"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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I DID Take a Picture!

 [The bright bulbous white sun on the right is actually a chinese lantern. I believe they call them  China Balls. And clothespins on set are called C-47's. Rumor has it that was the catalog number for them back in the day...]

So I did have one picture that I snapped of Tyler Seiple playing the role of Ben in a confessional for the pilot webisode yesterday. Although his character isn't introduced in the pilot yet, we were able to have him come in and improvise a little bit so that we could put a few things together for a sizzle reel. Tyler was fantastic and made sure to hit character plot points. We almost died laughing when he explained how he plays a nose flute. His character is the unlucky in love puppy dog who has a huge crush on Afrikaa. Isn't he darling?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Episode 1, SHOT!

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh you guys!

Episode one is shot! We did it! (And the digital camera I brought had a low battery and died. And then, the camera that Antne came over to drop off for me ALSO died. With new batteries, even. Ugh! So, no pictures. Sorry. And trust me, I'm just as upset. )

So yeah, hey. I got to work with April and Tracy, who I worked with (ahem) a few years ago in college, when the three of us decided, hey! Let's put on our own show! And we did. We wrote several pieces, cast them, produced and directed them. We were the only show in Chapman University that was sold out and had to turn people away. And we raised almost $1,000 for the Women's Transitional Living Center of Fullerton for Abused Women and Children, which, coming from poor college students, was a HUGE FEAT! So, needless to say, we enjoy and respect each other and have a lot of fun when we do get to do stuff together, which is rare. Extremely rare. But today, I got to play with them and a few newer friends and our other cast members and it was pretty great.

And it was so easy. Almost a little too easy; last night, April and I called each other because it really felt like we forgot to do something major, like, Get a Camera! But we did everything. Everything was taken care of. It was just SO easy this time. The last time April and I worked together was for a feature film where we shot all our interiors in LA and all our exteriors in AZ, requiring a whole company move, an equipment truck, an entire crew, flights for the cast members we needed, equipment, motel accommodations, etc. etc. Where if we didn't get the shot, that's it, we didn't have it; there was no turning back. But for this project, if we didn't get the shot, we'd just film it later. Find a date and redo it!

In fact, our Princess Leia lookalike only had 2 hours so we figured we'd just split her day, but because Benni, our director and Trent, our DP, and Brittany, our production designer, were so amazing, not only were we ahead of schedule and were able to get the Princess in and out with time to spare, but also shoot ALL her scenes, requiring no second day for her! AND we got another actor out in time for him to get to his CSI audition. We even had time for each member who did not have lines in the first episode to introduce themselves and improv a bit.

It was so RELAXING. So fun! We were with a bunch of creative people who enjoy being creative and just got to enjoy the whole process without stressing about losing our light, or losing our location, or losing our mind with somone's big ego overstepping boundaries.

This is super exciting! I can't wait to see our rough cut which should be done in less than three weeks(!)

I also booked a hair modeling gig at the International Salon and Spa Expo in Long Beach this weekend, AND I have a callback for a national McDonald's commercial tomorrow. It's been one hell of an awesome week, you guys!

Oh my gosh!

(and sorry about the grammar, guys. I had 3 1/2 hour sleep and am exhausted! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Whole Picture

So I just want to start off with saying that I'm not addicted to coffee. I'm addicted to the vanilla flavored coffee mate I put in my coffee. I had always thought it was the caffeine I needed in the morning, but it wasn't until I actually looked at the creamer ingredients that I discovered the culprit. Case in point: Water, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed and/or Soybean Oil, Less than 2% of the Following: Natural and Artificial Flavors, Crack, Maltodextrin.

Whoops! Should've looked at the indredients when I bought it!

Oh well.

Now, with the webseries, we are ALL cast! All our top picks accepted our offers, and we couldn't be happier. We shoot our first episode Wednesday. There's just one small thing....One of our actors looks a helluva lot like Carrie Fisher. And apparently she gets that a lot.

So guess who had fun peppering in Star Wars jokes? This girl! And what's hilarious, is that I ALREADY HAD a Space Balls and Star Wars joke in episode 10.

When you put together a cast, any cast, a play, a short, a film, a webseries, you have to look at the big picture. You line up all the headshots when you're done casting and take a look at your top picks. Do they go together? Do the relationships look real? If there are characters who are related, do they look like they actually could be? I remember watching FRIENDS for the first time and really appreciating how Monica and Ross looked like they actually could be siblings. I read later that they had brought Courteney Cox in for the role of Rachel, but when paired with David Schwimmer, looked a little incestuous, so she got Monica instead. These things are important!

