"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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Oooh! An Audition!

Sometimes I'll submit for stuff even if I don't really think I fit the breakdown. I mean, 30? maybe. 35? Probably not. So I'm probably not going to go to this.

STEREOTYPICAL SOCCER MOM

Female Caucasian 35 to 40 years of age. Looking for your average middle american mom/house wife, with a fit full pear shape figure. Remember fit and pear shape. Any hair or eye color is fine. Any height is also acceptable.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hollywood is Disgusting

I cannot fathom WHY any producer with a SOUL would want to interview sex offenders in a SYMPATHETIC light! I mean, sure, the cycle of abuse predicts that victims of sex crimes become offenders in later life, but this is such a terrible idea! What about their victims? Who thought this was a good idea? WHO!?
But better yet, WHO THE EFF is going to submit themselves for this? "Yes, I've committed sex crimes! Please interview me, because I want all my family and friends to know, because I know they'll still love me and accept me. Especially if we paint me as an empathetic victim."


UNTITLED SEX REALITY SHOW
Reality TV
NON-UNION

Casting Director: Sheila Conlin
Start Date: Spring '09
Location: Los Angeles and Surrounding
Pay Rate: There is pay

PLEASE SEND YOUR STORY AND PHOTO TO:
EMAIL: RealityCasting@TheConlinCompany.com




SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY


NOTE: ALSO INCLUDE PERFORMANCE VIDEOS OR ACTOR SLATES IF AVAILABLE. DO NOT SEND DEMO TAPES.

[ SEX OFFENDERS ]
New network, documentary-style reality show on Sex, The Sex Industry and Sex Addiction seeks convicted sex offenders who want to share their stories on camera.

The aim of the show is not to exploit or judge. Rather, your story is meant to yield insight and empathy to potential future offenders, as well as to the public at large, who don't always understand that offenders are often victims themselves. Highly trained therapists will be on hand during filming. More details of the show can be provided once you contact us. Any inquiries can remain anonymous.
Please include a brief explanation of what happened to you, how it has impacted your life, and why you'd like to share it on TV. Also include a recent digital photo. No headshots please.

Chosen applicants will be compensated for their time.

Open Model Call Every Wednesday!

KSR, which used to be KSA until they added a new associate, is a pretty popular agency. Whenever I go to commercial auditions, I always skim the sign in sheet, looking to see if I know anyone, and to also research who goes out from which agency a great deal. A Struggling Actress always snoops! I mean, uh, researches!
KSR is always on the sign in sheet, with at least 5-6 girls per page from that agency.

If you can't get them to look at you theatrically or commercially, why not have them look at you for print? Then, if you're free agent, and they like you, you can mention that you're also looking for representation across the board. If they like you, they just might sign you!

They have an open call Every Wednesday, from 3-5pm. You must be at least 18, and they only accept those who have a strong portfolio. (Don't have a strong port yet? Get modeling pictures for free!) Don't wear perfume when you go.They request that specifically. They like your natural b.o. and pheremones.

KSR
11969 Ventura Blvd. 3rd floor.
Studio City Ca 91604

good luck!

This Guy Again

Perhaps I'm being unfair, but if you remember the long winded breakdown from last week, you'll have fun deciphering the following update from the same guy regarding the same project.
For kicks, I had gone to his website, and I still can't figure out how this guy thinks he's going to make money off this endeavor. If anyone knows, please explain it to me.



Hello,

Thank you for your Breakdown Express submission. We apologize for not responding to you personally but unfortunately the overwhelming response to our website production would not allow for an immediate individual reply. Read carefully the information below outlining the roles, program, and website objectives.

We’re building a website (currently in beta production phase)… just for selected actors, models, and other entertainers to entertain and display their talents. On this site you’re paid when you’re published and we produce any necessary footage you need to be successful; at no cost to you. We encourage and assist you in making it an interesting production. Every time someone opens your photo by clicking on it you’re credited for that; much like a commercial campaign where the number of times the commercial runs an accumulative cash disbursement is made to you monthly. We intend to publish those that have performed well in their short segments, 2-3 minutes in length. There is no nudity or intimacy involved, and very little profanity allowed. However, you must be 19 years of age or older to participate.

The preliminary submissions required… for actors are photos and demo reels or scheduling an audition to perform a live monologue after submitting their approved head and body shots in cases where a demo reel is not available. For models submissions consist of five to eight good photos (head and body shots). We need this information to be submitted to us electronically and directly; we do appreciate your patience and cooperation in helping us achieve that objective. Because we work with several casting agencies that do a great job for us and we require casting approvals from Colleagues, Partners, and in some cases Sponsors managing submissions is an almost impossible task without centralizing the workload. If you are in receipt of this letter we have been able to establish interest in your work, but you will need to send the materials to us directly in order for us to make final approvals. That can easily be done. Go to the website: Yousendit.com (it’s free and safe) and simply follow the instructions. Send your submissions (large or small files) to the email address x@xxxxxxxx.com.

Final submissions (after completing the task of preliminary submissions)… for the final virtual audition consist of submitting a video recorded monologue for actors and a video recorded modeling shoot for models. Those models that do not have video and actors that do not have a video recorded monologue must produce those items or schedule them to be shot by our production team prior to the final selection process; at no cost to them. These items will not only be used in making final selections but may also constitute their first published materials on the site. The items must also be forwarded to us directly and electronically using the instructions outlined above unless of course, we shot them. When selected the produced portfolios and videos will be published for models, and the monologues, demos, and photos will be published for actors. From those actors who participate in the final virtual auditions 20 women and 10 men will be selected for our scripted roles. These individuals will be paid $400/day for shooting 2-3 minute scripted monologues. An equal number of male and female models will be casted in video scenes designed by us and paid at the same rate. For those who are not selected for scripted monologues or in reference to models designed scenes; Very little is lost. You just may be very strong in your own personal monologue or have a very well done modeling video in the can. One that is frankly very difficult for our production staff and script writer to match you up with their work and keep you as competitive. In those cases you will be made an equal offer to publish using your submitted work with all the same benefits.

The way the program works is very simple… when someone clicks on your picture (Agents, Casting Directors, or general audience members) they will see you perform your monologue, view videos, demos, or view your portfolio. We record the number of clicks to your assets and pay you based on the number of clicks you have received. When people watch you perform or view your portfolio you’re paid. You may also receive additional revenues from our commercial sponsors who recognize the amount of traffic to your assets and post ads within your presentations. You have to do a good job as an actor on your monologue and as a model in your video and portfolio. This will ensure that you are published on the site and more importantly gain the audiences’ attention and maintain it over a period of time; you’re always welcome to upload new approved footage that we shoot or your favorite stuff to keep your fan-base interested. We’re only accepting a limited number of participants to ensure that those on our site are good performers, active on the web, and our audience will be entertained. It’s our job to ensure that you have a good video or monologue shoot and that our audience and sponsors are only exposed to models and actors that have done a great job. It’s also our job to promote you and the site. And explore other venues in which to publish our programming (TV, Video, and/or Pay TV). We do have a script for a TV version but our sponsors demand numbers here first, so here the war will be waged. When we successfully enter those markets you will be paid a percentage of those revenues as well, but for now focus on the project at hand.

Sorry, we will not be posting links to other pages on our site… That would not be good for you as a participant. If individuals left our page to view other things you have done by linking to those pages you currently have on the web they would do so and you would not be paid for it; that work is available for free. The smart thing we encourage you to do is link other things (route traffic) to your page on our site. You will then increase your traffic here and be paid when your assets are viewed. Some of you presently receive a substantial amount of exposure and enquiry on the web; we pay you for that exposure and place you among others that attract an audience which will further increase your visibility.

To contact you after viewing your data… individuals must place a bid and you will then assess whether the highest bidder or other bidders share your interest before accepting a meeting or audition. This is also a net working site; it will cost individuals to contact you and you will also be paid when they do. To know more about that aspect of the program visit our information site at xxxxxxxxxx.com (use the drop-down tap marked “Entertainers Net Working” to navigate). Not everyone will elect to participate in the bidding process, but it is available to participants if they wish to allow for contact and build relationships in the industry.

