Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bitter Bloggings From an Optimistic Actress: Instant Gratification

Let me preface this by saying, as I write this first paragraph, Sarah Jessica's voice is in my head.

In the past twenty-four hours, I have picked up five auditions.  Of those two auditions, I have taped two and I am editing sound for a small job I picked up recently.  One of those auditions was on my agent's website, and boy did I respond as fast as I could.  This morning, the same audition popped up in my boyfriend's mailbox.  I asked him when it came up and he said, hours ago.  I asked him if he applied and he told me he hadn't.  I asked him why and his response was as follows;

"If you don't respond within fifteen minutes they won't even consider submitting you."

While to the average American who has never dealt in the film/tv community this seems ludicrous, to many actors out there is this is very normal.

The faster the world moves the faster we have to move to keep up with the mania.  Now we are expected to have auditions in within hours of getting an audition notice, after twenty-four hours you have almost no chance at all.  We may have all of ten minutes to reply to a casting notice.  It is so fast paced it's almost impossible to keep up with.

We have social media, twitter, facebook, webpages, smart phones, and hundreds of other devices to keep us constantly connected.  So here is my question: How is this actually helping the world of acting?  The response: It's not.

On my last day off, I kept within arms reach of my cellphone.  Oh, I went out and about, but I still had to be attached to that stupid piece of machinery that helps me get jobs.  My job slot machine if you will.  Why did I do this?  For fear of not being near the internet and missing an opportunity for a job.  As a migraine hit my head from being on the internet too long I thought to myself, this is terrible. 

Now I know most of you will say, "No, this is fantastic!  More actors can audition more quickly for more parts widening our talent pool.  This also speeds up the produciton process and allows for the people who are most serious to be considered first."

Actually, this allows for a whole bunch of people with money and time on their hands to troll the pages all day and respond quickly to casting calls while those who are actually working can't get back to it for a few hours.  Think about it.  If you are working are you going to be sitting on your cellphone?  Are you going to sit separated from your group and only pay attention to your email?  Are you going to drop everything between takes and go straight to the net to see of the top three casting websites and your agent have posted anything new?  No. You are going to work.  If you spent all day looking for other projects instead of working on the project you were working on you'd never work again.

Having been on the casting end the first hour and a half of submissions may have the occasional professional, but for the most part, it's a bunch of people who troll the websites because they aren't working.

Very often, your agent can only submit ten people.  So if you are the doppelganger of Benedict Cumberbatch and they are looking for someone who could be his identical twin, and the submissions need to happen in the next forty-five minutes, if you are working you could be kinda out of luck.  That two hours of being on set just lost you a lot of money.  Your two hours of actual work just lost you a gig that could change your life.  Isn't that silly?  Being on set loses you work?  That makes no sense to me.

Remember when you had a week to prep for character and give it your all?  Now, you are rushing through fifteen auditions trying to change between characters and not get burnt out.  And if it's a two actor household, it's even more stressful.

Now, your boss thinks you may be seriously addicted to nicotine or some other drug because you sneak outside for a "break" every fifteen minutes to try and apply for the auditions that have come to you.

Now, you can't even enjoy a vacation because you don't get to find a time when no auditions are coming in.  Auditions are always coming in and they always seem to be looking for just your type.

Now, the actor pool is so filled with every tom dick and harry who thinks they can act.

I get that now I can audition from anywhere,  But most casting directors still require me to be available for a callback.  And guess what, they don't give you a week.  You will be lucky if they give you a day.  The rush can kill you these days.

It's just another thing to deal with in an already busy life.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thoughts on Love at 1am

When I was younger, I watched Family Matters.  Funny enough, had a crush on Jaleel White.  Not so much the guy underneath the glasses, braces, and highwaters, but on Steve Urkel.  Glasses, brains and all.

Yes, I am weird.  To add to the long list of guys I crushed on as a child,  there was Tom Hulce, Raoul JuliaJeremy Brett, and, in my later years, Martin Csokas.  While I enjoy this little trip down memory lane, the purpose of this is not to talk about boys, but about love.

When I was in middle and early high school I didn't date.  Partially because I was too young, and partially because I had bad timing.  I often times found myself interested in people who didn't like me, or did like me but had girlfriends they literally dated until the last day of high school.

Much like Steve I was desperatly infatuated with people who had absolutly no interest in me.  And then boobs happened, but that, once again is not the topic.  I watched Steve for a long time and absolutely loved how he saw things.  No matter how often Laura rejected him, it never got him down.  He was always desperately in love with her.  He gave her a ring at a very young age and said,"no strings attached, just the ones to my heart."  So sweet.

Yes, most people saw him as obsessive and creepy and nerdy; someone who needed to give up.  I saw him as someone desperately in love.  To me, it was the episode he let her go on the dates and held her when things didn't work out that were the most beautiful.

Over my life, I have loved many people.  Some more desperately than other, but I always loved.  And, what confused a lot of people about me, is when I was most in love with someone and they didn't want me back,  I didn't call them a jerk and leave.  I didn't blame them.   I became their friends.  And you know what?  That was good enough.  I wanted to be able to be around them, not to wait until they loved me back and wanted me desperately, but just to be there.  No strings attached.  I didn't need to kiss them, or hold them.  Them being there was enough.  I was simple that way.  If I was in like with a friend and he had a girlfriend, I never came on to him, or told him I liked him.  I just hung around.

Unlike Steve, I wasn't waiting for the moment when they would leave their significant others to be with me.  I never expected it to happen, and it never did.  I simply found my happiness for them and with them.  It became more important that I was able to be around them.  So when I got older and people didn't want to see you ever after a breakup I became confused.  You mean when you break up with me you don't want to see me?  Why, we had fun together.  The only thing you seem to have a problem with is us dating, we can still hang out right?

