Friday, March 31, 2006

What About Love?

I've been witness to far too many relationships ending negatively in the past two months to not address this subject. Besides, I'm a self-proclaimed expert of nearly everything. (What I don't know, Andrew knows the rest.)

When we were growing up, parents were sure to tell us that the violence in television and movies wasn't real. They were actors and they weren't really getting hurt. Too bad they didn't say the same thing about the soap operas and love scenes. In entertainment, everyone dresses fabulously (even the poor people are chic) and dramatic events always turn out okay (like when Laura married her rapist on "General Hospital"). They don't tend to have sex on dirty sheets, and they aren't too distracted from pleasing their mates by the day they had. The women look beautiful when they wake up in the morning -- no blemishes, no ratty hair, wearing matched pajamas and with an unmistakable glow. The men don't have hair growing from funny places, don't have a beer belly from too much partying in college, and don't have dried sleep in the corners of their eyes.

Why didn't Mom and Dad warn us that this stuff was unreal? I admit, the idea of having a Hollywood ass when I'm 40 and rolling over to wake Andrew with a perfect coif and the glow sounds great. But it's not real. I'm afraid that in this day and age people expect the relationships between men and women on film and TV to materialize in their own lives with absolutely no effort. The expectations are unreal. Women won't always greet their husbands with a martini and open legs. Men won't always greet their wives with perfect hair and a fistful of spending money.

If you can face the reality that your significant other won't always look perfect or behave perfectly, that you may have to see him or her vomit or that it's not always going to be sunshine and pancakes, and you can embrace that, that's true love. If the other person can do the same thing, I give you my permission to marry.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


The Importance of Good Headshots - Part Two

When I left off, I was called in as a fat girl but I looked bulemic. I had to have new headshots.

I had a friend who was trying to get someone to shoot some free headshots for me in exchange for referrals, but that never got off the ground. I put in a call to an acquaintance who, my other friend told me, might be willing to let me pay for the headshots in installments. I never got a return call. My friend then got me connected up with Denice Duff. She's an amazing person, an excellent actress, and my favorite photographer. I helped Denice and my friend out with some things voluntarily, so she offered to help me out by shooting some black & white headshots for me for way below her normal price. She said she'd do hair & makeup, and she'd do wardrobe advising. She knew what worked in headshots because she was a successful commercial actress for years, and she booked a soap opera as a contract player and had a string of horror movies behind her. She got jobs as an actress, and she shot her own photos.

I was a little nervous because I had two turd headshots I couldn't use, and this was costing me a bit more. She was awesome. I had a bunch of photos I could use as a headshot, and I wound up enlarging six photos. I turned one into my regular headshot, then I turned two of them into postcards. I was so pleased with her work that I referred her to everyone. I know of at least three people who went to see her because of me. I also started getting lots of calls off those headshots.

In the last year or two, black & white headshots have gone the way of the dinosaur for commercials. The industry standard for commercial headshots is color. I have red hair, so I was told by one agency that I should have color photos to show off my hair. So it seemed that I needed color no matter what. I contacted Denice and I think she did two rolls for about $350. Most of the photos were usable as headshots. I had one turned into lithos that I used for a while, then I changed to another one at my now-retired agent's advice. I have three others to get turned into lithos (I have one for young mom theatrical, and I need to print sexy commercial, fun & young commercial and fun & young theatrical), and I need to get another photo turned into business cards. I have four other photos on one of my casting websites, so that's a total of ten photos from that one shoot that I will use or have used. I get called out pretty regularly off the photos I've got out there now.

I went from one turd and no auditions to another turd and a fat girl audition to a great black & white and lots of auditions to great color photos and a few booked jobs. That's why it's important to have good headshots. Check Denice out at www.duffimages.com.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Testees

Tonight is Andrew's first big test for his cinema class. I really mean BIG - 300 questions. He's allowed a one-page legal-size sheet referred to as his "answer key" that lists titles of over 100 films. He can write any notes he needs for his test on this one page but he can't enlarge it or attach anything to it. He's been working on it for a couple weeks, and it's still not completely filled in. He's having test dreams and getting anxious about the test. He actually cares about the grade he gets in this class.

I know I haven't helped the test anxiety. I plan to take this class for fun in the future, so I'll have to do the same 300 question test. And I have to do a series of tests on my Scientology counselor training before I do my internship, and those things are all practical tools and not a bunch of name-date crap. I was always obsessed with getting decent grades, even if I had to cheat my way through 11th grade history class and buy Cliffs Notes to fake my way through college literature classes where I did little more than crack the spines of the books.

For me, taking a test is about as pleasant as the trips I took to the dentist for extensive oral surgery when I was eight and nine years old. I'd get nauseous and I'd ask my mom to take a different route to the dentist each time to try to take my mind off it. I was so anxious I made her pay for laughing gas for me every single visit (excluding cleanings). It seemed to take the edge off.

I wonder if I can hook Andrew up with some laughing gas before his test tonight, just to be sure it still works before I have to face my own tests.

Sunday, March 26, 2006




Pilates With a Puppy

I hurt my shoulder in pole class a couple weeks ago. I did a massage, I did some arnica montana salve, I did ice packs and hot packs. I still couldn't use my pole yesterday because I was sore. It was better, but still sore. So I decided to pull out my pilates mat and do a little pilates to gently work the muscles.

