Thursday, April 24, 2014

Give What You Have Today and Let Tomorrow Happen Tomorrow

We've talked ad nauseam on the difficulties of chasing this dream.  It's inconsistent.  It's incredibly fickle.  It's beyond competitive.  It's expensive.  Most days it seems that no one would even give a damn if you stayed or walked away.  And most of it is largely out of your control.  There is also this other thing.  This difficulty that's a little less tangible but is always there... it's the deep, deep desire to be good to be brilliant.  I mean, that's really why we do it all anyway, isn't it?  To be a truly great artist and be the vehicle through which we tell incredible stories that will last long after we are gone.

On the surface, that seems like a purely good thing, right?  It is a good thing, but it can also be terribly crippling.  I've been there, when the desire to be great (and the fear that I wasn't) stopped me from trying.  I didn't want to take new headshots, not until I lost those five extra pounds.  I didn't want to go to workshops until I really felt like I was on top of my game.  I didn't want to go to class because I felt rusty and I was worried I wouldn't be as good as I imagined I could be.  I didn't want to throw my entire soul behind it just yet.  Not until everything was perfect.  

But the truth is... it's never perfect.  And neither are you.  And your best today may make you cringe five years from now.  But if you constantly put it off because you're waiting for brilliance to just... happen... I think you might find yourself waiting a long time, and perhaps never truly going for it. 

Three years ago, just before I started this blog, this truth settled in me and changed my career.  It changed my life.  I decided I had to do the very best I could right now and forget about needing it to be perfect.  I would do the very best I could with the skills and resources I had right now, and if I did that every day, I would inevitably grow over time.  I do look back on some of the stuff I was really proud of three years ago and chuckle.  It's not amazing, but had I not done it, I wouldn't be looking back towards it from the place I'm in now.

I had one of the most difficult auditions I've ever had this week.  It was a producer session for a top of show guest star on a major show.  While a big credit like that doesn't necessarily come along every week for me, I have been there before.  It wasn't the size of role or the money on the line that terrified me... it was one of the most complex characters I've ever had to create.  Seven pages of dialog that consisted of mostly me talking, more emotional layers than I had ever worked on before, and less than twenty four hours in which to create them.  And crying.  Lots and lots of crying.

I actually broke down into tears in front of my roommate the morning of the audition because I was so terrified that I didn't have enough time to get it all together.  I felt like I had a final exam in three hours and someone had just handed me a text book and said it would all be on the test.  This role was no cream puff, just-be-your-charming-self-and-you'll-do-fine kind of role.  Nailing that level of complexity in the audition (i.e. a single take) with two separate scenes back to back that required totally different emotional states is tough.  (Understatement of the century.)  I would have to be on my A game in order to book it.  No, my AAAAAAA+++ game.  It was that hard.  It was fucking scary.  In that situation, the temptation to just walk away and avoid the whole situation (and thus the hard work and potential heartbreak) is very, very real.

But this is what this hustle is all about.  I found a way to swallow my fear and let go of having to make it perfect.  It took so much out of me that I'm here, two days later and my energy is just finally returning.  Not only because it was incredibly emotionally exhausting to go to the dark place in which the character lived, but also because I didn't get the job.

I know one of the show's producer's really well, so I got a lot of great feedback and honest insight into my audition.  He was in the session and we chatted after the role went to someone else.  We discussed some ways I could have given a stronger performance, but he was overall encouraging and thrilled that the casting team and producers were able to meet me.  (He even told me the other producers discussed how strong some elements of my audition were... and how pretty I am.  Huzzah! I'll take it. Every little bit counts.)  

After everything, I'm proud of myself and giving it my all even in the face of real fear.  Perhaps this one was just a little beyond my ability today, but three years ago, there's just no way.  Maybe next week... next month... or next year, I will get better at delivering a character of that caliber in the audition room.  Booking or not, I grew as a performer this week.  If I do that after every audition, I'm on the right track.

As an added bonus, there was a little moment in my conversation with this producer that nearly made my heart burst.  It was so small, he probably didn't even notice it happened.  When chatting about auditions and the future, he said, 

"When you're super famous, you won't even have to worry about that."