Just like honoring the fact that one of your actors looks like Princess Leia. It's the big picture.

In fact, I once did a short film where there was one very obvious lead, a nerdy, nervous girl at a bar with her supporting hot, slightly slutty best friend. I was called in for the hot friend (what?! okay!!) and when I did my monologue, they were so impressed that they told me later on set that I was thisclose to doing the lead role but that the it came down to the big picture. The other girl they liked looked like she could have me as a friend. When they reversed our roles, contemplating me as the lead, it didn't look like I could have the blond girl as my friend. Now, I have no idea what that means either. Perhaps nerdy brunettes just can't have a slutty blond friend, while a nerdy blond can have a slutty brunette friend. I don't get the reasoning either, but the fact is, casting and directors look at the entire whole when deciding which piece of the pie you fit into. Sometimes it has nothing to do with your awesome audition and has everything to do with your look. It's the whole moving picture.

So! Let the force be with you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, I'm Flattered!

There's a few things that I might be able to talk more about  in the future. In the meantime, I can say this: I was contacted by an acting instructor asking if a few of my blogs could be used on his site to help drive his point home about being more than just an actor/waiter.

You've read it before, but click here anyways for the fun of it.


Notice Something Different?

It's my header! Thanks Antne!

He's a professional digital artist and if you've watched tv, you've probably seen a commercial he storyboarded, and if you have seen Time Jumper, he's the artist! In fact, Jane Winston was inspired by me because we have an agreement: every time he does ANYTHING, he must have one character look like me. Okay, that's not true, but I do like to think that he loves me so much that his art has been a little influenced/inspired by yours truly.

In fact, since we've started dating, a lot of his women now have bigger hips, because as he put it, "they just seem more feminine, more beautiful that way."

Ha! What a gigantic ego I have to think I'm the reason for it all.

Thanks, darling.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Have You Been in Anything I've Seen?"

Last night, I was waiting tables and a guy came back to see me because he had a great time the last time I served him (dirty joke here). Let's call him Tony. He said, I'm surprised that you're only a writer because you have such a great personality, I could easily see you as an actress.

That's right, I only told him that I had written a webseries and was casting it. Why? Because honestly, saying I'm an actress makes me less interesting. If I'm an actress, I'm a dime a dozen. If I'm a writer (blogger, former columnist [but that could change soon, more details on that later, promise!] screenwriter, published poet (National Library of Poetry is a joke, but hey, I was 12 and my poem was in an actual book!) I am way more interesting. And you know what? I'm smarter. If I can string a couple of sentences together, I am a brilliant person. A million times smarter than that stupid waitress with a never to be realized dream!

Admit it. We all judge. And it's okay. I get it. I do it too.

So after I admitted to Tony that I WAS an actress, he got excited.

"Have you been in anything I've seen?"

Struggling actresses usually HATE this question because if we've been in anything you've seen, we wouldn't be waiting tables!

But I was able to actually list off a couple of things I've been in. And chances are, if you're a stay at home mom and love either Discovery Health or TLC, you've seen me. AND, an old friend messaged me on Facebook, saying, "Hey I could've sworn I saw you on America's Most Wanted the other night." And hooray! That explains my imdb jump (26,152 on my starmeter, which means absolutey nothing).

I'm excited for 2010. I hope to be in a few more things that you'll get to see. Like that webseries I wrote...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Must Love Dogs

LA is a really big place, and many people move here without knowing anybody. The park nearby has "Adopt a Friend" every other week where they trot out shelter animals; the cutest puppies, the smallest kittens, the great with kids older dog....all proudly wearing neckerchiefs.

Having a furry companion in LA is something I've wanted for so long, I even tried not shaving my legs to see if that could somehow compensate. It didn't. And our apartment lease agreement prohibits pets.

So....what to do?

Live Puppy Cam!

This is actually the same breeder who had this same camera set up in her home last year. She had streamed it from the internet so that when she was out, she could always check in on them. And it became a huge hit.

You'll see why.

Even if it's just a few puppies in a separate window on your monitor, it still makes life in LA a little less lonely.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Tomorrow and Today

Tomorrow we have callbacks.

Well, except for the role of Sean and Ben. The most exciting thing about casting is when an actor comes in and WHAM! Now it's a competition to see if anyone else can come in and take that actor's role away from them.

