Thursday, March 26, 2015

Colette Mann

Today I'm going to learn about Colette Mann. She's plays Sheila on Neighbours.

It took me a moment to find her name, because I Googled Shirley instead of Sheila. Oops.

I like Sheila. She's funny and sweet, but also has a tough edge to her. I like the clothes she wears. They're very colorful. But I'm guessing that's more of a compliment to the costume designer of Neighbours rather than Colette Mann. I wonder if I'd like the clothes that Mann chooses.  I also wonder which actors on Neighbours dress similar to their characters and which dress totally different.

I usually start these posts by sharing my deep thoughts about the character. So here's my deep thoughts about Sheila.

She was dating this guy she met from a dating app. She really liked him. Naomi (her daughter) was weary of the guy and did some online research. She learned he was bisexual and forced him to tell Sheila about it. He told Sheila, and she dumped him. Her excuse was he was dishonest with her. I can't say that Sheila is overly homophobic, because there's a gay guy living with her and her family. So she's least to some level.

I don't understand, though, why she'd dump a guy for not telling her he was bisexual. I can understand if they had been going out for months, and things were really serious. But within the first couple of dates?  To me, it's like being mad at your date for not immediately telling you her mother is black.  In my opinion, that wouldn't matter...UNLESS you were racist.

Would I be a bad date for not quickly revealing I'm Jewish? I can't see how it would matter unless the person I'm dating doesn't like Jews.

Now with Sheila, it might have been the case that Sheila's new man kept his dating profile up while he was dating her. He was still seeking men. But from what I had seen, it didn't seem like they had come to the point where they had a serious commitment yet. It seems things were pretty casual. Would Sheila have been as offended if his still-there dating profile was seeking women?

I just realized it kind of reminds me of my novel Thirty Cats.  It's about a college student (Gabrielle) who has Neurofibromatosis and very low self-esteem.  On her first ever date, she quickly reveals she has NF.  She's rejected and assumes it's because of her NF. When Gabrielle's second chance at a date approaches, her mother advises her to maybe not reveal so much on the first date. But then she has to struggle with deciding if and when to tell him.

It's hard to have secrets and hard to know whether sharing them will lead to rejection or not. Actually, the show I've been watching this week deals with this. In Satisfaction, a mother struggles with having to tell her daughter she's a sex-worker, and another sex-worker reveals her secret to her best friend. So far, the best friend hasn't reappeared since hearing the news. I'm not sure if this is a permanent rejection, or she just needs time to process it all.

I could go on and on about this, but I should go ahead and start my Colette Mann education.

According to Mann's IMdb biography, she was born in Melbourne in 1950. She's slightly younger than my parents.

Now I'm going to look at her IMDb filmography.  My usual disclaimer: I usually skip over one time appearances in TV shows I haven't watched. I also skip movies if I can't find enough information about them.

It looks like Mann started her screen career with Prisoner: Cell Block H.  I kind of already knew this, because of comments on the Neighbours/Eastenders video.  Someone mentioned that one of the actresses was on Prisoner; and I kind of figured they might have been talking about one of the older actresses.

Small detour...I see from YouTube that Eastenders now has a birthday video for Neighbours. I have to watch that.

Jason Donovan was in it. Is he on Eastenders now? And I think one of these actresses is from Doctor Who.

I personally liked the Neighbours video much better. Maybe I'd appreciate the Eastenders video more if I watched Eastenders.

Back to Prisoner: Cell Block H.  Mann was on the show from 1979-1984.  She played Doreen Anderson.

Lord Wiki's cousin says that Doreen Anderson was a child-like prisoner. She carried around a teddy bear and sucked her thumb.  She was in prison for forgery.

Here's a picture of her.  She looks very different from Sheila. I'm sure, though, that my 65 year old self will look quite different from my 29-year-old self.

I'm going to see if I can find Doreen Anderson in an episode of Prisoner.

Is that her at 1:50?