There really are only a handful of people I care about to the point I can never see them again at all.  Takes alot for me.

My biggest thing is, I have been told, by more than one person recently, that I have never been in love with someone who didn't have the same feelings back.  That's incorrect.  I have.  Far too often.  And yeah, it kinda sucks to like someone who is taken.  But you are never alone in feeling that way.  Everyone has felt it.  It's how you deal with it that tells people who you are.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

California Dreaming

So, as a big fan of dreams, and, a very heavy dreamer, I do try to occasionally write them down.  I know some people say that we dream in black and white but I tend to dream in full HD color.  So I am trying to find pictures that are as vivid as the dreams I have.  I think the nightly watchings of myself and the Milis have caused a little of this.

Dream 1:
I am back in college for acting.  I think I am taking a masters, has to be since everyone is older.  My friend Steven is there.  Odd, since he was a history guy.  I am in my english class and it's over very quickly.  I notice my favorite hollywood/bbc crush is in the room (Mr Cumberbatch).  I think it's odd he is there and there are massive whspers as to why someone who really can't fail at acting would come back to school.  There is a very strange negativity to the whole conversation.  A big, "how dare he come to our school.  Doesn't he have a movie set to be on?"  In my dream I think his acting career has cooled WAY down and he is just trying to better himself at his craft.

Under a blush I go to my next class, talking to Steven the whole way.  We are kinda giddy this guy is here.  What's everyone else's problem right?  I get my days switched up and walk in on a science class.  Not recognizing anyone I see my mistake and run at a break neck pace to my next class, which is some sort of acting class where my old professor, DOC, is teaching.

The class is in this massive amphitheater made of stone.  Everything is sold white, almost blindingly so.  Mister Cumberbatch is in the middle of a monologue and for some reason everyone is just not having it.  They are coughing, snoring, rolling their eyes and, basically, being children while he performs this amazing monologue.  It's from some piece written for him for some movie he is going to be shooting soon and Steven and I sit next to one another to watch.  There is a girl holding his stuff.
When it's finished everyone has these outlandish criticisms that make no sense to me, or Steven.  Doc is trying to tell everyone how important constructive criticism is but that "just because you don't like someone personally you don't need to take your lack of talent out on them." Class ends really soon, yes I was that late.  I walk up to Benedict as he is walking away and tell him what a big fan I am and tell him I think he was brilliant and will always be brilliant and I really look forward to classes with him.  He smiles and walks out of class with the girl he came in with.

Steven tells me, "You know he's taken."  I smile and tell him, "I know.  But I can tell him how amazing he is because he needs it.  And I don't have to sleep with someone to admire and love them with all my heart."


Dream 2:
I am at a wedding.  It's someone I don't know in real life but apparently in the dream I know all too well.  I am there with my date.  He's some short hot asian guy.  I give him a gift as some sort of inside joke.  He doesn't understand.  Infact it was this guy.  Some folks know him online and I have never seen him before this morning.  He's famous, may have been on tv.  But I don't watch 2 broke girls or read angry asian man.  So I give him some gift and he kisses me and tells me he loves me.  I have now decided once this wedding thing is over I am leaving him since we obviously have no connection to one another what-so-ever.  I tell no one.  As I am walking to the location.
The location is georgeous.  Today it's cloudy and overcast.  There are white chairs everywhere.  The place looks like it was in Maui.  Palm trees and green grass.  
There is a giant marble slab with columns stretching up, had to be, 50 feet.  White fabric is draped everywhere and there are georgeous red roses all over.  Everyone is beginning to sit and suddenly my mother walks up and tells me, hey, now is when you should get married to *insert name here*.  I honestly can't remember.  I tell her no and then suddenly the entire crowd, as the wedding is beginning, gets up and tells me no the preacher will totally marry you right now.  I tell them no, this isn't how I want to do it.  Suddenly, I find myself standing at the alter next to my friend who is getting married, stareing at the hot Asian guy shaking thinking I can't do this.  My mom tells me it's nerves and I say, no I really don't want to do this.  This isn't what I want.  I want to go find a preacher in the middle of the night and get married.  I want to go to the Justice of the Peace and get a license, I really do not want this big white wedding.  I am crying and upset and suddenly Hot Asian Guy, in his tux, looks at me and says, you know why I love you?  Because you gave me that sweet gift I didn't understand and I still want to be with you.  

Suddenly, in a weird out of body dream moment.  I see myself run to a very nice classic car.  Like the picture but blue with tinted windows.
And apparently I keep screaming no I don't want to get married now to him.  I hear myself and think, wow, stop forcing that poor girl to marry him.  She doesn't want to.

The dream suddenly jumps to much later.  Everyone has gone to the after party and I am alone with the rejects in my t-shirt and shorts walking around and I see the other folks who weren't invited to the party hanging around playing with dolphins.  I walk over to the white sand and step into the blue water and a baby dolphin starts playing with my leg.  I pet him and we begin to just play.  I feel free and everyone says they are going to go sailing.  I see this massive schooner sailing off with a giant burlap flag flying.  They are trying to wave me on and I don't think I can make it.  I smile and with a run and a superhuman leap I manage to granb the burlap flag and get dragged along the back of the boat until  can pull myself on.  Then...

My brain goes fuzzy and  don't remember the rest of the dream but it's there.  It's weird.  HAHA!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Apocalypse Live! You Can't Stop the Children of the Revolution

Brooks dove headfirst into the snow.  His body began to melt into the glorious comfort of the cold.  Sweet cold.  Wonderful cold.  He couldn't resist.

