"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, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

2009 was one of the hardest years in the last decade but even so, I still managed to book seven different projects, write my own webseries, completely redo my team by firing my manager and signing with a new great commercial agency, get new headshots, and attend the soul-changing Burning Man with some fantastic people.

I also discovered Farmville. Which, if you do not know what that is, promise me you'll never bother to find out, because it's a pointless time suck.

I am saying goodbye to this year while sick. Sore throat, terrible sinus pressure, headache, body aches, tired, and I feel like it's my body saying adios! to one hell of a year. My entire body has had it and is sick of 2009!

2010 is going to be better, not only because it has to be, but because I doubt it could get any worse. And although I have a lot to be thankful for, and AM thankful for, mind you, I am also looking forward to 2010 because we all are. We are all awaiting a fresh start, new ideas, new projects, new friends. There is so much to be done in the next 365 days, and I hope we all remember to take a memory snapshot of every happy moment, to tell our loved ones that they are loved, and to be happy with who we are because we've spent an entire lifetime becoming the person we are today.

May 2010 be your most successful and happiest year yet.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Attack of the Show

If you've never seen it, it's actually a great little program. They tell you the latest about new gadgets, they interview interesting people about the latest social networking sites, cell phones, movies, etc, etc, and they go around YouTube looking for funny clips so you don't have to!

Fun show.

They asked me to be apart of this, where I was on a date with the male host. This is Part 2.

Now, I have curly hair. And the problem with it, is that when I get to a lot of hair/makeup people, they think it's so cute the way it is, that they don't do anything with it. Now, it might look good to you, but to me it just looks boring. So I feel like I have boring hair here. Isn't that a stupid complaint to have? Whatever. I love this sketch. It was SO hard to not laugh because they would just improv and rip on each other, and it was so incredibly funny.

The guy who plays Batman is one of the producers of the show, and I believe he wrote the piece as well.

Hope you like it too. Even with my hair the way it is.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

They Liked Me!

That's right, G4 liked me so much, they asked me to come back to do another promo for them.

Imagine what would happen if Mario went crazy and decided to kill a bunch of college students? Would it look like this?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Craig's List Sometimes Pays Off

For instance, I found a breakdown there for a skit that they were doing for the cable network G-4. They liked me so much, they brought me back three more times.

When the new Halo game came out, we shot this. The girl in the cammo didn't know a thing about stage or film combat. She knocked me over when trying to catch the skull and I hit my head so hard on the ground, that the 2nd AD made us take a break so I could have a few minutes. After that, I taught her how to pop her gun so it LOOKED like she was hitting the blonde girl, cause God knows she really would've done it.

Anyways, it's a small role, but fun never the less. Enjoy! (And sorry, but there is a 15 second commercial you have to sit through.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pixie Dust

I did this a few years ago, but it struck me that I don't have any links to stuff I've done, and that's the most fun part of following a struggling actress, right? Seeing her stuff?

I'd embed it, but it won't let me. Boo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Did You Always Want to Ask?

Since returning from Burning Man last September and having an epiphany there, I have been slowly putting together thoughts and notes and pages for myself regarding the book I am planning on writing about my mother.

One of the first things I want to do is interview my Dad about their 28 year marriage. My mother suffered her first nervous breakdown, requiring an extended stay at a mental institution when they had been married for only 8 years. He stayed with her, broken and confused, for the next 20 years.

Here's a few questions I have come up with:

What year did you meet Mom?

Where were you both living?

How did you meet Mom?

What did she look like? Was she out of your league?

What was the courtship like?

What traits attracted you to her? Do you see any of those in your children?

When and Why did you decide to take your relationship from dating to living together?

When did you move in together?

What was living together like?

When/How did you decide that she was the one?

How did you propose to her?

How was Mom after she found out she was pregnant with [older brother]? with me? with [younger sister]? with the fourth baby?

When did you start thinking she was acting strange?

When did your relationship with her and our grandparents become strained? How did that affect your relationship with them?

What was the hardest year in your marriage?

What were your worst fears?

When I was about 14 years old, I snooped in my Dad's briefcase because the thing must've weighed 35 pounds and I was pretty sure he was carrying lead in there. I found papers that he had kept in there from when I was about 7 or 8. What looked like papers drawn up for divorce, with my dad fighting for full custody.

Flash forward 7 more years and I admit to Dad, at a McDonald's of all places, that I had found that. I ask him why he never filed them.

My dad looked at me. "Because I knew she would one day get better, and go back to being the woman I married."

My mother never did get better. She now lives in a 24 hour care facility in Panorama City.

What else should I ask my dad? He is completely willing to answer anything. Please help.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Color Coordi-Calendering!

I thought this week was going to be dead dead dead in the world of commercials, by my agent Jennifer is pretty much the most amazing woman in the world. I had FOUR this week. (and a print callback!)

Of note: The cellular audition and the telecommunications audition.

1) Got a last minute call for a cell phone company, can't even remember who. My dress code was "80's Mom! Big hair! Bust out that Aqua Net, ladies!"
Now, I'm under the assumption that most commercial actors auditioning with dialogue are picked for their handling of the dialogue and improv, over how they look. Especially since whatever I can pull together last minute will never compare to what would be pulled for me by set wardrobe and makeup, so I like to HINT at wardrobe. I had my hair big, I had on pink lipstick, and I had on a sweater that had princess sleeves. I saw some women there with the blue eyeshadow, the neon windbreakers, the whole bit, and all I can think is, "that must be so distracting," but what the hell do I know? I'm not a commercial casting director, and I'm not an advertising agency. I could be dead wrong on that.
aaaanyways, for the audition, I have to say that "sticky notes are perfect for what I call, color-coordi-calendering!" Did you stumble over that? Yeah, so did I. Tried to cover for it, but it's a twister.
They had me read the copy again a second way, and then again a third. The cd said, "Nice read."
I'm hoping that he really means that and that "Nice read," isn't synonymous with "That was great, thanks!" Which all actors know really means, "that SUCKED! Get out of my office! And don't wreck anything!"

2) Telecommunications audition was looking for Progressive's "Flo - but different!" oy. We were told that we would read the first side, and possibly more.  The breakdown listed that they were looking for a "Tina Fey" type. Hello! Who do I get compared a lot to? Rita Rudner! And Amy Irving! And Mary Louise Parker! And yeah, every so often, Tina Fey!

The cd was super nice, and I got the go ahead to read the second pair of sides, and I probably should've piped up at this point, saying, could I read the third one? Cause I had a little dance step improvised at the last line that would just be so awesome. But of course I didn't speak up, Argh. I gotta grow some balls, I swear. But at the end (and I was directed after each read, which is usually good) I was thanked. "Great read."
Okay, really now. Really? Cause I didn't feel all that great about it. Are you saying that to get me out of there, or do you mean it? Cause I had that one commercial audition where the guys raved and went on and on about how awesome I was, and how I was the best dressed so far (me!) and I got NO CALLBACK from that.

So yeah. I'd like to be called back for both please.  And since they're two products that conflict, could I please book the higher paying one? It would really start 2010 on a wonderful note.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


There is nothing better than getting sick BEFORE you are to be traveling home. I would much rather have to drink my orange juice and take extra vitamins NOW instead of going home where I can infect my loved ones and two six year olds. But yeah. I'm super tired, not hungry, and having weird dreams involving our two pet mice...

