Kelly Bertha Means Business
[The song, a favorite of Kelly’s, is Sad Brad Smith’s “Help Yourself”, from the soundtrack and the juiced box.]
In his latest movie, Up In The Air director Jason Reitman made a good decision. Rather than hiring actors to play the recently unemployed, Reitman chose to recruit the recently laid off to re-live the moment the hatchet fell. (This link has a great interview with him that talks about what i’m talking about.) One of these grass roots ‘actresses’ is Kelly Bertha.
Since beginning Booze Revooze, i’ve enjoyed writing about “Silken Butterflies”: those little known actresses that stand out for me, despite the brevity of their flitting appearances across the screen. In my notes to Up In The Air, i scribbled “1st unemployed girl, blue eyed f*ck” because the first woman shown being laid off has these blue eyes that wars have been won over and she uses the ‘F’ word in a totally appropriate situation.
While looking for pictures of her on the web, i came across her contact info and asked her for an exclusive interview, to which she graciously obliged.
Now: St. Louis, MO
From: St. Louis, MO
Many, but none I’d like to share!
I read that Jason Reitman put an ad in newspapers saying he was making a documentary about unemployment and put out a call for unemployed people. Is that how you got involved in Up In The Air?
A Headhunter actually told me about the opportunity. I sent in a pic and how I was fired, and was then contacted by a casting director. The rest is history.
I went through a series of on-camera reads (auditions) with various casting/production staff. I have absolutely no idea how or why I was chosen for the film. Well, maybe it was my huge rack (kidding), but my rationale is that I represented the younger, female, middle-class Caucasian population of America, based on the demographics selected for the film.
What was the filming like?
Filming was surreal. Lots of lights, cameras, people behind screens looking at you though monitors… just like you see on a film set, but it’s happening to you. The Director/Producer is sitting across the table “firing” me, and I was asked to react to specific situations. There was no script. All improv. What you see in the film are the reactions to what the Director/Producer was saying to us. Unedited. The final shoot literally took 5 takes, and I was finished.
You’re a member of the Screen Actors Guild now, right?
Did you see the movie in the theater after the release? Who did you go with?
There was a cast/crew screening before the movie hit theaters. Jason Reitman and some of the Producers were in attendance as well.
I read one article that said Reitman exploited the unemployed ‘actors’ used in this movie. What’s your reaction to that?
I will have to scratch off “making my motion picture debut in an Oscar nominated film with George Clooney” off my bucket list. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
What’s your educational / professional background?
- Bachelor of Journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia
- 9+ years of Marketing/Sales experience within a Fortune 10 company.
Have you had any success finding a new position?
Do you have any advice for people who are currently job seekers?
Network, Network, Network. Just applying to jobs online will not get you a job.
If someone reading this is interested in hiring you, what’s the best way to get into contact with you?
They can contact you, and you can contact me.
I don’t think being in a movie for 15 seconds classifies me as having a fan base, but ok.
Firefly and water.
If you think that Ms Bertha is what you’re company needs, you’re wrong. She Is EXACTLY what your company needs. Hire her. Now. You’d be lucky to have her. If i’m wrong, you won’t even have to sue me, i’ll give you your money back.
Before signing off, i’d like to thank Ms Bertha for going out on a limb and agreeing to this interview. i’d also like to wish her the best of luck in her future. She’s intelligent, well-spoken, and witty. Every contact i’ve had with her has been very professional and she would be a perfect addition to any team.
Al K Hall