A quick yank sent his shirt over his head.  Another, his pants.  And he lay comfortably on his back in the luxurious cold.  His breath froze in the air above him and turned to ice.  How was he so hot?

He looked into the hazy sky and saw the sun.  The blinding orb shielded itself behind the thin clouds.  Brooks squinted anyway.

It traced a lazy path along the sky with such ease.  He relaxed and allowed himself to close his eyes in a luxurious, elongated blink.

It must have been the fever or the heat that caused his hallucination.  He could have sworn as he opened his eyes the sun jumped through the sky at break neck speed to rest a full hour later in the murky brown atmosphere.

"Brooks baby?!"  It was Alex, risen from her blast furnace and worried.

___________________

Judy took a gloved hand and threaded the needle a little too slowly for Evan to ignore.  She bit her lower lip as the thread passed through the eye.  It was almost seductive.  Was she flirting with him?

The blush was there and passed up from his toes to the top of his head.  It wasn't helpful when she offered her gloved hand to him and he placed his hand in hers.  She was so gentle.  He could almost feel her skin through the glove.  It was intoxicating.

"This might hurt a little."  She winked at him, "But your a big strong man, you can handle me."  Her voice had a faint hint of static.

Evan closed his eyes as sweat pooled behind his knees, "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"This might sting a little, but we've given you some medication to help with the pain."  Judy's voice was clear as a bell.

Evan opened his eyes to look at her, "Thank you."

Judy looked up at him, a perverse grin spreading across her once sweet face, "No problem at all baby.  We're going to fix your hand and maybe I can give you a hand later..."  The static returned.  Evan's pulse jumped and his palms started sweating.  He felt his body seize up and his toes started to go numb.

"Ha...ha...this isn't happening,"  He looked away from Judy and began laughing.  Her hand massaged his hand.  He felt her other hand find his knee, or was that his inner thigh.

"Are you alright?"  Her voice rang clear again.  "It probably is better if you don't look.  We can get you a bucket to throw up in if you want."

"No, I just...long day...something is really wrong with me...I have been having some hallucinations from blood loss I think...I...uh"

Rayne's voice popped into his head, "They're going to take you away haha!  HOHO!"

Evan looked at Judy.  The angle she sat staring at him left a clear view to look down her shirt.

"Pervert," mumbled the voice in his head.

The floodgates opened and complication washed in an embarrassing flush of hormone, lust and panic.  This was not going to end well.

_________________

Frederick found the way.  His imp strength, which is more than most give imps credit for, was enough that he could shove his razor sharp claws into the cliff face.  This gave him the leverage he needed to lift his feather light body against the wall.  He would then pull hard, tearing his claws from their beds and wait for them to regrow.

Regrowth was speedy for the viewer, but slow torture for the host of the regrowth.  Blood gushed like fetid sludge down the side of the cliff face.  Fred felt his nerves breath in the putrid air as the cells creating his new nails multiplied, fighting for their identity in his body.  They died and hardened like stones on his fingers.  With unknown strength he slammed his sharpened nails into the cliff face, ripping the lower limb free causing a new wave of nauseating agony to wash over him.

The glint of non-darkness told him the suffering was worth it.  The pain would be worth the glorious shining thing awaiting him as he scaled the endless chasm.  He hoped.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bitter Bloggings from and Optimistic Actress: You're gonna be a STAR!

I have decided to try and blog more.  So for the next month I am going to try to blog at least once a day, even if it's a short blurb.  Like today.

I like the character roles. Somewhere back there I really came to the conclusion in my mind that the difference between acting and stardom was major. And that if you become a star, people are going to go to see you. If you remain an actor, they're going to go and see the story you're in.

As I show people clips of the work I have done over the past few years I am amazed at how many people immediately respond, "WOW, you're going to be famous one day."  It's, very often, the only compliment people know how to give to any actor.  They are amazed at how we "get up in front of people."  Astonished we can remember lines.  Amazed at how "real" we are.  Our worst performance can be received as a golden ticket to fame.

While I know this is meant as a compliment on the job I am doing, there is a very large part of me that dies a little inside.  At times, I honestly want to punch a wall at this statement.  But I don't.  I smile and take the compliment. It's all they know to say.   Can you really fault someone for not knowing?

Why does this seemingly innocuous statement throw me into fits of rage?  Well for one thing it puts a value on my craft.  It says that good acting equals stardom therefore bad acting equals hobby or no stage time.  While I wish acting was a business where the folks who could act were promoted and those who couldn't were weeded out, sorry, it's not how it works.  See all the terrible actors out there who are still working.  There are terrible actors out there who are stars.  Why?  Because of this statement.  

Stars are their own entity really.  Look at ENTOURAGE.  Vinnie Chase is a prime example of a star.  He's attractive and popular and was given the great opportunity to act in amazing films.   

I have never heard more true words on art than those spouted from the mouth of J.K. Simmons in the trailer for Whiplash.

There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'Good job.'  "You're gonna make it."  "You should be famous."  "I can't wait to see you're name in lights." All these statements equal one phrase.  "Good job."  Good job is mediocre.  It's okay.  It's, hey I don't know enough about you or acting to make an accurate assessment of your abilities.

What do I want to hear?  You made me feel something.  You made me think.  This is what I want.  You should be famous doesn't do me any good. 

But then again, that's just me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bitter Bloggings From and Optimistic Actress: That is why you fail.


"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

"Try Something Else." -Said to Lucille Ball when she wanted to be an actress...

So much of the art of acting is auditioning.  And so much of auditioning is failing to get a part.  Some say if you get one in every fifty parts you audition for, you are doing a great job.  That seems like an alarming statistic, but it really is very accurate.  We don't get every part we audition for and often times it is painful.

