Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Voiceover Market I Just Discovered

Time to be honest. I have a great speaking voice. I do. My voicemail message was left up for two years after I left one job because it sounded so great. I did all of the voice stuff on my day job's system. I've gotten tons of compliments. I've even done a voiceover gig.

Time to make some money. Today I spent about three hours at someone's office doing all of the voice recording for his phone system. Pretty easy work for me, seeing as I have a natural ability for it and all. And I got paid what I usually make in nine hours at my day job. Not too shabby.

This is something I could easily do to make money. I never considered it before since I figured everyone could do pretty and professional voice recordings. Now I just have to figure out the market and promote myself. It's kind of funny that something so simple could help me handle my money woes.

Friday, December 30, 2005

A Different Viewpoint

Yesterday I went to a commercial audition with Andrew. Usually when I go to auditions with him, we're going in as a coouple. Yesterday it was all him . . . and the beard he's currently sporting.

I carried my script with me so I could learn my lines while I was there. I was in no condition to be seen by anyone. I had no makeup on, and I was wearing the same clothes I threw on the night before for my rehearsal. Oh, and my hair needed washing since noon the day before, so I had a nasty little ponytail going.

I had no copy to learn, no forms to fill out, no sign-in sheet to deal with. I sat on my butt and cracked wise (which I thought was only loud enough for Andrew to hear, but I got chuckles from the other dudes who were waiting).

It looked like they were taking guys in randomly. If you were standing in front of the casting door, they'd call you in next. That's how it looked. There were about eight or ten guys in the lobby waiting to go in. I went over to the sign-in sheet and there were too many names for the people who were there. There was no production assistant in the lobby, so I took over and started calling names to see who was there and who wasn't. Then new people came in and I told them to sign in. Then I started telling people if they were next and hollering to the guys who came out of the casting room and jumping into the elevator to make sure their names were ticked off the list. All the while, I was cracking wise.

I did such a good job as a production assistant that one guy checked out with me so he could move his car. I ran into him when I went to move our car while Andrew was in the casting room. He asked me, "Are you leaving? For the day?" I guess I really am a talented actress if he believed I worked with casting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Finally . . . an Audition!

It's been a cold holiday season in the world of auditions. Probably because most people take the time off from work so they can relax and visit with family. Not me! I've been in production on a play throughout the holiday season, and I've gone to my day job every day for the past two weeks (even if just to check up on things). I guess I expect the rest of the world to keep turning while it's hitting the spiked egg nog.

Anyway, this morning I got a notice by email that I had an audition for a music video this afternoon. What's really cool is that I submitted for it last night. Fortunately, I was dressed as if my boss was coming to town so I looked like the professional that the role required. (I got a last minute notice about an audition one day when I was at work so I had to dig through my trunk for any accessories I had to make the change from professional office worker to white trash stripper girl. That was tough.) I waited for about thirty minutes to be called in, then the audition took about two minutes from start to finish.

It shoots tomorrow, so if I don't hear anything in the next couple hours I'll know I didn't get it. But I ran into one of my Kappa Lambda Lambda sisters at the audition, which was cool. I think this is the second time I've been at an audition in this town and I ran into someone I knew who was auditioning for the same project. If they don't call me, I really hope they call her.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Wonder of Line Rehearsals

I rarely talk about the things I learned from a director I had in college because we were at odds so much. But one thing that he really did right was line rehearsals for every play we did. In a line rehearsal, you're supposed to be off-book and know all of your lines and blocking for a particular chunk of the show. You just deliver your lines and call "line" when you don't remember something. Then you put it on its feet and run through the lines and blocking of that section. You recognize beforehand that everything won't be perfect, but you strive to make it perfect.

We had our first line rehearsal for Torrid Affaire this evening. It went so well. It's a nice gradient between carrying around the script and having to really know what the hell you're doing. What's really great is Andrew writes like people actually talk, so his lines are pretty easy to learn. I'm so glad we're doing two more line rehearsals for this show. I've been in shows that didn't have line rehearsals where "lines were due" by a certain date, but during the run of the show some of the people didn't even know their damn lines. This makes it more professional.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Discount Holiday Fun: Part Two

I didn't get yesterday's list or today's list completed. We had too many things on them. At least we didn't get bored! Maybe we'll finish the lists next weekend.

