Claire Stollery
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Claire Stollery

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"Filmmaker Spotlight"

This week's filmmaker spotlight is on Producer and Co-Writer Katie Uhlmann of "A Very Office Christmas." Uhlmann's film was selected to be part of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles screenings at Sunset Gower Studios this month. Learn about the film, Uhlmann's inspirations, goals and current projects.


"A Very Office Christmas"
Katie Uhlmann
Producer and Co-Writer

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you've been working on it.
“A Very Office Christmas” is the first film for Producers’ Katie Uhlmann and Claire Stollery and Director Maital Falkovitz’. We would like to pretend that it was a long and thought out process, but the whole project came together in under a week! We chest-bumped each other.

The film starts out as your typical office Christmas party. Everyone is having an okay time. But when the secret Santa gift exchange takes an unusual turn, peoples' true natures are revealed. You might laugh, you might cry, and you'll definitely learn the meaning of Christmas. Or will you?

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?
We would like to thank Tony Edgar, Chris Stacey, Barak Falkovitz, and our friends and families who also made their screen debut in our short (some not by choice).

How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?
We are very excited to have our film screening at the NewFilmmakers festival. This is the first festival that accepted our film and we could not be more thrilled! So thrilled, that our director and some members of the cast are flying from Toronto to attend.



What inspires you?
Celine Dion and her life’s work.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?
People who have taken risks, especially in comedy, have always influenced our projects. Judd Apatow, Kristin Wigg, Tina Fay, Lauren Graham and Lenah Dunham have completely transformed the way women are seen in comedy in the last ten years. We also admire the greats, like Lucille Ball and the ever-controversial Joan Rivers.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
You can’t please everyone. We received a lot of hate mail about our short. Literally, these people said we ruined their lives with our film. But then there were other people who just “got” it who loved it. At the end of the day it’s important to remind yourself that you can never reach everyone.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
Celine Dion, naturally.

What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?
When we couldn’t get tickets to see Celine Dion because they were sold out. And then our cat died. Her name was Celine.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
Make your own work. Be prepared when opportunity arises. Also, don’t tell anyone you like Celine Dion. I guess for us it’s too late…



What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Sleep your way to the top or at least to the middle. We haven’t done it yet (clearly), but we hear it helps.

Where can we expect to see you next?
Cannes, actually. “A Very Office Christmas” will be screening at the Short Film Corner this year.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.
Twitter:
@ClaireStollery
@KatieUhlmann
@RealProfesh We are also on IMDB.
- Disarray Magazine


"Real Professional Duo (Claire Stollery and Katie Uhlmann) No Longer Have A Reason To Reject You"

Lousy Smarch weather this ain’t. All the sunshine in the city has boys and girls shedding layers faster than you can recite the Second Amendment: “You have the right to bare arms!” As this new video from Claire Stollery and Katie Uhlmann points out, the warm temperatures also mean that the good lookin’ ladies of Real Professional Duo will no longer have any impediments to getting laid. Spring really is the open season. - Into Comedy


"Funny Business: Q&A With Standup Comedian Claire Stollery"

Claire Stollery makes people laugh.

Well, at least she’s been trying to in the nine months since she began her career as a standup comedian.

All joking aside, the 23-year-old drama graduate from Queen’s University has already performed at comedy clubs in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York City.

“It takes a great comedian to make people question the world around them, and I hope to eventually be able to do that in my career.” —Claire Stollery, standup comedian, Queen’s University graduate

Q. Where was your first gig?
A. A bar called The Blue Lagoon near Humber College that has an open mic night frequented by Humber comedy students. The doorman at my sister’s apartment was in the comedy program, and I told him once that I’d always wanted to try stand-up, but was too terrified. The next thing I knew, he was telling me he got me a spot at the bar for the following week!

Q. Have you had any specific training?
A. I studied drama at Queen’s and started a sketch comedy group there known as Underplayed, which I wrote and performed with for three years. In third year, I did a final project for my acting class where I played two people on an awkward date, and my teacher took me aside and said comedy was my forte and that I should pursue it as a career. I never in my life thought I would end up doing stand-up, however.

