Archive | networking

Good Things Come in Threes (or More)

13 Feb

I was going to write this post about three projects I have in a row, when another amazing opportunity landed in my lap– hence, “good things come in three or more”. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, opportunity breeds opportunity! This is the time that it’s really, really important I stay on my submissions, auditions, marketing, networking, etc. I can’t get lazy now no matter how exhausted I may feel (and I am! I want a vacation so badly…) because now is the time I should be doing even more!

I feel a lot of good energy in the air right now, and for good reason =): completion of the second rendition of my original screenplay with my writing partner (just over a year now we’ve been working on this) and getting ready to have a reading; release of the short I shot last year; the three projects in a row that initially inspired this post (Occupy the Heart, which is happening now; Vagina Monologues, which opens in March; and Central Air, which opens in April); and the latest opportunity that just came my way, a really awesome networking gig happening this Wednesday!

It is no coincidence that all of these things are happening at the same time. When it rains it pours. And when I find myself complaining that I have too many lines to memorize at once or having scheduling conflicts between shows and auditions, I have to stop and think to myself- that is a good problem to have! I can’t let the weeks or months pass, satisfied that I’m busy, and not continue to go after the dream. I admit, I have done that in the past… a lot. I’ll get cast in a show or a short or something, and then stop doing submissions and therefore stop auditioning for a solid month! Not good. You have to keep chugging along. And I’m chugging! I’ve been working hard on my target agency lists, finally signed up for a CD workshop and actually making and meeting my bi-monthly goals from this awesome artist-check-in group I am a part of. And it’s only February! Yessss. This is the year I’m going to squash that fear. This is the year…

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!

Actorfest LA: Best Bet or Bust?

23 Nov

Two weeks ago was Backstage’s annual Actor Fest LA . I wrote this post after my experience attending ActorFest last November:

From my experience (and by my experience I mean I’ve only attended Actorfest once so please take this with a grain of salt) this one-day event is awesome… in theory. In reality, it can be one giant waste of time. But, if you have slightly more patience than I did, and lower expectations, you can make the most of this networking extravaganza.

My mistake was setting the bar too high.

I signed up for Actorfest, figuring it couldn’t hurt. I read up on all of the awesome lectures, workshops, panel discussions and casting director meet-ups and thought what a productive way to spend a Saturday—working on my career.

It was a busy morning. I was coming straight from a Team in Training practice run that I really didn’t want to miss, so I brought all my clothes, makeup and headshot/resumes with me. I raced Downtown to the California Market Center where the Fest is held. In the lot, I quickly and inconspicuously traded my runner shorts, tank and sneakers for a button down, black mini skirt and pink heels, did a speedy touchup with hair and makeup and was good to go.  I made it just in time for the one panel discussion I had signed up for (every panel discussion cost $; $ I lack), “__” It was great. Towards the end we were allowed to write questions for the casting directors and agents on little white index cards that the panel monitors then collected and read out loud. I didn’t fill one out, as I couldn’t think of anything. I could’ve been more prepared with a slew of questions (something I recommend you do, if you plan on attending Actorfest ever), but the cards that were read out covered anything I would’ve thought of anyway.

After the discussion I was feeling good about this whole Actorfest thing. I hadn’t a chance to eat yet, so I decided this was a good time to grab a muffin and an OJ and sit down with my huge Backstage Actorfest program to create a game plan for the rest of the day. But as soon as I sat down, about to take a bite of my bran muffin, a slight pale-faced woman came stumbling towards me. She didn’t look too great as she barely got out the words, “Can I sit here for a minute?” reaching her arms out as if to catch her fall. “Sure,” I said, worried, pulling out the chair for her. Then she started mumbling something about having taken too much Motrin or Midol (it was hard to understand). She said she was feeling faint and I told her she probably should eat something, offering her my muffin. “No,” she politely declined. Though I know what it’s like to feel faint, panicky or out of it and I knew she wanted it. “Go ahead, take it. You should eat something,” I insisted, sliding it across the table to her. “Thank you,” she whispered, breaking off a piece of muffin and then resting her head in her arms. She continued taking little bites in between resting her head, as I tried to calm her down. Eventually, a security guard or first-aid guy came with a bottle of water and escorted her out.

I couldn’t help but wonder, why was she so overwhelmed? What had her in such a panic? Could it have been the over-stimulation of all the acting-networking-casting stuff all around her? Constant reminders in every direction of everything you still haven’t done or even considered to further your career? Hell, I started feeling woozy.

I continued downstairs to the huge exhibit hall where there were rows and rows of info-booths covering a range of services, from actor’s insurance to Australian acting technique. I attempted to explore the different exhibitors, while I waited for one of the Casting Director meet-and-greets I decided to attend to begin. I was collecting a fair amount of flyers and pamphlets (that wound up as scratch paper on my desk) as I made my way down the aisles when I noticed a long line of anxious actors wrapping around the entire room. I asked one of the many headshot/resume-holding attendees what the line was for and they answered, the casting director meet and greets. I couldn’t believe it, so I thought I better jump in line.

THREE hours later I get to the front of the line when an Actorfest employee puts up the rope. “Sorry,” she says, without an ounce of remorse, “Mark Teschner (Days of Our Lives casting director) wont be seeing anymore people today. He has to cut out early.” The few of us who made it to this coveted spot start shooting out questions. “Please,” the woman says, silencing us. “He’s already left. Oh, and there are no more Casting Directors to meet for the day.” You’ve got to be kidding! I felt like an idiot. I just wasted three hours of my life just to NOT meet the casting director for fuckin’ Days of Our Lives! What was I thinking? And what was going to happen in those 180 seconds anyway? “Oh my god, Nina, you have the look we’ve been searching for! Please audition for us tomorrow!” Yeah right.

I was furious, but there was nothing I could do. I dropped off the remaining headshot/resumes I had brought in the casting director drop off boxes (who knows if they ever look through them) and got in my car for a nice, long, reflective drove home. Lesson learned: a cattle call is always a cattle call, even if supported by a reputable organization like Backstage. Next time, I’ll stick to the panel discussions.

Online Career Management System for Actors

10 Mar

There are soooo many tools and books and blogs and sites and I could go on and on… out there to help the actor. It can get overwhelming sifting through them all. Which ones cost? Are free? Which ones are scams? Are legit? Which ones are actually super helpful?

So I came across another actor tool: Actuator Demo.

Anyone ever heard of it? Seems pretty cool. And from what I can tell, so far, it seems to be free. I like free. It supposedly keeps track of your auditions, expenses, mileage, calendar of events, your online profiles, networking and brand monitor.

Just thought I’d share =)

If I try it out I’ll blog about it and let you all know.