Yesterday's meal lasted all day today. We had plenty of leftovers for dinner tonight and we still have more for tomorrow. That was a smart investment.

Here's what we got done today:

- Watch more "Freaks & Geeks." Okay, this wasn't originally on our list. But this show is AWESOME. We watched two more dvds since last night. See my earlier post about this show. Total cost: $5.00.

- Rock out. I love to rock out. I usually grab my guitar and continue my self-teaching. I spent some good quality time doing that, then I sang while Andrew played later in the evening. Andrew got me a practice chanter to prepare me for learning the bagpipe as a Christmas gift, so I spent some time working on my fingering for that. I love music, and I'm trying to become the skilled musician that Andrew is. Total cost: not a damn thing.

- Go to a friend's house and mooch off them. The mooching part isn't totally true. We were invited to a friend's house for an orphan party. That's where all the people who are in town over the holidays and don't have nearby families or just don't want to see their families gather. I usually try to take a hostess gift, but I fell short this year. (See my last posting -- I'm broke.) We met some new people, got to visit, and ate some tasty grub. We also got to participate in Yankee Swap (White Elephant, Nasty Santa, Nasty Christmas). We had to leave early, but we exchanged a bag of silly toys for a Starbucks card. (Both of us took gifts over, but Andrew really wanted the Chris Farley dvd I brought so he snatched it before we left.) Total cost: $12 for the gift exchange.

- Use up those free cell phone minutes. I talk to my small sister all the time so today was no exception. I also called my little brother to see what he knew. Andrew talked with extended family and his sisters and parents. I talked to my mom Friday, so I called my dad today. I talk to my mom more than I talk to my dad. They're divorced, and my mom never told me I should forget acting and become a doctor or a lawyer because I was too smart to be an actor. Glad I called Dad. I have a knack for putting him in a better mood. And I managed to get some rare albums out of the call. Total cost: free weekend minutes, courtesy of Verizon.

- Shoot a short film. We have a camera, we had an idea, we had an hour. We went down to Hollywood and Highland and shot a short puppet film called Timmy Tubesock in Hollywood. That was fun. We did it guerilla style. We have to find a website to host the video, so I'll post that link when it's available. Tourists were laughing at our antics with Timmy, and we would laugh every time we'd cut the shot. Total cost: one sock, two buttons, one hour.

I had an awesome weekend. This is one of the best Christmases I've ever had.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Discount Holiday Fun: Part One

I was hoping for some production bonuses to handle my holiday bills and gifts this year, but there's some crazy saying about the best laid plans. Anyway, things didn't work out in time for Christmas so I had to put off some expenses until those production bonuses come through. I gifted my family, friends and co-workers and got something for Andrew. But how in the hell could I enjoy my holiday on a shoestring budget?

Here's how: I made a list of activities for me and Andrew to do over Christmas weekend. It was set up like a scavenger hunt. By engaging in activities we really enjoy, we had no time to mope. We filled up the gas tank before the weekend began, so none of these things cost us very much.

What we did today:

- Watch a film we've never seen before. We had never seen Trainspotting, which is amazing that we hadn't since we're film nuts. So we kicked back and watched it. Great film. Very disturbing images of heroin users. Ewan MacGregor rocks. Total cost: $2.50.

- Draw or paint a picture of one another's dog. This was a lot of fun. I'm into watercolor, Andrew is into pen and ink. I've painted one picture of my dog and one of mine and his, but never his alone. And while Adverb of Adverb and Snacks is inspired by Holly, he's never rendered an uncartoony picture of my dog. I really enjoyed working on the painting of Piper, and it turned out pretty well. He did a great sketch of Holly sleeping on the floor. It was intense work and we got it done fast. Total cost: supplies we already had on hand.

