"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, February 28, 2010

Still In It to Win It

Being an actress is haaaaaard.....But this is what it takes...... and I am in it to win it.

I wrote that one year ago today. Happy Bloggiversary Struggling Actress!

And to honor Phoenix for inspiring me to one day write as beautifully as she does, I will write my

One Year List of Wows

I cannot believe the support and wonderful comments I have received from not only my friends from college (which was cough! only two years ago hack!) but also complete strangers. They say that writing is a very lonely career, as it's just you and a computer, but that was before the internet and before blogging. How lovely is it to have a community of people who wish me success just because they want me to succeed? They want nothing in return. You selfless people just want me to be happy doing what I love and want to do just because you want me to be happy doing what I love and want to do. I am getting ridiculously emotional here. It's a middle child thing.

2008 was my best acting year. I looked back at it and thought, well heck, 2009 is just going to get better! It didn't. At all. At aaaaaaaaall. But when I look back, some pretty amazing things happened. I started this blog! If you are a fresh out of college actor (like I was 2 years ago cough!) you can find my blog and figure out how to be a Struggling Actress/Actor just like me! I can teach you Headshots 101 and give you advice on what to not do in the room for small indie projects. I don't know the advice to give to get to the level past a Struggling Actress, but this Working Actress is kind enough to.

I did a REALLY bad movie for a production company known for doing REALLY bad movies. I am terrible in it. Absolutely awful.

I did a short I was really proud of and have gotten great feedback on.

I did a recreated events show for post-partum depression. On set with the director, he asked me if I had ever acted before. "A little bit," I had said, not realizing that he must work with quite a few people with even shorter resumes. I thought I was being cheeky, while he thought I was being serious. And he was so kind and assuring to me after every take, that he offered me his business card telling me he'd love to help me if I ever needed guidance on pitching to TLC or Discovery.

I had an awesome audition and callback to play the love interest for TJ Thyne, (who was also in the room and gave me a hug) which was a really big deal for me.

I grew a voice in the blogging community. Which attracted a Sky News reporter. So that I will soon become an International Struggling Actress.

I met a photographer on the Blindsided short set who wants to set up a photo shoot with me because he finds something in me that inspires him.

My friend Dan from a waiting gig we had together in 2008 recently contacted me about doing voiceover work for some animation shorts he's doing. Out of the blue, it seems. And then he said, "I've always envisioned you writing romantic comedies." We are going to meet to hash out the premise I jokingly came up with, that now I am SUPER excited about.

I am a writer for Backstage! And Casting Director Marci Liroff noticed me! That might be very good somewhere down the line. One never knows.

I evaluated what was going on in my career, didn't like how it was proceeding, took the jump, and fired my manager and agent and found new, amazing representation. I advised another friend last night to do the same. I'm happier. I think she will be too.

I co-created a webseries and wrote the entire thing. Which we then filmed the pilot for and my partner will soon be pitching.

I've had several commercial callbacks.

I had an acting class where I was introduced to several fun things.

I got residuals in the mail.

I hair modeled.

I had trouble paying rent.

I had a lot of trouble paying rent.

I cried because of how much trouble I had paying rent and the accompanying feeling of worthlessness and terror.

I was given high fives at an audition.

I have been more inspired to write in my life than I ever have before. With a project I will be asking you to help me on.

I have a final callback today.

I have been listening to "The Universe," "the Collective Consciousness," "God," whatever you call it, and all I hear is that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I am supposed to be writing. I am supposed to be acting.

I am absolutely supposed to be where I am.

And I am so thankful that you are here with me, with your pompoms and sparkle fingers, cheering me on.

With so much wonderment and love and positivety sent your way too,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

The last time I had a residual check, it was last year, for 35 cents. It cost more in postage to mail me that check, and it was for a show called "What Should You Do?" A recreated events show where I played a girl whose math class gets held hostage by a gunman so she pretends she is pregnant and having a miscarriage so he'll let her go. I had two lines for my co-star credit: "I'm pregnant. And I think I'm having a miscarriage." Except, ham that I am, I really wanted to sell this. So it was more like, "Hunnnn! Hnnuuuh! Uhhhhhhgggghhh!! I'm pregnant - And -RRRRRRRRgggggggg! I think I'm havinnnnnnnnggggguh! a miscarriageeeeooooooooohhhh!"