Phoenix asked what I'm doing this year for Christmas! This is the first time in two years that we are not going to New Jersey/Pennsylvania to visit Antne's family (and therefore missing Phoenix, Benni, Glow and PWinkle for a fun NYC trip [argh]), but I'm super excited, even though I'll be missing Mama Nina's amazing traditional Sicilian 7 Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner (7 fishes is a misnomer, as there are like, 104 different dishes she makes with a whole slew of different seafood. Usually when Papa Joe picks us up from the Newark airport, he's still bringing Mama different fish home from the market. Crazy good food, let me tell you!) I'll also be missing out on my yearly total immersion Italian lessons, which I'm becoming very good at! My grammar is terrible, but I'm learning more vocabulary! I love visiting Antne's family because most of them are actually from Italy and when they greet you, they kiss you on each cheek, and my first phrase I learned was Buono Natale! which, because it is Italian, you shout as loud as you can. It's pronounced Bon Nah-TAHL-lay, and you have to move your hands excitedly like you're tossing up a light Christmas gift. I felt immediately welcomed into his family, and they all like me. And they all pressure him into buying me a specific piece of jewelry for my hand. I swear to god, when his mom found out he bought me an iPhone for Christmas, she said, "She can't wear that on her finger!" (okay, so she didn't. And that joke credit really goes to Mrs.Wood. Her real name is Sarah, or as she says to others when they have to write it down, "Sarah with an H," and one woman actually wrote down "Hsara" which to this day still makes me laugh out loud. )
Okay, but true story: (and I can tell I am somewhat still out of it, based on my going back and forth and ALL THESE PARENTHESES) Mama Nina did call us a few weeks ago and asked what we wanted for christmas. I said, "Uno Esposo!" which means "a husband," and she replied back in English with her lovely Sicilian accent, "almost!" Yeah, so much Amore for his famiglia.

Anyways, back to my family.

The last time I was with them for Christmas was when the twins were 3 1/2. They couldn't read by then, and instead of putting their names on their Christmas gifts, I instead put pictures of me and whoever it was for. I got the idea from Martha Stewart Magazine, and did it for the whole family. It was a HIT.  Now everyone looks forward to it.

Here's me with my little Missy-Pie when I came to visit in July. So cute, right?


My dad and stepmom live a hop skip and a jump away from a motel, which I'm so happy about. Full kitchen and our own place to sleep! Hurrah! No having to wake up early unless we want to!

What else? I'm sorry, my brain is just tired. I feel funny. I'm not hungry at all and haven't been but I know I need to eat things.

I haven't even taken any drugs today!

Take your vitamin C and Zinc my friends. Stay healthy!

Happy Holidays!
xoxo Lira

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Right Now, It's Perfect!

As I've mentioned before, I've been writing a web series. The goal was to complete twelve 5 minute episodes, and due to a fantasy episode I hope we'll be able to do, but probably won't (ep 4.5) last night, I finally finished my lucky episode 13. And right now, it's perfect.

This web series is my baby right now, and she is absolutely adorable. She's a giggling, smiling baby. But as soon as I show other people my baby, they're going to point out a few things, like, uh oh, she's a little jaundiced, and perhaps a wee bit colicky, and they'll ask me if I counted the toes, and that's when I'll find out my baby doesn't even have feet. Whoops! I DIDN'T EVEN CHECK FOR FEET!

But right now, she's swaddled. And we're both content and happy.

Here's what I know right now about the next few steps:

1) I have to read the thing as a whole and edit. I need to make sure the jokes I thought were funny a month ago are still funny, and that the characters remain consistent throughout (especially since I wrote the episodes out of order; 1-6, 10-13, 7-9) but this is actually one of my favorite things to do. I light a frosting scented candle, I sit up on my bed, pencil in hand, and mark away. I love, love, love editing. I'm a much better editor than a writer. I also have to put in the Spanish and Italian translations I got from my guy's sister, include links to the bits of songs I included, find the guitar tabs for my fantasy episode, and put everything together. Your interest is so piqued right now, yeah?

2) This brings me to the writing. I really hope there's a plot in there. This is kind of a big thing to have missing. I don't want to say that it's missing completely, but a main throughline doesn't really show itself until the last five episodes. Now, I WANT to say that that's okay, as the first episodes are all about getting to know the characters and their peccadilloes and subplots. And although 9 is funny in the beginning, it's a sweet setup to 10-13, and that sweetness to me almost makes it feel like it's missing something, even though the episode is, plotwise, everything it needs to be. And I did have someone read the first 5 episodes, who called it, "The Office meets Scrubs," but I'm going to throw in, "And had a threesome with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." A show, which, if you haven't seen, is just amazing. And my webseries could be rated R...there are some definite off color and provocative things in there.  It's pretty offensive. But it has to be in order to get viewers to link it to their friends. Southpark is a good example of what we need to be. But of course, the creators who write it are amazing. Also, there's more than just one writer. This thing so far, has been all me. I'm triumphant and terrified at the same time. I have a comedian friend who had offered to help me punch up a few of the episodes. To help clean up a joke here, or to trim something down there so the joke is funnier. I'm hoping that he'll think most of it is really great and will want to read the whole thing.

3) We're shooting the first episode as our "sizzle reel." That's a filmed piece of content that helps sell it. Like a movie trailer sells you on wanting to spend money to see the movie. We need to cast it and will be having auditions Jan 5th. 2 of the roles are cast. (I'm one of them:) And I wrote another role with someone specific in mind.
So we only have four roles available. So if you're an out 40s male, or can play one, or a late 30s-40s black woman, or a 30s-40s white woman, or a lithe, tall 20s-30s woman, hit me up. Or just keep an eye out on the ole Actors Access for my name as casting director, as I'll be using that to find actors.

4) Hopefully by the time we shoot the sizzle reel, we'll have my partner's friend fulfill her promise to help us write a pilot script that we can use with the sizzle reel to pitch to people. Now, I have no contacts in the industry world, so hopefully my partner does, and I'd love to be in the room getting to watch the process. This is where we try to sell it and have people say, "It's brilliant! We love it! And we'll cast all unknowns to keep our budget down!" And I would get co-creator credit, have the series go on for 9 years and in syndication, and then I'd be able to blog from my dressing room, and have to change the title from the Struggling Actress to the Stinking Rich Actress.  Cause, hey, if you're going to fantasize about something, make it big, right?

That's what she said.

5) If we don't sell it, then we go to different product companies and see if they'll sponsor or advertise on our show. We hopefully get a few of them, get enough of a decent sized budget to rent equipment and pay a few people and shoot the series itself. And some of the jokes are so fast and quick enough, that we could easily take a few clips and post them on facebook, on youtube and let the thing go viral, hopefully getting enough people interested in the clips to go to the webseries' link and watch the entire season. and tell their friends.  Which will then get the attention of some bigwig somewhere who will then negotiate a deal with us, bring it to one of the networks, where it goes on for 9 years and gets syndication....

Of course, this is me dreaming that my child is going to win the gold medal in the 100 meter dash when my baby might not even have any feet.

But this is how we struggling actresses survive. On dreams that our life is going to get better from something we've created. Wish me luck guys.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brazillian Butt Lift!



