Archive | October, 2012

A Day in the Life

29 Oct

My weekdays have become a pretty well oiled machine. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of waiting but there’s always stuff to do, which I love.
I wake up and check actors access, and submit myself for roles that I think are fitting. Usually nothing too exciting comes up on actors access because they would go straight to agents with those, but it’s great for practice and demo building and meeting people which is what I’m about.
If I have an audition, the rest of the day is consumed mostly by preparing for, driving to or waiting at said audition(s).
Commercial auditions are generally speaking way easier for me at this stage because its usually just you in the room with a camera dude. They put you on tape and send it to the client so you don’t have those peering judge mental eyes trying to devour your soul until the call back, at which point you already know your good. In a commercial audition it’s, just a dude with a camera who doesn’t really care that much. I guess its the same for the tv and movie roles but for me it’s mostly those hungry student film makers who can make the auditioning process as awkward as possible. Eight of them sit in on the room and have you sit in a single fold up chair 50 feet away from them. You sit and fidget and might try to crack a joke and theyll look first at eachother trying to determine the aprpriate thing to do before laughing politely. This all sets the stage for a fabulous audition. Then if you are lucky they will either chose someone to “read” with you who is completely monotone, doesn’t know the lines and is standing at the back of the room so you have to make up this invisible person that’s standing next or a wanna be theater kid will read with you and sing songs each line as if he’s in a broadway musical. The worst that student film makers do is when they don’t take you and they send this “break up letter”. It’s like: Dear ______, while we think you are incredibly talented we have decided to go in a different direction. Again we think you are a special special magical person filled with rainbows and blah blah blah. I find the whole thing rather condescending, I never plan on getting it. You saw 405 people today, 51 in my exact demographic so I get it, my life does not end with you and your short film about a guy who gets dumped and tries to get the girl back in the most melodramatic of ways. I know I sound horribly bitter but really I’m not, the same way we actors see a lot of awkward scripts and auditions they probably see a lot of awkward acting, from myself included. The whole thing is no unlike some awkward first sexual experience. By the way- I booked another role for a short shooting next month, sounds pretty cool, yay!

So there are those days. There’s also days when Guillaume and I shoot and they either end with us high in a ball of creative energy or us hating each others guts and thinking the other is an uninspired nit wit, most usually a combination of the two.

There are also meetings with other actors or industry people for coffees. Sending quick “keeping in touch” emails to people you once worked with. Editing demo clips. Learning lines. Looking for cheap props. Updating resumes. Brainstorming new clips. Trying to get the printer to work. Groundlings classes. Brazillian Jiu Jitsu class (never hurts to have skills). Guillaume and I also watch movies and shows, sometimes even ones we think are bad and analyze every micro second like we are the world police on acting violations, it gives one a wonderful and false sense of authority. We play room mate volleyball and argue over who’s hair is clogging the drain (despite living with three boys, five if you include the dogs, there is a lot of long hair going on around here).

Mostly right now I’m waiting for news from the manager. I’ll call her K.D. hence forth. She’s awesome and we’ve hung a half dozen times at this point and have become pretty good friends. She really wants to represent me but is the newest of the three associates and hasn’t yet pitched a new client yet. Especially one so “green”. She was planning on bringing me up last Friday but high drama in the office decided it wasn’t the right time. Fingers crossed for this week, in the mean time I’ll be salivating at the thought.

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Actors Kool-aid

27 Oct

Oh Geeze- louise. Apologies for the coolness of this past week but I must be frank with you, I have another writing gig brewing. Eeeek! I feel pretty scandalous about the whole thing, but it has been pulling a bit of my attention. And now I’m all turned around, can I rehash material for one another? Do I write the same thing twice?? Do I neglect to inform my readers on one or the other end??? These are all very serious questions for a very newly published writer. In the meantimes while I figure out the dynamics of the new addition to my writing relationship, I will fill you in on the deets. It’s for a site called 10 Best and it’s pretty much what this blog is all about only… mildly more censored.

Phew- now that thats over. Tonight we are on our way to go see a friend of mine at Groundlings perform in an improv/sketch show. By we, I mean myself, my room-mates, my Guillaume and my friends K.D. and C.D. The show we are going to see is by a friend of mine from Groundlings named Eric L. coincidently we both went to University of Miami and while we never crossed paths in that sphere, well here we are now. I can’t tell you how much I love being peers to these incredibley talented wonderful people. I think maybe the sterotypes hold true and their are actors who are repulsed at the idea of being drowned around all this talent but frankly how much worse would it be if you were drowned in a puddle of untalented people?? It’s so inspiring to be studying with people that make you go “wow” and I have to say my class at Groundlings really does that.

Class is going well, it’s been a bit strange thought because our proffesor has been under going some health issues (after yesterdays surgery, he should be better though !) so we’ve had pretty much every different teacher at Groundlings. One of the founders, and some guy that I recognized as “the nicest guy in the world” from my brief affair with How I met your Mother. Just a lot of really swell people. Anyways, the class mates are awesome as well. Huge talent in the room and I feel like I’m making a lot of progress.

