December 13, 2012

So Tired.

Hey everyone!

These past several weeks have been crazy. I've been auditioning a lot, mostly for commercials, and I've been working nearly 7 days a week. I've had some callbacks and producer/director sessions, but no bookings.

My husband and I are going full steam ahead with our plans to move to Los Angeles, and I'll be booking a one way ticket for the end of January. That's how close the move date is!

I've had nearly zero free time since the first week of November and the only reason why I'm typing this right now is because I'm very sick (my first time being ill since I was a child) and it happens to be one of my rare days off. Because of my busy schedule, I'll be suspending further posts until I get settled into LA early next year.

Thanks to everyone that has been reading and supporting me and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!

And one more thing, my episode of 'Made In Jersey' is tentatively scheduled to air on December 22nd on CBS at 10PM EST. Please watch or DVR it and let me know what you think!

October 26, 2012

Checking In...

I haven't posted because, to be honest, there's not a whole lot going on right now. I am auditioning a lot so I have no complaints there, but I'm not booking anything. I've been going out for a ton of pilots and feature films. I've also had a few commercial callbacks and essentially NO print castings. I think my modeling days are over. :(

I'll be starting a new seasonal serving job next week. *cries*

I'm okay guys, I'm okay. It's a really great place and I'm going to make so much money I won't know what to do with myself. The purpose of this job is to stack away as much cash as I can in preparation for my move to LA for pilot season. To be honest, I don't want to come back to NYC. I just want to go out there in February and stay there permanently. My husband will move out there (hopefully) within a few months. We're not worried about the distance because he spent the first 4 years of our relationship in the military and, trust me, you can't get much further away than Iraq. 

So, the weather is really cooling off and I'm starting to reach that time of the year where I loathe New York. Is it hot? Is it cold? Putting on tons of layers before leaving the house then stripping them off 2 hours later when it's hot and humid from the seemingly endless rain. Having your umbrella blown to pieces by the freakishly strong wind storms. Yeah, I get really gloomy and bitter this time of year and then I start dreaming about the perpetual sunshine on the west coast. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE New York City (most of the time), but like I said in a previous post, I'm ready for a change. 

The next couple of months are going to be emotionally and physically challenging for me, but it's all so I can achieve my goals. I got really comfortable last year and it's time for me to rediscover my drive and ambition. 

September 18, 2012

Having A Manager: My Personal Experience

People are always asking me whether or not it's important to have a manager, should they have a manager, and what having a manager is like. I can't really answer the first two questions because it's a pretty subjective topic. However, I can explain my relationship with my manager and talk about what managers typically do. Good ones anyway. Then you can decide for yourself whether or not it's the right step for you to take.

How I Got My Manager

Working with a manager is not something that I sought out. It just sort of happened. I had just started working with the new print division of a management office and one day while visiting, one of the talent mangers introduced herself to me. She told me that she had seen my photos via one of my print agents and the agent spoke very highly of me. She wanted to meet with me about representing me theatrically and helping to develop my career. I was a bit apprehensive because I wasn't sure what to expect from a manager, but I said that I would be fine with it as long as it was on a freelance basis.

My relationship with her turned out to be a bust. I did get a couple of interesting film auditions and even a couple of callbacks. Then one day, out of the blue, I received an email from her stating that she was leaving the business to go back to grad school. This happened less than 4 months after I met her. Luckily, she had recommended myself and about 10 other actors to another manager in the office. This manager decided to host a showcase session where we were to privately perform sides and a monologue for him and an agent from Talent House.

The day after reading for them, he called me and asked if I could meet with him in person that same day. When I got to the office, he told me that he thought I was talented, beautiful, and that I had the potential to be a star. He wanted to sign me right away. He also informed me that the agent that had attended the showcase wanted to meet with me and introduce me to the other theatrical agent at his agency. Clearly, I was flattered and excited, but still skeptical about signing with a manager.

During the course of the meeting, we discussed what role he would play in helping me build a career, what percentage of my earnings he would take, and other contract specifics that were unclear. He gave me a contract to look over and I told him that I wanted to take a day or two to decide. Once I decided to sign with him, we met again and he cleared up any remaining confusion that I had. I signed with him right before the Christmas hiatus.

What My Manager Does And How It Differs From An Agent

Your manager is essentially your eyes and ears, a middle man of sorts. He (yes, I know there are female managers but I will be using "he" for the purposes of this post) is responsible for relaying to you any pertinent information. Your agent, if you have one, generally handles the task of submitting you for projects and pitching you to casting directors. When you do get an audition, all of the information is passed over to your manager, who then passes it to you and includes any notes or guidelines. If you don't have an agent, many managers also handle the task of submitting and pitching their clients. Even if you do have an agent, some managers still like to be hands on in the submission process. It's on a case by case basis.