There is some partial nudity in this project - see below.

National infomercial promoting new workout DVD geared to shape and tone your rear. Need (2) Women with notable curves in the hips and butt (i.e. pear shape) Need photos of face and backside in minimal wardrobe (e.g. bathing suit, or thong -- we need to see what your butt looks like.) No nudity, but we will need to shoot close ups of your backside in minimal wardrobe, working out on various exercise machines.

This is for an infomercial promoting a fitness DVD for the backside. This casting is for (2) women with the 'before working out' look.

[Woman 1]
Caucasian, Full Figure/Plus Size, mid 20's to mid 30's. Notable curves in the hips and backside (i.e. 'pear shape') Not fit or toned... SEE NOTES

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giving Thanks

Does anyone besides me read the aknowledgments in books? The place where the authors seem to thank everyone and their first pet? I ALWAYS read those. It's fun. And I understand the need for it.

Pretty frequently I am filled with surges of love and thanks and I'd just thought I'd take a minute to pour out my heart:

April: You told me I was a writer who wasn't writing, and you asked me to write a series that we could make together. I was a little shocked you wanted to work with me again because I got so lost in our last project and pretty much left you on your own devices, and you have been stellar at getting our work out there. You have fascinated me for the last 10 years. You will always fascinate me.

Tracy: I believe in enlightenment and I really think you're on your last earthly journey. No one else I have ever known has had more love, understanding, and patience. I am proud of you. I believe in you. I wrote a character in the webseries for you.

Marley: I wish we were closer, but your friendship still means so much to me. I hope you find what you're looking for. And if I could shine a little light on a possible path, might I suggest to do your universe experiment for the following two years? I think your that book will be incredibly inspiring, and can't wait to read the one you currently have. JMarls:Writer. I see it. I hope you do too.

Nikolaisen: You are a mentor to me in so many things. And I know big things are just around the corner for you.

Mohan: I am so excited for you and know you have a ton of work ahead of you before the fest in January, but you have been surrounded by those who have believed in you for a reason, and that group of people is only going to grow exponentially in the next few months. I see big things ahead of you, but I always have.

Eric: I'm so glad we get to see each other as much as we do! My track record with exes hasn't been that stellar, but I so appreciate your insight on so many things.

Mrs. Wood: That makes you sound old! You're an awesome teacher, and I hope you get back to the grade you want. Keep on trucking. And I love your sense of humor. It's mine! I love how we always reconnect like we had never left. Let's figure out a time for you and the Mr to come down so we can all go to Disneyland or ooooh! Vegas!!!

Vanessa: When I make it, I am hiring you to do my makeup for all my events. I'll move you down, put your kids up at a good school, and make sure you want for nothing. You could have all the Coach handbags you want!

Gloria:  "I've heard it said /That people come into our lives for a reason/ Bringing something we must learn/ And we are led/ To those who help us most to grow/If we let them/ And we help them in return/ Well, I don't know if I believe that's true/ But I know I'm who I am today/ Because I knew you."
Lame that I had to use someone else's song, but I would not want to meet the Lira who would exist today if I hadn't met you and learned everything you have taught me.

TenTwo: You say things like "put my name on your savings account so we can both put money in there," and I tear up, because what I hear you say is, "I won't leave you." something no one with a y chromosome has ever said to me. We continue to grow and flow with one another, and no one else has ever made me laugh as much as you do, and I can tell from your commitment to comedy that your commitment to me really is for the long term. I want to raise puppies together! I love you.

i love you all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sometimes You Doubt Yourself

It's super easy to do when you're a struggling actress who has to pick up restaurant jobs to pursue dreams. Last night I was at work until 1:30am, and I was asked by several tables if I am an actress.

Why do people ask this? 80% of LA actors are waiters or bartenders. It's how we live. It's a cliche because it's true. I guess I should be flattered that I'm asked, but most times, I'm annoyed. I'm not an actor now. I'm a waitress. Let me do my job for the next 8 hours so I can go home and write and go over my sides.

Maybe it's a bit of shame at having to sling drinks and buffalo wings. And I always try to have pithy comebacks:
Are you in school?
Oh no, I already graduated. Two years ago. Hack! Cough!
What did you study?
This! I got my BS in waiting tables, so I'm doing what I love.

So I left work a little defeated. I've been waiting tables for a very long time. But if it's to exchange the drudge of a 9-5 job that I know would not feed my soul, it's a good trade off, right?

And there are some bright spots every once in a while. I did once have a casting director recognize me from an audition that had happened 10 months prior who had offered to help me get an agent.
And last night, I got home to find this waiting in my email inbox:

Just finished editing the show for Production.  Your work was exceptional and I want you to know that I am thrilled!  Apparently so is the Production Company because they didn't change anything I edited. The show is very dark (as I'm sure you figured out) and different from the stuff they usually do at this Company.  I have not heard any new from the network but I'll bet they are happy as well.  I don't know when it is airing but I will get a copy and I can make copies for you.  

Let me know what is happening with your show ideas. I'm back at my Santa Monica office. Give me a call if you need any help.  Once again I am really excited about your work and your talent.  I'm recommending you to Jeff Hardwick my casting director.  

My best,


It's these things that make a struggling actress want to keep at it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Hella Pouring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oy Vey, Not Again

Right when I thought I was going to have a somewhat reasonable December this year, I was just called off work tonight due to it being "slow." Um... Here's the thing. Last year, I had to put my rent on my credit card for three months in a row. Want to know what is really expensive? Those finance charges, which I am still paying off.
I was basically unemployed for what seemed like 3 years, only able to find the teeny tiny particles of part-time work, scraping as much together as I could.

So with this new job, I thought, whew! I can relax a little! I can afford gifts this year! I can afford rent and bills! I can start paying my credit card bills down.

And then I get called off, and I'm worried this is going to continue to happen.

I've been on the hunt for new great paying fine dining jobs forEVER.

I need my break.

I need a commercial campaign. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

9 Months Later, He Seems Pretty Right On

There is a LOT of information in the following message to his clients, from Premier Talent Group's CEO, James J Jones. If you've been wondering why this year was one of your worst in scoring auditions, here's his summation why:

The State of the Industry
James J Jones authored this email
to his clients on March 26, 2009

Dear Clients,
I wanted to take a moment and give you a number of important updates….