To convey your commitment, ask questions, setup an interview, or arrange for a shooting date contact; the Casting Director, X at: x@xxxxxxxx.com. Please no phone calls; we are overwhelmed but answer all of our emails.

Friday, March 27, 2009

No I Don't!


Well, okay, maybe I do. I've been working out more than usual this year and I've lost some of the baby fat that's been on my face since I was, uh, you know, a baby.
And we discovered, hey! Elle has cheekbones! And I've been compared to a LOT of dead starlets from the 30s and 40s in the last three months. Especially Joan Crawford.

I mean, I guess I can sorta see what people are talking about. This guy who paid me the Joan Crawford compliment was the assistant (?) to the casting director. He had me do a quick read of my 1 page sides without the cd in the room. Why? I don't know. That's unusual. At the very beginning, he told me that the girl before me had done something really surprising with her read that he really liked.
"No pressure!" I said.
So I did my take on it, hitting all the beats I wanted to. He said he thought it was perfect, unless I wanted to read it again before he brought in the cd. "No thanks, I think I'm ready." I said. Why waste both our times, if you're not going to give me a direction to somehow change it?

So in came the cd. I did my same read again for the camera, and she said she thought it was great, and that she had no notes for me, but would I do it exactly the same way again, because she knows the director is going to want to see a second take.
I wish I could've said, "Why would he want to see the same exact thing again? Couldn't he just rewind the tape? Why don't you give me a direction so he can see I can take notes?" but instead, I just smiled, punched up a few physical gestures to make it a LITTLE different, and then thanked them and left. The cd said, "That was really good."

But of course, it's really hard to believe that when lately, that's all I hear and still never hear my phone ring.

Whatever. I sorta kinda look like Joan Crawford, but not really.

Oooh! An Audition!

This casting director in particular keeps calling me in, even though I never get called back. So I'm hoping that she likes me and it's just the directors who don't. Or maybe she keeps forgetting that she keeps bringing me in and I suck at all these characters I read for. At any rate, the office is in my old hollywood hood, so I know where to park without having to pay for it. Which, in H'wood, is a very good thing.

It's for a short that pays $100/day, deferred, that really means $0/day. Deferred is a magic word that means, "IF we ever make money from this short [which is impossible], we'll pay you!" But they sent over the script and it's cute. One of my goals this year is to have a few separate reels. I have one now that has both my comedic and dramatic, but I'd rather have a minute's worth of each. I think there's a few comedic gems I could use for a reel from this short if I book it, ya dig? At any rate, I'm going out for:

LISA
Female, early to mid 20's, open ethnicity. An art student who is crazy
about her art. She is warm, friendly, and attractive.

Wish me luck!

Get Them While They're Here!


Trader Joe's is having a huge sale on Daffodils! They are only $1.29/10 stems. That's 12.9 cents a flower! They all look dead when you get there, but trust me, after cutting the stems about an inch off or so, they will open in only 4 hours. I got mine last night around 7, and they are all so beautiful right now. I bought two bunches. It's the little things, people. Go add some yellow to your life!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some People Don't Have a Clue


There are a lot of people in LA who think, "Gee! I could make a movie better than this!" And then they fail. Miserably.

Because even though you're creating something to make you money, it's still art. And with art, you have to have a few rules, yes, but you also have to know how to bend them and be open to other things. For instance, if you're looking for a Caucasian actress to be a white supremacist with tattoos, you probably want to stop there. But to go on, saying she can only be 5'8, that's a little silly. Being specific about having no facial tattoos....well, that's just retarded! If you are going to stick so stubbornly to the idea in your head and not budge on a few things, you will not be able to budge when real life obstacles happen to your film. For instance, an investor realizes that there's no money in indie films and takes the money he promised you with him. Or the Burbank police shut you down because you don't have a permit. Or your friend who's playing the lead can't cry on cue. Or the sun went down before you were able to get your last shot. You have to be quick thinking, flexible, and OPEN to changes, revisions and improvising on everything! If you can't do all this from the very beginning, you are setting yourself up to fail.

And even though you need to start all that from the very start of preproduction, you're absolutely doomed if you can't get to that point while you're starting casting.

This is a real breakdown for an indie film:
[ MONICA ]
Caucasian female. Late 20s to early 30s. 5'8'. Has lots of tattoos on her arms and preferably on legs. prefer blue eyes dark short hair. Very attractive body. White supremacist. Very strong actor. SEMI NUDITY. But visible upper arm tattoos. NO FACIAL TATTOOS. LEAD
I mean, seriously. Because, I love getting semi nude, and I've got tons of upper arm tattoos, but gosh darn it, I have a burning cross tattoo on my face, so they wouldn't want me, I guess.

And then there's Craig's List. I have a love/hate relationship with Craig's List, for these reasons:

Need Actors or Actresses. This is a student film. The film is Non-union. The pay is food. The lead role is not committed yet. You basically chase another person.
Filming will either take place this Saturday (3/28) or next Saturday (4/4). Likely will be a full eight hour day. Details are sketchy at the moment.
This film involves running, reaction shots and some falling down.
E-mail me ASAP if you want to be fed.
This is a student film and I am looking for quality actors. This project should take one day to shoot. Either this weekend or next (I am stilling working out the permits). This is mainly action with a few lines of dialogue. Each role will have to run and have one reaction shot.

And it's important to do your research:

I have a comedy script about a guy who wants to follow his dreams of becoming an adult film actor... think along the lines of 40 year old virgin and Zack and Miri make a Porno - even though I haven't yet watched that one - it is in that style and vibe.

How do you know?!!?

If you want to make movie and you have no idea how to do so, hire people who do. They'll give you a clue or two so you can have one of your very own.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eh

My audition yesterday took place at Sunset Gower Studios. Now, even though I get lost EVERY SINGLE TIME I have to go to a studio, I absolutely love it. I love wandering halls while people come out of doors knowing where they're going and looking so casual. I'm usually wearing a ton of makeup and fancy clothes, and here people are, normal people you'd see in line at Starbucks, or the commissary(!) and I just think the whole thing is so neat. Look! These people have a fun job! I want a fun job! And that gets me pumped for the audition.

I got to my destination suite, and there weren't any other actors waiting around. It is incredibly unusual for a casting session to NOT have people waiting. And I always use the casting session as an indicator on how the actual film shoot will be. If I'm waiting more than 30 minutes, I know we'll all feel rushed on getting things done during production. If I wait over an hour, and it happens, trust me, I know production doesn't have a clue what they're doing and will most likely not ever get to production stage. That's right: struggling actresses will interview for a job that has no chance of existing. Heartwarming, right?

So I entered the room, signed in, and sat down. The office was cute. The non-speaking recepetionist was online shoe shopping. I could hear the actor in the other room auditioning doing a pretty good job.

I went in very quickly and they asked if I had any questions about the scene. The character I was reading for was making awkward conversation with a guy she just met in an elevator. It was about a page and a half. I read other character sides to get a feel for the film and learned that this character actually shows up more than just the one time. So I'm not quite sure why they chose THESE sides in particular. The character apparently becomes a minor love interest to the main guy. So why choose sides that show NO RELATIONSHIP TO HIM WHATSOEVER? So I asked them, yeah, hey, is there any other way you want this scene to be played, other than awkwardly?
Lady 1 goes on and on about how my character has had a really rough day, she's just trying to make conversation, but it goes on too long, and her wrist bothers her and she's just really really tired.
It's just really, really awkward! says Lady 2.
Why did I even bother? thought Stuggling Actress 1.

So the scene happened. I mean, I could go on about how I utlizied environment and relationship but that stuff is boring. The scene happened, people!

And so it goes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oooh! An Audition!