The crew members came up to me after we broke for lunch and said I was amazing. Yup! Those two lines were AWESOME! "This is going to be fantastic for your reel!" The director said. "Great work!"

But the weird thing is, I NEVER saw the show air! They had given me dates, they had changed dates, my dad had recorded EVERY episode and we never saw it. I know it ran cause I got a few residuals for it, but I never saw it and I never got a copy of it because they told me that sending me a copy wasn't in their budget.

And I never got credited for it on the imdb. :(
But I DID keep getting residuals for that show, which I shot in 2004.

A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from a lady in Maryland who's in charge of payroll for America's Most Wanted. (Even though the imdb does have my credit on it (yay!) it credits me as "Halloween House Woman," so I sound like I did background for the show and added the name myself to make my role sound bigger than it was. Boo! ) She says, "Hey! We just re-ran your episode and we'd like to pay you your residual, but I just looked in the computer and it shows that you never cashed the last check we sent you."
"Well! That's because I never received it!" I cheerily replied. Cause trust me, Mama would've if Mama had it!
She confirmed my address and said to expect two checks.

Open my mailbox and what do I find? My rent! From America's Most Wanted! In the nick of time! Money doesn't grow on Trees! It grows in mailboxes!

Seriously, am I not having the best week ever?!!?

Friday, February 26, 2010

But I Act Like I'm 12

When I shot that horror film last year, I played a wife and mother of a 13 year old girl who was playing 11, but she could've passed for 15 since she was only one inch shorter than me. When I was brought in for ADR, I got to see the cut of the film for the first time. It was a bit disheartening as I looked 22 at the most and horribly miscast. There was no WAY I could have a daughter that old.

When I was at the epic callback that lasted for three hours just the other day, I read with one kid who I thought was just great, but looked about 20-22. After he left, the director and producer asked me what I thought. "I loved him!" I said, "But does it look like we could really be a couple? Doesn't he look a bit too young for me?" "Not at all!" the director said. "How old are you?" asked the producer.

This is actually an illegal question to ask at a Sag audition due to ageism, but sometimes people don't know this, and this was a non-union project anyways. "How old is the character?" I asked back. That's what we're taught to answer in this situation. The producer knew what was up. "She's 54," he smiled. "That's wonderful!" I laughed, "I'm 53 and a half!"

Last year for my birthday, I made cookie pie (frozen pie crust filled with cookie dough and underbaked like brownies - YUM!) and I wrote Happy 22-28th Birthday! Cause that's my range.

I'm Timeless!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"I'm a Booker!"

So I'm following WA's advice and going into my Plan B commercial audition with an "I'm a booker!" attitude cause I want to be more like her. I mean, come on! She gets parts offered to her and is sweet enough to offer me words of encouragement and advice. I asked her to give me an honest professional actress opinion on my new blindsided clip and she had nothing but nice things to say. So! I AM going to be more like her.

My goal for 2010 is to BOOK WORK, but like, National Campaign type work, or perhaps a Pilot Presentation that goes to a few networks and they love it and LOVE ME and want to keep me in the role and we make the entire pilot and everyone loves it and suddenly I'm WORKING on TV in a comedy that allows me to discover things about life I never knew. As you can tell, right now is a high for me. I'm riding a high.

The trick to this high, I really believe, is writing in here every day AND having several projects on my board to do when I'm feeling low. The amazing part of my "Going To Do" list is that it all involves WRITING. And that is exciting. Because I used to describe myself saying, "I can write, but I'm not a writer." Well! Isn't that negative?! I AM writing! Sure, I had a long dry spell where I started doubting myself and stopped writing for a while, but I am reinvigorated. Ideas keep coming and places to get published keep showing up. I've had pieces I wrote three computers ago that I had to keep transferring that I think I can finally finish and I'm excited about new stories.

And I love the fact that "I'm a Booker" can have a double meaning for me. I book acting work, but I'm also writing for a book. A booker!

At 16, when I had to decide what it was I wanted to major in and what schools I should look into that offered great programs, I was always split when it came to majoring in theater or writing. I knew back then I was going to feel like I missed out on which ever one I didn't choose, and I wish I knew that as long as I kept writing everyday, I'd be fine.

I'm fine! And I'm HAPPY.

And even more importantly, I'M A BOOKER!