There is something really addictive and drug like about acting. You go through these bought of dormancy and waiting that make you want to scream with frustration and then auditions that have made me so freaking high I have cried after them- I know that sounds essentric but its true. Overall there is just a feeling of being so alive, even the lows, when they happen are comforting in their aliveness. Mostly though its the respect gathered from my peers and other actors that is so “inspiring” you just want to melt. There is always someone to blow your mind and those are the moments I am most happy to be alive, whether it’s by the awesome power of a wave, a snuggle fest with Yogi or an amazing performance of an actor. I’m completely electrified with potential and you might as well commit me into an assain assylym because I have drunk the actors kool-aid.

Demo of my Demo

22 Oct

I met with “the new potential manager” for lunch and she was awesome. She is highly motivated and smart and relatable and looking to grow which is like the best possible combination for a manager to have. I drank a lot of iced tea during lunch and may or may not have chattered like a hyper active monkey throughout the entire meal at this chic Palisades organic cafe but whatever the case, it seemed to work. The attraction was mutual! We’ve been texted and emailing for over a week, now the only tricky part was getting the rest of her team to give me the go. I think I mentioned this in my previous post but they are three women managing the careers of 39 actors and some of the actors are pretty big deals. So if they took me in, it would be awesome. They are the real deal, this would be a company that I wouldn’t be trying to upgrade. They’re already up there.

Though I’ve gotten a lot better at it management is certainly not one of my strong points: you have to make appointments and phone calls, and sell yourself to people and read contracts and make decisions like whether partial nudity in this random independent film is going to bring you to the Cannes Film Festival or is going to haunt you for the rest of your career. A good manager can be the difference between a short, mangeled, undirected career and well, whatever the opposite of that is.

Now in order to sell me to her team, I needed a Theatrical Demo. I had none. This requires sorting through a fair amount of manure, as in past projects. Bad sound quality, bad image quality, bad cut, small unimportant parts, none of those can really get into the demo. Surprisingly enough this left us with mostly stuff that we had shot ourselves.
Here is the demo that I have put together and Guillaume has graciously edited and color corrected and sound stabilized and whatever else he does.
I just sent the manager the final cut this morning and she’ll let me know if she thinks I’m ready to be pitched to her team.
Keep in mind it’s clearly not a high budget projection, but the idea is to showcase to a manager that I have potential, that I feel comfortable infront of a camera and that I can act. And hopefully, not the opposite.

From Soho house to Ed Hardy Beers. California diversity.

17 Oct

L.A. is so cool. We really are kinda smitten in that mushy wushy infatuation stage. This past weekend we took an overnight trip up to the San Bernardino mountains which would be like a hiccup away if we hasn’t gone at exactly 5
O’ clock rush hour. But I’ll get to that later-
I was in celebration mode because I had just had lunch at the Soho house with a really wonderful and interesting lady friend of a friend (millions of thanks to this friend). I won’t name drop because she might be horrified at my association but she is the daughter of a very famous writer and very famous actress and has daughters my age, she is wickedly smart and fun and a very talented writer herself, her husband is a very powerful attorney “to the stars” too- so they are totally enmeshed in Hollywood.

I do still get a bit nervous on first dates, which complicates my life as an auditioner, but she was so cool and relaxed that immediately I felt like I could gab to her about my most personal irritations.

The soho house is gorgeous. Its a members only club for Hollywood royalty, it’s located in the bosom of Beverly Hills atop a very tall building (for LA standards) that overlooks the city.
We sat on lush sofas as we dined on kale salads and drank sparkling water, I tried my best not to look smug.
Half the restaurant came to greet her at one point or another including a former judge on American Idol, the guitarist in a very famous band and the producer of two of my very favorite movies. Act casual I mantra’d I wrapped an invisible feather boa around my neck.

Lunch was over and she had put me in touch with a “young and hungry” manager who is essentially, part of her family. She is one of three managers who operate a very exclusive management company. They represent 40 actors, that are all real working actors, a lot with names that I know. Long story short me and young hungry manager were setting up a luncheon of our own, exciting!

Meanwhile, the mountains were gorgeous, or what we made out of them because by the time we arrived it was very, very dark. We piled pillows and blankets into the tent to make a nest of warmth because the temperature had dropped dramatically. We dined on quiche that was sooty on the outside and cold on the inside and drank Ed Hardy beers (long story) which were not surprisingly pretty disgusting, and loved every minute. Yogi immediately took his position as territory patroller and Guillaume read me tales from his book about a drug smuggler (the books called High, and it’s really good).

We woke up really early and wound up at a Belgian waffle joint on lake arrowhead, I would tell you the details between these two points but acting as my own attorney, I think it’s better I take the 5th. We played improv games as we got high on sugary waffles and coffee refills and watched the steam rise off of the adorable little lake. Actually, exactly 5 years earlier G and I had been to the same place with my mom when after we went to my cousins wedding on Catalina island. We drove on down through the tiny mountain towns which seems a million miles away from L.A. The air was a crisp 40 degrees, with added windchill because Yogi insisted on having his head out the window.