Consider Lucille Ball.  Her drama professors told her to try another profession due to her failed b-list actor status.  Elvis Presley was told by record executives to try his old profession.  All these amazing talents were told over and over again they were, in fact, not good enough.  
While this brings up both feelings of inspiration and depression, this is not my rant of today.  My rant for today deals with the number one reason that you probably didn't get the role, or at least the reason I hear most often from casting directors:
"You weren't the right right for the part", or "Someone else fit the part better."  
I find this answer funny for several reasons.  Mainly, this comment says nothing about your acting abilities.  Consider your mind blown.


But, obviously if I got the part my acting was the best.  Not necessarily.  I had a contract for an indie film and lost the part because they had asked a more famous actress to do the part before they had auditions.  She took a long time getting back to them.  She called back just after they typed up my contract.  I had contract in hand and signed getting ready to fax it back when they called me and took the part away.  What reason did they give me for this?  She was a better fit.  I was upset because I knew she hadn't auditioned.  They just gave her the part.  To add insult to injury they offered me an extra role, which I politely declined.

So today, lets talk about what it means to be right for the part.

When a film is being cast, they are given a breakdown and description of the characters.  Some of these breakdowns are specific, some are very vague.  Discussions are had with the director and, in many cases, a basic outline of the character is given.  No matter what, there is an image burned into the brain of the casting director, or in the case of smaller productions, the director.  They know what they are looking for, sometimes down to the vocal inflection.  If that casting director doesn't know someone who looks the part they have an imagined idea.

Now, in this case, we will assume you are not a six foot tall female auditioning to be Othello in Ben Affleck's newest adaptation of the Shakespearean Classic, Bad Nurfherder in Space.  We will assume in all these instance that they are keeping it general but looking for a type like yours.  Female 25-35.  Male 24-30.  Whatever that type may be, you have been asked to tape and/or have been given a callback.

It's All in the Slate
I know people who fit the physical look of a character so well they have gotten the part off nothing more than smiling into a camera and saying their name.  How do I know this?  On several occasions I have taped for friends of mine and put it on my YouTube account.  When it says it has been watched 13 times for a total of 1.5 minutes, you can bet their performance was not what got them the part.  That is exactly what the director was looking for physically to the nines and that was all that mattered.  Maybe the director thinks they are cute.  Honestly, yes, people are cast from their slate.  It happens.
I walked into an audition and never said a line and got a lead part in a show because I looked just like they wanted that person to look.  Best idea in casting?  Of course not.  But sometimes they get really lucky.
Now, the big thing is finding out how the casting directors see these people in the first place with no clues.  I look to see if they seem to be calling back certain people.  The acting community is small enough if someone gets a callback they will leave messages or clues on their Facebook.  Half the time I know when someone is getting a part before they do.
Here's a hint for anyone, if the CD or director contacts you directly, odds are, you have the part before you open your mouth.  Yes, if they like your look, some CD's will offer you a part weather or not you can act.  Once again, I reiterate, your ability to act has little to do with being cast in films.

That Word...I Don't Think it Means What You Think it Means...
To continue on this vein, sometimes they can't find someone who fits the bill to a tee, but they found someone who is giving the exact vocal inflection they wanted.  When they think the character should go up, this actor goes up.  Sometimes, and I know you will think I am crazy, a person's performance, simple or mundane as it may be, is exactly what this casting director is looking for.
But you just spent four days perfecting your character.  Your audition has much more depth and personality and you really know this person.  In an audition room, guess who knows the character better?  The casting director.
I have seen brilliant auditions from amazing actors go entirely unheeded, because the director had a certain vocal demeanor or character choice in mind.  It says the character is flat and cynical, well, guess what?  The director has a totally different idea of what cynical means.  "Wait, this director wanted fatherly.  That guy sounded like kid."  Well guess what, if that casting director thinks that was fatherly, then that is fatherly.  Who cares if it came off as a pedophilic or creepy?  If the CD saw fatherly, then that is fatherly.

What's in a Name?
Everything.  I have lost parts to more well known actors.  In the end, a professional movie is not going to be treated as a work of art.  It's a business.  If they can get Jared Leto, they will do it.  If they can get a guy who has had a supporting on major network television, they will.  If your buddy who can't act a lick managed to have five lines in a major film, they are more likely to cast him.  So you weren't right for the part in this case literally means, you guess it, you weren't famous enough.

If the Shoe Fits
Just a fun FYI.  If you are female and have ever dreamed of being a Disney Princess.  So you get an audition!  YAY.  You can sing just like Belle.  You look just like Ariel.  You can fit into the glass slipper your friends got you for your 16th birthday.  You are Disney incarnate.  You get to the door enter in and see the mess.  Want to know the first thing you will do at your audition?    Be measured.  No literally.  Someone will take your headshot and resume and take every measurement.  Why?  They want to know what costume you will fit.  A friend of mine got to the audition and was sent home because his headshot said 5'8" and he was really 5'11".  I, as a 6' tall female am too tall to play their tallest female face character.  You think I kid?  If you are female, over 5'7" and wear greater than a 4, you will never get to play a Disney Princess.  Why?  The world renowned theme park is not going to alter their expensive costume for you when they can hire someone to fit the costume who may not be as good, but will fit the bill well enough.
Often times this happens for modeling gigs, but occasionally I have lost a lead part because the person is supposed to wear an expensive costume and some part of my body did not fill it properly.  Talking about literally not being a good fit.

