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. :)