Some people may say that having a manager is unnecessary because an agent can handle everything themselves. I'm not sure if that's true. Your relationship with your manager is very special and can be much more personal than that which you have with your agent. For one, your agent may not have the time to be as hands on with you as your manager. Managers tend to have a MUCH smaller client lists and that allows them to have more time to dedicate to each individual. I speak with my manager at least once a week, sometimes daily when things are really busy.

I don't speak to my agents very often for one reason. I don't need to. It's not that I don't want to, but pretty much everything that I need to know, audition-wise, comes through my manager. They are dealing with a lot more people and I don't like to burden them with calls that aren't dire. And even if a situation is dire, that's what my manager is for. I love all of my agents and I keep in contact with them via email. I also set up regular meetings where I go in to chat and catch up. Every now and then, I pop in just to say hi, but I'm in and out so that I'm not being an inconvenience to their work. When I'm emailing about a booking or casting, I make sure that everyone is copied on every email. This keeps all of us on the same page and on great terms.

On the other hand, I see my manager at least once a week. He puts me on tape for auditions that are being cast of out NYC, I have to pick up checks (when you have a manager, all payments go through them), we sometimes need to discuss something in person, or I just want to sit there and cry out my frustrations. I've cried MANY times in his office and he always has tissues and a big hug for me. I don't always show up unannounced, I will email first to see when he has a free moment and he always finds time either the same day, or first thing the next morning. Not that my agents wouldn't do the same, but that's what my manager is for. It's one of the many reasons why he gets 15% and to be honest, it's worth every single penny.

He knows my likes and dislikes, my wills and will nots. He knows when a project reaches his desk whether or not I'll be interested, but he has enough respect to still call me and ask. When he sends me something that I don't want to do, he will support my decision, even if he disagrees. He doesn't try to treat me like he's my boss because well.......he's not.

I'm sure there are plenty of agents out there that do all of the things that I've described, but you're more likely to get that type of hands on attention from a manager. Unless you're a big star in which case you get whatever you want from your agent, manager......and pretty much everyone else. :)

So, I'm not sure if this answered the question of whether or not you need a manager. But, hopefully I shed some light on the type of relationship that you can have with one.

ETA: I forgot to talk about a HUGELY important part of a manager's job: helping you find an agent!!

Duh!

So, one of the most important things that a manager can do for their client, whether they are a newbie actor or a veteran is to help secure them an agent. They will reach out to the agents that they have good working relationships with, agents that they feel you'd fit well with, and they pitch you to them. The same way an agent pitches you to a casting director that you've never auditioned for. A lot of people counsel actors that can't find an agent to find a manager first, as having a good manager is an easier way to land legit representation.

As I stated in my last post, signing with my manager pretty much came with built in representation because of the circumstances under which I met him. However, after freelancing with Talent House for my first pilot season, they decided that they did not want to move forward with representing me through episodic season. Their reasoning was that it's easier to get new talent in for pilots than for episodic auditions. As odd as that sounds, it's true. I could probably explain why at a later date if there's enough interest.

Anyway, getting dropped from TH was heartbreaking and, being the melodramatic person that I am, I thought my career was over, haha! Actors are can be so dumb.

My manager assured me that this was untrue and he took over the task of submitting me for work while finding me an agent. He got me a meeting with Judy Boals, Inc. and while two of the other legit agents liked me and wanted to work with me, THE Judy Boals did not. LOL. Generally, all agents in the department must be on board before a prospective client is signed. So that was the end of that. Shortly after getting dissed by Judy Boals, I booked my first TV job, a tiny co-star on Law & Order: SVU. That same month, my manager got me a meeting with Jamie Harris at Clear Talent Group (CTG). We'd had a wonderful meeting and I got really good vibes from him. I also loved the warm feel of the office. I signed with them after the Christmas hiatus and just re-signed earlier this year.

September 9, 2012

Update & Planning For The Future

These past few weeks have been very busy. I've had a TON of auditions ranging from feature films, to pilots, to TV series, to commercials and print. I'm also auditioning for a decent range of roles: series regulars, recurring, co-stars, and leads in films.

I've had 3 producer callbacks including 2 where I went straight to producers without having to first audition for the casting director. One of those resulted in a booking, a fun co-star role on Made in Jersey,  a new series that premiers this month on CBS. I play a really snotty jewelry sales girl and I had so much fun filming. I can't say much more due to confidentiality, but the episode will probably air in October. I'll be sure to give a heads up when I find out the exact air date of my episode.

I've been very unlucky with print and commercials this year which is so frustrating because booking those kinds of gigs has always come so easy in the past. I'm getting callbacks and even getting put on hold, but nothing is sticking. I could really use the money from a decent national commercial because the SAG scale rate is pretty low, especially when you factor in taxes and then the commission that you pay your representatives.

Because I've done a decent amount of co-star work, my agents/manager are going to try to get my quote raised, which means instead of making SAG scale, I'll have a minimum amount of money which the producers must pay me if they hire me. That would be amazing!