My Ta-Da List

I love To-Do lists. I even put up a whiteboard next to my computer so I could write all the things I wanted to get done, did.

Because my epic callback took my whole morning yesterday, I had to hustle to get a ton of stuff done.

Here's my Ta-Da List!

Oil change
email April regarding possible meeting Tuesday
email acting coach regarding possible meeting Tuesday
email reporter regarding Tuesday schedule
Black Rock City application
Deposit money
certify BRC app
mail Anthony's brother-in-law's birthday card
Clean mouse cage
dinner with friend
print script and highlight
review new webisode cut
map out tomorrow's commercial audition
email Tanya regarding camping gear
email T. and Matt for contact info
call breakdowns regarding video clip

See all the stuff I did? Ta-Da!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Callback

I was called back this morning at 11:30. They invite me into the room and introduced me to one of their casting director friends and another girl who was also reading for the same role. I said hello to everyone and then told the girl, "Oh, you I'm going to stink eye." And then I gave it to her. She gave it right back. Hilarious! She was this cute little waif girl with short hair and a bit harder edged than me. If I had to describe her in one word, I'd say "cool."

Hello. I'm slightly dorky. Nice to meetcha!

I read with a guy who was doing his first read for the other lead role and after we were done, they asked if I could stay to read with another. And another. And another.

I stayed for 3 hours.

They even asked me to rate each actor. When I said, oh, my opinion doesn't really matter, the director said, well, actually, yeah it does.


There's going to be a rehearsal sometime next week before they film and I realized after about two and a half hours that things are probably working in my favor. I mentioned that I was going to have a news reporter follow me around some time next week and would that be a prob- "Bring her!" the director said.

They are having callbacks for the male leads on Saturday and would I be available to read with them?

Um, YES.

They haven't outright given me the role even though I gave them PLENTY of opportunities to do so, (as in, "so come on guys, we're BFF now. you can tell me anything!") and they continued to politely demure as I believe they said they do have two other girls to see today.

I should know by Saturday evening. And I can't stop smiling.

Okay! Off to wait tables! With this wonderful secret in my apron pocket.

awesoME Products!

Give your support to the struggling artist in your life by reminding her how awesome she is when she's exactly who you want her to be - herself!

Refer her to my awesoME Backstage Blog the shirt alludes to!

 It reads, in Courier font, (the proper font for all scripts)


Actress has an epiphany.

There is a ME in awesome!

The casting directors nod and give Actress high-fives.

The actress's lines are highlighted! Just like my sides when I audition! Gosh, that'd look cute on you. 

You can even be a part of the green movement with reusable bags to hold all your sides, headshots and scripts! Or, for those of you not in Hollywood, your groceries!

And of course, there's always my cute little logo bag. The back of the bag reads, "I wish I had her hair."

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Been a Good Day

Actually, it's been a really good few days. Even though I can't seem to fall asleep until 3am, I am feeling happier in life right now. I don't know why, but positive people seem to be attracted to me lately for some strange reason, and I am lucky enough to absorb their happiness and feel it all around me, with the notion that the next two years are going to be very good for me both professionally and personally. This reminds me of the time I was walking to take a shuttle van from the Universal Parking Lot in Universal Studios up to City Walk where I worked (holiday weekends meant our employee parking got moved to inside the lot and we were shuttled up) and I walked past the gigantic numbered sound stages, and even though I had my Cafe Tu Tu Tango shirt and apron on, I knew, I knew, that one day I would work in one of those stages. I have that glorious feeling again of supreme happiness and contentment. Perhaps it's the combination of writing more and feeling more confident and putting the self doubt on mute and hearing the Voice/Universe/God inside saying, "Good Job. This Is Good. You Are Back On Track And Exactly Where You Need To Be Right Now."

I had an audition today where it took me THREE times to get the sides right. This audition had blocking which I messed up, and I dropped a few lines the second go round. But get this! They LIKED ME! It's my weekly article today at Backstage's Unscripted and who should see it but Casting Director Marci Liroff (her last name is pretty awesome, yes? Like my first and her last name are the Russian words on an on/off switch) and she commented how she liked the article so much, as she says the same thing in her classes, that she reposted it on her Facebook Fan Page.