Holly used to love pilates time. I'd roll my mat out on the floor and lay down. She'd curl up just below my butt, then she'd stand over my face and generally get in the way. It's no different with Felicity.

I was sitting with my feet on the floor and my knees up, ready to follow along with Mari Winsor's dvd, when I noticed a curious little warm body just below my butt. I laid down and tried to follow the dvd without disturbing Felicity, but she awoke and stood on my stomach. She then proceeded to stand on my chest and lick my entire face and neck while I laughed. When she was finished, I tried to return to Mari's workout. That's when she decided to take a nap between my legs. Nice to know some things haven't changed.

The Importance of Good Headshots - Part One

It is so incredibly important to have good headshots. I have horror stories, so please learn from my mistakes so you don't waste money and make the same ones.

I was living in St. Louis right before I moved to L.A. There was one headshot photographer in town and all of the headshots she took looked the same. I talked to her on the phone and I didn't like her. I wanted to move to L.A. with a headshot under my arm so I could hit the ground running. We found an ad in the newpaper looking for models for stock photography for greeting cards, soap ads, etc. We showed up at the studio, met the photographer, and she said it would cost us $30 or $50 each to cover postage until someone wanted to buy our photos. She said she'd shoot a couple headshots for me and for Andrew as part of it. So we did it. When we saw the proofs, I picked out the least terrible photo of myself and paid $20 or so to have it enlarged to 8 x 10. It was a real turd of a photo. I think it would've been more flattering for me to use a photo of me rolling out of bed after a long night of drinking. The whole thing was a scam. She had photo books in the lobby with ads torn out of magazines. Did she really shoot those photos or was that false advertising? I mailed her a postcard a year later asking what happened with the photos she was going to send out. I never heard back from her.

When I arrived in L.A., I went to a retoucher in hopes he could spin my turd into gold. He laughed at me and said he couldn't retouch it because it wasn't even on photographic paper (Kodak print-it-yourself paper was more like it). I asked where I could find a photographer for pretty cheap. (Mind you, Andrew and I lived in an $800 a month studio apartment about the size of a roadside motel room with two grown dogs, neither of us with employment yet that guaranteed enough money to even cover the rent.) He gave me the name of this gal, and we set an appointment to see her. (If you ask me personally, I'll give you her name. I just don't want to permanently sully her name on the internet, especially if she improves her skills.)

We looked at her photo books and they all looked like headshots. She did mostly men, but she shot women from time to time. She had a studio in back of her house where she did the work. She didn't do hair or makeup, and she didn't help narrow down clothing selections. I think I got four changes on one roll of film for $125. She might've cut us a deal -- both of us for $200 total.

I was really excited to go for my first real Hollywood headshot session. I packed my suitcase with clothing and I brought makeup and hair stuff. Wow! This was going to be fun! In truth, it was weird. She wanted me to meditate before my photos, so she left me on the floor in her oddball studio in the dark for about fifteen minutes. I don't meditate on command, so I fell asleep. When she came back and asked me how my meditation was, I lied and said it was fine. When we did the pictures, she kept making noises at me like I was a baby or a puppy so I'd laugh or smile. The smiles were nervous smiles, the laughter scared laughter. When I got back the proof sheet, I looked like a dork (dorkier than in life) in most of the pictures. I had to order my 8 x 10 through her, so I picked the least turdlike photo. It was a real Hollywood headshot, or so I continued to convince myself. And she cut us such a great deal, so I couldn't say, "Wow, these pictures really suck and I guess I'm now out a couple hundred bucks with nothing to show for it as rent day creeps closer and closer."

So what did I do? I got lithographs of turd photo #2 and sent them out. (This is back when most submissions were done through the mail -- less than a handful of years ago.) While I was sending out my turds, I was on this radical diet of no sugar, no white flour, no pasta, no corn syrup. I think I was consuming about 500 calories a day because I had some false data on what it takes to make it in Hollywood. I needed to lose a few pounds, but I got down to about 93 pounds and my boobs started to shrink so I started eating cookies and coffee cake and sandwiches again. I was called in for ONE audition off about 200 mailings, and the role was for a fat girl. My photo made me look like a fat girl to them. (Granted, I had a few extra pounds on me, but I was by no means a FAT girl.) When I lost the weight, I couldn't quite afford to buy new clothes as I shrank (remember my rent was $800 a month). I showed up for the audition, all hair and bones, and my pants were too big. The auditioners read me and thanked me and sent me on my way.

That's when I realized it was time for new headshots, and I might have to pay a little more money to get something decent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buy Or Die

I was a Girl Scout for many years of my young life. My mom was a leader. When I was sixteen, I was a Girl Scout leader. I went to Germany and drank beer as a Girl Scout, then I hosted a German girl in my home for three weeks as a Girl Scout.

It's cookie time. I've personally consumed two and a half boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year. We used to buy cases of cookies in college, but I'm trying to maintain a figure so I can get acting work and Andrew is being supportive. Even though the cookies are now a whopping $4 a box, I think it's important to buy at least one box from the cute little girls who hang out at the grocery store and (because of today's declining educational standards) can't always make change correctly.