Tyler Seiple originally was called in for the role of Chris, the secretary who has a wife and two kids and doesn't quite know he's gay. He came in the room, read for the role, and we thought. Hmmm..... Tyler gave a great read, but there was just a little something....sweet about him. We said, hey, would you mind reading for Ben, the underdog yearning for one of the leads? He said sure, looked over the sides, and five minutes later, he won the role of Ben. It was up to other actors to knock it away from him, which we were pretty certain wouldn't happen. And it didn't. Despite other really good reads, Tyler also has the exact look we were going for.

Chris Pentzell was the first guy to read for Sean and he was the only actor to use the entire audition space, the only actor to see the Kleenex box behind him and use it for one of his scenes. He was fantastic, and we knew. We knew.

I called both of them saying, we'd love to offer you the role, however, we'd like you to read the script before you commit. For Tyler, I said, do you play the guitar? And he said he could play piano. Would you like to learn to play the guitar? And he said sure!

Both read it and got back to me the following day. They're in!!! Woo Hoo!! (And since it's my blog, I'll go ahead and brag: Tyler was darling enough to say how "fresh" and "fun" and "great" it was. Awww. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know I wrote it. So yay! And yay me!)

Now, to round out the rest of the cast, we're only calling back  two actors per role.  It is really THISCLOSE for a few of the roles. For the role of Julie, the yoga makeup artist, we know it's gong to be an extremely tough decision, just like it is for Dr. Dijon.

We had our top 3 for the role of Karen, which included fellow blogger Brandi Ford, but narrowed it down to two after deciding that we wanted to go older for Karen, and Brandi, bless her genes, just looks too good to be late 30s. (But, seriously, Brandi, it was nice to meet you, and you had a GREAT read!)

We also had to move our production day, our day of filming. We had put it for Saturday, then moved it to the previous day, but due to the weather, are moving it to next Wednesday.

I am so SUPER excited. Woo Hoo!

Today, I had my first theatrical audition for the year. I drove aaaaall the way to Santa Monica in some of the worst weather (took 10 minutes to go 3 miles, couldn't see road signs until they were Right In Front of You!, etc) which miraculously cleared up once I parked my car into a garage and got out. Nice!

I read for Martha, the protagonist for a film trailer that would be shooting in LA and Phoenix. and would require a Texan accent and prosthetic makeup. Hell to the YES!

I had my accent down, and was given two lines to act out (pretend you're in your 70s, reflecting!) and another line where I'm angry and 45. (um. sure!)
Then I had to improvise a monologue. The details were these: After an emotionally draining last several months where you gave birth to what doctors are calling a miracle baby, you are getting ready for an intimate dinner at your favorite restaurant. But the doctor has called with the news from a standard check up. You have terminal cancer and have about 6-12 months to live. You are devastated. You want to wait to tell your husband at dinner, but when he comes home to pick you up, he brings you flowers and you cannot wait to tell him.


Umm.....Hmmmm.... Here's my thought process: Okay - I have a baby who I will never get to see grow up and my husband will be an absolute wreck without me taking care of him.

So if I have a history with this man, then perhaps we talked about one day going to Hawaii. And I need to make sure that Junior will be taken care of financially.

And so I did my monologue that I made up on the spot, about (after thanking husband for the flowers) how Junior needs to be taken care of, that we need to create a trust for him, and then I start getting really upset and teary about how we always said we were going to go to Hawaii, and now we need to. We need to go.

I didn't want to ever say, "Honey, I'm dying from cancer. Sucks to be us!" because a scene between two people when one of them has to say, "I'm dying," is NEVER about the dying person. It's about the REACTION of the other person. And that other person is not there. He's not there! So I had to figure out how to do a monologue where it was about ME: my needs, my fears, my goals.

Now, I don't' know if what I gave them is what they were looking for, but it was clear they didn't really know what they were looking for because if they did, I would've had a script instead of having to make things up on the spot. I mean, really, I was happy with how I handled my improv exercise and my Texan accent and I was happy with the work I did. And hey, now I have a monologue quick on the spot in case anyone ever says, "Can you show me anything else?" Sure!

I also met with my new theatrical agent today to go over which headshots to put up on breakdowns and which ones to blow up to 8x10.

What a Struggling Actress Day!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Struggling Actress: Casting Director Edition

Oh my gosh, the fun I had today!

