Archive | casting

Race and Girls

3 Dec

Race and GirlsOkay, so I know this post is coming a tad late. It’s not because I live under a rock and just discovered the show, but because I started this draft and then got so caught up in reading article after article that I stopped writing my own thinking the topic has been mulled over plenty. However, recent talk about race and women (see The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual actress roundtable this year) reminded me of the conversations that were happening around “Girls” and I realize that my voice is just as valid.

The reaction to HBOs new show “Girls” was two fold: one, incredible hype and praise and two, incredible disappointment and scrutiny on the issue of race. So, basically, it went like this…. “Oh my god a show about women written by a woman that doesn’t involve excessive amounts of shopping and bitching is actually really good!”… “Wait a minute, they’re all white. That is so unrealistic. They’re just a bunch of privileged white girls. Don’t watch this show.”

On the one hand I’m glad the conversation of race and TV has gotten so loud across online media outlets and in Hollywood. However, I am a little…suspicious…that this conversation got particularly loud over the show “Girls.” Lack of strong female leads or three-dimensional female characters and lack of of ethnic diversity on TV (and film for that matter) are not new issues. This has been an ongoing problem, so why cry out about the issue of race now regarding this particular show (why not on Two and a Half Men or Entourage or Dexter or Sherlock– I could go on– that all feature white casts)? It seemed to me that critics needed an excuse not to like her series- “See, women can’t carry a show.” Attacking Lena Dunham’s show on this issue of race furthers the problem. It is just another way of undermining her achievement and the story she’s trying to tell, and once again bringing women’s voices down. She is not the sole person responsible for solving all issues regarding minority representation in entertainment. The fact that this show even got made (and is doing so well) is a huge feat in and of itself that we should be supporting her and the show. The more shows like hers succeed the more likely that other shows that feature minority voices will get made. The more (good) parts for women, women of color, and the more opportunities for women writers, directors, and producers.

Why am I causing such a raucous over a little HBO comedy? It’s just entertainment, you might say. This is true. I don’t think Lena is necessarily out trying to change the world with a group of girlfriends talking about sex, ex boyfriends, jobs and rent. But “just entertainment” has a profound effect on our perspectives– especially those of young minds. If you only show commercials of boys playing with Legos and trucks and girls playing with peeing dolls and easy bake ovens— what does that tell our children about acceptable gender roles? If we have the majority of shows with all white casts what does that say about the diversity of our nation? If we only make movies with male action heroes what does that say about what roles are available for women? These repeated images over time are dangerous. Media and pop culture is a part of our society and often helps shape it. It’s about time we shape it in a positive way and stop creating the same old models. Yes, some girls take care of babies and some girls can write killer comedy. Can’t wait for Season 2.

More Fun with Female Breakdowns

19 Sep

30, a rundown whore, thin, bony and pale with a chipped front tooth, in a fine selection of goodwill chic topped of with cowboy boots and an oversized purse. Mel is certainly not the Vegas type whore; for her it almost seems as if she made a conscious choice pursuing her ‘career’.  She is not a drug wreck, but she is skinny and pale, smoking and drinking like a sailor. She may or may not have severe health issues (she is coughing really bad and has a rash on her face…not sure if it’s her lifestyle or if her health is on the line). Aside all that she is sort of cute in her very own ways.

(yay, more whores! but she’s a unique whore because she’s certainly not the Vegas type. and, besides, “aside from all that she is sort of cute” so it makes it all okay. yay!)

A young girl 18-25 years of age (ethnicity open) to play the femme fetale of the film. The girl we seek is a young luminous Angelina Jolie type. We need someone so beautiful it would be believable she could lure two lifelong friends to become enemies.

(believe it or not, I’ve actually read this same character description MANY times- “so beautiful” to make friends become enemies. what does that even mean? and is beauty really our only asset? ok, and stepping off my soap box…)

Lead / Female / African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Ethnically Ambiguous / 18 – 22
**PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND ONLY SUBMIT IF THIS IS SOMETHING YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH** LEGAL 18+ A sexy, barely legal, like girl. Precocious teenager. Three way kissing as well as- kissing breast. No Nudity.

(well at least there’s no nudity, right? just, “kissing breast”)

Lead / Female / All Ethnicities /18 – 30
Lesbian stripper Femme Fatale

(love it- straight and to the point)

Lead / Female / Caucasian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern / 20 – 35 / Nudity / Sexual Situations
A Young Innocent Nun working at a church. When her sister gets murdered she is convinced that she is responsible to find out the murderer. She leaves the church and becomes a bartender at a strip club where her sister used to work at to find out the details of her sister’s murder. *SEXUAL SITUATIONS/NUDITY: She has one scene where she dances topless for the club owner in order to get a job there. She has one explicit sex scene with a guy (suspect). Topless shown from front and full back nudity, She has one scene where she dances topless with another girl on stage and she makes out with her. YOU MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH EVERYTHING …

(do you know how many variations to this character there are in the daily breakdowns? girl-next-door-turned-stripper, high-school-teacher-turned-whore, but you gotta love young-innocent-nun-turned-topless-dancer!)

