I interviewed actress Marlyn Mason about her new short, Model Rules. The movie came from an idea Marlyn had after researching what it took to become a real life artist’s model back in 2004. She shelved the proposal but when a friend suggested she enter a Fiction Writing contest, a former writing partner, comedian Vince Valenzuela, reminded her about becoming an artist’s model and thought that would make a better story.

How long did it take you to write Model Rules?
When I finished our conversation [with Vince Valenzuela], I turned on the computer, stared at it and forty-five minutes later had written a 488 word piece that I titled Model Rules. Had it not been for Vince’s reminding me of my idea it would not exist today and I would not be enjoying a surge in my otherwise slumbering career. Not bad at 68!

So how did it go from short story to short film?
My neighbor Janet Jamieson loved it, which encouraged me to send it to a local film maker, Ray Robison. He called and said “I want to do this”. “Me, too”, I replied. And so began the life of Model Rules. Ray brought together twenty-one volunteers to act as artists and crew.

So you never actually worked as an artist’s model while in Oregon?
No, so I found artist Robert M. Paulmenn who suggested I do a posing session before filming. Afterwards he said, “I can’t teach you anything. You’re a natural”! That was an enormous ego feed for this old broad!

Needing several real artists for visual purposes Robert was delighted to be cast along with artist Greeley Welles and sculptor Michael Isaacson.

How long did it take to shoot?
It took us two days and one evening to film. The Rogue Gallery in Medford, Oregon gave us the space and art equipment to use, which saved us a good amount. Half of the movie is shot in my own little hut, also in Medford.

Did the movie turn out as you envisioned?
When I put Model Rules into the hands of Ray Robison (pictured above on the set with Marlyn) I told him it was his to do with as he wished. I would not interfere. He welcomed suggestions and mine were less than few. I became the actress, doing as I was asked, never looking at the monitor. Weeks later when Ray showed me the rough cut I was stunned. With Director of Photography, Kenn Christenson, Ray put together exactly what I had pictured when I created the story. Ray also found exquisite pieces by composers Kevin MacLeod and Justin R. Durban. It was just good luck that Ray and I were on the same wave length visually and that Kenn was able to translate what we wanted, a French art film, of sorts.

And wouldn’t you know, my “natural” talents are now put to good use; on occasion I’m asked to pose for nude workshops!



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