"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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Hollywood meets Groupon!

Or at least, that's how I imagine they're trying to sell Actor Q (as in...'actor q-pon'?).

Basically, this website hasn't even technically launched yet. The deals they have look like beta tests.


I went and joined anyways. A Groupon like site that advertises deals specifically with the Struggling Actress in mind? Call me a lemming, but heck, I'll sign up!

And you can too! 

It looks like they're almost ready for a launch for NYC, Las Vegas, and San Fran, as well as a few smaller markets, so check it out.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Struggling Actress

I got an email from Aisha the other day:
I saw a breakdown on Actors Access that said: "Early to mid 20's. The ethnicity is open. White or Hispanic is preferred." This REALLY bugged me almost more than the "Nudity Required" in student films. Almost. Anywho I am disturbed because I feel like if a director wants a specific type, he/she should just say that and stick to it. Why even have the ethnicity open then? It seems like an, "I prefer this type, but I'll settle for this type". It sounded like a good character to play, and I couldn't decide whether or not to submit for the role. In the end I submitted myself (I'm black by the way) but now I'm regretting it. I mean wouldn't an actor feel inferior in the audition room knowing full well that they are really not being considered unless by some stroke of bad luck they weren't able to find a White or Latina actress? Am I making a bigger deal out of this than necessary? Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.
 This is an excellent question and I'm glad you asked. I'm sure you've actually had a similar experience already when you go to a commercial audition and the room is filled with everyone from the rainbow. In fact, I had an audition a few days ago where there were two women with short afros laughing with the session runner that the copy actually read "A mostly Caucasian woman..."  What does that even mean!? And what did it mean to those giggling women who were coffee colored, the Asian actress, and the rest of us milky ones?

It means: options.

Directors, producers, and advertising companies don't even know what they want until she walks in the door, acts her socks off, and is perfect for the role. "She's exactly what we're looking for!" they say, even though the breakdown they put out says the complete opposite.

For open ethnicity, I say submit away. Be the option they didn't even know they wanted. Because if they bring you in, if ANYONE brings you in to an audition, they really are hoping that YOU are the one who books the role.

You ask, "wouldn't an actor feel inferior in the audition room knowing full well that they are really not being considered...?" But you are being considered. 

Maybe I am wearing a pair of beautiful rose colored glasses, but when I was casting a few projects, and we had open ethnicity, I brought in everyone from modelesque, to pretty, to character, to extreme character. It gave us a wider net, and all the reads were different based on who was reading. 


And if you ever feel inferior in the audition room, remember - even in a room filled with other African American women, I guarantee you are the only one who looks like you. So every single time you are in a waiting room, be it filled with others your type, or where you're the other option, know that no matter what, there's only one Aisha who looks like you. Act well, show all your acting strengths, and they won't see a black woman reading her sides...

They'll see an Actress who's perfect for the role. 

Break a leg at all your auditions!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Post Carmeggedon

You know what is so great about Los Angeles?

The artists.

They're everywhere here. And they're inspiring.

You know what else is so great abut Los Angeles?

The work crews who were so thorough but quick in getting the 405 reopened almost 12 hours before they had originally anticpated!

Watch this. It's 405 in 4:05. It reminds me of the stop motion Rudolph cartoons that are on every winter. It's gorgeous.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I wish I had good news to share with you. I don't.

I didn't receive a call from my agent yesterday about booking the gig that would have been super awesome. It was down to me and one other girl, so I thought, well, they'll put us BOTH on avail, but maybe they skipped that part and booked the other girl directly. This, oddly enough, is a huge relief, because I don't know if my nervous stomach could have handled another few days of "You ALMOST got it! Hang tight!"


As I'm trying to remind myself, getting to the top two is just another indication that I'm doing something right at these commercial calls. That trusting my instincts is a great thing, and that I'm really growing as a Struggling Actress.

My life isn't going to change right now, but you know what? Life right now is pretty good.

It really is.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Analyzing This

When I wrote about my brain not having a dominant sphere (are you left brained or right brained?) I never actually said what it's called. When both your brain hemispheres are balanced, you have an Integrated Hemisphere Dominance. Sounds dirty, huh?

