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Stepping into a Role

This shoot started as an ad for a client, but it ended up serving as a Public Service Announcement on domestic abuse.

There are two things that stuck out on that shoot, or perhaps it would be better to state that is was two people, because it deals with the two "actors" in the video.

I guess I should clarify those quotation marks quickly so as to avoid offending anyone. The reason for those marks is because there was only one actor on the set.

The other was a holographic image. And I'm obviously kidding.

The first person I have to give props to is Josh Cochran, because he'll be the first to admit that he's no actor. He did this as a favor to me, and it can't be stated clearly enough that the character in the video is totally contrary to his nature. Josh is a good-hearted, kind individual who remarked that he couldn't even imagine hitting a woman. So it wasn't easy to get him to have that menacing look, and even harder to get him to start "roughing" up our actress. He stepped up and did a great job, but the major props need to go to our actress.

I've had the opportunity to work with Wendy Alcala over the years and seen her develop as an actor, so she was one of a few that came to mind when this project came up.

Wendy Alcala in Abused PSA

And she stepped into the role. It's very good to know that she has never had to experience anything like this, so it's not like she was pulling from her past to generate emotions. Perhaps she has known others that have dealt with this and has been able to sympathize with them, and that may be the reason why her tears were real. Or maybe she's just that good in having nothing from which to draw but still step into the role and be the character.

Embracing the role, she encouraged Josh to not hold back in pushing her against the wall or down to the ground, and utilizing her other talents, she did her own makeup, adding bruises and blood.

It's always great to work with actors who can totally step into the role. Not to knock those who utilize method acting, but it is an extraordinary talent when an actor can step into a role the moment the cameras are rolling and step out when the director yells "cut." I've seen Wendy's talent develop over the years, and this shoot confirmed she has that talent.

This short video was a special project that hopefully can help someone who is dealing with abuse, and I'm certainly grateful to Josh Cochran and Wendy Alcala for lending their talents to make it come to fruition.

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