Why, when I was a lass we didn't hang out at grocery stores. Oh no. We were given big order forms to carry around that had pictures of the cookies, and the honor system kept us from selling before the official sale date. I'd put on my cutest face and hit up the teachers and my grandparents and local cousins to buy cookies from me. There was usually a prize at stake, like a stuffed monkey or a stuffed penguin. Then I'd hit up the people who came to our motorcycle shop or our house just to visit and drink beer. I'd either wait for them to get stoned and then bring out the order form (knowing they'd be interested in cookies at that point), or I'd march up to the tougher sales and say, "Buy or die." I'd make all kinds of threats that my forty-pound body couldn't really back up, my dad and his friends would laugh, and they'd order cookies. With this tactic, I won a stuffed monkey or two and I had highest cookie sales in my troop for a couple years.

Being a Girl Scout was a very important part of my young life. I earned lots of badges, made friends, gained social skills, and I got to participate in a lot of cool activities. Oh, and I got to threaten people and use my cleverness to get the biggest loadies to fork over some cash and support my ventures. To find out how you can help support the Girl Scouts (it you're trying to avoid buying those intoxicating cookies), visit www.gsusa.org.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Favorite Things

I like cheeseburgers. If you asked Andrew what he wanted to eat, he'd usually say pizza or sandwiches. I'd usually say cheeseburgers.

I've eaten a lot of cheeseburgers. Some of them tasted like I'd imagine ass tastes so I didn't finish them. Others were amazing, like the ones from Blueberry Hill, In-N-Out and Steak 'N Shake. Another fave place on my cheeseburger list is Fred 62.

Fred 62 is a weird place. The decor is that oddball spaceage stuff with hotel paintings with liminal messages like "Just Came to Eat Lunch" and freaky blacklights in the bathrooms. The food is consistently good, the service is usually good, and sometimes there's a wait for a table or space at the bar.

My favorites there are the Just Kid'n Burger (3 oz. of beef, the right amount for a girl who is trying to stay thin), the Apple Punk Tart (what Pop Tarts should be like), and the Dime Bag (which I've never ordered but Andrew has and I ate on his - eggs, hash browns, sausage & flapjacks). They often have really great soups (carrot ginger or creamy tomato). They're also right next door to the cheapest art-house theatre I've found in L.A. that doesn't smell like urine.

If you're loping around Hollywood and aching for a great cheeseburger, hit Fred62. Hell, email me and I'll go with you (unless I'm scraping the couch cushions for gas money that week).

Getting Screwed Without Being Asked

There's a sauna up the street from my office that I've been visiting for two years. I used to like going there because they were such nice people and I could just pay for a sauna or get a massage or facial and use the sauna for free. I got a great massage there when I had a kung fu injury last year, and I've gotten facials that left my pores as empty as the day I was born.

I hurt my shoulder in my pole class over a week ago, but I thought it was just a cramp and it would go away after being treated with ice packs. When I woke up yesterday morning, I was in great pain so I decided to get a massage after work. I checked out a couple places, and the sauna place had the lowest rate for a thirty minute massage. I called them and scheduled it for 3:00 PM.

When I got there, I prepaid for my massage. The desk was being attended by one of the owners, and he got my name right and the time allotted to my rub. I showered, sweated, cooled off, sweated, showered, and my masseuse came to get me. She came in looking for Samantha, but I corrected her. (She was the one who did all my facials before.) Strangely, I didn't suspect that more than my name had been miscommunicated to her.

She worked the hell out of my shoulder. It's still sore today, but the injury was a couple weeks old. It felt better after the massage. She did my entire back (to make both sides even), then moved on to my neck and scalp. At this point, I stopped being relaxed. I thought, 'Gosh, this should probably end any minute because it's probably been thirty minutes by now.' I said things like, "Wow, I feel a lot better," and "That was great" from time to time just to test the waters to see what time it was. She did my arms, my legs, my feet, had me flip, my hands, my neck, my chest (no nipples), my face and my scalp again. 'This is the longest thirty minutes I've spent other than the times I waited in the truck for my dad when we'd stop by someone's house to drop something off and he'd go in and have a drink and get high.'

I walk out and it's 4:00 PM. I was in there for an hour! I didn't ask for a longer massage, and no on interrupted to tell her my time was up. No one asked me if I wanted to go ahead and get an hour because I had so much tension in my shoulder. I got the the front desk and grabbed a gratuity envelope. The front desk girl (not the cool owner but a real wench of a girl) said, "So that was an hour massage" as she looked at her price sheets. I said, "Yes, but I prepaid for thirty minutes." Her: "But you were in there for an hour. I guess you can pay the difference [instead of paying for a second thirty minute massage]."

I threw a twenty on the counter. I was PISSED! I don't have that kind of money to throw around when people do their jobs incorrectly and don't pay some damn attention to their appointment books. I'm an artist. I could use that $20 for half a tank of gas or some organic salad mix or another pair of Levi's at Wal Mart. And they didn't even ask me if they could screw me into spending more money. If someone had just asked, I probably would be more willing to return to the establishment. You don't feel up a girl without asking first, and you don't rub someone into paying $20 more without asking first.

Bastards.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crisis of Faith

Okay, it's not really a crisis. I think my mind was made up all along, but I'm airing it out anyway.