Lead / Female / All Ethnicities /18 – 30
We need a very hot, sexy girl to sell paint. It is a commercial, there is no dialogue.

(because hot sexy girls can sell anything! yes, even paint! I once saw this great ad selling tile flooring and it was a naked woman with two tiles covering her boobs. awesome.)

Supporting / Female / 25 – 35 / Hispanic
Consuela is Justin’s assistant. She looks like a sexual harassment case just waiting to happen with her figure. She exudes sex appeal, but she is very competent and keeps Justin on top of everything at the office. He would be lost without her sharp wit and guiding hand. Sofia Vergara type.

(“sexual harassment case just waiting to happen”???? I don’t even know where to begin with that one. I mean, seriously… also, I love how sex appeal and competency are contradictory in this person’s eyes **NOTE: I was going through the breakdowns and this one was still up ONE MONTH after it was posted. Hmmm, guess they just can’t find that one perfect actor for the part…)

Lead / Female / All Ethnicities / 27-37
**PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND ONLY SUBMIT IF THIS IS SOMETHING YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH** CLAIRE-B is one half of the Claire character. She is the ID. She is sassy and smart and enthusiastic and uninhibited. Claire-B will be taking her clothes off and covering her self with cocobutter. She will be rubbing and stroking her breasts and crotch area. **MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH TOPLESS NUDITY. ALL OTHER NUDITY WILL ONLY BE IMPLIED** **WE WILL WORK WITH YOU ON YOUR COMFORT LEVEL**

(I mean, do they want someone to audition for this part? Covering herself with cocobutter …)


Lead / Female / All Ethnicities / 18-30
Looking for the princess of travel. Spa lover, Mall expert, restaurant connoisseur. Someone that loves the lap of luxury and lives in it always. Big plus if you have the financial backing to support your extravagant life style. Not looking for Actors, we are in search of real people with the love of travel.

(right, cuz what the hell would actors be doing on a site like LA casting reading a post like this?  and, um, stereotype much? I know, I know, there are women like this, but do we really need more “princess” “spa lover” “lap of luxury” types on reality shows right now? yeah, didn’t think so)

So here’s the thing. These characters could very well be great, interesting, deep, layered, or complicated people and they just had unfortunate character descriptions, and they could very well be a part of really great films helmed by really great directors. All I’m saying is, let’s get a little diversity in these types!

Some more Fun Female Breakdowns.

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……

Tracing the Steps

27 Jun

Nothing But Besties, short film shooting fall 2011You never know what will lead you where in this crazy acting world. When you trace an opportunity back to it’s origin (all of the baby steps that add up), it’s kind of crazy, and also a testament to the fact that you should check your ego at the door and be open to anything, try new things with new people in new places, and, hopefully, be doing this because you love it. Just follow the passion. And when you do, you will get somewhere, I promise. I already see it happening with me.

Okay, so let me show you what I mean… My example is this, starting from the end result and traced back to the precise moment where it all started:

7. I was cast in a short film that will be shooting this October. I’m pretty excited about it as the character is very fun and I know that the director/writer/producer is one very passionate, thorough guy who will put everything he’s got into the making of this film.

6. He cast me because I was in his original stage piece that inspired this movie, originating the role that I will reprise in the film.

5. I was cast in his original stage piece because I was part of the production team, including him, that produced the playwriting festival, which his piece was in.

4. He was a part of the production team because I invited him, since I had worked with him before and trusted his work.

3. I worked with him before on another show of one-act plays with another theater company.

2. I auditioned for a new theater company I was unfamiliar with that I had submitted for on LA Casting and was called in to read the part in a new short play, which he was directing.

1. I went online and made my submissions to the casting sites for the day.

You could even fork the arrows up at step 4. and add another parallel path along side it:

4. He was a part of the production team because I invited him since I had worked with him before and trusted his work.

3. I was a part of a production team to invite him to because I decided to head the LA chapter of my SF theater company.

2. I was part of that SF theater company to begin with because I had auditioned and was cast in a play back in the summer of 2007 and never stopped working with them.

1. I saw an ad on Craigslist* and submitted.

And who knows how many arrows will stem back to point 7 of getting cast in the film? That is what they mean in this business when they say, “it’s who you know.” Not, like, if you know Spielberg or something, but if you know the regular every day artists like you who you meet along the way…

*I would never do that in LA, it’s just too risky with all the crap out there… a definite Red Flag!