Thursday, December 31, 2015

Confessions of a G-List Actress: LIFE ISN'T FAIR

So this is happening to me a little more often than I would like, and with professionals:

I look online and find an audition.  Play or Film it doesn't matter, but let us say I find an audition for a show I have always loved and wanted to be a part of.  Oooh, for example; they are doing Proof at a small professional theater in GA.  Their page says they are doing season auditions and in order to be considered for Proof, I need to come to these season auditions.  The rest of their mainstage professional season either has been cast or only consists of parts I would never be good for in a million years. Their second stage season (which by the way only pays $100 for the entire run of a show and is littered with shows I would never do) is wide open.

So out goes my headshot and resume along with a letter stating that I have looked at the season and am especially interested in the part of Catherine, but would accept the part of Claire, but I am only interested in auditioning for Proof or the Mainstage Season.

Shortly after I receive an email saying how glad they are to have me coming.  Here is my audition time and date.  Please fill out this sheet.  Bring...yada...yada...

Sometimes I have even been known to submit an email a week beforehand stating something along the lines of, "Hey, I am really looking forward to auditioning for Proof at such and such time.  Are there specific sides you want me to prepare or just to come in?"  

To which I will get the standard, "oh you will just be reading from the sides they give you when you get here."

I book the hotel, take off the allotted time, look to see if there are auditions for other things in the area, usually there aren't, and make sure the dog is safe. I am good to go.  I drive the five to eight hours and check into a hotel that is likely costing me $130 a night.  I, hopefully, am only staying one night, but let's be honest, I will be staying two.  At some point, I drive by the theater to check on the location, check the traffic, and see how long it will take to get there in decent traffic.  I make adjustments to my schedule based on how traffic is and when my audition is.  If it is between three and seven I know I need to add at least an hour to my travel time.  I check online, as I have for weeks, to make sure the parts are still listed online.  They are.  

I sleep, get dressed, eat well, and continue to prepare for the madness.  And this is just the preparation to get to the audition.

I am very excited.  I love the show proof.  I read it and re-read it.  I studied films and movies and plays that have been performed of Proof.  I read up on math and work on how I walk, talk, think and act.  Everything about me says, Catherine.  I show up, early, to my audition with my glasses in hand and an outfit that says nerd with a purpose.

I walk with confidence to the table and hand them the headshots and resumes and state with a smile, my name.  

"Ok thanks, and what were you auditioning for today?"

"Well I saw online you were auditioning for Proof so I drove here and am ready to go. Claire is fine but I really want to play Catherine."

At this point the poor girl running the audition looks at me in horror.

"OH!  Those parts were cast months ago.  We were just auditioning for the second stage."  I smile trying not to punch the poor girl in the face.  In know it's not her fault, but, I have emailed and emailed and reiterated many times in those emails, that this is my reason for showing up.

"Your website had those parts listed.  I even checked the website this morning and according to your website, those parts are up for grabs."

"Yeah, our web host hasn't updated yet."  Or, "They had auditions five months ago."  Or, "Sorry the show was precast, hope you didn't drive very far."

At this point, my heart is no longer in it but I do go through the trouble of auditioning.  Why not? Maybe the equity actress playing Catherine will come down with a terrible case of pregnancy and get so fat she can't play the part and they will need the understudy to step in and I will just happen to be that person.

This has happened a lot to me in my life.  I drive hours in one direction to arrive, ready to audition for the great role I was destined for.  Louise in Gypsy, Hedda in Hedda Gabler, Ulla in The Producers.  I hint and inkle and, on occasions, ask flat out well advance of driving ten hours.  I am told over and over again, the part is up for grabs.  I get there, sign in, and at that point am told, "Oh the part was never available.  Some friend of the director is playing the lead.  We just need Chorus."

I find a film script online with a part in my age range that I know I can play better than anyone.  I am told, "Oh yeah come to the audition.  We really want to see you audition for this part.  You'd be great!"  

I arrive to looks of horror, "Oh my gosh.  I am so sorry.  The Director slash writer wrote the part for an actress he saw in an indie at a festival.  Sorry.  Yikes!"

Now, quite often in these situations, I get offers for smaller parts.  Sometimes co-starring roles.  No big.  I may or may not accept them.  However, it bugs me to no end when a "professional company" is the one who does this.

