"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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ah, Weddings

When most women are invited to participate in a bridal party, they accept graciously that they are going to have to buy a dress they will never wear again.

Not me! I LOVE bridal dresses! Because two words scream at me after I get my dress in it's plastic wrapped glory: FASHION SHOOTS!

Wearing upscale dresses on fashion shoots are riots of fun. You can do a lot of editorial shots in them. For instance, stand among the homeless in your shimmery Alfred Angelo. See? Think about what you'd be saying with that!

So yeah, fun fashion shoots are in my head that I'll probably go out and finish next month.

As for Antne's sister's wedding, oh man, everything was beautiful! It really was. So beautiful, in fact, that Antne has declared a moratorium on anything marital related. Apparently, he got really sick and tired of me saying, "hey! we could do this too!" or "Hey, wouldn't this be nice for our wedding?" So now I can't talk about it.

Did I mention his family loved me? Struggling actresses depend on other people's thoughts of them to validate their own existance. Sad, but true. I picked up enough Italian to say basic things like, "I like spaghetti!" and "He in bathroom!" and even "I want ring. Where is ring mine?" Plus, every morning, I would yell out, "BUON GIORNO!" because Italians are a loud group of people. They really are. I even explained to the 17 year old in broken Italian that "at my house, at the table, one says quietly, but at the table here, on says loudly. I like table here!" Not bad, right?


Antne told me just the other day that his family was pressuring him to buy a small promise ring for me. More for them to witness it, I guess, than for Antne to really promise anything to me. He told me that he had explained to them already that he knew I was it for him, and that he thought a promise ring would be an insult to me. And I agree. Have you seen those things? Unless you're in high school, they're an embarassment to both parties. It's like, wow! You saved up your allowance for four weeks! Our love is awesome and totally going to last, and we'll show all our stupid parents!

At any rate.

While we were gone, our beloved asthmatic mouse, Fidget, passed away to the big wheel in the sky, up there in heaven to meet the Big Cheese himself. She is missed. Our other mouse, Fatty, who seriously, is FAT, was all alone the last few days of our trip. Our friends P-Winkle and Glow called us with the news that Fidget was no more, and I felt more awful for them for having to dispose of her. But that's how you know you have good friends.
And if it wasn't for them, we probably would've guessed that Fidget was gone because Fatty ate her.

So yesterday, while I was in a production meeting, Antne took it upon hismself to add to our little family.

Twitch and Chip are extremely cute. But Twitch, like Fidget, twitches with what we guess is asthma, and Chip has a stripe down her face that makes her look like a little chipmunk. And they are very tiny. Twitch has gotten through the slats of the cage, (just like Fidget!) and has sat atop there, cleaning herself and enjoying the view. And they're brave! They hop into our hand and climb up our arms.

So if you're ever in a mood to hold cute little animals who will only poop once or twice on you, come on over!

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Named Him "Economy"

This is my new best friend! I found him on my neck, during our non-stop flight from Newark NJ to LA, CA.

I was massaging my head, playing with my hair, and then I felt something small and hard tangled in my hair. I thought it was candy. Oh no! I thought, I must have slept on some bit of confetti, one of those Jordan almond candies that are everywhere in Italian weddings. I grabbed hold of it, pulled it through and when I looked at the almond piece and saw that it had moving legs, I promptly threw it away from me. I am going to go ahead and give myself mad props for not screaming. Especially since the other guy in our aisle was alseep. You're welcome friendly sleepy airplane comrade.

I was in the window seat. And I thought, aw cripes. I had my sweater over my legs and was suddenly worried that that bug was now burrowing in my sweater, and that I was going to take it home with me.

I checked my sweater, then pushed on my individual light, opened the window to let in even more light, and searched the carpet.

I found Economy! He was burrowing in the carpet and I did some more quick thinking - some improvising a struggling actress might say. I had the complimentary individually wrapped blanket at my feet, so I tore it open, and used the plastic to grab the little fucker and picked him up and trapped him! Then I tied a knot into the bag, sealing him in.

I looked at my pet. My new BFF. He had 8 legs and was still squirming, probably angry that his fantasies of living in my hair unbeknownst to anyone, and creating a gated community of upscale condominiums near really great schools, was, ahem, squashed.

