Archive | August, 2011

Saucy Maid

29 Aug

Do I have a story for you!

So, like I said in my last post, jumping back into the swing of things wasn’t what I had hoped for. But, I jumped in nonetheless and slowly but surely got into the rhythm of submitting, auditioning, writing and meeting. Last Monday I went in to audition for a night of one-acts at a theater in West LA. Tuesday morning I got an email from a guy who is friends with the person I auditioned for saying that he is a casting director for a reality show to hire actors for reenactments. Followed a few minutes later by another email saying he saw me in Skeleton Stories and enjoyed my work. Tuesday afternoon I met with him. Wednesday I filmed.

One, that shows how fast things can work around here (on a much, much smaller scale) and two, the beauty of putting yourself out there and building a network of people who get to know your work. Three, shows you how I landed my first job upon returning home.

Now let’s get to the job. It was one of those experiences that I chalk up to really good late night interview material for Leno or Letterman. Like the low-budg horror flick I stared in two years ago. You can’t write this shit.

So, the job. My part was “Saucy Maid” complete with french-maid costume: fishnet knee-high stalkings, ridiculously tiny and equally useless lace “apron”, faux pearl necklace with matching bracelet and a white feather duster. Yup. My character worked for a “maid” company where women in sexy maid outfits would “clean” homes. Yes, lots of quotation marks. So there I was, standing in the typical LA summer heat (that for some reason or another didn’t come until this past week), in a very non-breathable nylon and sequin mini dress, holding a freakin feather duster in the middle of the Valley. Yeah, I felt like a prostitute… or porn star, take your pick. I also felt like a hypocrite. I spend my days avoiding breakdowns precisely like the one that most likely accompanied the very character I was hired to play. I’m a woman. I’m an actor. I’m a feminist. And I’m not Angelina Jolie or Meryl Streep where I’d get to pick my script, any script. How do these things align? How do I reconcile feminist, actor– new actor– as I take on this career path?

Now, I’m not saying I regret doing this project. Honestly, it was a blast. Cool people. Hilarious story line. Lots of fun. And a paycheck. I also know that not every part out there is going to be “Hannah” or “Erin Brokovich” nor would I want it to be. I was just standing there in my Saucy Maid outfit, killing time with my iPhone in one hand and fanning the heat away with a feather duster in the other, wondering, what does this all mean……

Traveling Back to the Real World

22 Aug

After nearly three weeks far-removed from the day-to-day life as an actor in LA, I thought, or, assumed, that upon my return to sunny So Cal, I’d be re-charged, energized and ready to take the town by storm….

Ok, so maybe that’s more in the movies I aspire to be in, but definitely not in reality. I came back, exhausted, jet-lagged, out of it, and with a big, fat cold. Fun times! But, this was a good lesson for me. I naively thought that going away would make coming back a new beginning, a fresh start. That I’d suddenly look at the long list of casting breakdowns and nudity requireds with a smile on my face, happily clicking away at all the ones “fit for me”. That I’d magically have money in my oft-empty bank account to sign up for that improv and scene study class I’d been reluctant to take prior to my travels. That I’d excitedly reply to all the emails sittin’ in my inbox and set up coffee dates and lunch meetings and production talks for all the possible collaborations and future play/movie/grand artistic plans to take over the world ideas. No, no and… nope.

But of course! Why would this week be any different from three weeks ago? It shouldn’t. The career didn’t stop. So it wasn’t about to suddenly start the moment I got back. It’s like when therapists warn you not to move to a new city to escape a problem. You wont get a fresh start; your problems will follow you wherever you go. And not that me pursuing acting is a problem, it’s just… the things that are challenging about it will remain challenging until my attitude changes, not simply because I was away for three weeks and now I’m back. I’ve never particularly liked looking through breakdowns, so why would I now? And the other thing is, it’s okay that there are these challenges. It’s okay that I don’t like all of it. It’s okay to be a little, well, negative. Of course I try to stay positive on this blog, but I’d be giving a very inaccurate depiction of pursuing acting in LA if I didn’t, also, show the hard stuff. The days when I’m like BLAH. Or, saying, I give up, let’s do something else. These are all healthy, normal thoughts of fear. Plain and simple.

