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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

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Shannon Cochrane (FADO) sent me an audition notice for Will Kwan’s film, “If All You Have is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail”. On top of my daily video and performance practise which is part of my trauma therapy, I had been reaching out to collaborate and work on others’ projects as well. I looked up Will’s work and was really drawn so I contacted him and set up an audition and was thrilled that I got offered the role.
So far in the art world, the artist fees have been minimal and I’ve donated them back to each exhibition/production. I make art full-time to tame the effects of c-ptsd and now enjoy regular exhibits, installations and talks about my Art Therapy Practise. I live on The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and I get volunteers, donations and sponsors per project. Six years ago I feel extremely ill and have been in Trauma Therapy at Women’s College Hospital now for 4.5 years. I found art making as a resource in SPEAKArt with Art Therapist Eva-Marie Stern. My art keeps me functioning and it’s now come full circle back to my previous career of being an actress and film producer.
Will’s project is an ACTRA production and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to re-activate my Union membership for multiple reasons. I am starting intense full-time trauma therapy in October for eight weeks and even the union dues were too much for my budget. But by this point I had read Will script and couldn’t see myself not taking the role. I used all my trauma therapy tools to figure out that while I still need a lot of help on some fronts, performing is something that comes easily and learning the lines felt fun, not stressful. I decided to do the job and contact ACTRA President Ferne Downy for help manoeuvring this gig through the ODSP system as it is part of my body of work, I couldn’t turn it down. But I am not healthy enough to head back into the working world.
And despite doing excellently well for months, this project being ACTRA and involving money stressed me out as it could affect my health insurance payments. I was installing a multi projection set up for an event at the end someone asked my name. I didn’t know my name. I couldn’t remember my phone number. I hadn’t dropped out memory like that in years. I realize often the S in PTSD stands for stress. When something is important to me it throws my cognition and memory off in extreme ways. This time I knew to look at my business card for my name. I immediately went home and rested and made some art. I have six years of experience of what to do when basic skills drop out.
So with Ferne onboard I accept the gig and start working on my 17 pages of script. I play opposite to Michael Man, who has a page or two and otherwise I speak the entire time. My character is driving while delivering this dialogue. A three camera set up with four long takes in a 30 minutes triptych film.
I worked on my script daily. I would either read it out loud our think through the details of the script and the flow of the conversation. I looked at real-estate websites to see the vibe of the successful agents and I slept well and took care of myself. The morning of the shoot I woke at 6am to walk my dogs and I was pretty fresh. And I felt good about my prep work.
The shoot was an excellent environment, a small crew and Will was sensitive to my needs as well as everyone else’s. I felt like a different part of my brain kicked in, a confident performer brain that despite heat and driving did a reasonable job with the huge amount of dialogue. I felt great. This was my largest role to date in a film. And it is interesting that while certain stress stops me in my tracks, with daily work and therapy art, I can be a high functioning artist. And with my family and a group of friends helping me every day, I can do amazing things.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the film installation.
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