Earlier this year, I was up for the Flirty Girls infomercial thing at the same time I was thinking about returning to school for dance class. I decided that if they contacted me, I wouldn't take the college jazz dance class because I would already be committed to three nights a week of dance through the infomercial. I didn't hear on the infomercial until I entered my second or third week of jazz dance class. It was a little late to just drop it (I thought), and I was dealing with the dog's death at the same time (among other things). I figured I could do both.

I missed one week because my back was sore, I had to sit out the last forty-five minutes of jazz class one night because I was sore from Flirty Girls, and I missed last week because I couldn't shake some bad food poisoning from the weekend. This means I'll get a lowered grade. I don't like low grades. That, and I don't feel like going tonight. I've been on the go, and now I'm doing pole classes four nights a week. I really love those classes, but I don't love the jazz class. It's not a bad class, but if it were a dude and I were dating it, I would've said we should just be friends two weeks ago.

I love having the student I.D. and I want to take other classes later, and I have fun going to school with Andrew, but I think I'm going to drop. My back is sore from last night's workout and I have a mountain of things to do at home that I won't be able to touch until Friday night (maybe). I hate being a quitter, but I'm going to embrace it. I've been thinking since I started the pole that it would be nice to just drop the jazz class. So I will.

I'm dropping out of college this semester, and it feels good.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why I Love Blogging - Post #101

(I think I have more posts than Andrew but he's been blogging a couple months more than me. And I thought HE was chatty!)

I'd like to reflect on the beauty of blogging.

With such a large family and a lot of friends and acquaintances, I found myself answering the same questions in every phone call and every email -- the "What've you been up to?" question and all of its variations. While I love to talk, I'd forget who I told what story and some stories weren't as fun for me to tell as others. I figured a blog would be a great way for them to catch up on the ins and outs of my life in the big city, and it would save my voice on days when I might wind up telling the same story fifteen times.

This doesn't mean that I hate phone calls and emails. This means that people can read my blog and decide what they'd like to communicate about with me. This keeps them from getting bored with stories that may be interesting to me (like bra shopping at Target and getting a bikini wax) but may not be interesting to them. They can skim over my blog and decide not to read about some of the events in my life. They don't have to sit on the phone while I yammer on, all the while they're wondering what's on PBS tonight. It's easier for them to pick and choose the parts of my life that they want to know more about. Some people are more interested in the industry aspect, others are more interested in the personal stuff. I don't have to outline everything I've done for the past several months every time some long-lost buddy resurfaces. (I do love hearing from long-lost buddies, by the way.)

Another great thing about blogging is that it's a great way for me to communicate about my experiences without worrying about offending someone in conversation. You read my blog knowing that you can always leave the page. It's not so easy to leave a conversation where someone has an opposing viewpoint. I'm a Scientologist, a Republican, a heterosexual who has been married since I was seventeen years old. I'm a Southern girl with the mouth of a pirate who believes in past lives. If any of these things would offend someone in polite conversation, they can find out my viewpoint on my blog and WE DON'T HAVE TO DISCUSS IT. I prefer to spend the time communicating with individuals about constructive things (or laughing about that one time we almost got expelled from college for putting asbestos warning stickers all over the campus or the time my dad made "swamp soup"). I wish more people would blog so I could find out the subjects I may want to avoid with them -- i.e., Bozo hotdogs, cheesy horror films, soy milk (how can they call it milk if it doesn't come from a teat?).

I also love the ranting aspect. I can rant and other people can rant safely and without running up a cell phone bill. Pissed off about the way someone's treating you at work? Blog it. Family member put on psychiatric drugs so she doesn't experience any emotion when her father abandons the family? Blog it. (By the way, this REALLY pisses me off. It reminds me of "The State" when Doug talks to his dad about being sent to grandma's to learn pinochle and be made bland.) Sick of politics? Blog it.

I think everyone should blog. It reduces the demand for repetitive tale-telling. It's a great way to share what you know and what you've seen and done. It's even a great way to avoid work. I know Garrick would agree. :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bikini Wax

This post isn't cleverly titled, like John Lennon's Self Portrait, a 42 minute film that followed his penis going from a flaccid to an erect state. It's about getting a bikini wax. If you don't want to know about the pain and torture of me getting wax near my cha cha, skip to the next post.

Today I went to a day spa for my first bikini wax done by someone other than me. I've done bikini waxing for myself for some time. I had a gentle wax I used and I didn't break out. The problem with doing it myself was accessibility (there's only so much you can see without a mirror) and time. I'd heat up the wax, let it cool enough to use, then do as much as I could stand in one sitting (which wasn't much).

I went to my regular brow place to get it done. I got my brows done first (easier to confront). I was a little concerned about the pain. It hurt at home, even if I did use the gentle wax. I told my esthetician about my concern and she assured me it wasn't bad. She uses hard wax for the bikini, which means she puts it on while it's hot and it cools down quick before she removes it. I was a little anxious. The idea of having someone with hot wax right beside my cha cha wasn't appealing. But I decided I'd give it a try before I pulled the wax out of my refrigerator and engaged in self-torture again.

It actually hurt less than I expected. The painful stuff was where the skin was sensitive, but the pain is gone and I got it done thirty minutes ago. She was very respectful and clinical about my cha cha and made me feel really comfortable. I just got the basic bikini done this time, but I plan on going back for more. She told me to come in monthly, but if I can't keep a monthly appointment I shouldn't shave because the hair will grow in thicker (good to know).