I decided that instead of searching through a whole episode, I'll see if anyone has uploaded a video dedicated specifically to Doreen Anderson.

I found some. Here's one of them.  Here I can definitely see a resemblance between Doreen Anderson and Sheila.

She has the same cute voice.

In 1981, Mann was in a TV movie called Prisoner in Concert.  I vaguely remember watching an interview with Fiona Spence in which she talked about the movie.  I think maybe it was a live performance type thing. So the movie is probably a filming of the performance.

Someone has uploaded a 32 minute video of the concert. I'm going to watch bits and pieces.

So far, it seems to be actresses from the TV shows dancing and singing.

In 1983, Mann was in a gangster movie called Kitty and the Bagman.  Here's a trailer for the movie.

 It seems more like scenes from the movie than an actual trailer.

I didn't see Colette Mann.

IMDb says the movie was a notorious flop. And the director himself says the movie should have never been made. Ouch.

In 1988, Mann was in an American TV movie about a Beverly Hills woman who goes to the outback.

Here's a video of part of the movie. I'm not sure if Mann will be in it.  

No, she wasn't in it. It's just the beginning of the movie, and most of that part takes place in Los Angeles.

Someone uploaded the whole movie. I'm going to try to jump through that and find her. But sometimes it's hard to find things in long YouTube videos.  I have to wait for it to download. Maybe I'll keep it playing in a window as I go on to look at other stuff.

In 1993, Man appeared in three episodes of a science fiction comedy series called Stark.  Actually, I think she was in all the episodes of the show. Looking more closely, I'm seeing that it was a miniseries.

I was going to be excited and amazed about Australia having a science fiction show that's not geared towards children. But now I'm seeing it was a British-Australian production. It seems if Australia is going to do a science fiction program, they're going to do it with the partnership of either the US or the UK.  There are probably a few exceptions.  I think I have some show on my Hulu to-watch list that's science fiction, and made by Australia-only.

Mann played Dixie on the show. Lord Wiki doesn't list her as being a principle cast member, so I'm guessing her role was small.

Back to the Beverly Hills woman in the outback. I think I found a scene with Mann.  She appears at 30:31.  I haven't watched much of the movie, but from what I see it looks pretty awful.  It seems to stereotype people and makes the Australians look dumb. But maybe it's one of those stories where characters seem dumb from the viewpoint of the main character; but in the end she learns they're smarter than she thought. And/or she realizes she's the one who's truly ignorant.

In 1994, Mann appeared in four episodes of Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. She played Mrs. Carney in the first season.

I Googled Mrs. Carney and Snowy River and found some Snowy River fan fiction that might feature her.

I feel pressured to read it, but I'm not going to, because I don't watch the show and it probably wouldn't make sense to me.  If someone is reading this and they're a fan of Snowy River, they might enjoy the fan fiction.

From what I'm seeing on Mann's filmography, it looked like she spent a few years in the US. Between 1995 and 1999, she guest-starred on three American TV shows. The only one of those that I watched was Party of Five.  She played a nurse on an episode of the sixth season.

Then it looks like Mann returned to Australia. She played Betty the Bush poet in the movie The Dish. I've heard of that movie before.

Here's a trailer.

Is that Mann at 1:52? It sort of looks like her, but not exactly. I'm not sure.

The movie looks really good, though. I should see it someday.

I Googled Betty the Bush poet and came across a review on Trip Advisor.  It's for a store in Tintalbra Victoria that's run by Betty Walton. She writes Bush Poetry. The reviewer says Walton moved to Tintalbra in 1976. Maybe before that she lived in Parkes, New South Wales (Where The Dish takes place). Could it be the same Betty?

Here's an article about Betty Walton and her store. It says she moved to Parkes from Sydney. So maybe she's not the same Betty. Though she could have moved to Sydney from Parkes and then moved onto Tintalbra.

Oops. It seems I have made another one of my IMDb timeline mistakes. Shit. I hate when I do this.

So...anyway.... Back up to 1995. This is when Mann started working on Neighbours.