TRACEY

Early 20's. Every college guys fantasy, she's smoking hot. A strong lady, Tracey knows what she wants and speaks her mind no matter who's around. Tracey is the main love interest of the lead character, Dustin. They awkwardly meet in a hotel elevator during the beer pong tournament. But there isn't a spark between them until she witnesses him drunkenly singing and dancing to her favorite cheesy pop song one night at a bar.



It's kinda funny. I really don't think I can "do" smoking hot. Maybe it's the curly hair. It makes me "quirky," not hot. At any rate, on go the leggings, the casual dress, and lots of eye makeup. It's a quick short scene, mostly reactions. See you later!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bummer


My phone did not ring today.

Trying to Pass the Time

One of the most magical things about show business is how you need to be ready at a moment's notice. You could be discovered tomorrow! So you get your headshots done, you constantly update your resumes, you audition, audition, audition....and then you wait.

Of course, we say "wait," when we really mean you're researching roles, taking classes, keeping your body fit, maintaining your appearance, buying trendy clothes, doing student films for free, getting more work to update your reel, AND waiting for your phone to ring.

I am waiting for my phone to ring. If I don't hear it today for the commercial audition I was at, then I can pretty much assume I am not being asked to return for the callback.

So! To keep busy, I am doing four loads of laundry, unpacking from the camping trip we did over the weekend, cleaning up the office, baking chocolate chip croissants, (crescent rolls, from Pillsbury, of course) going to the bank, dropping off some money to my manager, and doing whatever else I can think of to keep my mind off my phone and onto more productive things instead.

Oooh! And I get to go to the library today! I am such an avid reader! So if you got some book recommendations, I'll put them on my list.

Tick tock, tick tock. Struggling Actresses are the most productive when we're waiting for the phone to ring.

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Gotta Hand It To This Agency

I've been told by many people how beautiful my hands are. Even Screech once complimented them, stroking my fingers, asking if I played piano. Yeah, Dustin Diamond. He's got no game.

And when so many people say, hey, you should be a hand model, I thought, yeah! I should be! So I did my research. There is ONE body parts modeling agency in Los Angeles. And if you're thinking to yourself, what type of work is there for a hand model? I'll tell you: Tons. How many commercials like these have you seen in the last few years?



But it's not just hand modeling jobs that are popular, there are models that work using their feet, eyes, lips, hair, backside, and even their butt, to help promote product.

But how do you even get started, you ask? There's an open call! Body Parts Model Agency has an open call EVERY FIRST MONDAY OF EVERY MONTH between 10am - 12pm

They prefer SAG models, but will take a few non-union people every once in a while.

Make your money folks! I wish you luck!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oy Vey

The Struggling Actress runs into all kinds of bizarre breakdowns. I submitted for one in particular, and received this note:

Hello,

I would like to thank you for your submission. We have gone thru literary thousands of them and some folks including you just pop right off the page; that is why we are contacting you. Certainly you do have a look that fit our theme; you capture attention quickly. In this world of sound bites that really important. And as you know this is a 2 to 3 minute performance. There are several routes that we could take to determine our final talent. One we could select from the folks submitted and endorsed by friends, family members, co-workers, folks in church, folks at my kids’ school, and every neighbor knows just the right person. But that would be counter to our title: “It’s not who you know; but who knows you.” Or we could ask everyone over for a formal audition. But I really don’t want to take 2 hours out of your day and we’ll probably be very impressed with the live person and it just does not recreate itself on tape. Low budget productions with big dreams had better get it right the first time.

Solution (old school), I’m asking that you send me a videotaped monologue of your choice. Please I’m begging you to simply capture my attention for 2-3 minutes. Performing two contrasting monologues [Two completely different characters from two different plays and play genres] is even better; but the complete performance must be under three minutes and not less than 2 minutes.

You may not have this material in the can. Simple solution; shoot it with a handy digital camera upload it and get it on desk. I promise to view every submission before making a final decision. I don’t care about the camera work or lighting as long as I can see you new those lines and you performed.

Secondly, and most important I am not interested in scenes completed with other actors. I need to see you holding your own and keeping all eyes on you for at least two minutes.

Can every actor out there that has made a name for them by mastering the craft do that? I think they can, and they could do it before you knew their names; it’s who knows you. You do it and if you don’t get love here you will get love in this industry.

I thank you for listening to my diatribe and do look forward to your video submission.

We are accepting submissions up to April 25, 2009 so there’s time, but will start call backs to all that create excitement immediately.

Oooh! An Audition!

So after being legally signed with my agent for exactly one week, he calls me up. "You have an audition!"

Commercial auditions are usually bizarre. Every single one seems to be completely different from the last. Sometimes, you'll drive 30 miles just to have your picture taken by a digital camera. It's to make sure you actually look like your headshot. I better look like my headshot! I spent a ton of money on them! So those auditions always seem like a waste of time. Most non-union commercials usually are. And they pay crap cause they can.

I went out for "Hero Daughter, 19-26." Basically, the premise is this: Hero Daughter is in some cold snowy foreign country when she smells....crescent rolls! She breathes in, closes her eyes and wishes she could be back home. She clicks her heels three times and voila! She surprises her family at dinner! If it sounds like something they're playing already, it's true. This is part of a campaign where "Pillsbury reminds you that there's no place like home," or such.
I was told to wear slacks, a warm sweater, and a knit cap.

[Now, it's never cold enough to warrant having a knit cap in LA. But I once bought myself a "I Taught Myself Knitting!" book and had already made one. Boo yah. It helps to be creative. I mean, some actors even make their own knit headbands cause they're hardcore like that.]

And for some reason they were going for a complete match to the girl in the photo above. Weird, right? Well, it turns out that they had already shot the foreign country stuff in Germany, and were trying to match the girl in the shot. Do I look like the girl above? Sure, why not? I mean, both of us have curly hair.

I get into the room (after being told by the casting director to lie about my height during the taping, shaving 2 1/2 inches off) with my "family." Yup. I auditioned with other people, which is quite common. I had a mother and a grandfather. My mother looked like she could've had me at 10. But when she asked if I was 20 and I said sure, she said that she could've had me at 26, so it worked. heh heh heh . Yeah. I'm 20.

Even though we had all brought knit caps, they already had one there for us - a match of what the girl above wore in her part of the commercial. I slipped that on, not too worried about lice, and the casting director said that right now, I was the closest match she had, with my skin tone and eyes and hair. That I looked just like her, except prettier. "Damn it!" I said. Mom and Gramps chuckled while the casting director said, no no, that's a compliment. "So make it really good!" she said. But that's okay, cause I work better under pressure. I did my first take, where I'm imagining smelling really great refridgerated dough baking in the oven, and the casting director was very happy with it. She asked if I would mind getting my hair colored to match the girl. Not at all! was my chipper response.

We did some "Her Daughter surprises her family at dinner," actiony stuff, then posed for a family picture, and then were sent out on our way. Fun times.

Keep your fingers crossed, ya'll. It's a National, which means that my Aunt Cheryl will get to see it! She is always so excited when I book stuff that she'll actually be able to see.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Make New Friends!


I wrote about a week and half ago about Julian Smith. Because seriously, if you're a facebookworm you know that there was a survey called "25 Things About Me," which Julian then took and made a video called "25 Things I Hate About Facebook."

So of course I thought, this guy is awesome! How fun! So I researched him, found his website, his imdb, and I wrote him an email basically saying, I'd love to work with you.

I figured he was extremely busy and that I'd never hear from him.

But I did.

Originally from Nashville, he was flying out to California to take some pretty high profile meetings. Would I be available to meet?

Um, YES!

So he met with me on Sunday, and we talked for about an hour and a half, just getting to know each other. When I had mentioned his second of three "Get Your Own iPhone!" ads, I admitted that I didn't get a few of the jokes and thought that it could've been edited a little tighter. So what does he do? Instead of arguing with me, he opened up his computer and we reviewed it together. He was completely open while listening to me and he showed me continuity challenge he had and even explained the jokes to me I didn't get. (All those young kids with their new slang. ::sigh:: I'm old)

He was just so incredibly nice, very well spoken, and really excited about life. And he should be. This guy is going to be hugely successful (more so than he already is), with tons of people just clamoring to work with him.

