"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Was A Good Weekend

Hello my lovelies!

First off, I want to congratulate my dear friend Phoenix on her new columnist position as the LA Actor's Life Examiner for the Los Angeles Examiner blog site. I will be posting links when she does cause not only do I heart her, but I've known and loved her amazing writing since 2000. Also, dear one, happy 14-25th birthday!

Thursday was Film Fest night, as one of my idols, JenIsIris, who is an endless well of positivity and happiness and speaks just as super fast as I do when she's excited, had her film, "Corpse Run," screen. She was the romantic lead. I met JenIsIris in an acting class, and all I could think was, "Wow. I want to be as good as she is." And as frustrated as I sometimes get with my own career, I am super frustrated and annoyed at hers, because this incredibly great pilot she's the lead in should already be filming the entire first season, with her updating me her fabulous New York finds from her trailer on location in NYC. She's also been on avail [ A courtesy situation extended by performer or agent to a producer indicating availability to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status.] seven times this year for big important work. So basically, she auditions, gets called back, and then the producers call her agent to say, "We really like her, is she available for the days we're filming?" and so she'll block those days off, and then, annoyingly, be released from it. Sometimes, producers will have three people on avail for the same role in case one gets sick and the other is struck by lightning. It's the most frustrating thing for this struggling actress in particular to imagine that anyone as talented as she is has not been needed the last seven times.
But JenIsIris is never down or glum about anything. She is happy and super fun to be around.
She invited me to help her shop for an outfit for the screening, and I got super excited - She wanted to be my real life Barbie! We had a ton of fun at the Glendale Galleria and she scored two really cute dresses and matching accessories.
But yeah, the film screening. Now, maybe it's because she's my friend, but I thought she was the most interesting person to watch onscreen. (She's also incredibly beautiful. And unbelievably talented, and all that probably doesn't hurt.) So that was fun!
She told me that she was very surprised at how many people came out to support her. And I said, you know what, JenIsIris? You being in a film at the movies is fun and exciting, because it means you're winning. And take that however you will, my dears, but being able to claim a winning tally in Hollywood is quite the difficult feat. And I applaud her tremendously. Keep on winning, JenIsIris! Keep on winning!!

Friday - I had an audition! It was for "Untitled Ghost 3-D Movie"," Snazzy, right? It was one page of sides. I read it and thought, okay. Be Scared. That was my preparation. Well, okay, I also added, And everyone thinks you're crazy. Worked like a charm. I was in front of the camera and looked all bug eyed and teary, and the casting director said, "That was amazing. You are definitely called back." Such lovely words.
Because, you see, I almost didn't even submit for it, because I thought, no way would it be believable that I have a 13 year old daughter. But I guess it is, and that I have to reassess what I perceive my age range to be.

Remember when I said I was invited to speak as an authority on how and what makes a good headshot? That happened Saturday. I had my powerpoint presentation all set up, my and other actors' pictures ready to go as examples, and I was entertaining and funny and loving it all as the students faces were all turned towards me, scribbling away on their notebooks when I explained very important points. I had one-on-one's with each student, where my four years in casting came in handy, as I got to type and age range each student out. Fun!

Sunday was even awesomer, as Glo and PWinkle shot a short film in our apartment. And they had me star in it. My co-star, Ethan, never forgot his lines or messed up a take, and showed only extrmeme professionalism. It's kinda rare that happens, but Ethan is a stuffed bear. We filmed an adorable short about a woman who orders a hi-tech gadget bear and learns how to finally embrace her own life and creativity. It was a four person production, with Glo working as producer/scripty/continuity/production designer/costume mistress/makeup adviser/hair/sound/boom op, and PWinkle as writer/producer/director/director of photography/grip/electrician. Antne was the illustrator/assistant to Miss Elle/PA.
It was so fun. And it's going to be so darn cute. And once it's done, I'll probably post it here. Working with Ethan reminded me of a toy mouse I had when I was 3 years old. Looking back, it was probably some dog or cat toy, but it was soft, and it squeaked, and one time, when I was sent up to my room for misbehaving, I played with that mouse for probably a half hour, creating a very long and intricate story in my head that there was an extremely old man who had this mouse as his best friend, and one day the mouse died, and the old man had to deal with loss and mourning. This was so sad, and I was so involved that I made myself cry as the story continued to flow out of my imagination. When I was finally done and went back downstairs, my dad asked me where I had been, as he had only sent me up there for five minutes. It's weird the things you remember at such a young age, but one of the things people drill into you in acting school, is that there is no "acting." Only "reacting." And you can indeed react the hell out of any inanimate object.
Also, Glo put some really fun outfits together for me, so I felt all fancy-dancy.