Before I begin, however, I wish to tell you all that I am so very proud of you all for your dogged determination during these most difficult times.  Frankly, Hollywood has not seem times like these since the 1950’s and even then, maybe not.  Hollywood is being challenged on multiple fronts – labor uncertainty, paradigm shifting and the great recession.
I know a lot of your are getting antsy to get out more, and frankly many of you are in a tight financial pinch; as such, I wanted to describe to you all the current climate in LA and the factors influencing the current environment. 
1.       SAG STALEMATE:  Since the SAG contract expired on June 30, 2008, there have been few to no STUDIO feature films (this does not include companies such as Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company who are not in AMPTP and as such have completion agreements).  Some analysts say there are up to 200 feature films on hold.   Around September, we started to see a mass movement of film actors to TV projects.  Many of my named actors have done one-day guest stars (this is very typical right now), and we are seeing a number of Guest Star level actors doing CO-STAR roles.   Remember from November of 2007 to March of 2008, due to the Writer’s Strike, again there were no feature films shot.  So for the film actor, there has only been 4 months of work in the last 17 months.  THE BOTTOM LINE:  Due to the lack of studio feature film production, BOTH film and TV actors are now competing for a limited number of jobs in the episodic and pilot environments.  It is like a back up on 405 after a three lane accident!
2.      PILOT SEASON:  During the Writer’s Strike of 2007-2008, Studios adapted and used the void to eliminate pilot season as we know it.  Gone are the days of hundreds of pilots.  In fact, this year, there are only 67 pilots to have registered for production – of which only about 35 have been green lit for production. 
And this year, due again to a sagging economy, studios and networks believe that by committing named stars to their projects, they will receive more money from this year’s up-fronts from ad agencies. They are banking on star power to leverage better buys at the all important UPFRONTS.   So, stars and pop-stars like Richard Dreyfuss, Chevy Chase, Brittany Snow, Elle McPherson, Rebecca Romijn, Ashley Simpson, Scott Caan, Skeet Ulrich,  and proven TV talents like Kelsey Grammer, Eric McCormick, John McGinley, Joel McHale, Jenna Elfman, Donald Faison, Maura Tierney, Peter Krauss, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepherd, etc….  You do the math, 37 pilots… top stars being sought… BOTTOM LINE:  the conflagration of the economy and a lack of roles being cast, means that this pilot season may be even more competitive than the concurrent regular TV market right now.  So those of you who have gotten auditions for series regulars… feel great about that!  This is more like a backup on the 405 after a four lane accident. 
3.      TV:  While TV has been steady, again due to the conflagration of film and named actors doing Guest Starring roles, we have seen a horrible trickle down.  Many Guest Stars are now doing Co-stars and Co-stars/Developmental Actors (those with less than 5 national credits) frankly are not getting seen much.  One CD recently told me that she had over 25 women who would be considered ‘working actors’ going for a co-star role.  BOTTOM LINE:  Again, due to the abundance of named and working actors, many less-developed actors are not even being seen right now.
4.      ECONOMIC IMPACT I – THE EROSION OF QUOTES/RATES:  There are really three major impacts to actors during this economic crunch.  First, we are seeing the erosion of quotes.  Due to the availability of so many talented actors, CD’s and Producers are in the driver’s seat in negotiations.  When they say, “well we got someone else who will do it for less”, they ain’t kidding.  I have spoken to a number of my peers who have confirmed this erosion of pay for their actors.  In short, right now, quotes are eroding and for many, the minimum has become the maximum pay.

    5.      ECONOMIC IMPACT II – THE CONCLUSION OF SAG STALEMATE:   Many are hoping that with the end of this stalemate, Hollywood will get back to normal.  I have to say, that I am not one who necessarily believes this.  First off, due to the economic conditions, most studios have lost their millions of dollars from hedge funds; and European, Asian and Middle Eastern money has dried up.  Even Stephen Spielberg has had to beg, borrow and steal to get his company financed …. And it wasn’t anywhere near what he originally asked for.  I believe that, even after the SAG stalemate is over, there is probably not enough money for 50 Studio Feature Films to be done right out of the gate.  BOTTOM LINE:  While this will help us move towards normalcy, it will not be the cash cow some people think it will be.  One side note, is that I expect that more formulaic projects will be down out the gate as Studios will be less likely to take significant risks since most of these projects will be financed by both the studio and their investors.  In short, you will see more Iron Mans, Animation, and SAWs… they are money in the bank when you factor in ratios, etc. 
6.      ECONOMIC IMPACT III – OVERALL STATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENT:  It is important that everyone follow the economic conditions closely.  I know it is easy to be skeptical over the studios, networks, cablers, production houses, show runners, etc, losing money, but it is a cold-hard fact right now.   These entities are truly in a difficult spot.  If you have read much lately, there have been dramatic cut backs at every studio and network, from firings to asking show runners to cut between 2-7% of their budgets (not to mention the 25+% cutback shows like the Sarah Silverman were asked to swallow recently).  Furthermore, these networks and studios are largely owned by conglomerates who have lost in the billions over the last 6 months.  When I attended NATPE in January, all the talk was how to get ‘thinner.’  Everything is getting tight.  Budgets, Marketing, Staffing, etc., and this will undoubtedly impact the actor.   Also, the foreign sales market (where much of the TV and Film money is made, is being hit hard by the erosion of the US Dollar.  So these entities are not able to recoup the costs they were in better days by the one-time explosion of the foreign markets.  BOTTOM LINE:  The economic conditions are forcing the industry to be as ‘thin’ as possible.
7.      COMMERCIALS – INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS:  One analyst said last year, that 2008 was the worst commercial market since maybe 1974.  I would not argue with this.  Think about it:  three of the top products/services for ad agencies are banks, cars and other financial services – all of which were struck down in 2008/early 2009 by this recession.  This was confirmed when news struck that even the Super Bowl did not sell out advertising this year.  The good news is that the advertising industry tends to be one of the first ones to be negatively impacted by a recession, but one of the first to grow as the recession moves to an end as advertisers of products want to start accumulating market share before the turn of the economy.  Another impact relates to the overall conditions of the TV/FILM/PILOT situation.  Many strong actors have made enough money on TV/FILM, etc so that they have not had to do commercials in years.  Due to the last few years and the lack of work, many top actors are now back in the commercial market; thus again, causing a logjam in casting.  BOTTOM LINE:  The economic slowdown has caused a dramatic decrease in ad sales and the lack of work has caused more actors to re-enter the commercial market. 

Okay, so that is where we are today.  You know me, I try to always call it straight as I see it.  So, I am not going to sugar-coat this either.  I anticipate that 2009 will be a tough year overall for actors (and agencies).  First off, the economy will not likely get straightened out until at least the 3rd to 4th quarter of this year and so all the factors above will remain in place through most, if not all, of 2009.  Secondly, until the labor situation gets straightened out, we will not be seeing dramatic amount of film production, and this seems to be dragging along as well (as we enter the 8th month of the stalemate – it was announced today that SAG is thinking now about taking AMPTP to court for anti-trust violations).  But again, even if it was finalized, there is not enough investor money to see the film production level normalize and increase for most, if not all, of 2009.   Also, since movies cost around $40 for two (tickets, popcorn, etc) – this is not a recession proof field anymore.  During our last significant recession, there were few choices for guilty pleasures to get away from the stress of our times – so many people flocked to the theatres.  NOT SO THESE DAYS, one can go to the web, TV, cable (not around in 1974, 1982, 1988 much), Video Games, Netflix, RedBox (movie for a $1).  So studios are probably not in any big rush to make films – as people cannot afford this once cheap diversion – better to divert for a few bucks to all the many other sources of guilty pleasures.   OKAY, so that didn’t sound like good news…
The good news is that there are some paradigm shifts occurring that make 2010 -2012 look like it might be one of the most prolific times in Hollywood history.  Due to technological developments, there are more platforms being developed than ever.  The internet is driving millions of new viewers each year.  Zillion is going to transform the way we view advertising.  For those who don’t know, it has recently been unveiled by the maker of Real Player and the ‘mouse.’ It is a system that makes you watch ads before downloading movies (they already have 14,000 Titles ready for download), TV, other forms of entertainment to your TV Screen.  However, the consumer can choose the products they want to see (let’s say you go retail clothing and watch a Macy’s ad and love the jacket; you can immediately click on the ad/jacket and go directly to their website where you can buy it).  Also, you earn points by watching the commercials that you can use towards purchases.  Furthermore, SONY and others are now selling TVs that wirelessly connect to your computer, so you can download TV/FILMS at anytime from your computer (websites like Hula, Netflix, etc) directly to your TV.  In short, technology is making more platforms which will require more content than ever.  Also, Cablers are all embracing doing scripted shows, some have up to 5 shows this year… again, more content is needed and thus MORE ACTORS!
BOTTOM LINE:  More platforms = more content = more actors!  So as long as SAG/AFTRA can protect your rates and jurisdictional issues, there will be more good compensated work than ever in Hollywood by 2010-2012. 
I hope this email helps you understand the nature of the business, in both the paradigm shift that is occurring and the economic recession, and that you keep your expectations in check.  IN AM NOT GOING TO SUGAR-COAT this, 2009 will continue to be a challenging year, but we are IN THIS TOGETHER.  Remember, if you do not get paid, WE do not get paid.  And like you, we are having financial challenges as well (many significant agencies have gone under the last six months – ACME, DRAGON, etc – even talks of Endeavor merging with William Morris).  All of us at PTG are learning to love TOP RAMEN AND PEANUT BUTTER/JELLY sandwiches again!  BUT REMEMBER, you are all extremely talented actors and I truly BELIEVE IN YOU!  Which leads me to my last points:

    A.     PLEASE don’t think that you are alone right now. ALL actors are having trouble getting seen (I have spoken with many of my peers who are not having even the level of success we are right now in getting people out). 
    B.     If you are on my roster, YOU ARE NOT BEING FORGOTTEN! I am not that kind of agent.   I THINK OF YOU ALL EVERY DAY and submit/pitch/push like a son of a bitch for you ALL!  SO please don’t feel the need to email me about projects you have heard about or a breakdown you saw – I have seen it and acted on it, I assure you!  However, if you have a particular in on that project, that is different (I.E., the Producer is my best friend, or that CD Cast me before – However, this should already be in your narrative histories!)
    C.     HAVE HOPE and CONTINUE TO BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITIES.  You are all so freaking good, when times normalize and grow you will be productive… JUST HANG IN THERE – and keep your acting chops ups so when the opportunities come you are ready to roll!!!!
I welcome your thoughts on this email. 
James J. Jones
Owner/Head of Adult Theatrical Division
The Premier Talent Group                                      

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

There Was a Memo?

I was pretty excited for my commercial audition yesterday for Cars.com. I was sent out for the role of "gammar school teacher." So I drove allllll the way to Santa Monica (about 17 miles, or for those of you not familiar with traffic on interstate 405, 45 minutes) only to get to Ocean Park Casting and have the casting director ask the small group of women waiting to be seen, "Are any of you here for the role of the teacher?"
"Yes!" I smiled, quite scholarly.
"Your role has been canceled. A memo was sent out to all the agents."
"Oh no!" I took a quick look at the other ladies sitting next to me.
"Is there another role you can see me for?"
He thought for a quick sec and said, "Sure!"
So thanks Mike, I really appreciated that.
I asked the ladies what their wardrobe specs were, and they said, "1987 suburban housewife." So I unclipped my bangs back onto my forehead and fluffed up my hair, and then, at the audition, tucked in my invisible son, marveled at his intelligence, and looked at my husband, proud.

At least I was seen, but man. Bummer.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Waiting [Tables] for Your Big Break

Leading Lady LA and I share a few things in common. Guess what they are! Yes! We're both actresses, and we're both waiting tables. We are your standard Hollywood Cliches.

She recently wrote an article about what your servers really think when you dine out, and I'd like to add it:

90% of "nice waiters" are big fat fakers. Unless we find you attractive...we most likely dislike you on site, especially if you are needy. [This makes me laugh, or maybe I'm just naive, but for the most part, I like my tables right off. I'm looking for some people to laugh with, to entertain, so I'm nice and funny to you because I'm nice and funny. Now, LL might not have the room to jest and joke with her guests because her restaurant could be fine dining and she's not allowed to have any personality, so she doesn't get to enjoy it, but for the most part, if you're in my section, we will like each other. And yes, if you're extremely needy, (meaning tons of modifications on a simple item, where we have to go back to the kitchen to tell the chef in detail) we will not like you as much. But that goes for any worker anywhere.]

-We don't care if you have been coming for years and years. We HATE when you tell us you have been. We aren't impressed that you consider yourself a "regular"... We KNOW who regulars are the good and the bad. [Sounds like LL works in a fancy schmancy place in a fancy schmancy locale. She will come across a ton of entitled attitudes I don't ever have to deal with. The trade off: she probably earns waaaay more money than I do. But I probably have more fun at work.]

-We also know how you tip and serve you accordingly. [I hate that this makes her sound so calculating. I'm sure she gives excellent service no matter what.]

-People love to anticipate mistakes. "Can I have 2 waters" (because I think you will forget to refill my glass) Is a common and annoying one. [So once, while dining, my mom was going through water after water, and the waitress said, "My, are you thirsty!" I wanted to slap that waitress in the face. My mother is diabetic and has to drink a lot of water, so I always assume health reasons when a diner needs a lot of this, or none of the other. Also, in the service industry, anticipation of a guest's needs is the determining factor in whether or not a server is good at their job. For instance, if you order a diet coke or iced tea, I KNOW you will need refills. People who order these drink a lot of them. It's a rule of the trade. And I don't think people love to anticipate mistakes, I think people come to dinner wanting to have a good time, wanting to enjoy each other, and the food, etc. It also takes a seasoned server to gauge what the table wants; whether they're on a first date and don't want to be bothered, or if they're the type who loves chatting with their servers. I consider myself to be part of the entertainment, and I just have to figure out what type of show each table wants.]

-We talk about you...a lot. We bond over it. [So true. And if you see a random server helping you, or eyeing you, it means we told said server we thought you were hot.]

-Large tables ignore us and it creates a lot of work. When we come to the table and ask a question look up from your blackberry and answer...don't wait till I grab someone at your table a coffee and set it down to realize "oh I'd like one too".  [Large parties are indeed difficult, and this is why gratuities are automatically put on the bill for them. I dealt with a party of 32 yesterday, who all came in at different times, had 8 separate checks, multiple forms of payment, and even switched seats during the middle of dinner. What people who don't know the service industry and how it's run is this: As a server, I label what table and seat you're sitting at. When you move, I have to tell the expo and food runners that you moved, because now all the tickets are labeled wrong. and then I have to have a manager help me transfer check numbers and move food around, which is incredibly time consuming. And yes, the larger the party, the more we're ignored. And seriously, when a server is at your table, STOP TEXTING. I've come up with, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'll come back when you're ready." That usually makes them put it away because they really do want to order something. But yeah, we really need some cell phone etiquette guide to be taught in schools now.]

