a podcast by Pawlean

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” An actress, I used to say. Story time: my first film 🍿

March 01, 2021 Pauline Narvas Season 1 Episode 12
a podcast by Pawlean
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” An actress, I used to say. Story time: my first film 🍿
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Let's go down memory lane! For today's episode, I'll be talking about the time when becoming an actress was in my career cards and when I was part of a movie, "X + Y" i.e. "A Brilliant Young Mind" (2015) when the production took place in my hometown.

Full blog post with photos: https://pawlean.com/2016/03/25/the-one-with-the-movie

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Hello, everyone, I'm your host, Pauline Narvas. Welcome to my podcast, a podcast by Pauline. This is where I share my thoughts on topics that are important to me, and experiences that I think you'd find mildly entertaining or maybe even insightful. If you're new here, here's what you should know about me. I'm a 20, something year old Filipina living in the UK. I've been working in the tech industry for the past two years, and I have a degree in Biomedical Sciences. Since 2008, I've been sharing my life in pixels on my blog, Pauline calm. I'm also a international speaker, plant lover, health and wellness enthusiast. And as someone who basically grew up on the internet, I'm also a professional oversharer. Thanks for joining me. And today we'll be talking about that time I was in a movie.

I was reminded the other day, but I was in a film. So as I was telling Matt about it, I just really wanted to like talk about the whole experience. And it sort of just took me down memory lane. So today, I just wanted to share a bit of that. And you know, just a bit about what life was like, filming and being part of that whole production because it was it was amazing.

Okay, quick disclaimer, I make a sound like I was like a main character in this film. I was not there, we're actually looking for extras in Sheffield. And so I was just an extra I didn't have any speech and thoughts. I am barely in the background. But I am there. And if you pause you will be able to find. So let me just talk about what the film was about. So I've actually just gone on IMDB. And I realized that the original title was x plus y. But they've changed it now to a brilliant young mind.

And so the summary of the film is basically a socially awkward teenage math student finds new confidence and new friendships when he lands a spot on the British squad at the International mathematics Olympiad. So this film has the main character as a sub Butterfield. And you may know him from the Netflix series sex education. Another person I realized that was in this film I and I only realized like recently is Alex, law author. And I think he's the main actor in another show called the end of the fucking world. It's a really good show, but it's a bit it's a bit stressful. So I haven't actually watched season two, because Season One was way too much for me. For those who don't know, my love for acting began way back in the day when I was growing up. I always wanted to be an actress. You know, when people would ask, what do you want to be, I would always say I want to be on TV, I want to be on film, I want to be an actress, I want to act. And before I got into tech, before I even got into like biomedical sciences, I was really interested in acting, I took acting pretty seriously, I was part of the drama and theater groups at school where I had the opportunity to like write my own plays, be part of my own plays, and also be part of like, outside school productions as well. I was looking online at the time when I was thinking about, you know, what I wanted to do, and I was considering acting school, I really wanted to go, but I think you know, it gets to a point where you keep saying you want to do this, but then someone sort of tells you in the real world, it's very difficult to you know, thrive and be be an actress. So I saw it was like, put off by that. And also my parents were very much pushing me towards that medical field, which I was I was also good at and I don't know, I think I think I was quite good at acting. I don't know, maybe, maybe I should like, try and find a clip of me acting somewhere. I don't know. But

But yeah, I really, I really did enjoy it. And I did take seriously when I was considering it as a career path. So it's the summer of 2013. I go into my sixth form common room, and I find this poster that says actors wanted so like I said this form. They were mostly filming in Sheffield, and also in Cambridge. And I think they have a bit in Taiwan as well. So there was a few different like filming locations. I was just so excited. I just wanted to be a part of this film. And I you know, I've never really been part of like a real