- Cook an incredible gourmet meal and eat on it all day long. Since we don't have any kids yet, we don't have to worry about holding traditions in place for Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas morning presents. Now this one wasn't dirt cheap. We spent some money on groceries before the weekend with our holiday dinner in mind. But it was a helluva lot cheaper than going to a buffet, and we were left with more food than we would get at a restaurant. For breakfast we had homemade cherry turnovers and apricot danish. For dinner we had honey glazed ham with baked apples, pastry wrapped brie with organic cherries, cornbread stuffing with extra celery, and asparagus. (Okay, that was more like lunch and dinner.) The food was amazing and cooked to our liking. The dogs had some ham fat and organic egg nog. (We don't drink egg nog because it's EGGS that you DRINK -- too weird.) Total cost: groceries were about $50 but included other meal stuff and leftovers.

Today was amazing. I had no attention on the fact that I was broke until I started blogging. And I didn't get everything done on my list! Tomorrow holds even more adventure.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Freaks & Geeks

I'd heard lots of references to the defunct NBC show "Freaks & Geeks" and how great it was. In fact, I saw an ad for it on a recent dvd rental. I saw part of an episode one night when I was sick at home, but my schedule never matched up with the erratic and everchanging schedule of the show after that one night.

So I devoured the first of six dvds tonight. OMG! It's an amazing show. A lot of programs have awkward pilots where the characters are still a little two dimensional and haven't really found their footing. Sometimes the writing can be forced since the show has no history to reference. Not this show. "Freaks & Geeks" was a winner from the start. The main characters were really well-developed, and the supporting cast was amazing. There's plenty of drama in each episode, but it's not Barbie Doll drama*. Even the bad seeds are sympathetic. All of the characters are really well-rounded.

If you get the chance, check out "Freaks & Geeks." Dare I say, it's better than "Dawson's Creek," and I was a rabid "Dawson's Creek" fan for most of the series.


*Barbie Doll drama: The plots like those that develop when playing with Barbies, i.e., "I don't know if he likes me," "You stole my boyfriend," "Let's take the Malibu to the Barbie Dance Club and make brunette Ken jealous." Andrew uses this term all the time.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I'm a WHAT?

I know I'm an actor. I love the process. I love the communication with the audience. I love dressing up and being someone else. I love safely experiencing things I might not otherwise experience.

But sometimes I'm a little shocked to realize that I'm an actor. For example, I was at the photo reproduction place on Monday. (I know, how could I not realize I was an actor going to a photo lab with my headshot negatives in hand?) I go up to the counter, speaking actor, and I tell her I need my negatives put on cd so I can get lithos later and my agent can upload different pix to the net. The gal sets me up at a light table with a loupe (which I guess I was supposed to know how to use since I AM an actor) to pick out my negatives for transfer. All the while, I'm surrounded by actors, speaking actor, picking up headshots and ordering repros, asking to have blemishes retouched out of their photos. There are signs that say payment is due upon ordering and no cell phone calls allowed at the counter -- both rules that actors would cause to be in place.

I pick out my negatives and get back into the actor line to place my order. I pay, then she tells me I have to wait until Thursday to pick up the cd. Thursday! I let out a tiny sigh because I wanted them sooner. Why? Not because I have the money for lithos this week. No. Because I'm an actor. That's just what we do -- sigh when we can't have our way. I'm one of them.

No Casting

Every day (at least twice a day) I go online and do electronic submissions to casting notices. I'm on three different casting service websites, and I see what they know on craigslist. I've gotten a little choosier with my time so I'll only submit for the student projects or no-pay independent films if they really interest me. Most of what I submit for is paid work.

I was really busting my rump to get some paid work before Christmas so I'd have a nice check roll in for the new year, but the casting notices have dwindled. I guess folks are already on vacation. It's a little frustrating because I want to book some work so I can go out and blow some money on red cowboy boots, but the people who can give me a job are already lounging around at home in their pajamas.

Ugh.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Renaissance Pam

I've always admired the idea of being a Renaissance Man. Andrew is. Good at everything, really talented, gets a lot of aesthetic stuff done in a day.