I buzzed a flight attendant.

"Um, hi, I caught this, and I don't know if it rode in on me or if it was already on my seat, but here, you can, uh, have this."
She reacted the same way I would have. Scrutinizing it and thinking, hmmm. "Oookay," she said. And she left. To show it to all her co-workers, "Bitch from 21 A is carrying vermin in her hair! Check it!"

She came back, "Were you anywhere, um, else, before embarking?"
"Just New Jersey." I said.

But I guess that was enough.

Economy is a brown dog tick, and Economy was sucking me dry. I have a small bite on my neck, but luckily, no Lyme disease just yet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Bond w/an 8 yr old Italian Girl Who Speaks No English

For some reason, "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" are universal. And god bless them! Beatrice might not understand a word of what she's singing, but she's incredibly cute doing that Hillbilly Hoedown or whatever it's called dance that Miley Cyrus did in her last movie. My, how we've bonded.

It's total immersion Italian. And since I've studied both French and Spanish, I can get the gist of most of what they're saying. Especially when it involves the Italian word for "ring" with lots of pointing and yelling at Antne to get on the ball. "quattro anni en novembre" is how long we've been together. And then they yell some more at him. It's fun!

They also have complimented my "accento." They said mine is better than Antne's, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it's because I'm an actress and think I have an ear for accents. You should hear me do my stereotypical Jewish grandmother accent. It's great, cause I actually had a SJG, with the sequined sweaters and the bright orange lipstick and rose colored glasses. Linda Richman was a real person.

At any rate, PA is incredibly different from LA: The sky is blue, the trees are green, there are no palm trees or beaches, and no one has anorexia. It's a whole 'nother world!

We only have internet access at the Starbucks in Stoudsburg, a good 15-20 minutes away from Antne's parents. Can you believe having to drive 20 minutes for a caramel frappoccino?! I never realized I was so spoiled!

I have my computer with me this trip, which is nice. I showed Beatrice my reel. "Sono una actrice," I said, and showed her. Antne wants me to show the entire family my reel and headshots/modeling photos but I think it's way more impressive when the world is filled with infinite possibilities and Zac Efron dubbed in Italiano.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Te Amo Santa Monica

In order to really gel in Santa Monica, one has to be hipper than me. I am not cool/hip enough to live there, but man, it's a beautiful town. Right on the beach! The fog rolls in every morning, sometimes staying all day, and the hippies and the hip wear their hemp anoraks and bring their lunch in a reusable tote every time they leave home. And they get their hair done at the Tony and Guy Salon, cause those people get it.

See, even if I don't get it, I can get people who do, do my hair.

When I worked a hair show a few years ago, I was picked by Tony&Guy to model their "curls rock" hair product. The coordinator told me that anytime I wanted to get my look updated, to please call her to schedule a free cut and color. Woo Hoo!

So I got up all early morning today and had them work their magic. And I look fierce! Yay!

I also have some news:
I'm going to be gone, my friends, to my guy's sister's wedding, and we will be in PA/NJ for ten incredibly days. I am trying to improve my basic, basic Italian. I actually love languages (studied French for four years, and picked up enough conversational Spanish to impress), and I found this really nifty web translator that let's you type in the phrase you want translated, translates it into the language of your choice (there's like, 27), and then translates the foreign language BACK into English, to make sure you are getting exactly what you wanted. I'm putting together a little Italian phrasebook, since his family from the old country is coming to see the nuptuals take place. (For instance, Italian cousin Beatrice is pronounced: Bee-a-tree-chay. I'm gonna need all the help I can get.) I hope to get on their good sides. I've created such gems as:

Ho un vocabolario di un bambino di due anni. (I have a vocabulary of a two year old.)

Mi piace parlare italiano! (I love speaking Italian!)

Mi รจ stato detto di non parlare di mafia (I was told not to talk about the mafia.)

Ho offendere te? (Did I offend you?)

Anthony mi ha detto che si aveva un senso dell 'umorismo. (Anthony told me you had a sense of humor.)