One of the straight to producer callbacks I had was for a recurring role on a new FOX show. I was so bummed when I didn't get it. The feedback was great, but I guess it wasn't the right role for me. It's really great that I'm getting to audition for much bigger and meatier roles, but it makes the rejection hurt so much worse! *sigh*

Anyway, I'm starting to get really antsy and restless which usually happens to me around this time of the year and I'm trying hard to shake this....mood that I'm in. I'm just really itching for a change and I think the solution would be a change of scenery. I'm making serious plans to go to Los Angeles for pilot season in January and my representation is on board. Everyone is in agreement that it's a big step in the right direction. I've met with the VP of my legit agency's LA office and she wants to work me as soon as I get out there. My commercial agency is bi-coastal so I have good shot at being about to work out there commercially as well.

I've also had serious talks with my husband about us moving out there next year and I think he's more excited about it than me.

Yeah, I think it's time.

August 4, 2012

Trying To Focus

Do you ever sit down and make a list of things that you need to do, but once you start to concentrate on one task, your mind begins to wander to the next thing, and then the next? Lately, I've been having THE hardest time focusing on the individual things that I need to accomplish and, as a result, nothing is getting done! I'm so frustrated and it's all my fault.

I designed my website via MobileMe, but Apple discontinued that program in June so I haven't had a website since. I've been working on building a new one and it's coming along nicely, but then I just sort of lost interest. I've been meaning to update my blog and I'm also working on redesigning the layout and buying the domain name and re-routing the blog to it's own web address. *crickets*

I've acquired most of the footage from various TV shows and films I've worked on in the last several months. I have everything edited onto a disk and was supposed to take it to be uploaded to Breakdown Services......a week ago. Let's not even talk about me putting together a reel. Ugh.

I need to get my shit together because episodic season is beginning and I need to make sure that I'm as competitive as possible. I've decided to meander away the next day or two, and starting Monday, I'm back on my shit. I just don't have any time to waste. And yes, I realize that I've just given myself permission to procrastinate in a post where I'm bitching about how I need to stop procrastinating. Sue me.

Sidebar: Am I the only one that's severely depressed about the fact that we are now in AUGUST?!

*cries* WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!!!?

Update

I've been called back for a couple of commercials and I'm currently on hold for one as I type. I should know the result Monday morning.

I had an audition for a big guest star role for one episode on season two of GIRLS and I earned a callback with Lena Dunham (the star, as well as a writer and executive producer of the show). She was very nice and laidback, as well as Jenni Konner, one of the other exec producers. I had a great callback and while I didn't book the part, my manager got excellent feedback from the casting director and the producers and they told him that they are now a fan of mine. Hopefully, they'll call me back in for another role in the next several weeks.

I also have a big audition on Tuesday for a new untitled pilot. The role is a guest star with the potential of becoming a recurring role should the show get picked up. I did a little bit of research and the show (should it get picked up) will be on an amazing network that's well known and respected for it's high quality shows. I'm very excited and will spend the next couple of days prepping for this audition. It's going to be at a huge casting office that I've never been to so my ultimate goal is to make a great impression with the casting directors and leave the room with a couple of new fans.

I've had a couple of auditions for smaller roles on a new show called House of Cards, but I haven't gotten past stage one as of yet.

July 10, 2012

Funny Audition Story

And by funny, I mean mortifying. :)

So, a couple of months ago, I had an audition for a yogurt commercial that was set to shoot in Toronto, Canada. It's the same director that shot both the Dove Ice Cream and Dove Chocolate commercials that I did. Same casting director too.

Shit, I had this in the bag.

I get to the office, sign in, primp and preen in the mirror...you know, the usual. There's one girl in front of me and we're both instructed to grab a carton of yogurt and a spoon off the counter. Now let's be clear. I do like yogurt as long as it's sweet and flavored. The girl, in front of me grabs the last vanilla flavored yogurt. All that's left is plain Greek.

Uh oh.

I go in the room and I already know the deal. I know what the director likes and she'll be reviewing the tapes from Toronto with the clients. She wants to see playful eating, licking the spoon, smiling, good energy, etc. The CD starts filming and when I peel back the lid on the yogurt, there's a thick layer of some sort of fluid that nearly makes me gag right then and there. But, I keep the smile on my face and stir the yogurt while looking into the camera. I get it nice and smooth and then dip my spoon in and scoop out a bite. As soon as the yogurt touches my tongue, I dry heaved. On camera. In an audition.

The CD cuts the tape and tells me to start again. She assures me that I don't have to take big spoonfuls. So we go again and as I'm fighting down bites of disgusting Greek yogurt she has me walk around the space, sit in chairs, just be more dynamic. I'm trying to keep a smile plastered to my face and as I'm walking back to the center of the room, I take another swallow and I dry heave so hard that I thought I was going to vomit right there. Instinctively, I turn away from the camera and tell the CD that I can't eat another bite or I'm going to vomit. She just laughs and tells me that it's okay. I didn't even care at that point. I knew that I would never book the commercial, I was just happy that I didn't have to pretend to like that shit any longer.