Welcome to the world of acting, where art and ability is secondary to you "fitting the part."  Yes, it is horrible, but very true about this world we love to hate so much.  The business I mean...the acting is a perfect fit for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bitter Bloggings from an Optimistic Actress: Coping

"You're not a nice person, I hate nice people.  You're a real person, and that's a different world.  Real people are legitimately kind, as opposed to being kind because people tell them they should."
-Adam York

I wrote a screenplay a few years ago.  A script for a TV series, and I had no idea it would actually happen to me so soon.  In it, an older woman does an aggressive audition for a part.  The audience sees her superior audition, and then they see who got the part.  It's never mentioned why the other girl is cast.  There is speculation.  In the end, the performance would have been better had they cast the older woman, however she is not cast.  In fact the entire series is a satire on how casting directors and other directors lack enough vision to hire the correct people and are destroying the fine art of film-making as a result.

Let's be clear, as I always am.  Just because you were the best audition does not mean you will get the part.  I repeat.  THE BEST AUDITION DOES NOT NET YOU THE PART.  You may take your audition another way, if the casting director doesn't like the way you take it, you've lost the part.  You may speak it exactly like the director hears it in their head, if you don't "look like the character" you are out of luck.

Is it fair?  No.  Is it right?  No.  It's the worst possible thing that can happen to the film world.  Bad casting.  My boyfriend and I have long discussions about how casting directors lack vision and can only see as far as this image in their heads.  This is what this person is supposed to look like, so this person will be cast over someone who may have given a better audition.  It's life.  I hate it.

Twice a year I cry for the parts I have lost.  It's my time to mourn.  Yes, I am selfish.  I think other people think occasionally like I do.  You get so connected to a character that those few minutes are not enough.  You have this life inside of you for this particular role.  You know no one will ever do it like you will, and later on you are convinced, due to the fact that you somehow see the film, that you would have done better.  But there is nothing you can do.  The director made their choice and they may or may not be happy with it.  But yeah, you would have been better.

A part of you dies when you lose a part.  It shrivels painfully inside you, and, depending on how much you wanted it, it will hurt more or less.  But it's never painless.  Sometimes it's a simple, oh well, I spent my time auditioning for a part I didn't want anyways, so no big.  It's simply the loss of the time.

But sometimes you connect to part so deeply simply by the words you can't let it go.  You know this person better than anyone.  And when you don't get it....

It hurts.  It's like drowning.  Seriously, someone just ripped your intestines out through your throat.

It's not every part but just those certain parts that you want so badly you would cut yourself off at the knee and dye your hair purple for.  I have lost several auditions for those types of parts this year and a few weeks ago, in my boyfriends living room, I broke down and cried for one of those parts.  Cried for hours.  And I don't just cry for any part.

Yeah, my boyfriend tried to console me.  But really this is one of those parts I will never get over I don't think.  There is really only one other part I will never get over.

Did it do any good to cry?  Yes.  No.  Maybe.  My only hope is the other actress they do hire is enough of a pain they will say, wow we should have hired this other person.  Will that happen?  Probably not.  But a girl can dream.  Even if the other actress is a pain directors and casting directors don't deal in regret.  We are left to do that.

What if I had done it differently.  What if I had completely altered myself for it?  Would it have done anything?  Probably not.  But don't think for a second I don't wonder, what if?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Late Night Poetry.

There it was again the itch
Scratched til it tore me open
Just a little peek inside
And I am coping

Still just coping
One more time
Gonna fight it
One more time
Bury it deeper

Push and struggle for the end
Swallow til you can't feel it anymore

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

So...yeah this Happened...

Check out the full article here.


What are you working on now?  

Lilly  Wow!  A lot.  Scienstars in Salisbury.  Deadroom.  Closer at Burning Coal in Raleigh.  12 Dog Days of Christmas.


Fix it in Post sounds interesting.  What can you tell me about it?

Lilly  It's a feature about a rag-tag group of filmmakers trying to survive after an electromagnetic pulse knocks out power worldwide. Hilarity ensues


How long have you been filming.

Lilly  Almost a year.


You have a lead role in that, right?

Lilly  Yes, I'm Betty, the angry slate chick who is secretly in love with the director.


Lilly Nelson - Bill Mulligan - Fix It In Post by Alan Watkins
Lillly Nelson with Bill Mulligan  Photo credit: Alan Watkins/Adrenalin Productions
You have a very active theater background.  When did that start?

Lilly  When I was 5.  Likely before but my first real show was in kindergarten.  I was a sugarplum fairy in the Nutcracker.  And likely the most serious about being that fairy.  I asked my teacher what my motivation was.


When did film enter fthe picture?

Lilly  I grew up loving acting, in every medium.  It was always there.  It never really "entered the picture."  I shot films when I was a kid.  My friends and I would put on plays in my basement and one day we just started filming them on a borrowed camera.  

I just wanted to act.  It never really mattered where it came from or whether it was on screen or in a theater.  I went from filming things for my friends school projects to films at the school of the arts in Winston-Salem.  

I got a speaking part on a TV show for the Outdoor Life Network in Canada.  They were shooting a TV show about an hour away and a big group of us emailed them and said can you use me.  They were like, yeah!

I also modeled as a child so my dad was always using myself and my sister to promote ideas, since he's an art-director.


So you love all aspects of acting and storytelling.  You are producing a film as well I see.  Tell me about that.

Lilly hich one?


Lilly  That was finished a few years ago.  A good friend of mine needed someone to help out with a film he wanted to put me in, but I was too far away.  So he made me a producer and I sent letters to the cast and notes on acting, etc... from where I was.  I helped from afar and he gave me a producer credit.

I technically have several producer credits, I just don't put them on IMDb or have deleted them.  Getting a producer credit can be fairly easy.  You help out with a day of shooting, you get an assistant producer credit.  You connect a director of photography with a producer, you get a producer credit.

Really I get producer credits simply by connecting people with the right people...which is a big part of being a producer, knowing the right people


I sense that you are doing a lot more than is listed online.