If you EVER get a chance to sit in on casting, whether you're a runner (the person who goes down the list, takes the headshot and introduces you to casting, walking you into the room) or a reader (duh) DO IT. I felt like I crammed 6 different audition classes into one day.

Here's a few things I learned:

When you're casting a series you wrote, it's really hard to get sleep the night before. I had 3 1/2 hours, my friends. I normally need 9 to be a civil human being.

Have your resumes and headshots stapled. It makes you look green if you hand them separately.

For smaller gigs, like a webseries, or student film, put as much contact info as you can. Your phone number, your email, your website, the link to your reel, etc.

Sometimes your headshot looks more like the character we want than you do in real life.

We want you to be awesome. We are so on your side here.

If you are a relatively new actor, I will find a way to compliment you. I might even give you an adjustment if I have the time. The times I said "Nice transition," "Nice juxtaposition," and "Good read," I really did mean. For an actor at your level.

You might have given a fantastic read but don't actually fit our specs. This isn't a bad thing. We fell in love with America and she's going to have a character written just for her for season 2.

If the project is already partially cast and you gave a fantastic read but look too much like another actress, or not enough like another, that could mean you're out.

If you're not sure how to say a word, name, or what the point of a scene is, ASK.

When we say thank you, say it back and leave as quickly as possible. Do not come back with your child's headshot for me to have in case I'm casting any kids (I'm not). When I say I don't need it, don't insist I still take it for my files. My files are a trash bucket.

What's more important, a role or your facial hair? One actor told me ahead of time, "Hey, I have a mustache (which was absolutely killer by the way) but it'll be gone after this weekend." He knew I had brought him in off his clean shaven head shot. He gave a great read and the mustache wasn't a problem.
Another actor, when asked if he would mind shaving his beard, admitted that he would.  I get it. If you're going to change the way you look, you should at least be compensated. But if I call you in off your clean shaven headshot and you come in bearded, (and hand me your same clean shaven headshot to remember you by) I have to wonder what you're thinking.

If you're going out for a doctor/nurse role, don't wear scrubs. Look professional. Look Educated. Try a sweater vest, collared shirt, tie, understated jewelry, etc.You shouldn't wear a costume unless you are on set.

If you need more time, by all means take it! This is your chance to show us how fabulous you are. Be as fabulous as you can be! Make that 40 minute commute worth it!

It is not always the best actor who books the job.

Film auditions are different from theater. In theater auditions, we are taught to look at the back wall, to talk to people over casting's heads. In film, if you have someone reading the sides, direct everything to the reader unless told otherwise.

Take a look at your audition environment: if there is no camera, you do not need to ask if you need to slate. I introduced you to the group, and we now see you standing before us.
Also, if there's room to move around and you feel the impulse to move around, do it! One actor did this wonderfully. He had even noticed a small box of Kleenex behind him, which he had incorporated into his audition. Brilliant.

Just because the character you're reading for has a coffee stain on his shirt does not mean you need to go out and spill coffee on your shirt for authenticity. I really wish I was kidding. I really do.

Friends want to bring you in to read for their projects. There is nothing more nerve wracking and panic inducing than reading for your friends. No matter what, you will think you bombed.

Don't be intimidated when the casting director is hugging a bunch of actors going in before you. They are friends, yes, but just like high school, real life is all about networks and politics too.

Don't shake our hands. I know this is weird, because IN EVERY OTHER job interview you've ever had, you shake hands. But not this. More than anything, it's time consuming. Unless we stick our hands out first, just say your thank you, take your stuff and leave.

Sometimes we seem gruff but we're simply trying to do our job.

We had a line of 9 actors waiting to be read, and when we had politely asked an actress about one of her credits to give time for her eyes to adjust to the different lighting, she took four full minutes to tell us all about it, from how she found out about the audition, to who she met onset. Unfortunately, after about the first 30 seconds, all I could think of was everyone outside. Have a quick ten second anecdote, a funny joke, anything. Because we have a job to do. Let us do it. We're just trying to be polite.

There is an instructor out there who is teaching actors to answer the question, "Any questions about the character?" with, "No, but I'm open to suggestions." I too was taught this. And it's crap. No duh you're open to suggestions. You're an actor, and a suggestion is a direction. And with the 12 or so actors who said the same thing verbatim, it no longer comes across as smart and savvy. It sounds tired.

Know what you're reading for. We had a great dramatic read for a comedic scene. Whoops!