I know that moving to a big metropolis where you know absolutely no one is kinda scary at times, so I invited him into my social circle, where we creative types sit around a table and play cards, apples to apples, taboo, sorry, etc, so that he'll have a place to hang out and feel welcome.

Keep your eye on this guy. He's going to blow up. I'm calling it. 2011 is the year of Julian Smith. He will be everywhere and everyone will know him. And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How to Feel Miserable as an Artist

Thanks Promise!

1. Constantly compare yourself to other artists.
2. Talk to your family about what you do and expect them to cheer you on.
3. Base your success of your entire career on one project.
4. Stick with what you know.
5. Undervalue your expertise.
6. Let money dictate what you do.
7. Bow to societal pressures.
8. Only do work that your family would love.
9. Do whatever the client/customer/gallery owner/patron/investor asks.
10. Set unachievable overwhelming goals to be accomplished by tomorrow.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two Sides To Every Story

There are always two sides to every story. I think it's only fair that I post this as well. But first, the Host IS a good guy. I was not the right fit for his show, and I do hope that he finds exactly what he's looking for and becomes very successful with it. Well, scratch that. He already IS successful with the show. He has a HUGE following with his techniques and his books. I just hope it can gain an even bigger audience stateside, because trust me, you WOULD watch it.



Dear Friends:

You may know this or may be finding out for the first time, but “The Amazing” Elle has been terminated from “Being a Man”.

Why would I air this dirty laundry here? Normally, I wouldn’t. In fact, I wouldn’t even think it would be newsworthy…

…until it has been made so by Ms.Elle .

My audience knows that I’m not one to back down from controversy, so why should this controversy be anything different? To wit:

In a blog post [click here to read it] made by Ms. Elle, I have been disparaged and brought to light as a lecherous, angry person, hell-bent on harming her. Unfortunately, as a “public person”, I am responsible to uphold my own image – something upon which I have built the very brands you read, listen to and watch – and therefore must respond to the lies and charges publicly leveled against me.

Now, I happen to know a number of far less-than-flattering things about Ms. Elle, but would never dream of discussing them in a public venue such as the Internet; simply out of what little respect I have left for her. Unfortunately, her hurt, anger and vindictiveness obviously don’t grant her the same luxury.

Here are the parts of the story that she conveniently left out or adjusted to fit her victim-mindedness:

Ms. Elle was brought onto the show with lots of openess about its “home”. [The place the show is hosted] is a well-respected, very large content producer on the Internet. They have built their success through a wide range of content – including porn. This was never an issue in the many discussions we’ve had with Ms. Elle as according to her own words to me, “…I’m never going to be a leading lady or have rolls where this connection will ever be a problem…” Fine, or so I thought.

We have been looking at many other venues to move the show however as part of our growth plan. Our producer’s first and primary task has been to make this happen. To date, it has not. While I personally write and produce the show’s content myself, it is our producer’s job to manage this sort of operational business activity.

Ms. Elle has chosen to depict me in her blog as having failed this as a “promise” to her. I accept responsibility for all actions on my show and gladly accept this one as well. However, this has always been an evolutionary goal of the show, not a contractual requirement or even a “promise”. As such, the hosts of the show have far more to do with that evolution than the producer. More on this later. The bottom line is that until the show is ready to be moved it has a comfortable and welcome home with [the place the show is hosted].

Ms. Elle claims to have demanded an “exit clause” be built into her contract. In fact, I have written the very exit clause she claims to have demanded into ALL my contracts. It was under this clause that I terminated her agreement. At the date of this writing, Ms. Elle is contractually obligated to be part of the show until April 8th, 2009 when the 30-day clause expires. This is reasonable and gives her a chance to correct the problems that caused her termination. Due to the obvious volatile nature of this dissolution, I feel it’s best to limit further access to the show by Ms. Elle at this time.

Ms. Elle claims that I (as host and employer) never made clear her duties to the show. In fact, during numerous discussions over the past few months and even up to about one month ago, I asked her specifically, “Have I ever been unclear as to what I wanted from you for the show?” That seems a pretty clear, direct question to me! Her response: “No, you’ve been clear.” That also seems a pretty clear response! Thus, I have no idea why Ms. Elle would now claim I didn’t do this! If I wasn’t clear as to what I wanted, she was always encouraged to ask. She never did, and according to her own words, never needed to.

Oh, wait. If she claimed she DID know what I wanted, she’d never be able to explain away why she didn’t (or couldn’t?) bring it to the show! Hmmm… I see a pattern developing here…

By the way, she tells her “readers” (apparently a small handful of like-minded people according to her subscriptions/views) to put “all important clauses” into their contracts such as to limit to 10-hour days, to get copies of video shot, etc. – all things she, herself did NOT do, but apparently seems to want to imply she had inflicted on her by the show.

Maybe that was a lesson she learned on my show, but then, she never once worked even close to a 10-hour day (I think one time, the longest was 6 hours of which much of that was having breakfast, walking around the Boardwalk in Venice and enjoying coffee - no doubt, pretty hard working conditions, certainly needing some legal protection!) I’ve always offered her copies of the video and even agreed to help her cut her own demo reel from them! In fact, her working conditions on the show have been pretty good from what I can tell, but I digress… [from Elle: this is my own fault for not being clear in my own writing that I was not referring to him and his show, but to others in my past experience.]

All of the people that work for, and have worked for me will attest to one simple fact: we are a close-knit, friendly group. We enjoy spending time together, hug when we greet and leave each other, etc. Now, many firms have strict policies against this sort of fraternization and from Ms. Elle’s blog post, you can certainly see why. However, I believe that when adults are left to their own devices, in an environment of respect, creativity and contribution that they will work out a balance that happily and comfortably works for all involved. Note that I said “adults” and believe that is an important part of the equation. Age isn’t necessarily an indication of maturity in some cases!

Upon returning from her vacation last year, Ms. Elle left me a very interesting voicemail. It was long, rather convoluted and obviously nervous, but ended with her saying “…I’m sorry for the long, confusing message, but, er… I guess it’s just because I missed you so gosh-darn much. Well, anyway…”

During another recent voicemail message, Ms. Elle said, “…you never call me just to say ‘hi’…” It was this last message that caused me to see that things had become a little “too business” and thus, I invited her out to dinner and to see some comedy. We had a nice time, nice dinner and even laughed later about how bad the comedians were.

I don’t remember any meetings that were pure business however. As I’ve already stated, we are a close-knit group and I happen to know a lot about the personal lives of my team. We encourage an open, safe environment where we can share personal things – without the fear of them being made public (and sorry, they won't be here either!) or even being judged because of them! Ms. Elle was more than willing to share her history and feelings with me without any prompting at all!

She seems to want to make it appear that I somehow dragged these things out of her! If she now feels embarrassed for having shared them, I feel badly for her, but she needs to know that these things are still safe with me. I don’t “out” anyone, and I’ve found that with her, I’ve never needed to! As to them being my “damn business” or not, Ms. Elle’s “walls” were certainly never about these things. In fact, they were only about her “barriers” to learning and delivering show content!

I regret that in an attempt to “show me”, Ms. Elle dug in her heels and stubbornly refused to do the very job we had agreed that she’d do! Through numerous conversations with me and my producer (brought into all of this later due to her unwillingness to discuss it with me), she seemed very clear on what her roll was. Early on, she even offered new ways to make this come about on the show. Unfortunately, over the last few months, her performance began slipping from a contributor to an antagonist. Our producer has had more than one discussion about this with her, but it only seemed to make things worse. These are the “walls” of which she speaks, not ones of exposing her personal business.

Starting in January, I began receiving letters from viewers complaining about Ms. Elle’s confrontational, and contemptuous on-air comments. During at least a few conversations, she even admitted these and said that her own boyfriend warned her about them! Personally, I’m rather immune to them, having dealt with so many antagonistic show hosts while doing thousands of radio, TV and print interviews over the years, so it didn’t seem that remarkable to me. However, when you have viewers writing in to complain about it, it’s obvious that they notice and weren’t happy about it.