Si prega di non uccidermi. (Please do not kill me.)

You know, fun things to help them like me.

In other news, remember when I mentioned I was being asked to speak to a workshop about taking great headshots? I'm having a production meeting regarding that tomorrow. I've been working on my Powerpoint presentation for it the last couple of days. It sure does take a while to dredge up program commands when I haven't used the software for seven years. Even so, man! I LOVE audio/visual aids! Especially visual, cause you can't exactly hear a headshot. Unless it's screaming "Awful!"

See how tired I am? I thought that last bit was funny enough to keep in.

But yeah, I left the Tony&Guy salon looking like I lived in Santa Monica. See? It all makes sense.

good night everybody!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Need To Visit More Often

The other day, I returned a few phone calls. One was to my sister, the other was to one of my best friends, who I picked as a sister at 15. I love these two girls very, very much.

And they both live far, far away. My sister lives 5 hours away in the same town MC Hammer went bankrupt in, and my BFF lives in a town that's about 6 hours away, but, as she said, an hour away from anything interesting, like San Francisco, Sacramento, or a mall. And it was pointed out to me that I do not visit enough. And it's true, I don't. But this especially hit home, when I asked to speak to my niece, and when my sister asked her if she wanted to speak to me, my niece said no. So then my sister said, "It's Auntie Lauren," trying to trick a five year old to get her to speak to an aunt she sees way more of, and therefore, likes a lot better. Which I thought was just an awful idea. If my neice doesn't care enough to talk to me now, imagine how angry she'd be with me when she found out it was ME instead of her favorite aunt. So, boo to my sister. (I guess it should be noted that my niece still did not get on the phone, probably already aware of parental trickery. It wasn't until 5 minutes later that she did get on the phone to speak with me.)

My best friend lovingly asked me when I was moving back home so that she could just call me up to go grab coffee.

"I'm never moving back home!" I whined. LA, in all its smoggy glory, is my home. Not northern California, which trust me, I miss, cause one can actually breathe and the whole attitude about life is so different up there. And I told her not to ever ask me that question.
"Why not?"
"Because moving home makes me feel like I failed."

Ugh. Why is that?

I have another friend who moved near St Louis, who also felt like it was a failure on her part, because she was moving back to the MidWest where she came from. "But you're not failing in anything," I told her, "You're just moving to a smaller pond where you'll be a huge LA fish, and everyone will want to work with you!"
And I predicted the future, because she just checked in with me recently and told me that she's booked more work in the last six months than she did in her entire 8 years in LA. She is an LA experienced actor in a very small market, and is extremely happy there.

If I moved back home, (really, I'd have to move to San Francisco) I'd have to learn the entire city, get my bearings, and try and figure out where to start, and starting at zero is hugely terrifying.

So don't ask me when I'm moving back home, even though I know you're saying it because you love and miss me.

Ask me when I'm buying my second house there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

If Only It Was That Easy, Honey

I love Craig's List! Below is an actual ad. I kept all the spelling errors for your viewing pleasure.


Former Beauty Queen and now Upcomming Starlet/Actress seeking male sponsor to sponsor marketing materials and emergency rent assistance. This is also a great way to write-off on Taxes. Please, Professionalizing is required. Submit photo by e-mail if available and contact info. and a brief description why you would make a good candidate. Additional information regarding sponsor and representation of Actress will be given upon reciept of your e-mail. I look forward to hear from you! Thank you!

Free Stuff!

I'm going to a free seminar this Saturday, for

"The Business & Marketing Tips & Tools you NEED to THRUST your performing career in the RIGHT DIRECTION!"