In fact, I think, when it comes to shows, you either need to pre-cast every role or none at all.  The few times I have helped put on a show, or put on one of my own, I have pre-cast the entire thing.  Now once or twice when I did this with something I wrote, the studio said, "we can keep you but we are recasting everyone else the way we want."  But this is their money.  I can't say anything.

I also admit one time to having asked for video submissions for a part I already had.  This was to see how people read the character and to see if I saw another character in them.  I never called these people to audition for my role face to face.

When you pre-cast one role, you are now forced to cast that show around one actor, maybe two.  Really, this is a detriment to your production.  Now the show revolves around an actor, and not the story.  

Well, this actress was brilliant, but he is a red head and we can't have two red-heads on stage because it would look weird in the light.

We loved his performance but we can't have Laertes be taller than Hamlet.

Sorry.  We thought you might be good for the role of trailer trash wife, but now that we see you in person the only real part you fit is the lead and we already have her.  (Sadly this was an actual statement from someone.)

I find when shows are precast, there is always a problem somewhere.  There was a film I shot forever ago.  I was playing the ugly nerd girl and they had already hired their girl next door cheerleader type.  The entire time the AD and DP were trying to get the director to give me the larger role because I was "better looking than the supposed 'hot chick'"  Needless to say the fights in that movie just kept on giving and the project imploded.

Really, in the end, what I am asking for is not difficult.  If you pre-cast one role, pre-cast every role.  If you can only pre-cast one or two roles, don't precast at all.  Seems so simple, and actually saves headaches, and angry actors.


Oh...and never call in an actor for any part they can't audition for.  That is mean.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bitter Bloggings from an Optimistic Actress:Plan B

I remember being told once, if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.  Well that is true on the days when I am doing what I love, but not this day.

This day I am hoping that I can keep myself from leaving a job I tolerate for the money.  Most of my co-workers are nice enough and work REALLY HARD so I can't really want to leave because of them.  No, I want to leave due to the bile of failure creeping its way through my pores.  9 months of this year I made a living acting and now I have to suffer through the doldrums once again and get a *gulp* real job.  So there I am, bartending my way through the survival job and hoping I get through the day without a total meltdown.

A man comes and we get to talking.  He's nice.  He wants to eat and have a drink and maybe get a pretty face to talk to him.  I oblige.  My acting comes up, I admit I lead the conversation a bit, and he asks the standard, "What have you been in that I would have seen you in?"  Because the only way to know if I am a valid actor is to have been in something you may have seen.  I know he doesn't know but why is that always the big question?  I let it go. 

"Lotta Theater,"  I smile.
"Oh really?  You work at *insert theater*"
"No that's a community theater and I only do theater and film that pays."
"Then why are you here bartending?"
"I gotta eat too.  I still haven't cracked the code to living on love, art, or the universe, but if I find out I will let you know,"
"Yeah my daughter wants to be an actress."

To pause, and kinda go off on a tangent, every single time someone tells me that I want to tell them the same thing.  NO!  STOP THEM!  TELL THEM NOT TO WASTE THEIR LIFE!  Unless you have billions, then she might actually make it.  And if you have billions are you single?  But I don't.

"Really?  That's nice."
"Yeah, that or a lawyer."  We laugh and then he drops the question of all questions.
"So what's your plan B?"

Before we get to my response I always wanted to be an actor.  I had moments where I thought dentist or law might be nice, but then I realized I just don't like people that much.  They kinda suck actually.  Seriously, Lawyers and the people who drill on your teeth love you.  Police, love people.  Doctors, they think people are great.  Actors, musicians, and artists...not so much.  Don't get me wrong, 90% of the actors I know put on a great front but they only really care about you if you are trying to get them where they want to be...like everyone else in the world.  The other 10% are the best actors ever, like Daniel Craig, Streep, and De Niro.  I do find it funny the best actors are the most honest, or maybe it is an act.

We spend every hour of our life trying to avoid people.  The reason I tend bar is I hate serving,  I hate having to deal with the rudeness in people, and people come in with sour expressions as battle armor in a restaurant, I seriously think they come in expecting things to go badly sometimes.  There is an invisible wall with the bartender, they are revered and feared for their knowledge of beers and wines (which is made up basically 99 % of the time) and their ability to harness the powers of vodka and tonic.  The bar itself provides a buffer between me and people.  And they really don't bother me.