I find it curious that Ms. Elle would talk to our producer about issues regarding me and the show rather than simply coming to me directly about them. Up until very recently, we’ve always had an open dialog. Our producer is a business partner, not a content producer and certainly not my “wrangler”. Thus, he can’t possibly know what’s going on between me and any show talent; nor do I burden him with that. It’s my job to deal with personalities, it’s his job to deal with business. However, I came to find out that this was simply more of Ms. Elle’s vindictiveness coming through! Through this passive-aggressive means, she would have rather try to stir things up from the inside by attempting to pit my producer against me and the show. I suppose on one level she succeeded.

Ms. Elle misquoted a comment made from the show. The quote was “If you were perfect, you would be banging me” – a reference to my own continued, public search for the “perfect women”, that I talk about extensively in my books, articles and interviews. Ms. Elle may have misheard or misremembered the quote, but I find it odd that she would consider it anything more than that. Perhaps it belays the underlying foundation for Ms. Elle’s anger; as does her statement that I would want her as a “confidant” or something “more”. Interestingly, she recently got angry at me for NOT sharing more about my personal life with her! That seems fair considering the things she had told me, but as I explained, it was simply that she had never bothered asking! I willingly answered her personal questions right then and there. Maybe she regrets having asked?

I’m curious as to her “trust issues” with me; especially in light of things we’ve discussed so often on the show: the fact that trust comes from within, not without. If Ms. Elle doesn’t “trust me”; my readers and viewers will recognize that this is due to her own lack of trust in herself, especially to make good decisions or to do the right things. I’ve always been very careful to do everything I could to build up Ms. Elle’s self-image and self-esteem. While there were many private instances you couldn't know about, we’ve done show segments specifically with this as a goal such as “Pornstar Make-Over” and “Sex Trivia” and many other attempts – both private and public – to build her presence on the show and personally. Ms. Elle has greatly enjoyed and benefitted from these by growing in her confidence and presence (her comments to me), and I celebrate her for it. Perhaps in some ways that’s a little arrogant on my part, and I accept responsibility for that arrogance, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a show talent that feels even better about themselves than when they started.

Ms. Elle claims to be a big fan of “interpreting the subconscious” and I’m sure she feels that way. However, most current dream-studies show that dreams (at least those we remember) tend to be precognitive in nature, not so much reflective of past events. These “leeches” she writes about are more likely to be connections in her own mind between her personal issues with me, unspoken desires and the association between all these negative emotions; anger, loss, disdain, hatred, etc.

Ms. Elle appears to want to set the tables to claim that she never wanted to have this close, personal relationship when in fact, I believe it was because I never made a pass at her that she feels both insulted and unappreciated! She alluded to this more than once during our association. We were never friends, but we weren’t simply business associates either – until the end, by her own will. It’s this very sort of chemistry that brings the energy to the show. Perhaps that energy was more than she could bare, although she never let on to it being a problem.

Ms. Elle wishes to portray herself as a victim of my evil, lecherous tyranny. I certainly can’t disagree that I’m a letch, nor can I claim that I haven’t seen this many times before. However, to now make this the basis of her supposed “issues” with me or the show is way over the line of decency; let alone good taste! There are many examples (that I won’t go into) where Ms. Elle expressed her own personal interests and out of consideration for the show, I chose to not do anything about them. I’ve become convinced that this is the source of Ms. Elle’s hurt, anger, hatred and vitriolic blog post.

I have always tried to give Ms. Elle my best. I made sure to celebrate Christmas and New Years for her, and to remember her on Valentine’s Day – a show many of you have enjoyed. When she shared some financial concerns with me, I referred her to personal friends that have restaurants where she could earn far better wages than the only-for-tips work she currently does - interviews she simply snubbed. I’ve even worked on her behalf to help her secure (within the limits of the law) a very lucrative government contract with the Commission on which I serve. As per my promise to her, I continued to help her gain this even up to recommending course of action on her last day! [This is all true. He had continually helped me try to better my income several times] It’s interesting that she never mentioned these things in her blog post, but then, that doesn’t sound much like a victim, now does it?

SBE Makes You Interview with 8 Different People


That's right, Eight. Can you believe that? For a restaurant gig? Well, as it turns out, I am actually very thankful for this, as I met an incredibly talented and hard working load of people at Katsuya. And even though I only worked there for about four months (thanks slagging economy!) some of the friendships have still not died.

First off, a shout out to Dan Lawson! He is all over the place in a great way, and when you first meet him, you'll be amazed at how much he reminds you of a young Jim Carrey. Great guy. And just keep your fingers crossed for him, cause he's got some projects that will hopefully pan out so he won't have to be waiting tables anymore. He's kind of a big deal in voice-over land and he kindly gave me a whole three weeks of voice over instruction in only an hour and a half. Seriously, Great guy.
Check out his animation demo, where he does ALL the voices. ALL of them. Click on the demos in the blue box on the right hand side.

Second off, Jlynn Johnson. You know when you meet a really cute blond girl who has the most amazing skin ever? And then she smiles and you're like, whoa, she's gorgeous! And then she talks to you, and is nice? That really never happens in LA. Blond girls here are usually...aloof. Indifferent. Rude. Jlynn could quite possibly be the sweetest person I know. I mean, seriously. And at 5'1, you really want to just put her in your pocket and show your mom your new best friend. She also makes big hats look fierce.
And look how awesome she is in this short's trailer!



Good things are happening to good people, so everything is still right in this world.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Had A Dream About Leeches

Did you know I was a co-host for a show about relationships for the last five months? The show aired live every Wednesday on the internet.

Of course you didn't know! I didn't tell you! I didn't tell anyone! It was produced in a studio that also had shows that talked more explicitly (and oftentimes showed examples) about sex and all the commercials featured porn. XXX rated porn. I was told when I started that the first thing that was going to happen was that they were looking to move the show to another channel host. You know, so we could get sponsors.

Well, that never happened.

But let me tell you something I DID do.

When I got the contract, there was no exit clause. So I had one put in. That's right! I played that card saying it was nothing against the show but because of past experiences, I needed to make sure that I protected myself. I've done enough non-union shit to know that the contracts are only going to be in your favor if you MAKE them in your favor.

(If you book anything non-union, put the clauses in there yourself that you're going to work no more than 10 hours per shoot day, that you will get copy, etc. Protect yourself! You're your own business!)

The Host of the show never made it clear what my duties were as co-host. I was just, as far as I knew, supposed to be myself, giving my "feminine perspective" on what he was saying. Sounds like fun right? And it was.

And we would have meetings every once in a while, but I thought it was strange a few times, when he took me out to dinner, for what I assumed was to be a business dinner. It wasn't. He told me to put away my notebook and that tonight was just for us as friends. On one night, he took me up to Griffith Park to see the stars. He then gave me instructions on how to give a proper hug. Apparently, I have been doing it wrong all this time.

And I think that's where the relationship started failing. I never quite knew if we were friends or business associates. And he would get very put out at times when I refused to "let down my walls." Basically, I refused to talk about things that were none of his damned business.

He hired on a producer to help us get the show to where he wanted it to be, and this producer was (and still is) very excited about the show. He is a swell guy. Really great and easy to get along with, and more importantly, knows his stuff.

One night, the Host of the show was being....feisty. It was strange. So I just thought, okay, let's go with that. We're live, so I'll just match your temperament here. I flung jabs at him back.
On the way home, I was completely taken aback. All of a sudden, the host turned a 180 on me and poof! the good Doctor was now Mr Hyde.

I called the producer asking him what the hell I did to make the host so angry. And the producer was all on my side about it. "You didn't do anything but react to how he was treating you." And he told me he had told the Host that. The Host was PISSED at me for some reason we were never really able to figure out. I was told by someone associated with the show that perhaps because I was so flirty with the Host on-air, he was angry when he realized I was never going to sleep with him. I thought that was on the ridiculous side. I'm a chubby size 6. Who wants a piece of that?

