Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sod's Law

Well today I got to act in an industrial about criminal negligence in nursing! I played CNA #4. I even had lines! And, to top it all off, I'm getting paid for it too! Now, of course, Jake is wondering if we should move, since I've had a sudden jump in casting success. Of course, one industrial is not enough to deter me from my moving plans. Besides, if I'm starting to get paid and cast in projects after 2 years in LA, I figure I'm ahead of the curve! All of my research and planning though is pointing to one important thing. I need an agent. I should still, of course, continue my own research and contact casting directors etc., but I think an agent will really help get me past those "gatekeepers" I keep hearing about. Plus, I could use the advice on SAG, my image, all that important stuff that I just don't have the experience in the market to figure out on my own.

But huzzah, getting paid for acting! Now I just need to do this about 100 more times this year...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun with Bustles

The shoot for "Victorian Valentines" (shot, ironically, on Valentine's Day!) went really really well. The student directing it was awesome, so much fun to work with! It was great to do something completely silly, and for once not have to wear heaps of goth make-up! I think it'll look good to have something more glamourous on my reel. Now I have me as a German exchange student, a ghost, a witch possessed by a demon, a pubescent victorian girl, and possibly a kick-ass sword fight. I still need to get my hands on most of the footage though.

I submitted for some commercial/industrial type stuff, and I'm waiting to hear back on whether or not they're gonna use me.

I'm also currently experiencing the most horrible head-cold ever, and even though I'm still going to work, I can barely function, so a tiny part of me is hoping I won't have to shoot anything this coming week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bette Davis is Awesome!

So I saw Now, Voyager today, arguably one of Bette Davis's finest performances. She plays a spinster (although not that old) who is repressed by her mother do the point of a breakdown, who, with the help of her sister-in-law and a psychiatrist at a sanitarium, finds the strength to leave home and explore the world. One makeover later, she takes a cruise ship to Rio and meets the man of her dreams (Claude Rains), who happens to be married. They fall in love, and then vow to never see each other again. She tries to move on, but realizes she'll never love anyone else. When her mother dies she goes back to the sanitarium, only to find her lover's 12 year old daughter is there as well, and takes her under her wing.

The first thing I was impressed with was Davis' ability to transform herself into a dowdy spinster, overweight ("Mother doesn't believe in dieting") afraid to speak or be proud of herself, into a svelt, beautiful, poised woman, full of confidence. The best thing about this transformation? It takes a while. Of course the makeover is a big part of it, but even after she appears on the ship in her new clothes and hairdo, freshly plucked brows lifted in her signature expression, she still has a tension about her that belies the underlying reticence to join the outside world. Basically, she feels out of place, like she's wearing a mask, that she could be outed at any moment for the sad spinster aunt she believes she is. Her relationship with Rains' character draws her out of her shell and gives her the confidence to really interact with the world around her. Even after she leaves him in Rio, instead of dwelling on the pain of separation, she makes friends with pretty much everyone on the ship. She physicalizes all of these phases beautifully and subtly.

One of the best moments is the first time she sees her mother after her trip. Moment to moment, you can see her fighting to keep her new confidence, and the dangerous precipice she's on, where she could slip back under her mother's control again. Each little victory over her mother though gives her strength, and you can see this in Davis' eyes. Another good moment is when she breaks off her engagement with Livingston, a man she meets when she comes home from her trip. The decision process is written all over her face. She doesn't start the scene with her mind made up, but you can tell the moment when it is.

So basically, I'm in awe! Next on the list is Dark Victory.

By the way, all this acting business is expensive! IMDBPro is $12.95 a month, acting classes (at the really good places) are around $300, casting websites are between $10 and $50 a month, web hosting is $5-$10 a month...not to mention the cost of postage, new headshots, business cards, postcards,'s a lot to consider! Basically I need at least $100 a month just for acting expenses, not including classes etc. Guess I better find a day job soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's My Type?

So I'm continuing some of my acting biz research, reading Bonnie Gillespie's Self Management for Actors. Love, by the way. Exceedingly well written, almost conversational, never dry, and really good, sound advice with great resources listed that sound more like helpful suggestions than shameless endorsement. She emphasizes the importance of "type" and knowing what other people might see you as.

In a perfect world, I would be an ingenue, comedic/dramatic, superwoman (ok, Wonder Woman!) type with strength, wit, and boundless beauty. It is not a perfect world, so I'm taking a look at my headshot and deciding what I think it looks like.

I'm trying to be honest with myself, please indulge me.

This particular photo could be either a leading lady or the "best friend." Five adjectives to describe the person in the picture? Friendly, Witty, Professional, Warm, Naive. Not sure anymore if that's what I want in a character breakdown. At the time this photo was taken, I was entering the mid-Atlantic market, one where a lot of work was industrials, where you need to look like you have some kind of credibility. Moving to LA, I'm thinking I need something a little sexier. I'm definitely getting new headshots done when I get out there, my hair is different, and I just want a new feel all together.

So, if I had to write a character breakdown for the roles I want to play in a perfect world? This would be it:
Caucasion Female, Age 22-28; Lead character, she's strong-willed and comfortable with her sexuality. She's smart, with a sensitivity for the pain of others. She has an exterior with a lot of bravado, but without being flinty. Inside, she's confused about what she wants from life, and seeks approval.

Is that too much like my actual personality? I don't know. Can these characteristics be shown in a photo that will translate to casting directors? Maybe. We'll see how well we can do, but I do know I want a more pensive expression. I'll have to work on it though in front of a mirror because when I try to do "non-smiling" in photos it comes off really weird and kind of vapid. I also want the new photo to emphasize my eyes a little more, I think they're my best feature.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What did I do for my career today?

I have created a time management table! My boyfriend convinced me that I should be working on my career 40 hours a week, and he's right, so I had to figure out where, between my part-time job(s) and all of my various projects, I could fit the time in. And I found the hours! Of course this means now that I have less time to waste on just vegging out, but that's probably for the best. My dad told me that successful people all share one trait - they spent the equivalent of 40 hours a week for 5 years practicing the thing they were ultimately successful at. My On-camera teacher, Brenna McDonough, said I should do something for my career every day.

So, today, I spent 8 hours dedicated to things for my career. I did some physical warm-ups and toning exercises, looked around for more roles to add to my resume, watched Playing Shakespear from the BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company, looked for a new Shakespeare monologue, and looked at examples of demo reels and headshots. I'm gonna want both when I move out to LA. I have a headshot now, of course, but I need a new one. I think most days are going to involve me doing something to do with all of these things.

I did get a call though from one of the roles I had applied for, a student film. The director liked my look, and wants to use me as one of the main roles. It's silent, and takes place in the Victorian era, so it'll be an interesting addition to my reel. Plus, he's making me a corset for it! I'm always up for a new one! It's a short film, the deadline is very soon, and he says he's a fast editor, so I should be getting some footage from him before I leave.

I've been looking for work and places to live in LA. It's not easy finding something in my budget in a place that's not a complete ghetto! I'm looking at a lot of different neighborhoods. I'd really like to be in Culver City, but the only places anywhere near there are in Hawthorne, which I don't know anything about but it looks kinda sketchy in pics. I'm also seeing some neat places in Van Nuys; again I don't know anything about it, and it's really far North of everything, but some of the apartments are beautiful! Unfortunately I can't just go and look at places, since I'm in Baltimore and can't just go look at anything I want, so I'm pulling some resources and having friends look at them for me. I'm gonna narrow it down first to just a few though, since I'm sure everyone is to busy to run all over the LA area for me! I'm very excited by this whole process though, and I'm looking forward to moving.