I highly recommend letting someone else do your bikini wax. It's a huge timesaver. For a great waxing in the Valley, go to Spoiled - A Day Spa.

Dance Pants

I have dance classes at least four days a week, so I need plenty of wardrobe. The problem I run into is that most stores don't have my size when I get there. If they do have my size, the pants are too long, too loose or too ugly. I have a couple of pair of pants I bought for a shoot last summer, but I had to get them from the girls' section of Target. When I returned to the girls' section in search of more pants, there were none like them (even though they were simple yoga pants). These pants are pretty good, but I have to roll down the waistband so they don't rub my navel ring.

My search for pants took me to Old Navy where I found these great yoga pants. I don't have to roll down the waist since they're low-rise, and the length is right for being barefoot. The best part was that they were on sale for $15 a piece. I got two pair. If you need dance pants, I highly recommend hitting Old Navy this week.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Not a Voucher After All

Oh, I got a call Thursday. It wasn't a voucher after all. It was a Taft-Hartley. They're mailing me a Taft-Hartley letter from the production company, which seems to indicate I'll have at least a few seconds of face time.

This means that I could've only done this job and I'd be able to join the union. If I had $1500.

My Third SAG Voucher: Part Three

I knew nothing about this film when I submitted for the role. I learned on set that it's called Honeymoon With Mom, it's a movie for Lifetime, and it airs on Mother's Day. It's about a girl who gets left at the altar and winds up going on her honeymoon trip with her mother. Very cute idea.

I had no idea who was in the film until I was sitting in the makeup chair and Shelley Long walks in to take my seat. I didn't recognize her right off the bat (she had no makeup on, and I was only familiar with the made-up Shelley from TV), but they called her Shelley and kicked me out of the chair. Wow. Diane from "Cheers." I loved that show. She's a very nice person.

I wouldn't mind doing more work like this (featured extra, I guess), but I wouldn't want to just do work like this. It's not bad, but I ran into some people who did extra work for a living and that's not the route for me. But I recommend anyone who has an interest in the big screen (or small screen) to try out a day as an extra and see what it's really like to be on set.

10 Items or Less . . . Family Fun

I returned to Target yesterday in a sleepy daze with a work-worn mind. I was there to pick up a DVD and maybe something for the dogs. Wandering around the store, I wound up filling the hand basket with various things for my mom's wedding gift, a Beatles t-shirt for me, birthday cards and snacks.

I think I was the one who wandered into the "10 Items or Less" line. I think Andrew said, "I'm pretty sure we have more than ten items." (Again, I was in a daze. I didn't realize how much crap we actually fit into that hand basket.) I muttered, "It's not that much more," and I stayed the course.

Andrew unloaded the basket and discovered we had 22 items. Some of the things were duplicates (one for me, one for Mom) so they didn't really seem like individual items. We were next in line when we figured it out, so we couldn't really pick up our crap and move. Some cranky chick behind us said, "Excuse me, but that's more than ten items."

I turned to Andrew and said, "Wanna split it?" I put a divider between the items and we each had eleven. She was FUMING! I handed Andrew the money to pay for his portion. When I got to the register, I put on my cute face. I said to the clerk, "I have eleven items. Are the police going to come after me?" And I winked. The clerk said, "I'll let it slide this time."

Then the lady left the line. I don't know what happened to her.

It's good to travel through life with a buddy. :)

Friday, March 17, 2006


My Third SAG Voucher: Part Two

I learned a very valuable lesson Tuesday -- to go with my gut.

There were three of us on the list to be bridesmaids: me, Amanda and Wendy. Amanda and I were there at the same time. We signed in and went back to wardrobe. When they asked who wanted to change first, I volunteered. (I wanted to avoid all the polite hemming and hawing.) I put on the dress, met the director, then he lined me up with the other two bridesmaids to give approval. He said we were all very cute. I was in the dress until almost 8 PM last night.

I went into makeup because on of the makeup artists wanted to put some curl in my hair. I sat down, and when he was halfway through I had to give my seat (and hairdresser) over to Shelley Long. No worries. I shuffled into the hall while Amanda and Wendy had their makeup done and waited. I realized I didn't get my official voucher from the 2nd assistant director yet (and I wanted to have all my ducks in a row and all my paperwork in hand), so I marched over and picked it up and filled it out. Didn't want to lose out on the voucher I showed up to get.

When I returned to makeup, Amanda and Wendy were gone. I went in and got my hair finished and makeup touched up. I saw Wendy and another girl (Nikki) in matching blue dresses outside the door to the makeup area. What happened to Amanda? I heard that some girl was crying because she wasn't going to be a bridesmaid.

That was Amanda. At least they still gave her the SAG voucher. Someone saw Nikki, said she was "exquisite," and turned her into a bridesmaid. It happened really fast. Amanda worked as a wedding guest and still got the perks. What if it had been me? I wouldn't have cried. I would've yelled like a rowdy homeless person. Would I have still gotten the voucher?