But then, two weeks later, while live on the air, when I mentioned how I indeed was the perfect woman, he said, "You're not perfect, otherwise you would have slept with me."

Suddenly I was catching pop flies in left field. Whoa. I mean, what?!

Eww.

Was that there all along? Am I really just a naif?

And that's when I realized that I couldn't trust this guy. Not that I couldn't, that I didn't. Where were the lines between us being professionals on a show and us being friends? I didn't want to be friends. I never did. He hired me. He was my boss. And that's where I thought the relationship should stay, but I believe there was a struggle from him to have me be something more. Not necessarily sex, because who knows, but maybe he wanted me to be a confidante, something I felt would have been inappropriate.

I was dreading going to the show; because I didn't trust him, I didn't believe half the things he said. Which, well, was probably obvious on the live show.

I wasn't right for the show anymore. And this last Wednesday night, he gave me my walking papers, stating that he was going to exercise my exit clause.

Hallelujah!

Oh, the relief! I was smiling the whole entire 30 minute drive home. I didn't realize how heavy the show had become on my shoulders.

But I was still contractually obliged to finish up my last three shows.

And last night I had a dream that leeches were affixed to my body and I had to get them off.

I am a big fan of interpreting my subconcious.

I called the producer the other day for a post-mortem, getting his voicemail, and he returned my call this morning. I told him that the show would be better off just having me finished altoghether, as my heart wasn't in it, and it was clear the Host didn't want me there in the first place. The producer completely understood.

And then invited me and my guy to a party he was having on Saturday night because I'd really get along with his friends too. And that we should have a couples' night with him and his wife.

So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I am still a good person, that people like me, and my relationship with the Host, whatever it was, had sadly run its course. And that happens. It just didn't work out.

And I am happy to move on to other things that suit me better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Hate Myself


I do. And I've known this about me. How I need to suck it up and say, yeah, so what?!

You see, I'm a cliche.

I wait tables. I act.

I wait tables more than I act.

I wish I acted more.

And maybe it's a compliment that I'm always told how witty I am as I'm serving sangria in white wine glasses. What great comedic timing, they'll say as I replace their bread.

And tonight, I got a "I hope your auditions are going well!" Not because I was a terrible server, but because I could make this single diner laugh.

I don't want to be waiting tables. (Me and 2 million other actors in this town, I know.) And although some might say it's demeaning and what not, the hours are ideal, the pay is okay, and it's great for those of us who want to continue living paycheck to paycheck. (It's actually nice to be able to interact with people on a nightly basis. You're sitting at a table, waiting for food. You are my captive audience.)

But the entire town seems like it's been halted. I'm ready for it to start up again. I'm ready to be onset again. Playing pretend to remind people that we're all human, we all have a common story and we all feel.

You know. Something besides hunger.

How to Love the IRS


A Struggling Actress needs to keep all her receipts. That's right, all of them!

I bought a package of Almond Cookies from the 99cent store back when I first moved to LA and have been keeping my receipts in the pretty pink box ever since.

Tax time is coming up, and here are a few deductibles that are completely legal:

1) Gym/makeup/tanning/etc. It's called maintenance, people! I need to work out so that I can keep my "LA Chubby" size 6 body in check. (oh, okay! I wear a size 9 jean! Sue me! I still fit into size 6 dresses!) And I need to wear makeup to my auditions. And I need to - okay, I don't tan, but a lot of other people do. A percentage of all your receipts will be deducted.
2) Acting classes/books. This is a duh.
3) Acting services, such as Actors Access, LA Casting etc, they all charge you membership and photo upload fees, which is such a crock, but whatevs, you get to deduct all of it! Even your own website!
4) If you got a degree in pretend like I did, you get to deduct the interest you paid on your loans. Your lender should provide you with the correct form (You're LATE this year, Sallie Mae)
5) Commissions! Did you pay 10% to your agent and 15% to your manager for all your booked work? Well, deduct it!
6) All those headshots, all the reproductions, all your resume costs. Deduct, Deduct, Deduct.
7) Did you buy a folder to put your headshots in? How about a new computer? All that paper you bought? These are office supplies. So are the stapler, the staples, the highlighters and pens, practically everything you bought at an Office Depot. Deductible.
8) When you went on that audition, did you buy a coffee at Starbucks? Did you buy lunch on your way to a callback? Those are deductible.
9) Networking/gifts. Let's say you just happen to be friends with someone who works at E! and someone else who also works on the Oscars. Let's say they invited you over for dinner. Let's say you bought wine and beer. Up to $25 per occasion is considered a gift. And let's say you've worked with both of them before. They might just hire you again. You never know. It's networking. Let's also say it's Hanukkah, and you want to get your agent some candles for her menorah. That's a networking gift! Up to $25 is deductible!
10) You love netflix, you saw your friend's terrible Shakespeare play, you paid a cover to see your friend strip for her burlesque number. This is all considered to be research! Deduct them all!
11) Medical. Need glasses? Great! Deductible! Now wear them in your headshots for one of your characters!
12) Union dues. Sometimes they don't really seem to be working that hard for you. Who cares! Your dues are deductible!
13) Car mileage and maintenence. So let's say you use your car to go to all your auditions and callbacks. Then you take it for an oil change. Keep track of all your miles. And don't forget! If you had to pay for parking while you auditioned, write it down! That $1.25 you keep spending in spare change adds up quickly!
14) Cell phone. You bought it in the first place so that your agent can always get ahold of you when you have an audition. The whole thing is deductible. And I'm still coveting all your iPhones, ya'll.

There are a ton of things that count. For intance, when I bought a digital camera a few years ago, I bought it mainly to take pictures of myself. Some simple headshots here, some on-set photos of me there, you get the idea. I deducted a percentage of it.

You can even deduct your GPS because it helps you get to where you need to go.

I completely reccommend getting a tax person to do your own taxes. I used to do my own (rrraw! I am Woman!) and I'd be so happy with my $75 refund. Then I had a tax professional do it and almost got back $2,000. Plus, getting your taxes prepared by a professional is....TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

Seriously, save all your receipts. You'll thank me next year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Being a Model is Fun!

Especially when you get to wear your beloved childhood friend as a coat. Props to this model who keeps this ridiculous look "fierce." Make your money, girl, make your money.

Thanks, DListed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take Fountain!

If you've ever had to drive in Hollywood to get to one audition or another, you know you want to steer clear of the Santa Monica traffic lights and the Sunset and Hollywood tourists. Fountain is the short cut similar to Moorpark in the valley. How do I know? I've lived on both! Great ways to cut through towns.

Don't you wish you knew about Fountain and Moorpark when you first moved to LA? What about knowing which casting director workshop to take? Which headshot photographer was good and which one was a complete waste of money?

Take Fountain
is a new site that lists a bunch of different acting classes, etc that an actor would find helpful, and then allows you to comment on them with your own experience! Took a commercial class that wasn't all it was cracked up to be? Comment on it! Love your private coach? Tell the world!

But what's really exciting is how The Struggling Actress is listed up there as an acting blog! I am so proud to be apart of Take Fountain, where you can critique services and help others succeed. May all of us have a very successful and happy 2009!

How Come I Didn't Know About This!?

Did you know about this? Interviews with a ton of casting directors?

Well, I am VERY Happy I can bring this info to you!

Break those legs at your auditions, ya'll!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Publicity!

Tracy Clifton is a doll. Did you see what she wrote about me? Sweetness!

PS Have you seen the Lesbian episode on Hell Froze Over? Their funniest yet.

Headshots 101

Out of the blue, someone asked me for some guidance on taking headshots.

Headshots are extremely hard for some actors to take, which is really silly considering we all want to work in front of a camera.

Now, I'm so old, I remember when they did headshots in black and white. And used film. Ancient, right? (There's no WAY I should be playing 22!) Today it's color and digital.

