"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, January 25, 2011

It's been 5:55 for two hours!

Or at least, that's how slow it seems....

Man, was I sick this weekend.

Seriously. What I thought was allergies on Friday turned into a terrible Sinus Infection Saturday afternoon. I was with friends and at about 3 o'clock I said, I'm feeling worse and went home. In bed at 6pm and comatose until 12 the next afternoon. Yes. Seventeen hours. 17! It felt like a fat person was standing on my cheeks.

Am I boring you?

Anyways, missed out on a lot of survival job work, which is a bummer especially at the end of the month, and I also missed out on catching up with all my favorite blogs, but I can tell you, if you're an actor in Canada or New Zealand, I've read that absolutely nothing is happening.

And you know what? Nothing is freaking happening on this side of the world either.

Maybe all the studio heads have fat people standing on their faces too?

I called my manager to get the low-down, knowing full well that 1) I don't have any clout this pilot season whatsoever, and 2) Even if I do get brought in to audition as a series regular for new pilots, they already have several offers out to several different names for the same role. I'm not here to be a series regular. I'm here to book possible roles that might possibly be perfect in a possible time in the possible future.


Over here in the states, the Casting Directors are in a bit of a tiff with the Studios. Casting Directors put in 16 hour days 9 days a week to get pilots cast. As far as I understand it, CDs want the Studios to give them more money so they can pay their assistants and associates what they're worth. Sounds good, right? Well, the Studios don't think so. Read the article here, and pay attention to the comments.

And that's why it's slow.

So, it was a really good time to get sick; I didn't have to book out or decline any auditions.

I just want some auditions.

I'm getting ANTSY!!!

AND, a huge shout out to the few people who forwarded me their info and my hair modeling agents were interested in them,
Congrats to Gil Christner! He just booked a major beverage commercial! He's one of my favorite actors. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Timing is Everything

Part 1)

Riley, a male 18 year old actor from Canada, sent me this:
I am preparing to audition for a university theatre program. I need to prepare the usual 2 monologues, classic and contemporary. They do not have to be from specific plays per say. For one of them I was thinking of using the monologue that you talked about in early november 2010 on your blog entitled " Ever wish you could control your own dreams?"

This was you edited version,

"My dad is very stern. Kinda scary. He's a biochemist. He wants me to go to medical school, and I guess I do too, but it's so much pressure! And last week I had this huge test in Chemistry. I really like Chemistry, but there's so much to remember. I tanked. Who cares, right? It's just a stupid test. But I'm terrified of what my dad's gonna say. And of course the first thing he says to me when he gets home is "So, how'd the test go? Another A, right?" I told him we didn't get the test back yet. That night I dreamt I aced the test. In my dream I remembered every element. I could see the molecules and ions and solutions. I recognized every one. I KNEW IT ALL. And the funny thing is, the dream made the real test okay. I mean, I still got a C- and all. I still probably can't get an A for the semester no matter what I do on the next test, but I'm okay with it. Look, I KNOW Chemistry. I just had a bad day. The next morning I told my dad my grade. He got all quiet for a minute, but then he goes, "Well, you'll do better next time, right?" He didn't even freak. I never, in a million years, would have dreamt he'd be okay with it. I love my dad."

I like this monologue and feel it could work for me as I look very young for my age, (I keep getting told I look identical to 17-year old-esque Jesse McCartney). What do you think about using this monologue? I am having trouble finding others for my age range. Also I am still yet to find a classic piece...have any ideas on where I could look?

Thanks for any help you might have,
I appreciate it,

So, first things first:

If you're going to be auditioning to get into a university theater program, I strongly suggest contacting someone in the theater department there and getting the full rules. The program I auditioned into would not let an online monologue fly. They want you to find a monologue, read the play, and find your truth and blah blah blah in it. Double check you can have a monologue from any which where.

Now, if you find out you are able to use it, please cite the writers, Matt Buchanan & Lira Kellerman. Cause giving credit to the writers of your monologue is standard theater school auditioning etiquette plus, "And now, my contemporary monologue, which I found online," makes you sound like a douche. Sorry, but it does.

