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City Native Lands Role In Movie Filmed In Buffalo Area

Sonia Angeli as Linda Garcia in a scene from “Slapped Straight.” The movie was filmed in the Buffalo area. Submitted photo

Sonia Angeli always was encouraged to be creative by her parents.

Encouragement did not stop there. Her Washington Middle School music teachers Mark Alpaugh and Andrew Cocognia helped her realize that she liked singing, dancing, and acting.

From there, Angeli performed in middle school and Jamestown High school musicals, and went on to enroll and Niagara University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2020.

After graduating from NU, she said she experienced a little bit of a struggle because of the pandemic where there was virtually not any work — for any type of artist– anywhere.

So, after things became normal again, she started scouring the internet looking for potential work doing commercials, or possibly doing workshops, she said. She found a post about a crime series entitled “Unusual Attraction.” She reached out to the director and asked if he needed any kind of help with the production.

Sonia Angeli

She landed the part of Lisa Romello, a private investigator. And from there she was cast for a role as Linda Garcia in “Slapped Straight,” directed by Raynel Tomas Almonte and David O. Anderson. Both had directed “Unusual Attraction.”

“And my director, Raynel, said to me, ‘while you’re going through the script, I’d really like you to look at the character of Linda Garcia and tell me what you think because I wrote this character based on you,’ ” she said.

“Slapped Straight,” Angeli said, was filmed at various locations throughout the Buffalo area, and it’s a action comedy about slap boxing. The movie was filmed from April to mid June 2022 and had a premiere in April 2023 in Buffalo.

Before filming began, Angeli said, she and the other cast members sat down for two table reads.

According to masterclass.com a table read is one of the most important steps in the production process for any feature film or TV series. It offers an opportunity for your cast, crew, and other members of a creative team to gather together to hear the script read aloud. A table read (also known as a read-through) is an organized reading of a script in which the speaking parts, stage directions, and scene headings are read out loud. For episodic television, it also provides an opportunity for many members of the production team to read scripts for the first time.

Table reads are an essential part of the script development and writing process, as writers use them as an opportunity to fine tune their stories, sharpen their dialogue, and make other necessary adjustments. These table readings usually occur towards the end of preproduction, before shooting begins, the website said.

Angeli said after the table reads were completed, separate meetings were held, and then filming began, sometimes for long periods.

“We filmed every single day for those couple of months, so our editors had no breaks,” she said.

Angeli added that she has the leading female role, but would not give anymore details about the movie, but she said being an actor is very competitive, and acting can be a big “no” industry, so you have to be confident in yourself.

“God has blessed me with an amazing gift. And I’m even more blessed to have the people behind me that I do supporting me every day. You really have to be confident in yourself that even regardless of all those ‘no’s’, you’re going to get that “yes,” And it’s going to be, the thing that’s meant for you,” she said.

The reason for the “no” is not because an actor may be bad, but rather, the actor doesn’t fit the image the director had in mind, Angeli added.

“So that’s something to consider to not to get discouraged,” Angeli said.

Advice, Angeli noted, for aspiring actors to break into the industry is to push the envelope and never be afraid to be weird.

“You never know what it will bring you. And it’s important to practice your craft and to surround yourself with people who are going to support you in that sense, and always make new friends. Because you never know what kind of opportunity that person is going to be able to bring you in this industry,” Angeli said.

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