"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Hella Pouring!

(You can take the girl out of the bay area.....)

I love it when it's overcast. It feels like LA is shrouded in a wonderful mystery, just waiting to be figured out. And when it's raining.... oh! We've been in a drought for the last two years (waiters are even instructed not to bring out water unless the table asks for it) and I love and miss the rain. I don't love driving in it, or being wet, but I love the sound! (like millions of small hands clapping at my every action!) and I love the echo the cars make when they drive in it. And I especially love the day after, when the sun is shining, and the air is so crisp and clear! In LA, when it rains, all the heavy water falls from the sky, pushing down the smoke and fog that usually makes our beloved city the color of a wasteland, and when all that stuff is out of the air, and into the ground (environmentalists make their own rain from their eyes when this happens), it is absolutely breathtaking. For all you Angelenos, the day after a heavy rain is when you go up to Runyon or Fryman canyons and go up as high as you can. It's unbelievable! There's downtown! There's century city! There's the mountains on the other side! It makes you happy to be part of a metropolis.

On the acting front:
 I auditioned for an actors industry showcase. Normally, companies create this and you buy your way in for $400-$700 and you run the risk of getting a scene partner who decided just last month to give acting a try, and it shows, and depending on who's running the showcase, might not bring in any good casting directors or agents, which is the whole point. You showcase your talent so that an agent/casting director sees you, knows who you are, and will hopefully want to represent you or bring you in to audition. Now, in order to bring in these casting directors or agents, who are usually in for an excruciating night of terrible new actors doing terribly boring scenes, there has to be an incentive for them to come. And all of them are paid to go to these things. You pay a casting director or agent to come out and watch actors. Now, there is a longtime love/hate with these type of things, because it is against the law in CA to "pay to play," or, pay to audition for a casting director or agent. You can't exchange money for an audition. So a lot of these casting workshops still exist because the agent or casting director will, in exchange for the cash, "teach" you how to be better. They'll critque your work or whatnot, making it more of a "class" and therefore acceptable.

But this particular one doesn't cost us actors any money at all. The only money we'd spend is for the postcards and postage, and we'd all do the legwork ourselves to get the industry to come.
Now, this is a dilemma, because, although it's great for struggling actresses, what industry is going to come out for free? The economy has forced several smaller agencies to fold, and many of the surviving ones got rid of their dead weight non-booking new actors. So without the cash incentive, why would an agent or casting director go to this showcase?

But I went to audition since it called for a monologue and I thought it'd be nice to brush up one just to have in my pocket. And I get to the theatre in a seedier part of Hollywood, and the space is just....ugly. We are told how the showcase would work if we're cast, and then find out we're going to be performing our monologues in front of everyone else there. Cool! An audience! This is awesome because you can check to see if the funny parts in your monologue work or not, and we can gauge how the other actors are in case we get cast and already know what level they're on.

Not one, but three actors had such incredibly thick accents, it was almost unbelievable. One was Spanish, so he was lisping every word and clearly nervous. The other was from a country south of us, and also very thick. If you are a struggling actor and in LA, from another country, you MUST hire a dialect coach to help you learn the neutral American accent. Unfortunately you won't be taken seriously,  otherwise.  Heck, this is good advice even if you're from the East or Southern coasts here in the US. My aunt grew up in New York in the 60s, moved to LA in the 70s, and could tell that she was being discriminated against because of the way she spoke. She hired a dialect coach. Brilliant move, if you ask me.

At any rate, I saw one young woman perform a monologue I used to perform in college. And I felt so lucky to have seen it. It's a seriocomedic monologue, where the character is asking her husband who left her, if he had ever loved her.
It was so interesting to see the choices she made, to see what we differed on emotionally, and beat wise. And we both do it so differently.

I feel okay about the monologue I had performed (taken from an indie film script, instead of a theatre piece, by the way) and am soon on my way.

The next day, I found out I was cast. Now, I knew this would be a problem, as rehearsals are Mon-Fri 5-7pm. Two hours, five days a week, at a time where most struggling actors I know are working the dinner shift. Including me. and taking a look at my finances, this free workshop is going to end up costing me a lot of money I can't earn because of rehearsals.

And it turns out, I have a friend who is in the current show case. I talked to her about it, if she felt like it was something worth doing. Bless her heart, she never outright said yes or no, she merely told me matter of factly how she felt about a lot of the process, her fellow actors skill levels and the like.

The thing that struck me the most, was how she mentioned for those actors who had just moved into town, who had little on their resumes, they were auditioning in front of a few boutique agents, it was beneficial. But with my materials, with my skills, with my resume, she felt like if I had submitted to those agents, they'd call me in anyways.

And I don't want to be with boutique agents. I don't want my agent sending me out on stuff I can submit for myself on Actors Access. I want my agent to look at the rate being offered and scoff at those types of jobs.

So after careful consideration, I decided to withdraw. Workwise, yes, I see the possible ramifications of giving up possible agent auditions for being able to make money in a restaurant, and trust me, that breaks my heart too, but I DO have a webseries I'm writing (7 of 13 episodes are done!) and going to be in preproduction for in January, and I'd rather put my time and energy into that, as I feel like that would benefit me more.

It's hard to worry about it too much, though, when it's raining. Everything just feels so cozy and perfect right now.


  1. Everything IS cozy right now! Less perfect since I'm at work, but still! Cozy and cold and perfect cookie and blanket weather!

  2. Would you be able to go to the current showcase to sneak a peek at what kind of industry folk show up, and the caliber of performances?

  3. Brittany, my friend said that it was encouraged for family and friends to attend the showcase, and pay the $15 at the door. My friend said there'd be 1 or 2 industry people to ten friends and family. And if I'm doing a showcase, I'm not going to ask my friends to see it! It's like, hey, check out my business presentation!
    We were encouraged to check out the show ourselves after being cast in it, but again, I don't want to take up seats that should be reserved for someone who can help these actors get jobs.


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