I am so incredibly thankful for all of your positive feedback and support. I read every comment and am just blown away. And I know I said it last week, but seriously. Thank you.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

People Who Love Thin Mints are Insane

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time! I saw a co-worker passing around the cookie sign up sheet last night. I know there are a lot of Thin Mint fans out there and I think you're all crazy. Why have a cookie that tastes like you just brushed your teeth?  I love the Samoas, as it's the cookie that just keeps on giving. You have one and ten minutes later you find a piece of toasted coconut still in your teeth. Bonus!

I was 19, walking to my classes when I saw a Girl Scout Cookie stand with three adorable girl scouts (wo)manning the booth. I want one! I thought to myself. I want one of those girl scouts!

And since I'm older now, I REALLY want a girl scout. I want a little girl with dark brown eyes and long lashes who looks just like Antne minus the goatee. I want to teach her how to sew a button and finger paint pointillism and how to also sell her own cookies she made herself so she learns how to run her own business as an entrepreneur as well as working together in a team earning patches.

I visited my bipolar schizophrenic mother a few weeks back and mentioned that the loud ticking sound isn't from the voices in her head but actually my biological clock. "Don't get married." She said. "Screw marriage, Mom, I want a baby!" "Don't have kids." "What? Why not?" She smiled, "They ruin your life."

Now, maybe, just maybe, my mother forgot she gave birth to me and that I am her child, but that's kinda tough to believe considering I have reminded her as such by calling her Mom my entire life. Or maybe, just maybe, my mother has a really sadistic sense of humor.

I would get her Thin Mints to pay her back, as in, here! Have some gross cookies! But those are (oddly enough) her favorites. And that's why people who like Thin Mints are crazy.

Friday, February 19, 2010


When you're up against 200 other girls for every single acting job interview you go on, it sometimes feels as if you and every one you know are never booking work. My friends (save for JenIsBetterThanAndreaAnders) are pretty much at my same level; not going out for pilots. I'm not complaining that I'm not, as you know, that's de rigeur for me every fevrier, but I got an email the other day from a Working Actress.

She's new to the blogging scene and a friend of hers stumbled upon mine while trying to find hers. Friend said, hey Working Actress, check out Struggling Actress.

And Working Actress took the time to compliment this here little blog.

She never told me her name, but each one of her blogs is so EXCITING! She doesn't wait tables, she doesn't have any other side job. All she does is ACT.

So of course I'm following her! I think you should too! She's choosing to remain anonymous so it's also fun to try and figure out who exactly she is. Regardless, if you're following my exploits, you should definitely follow hers.

If I keep at it, maybe my blogs will soon sound more and more like hers.

(My favorite of hers is how the execs of one show she did complimented her work and she learned how they cast her. Casting REALLY is like this!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Now, I understand the title of this post might leave some of my eastern readers angry, as it's like 20 degrees outside, but here in LA, it's 78 degrees right now (international readers: the weather is perfect for sleevless tops and skirts and flip flops). After a week of rain (which is tortuous to Angelenos) the sun finally came out and said, hiya! Throw those umbrellas away! I'm back!

So it feels like Spring. In the middle of February. And I said, you know what? It really is time I cleaned all our camping gear from last September. It really is time for me to have Antne put those shelves up. It really is time for us to get our apartment organized and put together!

The problem with our living situation is that I only have short organizational bursts and occasional cleaning fancies, while Antne has none of those.

I lived alone and cleaned up the occasional mess I made (why dirty a plate when I can eat over the sink!) while Antne had a Sicilian mother who, bless her, DID EVERYTHING FOR HIM. (In fact, when we visit her, she will take our dirty laundry and wash and fold it. Including my gigantic lady underwear. We don't ask her to do this. We just wake up and it's already done.) So Antne, although he swears he has a system in place, will just wait for his mother to clean up our apartment.

She doesn't live here.

I do.

And like I said, I only have short occasional desires to get this place ship shape.

On our (my) list for the next few days:
-Put our shelves from 3 years ago up.
-Organize the paper shelving unit behind Antne's desk. (He being an artist means he has a ton of different papers including double sided matte, photo, cover stock, plain, and huge 17x9 cardboard stock)
-Put things that should be away, away.
- Hang up the art we have around here.
-Try and understand the 2010 Business Tax Renewal form. Mail that.
- Trim my Blindsided clip even more and send to my agent for approval on breakdowns upload.
-Make Antne go to the DMV to take care of that thing.
-Take off my old car registration stickers on my license plate and affix the new one.
- Hang more hooks on the wall.

