Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Spirit

Halloween seems like it's been losing its magic as I've gotten older. I have had zero trick-or-treaters since my second year in college (except for my nieces and nephews ONCE when I lived in Arkansas). There are less people going around in costumes, and even though technology has gotten better, most of the costumes suck. It used to be my favorite holiday. Now it's been replaced by Christmas.

I did a show tonight in Hollywood and I found all the people in costumes parading down Hollywood Boulevard. The sad part was that most of the people were dressed like prostitutes or Darth Vader.

At the end of Peter Pan (the play), the audience has to clap and say "I do believe" to revive Tinker Bell so she doesn't die. I've tried doing that for Halloween, but it hasn't worked yet.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I Love Boise

I did the most AMAZING commercial workshop today! A friend of mine, Boise Thomas, has booked 52 commercials in five years. About two years ago, he started teaching friends what he did to book work. It's developed into this well-organized one-day class that contains nothing but applicable data.

I went into the class having gotten auditions through my agent for some really great commercials (big stuff - an electronics store, a television network, a discount store, a truck, a computer line) but not booking any of them. Boise gave great advice on wanting to get people to say "No" (because then you're closer to getting your next "Yes"). He also taught practical techniques that he uses in his auditions and drilled us so we can use them in our own. We did a talent assessment with the class so other people would shout out what type we are (I'm girl-next-door with edge), what products we would sell (tampons, apparently), and how old we could be. After lunch, he shared stories about different commercials he books and what he did in each one that got him the job. We jotted down those things so we can use them as our own tools. (It seems hard to find someone in this industry who really wants you to do as well as them and will share everything they know with you.)

I left SO excited about my career. I made plans and decisions about what I want. I'm taking my talent assessment to my agent with a bunch of "thank you" chocolates for getting me that stand-in gig. I hope I can get them as excited as I am. His workshop was worth at least twice what he charges.

To find out more about Boise, check out www.boisethomas.com. To find out more about his workshop (and the success rate), visit www.bookin.biz.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Snoop-a-Loop

Today was Snoop Day. I did more stand-in work on this national commercial (which is nice work if you can get it). I saw Ellen Degeneres on set, and I got to block a segment of the commercial with Snoop Dog. Snoop-a-loop. That was fun. I was about two feet from him at one point. Of course, I don't have a camera phone and I didn't drag a disposable camera with me so I don't have any pix of the whole thing. But I can tell you that Snoop is very tall and very thin and very charismatic.

I had a fantastic day. I was there early enough to eat breakfast - on the production company. I sat in a trailer and watched a movie with a gal from the advertising agency and another stand-in. I talked to my boss and a co-worker and Andrew and my small sister on the phone. I did some reading, listened to my iPod, hit the craft services table for some tea and cookies.

Our lunch break was coming after the union rules permit, so I made more money from meal penalties (another great thing about doing union work). Now, they didn't starve me. God no. I had a sub sandwich and some grapes and chips and access to as many snacks as I wanted to eat. It just wasn't official meal break time (with the real plates and silverware). I earned a pretty penny off that.

Anyway, back to the work. I talked with another stand-in and almost took a nap. They called me around 2:30 PM to go up and do my thing. I hauled ass getting upstairs to get to work - that's what I was there for. I met a really nice country band that performs locally and chatted with them while I did my work. Snoop came in. I spent about thirty minutes under the lights, then I stood by for about thirty minutes while they shot the bit with Martina McBride. Then I was sent downstairs to wait to be signed out. Lunch was served as I was signing out, but I was ready to get home to see my dogs after a long day of work.

I love this industry!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Elusive SAG Voucher

Today I learned about the elusive SAG voucher. The SAG voucher is made out to be difficult -- nay, impossible -- to get. I've heard legends of people who have worked as extras for months on end with the sole hope of getting a SAG voucher but coming home empty handed. Three of these mythical vouchers will grant one eligibility to join the Screen Actors Guild. As a member of SAG, one is guaranteed better pay, mandatory breaks, overtime pay, decent working conditions and insurance and pension (if you work enough).

I entered the realm of the voucher today. Here's how complicated it was: I showed up early for my call time at my commercial stand-in job. (My agent submitted me for the job, a much coveted union gig.) A gal wrote my name and ticked a few boxes on a form. I signed my name twice and provided tax information. Whammy!

Damn. That was tough. One down, two to go. I hope it's not any harder to get my voucher tomorrow.

Har har har.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hard Work Ahead

Tomorrow I'll make some money as an actress -- sort of. My agent got me a job doing stand-in work for a national commercial. It pays well, I get a couple SAG vouchers, and I'll have some free time while I'm there. I've never done this sort of thing before. I've seen people do stand-in work before. They stood around with glasses of punch for maybe an hour or so while the lighting was done, then they went to the green room to read or take a nap. I think it will be fun.