Production before this was my first one. So I was just super excited to be involved. I actually ended up writing a blog post about this one. Once the movie came on, I think it took like two years for the film to actually come out into into cinemas. But as I wrote on my blog post on the first filming day, I remember excitedly getting up at 5am. To get ready to be an extra for real life movie, the first filming site was at the local town hall, we were all gathered in a room where we all just waited to be called out for makeup and outfit changes. So my character and everyone else's character who were called as extras were students, and our first film, like filming shot was basically an exam hall shot in the Sheffield Town Hall. So they set it up like a proper exam. And everyone just had to dress quite like casually, but also some people were like selected as, especially those who were more who was who were closer towards, like the front, they were selected to like, represent a specific country. And when I got into hair and makeup, the makeup artist basically was like you should represent Mexico, because you look a little Mexican. And that was the first time and the last time I've ever had anyone say that to me. And just bear in mind at the time, I had like brown hair and my ends were quite blonde because I was going for this like ombre look. And so I look completely different now. But maybe with that brown hair, I looked quite Mexican. So um, so yeah, and I remember I had my hair up in like a plot and the, um, the makeup artists was like, Oh, you look like that girl in the Hunger Games, you know, the girl on fire.

It made me laugh because she was talking about Katniss Everdeen. And that was like a huge thing back then. So it's like, it's so cool to for her to say that because my hair did literally look like it was on fire. Because of the different colors that were in it. I remember like compared to the other extras, I didn't actually get extra makeup put on me. And I think a bit of my makeup was actually removed because back then I wore a lot of makeup. And they just wanted like students who looked quite low key. As I said, I was supposed to represent a Mexican students. And initially I was given a sombrero to wear in the exam hall. It was It made no sense, right? I guess they really just wanted to make it obvious. I thought I was from Mexico. But I think I seem to remember they removed it from me like just before I walked into the scene, and I didn't end up wearing it and the actual like shot that they took.

And yeah, so in between actually going into the scene, I spent most of my time like talking to the other students from my hometown, who all went to different schools. And they were also different, like actors. They're from agencies. And they were like cast as extras, which was, which was pretty cool as well. And I had the opportunity to speak to a few of them and learn about what it was like to act for a living. And I do remember a lot of them. So say like, oh, it is quite a struggle is quite challenging. You know, getting in getting a role is tough. And yeah, there was just really excited to be there. It was really weird, because I was thinking like, did they get paid for that? Were they paid to be an extra because I wasn't paid?

And like, I don't know what we were there as much as everyone else. But But yeah, it was it was pretty cool that they were there. And it was nice to get insight in what their life was like.

So the first scene I was in, like I said, it involved walking into like a pretend exam hall. But this was literally just the Sheffield Town Hall. And we had to walk in a few times, then we basically sat down to like our assigned seats. And that was it. And then we had there was like a piece of paper in front of us. That was basically our exam. And it was like a fake maths exam, but there wasn't like a math question in it. And I remember just reading and I was like, I have no idea how this was like looking around, like what is everyone else writing so it's only like literally a 10 second shot, maybe like the shot with me and it was like around 10 seconds but like the whole scene itself is probably only like two minutes long. But we literally spent the whole day filming this one scene of students coming into the into the exam hall sitting down, opening the test paper and writing. It was so crazy. Because like we kept doing bad and like in the like right hand corner from where I sat. There was like a PSA. He had did his little scene so many times he has like a speaking part in this exam where he stands, he like talks to one of the exam invigilators and tells them like Oh, I can't do

It isn't and he stands up and walks away. And I remember seeing him do that from for the whole day, so many times so many takes. And just to get that small little scene, in addition to that, that same scene, they weren't just filming him, but they were filming the whole whole and getting different shots. I was actually lucky in that, I remember the camera was quite close to me at one point, and I was proper, like acting as well like writing my, like, pretend answers for this maths exam, I've probably got proper into it. And I remember like, in between one of the breaks where we were still sat down, I actually spoke to this guy next to me, and I was like, joking around with him. I was like, I, I don't even know the answer to these questions, do you? And he was like, Yeah, I do, actually. And he basically told me that he got tutored for this. And I was like, what I was really confused. I thought he was, like, one of the actors from one of the agencies who, I don't know took the role very seriously. So he studied a maths exam or something, I don't know. And when he said that, to me, I was just like, haha, whilst I showed him like a picture of a Pikachu I drew, drew on the exam, exam paper. And then it turns out, he was actually one of the actors, one of the main actors in the film, and so the actor was Purcell. ascots apparently, he's best known for the lead role between 2012 and 2014. On the CBBC series, wizards vs. Aliens as Benny Sherwood. So yeah, he was that actor who I spoke to. And it was just really awkward. I just felt really silly. And I actually didn't realize he was a real actor until, I think, once we all like finished that scene, and then we like all had the big break. Or maybe maybe maybe like a lunchtime break or something, like people coming up to me and they're like, Oh, my God, you were sat next to him. That's so cool. I was like, I don't know who he is. I sometimes cringe because all of the embarrassing things I said to him as we in between shots. I was like, like proper, like, try and have a chat with him who was like incorrect.

