Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Last night was the first screening of a new short film, "V-Day" by Darlene Dalmaceda. If you remember from a previous blog, ("Who is Tina?"), I was planning to play a role in this project, but logistics and union restrictions prevented me. After an intense cat fight over this decision, Darlene and I became friends.....okay, one of those sentences isn't true!  

"V-Day" is a comedy about the "adult home party" business that doesn't insult home party businesses. Darlene plays Adrian, an unemployed, shy, single girl looking for a way to earn a living in Las Vegas. After running out of options and desperate to try anything, she gets into the  "business". From there things gets a little sticky....

Darlene Dalmaceda, Anna Wendt
Darlene's first short, "Come Together", was a Nevada Silver Screen Film Festival 2011 Award Winner and top ten finalist in the LVRJ 2010 Online short film contest. 

Her unique comedic style and point of view is consistent in plot and character throughout 
"V-Day".  Writers who are also actors, like Darlene, give an extra kick to a script. Especially comedy. Because of their added perspective they seem to cue in to how unexpected moments, if you let them happen, are at times funnier than scripted punch lines. Actresses Yannie Rich (Shawntelle), the "Sugar Mama", and Jackie Lee as "Helen", the long married housewife, hold their own....and then some! They both told me they are fairly new to acting and this is their first film. You wouldn't know it onscreen. Mission accomplished!

This is the kind of film that can have two lives. First, as a short, and then as a seed for a "second life", as is sometimes done. The "short" itself can be used as a preview trailer, and in combination with the script can be sold to an entity at an event such as the "American Film Market" to be made into a feature.

From the article, "11 Shorts that were made into features", (, is a film called "Peluca". It was a short released in 2003, which was then made into the feature "Napolean Dynamite" in 2004. "Some Folks call it a Slingblade", a short in 1994, was turned into the Academy Award winning, "Slingblade" in 1996. The single best example of this group as compared to "V-Day", is:

The Dirk Diggler Story (Short; 1988) and Boogie Nights (Feature; 1997)

While still a high school student in the San Fernando Valley, a young Paul Thomas Anderson decided to make a mockumentary about The Valley’s most famous export, porn. And specifically about a character named Dirk Diggler (based off of the real-life John Holmes). Less than ten years later — after a very brief stint at NYU Film, some time working as a set P.A., and then the success of his first film Hard Eight — Anderson would revisit his porn tale, this time calling it Boogie Nights. The film is a masterpiece of modern auteur cinema, and collected 5 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Darlene's main challenge, like many filmmakers without a budget to speak of, is to stay focused on production quality. I know she is still fine tuning the sound, which, as most know, is the hardest technical aspect to perfect. She could also be served by shortening a few scenes...."smarten up the action" as it's called. Current audiences expect almost immediate plot and character exposition. (Dan Decker with the the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company would agree, as even he is currently reworking "Hamlet" to fit modern audiences for their production.)

Overall, I think Darlene, with her entity, "Atomic Cocktail Entertainment" is going to be one to watch as her projects and film credits expand over time.

One of the best surprises of last night? The screening was held in a cube....The Cube Theater. What an interesting and unique space....loved the super secret entrance. I thought I was in a warehouse parking lot...oh wait, I was. How perfect! Owner Ryan Ahern's design makes it feel like not just a theatre, but an intimate party!

"The Cube", Las Vegas
The evening was topped off with an impromptu performance from Ryan Ahern, who, by the way is also a concert pianist. What an unexpected 15 minutes of brilliance! That's one reason I love living in this town. So many people amongst us gifted with talent and love of the arts...

Ryan Ahern's version, "Bohemian Rhapsody"....Totally.....Excellent

Ryan Ahern - Recording Artist and World Champion Pianist

Darlene's first film:

Atomic Cocktail Entertainment

11 Daily Features based on short

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog story. Also, quite right about Actors adding in instinctual and perfectly timed humor. This can be one of the greater ways an Actor enriches the writing & the character both.