Later that day, I saw my manager and told him what happened and he was laughing hysterically. He then told me that one of the casting assistants had already called him and told him what happened and that everyone in the office had also found it hysterical. Awesome.

Obviously, I didn't book the commercial and I now know that the next time I audition for anything involving yogurt, to make sure I bring my own.

July 3, 2012

Holy Shit, It's Already July?!

*Shouts* WHERE DOES THE TIME GOOOOOOOO!!???

Anyway, in the month of June, I worked on three films, had one photoshoot, and a ton of auditions. All in all, it was a great month and I have no complaints.

The first film I did is called "In Lieu of Flowers" where I had a small supporting role. It's an indie feature with a pretty decent budget and I was paid and everything!! Yay! You will hear my voice in several scenes via voicemail and building buzzers, but when I appear on screen (twice) you don't see me speak. It's hard to explain without revealing plot spoilers and I don't want to disrespect the director/writer by revealing too much. I filmed for two days and the director/writer, William Savage, was a lot of fun to work with. I play a character named Melissa.

The second film is a short called "American Girl". Once again, I can't reveal too much about what it's about but I had a strong supporting role and the footage is going to be AMAZING for my reel. I also worked on this project for two days and I. Had. A. Blast. It was one of the most fun sets that I've been on. The director/writers name is Jason Shahinfar and I was shocked that this was his first project. The set was so professional, everything ran ON TIME (that NEVER happens) and the cast was hilarious. I'm very excited about this one. My character's name is Alexis and I play the lead girl's closest friend. 

The third film that I did is called "My Man Is a Loser". It's also an indie feature, but a pretty big one with some big names in the main cast. It's stars Michael Rapaport, John Stamos, and Bryan Callen. My role was a small supporting character named Jordan and my scene is with Michael, John, and Bryan. Jordan is one of three crazy ass college girls who are enlisted by John Stamos's character to help him with a project. The scene that ensues is hysterical and we had so much fun filming. It was a long twelve hour day, but I had so much fun that I didn't notice. The guys were so nice, great to work with, and I was especially excited to meet and work with Michael Rapaport as I've been a fan of his for a long time. Bryan Callen was very funny (and a bit flirty) and bought us girls Chipotle for lunch. 

The photoshoot was for a cystic fibrosis inhaler (not interesting) and we shot on the beach in the Hamptons. Too bad it was about 50 degrees. Sitting in the plush Winnebago was nice, but being on the beach in the cold wearing a bikini top and shorts was pure misery. I mean, it was the kind of cold that cuts straight to your bones. Luckily, we weren't out there too long, just a couple of hours.

In other news, I booked a SAG industrial for Bank of America that shoots next week. It's not big money, but I'm excited for the booking nonetheless. I was bitching about how slow it had been so I'll take what I can get! I'll be playing a very sweet, understanding customer service rep that assists customers with the fine details of their mortgage loan modification applications. That sounds so interesting right?! Anyone?? Helloooo........

June 16, 2012

Positive Affirmations

Disclaimer: Please excuse any typos/poor grammar. It's 2AM and I'm tired.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in passing on one of my comment threads that I like to do positive affirmations in order keep myself feeling uplifted and inspired. Quite a few people were interested in hearing more about it so I've decided to share one of my little secrets with you all.

An affirmation is defined as 'a declaration of something that is true'. A simple phrase such as, "I am beautiful" or "I am talented" count as affirmations. The beauty of positive affirmations is that you get to decide what your truths are. As long as you believe it, it's the truth. This means that doing affirmations is a great way to help you believe something about yourself that you may not be confident about. If you don't think that you are talented, smart, deserving of success, etc. then doing affirmations can help strengthen your confidence. A quick google search pulled up the following quote that I find to be immensely helpful:

"A list of positive affirmations need to be crafted in such a way as to remove any room for negativity. They may evoke a negative response from your mind. If you find your inner voice saying something like 'yeah, right' or 'whatever', or 'I wish', you can be sure you've touched a nerve in your subconscious. This is a good thing. Ignore that voice or better yet tell it that it is wrong and you are going to affirm your positive statement regardless of any resistance. Acknowledge the resistance and continue affirming with your list of positive affirmations."

My affirmations are deeply personal and I don't feel comfortable sharing what they are, but I will include a list of some stock examples that you can use as a starting point. Start with a couple of basic affirmations and then start adding in more personal and complex affirmations. Try to focus on negative thoughts and feelings that have been hindering your professional progress, relationships, and health and turn those thoughts into something positive and uplifting.

Try to keep the affirmations on you at all times so that you can refer to them when need be. What I did was record myself saying my affirmations on my Voice Memos app on my iPhone. Then I transferred the files to my Mac and converted them to mp3 files. I then uploaded them to iTunes and added them to my music library. Now, I can privately listen to my affirmations anytime I want to. I have two separate sets of affirmations. The first is called "Love, Wealth, & Happiness" and the second is called "Fitness & Health". In each set, I recorded a series of affirmations that are related to the title's subject matter. 

