both really good friends of mine who I’ve collaborated with over the years. When they decided to make a feature and they sent it to me to read, they said to read the script and see if “there was a part in it I would be willing to play.” As I sat down to read the script, it became clearly evident to me that they had named the part Tracey and subtleness was not their strong point! Networking, connections, and working opposite Barry Corbin were the most appealing in the script… although my friendships would have necessitated it either way!
I was purely attracted to DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? on a script factor, as we read a lot of bad scripts! This was an excellent script that had me laughing out loud throughout. I actually couldn’t stop reading it although I didn’t need to read the whole script… It was impossible to put down! I immediately decided I had to own this audition and book it and went to work planning and plotting on who Francesca was, how she felt, what she wanted and how she was going to get there. I think I had the last audition of the day, and I went in dressed and determined (which is a most excellent and powerful feeling). About 2/3 of the way through the audition whilst I was mauling the folding chair as there wasn’t anything else to maul (and Francesca, in my mind, was a mauler), I heard Laura Reynolds (the producer) and Michael Consiglio (actor I was playing opposite in the scene) start cracking up and laughing out loud. It completely distracted me and took me out of character. That said, I knew that I had nailed it and owned the room (to use the words of Laura.) When I got the call that night for callbacks, Reza Riazi (Director) just offered me the role. Most actresses aren’t that brave, and I had delivered exactly what they were looking for – a fantastic feeling!
How involved were you in the films’ production at all?
I had something to do with DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS? in post, although I didn’t know any of the cast or crew prior to production. Some of the steam had left the project, and I just couldn’t handle to let it die down. I knew that it would have legs, and collaborated with some other friends of mine to get the establishing shots, edit finished, credits done, post sound done, and color corrected. I pulled in another favor from a friend to design the poster (actually Kevin Coleman, Producer of DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON), then I convinced Reza to let me send it into Action on Film and send it out for reviews. So for a project I had to audition for, I really did a lot! It was just too funny not to get it finished and out there…
Do you have a favorite moments from the shoots?
As I said, working with Barry Corbin was a blast… every moment of it. Since we started our shoots late in the day, Joe Simpson (owner of Joe’s Bar in Fayetteville) was kind enough to let us carry on like every night was a wrap party into the night. It was all a really fantastic time with all of the actors thoroughly prepared.
In DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS?, my favorite moment of all was when I wanted Michael Consiglio to actually do the action – not just the lines. It seemed to me that in order to have the proper reaction, I had to really find what he was doing exciting. Since they didn’t have the proper silverware, they produced plastic cutler for him to do the action with and it was really hilarious and easy to get into. Francesca really enjoyed that 🙂 Somehow, it all worked and it was really very funny.
What’s it like promoting two films at once?!
I love promotion as it’s similar to producing. There are key elements that have to be done, and you just keep going and making lists and checking things off. It truly requires a lot of brain power. With two films that are such polar opposites, it gives me a lot to talk about which kind of makes getting the buzz out there even easier. As an actress that has a huge range, I love having these two play back to back as Tracey (as the character in DAWN OF THE CRESCENT MOON) and Francesca (in DO YOU LIKE YOUR BALLS?) are such different people. They were shot very close to one another, but I was living two completely separate lives – which is fun for even me to see!
What do you think audiences will get out of your movies?
I know that they will be entertained! As an actress, if I can make people feel something, laugh, cry, even squirm a little… that’s our job and that’s what truly brings us pleasure, to entertain. Both of these movies accomplish that goal. I do know that they will not be disappointed!
Anything else you want to get off your chest?!
As a hardworking actress, and a single mom most of my life, I had never had Whiskey before… It never really mattered as I had no interest in it. At the wrap of our shoot on our characters, my friend and Producer Kevin Coleman insisted that we toasted (with whiskey!) what we had accomplished. No matter how nasty I found it to be, it was truly one of the most fabulous nights! Barry Corbin was in rare form citing various of his classic roles in the past and even re-creating some of the characters… a true moment where old friendships were made even stronger, and the new ones would forever be strong. Ahhh the magic of movie-making!
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