It wasn't tongue-in-cheek, the way people often say it, like, "Will you still remember me when you're super famous?  Haha *wink, wink."  He said it very casually and just matter of fact, as if it were inevitable.  He didn't even say it as encouragement.  It was just, "we're here now and eventually you won't have to deal with that because I know you will be big enough it won't touch you."  Coming from a producer of multiple hit shows... that's a big deal.  

So here's to giving everything we have today so that we can give even more tomorrow.  Good luck out there, peeps.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning Surprise

Just when you start to get used to your routine and the foundation you've built for your career...

I was arranging a guest star audition today and got an email from another agent at the office.  My agent has left!  Holy smokes, kind of a shocker!! 

Well, actually not a total shocker.  My agent has been out of town for a few weeks and was taking abnormally long to respond to my emails.  For some reason I was kind of getting the hunch that something was brewing, but hadn't asked.  And the truth is, he didn't know that something was brewing in me too.  I love my agent, you know I do.  He's been hugely supportive and open to my extra-involved style of hustle.  When he signed me, he was open about being unsure just how much he could do for me at my level.  We decided to go for it, had some great times, but so far not a ton has happened.  Not that he hasn't tried, but I may just need a little extra "try." 

The timing on this is crazy, maybe even destiny.  (I can't help it.  I'm just cheesy.)  I had gone to a seminar last week to say a quick hello to an industry contact with whom I keep in touch.  It just so happened that there was an agent on the panel who perked my interest enough, I actually set up a coffee meet-up with a friend who's repped there... just to hear feedback.  He sounded like someone I may want on my side and I just wanted first-hand experience from an actor repped at that office.  It wasn't that I had made any decisions about moving, I just felt intrigued to find out all I could.  To be aware of what's out there.  I was actually kind of torn about my growing desire to make a decision to leave or stay with my current rep.

So perhaps it is perfect timing that my agent left the office.  I have a meeting set up with the other agents this week to discuss me and moving forward.  The result of the meeting will be interesting.  We're basically deciding if we'd like to stay with each other...

While I know what, I know I'll be fine, I admit there's still a little fear.  Who knows what will happen... I could be dropped and be without theatrical representation again, a tough place to be when you're still fighting for network credits.  I could love the other agents (who I've basically never dealt with, and if you remember, they all passed on me when my ex-agent signed me) and we could continue to work under the same roof.  Or I could pass on them and leave for another agency... where would I land?  Somewhere better?  Somewhere worse??

There's just a lot up in the air, but it's a natural part of the process.  One thing you can always count on in this business... it will always change on you, many times in ways out of your control.  No matter what, we have to keep up the good fight.  Keep pushing this train down the tracks.  There's only one way to go...


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Confession of Love

There's a funny thing about me.  Not  "ha ha" funny, but a "that's kinda weird, but you're totally in the right business" funny.  You see, I love the camera.  There's a certain... um, how do I describe it... chemical reaction that happens in my brain when a camera is pointed at me.  The sensation is even greater when I look right into the lens.  It doesn't matter what's happening; what lighting, gaffing, makup-ing madness is swirling around me.  When that camera is pointed at me, I feel a very deep internal sense of calm and groundedness.

I know.  That's ridiculous.  It's incredibly weird and funny. Trust me, I know.  Most people get nervous the second a camera is trained on them.  Most people feel intense pressure, freeze up, clam up.  I think most people are intimidated by the camera as if it were there to catch them making a mistake.  As if the camera were judging their every move.

Not me.  There is a wordless love between me and the camera.  I feel like it is the only one who is really listening to me, the only one who can't help but watch my every move.  I know that sounds narcissistic, but I don't mean it like that.  The only way I can describe it is... imagine someone you know very well.  Someone you admire, respect, perhaps even love.  Someone who knows you and loves you so much that they know the meaning behind the tiniest of micro-expressions on your face.  Someone who is so fascinated by every word you are about to say that they are unable to blink.  Someone who can know what you're thinking, even from across a crowded room.  Now imagine how much you dream to connect with that person.  How good it feels to communicate with them.  How relaxed it feels to look into their eyes and know you don't even have to try, they know exactly what's going on in your mind.  