If you like the monologue, if it speaks to you, and you really think you can give an awesome performance of it, awesome. Do it. BUT let me be very clear here:

The reason they want you to do a classic and contemporary piece is so that they can see your range, and here's the trick: pretend your contemporary piece is from a movie or television show, and you're talking to your best friend. Your classic piece is one that will show you can do theater- you can use your Pretentious Stage Voice (Linklater calls it the "natural voice," because you're using your diaphragm to push the volume of your voice so you can project it, but I'm calling it what it is :) and have your gestures be a little grander and such. The juxtoposition is what is going to sell your talent.

As for finding classic pieces - it's super easy because you don't have to care that you look like a former boy bander's little brother. If you loved Lion King growing up and relate to Simba, fantastic, go read Hamlet and choose one of his. In fact, go to the library, check out Shakespeare's Complete works and scan the pages for large chunks of text. Or, you know, google it. There's a ton of resources.

And now part 2)

A few weeks ago, Rick Tran of Soliloblog asked if he could interview me about being an actress and using monologus. I said, sure! Send me your questions. But as I read them, I thought you know, it's VERY rare I get asked to perform a monologue because I mostly audition for film and tv, and on the very rare instance I have to do one, I write my own. I wasn't the best resource for him. But I wrote him back saying, you know, my friend Danielle would really rock this out. She's been critically acclaimed for her work in Shakespearean plays and LA theater and is extremely talented.

Her interview is very important for you, Riley, and really, any actor, to read. Great stuff.

I saw the interview go up the same day you emailed me Riley, so, ha! Awesome timing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hot Chick Guide to Acting

Found this off a post from Wolf Gnards and thought ya'll'd get a kick out of it. Click on the picture to be able to read it.

From the post, "Natalie Portman vs Megan Fox," no less!
Hope you had a wonderful day off!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On My Soapbox

How old were you when you were told to hate someone?

Such a weird concept, isn't it? But our politics today are filled with hate speech and ignorance, usually in the name of a religious figure.


If Jesus were alive today, he'd be a Jewish hippie. He'd smell like nag champa, have his curly hair dreaded, share his food with you, and tell you some great stories.

Then he'd be shot at by a lunatic because he clearly had a socialist agenda with all his sharing of bread and fish.

Some Reactionary Christians forget that being Christian means to be like Christ. To love, to share, to accept. To help, to understand, to heal.

This God Hates Bundles of Sticks "church" makes my heart hurt because it's just one large extended family teaching their children that hate speech and grossly insensitive public demonstrations is how one should live one's life. Little children learn it is better to not understand something and criticize it, hate it, try to squash it, than it is to be empathetic.

That's one polar side of things.

But in the middle, we still have a lot of people who believe that being gay is a chosen lifestyle. That it is evil, that it is wrong, that if they just prayed hard enough, they could change, but they don't really want to.

It's not a choice.

I came across a beautiful blog called Born this Way.  DJPaulV created a site, asking for those who were different, to send him a picture of themselves when they were young and how old they were when they knew they were, well, born this way.

What you get are some of the pithiest, strongest, funniest, mini autobiographies of people who are clearly different at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, years old.

I love this site. It is empowering, most definitely, but by using pictures of themselves at such young ages, it really proves that the hate for anyone is wrong. Everyone is somebody's son or daughter. Everyone was a little kid.

Everyone deserves love, understanding, compassion.

Loving others is the only way we'll be able to love ourselves.


Friday, January 14, 2011


The fiance and I are hosting a party this weekend, and we're kinda sorting dressing up and I'm kinda sorta getting my hair done. Because our wedding is going to be the tiniest one you ever did see, we wanted to celebrate our happiness with a get together of a few friends to say, love you, wish we could have you be at our wedding, here's some cheese, crackers, wine, beer, and lots of sweet treats to hopefully show you how awesome you are and how much we like ya!

I used Evite for the first time.

I do not like it.

Have you used it? Don't get me wrong, their interface is super easy, they guide you through it, you can modify and add things and people BUT

They also tell you who viewed it and never responded.

You know who's 5?

This girl.

For some reason, I take it personally! And I have no reason to! Perhaps you're busy, perhaps I forgot you moved, or perhaps, you hate my face! Oh god, you hate my face, don't you! You didn't respond so you MUST hate my face!

And you know what is the most ridiculous thing about it?

I ALSO VIEW EVITES AND NEVER RESPOND! I'd show up, but I usually never responded.