Ah! But she wasn't playing Sheila Canning. She played Cheryl Stark.  IMDb lists her as being in 20 episodes between 1995-1996. So I guess she was going back and forth from the US to Australia?

Lord Wiki says that Mann played the second incarnation of Cheryl Stark.  She was played by another actress for three years. That actress fell ill, unfortunately, so Mann took over the role for a short time.

I'm looking at The Perfect Blend site. They say Cheryl Stark was a bar manager for the the Robinson Corporation. Isn't that Sheila's job as well?

Speaking of Sheila, from what I'm seeing on IMDb, she didn't appear until 2012. So, she's a relatively new character. UNLESS...someone else played that character previously as well.

I'm going to return the early 2000's for awhile.

In 2005, Mann appeared as Little Buttercup in a TV version of the musical H.M.S Pinafore. Here's a video from the performance. I'm not sure if Mann will be in it.

I think that's Mann at 1:09. She has reddish hair.

In 2007, Mann appeared in a short film called Just Desserts.  I bookmarked, so I can watch it a bit later.

Mann has appeared in a few other short films in the past few years, but unfortunately they don't seem to be available online yet.

Let's get back to Sheila Canning.  I see from The Perfect Blend that Mann has been the only actress to play her.

I'm going to skim through her history.

The other day I was wondering if it's a bad idea to read the history of soap opera characters. My main concern is the danger of running across spoilers. That's happened to me recently with Coronation Street.  I got curious about a character's past and then learned they're going to die in a few weeks.  I also started wondering, though, if it's better to judge a character on how they're acting in the present instead of dwelling on what they did in the past.  My family often says I bring up the past too much. So maybe by letting go of the past of soap opera characters, I could also learn to let go of the past of real people.

It's hard, though, because characters on the shows often bring up the past. Then I get curious and want to know what they're talking about.

The other thing is, it's tedious for me to have to read through the years of information. My eyes get tired and I often get confused. It's hard for me to follow.

On the other hand, I do want to know a little bit about the character's past.

So, I'm just going to quickly skim through this entry about Sheila Canning and see if anything jumps out at me.

Sheila comes from Frankston. In the episode of Neighbours, I watched yesterday, Georgia (Sheila's soon-to-be daughter-in-law) drives to Frankston the night before her wedding and gets stuck there.  She wasn't trying to visit her mother-in-law's old hometown. She was looking for a friend of the groom who was refusing to go to the wedding.


Sheila first arrived on the show to visit her grandchild Kyle.  She met his girlfriend who turned out not to be his girlfriend. There was an identity mix-up. Unfortunately, Sheila preferred the woman who was not the girlfriend.

Now I'm learning something about Lou Carpenter I didn't know. He used to be a thief. Sheila caught him in the act.  That's all a bit shocking. I would have never suspected. See, and now I'm going to look at Lou and think of him as a thief. Is that fair? Has he stolen anything lately? Should I not judge him for what he's doing in the present?  Although right now he's blackmailing the husband of the woman who saved his life. Maybe thievery is the preferable sin.

At first Sheila was annoyed by Georgia's relationship with Kyle, because Georgia was dating someone else.  Now she likes Georgia, and Georgia is no longer dating someone else.  That's all good.

Sheila dated a conman. I think they mentioned this a few weeks ago when she started using the dating app. What I didn't know, is that this conman was Sonya's uncle.

Well, now my eyes are getting tired and Jack wants to eat lunch. I think I'm going to quit here—not the whole post, but Sheila Canning's history.

I'm back!

I'm going to read this interview with Mann. There's a photo of her here. I like the flowery dress she's wearing. I was wondering if it was Mann's outfit, but the caption says, Colette Mann as Sheila Canning. So, I guess it's a Sheila Canning outfit.

I just realized I was spelling Colette's name wrong this whole time; had to go back and change all that.

I like what Mann says here. She's asked about her time on the set. She says,
We laugh all the time. Even today, I had a really long day but most of it was spent laughing. A bit of time I was doing some acting, but mostly I was laughing!

