"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, January 20, 2013


The car accident wasn't my fault, however, I feel an immense amount of guilt about it because nothing is getting resolved. The driver who hit me, as of Friday, (so day 5 after the accident) still hasn't returned or called his claims rep, and is not answering their calls. As much as I would love to give him the benefit of the doubt - I can't. He is screwing me over. I cannot get any money for my totaled vehicle until he makes contact with his insurance and gives his side of the story.

So the guilt - yes. I feel guilty because I can't fix the above problem, can't get money for the down payment of a new car for me, and I feel like all of this means I somehow I failed my husband, failed our partnership. I said no to collision when we were getting insurance together and trying to lower the costs. Something I had NEVER been comfortable with. The last two months, I kept reminding myself, remember when you get a new car, to add collision. add collision. I heard that voice. I ignored it. Tried to wait it out. Finally, finally, we had a little bit of savings, and we were going to spend that on plane tickets to visit his family for his Dad's 70th birthday. But I need a car and we do not have the money to purchase one. If I had collision, I would have been paid out immediately, and then my insurance would deal with all this without me. Instead,

Everything is still on hold. Everything.

Of course, if you asked my husband how I'm doing, he'd probably beam and say, "She's handling this very well! You should see her! She's so on top of everything! She's making calls and seeing what our options are."

The only problem is, of course, we don't have any options.

Not until that other driver calls his insurance and says, "Yes, I was driving that car."

I don't know what to do.

I don't know what I can do.

I have never felt so helpless.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I was in a car accident on Monday and I just got the call today that my beloved little Toyota Echo is a a complete loss.

Now, I'm so incredibly lucky that I was not hurt, that the other driver was not hurt, that no bystanders were hurt, however, this whole process has been unbearably slow and completely throwing me for a loop.

As an actress in LA, I practically lived in that car, setting up shop sometimes on the 405 for a few hours, trying to get home at a pace a snail would lap. She had great gas mileage too. And the driver's seat sat higher than most, so even though she was a small car and I could parallel park anywhere, I still felt safe and like I could see around the other bigger, meaner cars.

So tomorrow the hubs and I go test driving for something with four doors because heck, maybe we'll have a baby. Isn't that a weird, terrifying thing to think?

Speaking of babies, a young whippersnapper wrote:

Dear Struggling Actress,

My name is Ari. I'm eighteen years old and a senior at a performing arts high school in NYC. While I've done some community theater when I was much younger and I've undergone four years of training, I'm incredibly new to the industry. I saw your post on how to use Actors Access effectively, and it was extremely helpful. I just have one question, though--I want to upload a reel to be put at the top of 'the pile', as you said, but I don't have anything to show them. I've never booked a job, you see. So what should I put up there? A couple monologues? A reel of my skills?

Hey Ari,

It's been a long, long time since I was last in high school, but even way back then, there were at least a few friends in my circle who had video cameras, and at least one of them could edit.

Nowadays, everyone has a video camera in their pocket or purse. How the times have changed!

You say you are at a performing arts high school and have never booked a job. Ahem. You mean you never booked a professional job outside of school, correct? Because you've been in plays, you've been cast in school projects. You've worked. At 18, agents and casting directors love those who did all the dramatic extracuriculars in high school. You committed to projects, to roles. You committed to rehearsals and performances.

So, I'm pretty sure you have a few monologues in your back pocket. A few scenes you've done for class.

You have material.

Should you record it and upload it to Actors Access?



Make sure that whatever you decide to do (do a monologue - then you save yourself from having to edit it) is WELL LIT meaning we can see you, WELL FRAMED, and that the SOUND IS AWESOME.

Heck, you can even write something for yourself all meta-like by writing a monologue specifically for a webcam - Like how you always think you look weird when you see yourself on camera! Whatever!

Make sure it sounds good, it looks good, and that it's you at your best!

And good luck! Have fun with it! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I can't sleep. I'm thinking about down payments and auto loans.

Yesterday, as I was driving home from visiting a friend, I saw a a guy making a left turn singing along to his radio. He doesn't see me, I thought. He's not going to yield! I braked hard and slammed down on my horn, knowing a hit was inevitable at that point. Don't hit the front of your car! Save your engine! I veered right, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best.


I opened my eyes and I knew I had to get my vehicle out of the intersection. It slowly rolled and I parked it along the street. I called my husband. "I'm okay, but I was in a car accident." My voice wavered. "I'm at Cahuenga and Magnolia, parked next to the Little Caesar's" "I'm on my way," he said. I stuffed my phone in my pocket and gathered my license, insurance, a pad of sticky notes, a pen, my keys, and walked over to check on the other driver. He had already moved his vehicle out of the intersection as well. I didn't see it anywhere. A guy rolled his window down and said, "Hey! He's parked over at the gas station. Are you okay?" "Yes!" I called out. "And thank you!"

The driver was still near his car. I asked for his driver's license and registration. He said he didn't have that. I asked for his license. He repeated he didn't have one. I asked his name. Oscar Gomez. I asked for a credit card, registration, anything that verified the name he gave me. He refused. Okay, I said. I went to the back of his car and took a photo of his license plate. I came back to him and surreptitiously took two photos of his face. He told me that he doesn't even live here. Where do you live? Not here. Where are you staying? Hotel. What's the name of it? Cortez Hotel. Where is it? Sepulveda blvd. What is your phone number? I don't have a phone.

Everyone has a phone.

There must be a number I can reach you at. No. He said. You must have a wife, a daughter, who I can contact to get to you. He gave me a phone number with no area code. What's the area code? He gave it to me. Whose number is this? Mine, he said.

