Q2 2021

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26 C I N E M O N T A G E U N I O N M A D E By Jane Loranger Bordal I was one of those "well-rounded" kids with varied interests — a dabbler, whereas my older brother with a Su- per 8 camera knew he wanted to direct. Our parents drove him into the city to see "Taxi Driver," and got me the banjo I asked for after seeing "Deliverance." There was a love and respect for mov- ies of all kinds in our home in an isolated suburb, many watched repeatedly on TV: "Shane," "Spartacus," "Duck Soup." My ex-schoolteacher mother passed on her love for books by reading aloud, and gave wise advice on my first audition: Go for the witch, not the ingenue, in the 6th grade play. Mixing messages, she then sewed me a flowery crone costume edged in pink ribbon. My dad was a psychology professor who once studied for the priesthood, and I'd inherited something of his quiet, studious nature. After high school ( journalism, vol- leyball, bread baking), I entered Harvard with vague goals of self-discovery that seem quaint in these anxious times. It was the Reagan '80s, but my dreams were inspired by romantic '60s images: People strumming guitars on grassy hillsides. Following flirtations with two other ma- jors, I settled on English and gravitated toward creative writing. I fell hard for student theater. An introvert, I was easily overlooked at auditions, but a professional director on faculty cast me in a one-act at the A.R.T., then Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind" at Trinity Rep. Instead of working on my se- nior thesis, a collection of original short stories, I spent afternoons speeding down I-95 to rehearsals in Providence, soaking up David Wheeler's tales of di- recting young Pacino and DeNiro. It was The Glories of Dabbling A CIRCUITOUS PATH LED TO STORY ANALYSIS thrilling but stressful. I'd already spent a semester off avoiding the thesis, copy editing for a Boston publisher and hang- ing out with my boyfriend, a strummer of guitar on grassy hillsides. When I finally finished school, acting called louder than writing. I got my SAG card dropping my R's as Agnes Fitzgerald in "The Kennedys of Massachusetts." The hard landing in New York was cushioned by an internship Off Broadway. Then came day jobs copy editing at Spy and Interview magazines, and numerous fruitless auditions ("Basket Case II," "Hellraiser III"). Finally, a Big Break: Errol Morris, Lou Diamond Phillips, female lead — it sounded so promising. I packed my bags for the Navajo Reservation and "The Dark Wind." A tabloid headline in the production office foretold trouble: "HOPI S N A K E P R I E S T C U R S E S R E D F O R D FILM." I moved to L.A., hoping for mo- mentum from a movie release that never happened. A friend of a friend slipped me his stapled-together handout, "Robert McKee on Story Structure," and hired me to read scripts for Island Pictures. Soon I got in with the USC film school crowd, reading for ICM. There were acting classes. There were deer-in-headlight commercial auditions, complicated by the quest to identify my "type": Young Mom, Farm Woman, White Trash. I never did find my place in TV, and eventually my nice manager dropped me. A few more auditions from an agent i n a cow b oy h at , a n d t h at wa s t h at . Good riddance! I started writing again, a screenplay about a badass singer, two rival stalkers, and a support monkey. ICM handed me a book coverage gig I adored. The gods sent me one f inal "acting" role — Vons deli clerk in a Wells Fargo ad, directed by a guy in my yoga class — ensuring SAG health insurance through labor and delivery. The guitar strummer and I were proud parents. Freelance reading suited new moth- erhood. I could stand at the HBO Xerox machine with a baby strapped to my chest, and control my schedule. I kept treading professional water after son No. 2. Now in the DreamWorks Story Department, I returned from vacation to learn the studio was unionizing. While I hadn't sought this moment, I recognized it from my AFI professor friend's "Hero's Journey" handout. But wait — was it the Call to Adventure, the Approach to the Inmost Cave, or the Ordeal? SEE PAGE 57 Jane Loranger Bordal.

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