Love what you do. Love every minute sitting in traffic, love every nerve, every shaking hand, every messed up line, ever mispronounced name. Love it.
Love every choice, love every beat, love every second of listening to the reader. Love it.
Love every "thank you!" love every "that was great!" love every "That's all we need!" Love it.

But most of all, love yourself. Love the time, the energy, the committment you have to being true to yourself. Whether this is a whim, or a lifelong passion, love evertying about what you do to get here. There's so much work, and so little reward. So love yourself. Believe in yourself. And be proud to wear your struggling as badges of honor and bravery.

This struggling actress/writer/producer/casting director salutes you.


It's a short post, mainly because it's 1:45 am and I'm having trouble sleeping and getting tired enough to sleep: In 8 hours, people are going to speak words I wrote! For the following 8 hours! I hope I still end up liking what I wrote!

It's fun because different people are going to take my same words and make them sound different.

I'm too excited!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Have Nothing to Lose

One of my favorite things to do is email agents my materials instead of mailing them! I save myself tons of money in manila folders, copied resumes, staples, headshots, labored over cover letters and postage. It costs $1.05 to mail each submission. It's expensive. And with little to no response. 

Emailing is free. So if you don't get a response, who cares!

And you can send in the pics you haven't blown up, link to your website, your reel, your whatever the heck else you want.

Remember this guy? Well, on his agency page, he has submission policies plainly written.

After posting his letter to the industry, I sent him an email pointing out a few of my favorite things about it.

He called me in the day after I had decided against doing that industry showcase to possibly audition in front of agents who may or may not be there.

I had mentioned how awesome I thought his memo to his clients was, and he had told me that it's funny because, this small little memo he had written to his clients was reposted and reposted again and again in blogs (hee hee) and that he was even interviewed by the BBC about it, and he just wished he would've known it was going to garner such attention, because then he would have actually gone over and proof read it Ha!

I signed with him today.

And it cost me absolutely nothing.

So go ahead: If you are seeking theatrical rep, submit your materials to him online. Just don't mention me :) It's our secret.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Sorry, Alice

[No plot spoilers]

Alice Sebold wrote an amazing book called "The Lovely Bones." Peter Jackson directed an utter crapfest also called, "The Lovely Bones." When authors sell the film rights of their books to movie producers, the authors give up ALL their rights to the film. And sometimes it's not a problem. And sometimes it is. Sapphire, who wrote "Push," had been approached several times about having her book turned into a movie. And she refused them ALL until a guy said, look, Oprah and Tyler Perry will exec produce and honor what you wrote.

I feel so badly for Alice Sebold. Even though it was PETER JACKSON who directed and produced her film, I'm sure she must've thought, "well, he gave us Middle Earth! He can do wonders for my book!"

I LOVED the book. It was so beautifully written, in a type of narrative that had never been done before.

In the book, the 14 year old girl is raped before she is murdered by her neighbor. In the film, the protagonist screams, "He took my Life!!" Honey, that's not all he did. And I think it does a terrible disservice to keep that from the film. It makes us sympathize to her and her family more, to hate the murderer more.

And oh my god, the lead actress herself. I've seen Saoirse Ronan in Atonement. She was great. But she was directed so poorly in this.

In the book, we get a complete and complex idea of who this girl is. We relate to her on so many important levels. In the film, it was like director Peter Jackson probably said, "Hey Saoirse, Susie is a REALLY happy and likable girl before she dies, so smile and laugh at EVERYTHING. I can't show how you're a fun typical teenager who jokes with her parents and friends, and has discovered the joys of sarcasm, so just smile and laugh at every stupid little thing. Yes. Like you're always happy. In fact, act like a dumb happy clown who just might be slightly retarded. Wait, yes! act like a dumb happy retarded clown. "

She is a freshman in high school and has a crush on a senior there. And the senior apparently likes her back. Are we supposed to be happy about that? Because we called the 18 year old men in our high school who liked 14 year old flat chested girls PERVERTS. So Creepy. And it only gets worse between the two of them.

Alice Sebold is crying in the corner of her bedroom, rocking herself slowly. Please help her. She needs you to buy her book, to check it out from the library, to understand that she really had nothing to do with that terrible film. Nothing at all.

The limbo CGI sequences were so long. It takes a character almost seven minutes to move a heavy object into a sinkhole. When Mark Wahlberg is looking at a flower from a bush, you can ACTUALLY SEE THE PLASTIC of the fake flower attached to the fake leaf. CLEARLY. When the flowers wilt, the fake blooming flowers were spray painted brown. It's like Peter said, "Hey Art Department - you know that budget I promised you? Well, I actually had to take almost all of it away to make some dreamy sequences in CGI and buy a few more fog machines."

