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Friday, February 21, 2014

DeVanity- Behind The Scenes

DeVanity Insanity is well underway as episode two was released Thursday debuting the Kane's, with special guest star Steve Kanaly.  Verdict?  A resounding incredible performance by the Dallas veteran.  We were also introduced to Scarlet Kane (Tiffany Michelle), who gave Jason a very interesting way to seek revenge- Kane's are set to help Jason CRUSH the Regis clan with, let's just say a profitable proposition.  I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't watched yet, but I can say I'm really looking forward to what happens next!

As we roll towards the final episode EVER, I thought it was a great time to chat with the director of the award-winning series, Kelly Portier about her experience in creating such a dynamic, kick ass webseries.

To say the series has been a huge undertaking for the small production crew of six is an understatement! If the seven Indie Series Awards nominations is any indication, it has been well worth the journey.  While there have been really big highs and lows, Portier is grateful for the experience. "It has definitely been a journey.  Lots of work, lots of ups and down and crazy and a little bit of madness, definitely always DeVanity fun.  A fantastic experience."   Because of the small crew, even the actors have had to step in here and there during production to help out wherever they can.

What are some of the things Portier is concerned with as a director versus the actors?  She explained that as the director she has to know every character.  "I have to be in the character's head to an extent as well as visually. I have to know where they're going, I have to understand what their journey is, I have to understand the physicality of their scene is.  I
come in with the blocking so basically like when I come, I've already literally walked in their steps and I know where they're going and how they're supposed to react to the other characters.  As a director your job is not to just see the world through the eyes of the one character, but through the eyes of all the characters." She described living the scenes in her head all the time, so when it's time to set up and play out the scenes, she's already plotted everything out.  

One of the most beautifully scenic openings was last season's episode where Portier appeared as Jason's assistant who was "stalking" aka hunting down his estranged aunt Francesca DeVanity in hopes of helping him regain control of DeVanity's shares.  How were they able to actually get footage and film in Paris? Luckily the Director of Photography happens to be Portier's husband, Rod who is from France! They were able to track down a 13th Century estate and the owners were very accommodating, allowing them to film on the property.  Although there was only about two minutes total on screen, it took two days to get the footage.

Throughout the series, many soap icons that have crossed the DeVanity threshold, including Robin Riker, Gordon Thomson, Charlene Tilton, Kyle Lowder, Sheree J. Wilson, Steve Kanaly, Andrea Evans to name a few.  Incredibly Portier is not a soap fan herself, however, was honored to work with such high caliber actors within the genre.   "I wasn't allowed to watch soaps growing up", she explains.  "It's been kind of amazing simply because as a director I usually don't like to watch anybody's work coming in because I don't want to associate them with anything else they've done."   She had nothing but admiration for the guest stars that has worked on the show.  "Everyone is incredibly collaborative and incredibly excited and it's really, really exciting."  One of the actors in this season that left a great impression with the director was Sheree J. Wilson, who really portrayed Claudia Muller, completely immersed in the role and knew her stuff, could really feel her fury.

With the series coming to an end, how does Portier feel now that it's done?  "It's good.  The way we're finishing, we're going out strong, everybody good together and in tact, relationships are still strong."  She added the show is alot of work.  Both Portier's involvement from beginning to end per season  is about 9 months out of the year.  "It's been fantastic on set every day, learning how to deal with people, communicate better, how the cameras work, how the lighting works, how to break down a script, how to schedule and structure the show." She added learning hands on was a great experience and Portier is grateful for it.

Could DeVanity live on and return?  Portier gave us a little hope. "Its' not completely off the table."  Most of the crew really wants to work on new projects, now have a chance to grow and produce, act, develop new things.  "If we do come back, it'll only make us better."  Will Portier return as director should Michael Caruso decide to revisit the DeVanity clan?  For Poriter it would be hard to see anyone else direct the show so don't count her out completely just yet.

Portier chatted for almost an hour and we spoke about the signature DeVanity catfights, favorite scenes, as well as other behind-the-scene moments.  Listen to the full interview: Kelly Poriter Interview.

Whether the show returns or not, Season 4 is already shaping up to be even better than last years' incredible season.  If you haven't watched DeVanity- what are you waiting for!  WATCH

Be sure to get your tickets to the Indie Series Awards, April 2 at the El Portal Theatre. Tickets on sale now via El Portal Theatre Box Office.   Complete list of nominees is posted ISA Website

Don't miss RHeart's Talk Dirty To Me every Thursday at 10pm (ET) as we dissect the final season of DeVanity with exclusive behind-the-scenes looks and interviews!

*Please follow us on twitter:  @RHeartRadio @DeVanitysoap @DeVanityFans
*Follow us on Instagram for all the Indie Series Awards red carpet action: RHeartNewtork

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