Anna Douglas has been on and around the stage and screen almost all of her life. It started with her being interviewed by a news crew in a Target store and now she is staring in short films, stage productions, and commercials. Most recently, Anna has been cast in Jeff Galfer’s short film, ‘Buried Treasure’. Read about the short film here and here.
How did you get involved with ‘Buried Treasure’? Can you tell us about your character?
“I have been with this film since it’s inception. As Jeff was putting the first words to paper, he would come to me for feedback about the story, which was very different from the one that ended up “in the can,” as they say. And as the story changed and grew, Jeff continued to use me as a preliminary audience. So I was lucky enough to get to witness the evolution of this project from birth to present and somewhere along the way, Jeff said that he felt there was a part in it for me and asked if I would be interested in now being a more tangible part of this piece that had come to have a very special place in my heart over the past year as well. This character he had in mind is a young adventurer of sorts who, as the director and I later decided, has experienced loss of her own and through her own spirit for adventure and experience, she becomes the first person to witness what Mark geocaches, while remaining a complete stranger to him, as the hobby entails.”
Had you ever heard of geocaching before this project or done it before?
“Funny enough, I was the only person, including Jeff himself, who had. I was in college when a friend of mine who had his own spirit for the unknown and unique, invited me to go wander through the city we lived in at the time and find these hidden items, explaining that this was called geocaching. In hindsight, I realize he was much more in touch with the possibilities of what an experience like this could offer than I was, and boy was he dead on. We went at night, probably not the best idea since these things are hard enough to find without the lack of light, and the experience was thrilling. Not just because of the satisfaction of actually finding the thing, like winning a board game, but the moment of opening up that little container and seeing the names of the people written on the log. Strangers, tons of them, who had stood in this very spot, holding this very item, signing their names on this little piece of paper. People you would never meet and who would never know you were there, but that you now had a very real and secret connection to. It’s surreal. Leslie was eager to hear the stories of my experience during the prep for the shoot, and I suddenly felt like I had much more to contribute to the project than as just an actor in the film, and was happy to let her pick my brain. Then a few weeks before the shoot, while Jeff and I were in Chicago for a friend’s wedding, I took him geocaching near the Northwestern campus. And he found both of them. As I watched him and his wonderful, childlike excitement holding a tiny toy left for us to find, I saw what I must have looked like all those years ago, standing in the dark, holding those little film canisters, marveling at brilliance of this thing called geocaching.”
What is it like being able to work with so many people from various big name films and TV shows that all came together for one common goal, getting the film out there, and not for money like has become common within the industry?
“I felt so lucky. Period. I came on to this project, officially, before most of the cast and crew were solidified with no idea what direction the film was moving in, aside from forward. By the time Jeff even had half of the people involved confirmed, I knew I was a little fish who was very lucky to be getting to work on a film that had grown to this magnitude. And I don’t even mean just the impressive cast, none of which I even got to work with (unfortunately) because of the nature of my scenes. It was the crew I got the pleasure of getting to know and working with. Leslie is simply transcendent, a director who is so lovely and giving in how she communicates with actors and her crew. And each person, down to last PA, was a joy to work with. The general feeling on set was always one of excitement, love for this art, and gratefulness to be there. I got to meet some truly wonderful people who know the value of producing good art no matter what they get out of it financially. In fact, it was one of the best sets I’ve been on because no one was there for any other reason than they sincerely wanted to be.”
With the short being about someone finding a treasure that altered their life forever, have you ever had an experience like that?
“Well, I can’t say that I have ever had the experience that Mark has in the film, but I may be able to answer that and your next couple of questions together.”
How did you know that theatre/acting was what you wanted to do? Was it always there or did something trigger that passion?
“The thing I stumbled upon, we’ll say, that changed my life forever, was actually acting. And it truly came out of nowhere because I was five at the time. The short version of the story involves my sister, our friend, Kirby, and me, a Target store in Nashville, and a channel 5 news crew. Suffice it to say that when we oh-so-casually sauntered up the aisle to check out the new Lion King merchandise and that interviewer turned the camera on me, I was never quite the same. Acting classes and plays started about a year or two later and the rest is history. Or will be. And I’ve never loved anything else since.”
Do you have any other hobbies that you love?
“Growing up in a musician’s household, music has always been a part of my life. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a singer, or in a band, or play an instrument professionally, I just often did those things. When your childhood consists of listening to The Beatles during dinner, hearing the constant thump of the bass coming from your dad’s studio, and singing Christmas carols as someone plays the piano, you “do” music because, what, doesn’t everyone? So along with the music that is involved in theatre, and I have many musicals in my past, I have played a variety of instruments over the years, from drums to ukulele to saxophone to whatever else I got my hands on, as well as arranged music for acapella groups I have been a part of. So music, I suppose, is the easy answer.”
You have also helped with make-up, set design, and a few other things, are any of those other avenues within the industry that you would want to pursue if you were able to?
“In college I developed a talent for sewing and makeup and am always happy to offer up those skills to theatres out here I’m involved with who may need an extra hand (that’s one of the things I will always love about theatre, the collaboration) but I have assisted, very marginally, in those departments on some of the independent projects I have worked on and the directors were generous enough to offer credit.”
If you could play a character on any TV show or movie, who would it be? Why?
“That’s tough. These days I play a lot of the type of character that I’m actually featured as in this movie – the tough girl adventurer, the rebel, the artist. I play a lot of lesbians – so yeah, Katniss Everdeen would be awesome. But put her in an HBO one-hour drama that runs for a few seasons and I’d be content.”