Well, it took me more than a day, but I did it. I was a Renaissance Pam. I started my weekend doing holiday baking. For me, baking is relaxing. Every food requires different music. I left Bjork playing while my bread was rising, different tunes for different cookies. I can really create in the kitchen. Domestic things can be very aesthetic. Heck, I wrapped presents (which can be challenging but the presentation is very important).

I played on my guitar on Saturday and Sunday, then picked on the mandolin a little. I watched Magical Mystery Tour and Imagine, from which I divined more inspiration as a musician. And Andrew and I wrote a song. Our song is a little like a Barenaked Ladies tune.

We hit the Getty Center and spent a little over an hour there. We saw an exhibit of sketches from Italy during the Renaissance. Beautiful stuff. I walked away with a new appreciation for red chalk drawings, white gauche, and painting on colored paper. I also picked up my portable watercolor set for my Christmas day painting and I tested it out (so I can later paint on colored paper).

Then I wrapped up the weekend with rehearsal for Andrew's play. It wasn't a long rehearsal, but I am challenged by being both an actress and a producer for the project. Rehearsals tend to be fun, particularly with his material and him directing.

I feel like I didn't have a lot of down time, but I got so much done. And it's nice to do activities of my own choosing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Actor - Will Work for Food

I'm one of those artists who has to support myself through a day job. Now, don't get me wrong. I love the company where I work. The people are great, I have flexibility in my schedule, and I really believe in what the company does. But I'm an artist, and I want to make money creating my art.

From time to time I realize that I'm limited as to the amount of money I can make at the day job. This happened last night. If I really want to make money at the company, I can sell my soul to the company store and take on a lot more responsibility (and lose the flexible hours). But if I want to pay my bills while I bootstrap my way up the actor's ladder, I have to make more money.

This can really make me feel hemmed in. It's the ultimate problem - there are two opposing intentions. (I'm not getting pressure from my workplace to drop the acting, but I am getting pressure from life to make more money.)

The real solution to my problem is to make more money as an artist. So after about fifteen minutes of ranting and whining about how I need more money, I went home and started hunting down as many paid actor gigs as I could find. I submitted for a ton of stuff electronically, then pulled out my headshots and big envelopes and sent out more stuff. I've spent a good chunk of my non-work time today jockeying the websites that give actor breakdowns.

Tonight, on my way to rehearse the play that I love that has not yet lined my pockets with gold, I got a call from one of those folks I deluged last night. I have an audition for a PAID gig tomorrow or Thursday. The best part: I get to audition with Andrew Moore.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Memorial Day

This is the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder. I was very small when he was shot, but I remember it well. I heard it on the radio when we were driving to someone's house. I remember thinking, "Why would someone shoot John Lennon?"

I grew up listening to Lennon's music on the radio, and you can't grow up in this country without hearing The Beatles. I watched Yellow Submarine on television once a year. He absolutely fascinated me.

As I got older, I appreciated his genius in songwriting. The man is amazing. He was the driving force behind The Beatles, and he and Paul McCartney were the best songwriting team ever. I've learned to play some of John's songs and his co-songs. Genius.

I also admired that he truly loved Yoko. It was that kind of love and admiration that was missing between my parents. It was an ideal love -- they were always together, they created together, they never said a negative word about one another in public.

I know I'm only detailing the minute experience I have with John during my short life here. He's almost been dead the entire time I've been here. But I feel like I have more time track with this artist than this short life. Maybe I was a screaming fan in another life, or maybe I was the fly on the wall during the Let It Be recording sessions. Odd as it may seem, I feel very connected to the man.

Andrew and I went to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this evening. There was a huge gathering of people singing his songs (and co-songs). Most of the star was covered with poems, letters, flowers, candles, and even a little Christmas candy. We brought candles and placed them on the star. I think I was the weepiest person there at that time of night, followed by Andrew. There were little kids there who might have never heard John on the radio but only on their parents' cd player. The man was truly loved.

To find out more about John, check out www.johnlennon.com.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sorority Grrl

Today was our last day of filming for the sorority/CIA recruit film. It was a really fun project, but I had an audition in the middle of the day so I missed the scene where I would've worn my leather pants.