So, here I am. Back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel and an always fun time in San Francisco, and I’m ready to jump back in. I’m not thrilled about it. I’m not necessarily re-energized. But that’s just where I’m at right now. I’m as ready as I was before I left and that’s ready enough…

Articles on Auditioning, Anna Faris, the Anti-It Girl and More

8 Aug

Last summer, around this time, I put up an article roundup of stuff I’d come across on the web that struck a chord. Here’s another list of interesting articles relating to being an actor, comedian, writer and on the state of LA theater:

No Talent Beyond This Point

From the Huffington Post, a humorous, and sometimes kind of sad, look at how we treat our actors in the US. If you’ve been to any audition you’ll relate.

And I Should Know

From NY Mag, Roseanne Barr’s awesomely honest look into the lack of change in the industry. We all know how nasty it can get behind the scenes, but she really puts things into perspective.

Funny Like A Guy

How awesomely funny Anna Faris is and the overarching problem Hollywood has with female-driven comedies (let alone, mainstream films!)

Tough, Cold, Terse, Taciturn and Prone to Not Saying Goodbye When They Hang Up the Phone

What does the “strong” really mean in the currently trendy phrase of “strong female character”?

A Real Theatre Community?

KCRW podcast of Anthony Byrnes “Opening the Curtain” segment on the recent surge of theater in LA (with Radar LA:, the national TCG conference, the 2nd annual Hollywood Fringe Fest…) Who says LA aint a theater town?! Not me!

Hollywood’s Anti-It Girl

Brit Marling, 27 year old actor-screenwriter, debuts not one, but two, of her films at Sundance. I always say “make your own work” but it is so damn inspiring to read about it. She made her own work and made it work.

How to Steal Like An Artist

I’m sure most of you have already come across this, but it is such a gem and so relevant to an artist in any medium that it’s worth sharing again. I wish I had this printed out and posted on my bedroom wall. Good reminders and great advice for the artist.

How Dance Can Move You

1 Aug

Ok, so it’s like, literally, moving with its pirouettes and passés and kick ball changes. But dance can also move you, as in emotionally, or spiritually. And, if you are watching a dance performance, it can also move you to get off your butt and do some moving yourself.

A couple months ago I watched a dance concert covering modern, jazz, tap, ballet and point at a local dance studio near me. A little before that I subbed for a high school modern dance class. I also have been taking dance classes, at the Sweat Spot and Center Stage Dance. Basically, there’s been a lot of dance in my life lately, and I’m really loving it.

Sitting in the audience at the dance concert, I enjoyed being transported into another world. The use of costumes, light and music helped, but really it was the specific sequence of movements of the dancers that created the new world. Each piece with a theme, they evoked something different. It’s a visceral experience, one that is hard to explain. However, it made me feel in a new way, think in a new way. I guess that is the goal of art? Or at least one of the goals.

I’ve mentioned this before, the importance of movement and dance as it relates to the actor, but recently I’ve really been practicing this. I started taking up ballet. This was terrifying at first, as I haven’t put on a pair of ballet slippers since I was, like, five years old, but it’s such a great way to push myself. It teaches discipline, connection and awareness to your body and of course, it’s a great work out. I’ve also been taking a modern dance class that makes you move in a very different way, and it’s an amazing release.

I find that dance is the perfect complement to acting. Sometimes I am sick of acting classes but I still want to take some kind of class, and dance can still help you as an actor. It opens you up emotionally (I really believe that the physical and emotional are so interconnected), it’s healthy, and it gives you another “skill” you can throw on to the good ‘ol resume.