And watching a girl run again and again (this time quickly! this time in slow motion!) gets REALLY boring.

I was not the only one severely disappointed in this movie. I was among several in a group and we all agreed it was a waste of huge talent.

PLEASE. Read the book. Read the book! The movie in your head will be a million times more riveting, more suspenseful, more heartfelt, sadder, and happier than this film.
And the book doesn't have the plot holes this film does.

Read it. It's fantastic. Help Alice Sebold.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Make Up Your Mind Already!

Dear Skin:

Look. It's embarassing. I know it. You know it. You can't decide how old you really are so you decide to give me both the occasional MAJOR pimple and the beginning of nasal-labial wrinkles. But these last few weeks of multiple small pimples are truly annoying. We are not 14 anymore. We can stop with that. And we're not 35! So stop with that.

I admit it. I started using moisturizer. A really good kind, too! I even liked the frangrance, and you threw a fit, didn't you? Producing even more oil. Squeezing out even more zits. Okay! Fine! You obviously don't like that stuff. But what else can I do? My once perfect skin is now blotchy and red and has been for the last few months.

What is the deal? Why are we so angry? Can you explain?


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Take Your Vitamins!

I had stayed up until 2am Wednesday morning, scheduling actors who had submitted, then slept terribly, (probably due to all my excitement) then woke up early to hear my producer's voicemail. She sounded like CRAP. She was sick.

So incredibly sick. Fever, sweats, chills, achey, but that she understood all the work I must have done to schedule everyone and swore she would make herself well to be there.

At about 2 pm, when she was still sounding terrible, I said, that's it. It's only going to take me 12 emails to let everyone know that we're moving the audition date to next week. I will NOT have you sick being miserable, when we should both be super excited about our day.

So we rescheduled Casting for next Thursday. And it's just as well. I got two calls yesterday from my comm agent that I had two auditions for today.

Already went to one for Cox, which is a service you can use to bundle your phone, internet and tv, and as I walked into the lobby, I saw a thin redhead who I immediately thought, nah, can't be her.

The other casting director for Krispy Kremes called her name. "Felicia."

OMG! It IS her!!!  The female lead in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog! And a whole slew of other things!!!

I was pretty excited. You would remember her from that weird Cheetos campaign too, where the cheetos cheetah would make regular people do weird things. Hers was the one where she's at a laundromat and some other woman cuts in front of her machine, stuffing all her whites into the dryer, and Chester says something like, "Do it, Felicia." and she puts a cheeto in the dryer. SO WEIRD. But she looked so pretty in it. I did admire her facial structure and makeup in that ad.

At any rate, she made the mistake of sitting next to me. So I whispered, "Felicia," and she looked scared until I said in a normal voice, Hi, I'm a huge fan of your work.
And she was so nice and said she was flattered, and she was so awesome about it. And she continued to talk to me! We talked about hair! She liked mine!

I got called in soon after that, but it was a nice highlight for my day. I love nice people!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Struggling Actress: Casting Director Edition

I was on a hike with JenIsIris yesterday, and I was talking about my script, and the things I need to fix in it, and how we're casting on thursday. "This is a fantastic way to start off 2010!" she said, and I almost stopped mid-step, because, wow, It IS! I've been working so hard on it all that I didn't even have the time to take a second and think, Good Job, Lira! Good Job!

So far, it is January 6, and:

Monday: 2 auditions from my commercial agent
Tuesday: 1 audition from my comm agent, 1 from me. Reviewing submissions for webseries and scheduling auditions (shout out to Brandi!), choosing and printing master sides for audition.
Today: replying to everyone who is requesting a time change, making sides copies, meeting conference calling with potential director (who happens to be The Boy Phoenix Adores), and then going to yet another commercial audition from my agent!
Tomorrow: Casting! My own Series!

Can we say 2010 is pretty awesome so far?

In regards to Casting, if you are an actress, listen up:

If you are on Actors Access it is crucial to have a GOOD REEL up there. Submissions with a reel are placed at the top of the list, so casting sees those first.

Have your resume up to date and have GOOD pictures! Oh my gosh! A couple actors had every single picture they've ever taken up there, going all the way back in time to what they looked like when headshots were still black and white. Take old pictures DOWN! I need to know what you look like NOW!