Whew! Taking a look at all those things makes me not want to do any of it.

What's on tv?!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Actress in Waitress Clothing

It's only been a few times, but I have been told emphatically that "You're an Actress!" And my reply is usually the same: I point to my apron and extend out my tray and say, "Yup!"

I was working at the Eclectic Cafe when a hipster told me he knew me.  I laughingly assured him that he did not, as I was a dork and did not hang with hipsters on a regular basis. He squinted. "You auditioned for a music video for me." And I had. About nine months prior I had thrown some foam shapes around in a room for casting director Billy DaMota. That's so weird that he remembered me....Was my audition that good? I hadn't gotten the part. "Who's your agent?" he asked.
"Oh," I sighed. "I'm free agent." I was going through a rough patch with my career. I wanted it, but it felt like it didn't want me.
Billy reached into his jacket and gave me his business card. "Call me," he said. "We'll fix that."

He met me for lunch with an Agency book and asked if I had a reel. I just so happened to have brought my laptop (this was way before smart phones) with my reel set up. He watched it while I pretended to peruse the menu. "You can act." he said when finished. He then went through the entire Agency book with me, highlighting who he knew, who he recommended, who he disliked and told me to make sure I mentioned that he told me to submit to them, and to write "Referred By Billy DaMota," on the envelope so that they'd be opened.  And then he paid for lunch.


So of course I have a special place for him in my heart, because, seriously, again, who DOES that?

He's brought me in a few times, once for a music video Jason Alexander was directing ("Lira, Jason absolutely loved you, so I have to put you on avail [a term meant for the actor to clear their schedule in case all pieces go together to get booked.] but, he really wants Marcia Brady to play the role, and....he'll probably get her." He did) and again for an episode of America's Most Wanted which I booked.

He's the top tier of what it feels like to be recognized. Here's the other.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feeling The Love

It's Valentine's Day today, and if you don't know how it all started, thank Danielle for all her research.
 It's a day that just seems silly to me; even gas stations have flowers and gigantic bears with hearts on them ready to sell. I would rather NOT buy something for my sweetheart on this day. I prefer to make stuff. Our first Valentine's Day together was just like every other day - because every other day felt like Valentine's Day with him. And before I make us all throw up in our mouths a little bit, can I go ahead and propose banning this holiday? I hate it. I hate working it because you are always going to dinner and a movie and you never think ahead about how 1) you need a reservation, 2) the kitchen is ALWAYS backed up, 3) you should've given yourself way more time to eat dinner because this is a full service restaurant, and not McDonald's. 4) if you were really romantic, you would stay in, making crafts together like you were both in kindergarten all over again.

Tonight is the first Valentine's Day in YEARS where I do not have to work! Hooray! Movie Night at Glow and Perriwinkle's!

And even thought I might want to bah humbug the day, I really shouldn't.

One of the hardest things about being a Struggling Actress is erasing the prefix of that name. Can't I just be Actress? And the coaches and agents and managers all say the same thing, Put Yourself Out There.

Put Yourself Out There.

Huh? How?!

And some people believe it's through casting director workshops, while others believe it's postcards and constant submissions and updates.

But I think what one has to realize is that it really should be read as "Put YOUrself Out There." How do you put the You in the ether, hoping that it will culminate into some sort of fantastic coming together of You and The Right Project at The Right Time?

For me, it's this blog. I am putting myself out there for anyone who wants to read it, to know me,
my thoughts,
my fights,
my struggles.
My accomplishments.

On February 28, The Struggling Actress will have its First Bloggoversary. And although it started out of a need to feel a little bit more proactive about what I was doing here, it kept growing. Into tips for other actors, into a chronicle of the ups and downs and how I believe I did during auditions and callbacks, into a very supportive place where I can grumble and complain, or boast and rave and my followers, my cheerleaders, lend their point of view and congratulations.

I feel your love, my friends. I feel your love.

It's not every day a British News Reporter says, hey, your story is one I want to tell.
It's not every day you get an email from someone saying, hey, I saw your movie and I thought you were great in it.
It's not every day you get an email from someone saying, hey, I just found your blog, and I'm also a struggling actress and it makes me not feel so alone.