So basically, I'm decent at the arts and writing and things, and I'm decent at logic and analyzing things. I'm a Jack of all Brains!

How does that work in my acting life?

Well, when I have an audition for something I want, I am pretty good at analyzing the shit out of it, detailing every phrase, every direction, every technical acting form, in somewhat, sometimes, exhausting detail.

BUT. Doing this also helps me let it go.

Now, some commercial auditions I go to, I do it, I think, okay, yeah, and let it go. I'll get callbacks, I might book, no biggie.

But when I have a commercial audition for something I Really, Really, Freakin Want, I will go over every detail (sometimes four, five pages in my journal).

Let me talk to you about the Commercial Campaign that is So Right For Me It's Ridiculous. Maybe, if I share what happened with you guys, I can begin to let it go, piece by piece, until I'm proud of what I did cause I was so Lira I was Liralicious.

I had an audition notification the previous Friday for a National Brand spokeswoman. There was copy attached and I laughed out loud. It was funny! Most of the times, copy isn't really all that funny and the actress has to make it so (I mean, Flo in those Progressive ads, I don't know she does it. I think those commercial scripts are so awful, but somehow she makes it work. Good on her.) but this commercial copy was just so....Lira.

And I'm a Lira!

The more I thought about the lines as I was memorizing them, the more I had an idea in my head about who this character/spokeseperson was. I knew who she was, and she was someone the directors and producers might not know they wanted until I showed up with her. She was bubbly and fun, and even though her lines might seem a little sarcastic, I could still make her sweet and endearing.

For the first audition, I went in, did my thing, and knew I was going to get a callback because even if they didn't like the character I created, I still had very good on camera technicals. I was cheated out, used my environment, and they could always bring me back in to redirect me.

I got the callback.

Went to it. Still in my fun character. I loved her! It was Lira to the nth degree! I was just playing a funner, girlier version of myself.

When I was on deck, I was able to hear the audition of the girl before me. She did the copy, was redirected, and as I listened to her read the copy and still sound like she was reading the copy, I knew I didn't have to worry about her. (Being an elevated character of myself, I was still analyzing and critiquing everything!) The girl exits, and it's my turn.

I do the copy as my character, and am then redirected to make her a little less Liralicious, and to slow it down and make it more conversational. My character was very ad-word friendly, punching up the product details with just the right amount of "sell." If they wanted less of that, to have me more like I was having a conversation with my best friend, I can do that. I did.

"Would you like to do some improv?"

It is illegal to ask an actor to improv at a Sag commercial audition. Yes, it puts the actor on the spot, asking them to improvise dialogue/scenes about a product they could potentially know nothing about, making for a very unfair audition, but the real reason why it's illegal is because anything the actor comes up with while improvising could be used in the commercial and the actor, who might not end up being cast in it, now has their INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY being used in the commercial and isn't being compensated for it. They now wrote part of the commercial and it's really hard to prove that they came up with it because the audition tapes might "somehow" be destroyed. There's no legal leg to stand on. So Sag prohibits this.

This spokesperson will be featured in print, internet, television, and possible In Store Promotions (ooh! How fun would That be!?).  Who ever books this spokesperson spot would be required to be in character at these In Store Promotions. So they have to know how to improvise in character and be product savvy all at the same time. And be funny, and be likable.


This is a non-union gig, so it is okay for them to ask me if I'd like to improvise. And of course I say Sure! with all the enthusiasm I can muster. But I'm thinking, Improvise? About the character and product, with very little knowledge about it? Are you sure you don't want me to step outside so I can Google this stuff and get some knowledge or funny trivia bits or Oh My God Please I Suck At Improv When I Don't Know What It Is You Want Me to Say Cause I Get In My Head About Whether Or Not This Is What You Wanted!!

They give me a scene idea to improv and I stuck in two things I knew about that particular type of thing they're selling and finished.

Being the overanalytical girl I am, there's really only one word to describe how I felt I did at that part: meh.
BUT, the fact of the matter is I was Liralicious as the character, I was Lira in the room, and I had come in there from the get go with a character I knew they didn't know they wanted until I showed her to them. I made a bold choice. And in the acting world, isn't it drilled into our heads how far you can go if you at least make one freakin bold choice?