My own medicine is bitter indeed.

But WHY do I get into kindergarten mode and take everything so personally? I mean, yeesh, I don't want to be that girl! Where does this insecurity come from?

Is it because I don't really like parties? I like people, I like my friends, I like food and beverages! But parties....I have so much trouble relaxing into them, especially when I host. I have to make sure everyone has something to drink, that everyone is eating, that the food is being replenished. DID I MAKE ENOUGH FOOD? Are people ENJOYING IT?


Hosting a party is like being the lead in a play, except I DON'T KNOW MY LINES! I don't know what the story is, what's going on, and it would be really nice to friggin know!

I'm trying to think up a few breathing excercises to calm myself down, but it's hard to calm down when we also still have SO MUCH CLEANING TO DO.

Add to the mix that I'm also on call at work, so I don't know if I'm going in or not, and voila: MESS.

Okay. Got to go dust the bathroom.

Have a stress free weekend, ya'll!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hair Model Call!

Do you have hair? Do you want a new haircut? Do you want someone to pay YOU to cut and color your hair?

Are you at least 5'5? Do you fit a size 0-6? Are you 18+ but don't look over 30?

If you are interested in being a hair model and getting paid $160-700 for a master stylist from a major hair care company (eg: Tigi, Sassoon, L'Oreal, etc) send me your stats and a picture of your hair (cut and paste, no attachments please) and if my modeling agent is looking for someone like you who has at least 4 inches of hair, no weaves, no extensions, and are open to a new cut and color, I'll pass you along to her.

I haven't paid for a haircut since 2006. Neither should you!

Dear Struggling Actress

Jacqueline in Canada writes:
Do you know much about AMDA's reputation within the industry in L.A? And by that I mean, do agents/managers/CD's respect it and its graduates or is it somewhat of a joke? I always had the perception that it wasn't as respected as other institutions or training programs but I recently met a fellow Canadian actress who attended their conservatory program and LOVED it. Said she learned a whole lot and made tons of connections.
A little background on me:
I'm a professional actor from Vancouver who began working in Film/Tv in my teens. I have a BFA from a good theater program at a reputable Canadian University and since graduation 2 years ago have been pursuing my professional career up here in "Hollywood North".
I've been looking into training and programs in L.A. for various reasons - I'm always looking for more education/training/knowledge (when I can afford it), I want to come down to L.A. for a while to get a feel for it and perhaps make some connections and last but not least my boyfriend lives down there, so being in the same city as him would be great!
The reason I'm looking at AMDA is that the girl I met said they give out many FULL scholarships to students based on ability and merit. A scholarship and the cheap housing they provide is the only way I would be able to afford go.

 All this being said, any advice? Have you heard anything about this program, bad or good? Any insight you could share would be amazing. Sorry for the long winded email!

Thanks so much Lira!
You're welcome!

And here we go. 

Since you didn't specify what AMDA is, I'm guessing you're referring to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. They offer both BFAs and a two year conservatory program.

I'd like to take this time now to say I've never been there and therefore am not the best source. The best source would be someone who went there 10 years ago, to properly give an opinion of whether it boosted their career or if their network connections actually panned out to anything of note. So instead, I'll give you the perspective of someone who has not been there, has a similar education background as you, and, most likely, a smaller resume! :)
As far as my experience goes, if you are an actress in LA, your training at a formal institution doesn't really matter. What matters first is your headshot: Does your headshot and what you look like fill a niche agents don't have? If it does, they'll flip to the other side and take a look at your resume. Agents and casting will care more if you're currently training (you have the money and are still learning) and have decent credits than if you have your degree in Pretend. Natalie Portman, Julia Stiles, and James Franco did NOT get their degrees in Pretend. (Natalie got hers in Feelings, and Julia and James got it in How To Talk and Write and Read Good) What matters in LA is what you look like and how good you are (and most will argue not even the last part). 

You have a BFA and you've been working professionally since you were in your teens. You are now looking into a program filled with people who have most likely never been in anything besides community theater or their friends' YouTube videos. You, with a four year fine arts degree, want to go somewhere that charges $35,149 a year, with an estimated monthly living expense of $800/month.

I cannot fathom why. 