If you are submitting for a role that requires a specific skill, like being able to play guitar or speak spanish, list that you do indeed do that, and at what level in your notes.

Two different actors had written these notes to me: "Hello and allow me to introduce myself. My name is ___ and I'm submitting for ____. Thank you for your interest."
They were the same verbatim, and what's dumb is 1) I know what your name is, it's printed right there and 2) I know what role you submitted for because I'm looking in that category's folder. 3) I can tell you're foreign, and if your command of the English language is to only state the obvious for me, then I will not call you in.

If you do not want to be seen as a professional actor, then continue using those terribly grainy  photos of you in your living room with tragic lighting, taken by your friend. Good headshots are worth every penny.

If you don't know your age range, ask several people to tell you how old they think you are. Just because you read a breakdown that says "Early 30's," and you are in your 40s but THINK you can still play early 30s, trust me, you are wrong. OR, as sometimes the case may be, if you're still in your early 30's, but LOOK early 40's, your real age means nothing to me. It's what you LOOK LIKE.

You should always see who's casting and producing. If you know someone, even from years ago, write a little message in the notes. I once worked with a girl named Alex two years ago, who I immediately liked but lost contact with once that job ended. She wrote, "Hi Lira! I saw you were casting this and thought I'd submit even if just to say hi. :)"  This was brilliant. I only worked with her in a restaurant job where she was in little if any makeup, with her hair pulled back, and I didn't remember her last name. Her headshot is fantastic. I looked at it and thought, "Do I know this person?" It had been 2 years since I've seen her, and I never saw her in anything but a uniform. Her note caught my attention and she's going to read for me now. If not for the note, I probably would've thought, nah, I don't know her, and kept going on with reviewing the submissions, passing over her.

It is a long day of casting tomorrow. We're going from 9:30-5:30, hoping to cast 9 roles. The most of any one role is for LizBeth, who we'll be seeing 27 different people for. I could not get it down to fewer only because there were so many different ways we could go with her. For instance, I had written that we'll look at anyone from 30s-50s, and it's going to be interesting. LizBeth is an angry character, so if she's younger, we want to know why, and if she's older, it makes her reasons different. I also have a younger lady who weighs around 330 pounds coming in to read for it. Because as the writer, there's a lot of different things I can do to play around with her physicality, and what other characters say to her.
I whittled down who we're seeing for the Julie role, (the most submitted for, with 334 submissions) down to just 12, plus 3 other actresses I'm bringing in off my relationship with them alone, who I'm confident could do it with their eyes closed. I would've cut it down to 8 girls, but a few of them are ethnicities other than caucasian, and I'm excited to see how that could change things within the ensemble.

One of the 20 people we'll be seeing for Sean, the guy who doesn't know he's gay, is an old professor of mine. Interesting!

I'm excited to be sharing this entire journey with you. I'm glad you're here for the ride.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Submit Submit Submit!!

 My breakdown for the webseries I wrote is up! See if you fit any of the specs and submit on Actors Access! And leave me a note that you saw it here first! Hooray Hooray Hooray!

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, 9:00 PM Pacific


Casting Director: Lira Kellerman
Producer: April Wade
Interview Dates: January 5
Shoot/Start Date: Sat. Jan 23
Pay Rate: copy, credit
Location: Burbank, Ca

JAN 4.


This series is similar to the Office where some minor characters
do get their own episode and storyline. We're looking for characters.

It's "The Office" meets "Scrubs," with some "Always Sunny In
Philadelphia" thrown in. Some mature content for the happily immature.

30s-50s, African-American. The Den Mother of the group. Positive and supportive, she loves her job and her co-workers.
Late 30s-50s. Caucasian. She has had her panties in a bunch for the last twenty years.
30s-40s. Any ethnicity. He is married with children....and gay. But is the only one who doesn't realize it. Well, him and his wife.
Mid 20s. Julie studies eastern medicines and philosophy, does yoga and has a yoga/dancer's body, but still has her street smarts. Is a born saleswoman.
Early 30s, African-American. Dreamy. Great sense of humor.
[BEN ]
mid to late 20s, Caucasian. Sweet underdog. They type of guy who girls refer to as "so nice!" as opposed to good looking. Shy. Major plus if you play guitar and can sing.
mid to late 20s, Puerto Rican. Speaks Spanish. Good looking, funny.
Late 50s-60s. Any ethnicity.
late 20s, any ethnicity. A med student. He'd be good looking except that his hands are always cold and he's nervous about that.
Late 20s, Caucasian. A med student. Overweight a plus. Nervous. A Sweater.
Late 20s, Asian. A med Student. Extremely capable. Pretty.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Kiss My Tax!