I'm not going to lie, sometimes hearing myself say some of the things on my recordings makes me feel weird and insecure, but just like the quote states above, it's a good thing. Those themes are obviously points that I'm struggling with and I need to take the time to work through them. 

Anyway, I hope that this helps out some of you that need a little bit of a pick me up every now and then. Positive affirmations really do work and they can be used for anything that you want. If you decide to begin practicing positive affirmations, please leave a comment and tell me how it works out for you. 

AFFIRMATION EXAMPLES
  • I succeed with ease
  • All my attitudes are positive now
  • My confidence reigns in any business setting
  • I rejoice for the success and abundance of others
  • I attract, welcome and accept talented and successful people to my team
  • I have abundant faith in my ability to succeed
  • I accept responsibility for my mistakes as well as my successes 
  • I acknowledge financial mistakes, learn from them, choose the correct path, and move on
  • I visualize myself having abundant wealth - that’s who I am
  • I courageously sell my ideas
  • I enjoy my affluence and share it appropriately
  • I am passionate about doing what I need to in order to increase my fortune 
  • I deserve to have and enjoy prosperity and affluence in my life
  • My wealth is increasing more and more now
  • I feel good doing things that improve my bottom line

May 27, 2012

Update 2: Feature Films and Q&A

So, in my last update, I stated that I had not booked anything since February. I started writing that post a couple of weeks ago and didn't feel like re-writing that part. I say this because last week I booked two supporting roles in two feature films. Both films are indies, one starring Michael Rapaport (my scene is with him and I'm CRAZY excited because I'm a big fan). I also have a callback for a lead in another indie feature. By the time this posts, I will probably know whether or not I've booked it. I'm really excited because these are legit, high budget indie films with talented and reputable filmmakers. Well, as high budget as an indie can get, haha. I will keep y'all posted as my filming schedule progresses. over the next few weeks. I don't shoot the Michael Rapaport film unil next month.

My auditions for feature films have SKYROCKETED this year. I've done more auditions for features in the past couple of months than I did all of last year. Or at least it feels like it. I'm not just auditioning for indies either, I'm being seen for lead roles in studio features, one of which is already an established franchise. The part went to a star, of course, but I was seen for the role too!!

I recently went out for one role that I was so attached to that I almost made myself sick thinking about it. I don't recommend that. I've been stalking all of the entertainment blogs for updates but there is no info about this character and whether or not that role has been cast yet. If I don't get the part, I'll give you guys some details.

It's really exciting that I've booked a couple of film roles this month because my last film roles were shot at the end of summer last year. I told you guys about how I got screwed out of one of my film roles and I'm still kind of bitter about that. Hopefully these bookings will help push that out of my mind.

ETA: I booked the film that I had a callback for a few days ago. Yay!!!

Q&A

After my "Yes, I'm Alive...." post, quite a few people had some random questions for me so read on if you're interested in my answers.

Anonymous said...
Hey, can you talk about the school and what it's like, also how do you deal with doubts and insecurities? Thank you and keep up to the super cool blog!

--I've dedicated my next post to talking about my acting class at T. Schreiber studio, as well as an amazing TV Audition class that I've taken with Ted Sluberski, the best acting coach on the planet!

As for dealing with doubts and insecurities, I was in such a funk that I neglected my blog for almost 3 months. I just didn't feel like writing at the time. But when I look back, writing about my feelings and trials might have helped me come out of the fog a bit faster. What did help me through was to have venting sessions with my closest friends that are also actors. We are all going through the same things and it's nice to talk to people that can empathize with you. I also love to work out when I'm stressed or feeling down about the trajectory of my career. I love to take advanced spin classes and I just push through all of those frustrations. I literally ride them out of my system and I leave the gym feel exhilarated and alive. The benefits to my health and physique are a bonus.

I've never told anyone this, but I do positive affirmations too. I actually found some really uplifting affirmations online and recorded myself saying them on my iPhone. I converted the recording to song files on iTunes and uploaded them to my music library so that I can listen to them whenever I'm feeling down. Sometimes I play them while I'm waiting for an audition.

You can't allow yourself to wallow in the doubt and insecurities. It's normal to feel as though you aren't good enough or to wonder what's wrong with you that you aren't booking, or getting meetings, or getting auditions. All of the doubts and insecurities that we have as actors stem from the fact that so much of our careers are out of our control. And while so much is out of your control, you need to focus on the things that you CAN control. You can control whether or not you're taking great classes, whether or not you have great headshots, whether or not you're keeping in contact with industry folks that can help you, and whether or not your look is the best that it can be.

When you're being positive and proactive in your own career, it doesn't leave a lot of room or time for you to be down on yourself.

Anonymous said....
A lot of people have been calling the Union merger, a bad idea. What is your take on it?