-Old people LOVE decaf...and NEVER believe you actually gave them decaf. [Yes, old people love decaf, usually because they're on some type of medication. And yes, they'll double check, and I don't blame them one bit. I would too. And when I order decaf on rare occasions, I do the same thing. ]

-The Managers know if you suck and pretend to listen with concern to your complaint. They don't care if you kiss their ass, because they hear from the waiters what you are really like. [Bottom line for managers: make the guests happy to guarantee repeat business. They will listen to their complaints, because 9 times out of 10, they are hugely valid. But managers DO get both sides of the story, and managers are always on the server's side. And a lot of the times, the issue isn't with the server, but with their food, which is a kitchen matter. I have worked with some awesome managers, and they are always the ones who have started in the business at a young age, and have done every job from dishwashing to line cooking, to serving, to bartending. They know how to make the guests AND the server happy.]

-We give you nicknames. [LL must work somewhere that has a ton of repeat business. I've never done this.]

-If you really piss your waiter off...we team up on you and find a way to retaliate. IE: ignore you, overcharge you, give you the smallest crustiest piece of complimentary bread. [You know that movie "Waiting"? I refused to watch it when it came out because I knew it would be disgusting, and I didn't want to think that those types of things really happened. And I don't believe they do. Or at least, I have never worked in those types of establishments. I've had some people majorly piss me off, and I've had others who've made me cry, but I've also had people offer to help me in my creative endeavors and ask me when I'm working next because they only want to sit in my section. It's a balance. And I've even had one fellow server say, "It's not brain surgery," which is true, it's not, but I still take my job very seriously.]

-Don't hand me and unidentified gross object wrapped in a napkin. Nothing makes us more livid. [Or put your gum on the actual plate. Come on!]

-Customers love to talk to us like we are idiots. Please remember that in LA chances are your server is college educated. 75% of the people I worked with went to college. One even had his masters...we are in it because you can make a lot of money in a little time...so we can act, write, sing, dance on the side. [Oh, it's true, sometimes we get that, and LL makes a hugely wonderful point: We ALL have college educations. Or we're still in school. I worked with a woman who was getting her masters in child psychology and had a small business on the side of brewing and distributing her own organic chai tea. And with the economic downturn, there are even more people vying for waiting jobs, so you're pretty much getting the cream of the crop when you go out. It's fun to subtly point out that you're being a jerk, especially if you're a dude. I had one person insult me so unbelievably, that I said, "Sir, I understand that I'm your server and only make minimum wage, but I'm actually an intelligent person." Oh man! That was awesome! He immediately apologized and was the NICEST guy after that. And then there's the story of JenniPatti who once worked at a tapas restaurant with me back in the day, was talking to one table when a guy at the next table, snapped his fingers to get her attention. Keep in mind, she was in the middle of explaining the menu to one of her guests at the other table, so she politely excused herself, turned to the finger snapper and said, "Sir, I'll be able to hear you better if you clap your hands at me." then she turned her back to him and continued with her earlier conversation. BRILLIANT! You'd be surprised at the behavior of some people. It's like they forget their server is a fellow human being. Because if their server ran into them in the middle of the street and told them, hey, remember that time you said this, and did this to me last week? They'd be so embarrassed. Sure, we serve food and a lot of people think it's a job that requires no skill, but oh, man, it is multi-tasking to the nth degree.

In fact, when I become president, I'm going to change not only the US but also the world. Everyone has to start as a dishwasher at 12 as part of your schooling, and you slowly make your way to a general manager by the time you graduate high school. I guarantee you world peace because everyone will have a place of empathy for their fellow man. 

But until I'm serving my term, I'm serving my tables. And if you like jokes and honesty, come sit in my section. If you're a fellow server, check out  bitter waitress.  for hilarious war stories and the like.

So, here you go, thanks for coming in, see you soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Gifts for Your Struggling Actor

Yay! Black Friday is coming and it's time to go shopping! Hooray!
But oh, what DO you give the struggling actor on your Holiday list? Well, here's some ideas:

When I graduated college, my Aunt (also married to an actor) bought me a beautiful horseshoe necklace for good luck for my auditions. Anything good luck related is fun. Horseshoes, wishbones, four leaf clovers, anything! It's a sweet thought. But take a look at this! Gold crutches! To always remind your actor to break his/her leg!

So cute!

Some of your actor buddies probably already have a smart phone. Lucky them! An iPhone or iPod Touch is a great tool for an actor to have because they can upload their headshots and reels to their smart device and always have their work with them to show off to potential employers, agents, managers, etc. etc. Plus, having googlemaps on their phone to help them GET to their auditions is also extremely helpful.

Every actress's face is a canvas! Help her get the looks she wants by going to Sephora and getting her a gift card. Yay! Makeup!

Now help her take it off with Albolene! This is my favorite makeup remover because I don't have to use water and mess up my sink and shirt. I'm messy so I love this because I smooth it on and tissue off! That's it! I bought mine at Cinema Secrets in Toluca Lake, but you can also buy it at pretty much any drugstore, like Long's, Wal-greens, CVS, etc. And it will last her several years.

Your beloved actor is going from audition to audition and sure needs help buying gasoline! How about a prepaid gas card? My dad, instead of commemorating my college degree in pretend with a watch I didn't want, instead gave me TWO years free gasoline. That was an amazing gift. And still is.

Are you a techno geek? Give your actor lessons in computer programs! Basic editing skills in FinalCut or PhotoShop will make your actor flip out with how cool you are. If you want to feed your actor for a lifetime, help them cultivate skills that they can use to help their own and their friends' careers. Actors are always creative in other elements as well. Lessons in this stuff are great.

And let's not forget giftcards to Target, Forever21, and those lovely Amex/Visa/Mastercard giftcards! (Love those.)

And a giftcard to any cafe, such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean, etc is always fantastic, as we always seem to catch up with peers, meet managers, and write our screenplays there.

And my lovely actor friends, what's on YOUR wish list? What could you really use?

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Was sent out for a non-union audition this Saturday morning at 10am. (that's a double Grr. 1. It's saturday. auditions should only be mon-fri. and they are if they pay well. 2. under compensation it didn't list an amount. it simply said, "generous." How much, people? I want to know exactly!)

Here's the role:
 ELECTRONICS is looking for great women to be the face of their product. WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR AN ACTRESS THAT PLAYS THE PART BUT RATHER - she should have a legitimate passion and desire to discuss and teach others about technology. She must be warm, funny and engaging with tech and mobile phone savvy. THIS STARTS AS AN INTERNET PROJECT ONLY - can possibly go onto other media.

Well, guess who knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about technology? My phone is a dumbphone! There's no email! No nothing! I'm lucky I can even text with the darn thing.

So they ask me questions like, "Describe how you use technology."
I push buttons to get what I want.

"Describe 3G."
The Star Trek of our youth is here.

I mean, come on! If something is wrong with my computer, I don't know how to fix it!!! I pout and use a high pitched helpless girl voice to have SOMEONE ELSE FIX IT FOR ME.
If you asked me how a dimmer works, I don't go on and on about the gating principal*! I say, "you just slide the button down on the switch."

So in the middle of me bullshitting the best to my abilities and failing terribly at it, I think to myself, you might as well say you don't know the science behind it, but you can describe it and sell it to the everygirl and everyboy.

But I didn't say that, because, it bears repeating on the breakdown: WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR AN ACTRESS THAT PLAYS THE PART BUT RATHER - she should have a legitimate passion and desire to discuss and teach others about technology.