Headshots and reproductions are the most expensive things for a struggling actress. More often than not, you are looking for an agent. You save up all your money for a headshot photo shoot($300-700, not including the $125-175 makeup artist), then reproduce two of your favorite pictures (both your theatrical serious picture and your commercial smiley picture(probably 100 each, so about $225), and then you send them all out by mail to agents. (You redo your resume, make 100 copies at about $8 plus $1.25 to cut them to 8x10, then get manilla envelopes at about $18, and then mail about 100 of them at about $10. So let's see, that's $688-1,125. Holy Shit!)

And once an agent meets you ,they say, wow, you need new pictures.

But that rarely happens for me because I know how to take a good picture. Half of it is just sheer luck and hamminess, the other half is learning from my own experience.

So here's 101.

Know your type. Are you chubby and round faced and always told how cute you are? Then you are not a smoldering sexy leading lady. You're best friend! You will find lots of luck in commercials and sitcoms.
Are you a size two with double d's and plain faced? Then you are not a best friend. You are a sexy leading lady! You will find this out when the makeup artist is done with you. And you'll find lots of work regardless, especially if you don't mind going topless.
(I once had an acting class where we all stood up and were judged which type we ladies were. I was both. "Oh great," I had sighed, but the instructor thought it was a boon to me. He said I get to choose which one I want to be at every audition. But it's also a lot more work.)

You only get 3-4 looks with most headshot photo shoots. Use them wisely. I didn't. I did a sexy lady look several years back. Guess which look I never blew up into an 8x10. No one wants to see a sexy chubby girl. (Chubby in the midwest is what, 14? In LA chubby is a size 6. If you want to be a leading lady you can be no larger than a 4)

If you don't know your type, ask your friends. Ask your family. If they're not sure what you mean, ask them to imagine a commercial that you're in. What's it for and who do you play? (I always get "shampoo commercial!" So I became a hair model. I'll teach you how to do that too.) Same thing with your theatrical looks. Who do you play on CSI? The investigator? The suspect? The corpse?

So by now you probably have a few "characters" that your friends and family agree are your type. Excellent! Now go through your closet. You got 14 Old Navy tank tops in various colors? Hmm, that won't help. Go to your friends' closets. Okay, better. Alright, now go to Forever 21 and Ross. There! Finished! You've got some clothes to work with!

Back in the days of black and white, jewelry was frowned upon for headshots. That doesn't seem to really matter anymore. If you've got some great earrings, cool. Wear em. Just don't let them be of the incredibly large and dangly variety.

What you DO need to do, however, is LAYER your clothes. I do not want to see any bare shoulders, ladies, I'm serious! If you must wear your spaghetti strap camisole, fine, but there better be a colorful cardigan on top of it! So much bare skin looks weird on blown up 8x10s. Even weirder as thumbnails on breakdown express, the submission website your agents and managers use to submit you. If you have trouble layering things, check out the Gap and see how they do it. They seem to be geniuses about that stuff.

These are color headshots, so make your clothes colorful! And know you're color wheel. Blue and Yellow, Green and Red, Purple and Orange, those colors all compliment each other. If you don't believe me, fine, I hate you and never want to see you again! Okay, just kidding. Come back! No seriously, I was joking. I was acting. ::sigh:: Sarcastic text never translates.

Oh, you're still here! Great!

You can wear black. But I'll grumble about it. The black better be layered. I wore a bright pink tank under a black v neck. It looked nice.
If you are pasty white like me and can see veins in your arms, cover them up! If you're dark skinned, bright bold colors compliment your skin beautifully.

Do NOT wear white. White reflects all the light from the flash and is the brightest thing in your photo. Our eyes immediately go to the brightest thing in your photo. Your white tank top pulls focus from your face, and if you're a girl, flattens your bust.
We want to focus on your eyes, as it's your most important feature. Period. We need to see who you are through your eyes.

So yay, we covered the colors that are on you. Now how about behind you?
I once had a photographer hang up a background that matched my burgundy shirt perfectly. "That's a pretty background," I said, cause compliments are always good right before a diss, "but I was wondering if you had any dark green colors." Don't you dare make me all matchy matchy and get lost in the background so it looks like my face is floating! How dare you! Do you even Know what you're Charging me to take these pictures?!
But I knew a dark green would compliment the color I was wearing and make my headshot prettier. Just know your shizz, ya'll.

Especially since some photographers will throw shizz at you. I mean, ladies, come on. Why does a photographer send you to a corner and then have you put your hands on the wall and look at the camera? It looks retarded! It looks like this! Great for thong underwear, bad for headshots! You just look stupid.

And as lame and as silly as it sounds, this works extremely well: Interior monologing while your photo is being taken. Now, I am as far from "Bad Girl" as you can get, but I really love auditioning for those roles. The Mean Girl is fun! So I asked the makeup artist to give me heavy eye makeup and we blew out my hair, and while my picture was being taken, I kept thinking, "What the fuck are you looking at?" "Leave me alone!" "Idiot," and since I was thinking them, they came up in the pictures, very subtle. I had the hardest time picking out which of these shots to blow up because they were all super awesome, if I do say so myself. And look, I just did.

GET YOUR PICTURES RETOUCHED. A lot of times, you'll see one "free" retouched photo per look in your headshot package. Great! But oftentimes, you'll blow up another one and not feel like paying the $15-35 it costs to photoshop you photo. DO IT. It is seriously the determining factor on whether or not your photo is professional. If your photo doesn't look professional, the actor doesn't look professional. And green actors do not get called in for co-star roles.
A retouched photo isn't only just getting rid of stray hairs and small blemishes, they'll whiten your teeth and your eyes a bit, and the best part: they'll burn your background. I know only basic basic photoshop, so I might even have that word wrong, but they'll blur the background a bit so that you are the only thing in focus. And your skin looks amazing, and your eyes sparkle! GET IT DONE!

So what about photographers? There's so many! So do yourself a favor, ask all your friends for their Actors Access link, like this one, and look at the photos. If you like it ask who did their headshots. In the example in the one I gave you there are three great photos: The first is a GREAT theatrical shot. This guy looks like he solves crimes and has his own show about it. The second photo is a perfect example of a goofy commercial headshot, and since this guy has been doing improv for so long and is excellent at it, he can also use this photo as a postcard to promote his improv shows. The third one is a pretty good theatrical shot as well. I do, however, wish there was a regular smiling picture of this guy for a commercial shot. Commercial casting directors want to see your teeth. But check out the lighting on pics 1 and 2. That's some good lighting!

If you want me to critique your photos, hells yeah, I'll totally do it. Just send me your link.


And I believe that covers it for 101.

Class dismissed.

Agent Meeting!

So I had my agent meeting. It was short and simple, but the best part is how freakin NICE this guy is. I just handed him my contracts but he's already been submitting me like crazy. On what, you ask? How about your favorite shows, like CSI and Grey's Anatomy?

Now of course, just because I'm submitted doesn't mean I get to audition. But it's nice to know that it COULD happen.

He told me he'd give me a call next week to check in.
An agent who actually wants to build relationships with his clients, instead of just taking on as many as they possibly can!? Awesome! I am feeling very good about him.

That Callback that Never Was

Thankfully, LA is actually quite the small town. For instance, people really seem to stay in the 10 mile radius that is their neighborhood. I've seen the same woman at my gym, at Fryman Canyon, and at Trader Joe's. I almost feel as if I should say hi to her, but we've never exchanged hellos or names. I give her a small nod, as in "Hey! We're neighbors but don't talk because we live in a suburb, and people in suburbs do not talk to one another as they pass by, but I'll acknowledge you because it'd feel weird if I didn't and I'm a bit neurotic having lived in LA for several years now!"

So at my audition the other day , who do I run into but April Wade! It was so nice to see her! Especially because the audition was running way late and now we both had someone to talk to! We actually had the following day set aside for us to get together to find places for our Festival screening preparty happening next month, but we both weren't expecting to see the other and we both thought of the other when first reading the sides. You could say we're the same type, however she's quite a bit edgier than me. Curly hair just isn't edgy.