--Even though I was well aware that the merger would pass, I still voted no. My concerns stemmed from the fact that there was absolutely no concrete idea of how our pension and health plans would be affected by the merger. There is still nothing on the horizon and it could be years before the real impact of the merger is realized. I'm part of the tiny 15% of SAG members that actually qualify for health insurance and it's important to me that I'm able to get high quality care and pay premiums that I can afford. I guess only time will tell if the merger will keep my health plan secure.

I got my dues bill a couple of weeks ago and I was billed under the new merger rates. Because I earned so much last year, my dues are much higher than what they would have been under SAG alone. Even though I was a dual card holder (a member or SAG and AFTRA for those who don't know), I think a lot of other pro-merger folks underestimated just how many NON dual card holders were out there. There is already evidence of less experienced actors questioning why their dues are so high. Most of the people who voted yes for the merger were either only members of one union (either SAG OR AFTRA, not both) or they joined AFTRA just so they could get grandfathered in. Now they are wondering why the rates are higher.

As for contracts for film/tv/commercials, I'm not entirely confident that actors are going to be the group that benefits the most from this merger. I'm hoping to be proven wrong though. My final reason for voting no was that it didn't seem that enough people were really educating themselves on just how far reaching the impact of the merger would be.

At this point, the merger is done and irreversible so I'm just going to hope for the best, or at least hope that I become rich before any fallout occurs. LOL

May 22, 2012

Update 1: Finances and Pilot Season

Thanks to all of the readers that have been posting comments and sending me emails asking about me. I know that I've been absent for a while, but I really appreciate the continued support. These past few months have been interesting, fun, frustrating, disappointing, and full of some hard learned lessons.

I have a bit to say so get comfortable.....

Finances

For starters, I have not booked a job since my last update in February. That's been a tough pill for me to swallow because I was booking at least one job per month for a solid two years straight. I was very proud of that and, to be honest, I'm struggling with the fact that I'm having such a cold period. Up until a few weeks ago, I was filled with self-doubt and dreaming up all manner of crazy excuses/reasons for my current slow down. Even commercially, I'm being placed on hold every now and then, but not booking. I've only gotten a couple of print castings in the past 4 months. 

For two straight years, I've always had at least one paycheck coming in, whether from tv/film, commercial work, or print. Since things have slowed down, so has my income. But at the same time, the farther I get in my career, the bigger my expenses become. I won't divulge how much I earned last year, but I will say that my income bumped me and my hubby (I out-earned him for the first time) into a scary new tax bracket, about 98% of that coming from my work as an actor and model. I generally work a part time job for about 4-6 months a year, usually in the spring/summer. This is to take care of my day to day expenses (I also contribute to me and my husband's joint savings account) because sometimes you have to wait weeks or even a few months to get paid for an acting/print gig. Anyway, that makes up the other 2% or so that I earn each year. About 30% of what I earned last year went to commission to my agents and manager. Another 10% went to miscellaneous expenses such as classes, headshots, clothing, etc. And then about 20%-25% went to taxes. On top of what was deducted from my checks throughout the year, I still owe the government several thousand dollars in taxes. 

So naturally, I got a new part-time job. I quit my last part-time job this past October and I was SURE that I was done doing work outside of my career as an actress/model. I was wrong. Another tough pill to swallow. If I were still booking monthly, as I had been for two years straight, I would not need to this new part-time gig. It sucks, but it's what I have to do. I'm the head hostess at a new restaurant and I'm actually really enjoying working there. The staff is really cool, probably one of the best I've ever worked with. The managers are great and one of them is also an actor so he's really understanding of my schedule limitations. I was a bit depressed on my first day, but I've settled into my new routine of working weekends. 

Pilot Season

Pilot season was a lot of fun and I got to audition for many series regular roles. I even had one callback for a pilot that I was PERFECT for....except for the fact that I'm not a professional dancer, which is what the role ultimately called for. I'm actually STILL auditioning for pilots even though, technically, pilot season is over.

This is the first time in my career that I've felt comfortable going in for these major roles and I've been enjoying my auditions. I still get nervous depending on how unprepared I am, but I try not to let it throw me off. I'd already auditioned for the CDs that brought me in for pilots so they knew my work. All of the feedback has been really great. The bottom line is that 90% of the parts that I auditioned for were offered to name actors and/or established stars. I get it and I'm not upset. My goal is to plow through this year's episodic season and add some guest-star and recurring roles to my resume. My agents and manager all agree that I've done enough co-star roles and it's time to move up the ladder.

Oh and speaking of co-star roles, my episode of SMASH aired in April. I was on episode 10 so if you have OnDemand, go check it out. My scene is in the first 10 minutes of the episode. I'm currently working on putting together a reel and when it's done, I will post it for everyone to see.

I have a couple more updates focusing on feature films and classes lined up, and those are scheduled to post in the next couple of weeks. I'm also going to tackle the questions that people have been leaving in the comments section of my last couple of posts. Thanks again for hanging in there with me. :)

April 25, 2012

Yes, I'm Alive....

