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An Interview with Anna Shields, Writer and Star of Little Bi Peep

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2012

Anna Shields on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming film Little Bi Peep - in a few words, what is it going to be about?


Little Bi Peep is an indie feature comedy about the myriad of relationships of a 23 year-old bisexual who seems incapable of connecting with another person or telling the truth.


I'm sure you've been asked this before, but: Why did you choose a porn shop as one of your film's central locations?


Sex is funny. Porn is funny. Itís an unusual location for a black comedy because itís only used for seedy films. The lead character is stuck in a dead end job, and blow-up dolls under fluorescent lighting are much more entertaining than staplers in an office cubicle.


What were your main inspirations when writing Little Bi Peep, and is any of it based on personal experience? And come to think of it, how much of the film is based on Little BO Peep?


Art should be personal. Since this is my first feature film, I drew from people and situations from my life and friends that I have encountered. How does sex affect peopleís relationships? How honest are we with each other and ourselves? What is with these new, malfunctioning Kureg coffee machines? The script was untitled for a long time. We tried every horrible idea you can think of and the Cinematographer, Tracy Cring, hit on Little Bi Peep. The rhyme does have a theme of loss and confusion. One difference is Bo Peep doesn't hook up quite as much as Bi Peep. Other than that, we will let the audience make their own fairytale comparisons.


How would you describe yourself as a writer, how would you describe Little Bi Peep's writing process, and what can you tell us about your writing prior to Little Bi Peep?


Iíve always written stories, and figured as an actor, my writing would be more useful in the form of screenplays. I had started another project and I sent some pages to my friend and director Jon Russell Cring [Jon Russell Cring interview - click here], and he told me to burn them that it was Hollywood fluff. Then he said that he wanted to see me in a story. I finished Little Bi Peep 3 days later. It was inside and I just didn't know it.


What prompted you to take the next step and actually put Little Bi Peep into production?


That was really not my call. People just wanted to make this as soon as they heard it. I am flying on borrowed wings here. To say this has been a whirlwind would be a serious understatement.


As far as I know, Little Bi Peep is as of now still raising funds - so what can you tell us about your fundraising campaign?


Itís hard but necessary. People have to believe you want this film to be successful. All you want to do is make a great movie but they want to skip to the bottom line. Indie GOGO is great because you can find fans and people that want to see the kind of film thatís important to you. Needless to say, there will be no Filet Mignon at our Craft Services Table... Or no table either, but whoís really keeping track of that?


You are producing Little Bi Peep together with Jack Skyyler [Jack Skyyler interview - click here], in whose Infested Ship and Night Aboard the Salem you also appeared/will be appearing. So what can you tell us about the man and your collaborations?


Jack Skyyler is an amazing director and producer, as well as a good friend of mine. We first met awhile back on the USS Salem, where we filmed Infested Ship. After setting one foot aboard the ship, I could immediately tell that it was a friendly environment and that the cast and crew had a great dynamic going on. Since then, Jack and I have kept in contact, and heís been an enormous help in the production of Little Bi Peep. He is a true artist who is always more than willing to help out a fellow artist, which is an invaluable quality. I look very forward to working together again on Night Aboard the Salem.


A few words about your director Jon Russell Cring [Jon Russell Cring interview - click here], and how and why did you get him on board?


I met Jon a while back at an audition for his feature film, Creeping Crawling. Upon meeting, I could tell instantly tell we had chemistry, even in movie tastes alone. I had a great experience filming Creeping Crawling with him (he did give me the part), and from then on, he and I have been great friends and have seriously considered getting BFF bracelets madeÖ Not sure why that hasnít happened yet. Anyway, Jon was the first person I showed my script to, after I was only halfway done writing it. He was supportive from the beginning and was the one to tell me to finish the script. There was never any question of him being the director.


You play the lead in Little Bi Peep - so how do you approach your character?


I have a general approach to any character I play. The first thing I do is look for similarities between myself and the character, whether they be dead-on or a bit of a stretch. This particular approach is especially useful for this character, because I believe this character is, for the most part, me on my worst days. The only thing is, since the character is arguably unpleasant, (think Charlize Theron in Young Adult), my biggest challenge will be making sure she is still likeable to an audience, even after all the crap she pulls in the movie. Time to turn the charm on!


Anything you can tell us about the rest of your cast yet?


We have put together an extremely solid cast that Iím very excited about working with. For instance, Leigh Strimbeck, who recently played opposite Bruce Dern and Kristanna Loken in Love Orchard, will be playing my characterís off-beat, yet still loveable mother in Little Bi Peep.


The $64-question of course: Any idea when and where the film will be released onto the general public?


I would say early 2013. I really believe in this group of people and we have experience in getting things done fast, while at the same time maintaining the high quality. Who says you have to choose between fast and good? Itís our job to defeat that rigid way of thinking.


Let's go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


Although it sounds clique, I truly have been acting my entire life, and I blame my motherís extensive collection of VHSs and trips to the local movie rental places for that. However, Iíve only recently within these last couple of years made the transition from theater work to on screen acting. Although I do enjoy both forms, Iíve always known movies were what I wanted, or rather needed, to end up in. As far as education, I did an internship at the Berkshire Theater Company, where I worked one-on-one with Jayne Atkinson of Criminal Minds, and took several classes at Barrington Stage Company, where I studied with Debra Jo Rupp of That 70ís Show. Iím currently finishing up my theater degree at Russell Sage College in New York.


Any past films of yours you's like to talk about? Any future projects?


Keep your eyes peeled for Begin the Beguine! Iím currently shooting that feature film with student Oscar-winning, as well as Sundance Film Festival-screened director Ari Gold. The movie has several big named actors, but Iím not permitted to release the actual names yet. Stay tuned and find out! (I promise they are exciting.)

As far as future projects, (besides Little Bi Peep and Night Aboard the Salem), be on the lookout for a short film Iíve recently finished. Itís called Chiaroscuro and was written, directed, edited, composed, and basically completely done by Will Rogers and is currently being entered and considered in several different festivals.


How would you describe yourself as an actress?


Iíd describe myself as brilliant! No, all kidding aside, Iíd say Iím a rising young actress, looking for some challenging roles. Although ingťnue roles can be great, Iím more interested in the difficult, more complex roles. Iím looking forward to that kind of acting in Little Bi Peep.


Actresses (or indeed actors) and filmmakers who inspire you?


Charlize Theron is a huge inspiration to me. Anyone who can pull off both comedy, tragedy, and play an unattractive serial killer, all while still being considered as a sex-pot in the public eye is a true hero. James Spader is also one of my favorites, because I swear to God that man can communicate anything just through his eyes.


Your favourite movies?


Oh, dear Iím terrible at this one. As of this particular second, I guess my favorite movies would be: After Hours, Withnail and I, Crash (the 1996 James Spader one, not the 2004 Sandra Bullock one), Ghostworld, Tuff Turf (trust me, itís actually good), Wet Hot American Summer, Bad Santa, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Whatís Eating Gilbert Grape, and... I think Heathers.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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Wow, this oneís even harderÖ I guess Gigli and The Room. Wait, no The Room is so bad itís good, so forget that one.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?




Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Nope, this was a great interview. Thanks and donít forget to look out for Little Bi Peep in early 2013!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD