Ask Alexandra – January 2008
When are your documentaries about overpopulation and the cost of cool going on be on DVD?
Both documentaries were made as educational films to be played in high schools, to educate people about the human overpopulation situation. I consider this THE most pressing issue of our time – more important than global warming… Jampacked focuses on the numbers of people on our planet, how our population grew so quickly in the last 100 years (doubling in my lifetime so far!), and how to stabilize population growth. The Cost of Cool looks at the flip side of the same coin: how each person uses the earth’s finite resources, especially those of us who live in countries with slower growth (like the United States). Here our smaller population damages the earth far more than countries with 8 times more people, because our lifestyle is so wasteful.
The Cost of Cool can be found on DVD at: http://www.videoproject.com/cos-722-v.html. It is very expensive to order, however, as educational films are, which really disappointed me. $95! I do not own the film; I co-wrote, produced and hosted it for the non-profit Population Communications International (www.population.org). It won a Cine Eagle award and has had a good reception in schools.
Jampacked, which was made 10 years ago, is available at http://store.videoproject.com/jam-478-v.html. It won a Bronze Apple Award When we made it there were no educational films on overpopulation, except a 10 minute animated piece, in the entire Los Angeles School District library, and it is the second largest district in America. Population Communications ( www.population.org) owns Jampacked too. I just co-wrote, produced and hosted it. Your letter has reminded me that I would like a DVD of each film, so I will be contacting PCI myself today, or The Video Project!
Thank you for your interest in these two educational films. They deal with topics most people don’t want to deal with: overpopulation and overconsumption, which makes it all the more important that they be seen.
Hello! Just wanted to say I’m a big fan. I loved you in Baywatch and I look forward to your future projects. I was curious to know: When you get your scripts for a show or movie, how much input do you have as far as what you feel will work or not work in a particular scene?
Because I don’t consider myself a writer, I do not get involved with making big changes in any script that I do. If there is a problem with some dialogue – if it is clunky or redundant – I will talk to the director about it and suggest a change. As I would be insulted if the writer told me how to act his words, I don’t tell the writer how to write her script.
I like to be involved when the director of photography and the director are setting up a scene, deciding where to put the camera, although often they have already figured general blocking on a set before filming began, and then it is harder to insinuate myself.
I always speak to the wardrobe person before we shoot, so I can let her know how I see the character, and hear her take. From then on, it is a collaboration between us and the director in terms of what I wear.
I decide things like my hair color, whether I wear a padded bra or wear fake nails etc. and no one really interferes with that.
Making a movie is teamwork, and it is important to let the other people do their jobs, unless they do something that directly affects you. If the camera angle is just incredibly unflattering and it is not a horror movie (never angle a shot up at me unless you WANT to make me look ugly…), I will ask the director of photography for the reason the camera has been placed like that. We discuss the merits of his reasoning vs my reasoning, and come up with something that works for both of us.
As an actor, I consider myself part of the crew that bring a story to life from script to screen.
Thank you for your email.
WIth all the characters you have portrayed, are there any that have some of your personality? I also want you to know that you have been an inspiration to me. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
Every character I play has some of my personality! That is the school of acting from which I come: use yourself. Of course, I develop a character that has differences from Alexandra (otherwise I would be playing everything exactly alike…), but I have so many sides to myself that I can usually find in me that part that relates to being a murderer, to be an adultress, to being a mom etc., even if I myself am not that in real life. So approaching a role is always an exciting opportunity to look at the sides of me that arent accessed in my current life as Alexandra Paul, but are down there somewhere should the situation arise! Even though I am not a mother, I love playing mothers onscreen. Even though I am not in love with my co-stars, it is fun for my character to be when I am playing a wife or a girlfriend! When actors are younger, they often (and I did this) fell for their costars in real life because they cannot separate their acting from their real life. You learn as you get older to access aspects of yourself and then drop them when the work is done.
When I played a prostitute in Eight Million Ways to Die, and my next film was the Virgin Connie Swail in Dragnet, I was both of those characters. Bits of me were coming through in both films, even though they were roles that didn’t have a lot in common. In 2007, I played a lesbian twice. Even though I am not a lesbian in real life, the two characters (whose only commonality was their sexuality – one was a driven lawyer and the other a hippy painter) were different parts of me. I get to choose what parts, according to the character, her circumstances and the story. Fun!
Happy New Year to you also!