Lilly  I am.  A wise man once told me, if you  have time to talk about every project you are doing online, then you aren't busy enough.


Good advice.

Lilly  I am currently producing and starring in a play called Closer (as in stand a little closer) and it's great.  We don't officially start to rehearse until the 14th but we have already done some read throughs and worked on accents and dialects and just played with the show a little bit.


What do you think about the southeast?  Do you think there is enough opportunity for you here?

Lilly  The southeast is home, but I don't just deal with the southeast. I audition for projects everywhere!


So you continue to live here because you like it but you're available for wherever you need to be.

Lilly  Exactly... I am a strong proponent for having a lot of friends with available couches.  I am waiting for the greenlight on a web show up north in Massachusetts.  I apply for everything and see what sticks.


It sound like you just like to be working.

Lilly  I like to be acting and it takes work to do that.  When I'm not acting I am teaching acting and dialects.  I don't like to sit still.  I am currently pitching my own film and TV show ideas.  I sent out 4 tape auditions this morning.


Is it the artist in you, that compells you to work?  What drives you?

Lilly  Insanity.  Copious amounts of insanity.  I love to create.  If I have nothing else to do I knit and paint, play guitar and sing.  I was born a creative person who just wants to create.  The actor in me wants nothing more than to allow these characters, brief though it may be, a moment of life.


Yes, that's the artist. What role does money and fame have in this?

Lilly  Honestly, if I could survive on the cosmos I would.  Unfortunately the needs for food and shelter get in the way of my "arting".  I don't need fame.    I Only need money for the basics.  Not that I don't get the occasional request for a signed headshot or an autograph. I love when people watch but I am just as happy acting for one person as one million.


What kind of roles do you like best?

Lilly  Villains.  Totally love the villains. If a normal person would be terrified to play it, that's what I want to do. 

I remember watching my first collaboration with Ken Cohen, My Face, at a film festival in Charleston and the woman behind me called me a bitch. I just smiled because I made her feel something so strong she said it out loud. I like playing people you love to hate.


On being a villiam?  Does that give you more room to stretch, is more exciting, what?

Lilly  I like finding the logic behind the villain.  Every one of them has a reason for being that way and I love to tap into it.   You are working to get people on your side.  You want people to agree with you.  It's not about being bad or evil, it's about finding why they are that way and tapping into it.  I like complexities in my characters and villains tend to be more complex characters.



Lilly Nelson - Fix It In Post by Alan Watkins













Lillly Nelson  Photo credit: Alan Watkins/Adrenalin Productions


In Kami you play a troubled and flawed character.  What spoke to you about that role?

Lilly  The loss.  We've all dealt with loss and I felt the need to explore loss.
I like tackling things like loss and fear and anything where I have to expose myself completely.  I like the opportunity to tear myself open a little.

He [the director William K. Gerard] sent out a massive call online and when he sent them [the potential actresses] the script, he lost a lot of interest because the woman is supposed to be this hot chick mourning the loss of her lover, while making love to an attractive man.

It's a woman who has lost someone and it has hit her so deeply that she doesn't care anymore.


How tight was the script.  Were you able to improvise and during filming.  What was the give and take between you and the director?

Lilly  The script had only one bit of dialogue.  In fact the dialogue on the porch where we were smoking was made up on the fly entirely.  Really it came to me with almost no actual dialogue.

We shot it in less than 2 days, I got there at 11:30 pm on Saturday and left at 11:30 pm on Sunday.  And so for the most part it was one or two takes on everything.

When I am crying in the car wash they pretty much said, just cry and I cried for about five minutes straight.


How do you cry on cue?

Lilly  I don't believe in crying on cue.  You either cry or you don't.  To get to the point where you can cry, you just have to actually sympathize with the character.  For Kami I had this person so deeply ingrained in myself, so whenever I looked at the car it just happened.  With Partners as Katie I was so genuinely upset with the fact he would lie to me I was destroyed.


What was it like working with Darren Conrad on Partners?

Lilly  I only worked with Darren for a day.  Always enjoy working with people who are passionate and want to make their own work.  I do like being able to say I slapped a state trooper.

Darren worked really hard on this and it was great to work with someone so passionate about his project. He was really awesome about making sure I was comfortable and he even picked me up and drove me to the location himself and it's great when someone emails me and says, hey I wrote this part for you. Love when that happens.


Liquid Lungs.  You worked both sides of the camera on that.  What did you like about that film?

Lilly  I love working on Ken Cohen films.  He loves to write such unique stories.  I love every minute I am on set.  Ken has a very calm and relaxed presence while his director of photography, Danny [David Damen], is just so stoked and amazed [by what the actors deliver] and proud of everything, but he's also so meticulous.


As an actor I presume you read lots of scripts.  Do you develop a sense of whether a project is worth your while by the script or by something else?

Lilly  It all varies.  Sometimes you get really attached right away to a character and think, this is the role I was meant to play.  Other times you get a script with dialogue that is kinda dry, but you go and watch the other films done with the writer's material or things written by that director and think to yourself, wow that's amazing!  Sometimes they sell you on the concept.  Half the time anymore I get a friend who calls me up and says, I have a part for you.  Be ready for it this day and time.

Sometimes you get really attached to a character in a script and end up playing another. To me every script is worth a read and a good story is always worth your time.


You're wrapping up Fix It In Post where you play a movie set slate girl.  How do you describe that production and what's it like working with Christine Parker?

Lilly  It's a fun set to be on.  I get to hang out with friends and even when things are rough we get to relax and make a movie.  It's not as rushed as some sets and you really get to take your time.  She's really open to new ideas. Which can be good and bad with me because I did a lot of stunt work when I was younger so I can ask some odd things.