It's odd that standing under some stage lights for a few hours would pay more than crying my heart out at a theatre in the Valley for several weeks. I estimate tomorrow will be less taxing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A High School Senior - Finally!

I found out tonight that I booked a role as a high school senior in this gal's thesis film. It doesn't pay, but I'll be playing a high school senior (which I didn't get to do because I dropped out of high school). This will be a first for me.

The other great part about this role is that it's for a horror film. My character has a couple scenes and is then murdered. My corpse will be hanging from a tree with shredded clothes and blood and everything. Isn't that AWESOME? I really look forward to this shoot.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

All Wrong

Today I was way off. I had this audition for a thesis film. The impression I got from the character description was that I was auditioning for the role of a sixteen year-old girl -- fun, young and hip. The character's words seemed more mature than that, but I thought I should go with the description. I put my hair in braids and wore hip huggers and a great t-shirt I found when I was shopping with my small sister in the fashion district. I wore peach lip gloss and didn't put eyeliner on my bottom lid so I'd look fresh and young. I thought I was ready.

Wow. I got there, and the director said she was more of a hippy. She was a bit older and not as perky. I gave him the best read I could muster, but I was dressed all wrong for what he intended. What's funny about wardrobe is that it helps me get into the beingness of the character. I wear one skirt for sexy, one skirt for young mom, and one skirt for office worker. I wear certain shoes so I move correctly for the age and vibe of the character. I even wear different bras for different things. I was dressed for going to high school or the mall. He wanted someone who would smoke pot and have a live-in boyfriend.

My bad.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Paid to Swear

It's always nice to get paid for something you do well, something that comes naturally.

Today I got paid to swear. No sh*t! A friend of mine found a posting on craigslist for attractive young women who can cuss. Well, I emailed in my picture. After a short phone interview, I booked the job.

For the shoot today I went in, answered some questions, and swore like a sailor. After fifteen or twenty minutes, I was done. I collected my cash and split. I didn't make a ton of money, but I made more money in that third of an hour than I make in a full hour at a great day job.

This makes me wonder . . . should I put "can swear like a sailor" on my resume?

Sunday, October 02, 2005



Zombie

I did a zombie photo shoot today. I love zombie films (Shaun of the Dead is my favorite right now), so when I saw the casting notice about this project I had to submit myself. It was unpaid work, but it was a chance to do something really cool that will wind up in a gallery (and I'll get a digital copy from the artist when it's photoshopped).

I thought I'd be dressed up as an old West zombie. No, they turned me into an old West prostitute. My boobs were hiked up to my neck and I wore false eyelashes for the first time. The first group of prostitutes got to have guns, so I thought I'd get a gun too.

Nope. I was put on my back on the hay and covered with blood and latex guts. That was fun. The blood was really warm in my armpit. (It got everywhere, even soaked the waistband of my underwear.) It looks really awesome. And you get to know people pretty well when they're munching on your living guts.

I had a lot of fun, and the candid shots I've seen look great. I met some cool people. (Note to self: get ACTOR business cards with my photo, not just day job business cards.) It took two showers to get all the red off me, and I was picking hay out of my hair for two days (yes, I washed it). But it really was a great experience. It's not everyday that you get to have pizza with zombies.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Infomercial Day

I've always secretly loved to watch infomercials. (I guess the secret is out now.) Today I had my chance to be in one. It was for Susan Lucci's Youthful Essence.

I misunderstood what I would be doing when they booked me. I thought I'd be testing the product and giving a testimonial in the infomercial. Instead, I watched a few segments being taped and I applauded. In this particular infomercial, the audience reactions and responses were genuine. Know that when you see the infomercial, we were just as surprised by the ages of these women as you are. But that's all I did -- me and about thirty-five other chicks.

Susan Lucci is a tiny, beautiful women. She looks the same in person as she does on TV. She's also really nice. Some of the girls that were sitting by me hollered out to her before the shoot started and she came over to pose for photos with them.

It was easy work. I didn't get paid, but I did get to fulfill my dream of being part of an infomercial. And I did get a gift certificate for staying late AND a lot of the products. Not a bad way to spend a day.

My story would be incomplete if I didn't give my review of the product. I know I didn't get to give a testimonial there, so I'll give it now. The microdermabrasion formula and tool work really well. My skin is smoother, my pores look smaller, and my face feels softer.

If you watch the infomercial, I'm wearing a striped sweater and pearls. Not my usual apparel.