I feel your love.

I put MYSELF Out There, honestly not expecting anything in return, and am continuously amazed at your generosity.

I did not expect this. I didn't know this could happen. But here we are. Each other's Valentines. You chose me.

Thank you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

International Struggling Actress

My friend JenIsBetterThanAndreaAnders confided in me that she didn't like the title of this blog, that I was announcing to the world and Universe that I Was, Am, and Will Forever Be a Struggling Actress. I thought that was sweet. "JenIsBetterThanAndreaAnders," I said, "I fully intend to continue blogging from my trailer in the very near future! Then the title will be ironic! And, oh! The irony!" Cause I like irony. Ask my friend JenIsMarley. I like puns too.

Anyways, yesterday I found an interesting email in my inbox:

Hi Lira,

just stumbled across your blog and love it!  Am wondering whether you might be able to help with news piece am putting together…  I’m a British TV reporter, coming over to cover the Oscars this year, and am keen to do something on the real Hollywood – strikes me there’s all the glitz and glam and red carpets that you always see, but I’m interested in the real LA and all of the people working away, trying to make it there..

If you don’t mind my asking - what’s your current situation?  Sounds like you have lots of projects on the go, but how tough has it been to get to that stage, and how difficult is it to get the opportunities at all?  Sounds like a lot of it is about getting an agent in the first place, then getting them to get you the right auditions?  Also, it seems there is big business in Hollywood acting classes – I’m sure there are lots of really valuable ones, but the cynical side of me wonders whether there is also a danger that some are just taking advantage of people’s dreams…  Do you know anybody who has had an issue with this, or any good acting coaches who might speak out about the disreputable ones..?

Anyway, would be really interested to know your thoughts and whether there is a story in this, but would be nice to do a piece about what’s really involved in trying to make it in Hollywood and what goes on behind the scenes, rather than the usual smoke and mirrors…

Best wishes,

She had the news outlet's logo on the bottom of the email and I check it out and find that not only is it real, but she's real too. Wow. So I double checked something - if you google "Struggling Actress," My blog is the top item. I'm the most famous Struggling Actress there is!

I wrote her back:

Hi Emma!

I know all about the glitz and glam of the Oscars; my best friend has been the Assistant Art Director for the last few years and part of the fun is picking out her dress for the event.

As for me, yes, I am still very much the struggling actress. I dream to one day stop waiting tables, however it doesn't look like that's going to be anytime soon. The industry became an ugly anorexic during the Writer's Strike of 2006. Productions halted and never fully recovered (especially with the whole "will they or won't they?" SAG strike threat that followed in 2008-09). They say that it takes 10 years to become an overnight success but with the industry the way it's been, with more reality programming, fewer films, and now film stars taking on the very television roles I would be going out for, it's more likely that it will take 15-20 to become someone who relies solely on acting for their income.

As to how to start the process of becoming a struggling actress, it's actually pretty simple: there are only three rules. 1) Do not be the child of anyone famous. 2) Have no trust fund. 3) Have an absolute need to act. Not desire, need.

How to erase the struggling part? Gosh, I wish I knew. The game has changed and is constantly evolving. Going on a reality show used to mean career suicide, now it's hard to have any type of clout without a built in audience who has followed you around on MTV or a major network competition game/reality show.

So a lot of us actors who refuse to whore ourselves out in exchange for fame (as it's not about fame, but creating art) have to exercise our right brains and write/producer/star in a vehicle for ourselves so that we'll hopefully get noticed. If we get noticed. It's such a game of chance.

I need to have the right type of photograph and submit to an agent who is not only looking for new clients, but looking for my type and age range, and this agent needs to have some type of reputation or prestige for casting directors to agree to see his clients at an audition. I need to look the part and have enough talent and not be competing against the director's girlfriend. (I've done casting myself. My booking a role could depend on whether or not the director wants this particular character to have curly hair).

And yes, there are a lot of people in this town who make tons of money off the newbies. They prey on the young twenty-somethings who are new in this town, or even the 30 somethings who feel like their time is running out.