I think laughing is probably the funnest thing we can do with other people. It matters less where we are together and what we're doing. But if we're laughing, then it usually means we're having a fabulous time.

Mann says, I get on amazingly well with the young people on the show, and some of the older people I've worked with so much before.  Huh? What is she trying to say there? I'm confused. It kind of sounds like she's saying she gets along with only SOME of the older people. Or is she just saying that she's worked with the older people before?

Here's something cool. Mann was doing her lines and the crew was watching. After the scene, one of them asked if a certain line was written or ad-libbed. Mann told them it was written, and the crew member said, They're starting to get you—they're starting to write just like you talk.

I really love that, because it shows how characters are created both by the actor and the writer...and many other people.  Even with characters that come from books. I wonder about things like Harry Potter. The early movies came out before the later books were written. Did any of the actors influence JK Rowling's ideas about the characters?

Mann says she originally thought she was only going to be on for a few weeks, but then they wanted to keep her. Was this a matter of the actor winning the hearts of the fans and those in charge; then getting her contract extended? Or did the show always plan to have Sheila on for a long time, and Mann got the plans confused.

Mann says she's on Twitter. I'll look at that later.

Mann works at an acting school: Patrick Studios Australia.

Well, actually I'm not seeing her on their staff page.  The interview was published in 2013, so maybe since then she has stopped working there.

Mann goes on and on about the young stars of the show. She seems to really love them, and she loves that they love her.

There's something here that confuses me. They're talking about an anxiety storyline with Mann. Sheila followed Chris who was sleepwalking and ended up running into a sleazy man.  Mann says,
Well, because we're a 6.30pm show over here, there are restrictions with what we can do. Naturally they couldn't have the guy touch me or approach me or anything. 

Really. They can't show physical attacks on early evening television? There's been no rapes on Neighbours?  I find that hard to believe. And then the interview says Sheila remembers being attacked when she was younger.

It almost seems like she's saying that it's okay to show younger woman being attacked, or at least allude to that. But you can't have an elderly woman being attacked. Why?  I mean I think it's horrible for an elderly woman to be attacked. But I think it's horrible for any woman of any age to be attacked. It's horrible for any PERSON, no matter what their gender or age, to be attacked.  Why would it okay to have a storyline about some people being attacked and not others?

Here's an older video interview with Mann. It's from 2005. I'm guessing it's going to be mostly about Prisoner.  I think that's what she was most known for before Neighbours.

Wait! I just remembered 2005 is when she appeared in H.M.S Pinafore. Maybe the interview is about that.

Mann says she has three sons. Two are biological and one is someone they raised. The way she says it makes me think he wasn't officially adopted.

Mann also has a dog and husband. The morning of the interview the dog went missing. But she ended up finding him. That's good!

Mann and the interviewer talk about chores. Mann says if she's gone from home, the chores don't get done. The interviewer confesses that his wife does all the chores.

Our household is a bit better. with that. Tim and I both have our certain jobs. He's gone more than me, so it's usually a matter of me having to take over his jobs.  But at least there are jobs to take over. It would be sad, if when he left, I didn't notice a difference in work amount.  For example, he's been gone a lot lately and I've had to wash dishes. That's usually his job.  And I have to take the garbage bins outside. I HATE that job.  I also started to do some of the pool work, which for now I kind of love.  I like being outside in our lovely backyard. I'll probably like it less, though, when it's very cold or very hot.

Mann talks about leaving laundry on the floor rather than putting it in the basket. Tim does that. There are socks by his side of the bed. I think he also leaves clothes lying around the bathroom. Though sometimes they're clean and he's saving them for a future date. Maybe? I get confused about all that.

I'm not perfect myself, though. Sometimes I get mad at Tim and Jack for all their clutter. But then I realize I'm being a total hypocrite. I'll bitch at Jack for leaving dishes in his room. But I almost always have a plate or bowl in my room...or a dirty napkin with a apple core wrapped inside.