I need to see the car's registration. Reluctantly, he finally gives it to me, encased in plastic. This is all I have, he said. The last name is different on it than the name he gave me. I could have misheard him, but I think he was scared and outright lied to me. On the registration, it had his address, the license plate, the vehicle identification number. I flipped the plastic cover over. On the back was his AAA proof of membership. I took photos of both.

After asking for his license again, he said he didn't have one. I don't know if he was lying about that.

At this point, I should have called the police, but the last time I was in a car accident in LA about ten years ago, the 911 operator told me the police don't come to car accidents unless someone is injured. Neither of us were injured. I didn't think they would come out. They probably would have if I had told them this guy was breaking the law by not giving me his information, but I knew that by the time they'd arrive, he'd already be gone. Still, I should have at least called them to make a report.

I meant to take a photo of the damage to his car, but I didn't have the wherewithal to do that. I was very shaken up and not expecting the driver at fault to be so unhelpful. Eventually, we come to the point where I understand there's no more info I can get from him. "Okay then." I said. I wrote my name and number on a sticky note and gave it to him. Maybe he'd feel guilty? Call me?

I'm on the phone with a tow truck. I tell them the name of our car repair shop I want the car towed to. I'm then transferred to claims and am on the phone when my husband arrives. I haven't taken photos of my car yet, so I ask him to do it. He does. I'm still on the phone when I ask him to take everything in my car out. He does. Super helpful. I am calm but I'm so relieved he's here I almost break down into tears. Not conducive to the claims phone call, so I'm holding it together.

You should have called the police, my insurance says. Hindsight, yes. But if I had threatened Oscar with that immediately, I don't think he would have given me his registration card. He might not be Oscar, they said. He could be a relative or friend driving the car.

That never occurred to me.

They have to go through the DMV channels. They have to see if any of the information he gave me regarding the phone number and hotel match up.

I don't have collision insurance. If my vehicle is totaled and it's my fault, I'm at a loss. This, however, is an accident that's not my fault. Oscar didn't see me and didn't yield to me. Normally, his insurance, if he has any, would give my insurance all the money I need for repairs or the value of the car.

Now, automobile insurance doesn't cover the drivers; it covers the car themselves. It doesn't matter if Oscar is a friend or relative of the vehicle owner. The car's registration also is up to date until Feb of 2013. And in order to be registered, you must have some type of insurance.

My husband and I arrived to our auto shop before the tow truck. We talk to the owner and showed him a picture of the damage, saying, we know you can't accurately judge anything until you see it in person, but here's an idea of the scope. Can your shop handle it? Yes he said. But let's wait for me to see it. Two minutes later, as the tow truck pulls into the lot, the owner, Aziz, says, It's a total loss. It's totaled. I'm so sorry. I'm going to unhook it from the tow truck and take a look under the hood, but it's not going to be good.

The car is taken off the tow and he pops the hood. "This is not as bad as I thought!" he says. He shows us to metal bars that surround the engine. "If you had hit this bar or that one, it'd be a total loss, but instead, the engine and those bars are intact. It's a lot of body damage, but it can be repaired."

At this point, however, we wait. A rep from my insurance will go see the car sometime today and see if it's worth fixing. My claims service rep is trying to find Oscar.

I am lucky.

I am not hurt. No one was hurt. No bystanders or pedestrians were hurt. I am okay. He is okay. We are shaken, but we're okay.


And hey, if the car is a total loss, I really wanted a four door car anyway.

Silver lining?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scary Things

Y'all know how much I like writing, right?

Maybe you haven't noticed.

But one skill that is sorely lacking, is my ability to write a good sketch. I don't know the format, I don't know how to take the idea and expand it. I don't know how to even begin it.


I'm taking a sketch writing class at Upright Citizens Brigade, and I'm both terrified and ecstatic.

If you're in the same "free agent" theatrical boat as me, these next few months are going to be slow and boring. Take advantage of it. Do stuff for yourself.

I mean, I'm also taking a belly dance class, cause why not?!

Yay 2013!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Take the Job

Aussie reader Rachel writes:

Hi Lira,

I've been told about a full time job opportunity. It's not an acting job - it's administration at an acting school, 1 year maternity leave position. I'm going to apply for it and decide whether or not to take it if I am successful.

I was wondering whether you had ever taken a job that was essentially inflexible? And if so, did you regret it? Did you feel the pros (money, a period of stability) could compete with the cons (not much chance of weekday auditions, etc?)

I've worked casual jobs for years and unless I absolutely have to, I'm not returning to retail or hospitality. 

If you had any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

All the best,


Hey Rachel! I'm not returning to retail or hospitality either, so I totally get where you're coming from. Part time jobs involving folding clothes and inventory, or hot plates of food and hungry customers wear down on one's soul.

You already understand that although you'll be working at an acting school, you won't be given time off for auditions. You will, however, be given one year of a stable income. Argh! the Dilemma! What to do!?

I'll tell you what to do. If you get the job, TAKE IT, with the understanding that you are NOT auditioning for the entire year. Sure, submit for everything and anything while you're working. Maybe you'll get a chance to tape yourself for the audition, but if booked, will you get the time off? Probably not. So you'll have to work on projects that only film during the weekends. Figure at least a two weekend shoot, and you're working 14 days straight. Yuck. I've done that. Not easy.

BUT HERE'S THE THING: You can still work the OTHER aspects of the actor world even though you're not auditioning. You can take singing lessons!  You can take dance classes in the evenings or weekends! You can see if ModelMayhem.com is also in Australia  (it's basically a facebook for models/actors, photographers, makeup artists so you can build your modeling portfolio).

If you get this gig, you will have a year to save your money, take fun classes, and learn how to pose like you're doing a spread in Vanity Fair.

Once the woman you're filling in for returns from Maternity Leave, you now have a nice savings account, tons of great photos, and a few extra skills. This is a win/win situation.

Good luck! I hope you get it!