Before I had my callback, as I was signing in, I asked the session runner if he knew when they would be picking their actress because the shoot day was listed as "TBD: August or January 2012" Usually, the production dates are set in stone; the crews are all loaded up and hired, and the locations are locked in. It's usually no later than a week or two after the auditions.
"They'll be picking tonight!" he said. Really? "Yeah, they only called back 20 people."


I went home, analyzed, journaled five pages like a crazyhead and kept reminding myself these very important things:
I did the best I could with what I was given, and I was incredibly proud of what I did. I gave them an OPTION they didn't know they had until I walked into that audition. I am an Option! And if I'm not what they wanted, at least I stretched myself as an actress and felt confident about the work I did.

Knowing the creative team was probably picking their girl that night and getting it approved by the product company that morning, I knew that if I was chosen, I could expect a phone call by 12noon at the latest.


No call came.

And I was bummed out about it because I loved what I did, and at about 3pm I was finally able to start being at peace with it. By rationalizing! I figured I must have been one of their top 5 choices because I was different, I had great technicals, and I was able to make them laugh in the room using the copy they've heard hundreds of times already. That's a feat to be proud of.

3:30 and my agency calls. "Are you available to audition again for a second callback?"

Second callbacks are rare. Extremely, extremely rare. It's Friday afternoon, a time when most Struggling Actresses are counting down the hour and a half they have before they have to put on their work shoes and apron and head into work for an 8 hour shift.

I was not scheduled to work a shift that night. I was available. YES, I can go to a second callback!

I jet over there for my 5:30 slot, and oddly enough, thanks to Carmageddon, I got to Culver City from the valley in like, 20 minutes!

I'm led in straight from the building entrance where one of the producers happened to be and he led me straight into the room. I expected there to be at least four other girls. Right now, there's just me. And I'm able to glean from someone else on the phone that they only have one other girl coming in.


My bold choice worked! They DID want what I gave them, and I was the only one giving them that!

I said I had a question and went on that when I had come in for the audition, I had a specific character in mind and did they want more of that today or less?

"We absolutely loved what you did, and that's why you're here now. We just wanted to see if you could do it a few other ways and see your range."

I was given new copy for two other spots they're doing and unfortunately, they printed out the story boards so that they type was extremely small. Like this:

via Now, obviously this isn't the copy, cause I could be sued, but also, this is in German Dutch. But this is the size of the print. Small, huh?!

There were no boards with the copy written in big print next to the camera so that I could have my head up the whole time. I would have to hold the small copy in my hand and read the small type as I auditioned. What's this? DAUNTING!

I asked for a few minutes to go work on these outside the room. When I step out, I see the other girl arriving. I nod and smile to her. She is given sides as well. After about five minutes, I am asked if I'm ready.

This is where I probably should have asked for five more minutes. Just to get the lines down. Even though they said they weren't looking for me to be word perfect, and they didn't expect it, I still wish I could go back in time and ask for just a little more time.

But I go in.

I do it. Am redirected. Am redirected again. Am redirected again. Go to the next commercial spot. Am redirected, redirected again, redirected once more.

"Okay, now we'd like you to improvise again."

But this time, weirdly enough, I was excited about that. Really excited. They interviewed me about the product and the character. Yes, I knew very little about the product, but I knew a lot about my character; she was charming, bubbly, and someone you would want to buy this product from. I didn't have to sell the product here, per se, because I was selling myself. Do these people want to work with me for a few months? Did I show any type of diva behavior? Could I maintain the integrity of the character/spokesperson and be someone people watching tv would want to buy products from? Could I represent this company in the best light for at least a year? Maybe more?

I improvised well. I made them laugh. I was, dare I say it, charming and winsome and knowledgeable and someone you would want to be friends with. I was exactly who they needed me to be.

I am now done with the audition and they ask me a few questions. I had my hair pinned back in a fake bun like thing for all three auditions and they asked if they could see what it looked like down. Then they recorded me with my hair down so they could see how I looked on camera. Because I had straightened by bangs (cause straight hair is always so much more sophisticated than curly, am I right? sigh.) I pointed them out and said if the curly was too much, my hair can always be straightened.