It's really silly. So I wrote my blog post, what did I learn from my first day of filming? Number one, a few minutes or even seconds in a film takes hours, hours, I tell you to film, hearing and action tenses, my muscles, hearing cut, relaxes my muscles. And I could never compete at this international maths competition ever. It was way too hard. The second day of filming was actually at Cambridge. And I was really excited about this in particular, because I've never been to Cambridge before. It was really cool to get into the onto this coach with like all these other students. And we all went to Cambridge together, it felt like a fun school trip. This scene was basically us at Cambridge University, about to go into an exam. And so basically what they did was this was like the build up to the exam scene that we saw the day before, so in Sheffield. And so they actually took two different shots in two different locations. But in the actual film, it looks like one big place. So you sort of think that that huge Sheffield Hall was actually, you know, in Cambridge, but it wasn't. So the weather was amazing that day, and I remember in between shots when they didn't need those. It was basically AWS at Cambridge University, just sitting around meeting new people talking to all these like, aspiring actors, and I just felt like I was at home. It was so cool. And there was like, the little boats we watched we had picnics, and it was just so cool. Because we explored the set. They were like huge cameras, huge production teams and like makeup artists running around with a little makeup boxes and stuffed for the actors and snacks everywhere. It was it was fantastic. I'd wrote on my blog post, what did I learn from my second day of filming? Cambridge is beautiful. And again, I could never compete at this maths competition for sure. And so what the what this sort of scene was, what we had to do is we basically like we had a sir I want to call them Acer Acer. He was walking towards the exam hall. And he went through this little like hallway thing and basically it was what they needed was all of the students like walking towards that exam hall behind him. And he he sort of like hesitates and he's like, I don't know if I want to go in there. I'm a bit scared because I don't want to spoil it. But something happened in just before this scene, which makes them a bit all shaken and stuff. So we had to basically pretend that we were like diligence students excited to go to the exam. So we were just like walking like up behind them. And I remember this scene very well because I remember I saw the camera

Right behind him, and I was behind the camera and I said to myself, I'm never going to be in the shots, I'm, you'll never, my parents are never going to see me in this film, they're never gonna believe I was in this film, because they can't even see me. So I remember with all of these students are in front of me, I remember trying to like, make my way through the front next to a PSA himself. And I actually in one of the tapes, like managed to be, like, next to him, the camera was behind him. And I managed to be like, literally on the left side of him. And I was like, just mentally trying to maintain my spot there.

And I just tried so hard, I've never tried harder to get in a film, or to get in shots, as much as I tried that day. And it's actually in the film, they actually ended up taking that shot of me. And you can sort of see my back, you can see like my braid, you can see the turquoise striped top that I wore. And I'm just next to him. I'm walking next to him. And it was just it was pretty cool. There was another scene in Cambridge that we filmed where we basically was in like, different groups with different groups of people like chatting just before the exam. So that was really cool. Because I managed to like speak to two other people who were telling me again, about how they aspire to be the next Harry Potter or, you know, the next big actor in the future and how they were going to acting school, and all of that stuff. So that was really cool to speak to them. And I remember in this shot, I saw the camera again, and again, being very desperate to be part of the film. I remember like I was moving towards, like where I knew the shot would be. So again, if you freeze in this specific part of this film, where there's like groups of students, you can see my face like, I was like proper acting, I was like, okay, you're a student, what would you do just before an exam, so I looked a bit stressed, but also, like, the person who was I was speaking to was made me laugh. So I did laugh. And so I looked a bit like, I don't know, stress, but also trying to chill out. So I was just hanging out with my friends. So I don't know, that was the sort of vibe I was giving out. So that was really cool. I like absolutely loved it. And those were the three scenes I was a part of, and you can actually, I took screenshots, and I've posted it on my blog, if you do want to check it out. But so like I wrote my blog, overall, the experience was fantastic. I met some amazing like minded people and gained a bit of an insight into the filming process, visited Cambridge got free refreshments throughout and a bucket of KFC on the way.