Not saying I 'hate' all people mind you.  Hate is a very strong word.  What it comes down to is I am actually quite introverted and tolerate people to a degree and my BS meter fills really quickly.  I tend to find a few people I can stand to be around and hold tightly to them; I believe these people are known as friends.

Now, when I refer to actors, musicians, and artists I tend to refer to purists.  People who believe it is all about the work.  Miles Teller is a purist.  Daniel Day-Lewis, purist.    I suffer from being a purist in a world of superficial ideals.I mean honestly, who cares if you are looking for a brunette and get a red head who can do a better job, dye her hair.  Blue eyes preferred but get a great guy with green, hello colored contacts.  The only time that things shouldn't change is if you are trying to cast anyone but a black individual as Othello or cast an all-white version of The Wiz that doesn't begin with Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  If you are determined enough to put the work in and can do a great job, I am all for some good acting, who cares if they had to spend a few extra dollars to make your hair longer.

In general, purists want a buffer between themselves and people.  Think about it.  We seal ourselves from human interaction and fix ourselves in a safe environment with an invisible wall.  We want fake relationships with people who are tantamount to strangers.  We want to connect to humanity not by touch or contact or exchanging words, but by baring our emotions.  Acting is basically the world's oldest profession but with emotions.  You just want to make someone feel something for a few minutes, be that sensation good or bad.  We love those weird parts of people on one else looks at.  We thrive on the imperfections, the dirt, the squalor.  We drink in the happiness, triumph, and beauty. we observe people and know them better than they know themselves and yet we don't dare personally connect to people because we don't want to.  Maybe it would just be too hard.  Maybe we'd just dislike them anyways.

Anyways, my Plan B.  How many of you thought, well if this doesn't work out I will go back to school or go work for my dad? What is your plan B?  What are you going to fall back on?  It's important to have right?  A career you can go to when the realities of acting come creeping in that you won't book that majority of auditions you have.  And in the Southeast, if you are booking everything it's because you are the only talent around.  I know a lot of people who have fallen tot he wayside to their Plan B.  Some of them didn't even know about their Plan B.  A good friend of mine became a firefighter.  When I said, "I didn;t even know you wanted to do that," he responded, "Neither did I."  Kids, family, other careers; all of this is Plan B.  When you reach that point the dream is gone, what will you do?  It's really an important thing to think on.

I honestly don't think we think on it enough. We just figure that something will come along.  What if it doesn't? What if you can't eat even with your two serving gigs?  Someday you might think, this just isn't worth it.  I want to be able to travel.  I want to see things.  I want the money to live comfortably.  What is your Plan B?

You ready for my answer?

"There is no Plan B.  I become the actor with the career I want, or I die trying."  Trust me, in 32 years I have had the time to think long and hard on this.  There never really was a Plan B.  Acting is like breathing.  And when it comes time to quit this crazy bar job and go act, I will likely skip from behind the bar and run into the loving arms of making only $50 a week.

"But you can't go back to that job," you say.

I don't ever want to.  Bartending isn't plan B. It's food on the table.

"But you can dialect coach and teach CPR."

Yes I can, and it will keep me fed for my one true career and goal in life.

"You can always teach acting."

At this point teaching acting as a career is failure, and failure is not optional.

There is no PLAN B.  This is happening or it's not, but I am not putting something in my way to stop it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Confessions of a G-List Actress: I Hate Myself For Loving You

So here it is.  Long short and in-between; and I think about 50% of the actors here will agree with me and the other 50% are either lying to themselves or always succeed.

I HATE AUDITIONS!  They are the bane of my existence, they are time-consuming and they, more often than not, end in failure.

Oh, I put on the big smile and walk confidently into the audition room thoroughly prepared to do exactly what is necessary, often times more.  I smile, genuinely happy to see the people in the room as I perform for them, basically begging for a job.  Like clockwork, I do everything I am supposed to do.  I often times go way beyond what is expected of me.  What do I hate?  The waiting.

Take yesterday.  I drive a little over an hour, with my boyfriend, to a theater I have been auditioning for well over five years and have never booked yet.  What can I say?  I am a glutton for punishment.  The whole way my body is shaking and spasming like I am about to ascend to 30000 feet with a 90% chance the plane will fall from the sky.

