"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

Monday, February 18, 2013

In a Valley on the Creative Rollercoaster?

This quote from Rachel Maddow will make you feel much better. She eloquently and succinctly has put into words why we fight the good fight of making people feel emotions:

“Sometimes we choose to serve our country in uniform, in war.  Sometimes in elected office. And those are the ways of serving our country that I think we are trained to easily call heroic. It’s also a service to your country, I think, to teach poetry in the prisons, to be an incredibly dedicated student of dance, to fight for funding music and arts education in the schools.  A country without an expectation of minimal artistic literacy, without a basic structure by which the artists among us can be awakened and given the choice of following their talents and a way to get to be great at what they do, is a country that is not actually as great as it could be.  And a country without the capacity to nurture artistic greatness is not being a great country.   It is a service to our country, and sometimes it is heroic service to our country, to fight for the United States of America to have the capacity to nurture artistic greatness.”

You can read the entire article from Dancing Perfectly Free right here.

You, you dancer, your actor, you writer, you singer, you are doing your country a service. Be proud. Fight on.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Waiting Tables in LA

Liz writes:

I had a question... considering a move to LA in the coming months. Aside from your lovely "5 Things I Wish I Had Known/Done Before I Moved to LA" (and trust me, definitely working on a non-acting/non-waitressing, flexible/creative source of income), is it easy to get a serving job in LA (for an NYC-experienced server)? Are there any "better" (i.e. "working in West Hollywood is great!") or "terrible" (i.e. "family restaurants = FML") types of places? And what kind of tips/wages could I expect to earn? I know this type of stuff varies so much, but any information would be lovely.

Hi Liz! Thanks for reading!

First off, finding ANY job in LA is tough. Especially restaturants, and it's due to the acting trickle down effect: With less films being produced, and film actors like Zooey DesChanel, Kevin Bacon, Anjelica Houston, Glenn Close and a gazillion others needing to pay off their mortagage, film actors are taking television jobs. The up and coming actors who should have been booking those series regulars didn't, so they're taking the guest stars and recurring parts. The actors who used to take those jobs are now going back down to co-stars. The actors who should have been getting those co-stars, are the ones who were typically working the night shifts four times a week at a restaurant. So those actors are now keeping their restaurant jobs. The actors who have just moved to LA and are unemployed, should have been hired by the management when those co-stars started graduating to guest stars, but there's no jobs to fill. And there are a ton of actors who are going broke because they can't find a way to make money. 

Heart broken yet? But that's the way it is. 

When I was going to school in Orange County, I got a job the summer before my senior year at a chain restaurant so that when I moved to LA, I could simply transfer over there and have a job already waiting for me. 

Do I recommend that? Oh definitely! 

You being a NY server and having NY serving experience MIGHT help you. But you're probably also competing against hundreds of other LA actors with LA serving experience. 

And I don't know if NY does this, but a TON of LA restaurants will ask you to attach your headshot to your restaurant resume so that they "can remember who you are," but that's just bs to cover why they're really doing it: to make sure you're hot. 

As for how much money you'll make, as a server already you know that's an impossible question to answer. 

As for where the best restaurants are - that's also subjective. All I can say is that you need to find a place close to where you're going to live because even a job 11 miles away can take over an hour and a half to get to for your 4pm shift. 

If you're contemplating a move in the coming months, this is what I suggest: get a fine dining gig in your hometown IMMEDIATELY. Learn all the fine dining rules so you're easier to hire. Fine dining is more expensive food which equals higher educated, higher earning clientele, which means higher tips for your job well done. 

While you're at it, take a bartending class and get a bartending gig. Bartenders also make great money. Especially if you're hot and flirtatious. Sex sells alcohol. And food in LA, apparently.

Good luck, Liz!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Binge Viewing

The LA Times wrote about Binge Viewing, how watching an entire season of a show in one sitting is changing how we experience television.
"Services such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as digital video recorders, have transformed the TV viewing experience by enabling viewers to devour multiple episodes or even entire seasons of "The Wire" or "Downton Abbey" in marathon viewing sessions."
I already noted that in an article I wrote to webseries producers pleading with them to release all their content at once. The Internet is Not Television and no one will go back to your online show week after week. But if you release the entire season online, and it's good, I'll sit and watch a few episodes. Maybe even the whole season. Because that's what we do already with television shows on the internet. I can watch the entire series of Arrested Development in a few days, and when they release season 4 online, they are going to release all 14 episodes at once! Because that's how we are watching television on the internet now; we want to see the whole thing now.

Last May I predicted the following:
Television is changing. In ten years, (and most likely, way less than that) we'll get most of our series in one fell swoop, and we'll watch television shows series by series. We'll have big tv viewing parties, and they'll become entertainment events - where there's behind the scenes, the making of, and minor characters who spin off onto their own online webseries, that's right, ALL ONLINE. And the website they have with all their extras is also loaded with advertising, so the studios are making even more advertising money.
The internet is changing television. Be smart and savvy about what this means for you as an actor/producer. Give the people what they want: all their entertainment at once, and available at their leisure.

In the meantime, I'm going to spend Super Bowl Sunday watching all of Downton Abbey.