Singing and songwriting has always been the first love of Manhattan Beach native Chloe Caroline, something she pursued after graduating from Mira Costa High School in 2012, before moving to Nashville.
And, when she was approached to audition for an acting gig, she didn't pass up the opportunity.
Caroline makes her acting debut in the Hallmark Channel feature “Love, of Course,” which airs Saturday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. She plays a bartender/singer/songwriter, fittingly named Chloe, who works at the local bar.
In her first acting role, Caroline said was trying to “be as natural as possible.” She received plenty of encouragement from director Lee Friedlander and veteran actors Kelly Rutherford (“Gossip Girl”) and Cameron Mathison (“All My Children”).
“Because they were so talented and so professional, they were able to try and help me feel comfortable,” Caroline said. “No one really coached me, they were really receptive and warm ... that made an environment that was comfortable, which thank God for that, it doesn't always happen.”
Caroline was heading to Canada for a vacation with family when she received an email asking if she would be interested in auditioning for a role of a singer/songwriter/bartender.
The filmmakers had seen videos of her online. They needed an audition tape the next day, so her aunt helped her with a scene from the script. They recorded the audition and sent them the video, as well as tape of a gig she recently performed in a barn in a vineyard in Columbus, Ohio.
Ironically, she said, there's a scene later in the movie where she's singing in a barn at the Harvest Festival, a key event in “Love, of Course.”
“I submitted some songs and the next day they got back and they’re like, 'We love her and we love some of her material. Would she be interested in using some of her songs?'” Caroline said. “So we submitted some more. It was real quick.”
They ended up using six of her originals songs for the film.
“Some of the songs that they’re using were songs from an album I did in 2014 that I never thought would see the light of day again,” she said. “A lot of those songs I wrote by myself and some newer demos. It was funny experience. I'd been singing songs off my new record when I’ve been playing shows and then here I am once again playing songs from an album that I wrote four years ago.”
Caroline, who still makes her home in Nashville, returned from her family trip in Canada, but had to immediately fly back, this time to Winnipeg, where the film was shot. Her father, Lindsay Fellows, accompanied her to offer support.
In the film, Amy (Rutherford) drives her daughter to Oregon for her first year of college, when she is offered a job to plan the Harvest Festival. When Amy meets the professor, Noah (Mathison), in charge of the festival, sparks fly, but Noah may be leaving the country for a new job opportunity of his own.
Caroline's character performs at the festival. The first scene she filmed features hundreds of extras as well as a line dancing scene, which her song, “Out of My Head,” is used.
Caroline said the challenging part of filming was the logistics of acting, making sure she had the right timing take after take, knowing how not to block the camera, or even lip syncing to her own music. But the actors made her feel comfortable when it came to exchanging lines. She was able to build up a rapport with them during the short time they knew each other.
“When people give off good energy, it's easy to chat with them,” Caroline said.
Caroline said she had such a great time on the set, she hopes to find more acting opportunities in the future.
“I think it broke me out of my shell a little bit in front of the camera…just having a positive first experience was really rewarding. I think I would be a fun thing to explore,” she said.
Caroline said she expects to have new music released in the fall, produced by Jamie Houston and Joseph Magee.