Monday- today was my callback for the 3D Ghost Movie. I got 12 pages of sides last night at 9:30pm for a 12noon audition slot. Grrr. Not a lot of time to prepare much besides what I already knew - that bug eyes and near tears and being scared are what they're looking for.
Took a shower, rinsed the dandruff out of my hair, applied some makeup, and away I went. Immediately after getting to the lobby, I am handed 3 more pages, and a 13 year old scene partner. Okay!
The girl who played my daughter was refreshing. Curl her hair, and badda boom! Done!
And then I met the actor we were paired up with to complete our family of three. He was a good looking guy. Not Hollywood's idea of hot, like the Jonas Brothers, but my kind of hot, as in, yeah, I'd be with this type of guy. And it was great because he was so fun and natural. I loved his reads.

We audition the same scene three times, we step out and say goodbye to our daughter, and then Actor and me read another scene where we're barbecuing. I thought we were great. Refreshing, teasing, loving. I think we made our relationship very believable.

We are asked to stay and read the "the old lady pulled our daughter into the closet" scene together, even though we hadn't been given time to practice it. That means that we had to act on the fly, which is a lot harder than it sounds, because practice makes perfect, damnit.

We did that four times as well.

He's let go and I'm asked to stay to read the climax/screaming scene. Okay. Screaming scenes are always hard for me, because I NEVER want to scream. Not on roller coasters, not when I'm scared, no. I practically hyperventilate when I'm scared. But well, it's called "reacting," so away I went to react to fake ghosts and a fake wind, and a fake husband being thrown against the wall and fake crawling to me, and fake grabbing my hands, and fake reaching for him, and fake hugging him, and yelling at the fake ghost and watching the fake wind die down and sobbing over my fake husband and praying over his fake bleeding body.

That's a lot of pretending and reacting when I'm the only real thing the camera is seeing.

After the first take, I was given an adjustment. After take 2, I was given another one. After the third take, all I could think was, Lord Jesus, I'm exhuasted, because when you have to act scared and terrified, and angry, and scream, it's a lot of emotional headfuckery with yourself, and it's draining. Especially when I'm doing it all myself. When there's a real person acting with me, and a wind machine, it's a lot easier to pretend all this stuff. But because I was practically rolling around on the floor, doing some awesome work, the casting director wanted to do one last take with him going handheld instead of keeping the camera on the tripod. This is a very good thing. Even though the door is a ways away from the lobby, I don't remember hearing any other girl scream more than the required two times it says she needs to in the script. I mean, I am panting and pantomiming; I am rocking this scene.

I finish, lying down next to my fake dying husband, whispering for someone to please help me, when finally, the casting director cuts me. "I think you're great." he said. "I think you're really great. But it's not up to me." And that's true. The producer and sometimes director has to want me as well. And the way the casting director said it, it sounded to me like I was awesome and amazing but that there's a small issue about me (perhaps the believability that a person who looks like me, mid twenties, can have a 13 year old daughter.) that has already been discussed and been concluded to not work in casting me for this role already. But who knows.

This was my third call back in a row. I am focusing on that and happy about that.

And that's why my week was awesome - I was an ACTRESS for all of it!


  1. Congrats! Sounds like you had an awesome audition. Did you ever end up hearing anything about the "Grace" role?

  2. emotional headfuckery = my new favorite phrase.

    Also, "on avail" is like the story of my life over in live event production land. We block out weeks for pre-pro/load in/the event itself and then they all cancel (damn auto industry). Which means my summer's looking really, really bare. Ugh.

    Congrats on the callbacks!

  3. BB, I DID hear back about the Grace role, and they went another way. I offered to do background work for them for free to 1)help out, cause the people doing the production are good people, and 2) to see who they cast for it, cause I'm very curious. I bet she's everything they needed and I'm excited to see what that is.

  4. Thank you, you dear girl. You are so kind and supportive and callbacks are wonderful, great things. Yes, bookings are better, but callbacks let us know that what we DO have control of in terms of casting, we must be doing well.

    Hugs and miss you.


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