Friday, August 19, 2016

Guys, It's Working...

A couple years ago, I decided to change my approach. I'm a little bit out of touch with what the newbs are doing these days, but when I started it was all about postcards and hitting the streets with a headshot in hand. Okay, I admit I was never one to do the whole physical drop off thing, it just seemed like wasted effort to me. But I did send headshots out with cover letters. In fact, one had a CD raving so much, he called in for a co-star on a major television show. When I didn't get that role, he called me in again for another. And another. Flash forward five years later... that CD has now graduated to one of the fanciest offices in the city is still calling me in for other shows. He's my favorite. Doesn't matter how big I get, I will take that man's phone call whenever he wants me to consider a project.

Then we all quickly transitioned into a workshop culture, and I did those too. I was even called in from them a number of times. But honestly, I didn't get called in enough to spend forty bucks a pop. So I stopped. (Well, more or less. I am flirting with the idea of taking a choice few here and there again though. Are people still doing it?)

All this was working-ish, but at a pace that just about drove me bonkers. So a couple years ago I decided to make a shift. I decided that I was going to devote most of my energy to going directly to the source, meeting talented filmmakers who were out there doing it on the independent scene. It's all who you know, right? Well I needed to "know" a hell of a lot more poeple than I did at that time.

I started going to festivals and getting involved in industry organizations. I started to write a feature so that I had something to contribute. I started spending a huge amount of time organizing coffee/drinks/hikes with contacts and attending events to get out and support their projects.

Has it worked? Well... I'm currently developing 3 short films and a feature with people I "know". Last week was the Sundance Next Fest in Los Angeles and sadly, I was out of town. Yet a programmer from a major film festival emailed me this week asking why I didn't attend.

"It was a blast, of course. But if it means anything, your absence did not go unnoticed."

Wow, blush! Though it's a bit silly because I consider this big shot to be a friend, it still made me feel like Molly Ringwald at the end of Sixteen Candles when Jake Ryan waves at her: Meeee??

Then this week I was scheduled to grab a coffee with a CD I met during an event for women in the industry. She read my screenplay is so supportive, she has agreed to jump on board pre-financing in order to help me attach a star and get the thing made. My phone chimed yesterday with a new audition notification; that casting director was bringing me in for a national commercial. I immediately confirmed and fired off an email.** 

"Was going to ask if we were still on for tomorrow, but I guess you're in a session! Should we reschedule to next week?"

Her response...
"I was just going to email you to tell you! Ha! I saw you were submitted so thought at least if I have to cancel on you I can bring you in."

Uhhh.... Abso-fucking-lutely. You can do that to me any time you want. 

I don't know guys... I think the new approach is working.

**Holy smokes! I'm in this crazy position where I can just, you know... casually email the CD after getting a big audition notice. What?!? Who am I right now?? What a different universe from 5 years ago.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

This Crazy Train Life

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had a certain picture in my head for what life would be like as an actor. I imagined that working the actor hustle would consist of printing fancy headshots, auditioning for all my favorite television shows, taking general meetings with studio casting departments and occasionally getting to work on a few projects that would play on every screen-- big or small-- across the country. An exciting life to be sure, but I never imagined how odd it really is.

The #actorslife hashtag can't even begin to capture the real grind of this job. I have filmed on locations that required a half mile hike in order to use the restroom. I have changed my clothes in my car around LA so many times I don't even care who sees a flash of my bra anymore. I have cut the extra inch and a half from my 8.5X11 resume to fit my 8X10 headshot so many times, I now believe it's actually a big psychological experiment designed to test an actor's sanity. I worked hard on screen only to become the victim of bad lighting, bad hair or bad makeup rendering footage totally unusable.

Sure, there are fancy trailers and celebrities and film festivals and people seeing me on TV. But mostly it's crying/screaming/stripping down to a bathing suit in front of strangers in random rooms all around Los Angeles. It's feeling the pang of shelling out $175 for one hour with an audition coach before you walk into one of those rooms... but then walk out without booking the job. It's long email strings with your reps about exactly how long you should keep your hair. It's last minute canceling on evening plans with friends because it's 6pm and the next day's audition requests are rolling in. It's my roommate laughing from the other side of the apartment because I'm endlessly muttering dialog to myself when I'm getting ready. This life, it's crazy.

But folks, ain't it grand??