That's me and a camera.  Never mind the blur of fifteen people circling around me, fussing with my makeup, spraying my hair just so, shouting from video village for more head room in my frame, getting the perfect lighting bounce from below.  It's just me and that camera (or three, as was the case yesterday), winking at each other from across the room.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Most days I feel like I lead a relatively normal life.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I do lead a pretty non-traditional life for a twenty-something working on her career.  No office job.  No mortgage.  No munchkins.  Pilots and features and auditions and scripts pretty much run my life. But outside the obvious, I do the same things every other warm-blooded human does day to day.  I pay taxes.  I do my laundry.  I gab with friends, gush over guys, daydream about traveling, read magazines.  I put my pants on one leg at a time.  I may be running lines and crying in front of strangers more often than normal people would think is possible, but I do my grocery shopping and netflix binging just like everyone else.

But there are some days I just feel sooooooooo..... Hollywood.  I was running low on headshots last week, ordered a new batch, and it was just a such a glorious day when I went to pick them up, I did a quick power loop through Runyon Canyon (The cliche of "sceney non-scene" hikes in LA).  It overlooks the Hollywood sign, everyone is in fancy expensive workout gear doing group yoga on the grass and celebrity sightings are commonplace.  I walked into the photo lab a little sweaty and pink from the SoCal sun, but still felt fancy because the entire staff of one of the biggest labs in town knows me by name.  

Two days later, I was in a studio getting a little wardrobed and beauty prepped for the upcoming commercial shoot.  I felt a little like an old pro, using the inevitable wait-time to do boring stuff like check emails and arrange appointments while the giddy girl next to me bubbled about how it was just so exciting to book her first commercial.

Another day, I was out for a drive (and another hike) in Malibu and stopped to grab an amazing superfood smoothie from Sunlife (the BEST place for yummy, good for you health concoctions).  Posted outside was this sign....
And today I am required to go get a manicure because my commercial shoot is tomorrow... expenses paid by the production company, of course. 

Yeah, I guess this life isn't really that normal after all.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

And When You Least Expect It

Well, pilot season is basically over and the slow down pretty much knocked me back into the couch and pinned me there for the past couple days. (Okay... more than a couple days.)  While I'm very proud of the last few months, I hit a bit of low motivation this last week.  It's pretty emotionally exhausting to work so hard, come so close over and over again, and turn up with nothing.  

It's exhausting.  It's infuriating.  It's confusing.  

In times like this, the biggest battle is to keep the doubt at bay.  But of course, this is exactly when it comes knocking at your door.  My default defense?  Check out, carb load and binge anything on Netflix.  While it is absolutely healthy to let go of the industry periodically just to reboot, there are better ways to do it than spend four days like a bump on a log.  But sometimes I'm totally guilty.  It takes me a few days, but eventually I pick myself back up and start at it again.  (Note to self: must get better at avoiding this.)

Ironically, while in the midst of my self-indulgent multi-day nap, not having submitted for a single breakdown in days... I received a phone call.  A producer who had cast me in a commercial six years ago called me and booked me for another one shooting next week.  It's not totally out of the blue; I noticed he was still actively producing a few months ago and reached out to stay in touch.  

But isn't that just the joke of this business??  There was one week this pilot season when I had seven auditions, more than 70 pages of script to prepare.  I was running all over town, sending post cards, doing workshops, networking events, the works... and no booking.  But the week I collapse on the couch and hide my face from the world, I book a nice little project that will more than cover next month's rent.  

Ain't that a kick in the head?  This business is anything but predictable.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Did I get anybody?  Even one?  I know.  You guys saw that coming a mile away, didn't you?  Well, it cracked me up to make my first attempt at Rick Rolling.  Please tell me I got at least one of you!!!  (Don't worry, I was just as confused the first time it happened to me.)

While I didn't actually reveal my identity, I do have a lot more stories to tell from this secret seat of mine.  Tune in for the next one soon...

(Always) Anony

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Real Anony

Four auditions in the next three days (welcome to feature season!!) and a new side job... so basically I'll see you when the dust settles.  Until then...  There are so many things I've wanted to tell you, but can't because it would reveal too much about my real identity.  But there's so much more to the story I want to tell!!! So I've decided to come clean.  To take off the mask and step out of the shadows.  So here I am.  

Drum roll please...... ddddddddd.......

May I present my demo reel for your viewing pleasure.

So good to finally meet you :)

(No Longer) Anony