Hello All,

I'm starting get more comments and emails from people asking me where I've been and when I'll be updating again. I know it's been ages, but I've been very busy, tired, and emotionally drained. Unfortunately, blogging hasn't been a top priority. In the past couple of months, a lot has happened. But, at the same time, not much has happened. :(

I will update soon.

February 15, 2012

Recently...

These past few weeks have been pretty interesting and a couple of last minute things have been popping up, taking me by surprise.

I've only had two pilot auditions so far, and one of them I actually passed on (gasp!!) because I didn't like the character/script. The first audition was for a really cool CBS pilot and the character was a lot of fun to play. I know with episodic casting, the process is very fast, but I don't really know how it works with pilots. I know that the process can be fast, or take weeks. The other pilot really isn't worth mentioning.

Last week, I shot a commercial/print ad for Speedstick deodorant. I didn't even have to audition! This situation is another lesson in why building great relationships and doing good work on set can bring forth other opportunities. Some of you may remember that in the spring of last year, I filmed a guest spot on a web series called "Stay At Home Dad". Here is the link to my episode here.

So, the same production company that produces this series was commissioned to shoot several spots for this product. They knew that they wanted me for one of the spots because they loved what I did on SAHD, but when they went to the clients, the clients still wanted me to come in and audition with all of the other actors. However, when they showed the clients the web series episode, they decided to give me the part then and there.

When I was on set for the commercial shoot last week, I was talking to one the producers, Brandon Williams, who also stars in the web series, and he told me that the success of the web series has opened more doors for them. They have been taking meetings with various networks who are interested in turning the web series into a half hour sitcom. Brandon told me that if the show gets picked up, he wants me to appear in one of the episodes! And that, my friends, is how you cultivate lasting professional relationships in this business. You do a great job on set, keep a fun and positive attitude, and make people fall in love with you and your work.

Also, as I type this, I'm on hold for another commercial that shoots in a couple of days. I'll get to spend the whole day eating strawberries and apples if I book it.

In other news, I started a new acting class and I'm very happy with it so far. I'm taking an advanced technique/scene study class with Terry Schreiber, the owner/founder of T. Schreiber Studio. I feel as though I'm being challenged in this class and I've already learned so much by being there. It's a hard class though. It's 5 hours long and that can be pretty brutal, especially when I'm hungry.

And finally, I'm still working on my "Pseudo-Casting Director" series, but it's A LOT to put on "paper"! I hope to start rolling those out in a couple of weeks. We are moving into the callback phase of the casting and we are very excited to bring back some of these actors and see what else they can bring to these amazing characters. I will keep everyone posted as things progress.

ETA: After posting this, I found out that I booked the commercial and the role in the pilot has been cast.

February 4, 2012

Actors Are....Strange

Okay, not all actors, but a great number of them! Let me explain....

I'm currently in the middle of casting a SAG project with my bff and it's amazing to me how many actors throw opportunity right out of the window by making a myriad of mistakes. Because of my experiences so far, I've been inspired to write a series of posts called, "Confessions of a Pseudo-Casting Director". I'm really just going to break down what the process has been like from the start (releasing the breakdown on Breakdown Services) all the way to choosing our cast.

Now, I respect the privacy of every single person out there so I will NEVER name names or give away anything regarding specific physical characteristics, etc. I also respect the sanctity of the audition room. It's where we expose all of our vulnerabilities to a complete stranger and hope that they see us as the perfect choice to play the character that we are auditioning for. This series is not about judgement. The purpose of these posts is to help other actors identify things that they may be doing that are detrimental to them either getting called in, getting called back, or getting the part. While there are a few anecdotes, I will mostly be speaking in generalities because we saw some of the same things happen over and over again.

Personally, I have learned a great deal just from sitting in a room and watching actor after actor come in and either tremble with fear (So unnecessary because, um...who the hell are we? Plus, we are SO nice!), or just throw caution to the wind and go balls out in their performance, or completely miss the mark due to lack of preparation. We have had people blow us away, completely surprise us, completely piss us off, and/or leave us feeling disappointed.

As I was saying before, this experience has been tremendously helpful for me and I hope that other people learn from it as well! I urge anyone out there to please go sit in on a casting session if you can. Ask your agent to pawn you off on one of their casting director friends, post a notice at the different film schools volunteering your reader services free of charge, or if you're really ballsy, ask the CD at your next audition if they need any free help running the camera or being a reader. Being able to watch what other actors do in the room is invaluable.

My first post in this series is coming soon. I'm not sure how many posts there will be, but I anticipate at least 3-4. I want to be thorough so please be patient. Stay tuned!

January 22, 2012

SAG Screeners!!!

For those of you that aren't members of SAG, let me explain what screeners are.