If I hadn't followed my gut and gotten dressed when I did, hit the table for the voucher when I did, hit makeup when I did, I might've missed out on getting my SAG eligibility that day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Life in the 'Hood

Okay, so I don't really live in the 'hood. I live between Koreatown and USC. But last night someone was shot on the street right around the corner from my house. Yes, I'm serious, and yes, it was right around the corner (same block).

We got home from my shoot last night and there was a parking meanie at the end of our street who said there was police activity so we'd have to park on the street and walk to our house. Usually "police activity" seems to mean car chase. We noticed crime scene tape at the party house across the street and a couple officers were parked in front of the party house. Andrew walked over and asked what happened. They told us a guy was shot on the street, walked to the neighbor's house, walked inside the gate and collapsed. They were keeping the area secure for investigation. (They were really nice guys, very respectful, and they made me feel safe. Go LAPD!)

Wow. That made me a little more eager to move. The only problem with fleeing from the area to avoid crime is that (surprise surprise) there's crime everywhere. We've been in this house for two and a half years and this is the first shooting we've had nearby. Most of the people who live nearby have jobs and families and too much other crap to worry about instead of shooting each other. But there are gunpoint robberies in Beverly Hills and hit and run fatalities in the Valley. With this many people in such a small area, there's going to be a high incidence of anything. Besides, back in Arkansas we lived nextdoor to someone who shot her husband in the stomach because she thought he had a roving eye (she shot him after we moved).

So how do we deal with a shooting on our street? Feed and poop the dogs, put on some pajamas, let the officers use our bathroom even though there's a heap of clean laundry on the only chair in the house and we're potty training a puppy and have another dog who's big and barky. Andrew rescued the car right before bed (and the officers returned the favor of our restroom by ordering the argumentative parking bitty to let him pull our car in). Then we curled up to sleep.

I forgot that it happened for most of the day.

My Third SAG Voucher: Part One

I have to do this in pieces since I had such an eventful day.

I earned my last SAG voucher necessary to join the union yesterday. Now all I need is $1500 for the initiation fee.

When I've heard people talk about SAG vouchers, it seemed like they were really hard to get. I haven't had the same difficulty. It started with the decision last year that it wouldn't be hard to join SAG. I got my first two vouchers on the XM Radio commercial, and the last one was for a film called Honeymoon With Mom.

I talked to one of the non-union extras yesterday who asked me how I got the SAG background role as a bridesmaid. He asked me if I had a calling service or if I knew someone. Here's what I did: I went onto one of my casting notice sites (available by subscription) and noticed they were looking for union and non-union extras for this film. I don't usually do extra work, but it was shooting on a Saturday originally and I thought it might be nice to earn some moolah over the weekend. I fit the casting for wedding guests, choir members and bridesmaids. I figured they would need less bridesmaids so maybe I could get a voucher if they called me for that, so I submitted myself as a bridesmaid. I got the call a few days later that they wanted me. Then the shoot was postponed because of rain to Tuesday, so I made sure I was available. (As a side note, my boss is the coolest guy.) The costumer called me before casting did so she could get my sizes, then casting called and offered me my last voucher. Hooray!

It wasn't hard. I just set my mind to it and used my high IQ to figure out the best probability for achieving my goal. The choir members didn't get vouchers and most of the non-union wedding guests didn't get vouchers, so it looks like I made the best choice in my submission.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Clueless People

Yesterday I went to Target to buy a strapless bra for a shoot I'm doing Tuesday. I usually go to Victoria's Secret for all of my chest needs, but I wanted to do it on the cheap (and I don't think I'll wear this bra very often).

I pick through the racks and find the right size, but it's a necessity to try on bras before you buy them. So I trek over to the dressing rooms and get the tag for my one item then head back for the glorified closets to change. There's one open door but the lock is broken and the room has about eight empty hangers lying around. Obviously not a room that is currently intended for use. I walk down the corridor and test a doorknob, only to find the room is unlocked and someone is dressing inside. Great. I have one item and I can't try it on, and I probably made that women pee a little because she was so scared of being seen with a naked back.

So I go back out to the attendant and say that there are no rooms open and she says I should just wait. Now, no one is in the men's side, and I don't think they'd really mind if I tried on a bra if there were men over there. Andrew hollers to just try it on, so I peel off my hoodie and slide the bra under my tank top. All this time, no nipples or breast skin is showing. I have one cup on and the woman asks me what I'm doing. I say, "I'm trying on this bra under my tank top." She says, "You can't do that." I say, "Why? You can't see anything. I only have one item and all the rooms are full." Then a gal comes out from a dressing room and says, "Can I also try on these three items since the others don't fit?" Target lady says, "Yes." (Nevermind that I have one item to try on, not six plus.) Back to me. One boob in, one boob out. She says, "You can't do it out here."
Me: "Why? Nothing's showing, you know I'm trying it on, I'm not violating any laws."
Her: "But kids could . . ."
Me: "Kids could what? They can't see anything. Can you?"
Her: "Just step into the dressing [hallway on the women's side]."
Andrew: "Aren't there dressing rooms on the other side."
Her: "They're the men's. Please . . ."
Me: "I don't mind changing out here, unless it offends you."
Her: "I'm not offended. I'm thinking about you."
Me: "I don't mind."
Her: (flustered) "Please . . ."
Me: "You know, if it's such a problem I can shop somewhere else. It's really no problem. If you don't want my business I can go somewhere else. Really."