I left a bruise on one of the other actors one day throwing a slate at them during a take.  I wanted to tackle someone and not only were the people keeping me off the other person [getting] bruised, but I was as well from straining against 2 people


Ouch!  

Lilly  I have been shot, stabbed, and damaged parts of my body I will never be able to use the same way again for this art.  I actually pulled a muscle in my tongue during Kami while heaving into the toilet.

I have a scar on my leg from a cut, that set up an infection on my right knee.  Both my knees have gone out.  I was shot in the leg.  I have actually been stabbed multiple times. During a stunt my partner put me in a position where I either had to break my neck or pull my arm out of joint.  The arm got the brunt of it.


Any words of wisdom for those just starting into the business?

Lilly Run!  Save yourself!  It's too late for me!

Laugh!

Lilly  In all seriousness about the advice.  My best advice: If you can do anything else in the world and be happy, do that instead and do community theater on the side.  Do extra and background work on the weekends if you're jonesing but if you want fame, fortune and stability, this job isn't for you.   

That sounds like good honest advice.
- See more at: http://www.gigspotting.net/lilly-nelson.html#sthash.HyrCoEgD.dpuf

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Confessions of a G-List Actress:Heart Breaks and Heart Attacks

I wrote this two weeks ago...but didn't finish...figured now would be a good time.

That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as 'The Artist's Reward.-Ernest Hemingway















The shades of an artist's depression are much deeper and cross a greater tonal value than the average bear's.-Cyd Madsen


Going through a bit of depression these days.  I blame the 9-5.  Before the panic ensues; no one is abusing me, I am not going to off myself, and I don't want to go on meds for it.  The last thing I need in life is to lose my intimate connection with my emotions. 

It's just a part of an artist I have become accustomed to.  Every once in a while, especially when I am overwhelmed or feel as though I am going to have to choose between a survival and acting (*hint:The acting always wins*) I just feel trapped.  

I feel as though I shouldn't be here.  I should be acting year round and not have to scrape and struggle and fight.  I should have a nice home to come to with a neighbor who takes care of my animals when I need to go away.  I should be more stable than I am right now.

I know for me, the biggest problem is the stress of having to afford life.  If I could just go to auditions, no matter where they are, I would be in much better shape.  If gasoline and healthcare and life in general weren't so expensive.  Seriously.  In the current market it costs the average person 1600 a month to live where I do.  I make less than that a month.


You want to know what the stress does to me?  I feel it, in my chest.  It's like heart attack.  My chest tightens up and I feel like someone is stabbing me in the heart.  This only happens when I'm not acting and haven't in more than a month.  *And when I say acting I mean actual acting.  Ask the older actors.  Have fun with auditions but they are like the super ultra diet lite of acting.  There is so much stress to be liked sometimes you can't act.*  I can feel when it's about to happen.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the pain coming.

I can feel it starting just talking about it.  It starts as a pin prick in the middle of my chest.  Then it spreads and soon it's like someone has drilled a two inch hole in my chest and they are pinching my heart.  If I don't take a deep breath in it hurts for longer so I force myself to take a few calming breaths.  The first breath is quick so I am able to get the air in.  Excruciating.  If that one didn't take it away, I have to take another.  A few weeks ago I actually had to breath into this for over an hour to get rid of the pain.

As a note, it is really hard to breath into the pain.  It will hurt for longer but it won't hurt as badly if I breath shallow.  Have been to a doctor for it.  No holes in my heart or hear murmurs.  It's just the stress of being miserable without the acting.

I have always been that way though.  I have a very physical reaction to everything.  On the one end I can be extremely insanely happy.  On the other end, I can be so miserable I will vomit or not eat for a month.  When I get upset, it effects me physically.  I become physically sick.

All part of being an artist.  I hate to compare myself to anyone great for fear of actually being pretentious, but sometimes I imagine Van Gogh had the same problem.  He was brilliant.  All he wanted was to create.  The need to create was so bad he thought life wasn't worth living.  No that he didn't get to create, but like the actor in constant audition, he never got to showcase his talent.  His brother Theo understood this I think.  He knew how strong the need was.

In some of us that desire is so strong that when we are not in the act of creating art we feel lost and adrift.  It's why I knit and sew and crochet and art with everything that I can find.  Otherwise I go crazy.  My brain is always going.  I am always thinking and feeling everything.

We get addicted to the melancholy.  I know for a fact my best acting is done in the middle of depression.  Things are easier to tap into.  You fight harder to smile and make everything seem okay when it's not really.  My friends who know me the best will say, "You need acting."  Yeah, I think I might.  It's my moment to create and show and be and live for even a few moments.  I need that.

A friend of mine and I were talking about acting and I mentioned something my mother often tells me in the dry times.  "Maybe, when we get to heaven, you can act to your hearts content."  I smile at this and always think, No.  There will be no actors in heaven.  Not saying that all actors are hell bound.  I just think that, like doctors, there won't be a need.