Copy this, paste it, and print it and KEEP IT FOREVER!


I absolutely hate procrastinating, so I always seem to spend the first of the new year going over receipts. So let's go over what a Struggling Actress should go through and save, shall we?

Cell Phone!  It helps you stay in contact with your agent, scoring and confirming auditions, callbacks, and hooray, the job itself. Keep your monthly bills!

Netflix/movies/cable/internet! This all falls under the "research" category. You watch movies to study acting, to understand different directors' styles, and you watch cable and tv to understand the type of acting required for the show you're auditioning, and the internet is for Hulu and submitting yourself online using all those handy dandy actor websites.

Medical! Saw a chiropractor to improve your posture (like moi)? Got glasses (not contacts, mind you, although I have no idea why.)? Saw the doctor for any ailments? Deduct away!

Networking! You went to a few of those "Industry Events" where they promise agents and casting directors, but all you got were fellow non-union actors, right? Well, the ticket price of $20 that you paid to attend is deductible. If you and an actor friend go out to eat and discuss acting coaches, movies, agents and projects you auditioned for/creating, the money you paid is tax deductible. JenIsIris and I always find some time to do exactly that. Hooray!

Networking Gifts! When you booked your commercial, you sent your agent a bouquet of flowers, and guess what! Up to $25/gift is deductible! Or, did you do a play and gave every cast member a small gift each under $25? Deductible! And wow, you are super nice. And here's where it gets super fun: If you have ever hired your friend, or hired someone who became your friend and you hang out with them and buy them a drink, or a birthday gift, or you go out and got a frozen yogurt together to catch up, it is deductible! Our tax lady told us that because I had hired my beau Antne on my film, the dinners we go out to could be considered deductible! Now, this makes me feel a leeeetle bit uneasy, so we don't abuse it. But fun, right?

Food/Coffee during auditions! Did you get a coffee on the way to your Starbucks print audition? Deductible! Did you eat lunch after your callback on the way home? Deducible! Did you buy a Vitamin Water at the Ralphs at 200 S La Brea because then you get two hours free parking so you can go and audition at the Studio just next door like I always do? Deductible!

Home Office! Did your laptop take a crap on you, requiring a whole spanking new Apple desktop and monitor? Did you buy printer paper for your resumes? Did you buy printer ink? Did you buy antivirus programs? How about a computer desk and chair? Deductible!

Acting Services! Did you get a year's subscription to Showfax? How about uploading pictures to Actors Access and LA Casting? Did Casting Frontier make you pay for a subscription? Do you have your own website? Did you pay for Headshots? Did you get your photos retouched? Did you buy tons and tons of lithographs? Did you go to a copy center and get resumes? Deductible!

Acting Classes! You pay, you learn, you deduct!

Union Dues! Do pay your dues. Do get your deduction!

Car Maintenance! I spent over $300 on new tires for my car, but it didn't bum me out because it's deductible! Actors need a car and need to maintain it in order to audition, so woo hoo! Toss in those oil change receipts too, my friends!

Agency Commissions! You get to deduct this because you were taxed on income you technically didn't get to keep.

Car Mileage! You can deduct the number of miles you traveled to and from all your auditions. You might think to yourself, well, I don't keep track, because it's probably not that much, but I banked over 2,000 on just a few auditions a month. It adds up really fast. And if, like me, you also logged in the miles you went on job interviews, brava! Any mileage on any type of job interview, be it for restaurants and cafes to auditions and callbacks are all deductible! Same goes for -

Parking and Tolls! Keep track of those meters! You could recoup the $20 in change you spent!

Gas! Keep your receipts. I believe a percentage or something is taken out.

Student Loans! Did you get a degree in pretend too? Hooray! The interest on it is tax deductible!!!

Beauty/Fitness! A percentage of your gym membership and makeup is deductible! This business is all about how you look so the IRS does keep that into account.

Work Uniforms! Did you have to buy a wine key? A pair of black pants? A black bra and thong underwear for the hair show you did back in January? If you were required to have them and you didn't so you went out and bought them, tax deductible!

I am pretty confident that that's it, but seriously, that's a lot of money. Always keep track. Make your new year's resolution this year to get back all the money that's rightfully yours!

Happy 2010!