Congratulations to Patel Conservatory student Ashlie Stevens who recently finished filming as the lead role in the independent film Mr. Engagement.
Stevens signed up for an on-camera workshop at the Patel Conservatory last fall in search of finding inspiration. As a single mom, “I’ve always been busy working and taking care of kids,” she said.
Now that her kids, Jessica, 17 and Nick, 20, are grown, Stevens says she finally had the time to do things for herself. After working the same sales job for years, she was ready to tap into her creativity.
“I took the [on-camera] class because I was hoping it would help me find my direction,” said Stevens. “I’ve always had writing goals, but I never thought it was a realistic goal and I never knew how to go about it... The class helped me get me out of my shell because I’m really an introvert. I discovered I like acting as well.”
Through instructor Eugenie Bondurant, Stevens found out about other workshops and auditions websites. She signed up for a 40-hour acting intensive in Miami, and shortly after came across an audition notice for the independent film Mr. Engagement.
“I auditioned and got a call back, and landed the lead female role,” she said. “We filmed three- to four-day weekends, 8 to 16 hours a day."
As her first acting role, Stevens found the experience both fun and exhausting. "During filming, I’d feel this adrenaline of the challenge.”
The film, expected to be released in 2012, is a romantic comedy about about a playboy who thinks he has life beat until his girlfriend breaks up with him. “He tries to win her back and wants to prove that he’s ready to commit,” said Stevens, who plays the girlfriend, Jamie.
New to the acting scene, Stevens said that to prepare for the role, she’d record herself and study her movements.
“I learned so much from Eugenie. She really did inspire me,” said Stevens. “I’ve always hated being in front of the camera and she made it so much fun.”
Now that she’s done filming, Stevens said she’ll continue to take classes and go on auditions, and she’s started working on a novel. Her daughter Jessica also wants to get into modeling and acting the two are looking at taking classes together.