Anyway, we started off the morning playing sorority games to get to know each other better. We even had sorority songs to sing later in the day. This was the day when we REALLY got to know each other. We made poison muffins together, danced to non-existent Shania Twain music that they'll pump in later, ate a tub of cream puffs. I had a lot of fun with these chicks, and I felt like I was in a real sorority by the end of the day.

We shot in a frat house since none of the sororities would have us. Let me just say that it was the cleanest frat house I'd ever seen. True, all the other frat houses were in movies. But it was spic and shine AND the boys were very courteous and respectful of our filming. Good guys.

If you ever get the chance to be in a sorority for a couple days, you should try it. (But I've heard that the long-term members can be kind of cut-throat.)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Craft Services - A Real Crap Shoot

I feel so bad for these craft services folks on independent films. So many different tastes to accommodate on such a small budget. And in L.A., so many people want soy, non-fat, low carb everything (but they scarf down chocolate on the side).

For this short film I'm doing, I was asked to give my allergies and dislikes. So I said I was allergic to almonds and dislike fish. I figured those things would be the most likely things to show up on the craft services table. The list of foods I dislike is HUGE, and I didn't want to sound like a picky bitch.

Well, I am a picky bitch. We had these beautiful submarine sandwiches from a deli, but they had mayonnaise on them. I hate mayonnaise, so I was trying to convince myself there was no mayo there so I could enjoy the sandwich. The problem was that the bread was so chewy and the sandwich was so tall that every time I'd squeeze the sandwich to take a bite, the meat (lubricated with mayo) would slide out the side of the sandwich. I tried to block the side with part of my hand for the next bite, but the meat slid out the other side. I spent 15 minutes trying to maneuver this sandwich so I wasn't just eating mayonnaise bread. Ugh.

I'm sure my story isn't the worst one about craft services in an indie, but that slip and slide sandwich frustrated the hell out of me.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Kappa Lambda Lambda Recruit

I never belonged to a sorority. I've seen sorority life in films, but today I lived it. I was cast in the sorority film. Today I shot at USC. I had the sorority t-shirt so I matched my sisters. I look forward to the rest of this shoot. Girls really develop a bond when you put them in matching uniforms. (Though I was never a sorority girl, I was a Girl Scout.)

What was really exciting about today was the fact that it was Game Day - UCLA vs. USC. The campus was wild with tailgaters and private picnic parties. The place was alive with this wild energy. Everyone was so happy to be there.

Made me wish I had game tickets.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Rockin' Ass

In the last play I did and the short film I did, I wore leather pants as part of my costume. Yes, I got lots of compliments on my leather pants. I guess I wear them appropriately - like a rock star. In my audition earlier today, I put down that I look great in leather pants under "special skills/related experience." (I've been told that not everyone can wear leather pants well.)

I've been cast in the short film about sorority girls who work for the CIA. And, yes, I get to wear my leather pants AGAIN.

It looks like I'll have to invest in a rainbow of leather pants to show off my rockin' ass. I wonder what they'll want me to wear in my next project. :)


One-Pam Band

Today I auditioned for this commercial as a one-woman band. I can play guitar, but guitar does not complete the one-woman band picture. So Andrew and I picked up one of those harmonica holders and stuffed his harmonica in that for me to use. I also grabbed the tamborine we had at home that Holly ripped the cow hide off of and slid it over my foot so it made noise while I kept time for myself.

I'm not what you would call "good" at harmonica. Not even close. I can honk out "Turkey in the Straw" if you give me a couple do-overs. I told the clerk at Guitar Center this, and he told me to just blow like Alanis does. Brilliant advice!

I whirled into the audition room this morning with my travel guitar, the harmonica and the tamborine. I chatted with them for a minute or two as I put on my gear, then I played "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5. (It's a simple song - three chords for the whole thing: F, G, C.) I butchered it at first while I got my groove on. Then I went wild. I didn't even sing, which I usually do when I play, but this time I had a harmonica in my mouth.

Who knows what will happen, whether or not they will choose me for the commercial. The important thing is that I had SO MUCH FUN! I should really work up a song that I can do well so I can pull it out at parties.