I peel off the bra and leave it with the hanger and tag on her counter while she pleads with me to stay and buy. Of course, she didn't want me to put my ta-tas in the bra in the wrong locations -- even if no one got a glance of my actual ta-tas. And she didn't have a solution for me to try on the bra. Andrew dropped the hand basket and we went to K-Mart.

I hate it when people get all uppity about the body. Trying on a bra is non-sexual, but she was acting as if I was showing my dinners for money from seedy onlookers. And I didn't even expose more than my belly button!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Wheel

Things have been really nutty around me recently. February seemed like it was filled with bad news, and my blogging was overshadowed with doom and tragedy. What a downer.

Everything turns around for the better. I have good news to share now. I'm having lots of fun in my pole class, and I lost an inch and a half in my lower abs over the past three weeks. I've learned my third spin on the pole, and I do really well with it (especially considering it's the hardest spin in the routine). Felicity is growing and picking up where Holly left off -- taking Piper's collar off, trying to steal pasta off my dinner plate, romping with Andrew on the floor. My mom is getting remarried to a guy that suits her better than my dad. I'm flying back to Hot Springs next month where I'll get to hang out with my small sister. I'm back in communication with two long-term friends that I haven't seen in years. I booked a day on a film and they're giving me my last SAG voucher. And I may just get a bonus at work this month. Life is great right now!

I'm reminded of the lyrics of a song by the great John Mayer when I run into bad stuff like I did in February:

And if you never stop when you wave goodbye
You just might find if you give it time you will wave hello again
You just might wave hello again

And that's the way this wheel keeps working now
That's the way this wheel keeps working now

You can't love too much one part of it
You can't love too much one part of it

I believe that my life's gonna see
The love I give returned to me

Friday, March 10, 2006

Karma

My first college dance class I LOVED! The teacher, Derri Ohm, was fantastic. It was a small class. We learned a new 32-count of jazz dance every week. I was a good student, she was a good teacher.

My second college dance class I tolerated. Miss Schoenfeld was determined to have me "be tall" as I learned ballet. I was a bad student but she was a great teacher. I missed a number of classes because I wasn't done eating my Chinese buffet from Emerald Dragon in time to make class. I could've gotten a lot more out of it if I had =groan= applied myself.

My third dance class is where I think I really pissed off Karma. This was theatre dance, which I should've been totally into since I was a theatre major. Nope. Hated it. Hated the teacher (don't remember why). I skipped to have buffet at Emerald Dragon as much as I could without lowering my grade. I stood in the back of the class, snickered and nattered about the teacher, doing my best to be Queen of the Buttplugs. My choreographed final was a half-assed grabass in a big dance I learned for a show. I'm surprised she didn't ask me (and the other buttplugs) to please drop the class as a favor to her.

Karma's getting revenge on me now. I'm in a dance class with a great teacher. She teaches the combinations a little too fast for me, but I'm the dumbass who enrolled in the 3 hour/1 night a week class and not the 1 hour/3 days a week class. I wind up in the back of the class because I'm not early/fast enough to get a spot closer to the teacher and mirror. When we do exercises and combinations, I can't see the teacher very well. And I'm now behind people who behaved like I did in theatre dance. I can't very well follow their movements because they -- like a younger me -- weren't paying attention (and I can't see). I'm dancing with the buttplugs (or at least trying).

I guess now's the time I'm supposed to do something to appease Karma like Jason Lee's character on "My Name is Earl."

Crap.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What's My Name?

I hate going to Starbucks (or other coffee establishments) where they ask for my name to put on the cup. It's annoying. When I give them my real name, they misspell it (how?). Andrew and I started giving them fake names a couple years ago. It's not like they really care what our names are. We've been Slappy, Stinky, Trixie, and God knows what else.

Now it's all about amusing ourselves. Andrew likes giving them Marco in hopes that they'll call out the name when the drink is ready and we can shout "Polo!" back at them. They've failed to call out the name the past four times we gave them Marco. The last two visits they've asked me my name and I turned to Andrew and asked, "What's my name?" I responded with "Snoop Doggy Dogg." (It's from the song.) The barista looked mildly amused both times and put it on the order. Of course, they didn't holler out for Snoop.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Theatre Is Dead (in Los Angeles)

Okay, that's a bold statement, but I should have lots of bold statements to make.

I've always heard tales about theatre in New York. Apparently it's abundant and prosperous there, and people think of you as a real actor if you do theatre. There are even charming terms for the plays written on the backs of napkins and performed in holes-in-the-wall: "Avant Garde" or "Off-Off Broadway." In Los Angeles, there are no charming terms. People don't seem to go to plays as much as I've heard they do in New York. (Now, I've only been through La Guardia Airport in New York so I don't have firsthand experience with this.) It also seems that theatre isn't appreciated as much, and that theatre actors in L.A. don't get the same regard that they would in New York. There's no lack of talented actors out here, so what's the deal?

I know that some of these actors will band together and start their own theatre group. The great thing about that is that the founding members can decide what kind of theatre they want to do. I don't want to do a play that's badly written, so I could form my own theatre group dedicated to doing plays that don't suck (kind of what we did with Torrid Affaire). You have to have the organization to back up the talent on any theatre endeavor, so I'm sure there are tons of companies that form and disband all the time.