We get there early.  I go in and they know who I am.  Yay!  They remembered me or are at least faking it effectively.  I have been going over lines in my head for the past three days.  I got the sides over a week ago, but I have had little time to memorize.  I was in the middle of 4 days of rehearsal for 2 days of show I needed to get through.  Thankfully the show was short but this means that I really couldn't look at my sides like I should until Sunday night.  This because my brain has now reached capacity and can no longer take information without throwing something away.  I didn't need that memory anyway.

I sign in and prepare as best I can.  I have most of the lines down and really only have to look down once or twice to my cheat sheet.  I think I may have been there a total of three minutes when they call me into the room.  "Whenever you're ready."  They always say whenever you're ready.  Like someone is going to say, I need another five and make the people in the room wait.  They never have to wait.  No one ever asks for a moment.  But what would happen if I was like, "No I am not ready.  I may never be ready."

I step inside and they have me read scene one once and scene two twice.  Here is a question?  When you have a seated reader, why do you always pick the scene with the most aggressive activity? My character being dragged, pulled, yanked, lifted, thrown.  All these things and I can't even show my physical comedic prowess because I am reading with someone who is sitting.  We go through scene one and, honestly, I think it was a bust.  Horrible, terrible, worst ever.  Looking back it wasn't that bad.  But once again, a scene with several physical gags and I can't do a one of them because I can't touch the person I am reading with.

Scene two, ok scene two.  Scene two was much better.  I figure at this point, well, you aren't going to hire me so I might as well make you miserable that you aren't going to.  They actually had me read it twice, and to be frank, I NAILED IT both times.  They gave me some notes and we had some fun.   They laughed the entire time.

They ask me to wait.  They had sent someone important home.  Ok, well I can stay as late as you need.  This is a good sign right?  I am not losing my mind?  I am not going crazy.  I think you really like me.

They call my boyfriend in while I wait.  I can hear him talking on the other side.  The wall is very thin.  They ask him to do it again.  I listen.  It's good, really good.  They thank him and send him out.

They send another girl in.  The part I read for is the only available female role, and of the people called today, most of them were women.

I wait and listen.  I admit, I thought to myself, Oh I am way better than this girl.  She exits and they do not ask her to stay and give her the runaround.  We all know the runaround.  "We don't need to see anymore.  Thank you for your time.  If we are interested you should hear from us in "x" number of days."  It always says online, a callback does not guarantee a role, and not getting a callback does not mean we will not hire you.  We all know this statement is a lie.  Without a callback you aren't getting a part.  And even with a callback they likely already know, in their mind, who they want.

I wait a bit and the person they called in stops.  He remembers my boyfriend and may remember me.  I am not sure.  If nothing else he is searching.  We talk to him a moment and they call me in.  I go through both scenes.  They seemed excited, or at least that might be the case, as I am not sure since I could only see the reader at this point and I am trying to remember the notes they gave me.  They say thank you and I leave.  Smiling and nodding like a nun with concussion on my way out.  I barely am out the door when they ask if I have a normal job that might interfere, and I say no.  "You don't have a 9-5?"  "I bartend for a place in Durham, but when I have to go I give them notice and say, I'll be back in a month."  "Ok thanks."

I ask the woman I was reading with, "Are there callbacks?"

"Well we saw what we were looking for, for the most part, yesterday, and since it was like that we are only calling back one person, otherwise you'll be hearing from us eventually."  Is that bull?  Are you telling me the truth?  What is going on?!

The whole way home my brain is screaming , "Did I get the part?  Did I get the part?  Wouldn't they have given it to me there?  Am I hired?  Am I not?  Somebody, please tell me if I have the gig or not so I can figure life out!  Please!"

And now I wait!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Bitter Bloggings From and Optimistic Actress: Frankly My Dear...

Actors of the net!  Lend me your ears!

I implore you, ladies and gents.  Stop posting certain things to facebook.  Things that can destroy your image.  Things that make your fellow actors dislike you and talk behind your back.  Things that, in the end, just make you look like you're desperate for attention and need an intervention.