And I will do it all again in a heartbeat. And not just for the free food. But also the best experience being on set and acting even though it was a small part. Yeah, once I watched the film when it came out, overall, I gave it like, I think an eight out of 10. And not just because I'm in it, obviously, but also that the story was really captivating and clever and romantic in some parts, which is really good. Be sure to like check it out. And I think if you're from Sheffield, or know of Sheffield, it's also really awesome to watch just to see the behind the scenes of like, of Sheffield, so you'd spot some of the hills your spot some of the parks and stuff is really nice to watch, especially if you're like local in Sheffield. And that was basically the time I was in a film. It was my first go at being like in front of cameras going into like wardrobe, getting my makeup done and stuff like that. And, you know now today, I don't shy away from being part of like being in front of cameras. So at my former workplace at bt, I had the opportunity to be part of their one of their like careers ads. And I was so excited because it was a full on production. I remember I had a specific scene that was specifically geared towards me I was like the main actor. And again they were the cameras the massive cameras they had those like those like I forgot what they call those like box things where people look, people say like action, those things room. They weren't actually like other bt employees. They were actors themselves. So I remember speak to them as well during the breaks and they were all just like, yeah, I'm POV I'm from an agency and you should check out my like upcoming ad and there was this guy I sat next to who was telling me how he's in the KFC ad and how excited he is for it to come out. And so yeah, that was really cool. So talking to all the other actors and then acting in that scene where I basically wrote the word agile on a board and it took again a whole day for me to film that. And you know, I got my hair and makeup done. I remember the wardrobe as well. It was fantastic because this was I wasn't an extra and this one I was like the full on like main actor, I guess you could say I didn't have any speaking parts but

The camera was focused on me. And I remember they took out like a wardrobe full of different colors. And they basically was like, Okay, what goes best with your skin tone? And I had to try on so many outfits. And I had the the, like, wardrobe person say, Hmm, that's not quite right. I'm not too sure about that. And they actually got to a point where they narrowed it down to yellow and red, I think it was. And they said that I looked fast and yellow. So I ended up wearing this like bright yellow top with these, like brown pants. And it sounds horrible. It sounds like something I would probably never wear. But it was, it was so nice. Because like I had someone proper, like, you know, check my makeup. Look at my skin tone. And literally try and dress me up. I felt like a proper movie star was pretty cool. And yeah, when I finally filmed that section, it was it was awesome. And on Yeah, I'm still really happy. I got to be a part of that. And now whenever something comes up that is similar. I'm always like, yes, get me involved, I want to be in front of the cameras. I want to talk and I want to just give it a go really.

And I also think that this is a reason why I love public speaking because speaking in public is just I get the same rush as when I'm part of like a production. Obviously, when I used to do my plays, I had that like applause at the end. And I think that's the sort of thing I get that experience and that high that I get after doing a performance at school. I sort of get that same thing when I'm up on stage giving a talk and then getting an applause afterwards. I actually love it so much. And yeah, that's why it's no surprise to me that I really enjoy giving public talks pre-COVID of course, that was basically my whole experience of being on in that film where my love for acting came from. I don't know if I'll ever become an actress or what but I do know that I love being in front of a camera and I love having the opportunity to like talk about whatever it is. So yeah, as as the opportunities come up I will definitely go for it. Just to relive that whole like movie star life you know.

And that is it for this episode. If you want to continue our conversation on this topic, let's do it. You can find me on social media on twitter at @paulienuh on Instagram at @paw.lean and on my blog pawlean.com

if you found that episode insightful, consider supporting me, you can do so over on my support page where you can share my content, buy me a burrito, send me Bitcoin, use my affiliate links and more. Check it out at pawlean.com/support-me. Thanks again for listening, sending you all happy, healthy positive vibes as always, and I'll see you in the next one. Bye!

Today's topic: how I was in a film once!
"A Brilliant Young Mind" - What is this film about?
What do you want to be when you grow up? An actress, I used to say.
How did I get involved in "A Brilliant Young Mind"?
Other opportunities in front of a camera