We drove to a place called Glenn Valley to pick apples because it sounded like a perfect fall thing to do. I don’t think G quite understood the finesse of choosing the right apple to pick but I suppose apple picking is a skill Americans are naturally more adept at.

We made it home just before dusk that same afternoon and went straight to the beach to play some volleyball with our roommates. We had started the day with 40 degrees and mountain towns and were ending it at 80 degrees and beach volleyball. It blows my little Florida sandles straight off.

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My very first LA role!

8 Oct

What a week.. and a half. Booked two jobs and found a commercial agent. Don’t get your panties in a bundle one is a webisode (a show that is aired online) and one a USC student film BUT still. The web series is called Space Turkey and while still a little rough I think it has a lot of potential. It is a totally improvised show about a womanizing and idiotic space captain that is sometimes reminiscent of George Bush, only less tragic and more comical somewhere around the year 3,500. Besides characters and a vague story idea nothing else is established. Its Sci-Fi meets SNL.

So now I had to develop a character and a name and pretend I knew what I was doing. They clearly thought I had done this before, I was surprisingly fantastic in the audition and I put Groundlings on my resume, just neglected to mention I’ve only had one class. I mean this was a real production. The main actors had been in REAL movies and were talented! They had their own studio to shoot and full time writers and producers. Whhhhat. I mean don’t get me wrong, this is still a web series but there are a lot of shows going around now that started as such.
One of the producer even gave me a whole spiel about how Comedy Central was sniffing at making it a real series.

Luckily at this stage in my “industry” experience I’m pretty used to grandiose delusions, so I’m generally able to maintain a healthy level of skepticism. Hollywood talk that never happens only breaks my heart a little.
However, you never know. So the whole prospect was pretty exciting. I show up a few days later and am immediately feeling a bit off my mojo. I’m the new kid on the block and everyone seems to hold high expectations. Then they tell me, oh by the way, we shoot it live. What?! You forgot to mention the minuscule detail that my first improv job will be streaming live for all to see??! No pressure. So immediately my internal self curls up into a ball, not unlike a hamster trying to hide in the shaving mulch.

I start to wonder irrelevant things like how much caffeine I should drink?? Will I be awesome?? Will I start sweating profusely and mumble weird jokes?? The other actors are loose and fabulous, they are really good. The main two should have their own show, frankly. Being in a room with really funny people has its pros and cons. I’m immensely intimidated. Finally after notifying my mother and my room-mates (again I don’t want to burn all my bridges if I’m absolutely horrific), we start streaming live. Guillaume told me that at one point there were nearly 40,000 people watching. I’m glad he told me that after.

I was, pretty good, with no emphasis on the pretty, or good. I wasn’t nearly as charming and wonderful as I was in the audition BUT I didn’t crash and burn, yay! They will condense these four hours of live work into about a 30 minute show so all the while they are making adjustments and directing us (maybe at times a little too much as the actors seemed to condense afterwards). The main two totally stole the show, they have been working on it for two years and they are pretty much genius and I was a little envious at how well their chemistry flows. I played a 500 year old actress that the capitain has been in love with since a child. I floated between French- Russian and German accents (unintentionally). Speaking in a “theater voice” was a bit difficult for me considering I didn’t quite trust if the next thing to come out of my mouth would be totally ridiculous.

Fast forward, and I have yet to be asked back this week, though there was a rumor that they didn’t do a show at all. Either way, I’m pretty okay with being “pretty okay” this time considering I went from chocking on my own tongue in an audition to being streamed live infront of thousands of Sci-Fi nerds (all due respect) with no obvious blunders. I’ll let you know when the edited version is complete!

The other job I booked is for a USC short comedy about meditating. Sounds pretty clever. We shoot later this week. The best news about all this is that my auditions aren’t always terrible anymore! Because trust me, they were for awhile there. I would pull the hamster ball routine and squeak out my lines.

As for the commercial agent, I went with Sovereign because they seemed really excited about me and everything you’ve heard about an actors ego is true. Oh, and they are good. Yay! Now I just need a theatrical agent, and a manager, and new new head-shots, and a demo reel, and my SAG card and.. And… And..

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Tad Brown

3 Oct

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This is Tad Brown. He is one of our room-mates and my good friend from highschool. That cape of gorgeous burnt red that is flying behind him in the salty sea air, is his hair.

Audition results

3 Oct

So far Southern California seems to fit like a glove. Even after living in seven different cities since my 18th birthday, there is no place like home, like the beach. So, after a morning of surfing, still high from the salty air we reached our computers to find out our audition results for Groundlings. By some random fluke of performance confidence I had managed to persuade the instructor that I had serious Improv skill. My two compadres, unfortunately, had no such luck. It’s amazes me how fickle this business is. I think there must be a direct correlation between your ability to tolerate rejection and your success. I felt a little guilty but I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t pleased that all the hard work is paying off.

I signed up for the next available class. Starting today, October 3rd. There are three levels to Groundlings. Most people end up having to repeat a level if they want to move up. But ifyou get through all three levels, you get a certificate that confirms you are ruler of the universe (at least that’s what I like to imagine). As for today, I just get an invisible pin that says “not too shabby” and that works plenty for me.