Yeah. I have probably never felt more idiotic, have never rambled on for so long in my life, and god bless the casting director, but she was nice enough to tell me that callbacks won't be until after the holiday.

Lady, I appreciate you telling me that, but we both know I capital F ailed  that, so you didn't have to bother in order to make me feel better.


* I think it's called the gating principle. I can't remember. Tech theatre and Prof Dedoes was like (hack, cough!) over 12 months ago.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Things

So I didn't get the callback for the Thing I Wasn't Allowed to Talk About. That's okay! I had an audition for one of its competitors yesterday, so there! I also have an audition tomorrow for a furniture store, and another for a cell phone company on Saturday. One week and four auditions. Not too shabby, agents! Thanks and rock on!

In happy news, I was FINALLY able to hang out with my darling Phoenix and the Boys Whom We Adore last night. I made cookies (Target's Market Pantry break and bake recipe) and our Boys talked Nerd to one another for five minutes straight regarding Star Wars vs Star Trek, and I think we both swooned a little from hearing them talk about plot points, science elements and the like, but Phoenix and I are dorks through and through, so it makes sense.
The best part though, was meeting this boy she adores. What's weird is that the two of them together just MAKE sense more than so many other couples I know.
These two. Make. Sense.

I'm drinking Silk Pumpkin Spice soy milk, heated up in mug. It's like a soy pumpkin steamer. Delicious! And caffeine free. It's night time, so that's a good thing.

I shared a pomegranate today and eating the seeds reminded me of Senior Year with JenniPatti, where we also split one of these seemingly extraterrestrial fruits and spat the seeds over our third floor balcony. We kept trying to out spit the other. And although my memory is hazy, she probably won, only because she's a beer and martini drinking kinda gal, and that just makes sense, doesn't it?

I am listening to the wonderful downbeat electronica that is my Awesome channel on Pandora.com

I'm relaxed.

I'm happy.

My bills so far, are paid, and I think I'm going to have enough this month to not develop another gray hair.

I lit my vanilla buttercream scented candle.

I wrote another page for my book about my mom.

All my contacts in my phone and palm pilot are in my Mac address book.

I made zucchini for dinner and it tasted good!

I am happy. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Calling It.

Oh Dear Ones,

The Project I Couldn't Talk About has callbacks tomorrow, and alas, it is 5:11 and I have not been notified that I have been invited back.

Uncross your fingers. I'm calling it. No Callback.

Sad emoticon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shh! I Can't Talk About It!

Had an audition on Monday morning for a commercial I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement for. So I won't tell you what the product is, but I can still tell you what happened.

I had to look like I was 30 and capable of having two small children. And kinda fashionable, I think. I wasn't sure.

This was my first SAG audition where I had lines! I was so excited! I had four rather long lines detailing the product. I made sure to punch up the features, and nod to where I would pretend for them to be. I was prepared! I was ready!

I got to the audition and the casting director says, "Guys, they really want you to improv everything. Don't stick to the script at all. Be funnier than what's on the page."

It wasn't a full on panic attack, but my heart did quicken.

IMPROV?! I suck at improv! Or at least, I claim to, because there's a whole bunch of rules in improv that I don't know, and whenever I watch my friend Eric perform, I'm always so proud of what he does, because I could never in my life think up the stuff he does and am too terrified to try. I always need time to think about stuff beforehand.

I had three minutes.

I came up with my stuff, was called in, and did my audition.

They laughed. So, that was good.

Then the director said, "That was great. Can you do it again, but different?"

Okay, I have no idea what the hell that means. And I've done auditions before where I just nod stupidly and do what I THINK they meant, but it never is. And I've learned that it's okay to sound like an idiot and ask questions about what they specifically want, because if I don't, I won't know what they want, and I won't give it to them. And then I don't book. Or get called back.

So I asked, and I sounded stupid because I said, okay, I did it like this, but do you want it like this, or like this (not being able to write about it specifically is a little challenging, no?)? And the director responded with, "I'm sorry, I'm not directing well." Which I hated, because even though I'm sure he meant it, all I heard was "You're an idiot so I'm going to disparage me so you feel better about yourself." because yes, even this struggling actress can be ragingly insecure.

I'll paraphrase what he said next, by saying that he wanted the same character I was doing, but different improv'ed words.

Ooooooh! I get it!

My second one wasn't as strong as my first because I was caught off guard at having to come up with new stuff on the spot, but still went well. The casting director complimented me, saying I was very talented. (me?! thank you1!) and that I was also the best dressed they had seen all morning.

Sure, it was only 45 minutes into their day of auditioning, but that felt awesome!

Callbacks are on the 19th.  It's not for just one commercial, but possibly up to 3...

Please, please keep your fingers crossed for me. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Orange You Glad You Went To Chapman?

I love booking from headshots! I really do! It's so simple! I click "submit," and then I get a call saying, "Yes! We want to pay you! We can tell we love you just from your photo!"
And I always think the same thing: "Thank you Photoshop CS3!"

I booked a Hair Care gig that shoots aaaaall the way in Orange, (at roughly 36 miles, it is sometimes a 2 hour drive.) But I got my major in pretend in Orange, so I actually love going there because I drive down Katella, or Tustin, or heck, Shoppertainment, and I am flooded with memories. Like:

There's my old job at the Ugly Mug!
There's that cuban restaurant Eric would take me to!

There's the do-it-yourself car wash where Jen and I would speed wash her car!

It's fun to go back and relive my college days. (which were like, cough, cough, only a year ago, hack!) I made a lot of great friends there. I grew a lot there. I discovered a lot about life and love there. And I'm especially thankful for my senior year there. I was in love and surrounded and supported by dear, dear friends.

And I still am. And it's funny sometimes that it takes me a direct headshot booking to remember that.

Thank you, friends. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Slight Girl Crush

One of the fun things about working in a restaurant is you are always surrounded by other actors. And some of them turn out to be incredibly fascinating.

Take for instance, Michael. His last theatre gig was at the Pantages. The Pantages! He had offered this tidbit of information right before I said that I hate Shakespeare. So, you know, crickets. I think he had even stopped talking to me at that point...

Go ahead, judge me. Every one does. But it's okay. All the Shakespeare I've seen has just been godawful. Archaic language that no one even understands anymore (you can't blindly go in to a Shakespearean play and expect to follow without having your brows furrowed. Polar Bear, please don't hate! ) And if you do a Billy S comedy, the physical humor has to be so incredibly exaggerated, just so we know we're supposed to be laughing. Ick. No thanks.

At any rate, a coworker found me on FB and then asked everyone to go over her new website. I clicked on it, and wow.

First off, Jamie Dix is sweet as sweet can be, and is actually really smart. Two qualities I absolutely adore in people. She's done theatre here in LA! She sings! She acts! She produces! She has awesome pictures! Her website is fun!

I told her I had a slight girly crush on her. ...I think I might've scared her. I should really use something else to describe that I only want to know more about what she's done, and where she is here in life.  I bet I could learn a few things from her. I want to sit with her over coffee. I want to go over her production notes. I want her to come with us to karaoke so I can listen to her sing.

New interesting people are fun!