One popular (and illegal) way to make money off actors is through Casting Director Workshops. Actors pay anywhere from $35-60 to perform an audition scene in front of a casting director (usually associate or intern) who might critique your work with a sentence or two. The problem is that the state of CA calls these types of workshops pay to play. Billy DaMota (who cast me for a small part on America 's Most Wanted, and is an incredible person) has been the whistle-blower on these types of scams for almost a decade. http://castboy.com/dnp/2020.htm He is currently writing a book about the subject and you can reach him at [Oh, He'd kill me if I kept that in!]. He is exactly who you would want to talk to. Send him my regards.

If you would like to set up an interview with me while you're here for the Oscars coverage, I will be more than happy to accommodate you in anyway necessary.

My very best,

PS Would you mind if I reposted both your email and this reply on my blog? I find your sympathy with my plight astounding and comforting, and I think my readers will too. 
I'm kind of blown away. I could become an International Struggling Actress Icon! Which, oddly enough, could help me book more work. 
 Oh, the Irony!

Wine + Blogging = Poor Grammar

It's been a long day. A long, long day. As I sit here, typing, drinking my boxed Target merlot out of my jazzercizing bears mug (cause I'm classy like that) I'll reminisce with you. FOR you. Wow. one sip and I'm drunk already....

I scored my first audition with my theatrical agent, for a Guest Star role (hooray!) on an Aftra show which was to be auditioned and paid for as a San Diego hire. (boo!) What that means is that I would not be reimbursed gas mileage to drive out there, and should I book the role, I would not have hotel accommodations, my mileage reimbursed or a per diem because I am saying that I agree to lie that I live in San Diego. Shady, shady, shady. Shame on you, production!
Now, I am an actress in LA so that I can audition in LA. Driving aaaaaaaaaall the way to San Diego is, with traffic, about a 6-8 hour round trip. (that's like driving to Santa Monica and back 8 times!) For three pages of sides. And a gas tank. But casting was also taking video submissions. Fantastic! I am coming down with something so I thought that would be great. Antne helped me bust it out AND figure out how to send the darn thing because lord knows I can't figure out how to convert a 234234298729458729387 MB file into something I can attach in an email. Bless him. I was up until 1:30am when I gave up and he tooled around until he figured it out. Even though he let me go to bed so I could get some sleep, I probably only fell asleep around 3:30 or so what with my coughing and clearing of my throat and my left eye tearing up for no good reason. The next three hours until my 6:45 alarm actually went by really slowly.

I got dressed, tossed a few more things into my tote bag and headed over to Days of Our Lives to do background work. Now, most Aftra background work sucks, but with soaps - you're in, you're out, there's usually couches and coffee, and one meets the most interesting people! (with other background work, you meet a bunch of weirdos. Trust me. I'm one of them.) When I was called to set two hours after checking in (which is FAST, btw) I was on set for a total of hmmmm....five minutes? I sat down for one 1 page scene and crossed once for the next 1 page scene. DONE. And I get paid an additional $10 fee for wearing my own clothes. (gotta love the union!)

I come home and check my email and then asked one person if I could repost her letter to me on here. Fun reasons why! Hopefully she'll say yes. 

After that I head over to a documentary audition where I answer a few questions about my struggle here in LA and why my story is interesting. I mentioned this blog, writing for Backstage, writing my own webseries, having a film I co-wrote win an Audience Award at a small film festival, and how I really believe 2010 is my year. I mention my mother and how everyone loves an Underdog.

I come home, try to nap, can't, turn on the crankiness, eat a cookie, feel better, and read an email that the director of our webisode pilot is gonna have the rough cut available next week!

I get an email and see that I'm needed for a pick up shot for a short I did last year.

I work on a valentine for my beloved.

I see I have an audition tomorrow for a short where the character has cerebral palsy.

I pour a mug of wine.

And that leaves me here: overly tired with Wine in a Mug.

Have a wonderful weekend, and be you attached or single, know that you, yes YOU are loved. And there's a lot of people who don't tell you as much they want to, but you are great. You really are. And you are surrounded by so many who think you are pretty awesome. Trust me, I know. Cause I think YOU'RE awesome! Wine shmine. I LOVE you!

Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I was at my Wendy's callback today and waited AN HOUR AND A HALF to be seen. Now, if I was actually a part of SAG, the casting company and/or client would have to pay me for my time after an hour passes my appointment.

They auditioned 3 at a time and some groups spent more than 20 minutes in the room, and were then paired up again and then went in the group again for 20 minutes. 