In the past month, I've auditioned for three different dues-paying companies. (I want to do something while Andrew finishes writing Sonny, and doing a play is a great way to showcase my talents to industry people and potential connections.) The idea is that you audition for the company, and once accepted you pay dues to play. All of these places work differently. It's good to know what you're getting into when you audition.

Here's what I learned about each company:

-Company A has auditions for company members and auditions for actors to fill out the ranks of a production. I auditioned as a fill-in actor (and didn't get it). They charge first and last month's membership. It's reasonable -- less than most acting classes. If you're a company member, you have to wear a "hat" (perform some job) to contribute to each show where you don't act. That reminded me of college since that's how we did it. I had a friend who auditioned and joined as a company member. She paid her dues and worked as house manager. I never got an email from her to come see her in a show, so I don't know if she ever acted in a show with that company. I had another friend who actually did a show with them. Not sure if she was a company member or a fill-in. They would provide you with postcards to promote. I don't know what the committment is.

-Company B has auditions for shows that are written by company members who are playwrights or have completed the company playwright program. I auditioned for a role in one of these shows and got a callback (and didn't get it). They charge a flat fee if you're cast, and you pay it as soon as you start rehearsals. I don't remember what the deal was about the promo -- whether or not they provided it. You're responsible for selling ten tickets for about $14 each, but you get to keep the money (so you make back most of what you spent right there). They would also pay you a tiny stipend per performance, so chances were very good you'd at least break even on the investment. You didn't have to wear a "hat" other than as a performer and pay for it. People would still volunteer to help out, but they didn't pay to do things offstage and backstage. This group also had acting classes members could attend (I think for free).

-Company C has auditions for company members and actors. I auditioned for the company (and got it). They charge a really low fee per month (WAY less than acting class). They perform at a theatre I know and they have a separate rehearsal space. If you're not cast in the current show, they have something like an improv/comedy performance opportunity so you're doing something. I'm not sure if there are any additional "hats" to be worn by company members. They also have acting classes. Members can attend at discount prices. I go to my first company meeting tonight to find out more. I really hope it fills the void I have until Sonny's up (at least). If I don't get onstage with them for the next two months at least the price is reasonable. It's about the cost of two full tanks of gas in my Mitsubishi.

I'm finding it's not unusual out here for actors to form their own companies. Dues-paying seems the way to go so a small group of people don't wind up footing the entire bill for something that's geared to get work for all of them. I guess that's the path I'll pursue in the theatre for now until I succeed with my master plan to change Los Angelenos into enthusiastic and respectful theatre goers. Or until Sonny is done. (Andrew Moore - hint hint)

Selling Out to The Man?

When I was in college, we had this joke with our friend Garrick Pass about putting on a pair of Dockers and selling out the The Man. This is how we talked about leaving the arts and getting a "real job." At the time, it was meant as a diss.

A couple of my friends aren't as active in the arts as I am right now. They probably wear khakis and either work for The Man or are The Man. They drive nice cars with full-coverage insurance. Their bills are paid. They work all week and can afford to recreate on the weekend. While they're not rollling around in the artistic world with their bellies exposed, they are making a respectable living and raising families. I have nothing but respect for these guys.

Sure, I wear khakis and work for The Man (he's a nice guy). I make some money, but I spend a lot of my time working on the art part. Yeah, I'm living the dream (sort of) and do something every week to build my career. Sure, I live in Los Angeles and go on lots of auditions. But I'm always behind on some bill or another. We're a one-car household. I work during the week and on weekends, then I use the time I'm off to go to classes or do submissions or go to auditions. For fun, I usually clean my house or rent a dvd, maybe shoot a puppet video. While I am rolling around in the artistic world, my belly is exposed and I always run into a significant lack of time and/or money.

It's funny how the grass tends to be greener on the other side, isn't it? We all choose what game we want to play, and that game has certain freedoms and barriers. Their games include Dockers and The Man and weekend mini-vacations. My game includes The Man and being labeled too fat/too thin/too young/too old and meeting a new person at every audition and doing plays and scraping under the couch cushions for gas money. I guess that's what makes it a game. If it was all sunshine and pancakes, we'd all get really bored really fast.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Actor Nudity

This is a funny topic for me. I go to the nude beach, I've been to a nude resort. If it were warmer, I'd spend most of my at-home time naked. So nudity as an actor shouldn't bother me, right?

Wrong! Some nudity makes sense in films like The English Patient or Schindler's List, but sometimes it's gratuitous. I decided early on that I wouldn't do gratuitous or unnecessary nudity for a project. Other people can do it. That's fine. It is important to me that nudity does not always equal sex in film.

Of course, I submitted myself for a series of short films centered around some "Drive Naked" campaign from the 70s. I don't mind being naked, and it seemed like it would put nudism in a positive light.

Well, they emailed me to audition. The catch: they want people to actually AUDITION naked. Now that is not cool. That's a total taboo in casting. They can ask you to audition in a swimsuit but NOT topless or naked. So that makes me wonder what kind of production they're actually running.

I'm not going. If they said swimsuit, I'd be there. I'd take the job and strip down to drive a car. No big whoop. But I am NOT going to an audition naked. That's classless. (And if there are any actors out there who actually read my blog, you shouldn't either.)