I'm excited to learn more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trying to Stay Positive

Spoke to two other actor friends last night who are also looking for theatrical representation and also unsuccessful. Sigh. Anyone want to recommend one? I'm running out of ideas. I had even posted a blurb on Facebook, looking for love/hate stories about people's agents, but I forget that not everyone is an actor, as two out of the three people who replied griped about their real estate agent.

I didn't talk much about the day on set of "Post Partum Depression." It was a lot of costume changes, I remember that. But most of the day was spent changing clothes and crying while holding a fake baby. This is what I got a degree in pretend for, folks! I was great. And we finished right on time. Because we were going so fast, I again, didn't ask anyone to take my photo, which is such a bummer. Ah, well.

Have a non-union audition tomorrow for Overstock.com. Should be fun! Especially since, I kid you not, I am going for a "pregnant young mom." What is it about my headshots that scream Festering Child In Womb? I rush off from work and zoom over there. I have to look "hip and trendy," which I am not, and always takes me forever to figure out how I can do that based on my wardrobe. I am so not hip and trendy.

I also am phasing out my dell laptop for a Mac mini desktop computer. Instead of writing everything on my couch, I'm now on a desk! I've had a few hiccups trying to figure things out, like, my transferred docs not saving (restarting the computer fixed that) but now it's not printing. I'm not frustrated, not yet, but if this is what life is going to be like for the next week, I'm going to scream.

Also, I see that Pages has a screenwriting template, but so far as I know, the keyboard shortcuts are not at all like Final Draft, and that is making me very sad.

But gosh darn it, I am trying to stay positive!

I might go sing my troubles away with Glow tonight. And that thought makes me happy. And cookies with Phoenix and the Boys Whom We Adore is gonna happen one of these days. Our opposing schedules almost seem to be at war with one another. Truce, Tracy! Truce!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Agent?

I just got new headshots printed to 8x10's, and I was thinking about all the postage I'd have to spend when doing a submission and my head started spinning.

I happened to be at an audition that was right next door to Orion Barnes Talent Agency, and noticed on their door that they take drop off submissions. Hell's yeah!

So, make it easy on yourself, attach your resume and headshot and leave your submission to Orion Barnes or Tony Ferrar at:

13731Ventura Blvd.
Ste. D
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

The door is small, but once you go up the flight of steep stairs, you'll see a box with "Orion Talent Submissions," on the left and plunk down your headshot.

If you know of any other places that allows drop offs, please email me at lirakellerman
@yahoo.com so we can share the love!

As always, good luck!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Open Letter to the CoWorker Who Stole $80 From My Purse

Dear Fellow CoWorker:

Okay, yes, at first I was angry, because hey! That's MY money! And I need that money! That's why I had it in the first place. I worked hard to get it, and allow myself only a certain amount of cash on me as an allowance to myself.

But I get it. Times are really frikkin hard right now. This is probably not your only job. You probably do not have any days off. You probably work more than 12 hours a day all week just to survive. You most likely have a child or two, and you are praying to God that you or them do not get sick because you have no health insurance, that you can't afford the time off to care for them, and cannot afford to not work as much and as hard as you do.

You might have family elsewhere who are even worse off than you are. You might have maxed out all your credit cards. You must be at your wits end. Because you went into the locker room, opened the lockers, found my purse, took it out, found my wallet, opened it and took the cash all with the door open and in plain view of anyone who walked into the dish station, which is all the time. You could've been caught red handed, but you risked all this because you probably do not have any other choice right now.

I'm sure this makes you feel tremendous guilt, that if you only had more money, you wouldn't have to do this. I understand how you feel. I'm having a bit of a financial crisis myself.

But I do have enough room on my credit card to buy a lock. I hope you understand.

All the best,

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Actor's Car Checklist

At my callback today, New Actor from our first audition was also there! Hello, I said to him. Hello, he said back. Hey, he continued, Can I borrow some change for the meter?

So here is your Actor Car Checklist!

1) Small notebook to log your miles, gas, car maintenence, parking meters, meals, and gifts for every audition you go on. Go to an audition 10 miles away and bought a caramel frapp for $3.50? Keep track! It's tax deductable!
2) Pens. You'd be surprised how your car is actually your office.
3) Change. For Meters. Lots of change.
4) Extra headshots/resumes. Cause you never know. Stick a few business cards in there. A dvd of your reel and some headshots on there too. YOU NEVER KNOW.
5) Thomas Guide. Unless you have a Navigator, or a Smartphone.
6) Ladies - some Lady items. You know what I'm saying.
7) Dance music to groove to when you rock out an awesome audition.
8) Food. Be it crackers, frosted mini-wheats, or pop-tarts, because sometimes you get hungry.
9) Water. Staying hydrated is awesome!
10) Window shades. Cause it's November and it's 80 degrees. Keep em in there year round.
11) Mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, lip gloss, tissues. Because sometimes you'll have a gig for a union show and they WON'T TELL YOU TO COME CAMERA READY. Happened to me, so now I always carry it with me.
12) napkins/tissues/wetnaps. Cause fingers get messy
13) anti bacterial stuff.

And that's about it. I think. Am I missing anything?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Babies Babies Babies!

Having given birth on Twins By Surprise for the Discovery Health channel, I was pretty excited about my "Untitled Post Partum Series," shoot on Friday, because I knew it meant I would get to hold a BABY!

That sound you hear in the background is indeed the tick tocking of my internal clock, and wow, what a hard day of shooting because as soon as I was done with the giving birth part of the shoot, the director told me that the nurses would put the real live baby on my stomach and that I was not to look at him. To not interract with him. To completely ignore adorable 5 week old Gavin who was crying and screaming because he was naked and smeared with cream cheese and jelly to look like he just shot out of my birth canal. The poor thing! And to ignore him!?
HARDEST ACTING JOB OF MY LIFE! All I wanted to do was hold the poor thing and coo at him that it was okay, that he was fine, and to put a blanket around him and make him warm.


Sure, I'm only 22 (cough, cough) but gosh, I am really feeling the need to take care of something that is helpless and who needs me. And I should not be feeling this way because I can't even keep a plant alive, so really, I am totally hopeless and should probably never have children....but.....but...

I'm not sure I will ever have children. I am pretty confident I would like one, preferably two, but having a family when I can barely afford new headshots is incredibly disheartening for a struggling actress. Will I always be struggling? Possibly. And now, yes, I might sacrifice a family for my career, but 8 years from now, when I'm 30 (hack! cough! cough!) will I still feel the same way? Ugh. It breaks my heart sometimes to think about it. I could be a struggling actress for the rest of my life, never making enough to properly raise a child in good conscience.

Until then, I will continue to book recreated events shows where I get to pretend to have children, and envy my sister who has 2 kids, who in turn, envies my life sometimes because to her, I'm still "free."

The grass is always greener.

At any rate, I went home after the shoot and came home to discover I got a call back for the Match.com commercial. Hooray! Is there any feeling awesomer than ending a day of filming with finding out you have a callback? Well, okay, yes, it would've been if I had booked it, but whatever, I'll take it! Yeehaw!

I was feeling great that night, happy, successful. At peace.

Then I went to bed and dreamt I had my own baby and was nursing him.


Happy Halloween

Hair and Makeup by DeeDee Kelly, Photograph, Patrick McKenzie,

Photo Manipulation Anthony Diecidue