They asked me if I was opposed to dying my hair. "Not at all! I mean, I know I have to say you need to talk to my agent, so please, talk to my agent, but I have no problem with that at all!" Wouldn't that be fun? I wonder what color.... Could you imagine me as a blond!? FUN!

They then thanked me. And by thanking me, I mean they each got up and shook my hand, thanking me for coming back in on such short notice.

I thanked them and exited the room.

As I grab my things and wish the other girl good luck, she says, "You killed it in there!" "They're really so nice!" I replied, and then I whispered to her, EVEN THOUGH WE WERE THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE IN THAT ENTIRE CASTING FACILITY'S LOBBY, "hey, I hope I don't freak you out, but we have really good odds; I think we're the only ones called back for this!" "Really? That's so awesome!" "I know! Top two feels pretty dope, huh?" We say a few more words and then they call her in and I wish her luck again.


Are you tired of reading this? Cause I'm not done.

I got to my car, and felt a zen calm. I did the best I could. I was the best me I could be. I had an idea of what this campaign needed from me and gave it to them.

Then I thought about the other girl.

She had fifteen minutes with the copy. I had five. She is going to be memorized. She is going to have better on-camera technicals because of it. If they go back to the tapes, she will seem more put together and polished and I will seem a bit greener.


Like I keep saying, I gave them something they didn't even know they wanted. And they couldn't decide between the straight version that this other girl brought to the table, or the charactery one I had cooked up. And they brought me in to make sure I could do it without the character if they needed me to.

I did the best me I could do.

And now business wise, here's what I imagine is going to happen on Monday.

I will get the call from my agent that I am on avail. But the other girl will also get the same call from her agent. There's only TWO of us!

I just hope with all my heart that I'll know within a very short time frame whether I will book or be released.

And I also hope that now, with possibly one of the longest blog posts ever (and thanks for reading if you've made it here!), I can begin to let this go.

I had an idea for this character, I made my bold choice, I was the best Lira I could be and I'm proud of my work. Those are all things I should be very happy about.

Be Zen, Lira, be Zen. You did great.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Struggling Actress

Danai is freakin gorgeous. Ethnically ambiguous, she looks like a young Lisa Bonet, and her skin is so creamy, if you saw her, you'd feel like it would be your duty to ask her what her skin care regimen is so you can tell everyone you know and do the world a great community service.

Dania wants to act. She asked me if I wouldn't mind going over a few pictures to type her and to see if I thought she could make it as an actress:

I'll be in LA from mid-August through mid-December (after that I'll be back in Cambridge, MA for my studies) and will, unfortunately, not have a car. I don't mind spending hours waiting for poor public transportation, however, if it's what I have to do. Also, I think I might be able to use USC's Zipcar to get around if it's more of a time-pressure situation...I'm a Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator on the pre-medical track at the moment (random, I know), but have done several plays in high school. Sadly, no professional plays.

I'm German-South African-Zimbabwean-American and was raised 100% bilingually (German and English). I'm pretty athletic, flexible (maybe useful if playing a gymnast or a clown?), a fast learner, and can play piano and cello (but, admittedly, not very well). I think that's it as far as performing arts talents go...I want to act because I want to make people happy, I love dressing up in a whole different persona and being someone different in some other life (it's what draws me to writing, too), and because acting is one of the things that makes me happiest. I really like to explore the different emotions and think acting provides a unique insight into the human condition.

Do you (honestly, I can take it) think I have a chance?

Do I honestly think you have what it takes to be an actress? Absolutely! 
Do I honestly think you have a chance to be an actress for the five months you'll be in town while also studying? Not at all.