Right now on my desk, there's a soda can and a plate that has bits of egg on it. We'll see when it gets downstairs to the kitchen. Well, I'll probably bring it down soon. Now that I've written about it, it's on my mind.  I'll at least take the eggs down. It would be a bit gross to keep them up here.

I just turned around to talk to Max (the cat) and saw that I also have a seaweed package that needs to be thrown away.

Mann has written a book! It's called Give Me a Break. The Harper Collins website has a few sample pages.  It's nonfiction—about parenting her sons.  She talks about her son breaking her leg and says: I began this adventure in a saintly manner resembling that of a cross between Mother Theresa without her veil and Florence Nightingale without her lamp. However, by about two weeks in, I had transformed into a monster-hybrid cross between Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Bette Midler in Ruthless People

I think that's cute, funny, and relatable.  It's not easy taking care of a sick or injured person. I can be nice for awhile, but then I'd probably start losing patience.  I think it's especially hard if A) the person is over-demanding B) the person acts like they're the a suffering celebrity; the center of the world. C) If the person over-dramatizes their symptoms and problems.

I'm fortunate at this point, though, that I've never been a carer for someone severely ill or injured. My older sister was in the hospital for many weeks with serious injuries, but it wasn't my job to care for her. I just visited.  Jack broke his arm when he was young. I don't remember our life changing much. I think he went on with his usual activities for the most part. I had to take care of him, but that's because he was a preschooler; not because he was injured. Tim was ill a few years back, but could still take care of himself.

I did work at a camp for kids with Cystic Fibrosis...back when I was a teenager.  With that, I had to help take care of sick kids. I think I did okay with it and didn't turn into Nurse Ratched. But it was only for a week.

Back to the passage in the book. I don't think I'm usually picky about other people's writing, but there are things I'd change. I think I'd take out the bit about the veil and lamp. I don't think that's needed. I'd also take out the word "cross". I think monster-hybrid is enough.

Yeah. And I'm sure there are tons of words people would find in my blog posts that could be removed.

Mann and her son wrote the book as a way to fill time during the recovery period. That's pretty sweet.

Here's Colette Mann's Twitter.   First I'm going to look at who she's following. I did that recently with another celebrity. It was interesting to me, and entertaining.

She's one of only seven followers of Godspell Australia. Is Mann a fan of the musical? Has she been in it before?  Maybe she knows someone who's working on the play and is following them as an act of support.

She's following several actors.

There's an author here. Andrew Mayne. He has 118 thousand followers, so I guess his books are pretty popular.

Mann is following an account called Art of Neighbours. They collect and post fan artwork.  And she's following Neighbours Nerd, another fan account.

I think it's nice when celebrities follow fan pages. Though it does make me think of some creepy scenes in the book I recently finished reading.  There's a social media queen named Mae. She interacts with people who have much less fame and power than her. She gives them an inch, and they want so much more. They become very demanding and then openly offended when she doesn't give them enough attention.

I don't think Art of Neighbours or Neighbors Nerd is like that. But if they were, it wouldn't be enough for Colette Mann to follow them on Twitter. They'd shoot her off some emails expressing sorrow over the fact that Mann hasn't been responding to their Tweets and direct messages. And why hasn't she promised to send their screenplay samples over to the creators of Neighbours?

I thought the book was awesome, by the way. I highly recommend it.

Mann is following the Twitter of the American TV show Chicago Fire. I wonder if that's one of her favorite shows.  Or it could be that she's friends with one of the actors. When people support things on Twitter, it's hard to know whether they really like the thing they're promoting or if they're doing a favor for someone.

The other day, a new novelist's book was trending on Twitter. Due to the fact that books rarely trend on Twitter, it seemed a bit off that a new novelist's book was trending. There were so many people recommending the book. Did they really read it? Or was it just about writers trying to support another writer so when it comes time for their book to come out, the same will be done for them?