I think there will be art and music and even work.  Acting was our first history lesson.  We remembered stories passed down around a camp fire.  A reminder of where we came from and where we were going.  Acting teaches lessons about human behavior and, in a way, for the audience, is healing.  Doctors are healers and, in a place with no death or sickness, I think there will be rest.  I think there will finally be rest.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Strange Dreams

Last night I dreamt I woke up on a crashed airplane in the middle of the ocean.  The water was so clear blue, and around me people had pulled themselves onto life rafts that had opened up.  I climed into one and started floating quickly away from the wreckage, people trying to climb into my boat and my trying to tell everyone we should stay together and not drift far apart to increase the likelyhood of us being found.
As I drifted we saw an island in the distance.  Well, I say in the distance, but it wasn't far, and we were swept onto this island that seemed to actually be below sea level.  A huge wave would pick you up and throw you onto the shore of this Island.  And I really had no desire to be there for long.
It looked like a deserted resort Island.  There was a hotel with a huge kitchen and food of all kinds.  There were homes and houses for people to live in and while people washed up on shore we found a strange fence surrounding the place to protect it.  It was like an electric fence with six individual electric wires running along it, all with a different type of writing attached to it in weird languages.  We never quite figured out how it worked since there was no generator and the whole place, except for this fence surrounding the Island, had power.
And there was a creepy little Chinese girl who, for some reason, I didn't trust, who was trying to look around on the Island and knew how to turn certain things on and whenever she got something working I would try to throw her into the ocean like she was a demon. I think she was and I was the only one who could see it or something.
And people started to become comfortable on this Island and while I kept trying to figure things out, how we got there and all, people just became relaxed in their new life.  Lazy, since there were really nice homes with everything you could need.
There was this place in the main hotel I kept trying to get into and finally was able to open.  It was a huge closet that locked heavily from the outside.  And when we opened it up it was literally a cement closet with a drain in the middle, but it was immaculately clean.  I looked up and saw a trapdoor.  We went upstairs and found this big metal door.  One woman, who claimed to be a psychic, said she'd go in and cleanse the place.  I said I didn't think that was a good idea but she seemed really convinced and while I kept telling her it was a bad idea she went in anyways and we waited.  When she came back out she was pale and apparently had been possessed.  We were going to take care of that when some aliens came down from the sky and started destroying buildings with blue lights.  They focused the beam on a building too long and the building would vanish along with the people in it.  Destroyed with think.  we're trying to figure out how to deal with all the problems that have hit us when...
I wake up.
Odd dreams.  Think I am stressed.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Confessions of a G-List Actress: You Sit on a Throne of Lies

He is now as valiant as Hercules. that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with. wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving. 
-BEATRICE

The older I get, the less I can handle a simple lie.  A slight falsehood from another person is enough to make a stone sit heavily in my stomach for the day.  The bigger the lie the more violent I become inside and it eats at me for longer periods of time.  And these are the lies other people tell.

I can't say I am always 100% honest, because that would be a lie, but I am the second most honest person I know, next to my mother.  Why?  I don't care what other people think of me.  Why do lies other people tell get me so upset and set my teeth on edge?  I care what other people think of the people I know and work with.

You can imagine how this can be in a business like acting where, lets be honest, almost everyone fudges something.  I'm a voice over legend.   I can totally play volleyball.  I love horses.

I have always been the one to be honest.  I do my best to afford some diplomacy but it's hard sometimes.  I know I shouldn't care, but I do.   I found myself crying today due to the lies being told, and in some cases information avoided, to my friends.  It hurts me.  I need to work on that.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bitter Bloggings from an Optimistic Actress: HOFFMAN!!!!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!

First of all I would like to start this day off by saying I am sorry for anyone related to Mr Phillip Seymour Hoffman or anyone who knew him.  He was a great actor and we should count ourselves lucky to have seen an actor of his magnitude in our lifetime.


Second, I would like to shed a tear for anyone else who has lost a loved one today.  I noticed on Facebook several Grandparents were lost.  There are people in different countries in different time zones who have lost people they love and know personally.
Thirdly I leave this message to all the talent of Hollywood.  Sit down Kristen Stewart, I said talent.

Dear Talented Actors of Hollywood,

STOP OVERDOSING AND KILLING YOURSELVES!!!  We look up to you for your skill.  We strive to be as brilliant and engaging.  We pay thousands of dollars of money we have scraped together over months to be able to take a class that you may have taken in the hopes of being able to work with you.  Know you.  Learn from you.

Goodness knows Hollywood is filled with untalented actors and bad cinema.  The worthless talentless of society flock in droves to Hollywood for the money and fame, and Hollywood gives it to them.  Hollywood has cut down on the opportunity for brilliance by casting for looks, casting for money, hiring people who should never be on camera.  They have turned something so amazing and beautiful, our great storytelling art, into something ugly and brutal and commercialized.  HOW DARE YOU!

The younger generation of artists are fed a watered down version of what brilliance is and how it is meant to be.  They don't know the beauty and innocence of a Natalie Wood.  The regal honesty of a Rosalind Russel.  The elegance of an Audrey Hepburn.  They don't know the grit of a Paul Newman or the Comedy of a Jack Lemon.  Sure they could seek these out, but when you are fed chopped liver your whole life while those around you call it veal, are you going to believe there is anything better?  The younger generation are unlikely to have seen good cinema, because you have to look for good cinema.

And it's only going to get worse.  Can you imagine a world where the performances given in a Twilight or The Room receive an Oscar nod?  Or even worse, an Oscar?

We recognize the work of being an actor.  It's hard.  I myself work several jobs and am a working actor.  I get it.  I may not have the tabloid pressure, or the money loss.  I haven't had the opportunities to be in the fame game.  I can imagine it's quite a monster.  I know how destroyed I am when I lose opportunities for smaller roles, roles you haven't had in years.  And who am I to tell you to stop with the drugs?  You're big and famous and I am small potatoes.

I am one of at least one million people.  Someone who looks up to you.

I am trying to hard to be where you are so that I can be a storyteller, just like you.  I want to make people cry and laugh and feel deep emotions they've forgotten about.

What does it say when you can't handle the stress and pressure?  What does it say when you don't go to rehab and don't stick with it?  It's a moment of selfishness.

Please be strong, not for Hollywood, but for the art.  For that thing that drives us to be crazy and mad.  For the millions of people who look up to you and want you to be all those things you are.  Just stop.  Please stop.  Just...be here.

-A Friend