Archive | film & tv

Reading Redux

20 May
Tactical Reads with The Vagrancy

The Vagrancy’s Tactical Reads of Megan Breen’s “My First, My Fist” at Studio/Stage in Los Angeles

It seems that Spring is the time for Readings! And I’m thrilled. It’s been a while since I’ve done a reading, let alone so many, but they are back– in droves. Perhaps there is just a creative resurgence? Screenwriters, playwrights, poets, aspiring and otherwise. Or, maybe it’s just coincidence. Who knows.

But in the last couple of months I’ve done a staged reading with my new artistic home, The Vagrancy, as part of their Tactical Reads series (which pairs female writers with female directors), a living room table read of a friend’s screenplay, a staged reading of a beautiful play, Tree of Fire, at Occidental College as part of Incarceration Awareness Week, another living room reading of a friend’s original webseries, and then this Wednesday I will be hosting a reading of my very own first ever full length play! That’s a lot of readings.

Readings are great because with little commitment you can keep your acting muscles moving, you have the opportunity to play parts you might not normally be cast in, you learn about writing and workshopping, you can be a part of a project from its inception, you can meet other cool actors but also directors and writers, and the list goes on.  And, as I always like to say, you never know where or when these seeds you plant will begin to sprout =)


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.

Always be Acting

23 Apr

This is how I've been currently working my acting muscles- in a new production called "Central Air" at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre in Silver Lake, CA.

Not, like, Jim Carey style and never getting out of character. I mean, always have stuff on your plate that allows you to do the one reason you’re here in LA in the first place: act! Whether that means an audition, a scene study class, improv class, on camera class, casting director workshop, theater, showcase, staged readings, read a play out loud with friends, work on a monologue, shoot a short, and the list goes on and on.

Fortunately, I’ve had lots of awesome opportunities that have made this one part of my career pretty easy. (Even though all the other parts of it have felt very difficult lately- but that’s for another post!) I’ve been in back-to-back plays since December (currently in the show Central Air). I’ve been doing casting and agency workshops at One-on-One Productions and then this weekend I’ll be checking out a new monthly audition workshop class, with working actor Aaron Craven (I’ll report back in two weeks). I’ve been lucky enough to really work those acting muscles!

So, if you feel rusty or restless because you haven’t booked a gig- go out and shoot something, read something, or sign up for something. Just ACT! =)

What Else?!?

19 Mar

Ever have that nagging, restless, unsatisfied feeling where you’re just sitting in your living room by yourself, having just closed your lap top, tapping your fingers on the sidetable (not coffee table, cuz you still can’t afford one) not knowing what to do with yourself? Well, I did, just last week.

I was up-to-date with all my submissions (submitting by the hour, sometimes even more often!), I designed my postcard, I followed up on networking emails, I signed up for all applicable upcoming CD workshops (within my budget- again, poor), updated my CD target list with all pertinent info, researched new TV shows that might be right for my type, worked on memorizing my script for an upcoming play I’m in, did some character work for the play, met with my writing partner for a final round of edits on our screenplay, read some actor blogs… and… and… what else? What else can I do???

Of course I know an actor’s work is never done. That’s the cool/annoying thing about this career, there is always something you can be doing. But, what? I found myself at a standstill, not being able to think of anything, not knowing what to do with myself. The real reason I was feeling so unsatisfied, as my boyfriend thoughtfully pointed out, is I  was unrealistically waiting to see the fruits of my labor– right then and there! Silly, I know, but he was right! It was this feeling of, “Okay, I’ve put all this work in, now let’s see what I get!” But I know that’s not how it works. I know that! And yet, there I was, sitting alone in my living room (subconsciously) waiting, hoping for something to happen.

Fortunately, I got over it. I had rehearsal the next day, an audition the day after, performances over the weekend… Again, I have a lot to feel grateful for. Coincidentally, I did come across two helpful posts from actor-friendly sites, which were rather timely. So, I thought I’d share:

1. What Can I Actually DO…?

I came across this as I was stumbling through actor blog posts on various topics. This topic, of course, is exactly what I’ve been talking about. I talk about many of the things on this list throughout my blog, like making your own work- something I tout often, as the blogger Ben Whitehair does throughout this list of things you can actually do.

2. How to Stay Sharp During Down Time

This one came by way of my boyfriend, as it was just too perfect to my issue that day. Dallas Travers, “actor advocate”, often gives great, concise pieces of advice. In this quick video she goes over some things you can do in the down time between gigs, to keep sane and motivated.