Let's say you sign up for Billy O'Leary's (I'm gonna plug cause I love him) classes. Let's say you want to take as many classes a month as you can to get in some good LA style practice (eg. more procedurals/sitcoms, less sci-fi:) You take his Intro and his On-Camera classes. That's normally $325 and $240 respectively, but he does a combo so you can get for $425. ($140 saved!) Then, you take his ongoing and on camera combo for the next seven months with that combo special of $360. 
To be fair, we're going to assume AMDA's academic year is 8 months (that's what mine was and I'm sure it's the same) with your "academic year" at Billy's acting school ($425 + ($360 x 7) = $2,945. Let's also include your rent of about or around $700/month in the valley. (you have a roommate, but it's a nice apartment!) For 8 months, that's $5,600
Billy's classes, + your own bedroom = $8,545
AMDA + a dorm room you most likely share = $35,149

Now again, you should meet with someone at AMDA to go over figures and tuition and everything else, but I can't understand why you think you need another four year or even two year program. You are going to go over everything you've already learned. They are selling you something you already have! 

It is my opinion that AMDA is not for you. You've gotten your degree in Pretend. You're Pretended Professionally! And their housing is not cheap. In fact, for the school term (eight months) they tag it as $6,700. They are not letting you stay there for that price for the summer. You will either move out and find a new place, where you'll stay, or they'll charge you much higher fees for their summer months. (it's a school, and therefore a business) That $6,700 is most likely only for 8 months, which puts you at $837.50/month. You could share a nice apartment for 700, and have $137.50 leftover for utilities and still have WAY MORE SPACE than you would a dorm. Having your own bedroom as an adult is great for your relationship, if you know what I'm saying...

So here's what I recommend:

Come down here for a week with all your research done on four different independent acting classes down here and audit them. Take a tour with AMDA. Get your feel for the place. 
Go to Craig'sList and look at all your housing options and get familiar with the neighborhoods and their fees. Map out LA and find the freeways, major thoroughfares, and districts. Get familiar down here. 

If you stay in Vancouver, you most likely will have a very happy, successful, working career up there. Down here, it's a crapshoot. In Vancouver, you could be the big fish in the small pond (okay, big pond. Vancouver is awesome) and that's okay. That's GREAT.

But if you have your heart set on coming down to LA... listen to it.

See if your current agent up there can get you some meetings down here. Save up your money. Save up at least $12,000 Canadian before you come down here. Get your paperwork and working visas in order. Plan to stay at least ten years. Perfect your American accent (sorry and story do not rhyme here!). Be able to build a network of friends and people and yet stay independent enough so that if you and your boyfriend don't work out, you won't have to leave. 

Be prepared. Do your research. Find the school or acting classes that are going to be good for YOU. And listen to the voice in your head. 

You'll pick the right choice. 

Monday, January 3, 2011


January 3rd 2011 is a very busy day for agents. @SecretAgent  even Tweeted "The first Monday in January should be National Do Not Call, Drop By or Email Your Agent Day." Breakdowns have been coming in non-stop and man, am I ready to audition again!

It's been two weeks - my first Winter Vacation where I stayed in LA for the holidays, and I know that's been a major factor in my NEEDING SOMETHING TO DO NOW impatience, but man, what a LONG two weeks!

Hopefully the cds are sifting through their submissions, finding my picture from my amazing agents and clicking their mice to bring me in.

In my downtime, I've been playing Talent Manager. I've updated 2 different friends' resumes, scheduled 2 meetings for a friend and have noticed something - I'm much better at planning and figuring out how to help others than I am at helping myself.

Or, if I think of something to do for myself, I don't seem to make it a priority.

What's wrong with me?

So I'm going to start an Acting Meeting Group to keep myself accountable - getting people I like, people I admire, into my group and seeing if we can't keep ourselves going twice a month to just check in and brainstorm, hold ourselves accountable and help each other out.

I've also been reading Art and Fear. If you are a struggling artist (photog, film maker, makeup artist, artist, actor) I HIGHLY recommend this book. We're all in a group of people who NEED to create art as part of our human experience. See if your library has it. The LA library does. (and if you're a card carrying member, you can request any book from any branch and they'll call or email you when it's at the branch near you! gotta love it!) One of my favorite things from it so far is that back in the day, a lot of artists worked for the churches, or painted religious themes, as being an artist was considered a calling from God.

It still is.

Be ready.