Finally, my group, the next to last one goes in. We read the copy and are excused. Total time? 3 minutes!


So here's me being wonderfully optimistic instead of negative and cynical.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blindsided Clip

I worked on a short film last year where I played a woman so nervous for her first date ever, that she drank a little too much alcohol to steady herself. This was probably one of the hardest scripts I ever dealt with, as the dialogue didn't flow, but was more staccato, with new thought processes being born from the middle of other thoughts. It was really hard to make natural, as I still had to think about being just tipsy enough, and engaging the guy opposite me, as well as being extremely shy, awkward, hating every minute of the date, but really wanting this guy's approval, while realizing, wow, so not ready to date yet.

It's called Blindsided.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Big News

Hello friends!

I know, I know, you're all, "You cut your hair and disappear! What gives?" Well, I was in the middle of finalizing some small details and making sure contracts were signed and delivered.

I am now writing for Backstage! Part of the deal is that I can't post what I write for them here and vice versa, but I CAN link!

I'm pretty excited. So, please, allow me to introduce myself all over again.

Monday, February 1, 2010


So if you're just joining me, you should see my before picture.

As I've mentioned, this is the shortest my hair has ever been. It's quite strange to pull my head through my shirts and sweaters and then automatically sweep my hair off my neck that my shirt trapped. Now there's nothing. Now there's bare neck.

This is how I looked after the dry haircut on stage.

CUTE, right?! I really like it. I can go nuts with hair clips and headbands and really long earrings.

But I was not finished.

Michael Karg cut my hair dry for the main stage, but afterward I was whisked away to the technical stage downstairs. The technical stage is more intimate which allows the audience to see things up close and ask questions. My hair was highlighted by Jo Blackwell from the DopDop salon in NYC.

Because I've been hair modeling since 2006, my corkscrew curly hair has only been in the hands of master stylists, master creative directors, artistic geniuses, and only the best, high quality products. And I get paid. Jealous? My hair cuts have always looked amazing.

One of the things I've been concerned about in auditions lately is how sometimes my hair overwhelms my face. I'm like a lion: all mane. Now with my hair short, I feel like my face is finally on display! I mean, wow! Look how big my eyes are! Look at my cute nose! (getting the itch to pierce it again, even. Marley, let's go!)

So yeah, highlights! Highlights were put in on the technical stage and Jo only put in 6 foils; 3 on each side. Just enough to add a bit of depth and pop in my hair.
Then they teased the heck out of it.

I've been jealous of black women for years, because they can do ANYTHING with their hair. They can braid it! They can do cornrows! They can fro it out!

And look: Now I can fro it out too! Hooray!

This is the same hairstyle I had in the 80s, when I was 3 years old. So I really think it's adorable.

But really, the ultimate test would be how my hair looks once I wash it out and style it myself. I don't have a clue when it comes to styling, so I was looking forward to see what it'd look like. And here's the thing: It looks just like the top picture!

Mike Karg cut my hair dry because, as he says, we wear our hair dry! When he's cutting a curly girl with her hair wet, the curl shrinks to almost half its size, ruining the look of the cut. Cutting me dry meant that that is how my hair is going to look when it's dry, period.

I am super happy! Hooray!


Here I am in Long Beach, working for Karg/Blackwell. Mike Karg is an international superstar hairdresser who is revolutionizing the hair world with his dry hair cutting system - including shears and product all geared for dry hair.

This is my before picture.

They had prepped me the day before to get rid of my roots (or, regrowth, which is at a level 5- hairdresser speak for the color of my roots.)

Before the Mainstage Show at the Long Beach Convention Center, Mike Karg talked to me. He said that there was going to be a lot of hair flying, a lot of hair on the floor. I interrupted him promising that I would not cry about it. "Seriously," he said in his delightful swiss accent, "there is going to be a lot of hair flying every which way, and I just want to make sure -" Mike, I said, I am extremely excited to see what you are going to do with me. And he stopped. "Brilliant!" he said, and hugged me.

He cut my hair onstage. Dry. And I stood the entire time, as he cut and chopped, chopped and cut, refined and cut some more, constantly walking around me and spinning me to make sure my hair got the exact shape he wanted. And it is the shortest it's ever been. The last time it was this short was after I was born and my hair was growing out for the first time.

Stay tuned!