Danai, I think you have a very interesting life path ahead of you, but first, let me give you some reality, and then I'll give you a direction you might not ever have thought about, where you can still act, still cure cancer, and still make people happy.
The Reality:
You will be in LA for five months. In School. And you're not studying pretend, you're studying science. So you can't fully concentrate on your studies if you're also trying to live the life of an actress. 
You will need headshots. Professional ones. That sets you back at least $400. Then you need to print one so you can submit yourself to agencies. Although you only have high school plays on your resume, that's actually ok. You look twelve. You could probably find an agent who would represent you. Except for the fact that you're only here for five months. Not one agent in their right mind would sign you because it takes at least five months to get started. As soon as you might have some momentum, you'd have to go back to school in MA.
But let's say you did it. You got headshots, you submitted to agents, one picked you up. A few weeks later, you get an audition! Crap! It's during a very important test. Or between two classes. And you don't have a car. If you're going to be an actress in LA, you absolutely need a car. Los Angeles has the absolute worst public transportation system in the country, and it's very limited with where you can go. So you call your agent, saying you can't make the audition. Now your agent has to tell casting why you can't make it, and now this agent looks bad to casting. Because of you. 
Well, let's say you got the headshots, submitted to agents and no one picked you up. No one called you in for a meeting. You are agentless. You can still join Actors Access and submit yourself on projects. But you are green. You are too theatrical. And when the director says, can you please slate, you have to ask what that means. You don't have the training that your competition does. You are competing against other girls who have been acting since they were 6 months old. You are up against a lot of very good, very grounded, and very directable other actresses. The liklihood of you booking anything is very slim. But, What if you DO book something? And they need you for 10 hours a day for 6 days straight. What about your classes? What about your schedule? Are you available? No. You're not. They're not going to work with someone who is still in class. They'll hire the 23 year old who still looks 17, and came to LA to be an actress and has extensive training and credits.

BUT so what!

You are going to be studying at USC! One of the top 3 film schools in the nation. All you really have to do, is go to the film school and inquire about student films. Forget the headshots, forget the agents, forget all that, because you have a direct link to a ton of student films that need actors. You can find auditions that way. You might book something. And they'll work with your schedule because they have classes too. 

Five months go by, you go back to MA to finish your degree. 

Five months is not enough to be an actress in Los Angeles. It takes you two years just to figure out that what you thought was the absolute right way to do things, was the absolute wrong way. It takes you two years to get situated. It takes two years to find that bread and butter job that makes you enough money to keep taking acting classes and works with your schedule to allow you to jet off to auditions. 

Have fun while you're here, audition for USC student films, and make the most of the weather, the friends you're going to make here, and your time in LA in the fall and winter when it's still in the low 70s. 
And now, for some Direction:
I think you have a purpose with why you love writing and acting and science. Just because you like to act and write doesn't mean that you have to live in LA to be an actress. 

If you want to act, you don't have to live in LA!

But the thing that is so wonderful about you and what you're studying Danai, is that I think there's a reason you enjoy it all. 

What if you are a doctor at a Children's Hospital? What if you are curing autism and develop a program to help sick and terminally ill children help express themselves? You like making people happy? Maybe you are a doctor who wears a red nose and does a cartwheel if your patient doesn't cry when you give them a shot. 

I don't know what direction you're going to take, but I hope, I hope with all my heart, that the above paragraph inspires you. You are going to do great things, and make people happy, and do everything you love, but you're also going to heal people. You're a creative/healer. A Creative Healer! 

There's a whole world of opportunities ahead of you that you don't even know exist yet, but you'll find them, and you'll create some of your own. 

I know without a doubt that you will find a way to fulfill your soul. You write, you act, you heal. Listen to the universe, and use your gifts for good. What you have, is a superpower. 

Use it for the greater good.  <3


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Piled Up Desk

Since I was a little girl, I was always organized (for the most part). I had things that went in places and they were always in an order, but my desk, however, was always messy. They say that those who like organization prefer left brained things, like math and logic, while those who like messy workspaces are more right brained and prefer painting and reading.

I like organized And messy things.

I've done the 'are you left brained or right brained' tests. I don't have a dominant sphere! I'm either strong in both (or weak. take your pick)!

Curious as to what you are? Take this simple test. Count the numbers below:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Got your answer? Great! It's not the mathematics, it's actually how you count the numbers. If you thought, oh, well, 9+1 is ten, 8+2 is ten 7+3 is ten and counted that way, looking at the patterns, you are left brained. If you just added them all up, you are right brained. If you, like me, started counting them and then used patterns, you're both brained!

And I told you all that just to let you know that I have a messy desk and I have all these tasks I need to do, piling up, and my desk is barely recognizable anymore.

....I really should be more concise in my posts.

Anyways, I've been the busy little Struggling Actress here.