I’ve also taken improvisation courses at Second City and the Groundling in Los Angeles, and I am an actor with the agency AMI.

Q. Where do you get inspiration for your material?
A. My life! I’m the friend that always has the awkward, ridiculous stories; I am that person, so I definitely don’t have to look too far.

People always say, “Oh, I have the funniest story, you totally have to use it in your stand-up,” but it just doesn’t translate the same. People always think they can give you material, which is flattering, but in the end, it has to come from you.

I have a section on my BlackBerry where I write ideas as soon as I get them because there is nothing worse than thinking of a good joke, only to forget it ten minutes later.

Writing is the hardest part, and I’m still trying to figure it out. It really is remarkable watching great stand-up, because they make it look so effortless. What the audience doesn’t know is that everything is thought out, and some of the jokes they are hearing are 10 years in the making.

“I know a lot of comics who have done it for 10 years and say to me, ‘You know, I think I’m finally just starting to figure it out,’ and I think, ‘Oh great!’”

Q. Do you get paid for every show?
A.Definitely not! I’ve been paid for a few shows, but it isn’t anything to brag about.

In the first few years you are really trying to get as much stage time as you can, so you have to perform at open mics and little shows during the week to practice your material.

No one is going to pay you unless you are more experienced and bringing people into those seats.

Q. Is being a comedian an innate talent?
A.With stand-up, you may be born with an incredible stage presence and make people want to watch you, but that doesn’t mean you are a good comic. It’s all about the amount of experience, both on stage and personal, that will get the audience to relate to you.

As Mark Breslin, the owner of Yuk Yuk’s said to me, “There are no shortcuts in stand-up. It takes 10 years.” And that seems to be true. I know a lot of comics who have done it for 10 years and say to me, “You know, I think I’m finally just starting to figure it out,” and I think, “Oh great!”

Q. What’s it like being a women in the comedy industry?
A.Every time I tell a man that I am a comedian, their first comment is, “I don’t really find women that funny.” You would think things have changed with all the Sarah Silvermans and Tina Feys out there, but it really hasn’t. It is a huge boys club.

I remember how intimidating it was when I first started going out to open mic shows, and I was too terrified to go alone so I would bring some friends.

Dressing for onstage is also an issue with women. Some think they have to desexualize themselves in order to be “taken seriously” as a comedian, but I think that is taking a step backwards. If we dress the way we want to dress and can go onstage and be confident and funny, people will realize that beautiful women are funny people too. Clearly don’t go onstage in nipple tassels. But don’t hide who you are either.

I just came back from L.A., and they are not fazed at all by seeing attractive female comedians because young actresses are now using stand-up to be seen by industry professionals. Producers and directors go to comedy clubs to seek talent because comedy has become increasingly more bankable in Hollywood thanks to people like Judd Apatow.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with your stand-up career?
A.I hope to tour and make a career out of it, but that is a long time coming and I still have a lot to learn.

Stand-up is very liberating in the sense that you get to talk in front of a group of people and say whatever point of view you have on the world. A comedian has the power to make people look at things in a different way. I haven’t been able to utilize that power yet. It takes a great comedian to make people question the world around them, and I hope to eventually be able to do that in my career.

And get paid! I hope to get paid more than 50 bucks so I don’t have to work at my crappy part-time jobs. Baby steps!

- See more at: http://talentegg.ca/incubator/2010/12/07/funny-business-qa-with-standup-comedian-claire-stollery/#sthash.IWPm0xGd.dpuf - Talent Egg


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Claire Stollery is a hot, young, single comedian from Toronto (here’s proof: 416-272-9932. Call it, but don’t). In the last three years she has performed on famous stages in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Australia, London and Alberta (oh you fancy huh?), she is quickly becoming recognized by her friends and family. You can see her on her comedy tour through Maine this March, and in the upcoming web series "Out of Work".