Every January, in anticipation for the SAG awards, SAG sends all paid up members DVD copies of select award nominated films, as well as free movie tickets to new releases, and digital downloads. The reason why SAG does this is so that members can make informed decisions of who they would like to vote for. Plus, it's just a really nice perk of being a member and paying your dues on time. :)

This year, my DVD copies are: The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants, The Help, and Moneyball.

For digital downloads, I have access to: J. Edgar, Midnight in Paris, The Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn, Warrior, Beginners, A Better Life, Albert Nobbs, and all of the films that were given to me as DVDs.

I was also given free tickets to see The Artist, My Week with Marilyn, and The Iron Lady in theaters if I so choose. I will watch The Artist at home, but will see the other two in theaters for sure.

So while some of the films are available in different formats, it gives me the option of seeing some of them in a way that is most convenient for me. I'm so excited!!

January 19, 2012

Q & A

Here are two questions that I received in the comments section of one of my last blog post:

Ryan asked....
"How can you get a manager? I'm a non sag and I have done some student films. I feel like the next step is to go after paid work and be a sag. Or would that be too soon? Also what do managers look for?"

--Getting a manager works pretty much the same way as getting an agent. You self-submit via mail or email, or you receive a referral from a friend. I can't say if joining SAG right now is too soon because I don't really know anything about you or your current resume. Joining the union is a personal choice, but in my opinion, you should not join SAG until you HAVE to.

Are you represented right now? Are you actively auditioning for SAG projects? If you aren't even auditioning for SAG projects, you should be concentrating on doing as many high quality student/indie films as you can so that you can build up your resume and get a great reel.

As for what managers look for, I have no idea. Just like agents, every manager is different. Some managers like actors that they can help develop into working actors, while other managers like actors that are already working. It's up to you to do the research and find out which managers are looking for what it is that you have to offer.

Clement asked...
"How did you make the change from non union free work to paid SAG work? How did you land your first SAG job?"

--I moved from non-union work around the time that I started auditioning for SAG commercials. I had done a handful of non-union commercials up until that point and was able to land a great commercial agent. My first SAG job was a national commercial for CitiBank. The next day, I did another national for Dove chocolate. A couple of months later, I booked my first TV role on a SAG show, forcing me to join the union. I haven't working anything non-union since then.

Leo asked...
Are postcards worth it?
Have you tried any of your own creative was to get under a casting director's radar?

--As for your second question, I can't say that I've really done anything creative. I've had representation for quite some time and they have been instrumental in getting me through the doors of really great casting directors. This leads me to your first question...

Post cards are a great way to stay on a CD's radar. They are way cheaper than full size headshots and the postage is cheaper too. Anytime you have a career update or just want to say hi, you can write one up and toss it in the mail. Many times, post cards end up with the letter mail because of their smaller size. That means it's much more likely that the CD will not only see the postcard, but also read it. If you are sending them regularly, the CD is more likely to remember you when a role that you are perfect for comes along.

January 16, 2012

New Year Update

Ok, so like many others, my December was pretty slow. I had one print casting and an audition for an indie feature that I didn't even get a callback for. Booooo.

The highlight of my month was a pretty big one though! I booked a co-star role on the heavily promoted "SMASH". If you haven't heard of it (um, where have you been?) it's a new TV drama being executive produced by Steven Spielberg. No, I didn't get to meet him, haha. I think the show premiers on February 6th, but I believe I'm in episode 9 which means my episode won't air until late March or early April.

Anyway, I played a rude casting assistant in a scene with both Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, the stars of the show. These two lovely ladies could not have been more kind, sweet, and likable. They made me feel included and comfortable. Sometimes, when you're playing a small part on a show, it can be awkward because the cast and crew has already been working together for weeks and they have a dynamic that you're not really a part of. I was made to feel like part of the team for the day it was a good feeling.

***********

January has been painfully slow. I had one commercial audition and callback. I didn't book it, though.

Now that the holidays are over and things are (sort of) starting to pick back up, I'm thinking about where I'm at in my career and what my goals are for the year. I'm meeting with my manager and agents this week to discuss the "plan of attack" and I feel as though I'm already on the right track, but I could definitely amp up the effort that I'm putting forth.

I really want to take the next few months to focus all of my attention on studying my craft (I kind of hate that phrase) and feeling more confident as an actor. Last year, I put so much emphasis on the business side of being an actor that I began to forget what I love about performing. I start a new advanced class next month and I'm really excited.

And OBVIOUSLY, the much anticipated pilot season has begun. I don't really know what to expect this year but this is something that I'll discuss with my reps this week. I hope that I get more auditions than I did last year, but you just never know.

Enough of my ramblings for now. If anyone has questions or comments that you'd like me to address in future posts, just send me an email or leave a comment.

January 14, 2012

Hello Everyone!

Hi everyone! First, I want to thank everyone that left a comment on my last blog post. I'm sorry that it took me so long to post them. The holidays were very hectic and once they ended, I just needed to take a break from everything acting related and relax!

I will begin posting once more in a few days so please stay tuned!! I hope everyone's 2012 is off to a productive and positive start!