Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Game Plan

While I was in Idaho with Jake and his family, camping out, I had some time to think about my career and what my next steps would be. Because I'm a list person, and my ADD means I have to organize everything in bizarre little ways, I made a game plan.

Firstly, I need a new job. Or, perhaps, a second part-time job with a set schedule I can juggle Banana Republic and the rest of my life around. Mostly because I need more money for things like classes, cost of mailing, gas, food, rent, etc. Mostly because I'm not making what I need for even basic survival. Thank you Jake, for ensuring that my survival continues regardless.

Second, I should do some background work. Not to put on a resume, I'm already aware that isn't a good idea. Mostly for more money, and also to meet people and network. The more showbiz people I know, the more likely I am to work in the industry, in any capacity. My time in Baltimore was proof of that, I think. I have registered with Central Casting, and they pretty much constantly have projects, but I'm struggling with my conflicting work schedule.

Third, I need an agent or manager. To that end, I have made a beautiful excel spreadsheet with all the information I could find on agents and managers in the big directory I bought last year, focusing of course on those in LA, who concentrate on actors of my demographic. So I left out people who work exclusively with kids, musicians, emcees, screenwriters, etc. By the way, if anyone needs to borrow my directory, you totally can, but you have to do your own research.

I have also just received 500 headshot prints, and bought black ink for my printer, so now I can print labels, resumes, and cover letters, and send them out. I'm currently working on a mail merge for the agencies, to be followed by an email merge, and then the same for the managers. Baby steps, because it's a hell of a lot of work, and pretty tedious. And postage costs.

Fourth, I have finally gotten my demo reel put together, thanks to James Placious and Peach Market Productions! It was tough, I had a lot of footage to wade through (although not nearly as much as I'd hoped, since it's bloody impossible to get footage from some directors) but I think I got something passable put together, which I'm sure will help in my quest for a rep, as well as get more auditions lined up.

Fifth, I need more education. I know that sounds crazy, what with the degree in drama, but I'm discovering that a lot of what I know about acting in theater is not helpful when it comes to film. I'm looking into various classes, with different techniques, and of course I'm open to suggestions. At the moment, I'm most likely interested in the Steve Eastin Studio. The classes are all done in close-up, and the technique concentrates on what is most useful for film specifically. Also, it's one of the more affordable programs! I'm also looking into Groundlings (or some equivalent improv group) and the Beverly Hills Playhouse, about whom I've heard some really great things.

Finally, I need to generate my own work. I have some ideas for videos, one that's basically a sketch, and also a dance piece I've been mulling over. I figure the more I can put out there the better. I'm also trying to support my friends who are in a similar situation to me, by giving them my time for their projects as well. Actors help each other, right? I also have some ideas for some plays I want to direct, but those are not my priority right now.

Happily, things are moving along, and I'm glad I have some tools now to use. A lot of this stuff should have happened when I first got here, but honestly I didn't have the resources then that I have now. And damn it feels good to have 500 headshots at my fingertips!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Closer to Performance

So it's been a bit more than a week since I've started rehearsal for "Seven Deadly Sins," and it's going pretty smoothly. I'm playing multiple roles, in fact I just added another one yesterday. We open on Thursday, February 10, at 9:30 pm. We run for 4 weeks at that time slot, then move to 8 pm. The theater is called The Next Stage, and is near La Brea and Sunset. Tickets are $20 a person, but for each person who says they came to see me, I get $5! Woot! Also, they do industry comps for agents etc. I'm trying to decide if I should use the postcards I have, with my old headshot on them, or the printed ones for the show, to send out to agents and managers. I don't think I have my phone number listed on the headshot ones, so it should be ok, since I got them done when I was still in Baltimore.

I'm looking forward to performance, I'm almost off-book now. The sketches are really starting to come together! I'm pretty happy with the choices I'm making with the characters, and I'm playing my newest one very similarly to the way the previous actress did, if only because that was how the director wanted it. But it was also a good, strong choice, and I'm pretty sure I can own it myself. I'm definitely having a great time, that's for sure, it's a really free, creative environment, different from Kentwood in about a thousand ways!!

Chris Berube, who runs the theater, is really open to producing and lending space to projects. He says if we have a piece we really want to do, or a workshop we want to try, he'll give us the space for rehearsal and performance for free, as long as he gets a percentage of the door. Pretty fair, I think! One of the other actresses said she loves Tennessee Williams, and really wants to do some, and he said if she wanted to put a show on she could. Just like that, and based off of an off-hand comment. It probably helps that he doesn't have a board or paying membership he has to appease in any way, he just does what he wants since it's his name on the lease. Everyone in a show is a member automatically, and gets free admission to other shows, and that membership is good as long as they stay active in the theater! I think he may start charging admission though if they haven't seen or done anything there in like a few years.

Basically, I'm pretty excited to be in the group, especially when I hear that people like Paul Reubens and Alan Rickman come by pretty often. I think the show is gonna be good, and I can't wait for curtain!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Project!!

On Friday I had an audition at The Next Stage, a small theater in North Hollywood. The director asked us to do an exercise, in lieu of a line reading or a monologue. We got on stage, three at a time, and when he put the music and blue light on, we had to approach these boxes, as though something was attracting us to them, something we made up in our heads, something evil. Then, when he shifted the lights to red, we were to become possessed by whatever was in the box. I chose Pride, and when the lights changed, I started crawling slowly up onto the box, saying stuff like "I can do 800 jumping jacks," and "I won an award for my cake at the bake sale," in a creepy sort of voice, just listing accomplishments as though I was desperate for approval. It was a strange little exercise, but I guess the point was to have us make a deliberate choice and see how we moved and presented ourselves on stage, which I've never really had a problem with. I sweated a couple days, but last night the director called me to offer a part!

The project is called The Seven Deadly Sins, written by the director I believe, and it's basically a series of vignettes around the theme. A lot of theaters in the area seem to be doing similar pieces, as I've seen audition notices at other places. But the company seems really cool. The theater space is small but I think I'll have a lot of fun with it. The schedule is actually gonna be really convenient since rehearsals are in the afternoons rather than evenings, and performances are only Thursday nights. Rehearsals are Monday through Friday, but only for three to four weeks, so really it's not that major of a commitment, which means it won't interfere with work too much and I can still look at other projects. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that Banana makes me close most days, I could probably do a whole other play on top of this one!

Anyway, I'm super excited just to be working on something creative, and I'm really interested in seeing how it turns out!