Facebook, in general, is actually a terrible place.  It was originally meant to push people closer together.  Now, if I have an unpopular opinion, I open myself to the ridicule of ten people who want to tell me how wrong I am and they threaten to unfriend me, at which point I usually don't have the energy to unfriend them.  Can we get to the unfriending already?!

Honestly if not for the fact my agent posts casting calls in a private facebook feed I would never even get on facebook anymore.  The whole place just tends to throw me into random fits of rage.  If I do find some redeeming quality, ie. showing my family photos of what I did with my day off, I end up having to deal with the following, and it just makes me want to punch concrete.

I don't care if you auditioned for this or that part.  I am auditioning for the same parts.  It's equivalent to saying, hey guys, my job is to go to interviews and I just booked an interview.  If I posted every time I submitted for something, got an audition or got a callback, I would be online 24/7.
This does not include when you are traveling to a town, if you are coming to town to do a show, film something, passing through on your way somewhere, then please let me know.  If I am there, I would love to see you.

I honestly do not care if you got that part you just auditioned for.  Half the time, films that we get parts in don't even come to fruition.  Also, you have no idea if you were the first pick, or the fifth.  How do you know someone you were very close to hadn't quietly down that part they really wanted due to a shooting date conflict and you happened to be the next in line?  Now, that is sowing the seeds of animosity right there.  How do you know that half the people on your facebook page didn't just audition for the same role that you got?  This goes more than just for the ladies.  Gentlemen, you are just as bad.  If you book a role, you're entire facebook friendom does not need to know.  You can wait until the film is shot and, once you have seen yourself in it, invite people to find you.  *A side note: Please only do this if you have lines.*

Stop posting photos of yourselves in your underwear.  Unless you made the cover of Victoria's Secret or Sports Illustrated or you are in a film where the sole outfit you spend your time in consists of your bra, there is no reason to post pics of yourself in your underwear.  I spend hours wading through a sea of scantily-clad women as it is.  It's a bit like watching Game of Thrones.  After an hour, my own boobs aren't as special due to the over excess of boob.  Posting fifty pictures of you in your underwear does not tell me in any way shape or form that you're are a strong woman of confidence.  This tells me you need the attention of men to survive.  Have you noticed 90% of the people who respond to a picture of you in your underwear are men?  This is not because they respect you dear.  This is because they are using that pic as a pregame.  Nope, you don't even get to be the main event, that's when the switch to porno to look at women.  

In fact, stop acting like a picture of you in your underwear pouting at the camera longingly is some kind of feminism.  It's not.  You want men to look at you because it makes you feel like you are worth something.  It's OK.  If your self-worth is based off that, go for it, and admit to it.

NO ACTORS IN HEAVEN

My mother has always had an interesting notion of the afterlife and heaven.  Or maybe it's the way most people of her generation see it.  There is God's great immaculate throne and around him is everyone singing in their white robes and praising God with instrument, all quite suddenly able to do whatever you want.  Nothing but happiness and joy.  And everyone is always laying down their crowns in reverence to God.

Now I have no problem with reverence or respect to the creator of the universe.  I mean, he did make EVERYTHING and me and I do owe him EVERYTHING I HAVE.  Nothing wrong with that.  But I have always seen it differently.

I know many people are kind of upset with this version of heaven.  Singing and playing harps for all eternity.  Does seem repetitive and boring.  And maybe, your point of view changes when you pass on.  I have never seen it this way though.  Most of the time, to me, I have this view of heaven.

It's beautiful.  MASSIVE!  This biggest, most lush, place you have ever seen.  There is love everywhere and it's so strong you can feel it, physically in the air.  And that is God.  He is everywhere and everyone knows.  The residents are as they were meant to be in Eden, innocent, and yet intelligent.  You spend your post earthly life living the way we were intended.  We can go and speak with God as you would any friend, and father, and teacher.  Jesus is there and you can sit with him a while and listen to him.  And the Holy Spirit is there like the sun, a constant reminder of God's presence.  There are seasons and change so you don't get bored, like you could.  You always learn and get better at things.  There is no pain or suffering or loss, but I think there is occasional sadness.  Not the sadness from death or pain from losing someone, but there is the longing to be around someone you know.  The sadness you get after a long happy evening with a good friend you never want to end.  But it is never followed by the sadness of never seeing them again.  All that is good and wonderful in this life is also good and wonderful in the next.