You know what. Maybe I won't look at followers anymore. I thought it would be a unique useful way of learning more about someone. But it's really not telling me much, BECAUSE I have this distrust of social media.  I can look at who Mann is following and say she's interested in this and that, and a fan of these things. But I really can't know that for sure.

I'm going to move on and look at Mann's Tweets.

Most of her recent Tweets are Re-Tweets.

Here we go. On March 18, she wrote her own Tweet. It's a birthday message to Neighbours.

I'm looking at some other Tweets. She does that thing where she copies what someone says in the Tweet and then responds.  This confuses me sometimes. I think, though, that it's the old way of Retweeting.

Here's an example. Someone named Tommy Little Tweeted, Back in my day a "smartwatch" was just an analogue one.  Mann responded. @Tommy_Little: Back in my day a "smart watch" was just an analogue one". In my day, it was a sun dial. 

Yeah. I think that was the old way of Retweeting. If I was responding to the Tweet, I would have just said. In my day, it was a sun dial. Then if by miracle there was anyone reading my Tweets and they were actually intrigued by what I was saying, they'd have to click on View Conversation to see what I was responding to.

I was going to say maybe Mann's way is better because it's less confusing. But I don't know. That type of Retweeting gets me confused. I have a hard time distinguishing between what the original Tweet said and what the responder is saying.

Really. I think both ways are pretty confusing. It takes time to get used to them.  I'm more used of the other way, personally.

I'm seeing that Mann has several Retweets about the Bali 9; so I'm guessing it's an issue that's very important to her.  She's wanting the executions to not happen.

I'm with her on that.

It hasn't happened yet...has it?

I think it's horrible and disgusting.  Because of these things, I refuse to go to the countries that have these executions. I don't use illegal drugs and I don't sell them, but I'd be so paranoid about someone planting the drugs on me or someone I love. I know that's far-fetched.  It's like my fear that a crocodile will kill me when I'm walking down the street in Darwin.  But hey....

Actually, the drug thing reminds me a bit of the fabulous book I was talking about earlier.  You offer a policy that promises people something wonderful.  It will make life so much better. But then it turns out there's a dreadful cost.  These countries can brag about their low drug rates, but then they kill people who aren't evil, but have simply made the wrong choice.

In the book, some people came up with an idea to stop all kidnappings. They want to install tracking chips in children's bones. And as a parent, that does kind of sound like a huge relief.  But then there were no plans to ever remove the chips. All these children could and would be tracked for the rest of their lives.  That sounds terrifying and very suffocating.

Here's Colette Mann's Instagram account.  She hasn't posted anything for awhile. Her last photo was posted on February 17.  Actually, she posted four photos that day. Two of them are of Nate, from Neighbours, wearing a green thing.

If I'm understanding things right,  February 17 is Mann's birthday. She has two posts with birthday flowers she received.

Here's a lovely behind the scenes photo of some Neighbours men.  She actually has several photos of her fellow cast members.  Or at least they make up a fairly large percentage of her photos. I think these guys are very precious to her.

Well, I'm almost done. I'm going to take a break and clean the pool. Then I'm going to watch the short film starring Mann.  And that will probably be it.

Yikes...and I need to check email. It's 3:03 already and I haven't gotten around to doing that yet today.

Good. There were no scary emails. Checking emails can be stressful. I worry there's either going to someone bitching me out or news that someone has cancer.

No cancer and no bitching. At least for today.

Okay. I'm back from pool work. I'm going to watch the short film Just Desserts.

It takes place at a dessert cafe.

Mann and another woman are bickering. Then there are scary noises behind a door.

Doors can be very scary things.

Wendy Hughes is the other actress in the movie. Her name sounds familiar, but I don't recognize her face.

There was a dangerous man at the door, or seemingly dangerous.  At the very least, he's an asshole.

I'm done watching the movie. I don't want to say too much, because I'd end up giving too much away. I thought it was pretty good, though—creepy and suspenseful. I'm not 100% sure I understand the ending. I'm pretty sure I do.