It's a long infomercial for Holden Log, but they said there's going to be door prizes, and if there's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's free shit! AND I'm going with my good friend Phoenix, and even though I know that we'll both want to sit in the front row because, a) we're short and b) we were A students in school, and that's where we always sit, but I'm going to bring a few notebooks so we can be all middle schooley and write notes to each other! Fun, right?! We just can't be doing that in the front row cause, you know what, it's kind of rude. But I'm excited about this seminar. I wonder if they're going to have a video, or a powerpoint! I am so nerding out about this.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Biggest Loser

We just finished our queue of Biggest Losers from our DVR. I freaking LOVE that show. I hate how it's two hours, but man, there's so much great drama in that program. My favorite part these last few episodes is when they did Makeover week (1. I'm a girl. I LOVE makeovers. 2. Tim Gunn!) and the remaining contestants went to Macy's and they got to wear clothes. Not sheets sewn together, but clothes that hug their bodies, and show off their curves instead of covering them, and to see these people look at their reflections and almost not beleive it's them...it gets me. And then the show had brought in their spouses, who they haven't seen for something like almost 4 months, and some of the contestants have lost over 100 pounds. To see their loved ones' reactions is just so amazing to me; I cried EVERY time. Because the beautiful person inside is showing up on the outside, and the spouses get to think, wow! I'm going to be able to spend at least 10-15 more years with my best friend because they're getting healthy.

But one contestant, Kristin, just broke my heart. She was the fattest female contestant on the show ever and she was in the final 6 and she finally admitted to herself that she could win. And not only that, but that she WANTED to win! And she started crying - admitting to herself that she never let herself think that she could win the show because if she admitted to wanting something she would then suddenly jinx herself and would therefore not get it.

I looked at her on my tv and agreed, "Tell me about it."

Being a struggling actress is difficult. Even if we tell, let's say, our parents, about our auditions, they always get so excited for us, and they'll call asking how it went. "Honey! How did it go!?" they'll squeal into the telephone, requiring a struggling actress to hold her phone three feet out or risk deafness. And you have to calm them down. "It was a commercial audition, they saw me for 30 seconds, they're auditioning 1,000 people for the same role, it went." And we learn to never tell our parents about auditions. And that's heartbreaking, because, well, I really want to involve my family. But if you're not in show business, you don't know how hard it is. Everything seems so easy. "Do shampoo commercials!" my gradmother always decreed. I wish it was so simple. I wish I COULD just "do" shampoo commercials.

So when we audition for something, and get called back for it, and there's still so much going on behind the scenes that we don't know about, it's almost terrifying to admit to our family and friends, that "Yes! I really want this! I really, really want this!" Because if we don't get it, (how I wish 2nd place meant something in the biz) it's a huge letdown not only to ourselves, but now our whole social network.
"Did you get the part?"
"No, maybe next time."
"Hey, did you get the part?!"
"You would've been the first to know."
"Your mom told me you were up for a huge part! Did you get it!?"
"Nope. Still a little bummed about it."
"Hey girl! You totally got that part, didn't you!??"

We struggling actresses get to feel like Kristin from The Biggest Loser a couple of times a month; we get to that point where if we admit we want it, we won't get it. And sure enough, that was the episode where Kristin vot voted off.

Sure, you've heard of actors botching a callback and then booking it, but more likely, you've heard of actors completely rocking out an audition, rocking out their callback, rocking out their producer callbacks, and then not getting it. At least, I've heard of that.

I've lived it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Well, That Happened

Back now. Whee.

Had about 2 1/2 hours sleep. Too nervous to fully embrace REM. Boy, am I tired. Maybe it's not zen I'm feeling, but exhaustion.

Here's what went down:

Got into the waiting room and the other girls who were also reading for Grace ran the gamut in the looks department. We had Blond Grace in a cocktail dress there, Hippie Grace with the diaphanous baby doll and boots there, Casual Grace in jeans and a tee over there, and me: Desperate Please Pick Me Grace.

I was having a bit of trouble connecting to the pieces when I worked on my sides last night. I mean, t he concept of the film is incredibly beautiful, and maybe it was because it was 1am and I was sleepy, but I tried some other tricks up my sleeve to try and connect and yay, I did it, so I went to bed at about 2 am. Tossed and turned. Oh look, 3 o'clock. oh wow. 3:45. Hello 4:15. And I think I fell asleep around there, waking up at 6, 6:30, 7:02 and finally 8:20 before I said, fuck it, I'm up.

I did my pieces when I got up again and was very happy with them. Yay! Emotional Connect! I even got tears! Yay!

Drank coffee, got made up, got dressed, and bam, out the door.