What do we not have?  Doctors and nurses aren't needed, because there is no disease.  Teachers, I think, will still teach.  And Actors, and here is where I differ from many, can be more focused on the things they love to do.  No, I don't think acting is something you do in heaven.  I think there will be music, because God loves music, but Acting is didactic.  It's there to teach a moral lesson.  And in heaven why do you need to show how terrible people can be?  In Heaven there are no terrible people.  No one needs to be reminded of how violent and angry the people whom God created made themselves to be.  Heaven won't be a place to be reminded constantly of how far we fell from God.  No, it's a place to be with him finally.  And since God can wipe those sins away as if we never committed such acts, why would he remind us of them once in his house?

I like to think Heaven is beautiful and astounding and always changing around the one constant thing in the universe, God.  And that is a beautiful thought indeed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bikini's and Broads

I live at the beach.  Right here right now the beach is my home and I couldn't be happier.  It took weeks to convince my fellow housemates to come along, amazingly enough.

I managed one-day last week, but I wanted to go this week and feel the sun on my skin.  This is partially because I love the ocean and partially to put some sun and salt on my poor legs.  I am tall and have poor circulation and am a magnet for insects and their nibbling mouths.  So I have a few places on my legs a little salt water wouldn't hurt.  Plus, I look a bit like an Irish girl at the beach until I have a few days of sun on me.

So I found myself at the beach walking towards the pounding surf when I looked over.  There, on the beach were three teen to college aged girls, all playing volleyball with a bunch of guys, at least I think there were guys there, I was too distracted by the three tanned fannies on display.  That is right, three of the girls were proudly displaying their thong bikinis.

I did what any normal girl would do at this.  I pointed at these three adolescents and said, "Guys.  They want you to pay attention."

Now I will say for a moment the three girls did stare and smile flirtatiously at one of my compatriots.  One threw the ball at another, who bent over and gave us the same view her proctologist will soon be getting.  I have no doubt this aroused the interest of my fellow beach goers.  Men.  Can't live with them.  Can't shoot them.  

"I bet she'd get mad if we told her to put clothes on."  "It just doesn't do it for me like it used to."  I know it's a bunch of lies.  I know lies when I hear them.

Being older, what younger women do absolutely terrifies me.  It draws up anger, not at them, but for them.  Anger at the stupid choices they make.  Anger that they feel that showing their bodies to gain the attention of other people is the only way to garner respect.  What makes it worse, they try so hard to play it off as confidence.  I have seen truly confident women wear nothing and I have seen them covered from head to toe in fabric.  I have seen confident women have their clothes painted on as art.  I have seen the face of confidence and it wears what it wants.  Sometimes that's shorts and a tank top and sometimes it's a full-length gown.

Ladies, stop dressing to garner attention.  Stop undressing to garner attention.  Dress the way you feel most yourself.  Not til you feel sexy.  Not til you feel eyes look at you.  Dress until the world vanishes.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bitter Bloggings From An Optimistic Actress:Film Incentives and the Actor

Funny enough that this information actually was part of a conversation between myself and the head of the NC Film Commission.

Last year the film community cried out in pain for the loss of the NC film incentives.  There was blaming and finger pointing, especially at Republican lawmakers.  How dare they take away our precious incentives?  How else are we supposed to survive?

For those who are unfamiliar with the film incentives, let's talk about them a minute.  The former film incentives promised a tax credit of 25% on all qualifying productions. You did your taxes you got money back.  This is a wonderful thing.  Film companies from all over come in and spend money at local businesses and pay for the use of property and the rental of hotel rooms.  It's all to help the NC economy.

There is one thing that confuses me though; the most vehement supporters of the NC film incentives are also the people who benefit the least from the incentives.  Who are they?  The actors.

The thing they don't tell you about the tax incentives?  How few local people benefit from the incentives.  Actors being the most screwed by the incentive.  Why?  They would honestly rather hire someone from LA or New York or even Atlanta than to hire locally.  Thousands of actors have moved to North Carolina to work in films as....wait for it...extras and stand-ins.  Sure you might get the occasional local who gets a line or two, maybe they even get a five and under, but they have hired everyone they really want from another state and paid for them to stay in a trailer or hotel.