I shot a commercial!

Can you see what they're shooting? Nope? Of course you can't! I did that on purpose!

I can't tell you what it was for until it's out (I heard rumblings of maybe September. We shall see.) but what I can tell you, is that I have never had an on set experience like that before. Can't say what happened, but what I can tell you is that my agent is promising to never do business with that production company ever again. And that I'm seriously considering saying eff it, and joining Sag because non-union work really can be awful and I don't have a union protecting me or giving me incredibly great things, like overtime and a required trailer. I could take the money I'm making from this to join, but my car is in SERIOUS need of some repairs and maintenance, so we'll have to see. Who knows, maybe I'll book something else soon, fingers crossed.

I also had a commercial audition on Monday that was just freakin absolutely perfect for me. It's a spokesperson position with possible in-store promotions, and all that just sounds like fun....and like a lot of money.
I LOVED the copy. It was funny and slightly sarcastic and just...for lack of a better adjective, just so Lira! The callback is tomorrow. I need to be even more Lira in the room, and charm the pants off these people. A lot of the callback isn't just how you can act, but also to see if you're someone they want to work with for a day, or, for this particular gig, for the next several. If you're just the right amount of professional and Lira, you can go far!


Also, last night, I was a part of a television pilot reading for the writers of the webseries I did two weeks ago. Blogger reader Vida (sorry if I misspell!) was there as well and said she loved my blog!
Vida: I'm sorry. It always catches me off guard when people tell me they read this. It feels like I'm just journaling in here most times, and when someone says they read my blogs, instead of being smart and sweet and saying, "Oh my gosh! Thank you for reading!" I just say, "uh. Cool." Like an IDIOT. I don't know how to respond and if you felt I blew you off, I'm sorry.

AND, I also have two indie film auditions!

Like I said, I've been extremely busy. If I'm not driving to set, or to an audition, I'm going over sides or copy.

Feels good!

Monday, July 11, 2011


The city is shutting down the 405 from the 101 to the 10 this upcoming weekend to do some major construction work for 48 hours straight, and Angelenos are calling it Carmegeddon. Now, I've heard from some older folks here that when chaos was predicted for the 84 Olympics, and the Pope's visit some time after that, everyone was advised to stay at home. Those who did venture out, claimed it was the best commute of their entire lives.

Some people are also very excited about this, as it promotes staying in one's neighborhood and enjoying some physical activity and local commerce.

Some other people, are making videos to help understand what this freeway closure means to Adolf Hitler. Watch and laugh your head off.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crazy Couple of Days

Crazy couple of weeks, really. Cause when I'm not acting, or auditioning, or rehearsing, I have to work as hard as I can, and these posts have to fall by the wayside, which I hate.

Sad face!

So what I CAN tell you:

I shot a commercial! And as I was reading over my contract, I made a mental note to tell you guys: DO NOT EVER POST ABOUT A COMMERCIAL until it's on the air! Don't even describe what your audition was like. I shot one thing a few months ago I still can't talk about because they're going to do something like a sneak attack campaign (or something) and when they searched google and found me having posted "Just booked a thing for "Product X," on my acting website, they contacted my agent and he had to ask me to take it down. (My agent had to take time out of his busy day to do that. I can tell you he was not thrilled.)

The contract I signed yesterday stated that I was not allowed to talk about, give an opinion of, or mention the company's name before the thing aired. AND, some casting facilities are even posting signs saying if you're auditioning, you're "signing" a Non-Disclosure agreement, JUST BY AUDITIONING. Take a look at the walls at the Ivar Underground Casting Facility. I'm not kidding.

I even had Actors Access's public account on Facebook congratulate me on booking a commercial for that specific company, and I had to call up Breakdown Services and ask them to remove that post because it mentioned me and the company together in a public page, available to anyone surfing the internet. Extreme? It seems somewhat to me, but to be on the safe side, make sure your private Facebook account has your posts only available to your friends, if you have a public actor page, don't mention the company, don't mention the product, don't mention anything until your commercial is airing.

I'm also needed for an unexpected additional shoot day on this thing, which means: my agent renegotiated my shooting day fee. Yeehaw!