At any rate, she went in ahead of me and when she came back out, we chatted some more. Good times. And this will be very relevent later on.

I do my audition and at the end of it they told me, "You are definitely getting a callback!" The Hallelujah chorus switched on and I was very happy. "You're available for callbacks tomorrow?"
"Yessir! I am!" I hugged myself in proud accomplishment. "Great!" They said, "We'll see you tomorrow!"

I go to work, come home, check my phone and emails. Nothing. Well, that's weird. I mean, normally, one gets a phone call or an email with the official callback notice and a time to, you know, come back.
But I figured there was some miscommunication. Perhaps they had already thought they had given me the time to come back. It happens. Auditions are a very long, long process. Because this particular web series was non-union, I can guarantee there were a lot of inexperienced actors who were not up to snuff. Going for a 9 hour auditon day, like they did, is taxing on the body and mind. Especially the mind. Cause when we actors are bad, we think we nailed it. And we're a sad thing to watch.

I find the original breakdown and send a text to the casting director asking when callbacks are and apologizing for texting at 11:30pm.

The following morning: nothing. That's strange, I think. So I go through my emails and find the director's email. Oh damn, it's one of those gmail accounts especially created for this casting project. How do I know? cause it's CastingAnna@gmail.com. Damn it. That means the director might not even check it, but I sent an email out anyway saying how much I really want to read for him again.
Two hours later, nothing.

Finally I think, well, heck, I'll just CALL the casting director (it should be noted that she was most definintely not a casting director but rather a friend who was helping) knowing that she'd be busy auditioning people, but sure she'd find a minute to check her voicemails.
But I get her directly.

When you are in LA and you have a cell phone and a number comes up you don't know, do not answer your phone with "Hello?" It's unprofessional. You say your name. "This is So-and-So." Because we don't know it's a cell phone and it annoying to have to ask if it's you. But I knew this was her cell phone because she had an out of state area code. Be professional!

This is our conversation:
"Hi So-And-So, this is the Struggling Actress. I auditioned for you yesterday and was told to come back to read again so I was wondering what time callbacks are."
"Oh. Scott made a mistake. He didn't mean to call you back."

I was quite taken aback. The guy who TOLD me I was DEFINITELY called back had suddenly rescinded his offer?
Doubleyou tee eff?!

Now, I know she had no idea who I was as they saw around 100 people yesterday, all with similar names like, "The Pretty Actress," "The Actress/Producer," "The Singer/Actress." There's no way she could have remembered who I was. But I was so taken aback all I could say was, "He didn't? Oh. Okay. Thank you."
Cause I wanted to say, YES HE DID, YOU IDIOT! I even wanted to pull a diva "Do you know who I am?!" thing, but without all the entitlement and all, cause I know she didn't know who I was and actually did need clarification.

Oh man, was I upset. It was like being promised a fancy special birthday party at Disneyland with only your family and friends and getting there only to be taken inside to a gynecologist's office instead and getting your family and friend's fingers up inside you. Not exactly the happiest place on earth.

Now, remember when I told you April and I were supposed to be out location scouting today anyway?
So when she asks me how my callback was, I told her I didn't have one and went through the whole story.

Turns out, she had some inside information:
She was out at a bar last night for a kickball league afterparty and three people kept pointing at her and waving. She assumes they know her boyfriend because everyone knows her boyfriend, but no, they mean her. They finally go up to her and say, hey, great audition! You had a really great audition today. And she thanks them. She mentioned me. She said, "Hey, I know you're calling back my friend tomorrow. That's so great." And she told me that they just looked exhausted after she said that. They told her they saw over 100 people and they were so tired. They weren't sure they were going to even have callbacks the following morning, because they had no time to go over the tapes they made of everyone's audition and they were absolutely spent.
Plus, when I had my audition, one of them had mentioned to me that they were waiting on a phone call that day to see if he was going to be shooting something in Tahoe for the next three weeks, leaving in three days.

So that put everything in perspective: A non-union production has no money. Half the time, the only thing they DO do is auditions, and it never goes anywhere as the production just falls apart.
I'm not saying this production fell apart, but who knows? Perhaps it's their first major production and the whole process became overwhelming because they ddin't expect it to take as long as it did. Casting can be quite arduous. And most auditions don't have call backs the following day; there's usually a day or two lull in between so that the producers and director can get their final approval on who is returning and who isn't.

What this was, however, was a huge letdown.

This actress will continue to struggle.

Agent Meeting!

This is exciting. Not only am I to drop off contracts and headshots, but I believe I'm actually having a meeting. Not quite sure what it entails, but I'll let you know.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Callback!

Well, that's a nice feeling! There's nothing better than being told "You are definitely called back!" right after your first read.

Callback is tomorrow. I'll update in the evening.

And, look! It's for Anna (lest you forget)

Female Early to Mid 20's. Anna has been working at the company for some time. Though she knows the company inside and out she is surprisingly unaffected by it. She retains a degree of innocence and grace in a place surrounded by sex and smut. She also loves her job. She is the off-on interest of Tom's affection.


Looks like I CAN play early 20's. Boo Yah!

That's Funny

Hey all, I'm working on a Headshots 101 post, but have to leave for an audition and then spend some quality time with a friend of mine who has been in hibernation for the last few months and who I've sorely missed.

But this morning, I went online and eagerly checked this blog, wondering if anything new had been written while I was sleeping.

Actresses can be smart.

Sometimes.


I think.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Oooh! An Audition!

BLUE MOVIES is an original web serial that showcases the trials and tribulations of the number-two pornography company is the valley shooting for the number-one spot. 30 Rock meets Boogie Nights. It is being produced in early March with a quick turnaround expected and an online distribution strategy.
Female Early to Mid 20's. Anna has been working at the company for some time. Though she knows the company inside and out she is surprisingly unnaffected by it. She retains a degree of innocence and grace in a place surrounded by sex and smut. She also loves her job. She is the off-on interest of Tom's affection.

Yay! Web series! Those are fun! I mean, have you seen Hell Froze Over?

As a struggling actress, my week has absolutely no routine. When am I working my part time job serving tapas and sangria? When will I get an audition? When will I make enough money to buy my own purple boots?

In fact, the first thing I missed once I graduated college and moved to LA wasn't the people I went to school with. It was writing essays. I missed writing essays! Then I missed the structure.
I mean, I'm a "creative type" who doesn't like rules and coloring inside the lines, but I do like knowing what to expect and knowing what crayons I have laying around.

So a struggling actress must create her own routines.

For instance. I wake up, I go to the bathroom, put in my contacts, and then sit for about five minutes reading Entertainment Weekly. Then I make my bed. Then I check my email, Twitter, and see if Di played her turn on Lexilous. That's what I do. Every single day. Monotonous? No! I have structure! It's great!

So when I have an audition and have to learn the sides, I have a ritual:
I read it over once, then highlight my lines, then go to my bedroom, light my frosting scented candle and break it down.

Rituals are of a huge importance in a struggling life. Plus, candles that smell like frosting make things feel like a piece of cake.

Don't You Wish You Were a Struggling Actress?

Because then you could submit and audition for such wonderful roles as "Male Enhancement Spokeswoman"

[ SPOKESWOMAN ]
Caucasian female. Preferably Dark hair pale skin; 20-33 years old. She will be dressed in bra and panties and will need to look sexy/intelligent. The story is that the spokeswoman is in a bedroom dressed in Bra/Panties and she is promoting a new Male Sexual Enhancement Pill. There is no nudity. She is going to be talking directly to the camera about the Male Sexual Enhancement Pill. The spokeswoman needs to be intelligent and her attitude is both informing the male audience about the pill and egging them on, 'you know you want to try it.'

Unbelievable


I'm kind of having a hard time believing how popular this blog has already become. It's only been launched for one week, and already, I have 10 followers, and people from New Zealand visiting the page! The feedback has been wonderful.

I don't feel like I'm struggling when I'm surrounded by so much support.

Thank you.