This is just how these groups operate.   No, I am not talking about local indies or semi-professional theaters.  The groups I am referring to, are actually the big studios and equity theaters.   I went down to Hilton Head to audition for an equity theater and a mother told me tht her daughter was one of 2 locals cast in a production they had a few months back.  The rest were from LA or NYC.  Sound strange?  It's not.

To give you and idea, let's talk about a famous film endeavor to leave the NC area, Iron Man.  A cast of hundreds and while watching I have heard one person in the whole state point to someone who had a line to say "I did a film with that guy.  He is a Charlotte Local!"  One!  I know lots of people who were there as stand-ins and extras.  One guy had a line.  That is horrible!  Two and a half hours of film edited from months of filming in a state and only one NC native got a line in the film, that is pathetic.

Is this abnormal?  Not really.  In my acting life, only a very small portion of my auditions are in NC.  Last week I drove to Hilton Head Island.  Most of my film auditions are for Los Angeles or New York films.  Thank goodness for taping auditions these days or I would really be screwed.  It is one good thing to come of the modern acting age.  I can tape an audition so I don't have to drive to Boston to audition for that film or fly to Portland to try out for that one liner.  So really, I have no reason to complain as an actor about losing our film incentives.  Will I get out of state work?  Likely.  But no more than usual.

Of the films I was involved in NC, do you know how many were covered under the film incentives?  None.  But every film outside of NC was covered under the incentives of that state.

Of the hundreds of films shot in NC last year, how many films do you think were covered under the film incentives?  Fourteen.  In 2013, the year before, we were home to over thirty productions.

The film incentives themselves only covered productions that spent more than $250,000 or more.  The same goes for our new grants by the way.  You have to be spending more than $250,000 already to get grant funding.  Most NC productions are ultra low and Non-Union.  The most expensive projects I worked on in NC were reaching high with their $50,000 budgets.  If I bothered to do any background work I might get a moment or two on these large productions, but how many of those out there who claim to be professional actors want to make their living sitting behind the stars on a set?  I personally don't.

According to this local news broadcast, the government doesn't really, or won't give us, the correct information about how much money the state is actually getting from the incentives.  We spent over 60Million dollars on incentives and may have gotten back a profit of just over 5 million or we may have lost over 30million.

The same newscast points to the new Georgia incentives.  Are these incentives great for Georgia?  According to the home page "over 30,000 working professionals, call Georgia home."  Do you want to know what most of these professionals do?  Crew and extras.  The exact same thing NC had so much of for about 14 years.  We provided crew and extras to big budget Hollywood film and TV at a lower rate.

So, am I out there fighting for film incentives?  Sure, but in a different way.  I think, rather than dropping the incentives they need to drop the minimum to around $50,000.  There are enough local films that could benefit from film incentives and still bring in outside money.


A few extra stories of friends who don't care we lost the film incentives:

My nine-to-five, a few years ago, was in Greensboro, NC.  I walked down the street to my favorite little hole in the wall furniture place to see the owner cursing like it was no tomorrow.  When I say hole in the wall I mean, the space was hideous, but the furniture was so vintage and awesome.  Most of the pieces were those decorating celebrity homes.  I liked to talk to the owner and he was kind enough, or bored enough, to enjoy the lunchtime company.  Apparently someone from a BIG HOLLYWOOD FILM being shot at the time.  I won't say which one, had called him up to ask for furniture.  I thought, wow this is awesome.  They excepted him to give them most of the furniture in his store because they were from Hollywood.  I repeat that, a NC shop owner was called by a MAJOR STUDIO who DEMANDED he GIVE *NOT LEND, NOT SELL, GIVE* them over $100,000 of his furniture in exchange for a small thank you at the end of the credits.  What I was catching, was the tail end of the conversation where he basically told them to sod off.

I went to a coffee shop in my favorite old town, after the filming of a huge movie that really put the area on the map.  I went to my favorite coffee shop for a cup of coffee.  I smiled at all the movie memorabilia in the shop and asked how they liked having the movie crew in the area.  The response was a groan of distaste followed by the negative comments he had heard from the almost daily coffee requests.  "I will be so glad to leave this @#$% hole!" They said the LA residents were rude and half the time demanded free coffee because they were putting up so much money in the area.  Needless to say the owners of the shop couldn't care less if these people ever return to NC.