Also: I have a casting director who tried to get me in to his feature film casting thing a few weeks ago email me yesterday to see if he could bring me in. They still aren't happy with how casting is going for their one character and so they're bringing in more people. I was unavailable the first time because of the web series I was shooting, but now I can come in! And he found me from a project I worked on the previous summer, and calls me his "wild card" because I'm against the type they're really looking for, but he's sure I'll blow them away. Might not be what they originally had in mind, but it wouldn't be the first time I "wasn't right" for the role but still managed to book it.

Work begets work!

So up this week, I've got a commercial audition, a commercial shoot, and two auditions for two indie films. I'm having a grand ole time here, feeling like a real, live actress!

And now, off to the gym with my sides in tow, to memorize, memorize, memorize!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Fish for Theatrical Representation

Ah..... four day work weeks. Isn't that the best part about three day weekends? Anyways...

Last Monday I had a commercial audition. Two days later I had the callback. The next day, Thursday, I was put on avail. I spent the last FIVE DAYS in a state of limbo, wondering if I was going to be released like I had been for the last one just a few weeks ago.

Got the call from my agent. I'm booked. I shoot on Thursday.


Because, man oh man, is there something to be said about opening up your mailbox and finding a letter with your agency's logo on the return address and finding money inside. Magic Money! From an agency who looked at me and said, "You will make us money. We want you." And that's what I'm doing. Yeehaw!

And now, another type of letter in my inbox  - reader mail!

Betty asks:

Do you have any advice for people starting their search for a theatrical agent in LA?  I've been booking a lot of jobs myself, but it would be great to have a member on my "theatrical team".  Some people think that you get a good theatrical agent just by doing a lot of great work on your own... that they will eventually find you.  But I keep thinking that I should start my search while I'm booking my stuff.  What do you think?

I'm passionate about working on great independent films (that's my first love), but I've been branching out and doing a lot of different projects lately.

Hi Betty!

Yes, it's true that that you'll get a good theatrical agent by doing a lot of great work on your own, but when people say that, they mean you had a boutique level agent who got you in the door of a big project and you booked it, and then WME or CAA come in and lured you away.

But when you're without theatrical representation now, the above isn't very likely to happen.

So do what I did (or don't, cause I'm a Struggling Actress, ya'll) and clean up your resume (with the how to here), contact a casting director who has cast you and ask if they wouldn't mind you using them as a referral, write a short and sweet cover letter stating that Casting Director knows your work well and is happy to talk to the agent about your skills (put down their phone number!). Then mail it --- wait. Did I just jump ahead of myself here? Oh dear.

You can buy the Agency Book at Samuel French which has the addresses and little notes about each agency and whether they might be looking for your type. But you ALSO have to get imdbPro (can't afford it? try their FREE 14 day trial) and look up each and every single agency. Daunting? Have a friend help you. Have three friends help you! Go through every agency, see who their top stars are, and where the starmeters (which really don't mean anything) of their average clients are. Let's say you have a starmeter of 78,000. You want to be at an agency that has lower starmeters than you. You want to be with those around 30,000 and lower. So you double check the address, make notes on notecards, and you and your friends get together and put your packages together. (also, very important, write "referred by "so and so" on your envelope. It's way more likely to get opened.)

Last summer (and summer is the best time to do this!!) I had my top 20. I submitted, made notes on my card when I submitted, felt incredibly proud of myself and ....I got a phone call!!! From the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES!!! The voicemail said thank you for submitting but they weren't taking on new clients at this time. 

Want to know what is depressing? (incidentally, not the phone call from the House of Reps; I thought it was so lovely that they called me to let me know. Who does that?!) Submitting to 20 agencies and not getting a meeting out of it.

Well, eff that!

So I changed my headshot and did it again three weeks later.


It took me three tries to finally get some one to call to set up a meeting. But - I got TWO meetings on the third try. That's weird. But perseverance and a little chutzpah pay off.

It's stressful and daunting as hell, but I had my top 20 list and no more. I only had 20 agencies I wanted to be with. I knew that most of them were mostly dreams, but the ones that called me were the ones I wanted to be with and I wasn't going to settle for less than what I wanted.

Persevere. Perseveres. Persevere.

And good luck!!