So I'm waiting. It's running efficiently. People go in, people come out. I believe all the girls are running all three scenes. I go to the bathroom, and as soon as I come out, the runner tells me they're ready for me. Oops! Okay! Up the stairs I went.

Warm reception. The director is there, as is someone else I don't know, probably another producer, TJ is there behind the camera, and the reader was sitting right in front of him.

The director says hi to me. Maybe he remembers me from when I did background work for his two shorts. Probably not. He probably just remembers the video tape of my audition last Friday. TJ says hi. No hugs. [Sad emoticon] But that's okay!

TJ asks me what piece I'm doing.
"Am I doing all three?"
"If you could only do one, which one would it be?"
I felt stupid. "Uhm, the monologue." It's the longest, and I have the most fun with it.

Want to know what feels weird? Doing a monologue and not getting any immediate response. It was quiet almost the whole time. Then I did a punch jab thingee, which got a laugh and was great, cause I meant for it to be funny, but then, silence.

The hardest part about callbacks, especially when the writer/director is now in the room with you, is that you have to make his words sound even more amazing. If you can make the words sound like what he hears in his head when he reads his own stuff, great. But if you are able to make it sound even more amazing, utilizing the pauses and breaks inbetween the words that he wrote, making it feel like he's hearing his own words for the very first time, and they're brilliant, then, woohoo! awesome!

Maybe that happened. Maybe it didn't.

After they cut the tape, TJ asks me which scene I'm going to do next.
"Do I only get one more?"
"If you could only do one more, which one would it be?" TJ is killing me here. I'm nervous.
"That's hard....because the two scenes flow in a heightening direction, emotionality." Emotionality, by the way, not a word. Great. I look stupid too!
"Okay, if you were going to do all of them, which one is next."
"Drunk girl!"
I feel dumb. Oh well. I reposition the chair to where I want it, and act drunk. Now, I've had drinks. I like drinking. But I stop at 2 drinks, if I even get to that point, because I don't like being drunk. I should've done some research or something. I should've watched Tracy Clifton on Hell Froze Over in the Lesbian episode. Because I know Ms Clifton personally, and I know she does not and has never had a drink. But look at her amazing drunk character! She's even slurring her words! How did she DO that!?

I wanted to tear up in the scene, and I did! So yay. hit that mark.

"And for my last trick," I said, and went into scene three. Hey, wanted to cry there too. And I want to believe that I said one line differently than any of the other Graces there. But of course, I can't know this for sure. But it makes me feel good.

They cut the tape. They DID NOT SAY "That was great, thank you." What they did say was, "Thank you so much, Elle."

So, in honor of Jim B's teaching, I'll answer what I liked about my work:

I hit all the emotions I wanted to.
I used my whole body to show the character's physicality. I was swinging arms here, hugging myself there.
I addressed my monologue to the room, and kept the tender moments to the reader. Who wasn't reading, because it was a monologue. But still. she chould tell I was talking to her. Oh yeah. She knew it.
I looked pretty.

What I didn't like:

Hmm. Even though I felt like I had a complete character, I felt like still, something was missing. I can't quite put my finger on what that is, because like I said, I hit all the emotions I wanted to, and had real tears (and snot. ew.) It might even be just the silence of the room making me get all up in my head. There was no direction from the director. I don't know if these are final callbacks or not; they could have a whole 'nother round.

But I don't know. Like I said, I feel kinda zen. Or exhausted. Whichever. I don't feel as if that was the best I could've done (it was my first take. It'd be interesting to see how hands on the director is on set, and what else I'd be able to do with the scenes with another person in physical reach, and more than one take) which is a problem, because the person who did their absolute best usually gets the role. Actually, I take that back. A lot of things go into choosing that. For instance, what she looks like, does this actress look like she could be this person, of this class standing, with this educational background, does the director like her, do the producers like her, does the lead actor find better chemistry with her or someone else?

But I did it. I'm done. Now it's off to the Fates. If you'll notice, I am not holding my breath.

That Did Not Count As Sleep

Waaaaay too nervous. I have to throw up and poop at the same time. Why am I telling you this?! I'm tired. My eyes are puffy. I need to put my face on.