"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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Well, That Happened

So I had a commercial representation audition yesterday with an agency I've been wanting to get into for YEARS. Prestigious? Yes. Good auditions? From what I've heard, yeah. Famous clients? Check. In fact, one of them (who is now starring in the new Miley Cyrus movie) is a kid I directed for my senior directing class in college, when he was just a weeeeee freshman.

At any rate, when I did my huge agency submissions in early July, I only heard back from 1 out of the 22 agencies I submitted to. And when we met with each other, we were mutually unimpressed. So when I got a call a month and a half later asking if I was still interested in meeting with them for commercial rep all I could say was, UM, YES!

I contacted two of my most successful booking friends, JenIsIris and Phoenix to ask them their advice. 1) What technical info do I need to know for booking commercials, and 2) WTF does "hip and trendy" mean, and how do I look that way? Cause I know I need to look good for this audition, and I know commercial breakdowns ask this of their actresses all the time. And if you knew me, you'd know that I am a jeans and tank top girl. And utterly clueless.
They gave me awesome acting advice (including that even commercials have a beginning, middle and end.) and their clothing advice made me realize that necklaces, earrings and bracelets from Forever 21 will do me miracles.

So I get to the agency and am very happy that it's only 3 miles from where I live. That meant I only had to leave 20 minutes ahead of my appointment to get there in time!

I am given the rundown by a very thorough and kind receptionist and am given a "Women's Sides" folder to go through. There are about 6 different commercial copy sides to choose from and I am to pick one to perform for the agent and his assistant/subagent.

It takes me a long time to decide which of the sides are the least difficult. It takes me a LONG time to figure this out. I have never taken a commercial class. I've been meaning to. But THANK GOD I had contacted two of my best booking actress friends, JenIsIris and Phoenix. They gave me some awesome advice and tips for how to look "hip and trendy," which is what a struggling actress like myself must present herself as being. As Phoenix said, cool enough to be the girl next door you want to buy products from, but not too hot that middle america can't relate. I think it all comes down to wearing lots of jewelry from Forever 21. At any rate, I pick my sides (playing Mother Nature and explaining, ha ha, I make you women bleed! for Tampax) do all the tricks I was told and add a little improv bit which is just absolutely perfect and cycles the character from bitchy to friendly, and then back to bitchy, and am actually quite pleased with the work that I put all together for it.

It is finally my turn. I walk up the stairs, see the glass conference room I'm supposed to enter and see them immediately point at me to go around the other way. Great! I feel like an idiot already! Yay!
I walk in the room and they ask me to have a seat. I see the agent has my cover letter from July 9 and my OLD headshot. From 2004. I wonder why on earth I sent him that one and then realized that in that shot, I have my hair curly and am smiling a beautifully toothy grin. And if it's one thing commercial agencies like, it's a headshot that shows your teeth. I was asked to bring in another headshot and the subagent took that one, and the agent and subagent actually took their time to joke with me. And the agent went through my cover letter asking me about the projects I had written about and asked about certain resume items. I was laid back, funny, pithy, I was ME. Even though I was wearing a dress from Ross, boots from Goodwill, and Spanx opaque tights (totally recommend by the way.) they gave me their complete attention and bantered with me and made me feel GOOD about being me. Like I was a real person they wanted to get to know, as opposed to a struggling actress they were judging. It was about four minutes or so of that. I basked in it. "Alright," agent said, "let's see your audition."

Oh yeah. That.

I did it and liked that I had my beginning, middle and end AND a conspiratorial aside. (take that, Shakespeare!) I'm pretty sure they nodded and smiled. It was hard to tell, as they had me pretend the logo on the wall was the camera. Immediately after my 'moment after,' they said, "Great, thank you!" And as we all know, that's your cue to exit. So exit I did.

I walked back to my car wondering how I did, replaying everything, cursing myself for not punching the word "resume." Destructive behavior like that. And then, once I got in my car, I let it go. I'm pretty sure I did okay. That's what I'm going to say about THAT audition. I did okay.

So today, I was at Glow's apartment, helping fill tamales for our upcoming camping trip when my phone rings. My hands are wet, and my guy who came over to work on his online comic
(sometimes we all just hang out or work all together. and it's completely normal, I swear) picked my phone out of my purse to let me know who was calling. (You know, if it was worth it to hurry up and dry my damn hands or letting the phone go to voicemail.) "It's a 323!" he said. Oooh. That's HOLLYWOOD calling.

"This is Lira," (if you own a cellphone and are a struggling actress, don't you dare answer with "Hello?" it's unprofessional! Just say your name so they can go ahead and give you your audition info without having to ask for you as if you were still living with your parents!)
It's the agent I auditioned for. He asked me how my day was. "It's been good," I said, my heart beginning to pound, "but I'm hoping it's about to get much better." And he laughed.

They want to rep me.



Play nice.