Monday, August 19, 2019

Confessions of a G-list Actress: EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

      So, for the first time in a long time I agreed to do some extra work.  I almost never do it.  It can't go on my resume and it never pays that much.  But sometimes a good job comes through your agent and you can't really say no to the money.  It paid well and, honestly, I had nothing better to do on that particular day.
      It was a lazy Saturday and I go up, packed a bunch of my clothes in the car and my makeup case and I drove a very short distance to a large building on a huge campus and walked into the glorious air conditioning.  And that was where the only problem came to light.
      As I walked through the door, I assumed I would find a crew, a grip, a girl with a know..something to tell me where set was.  I called the one contact I had, I could only assume they were busy since I got no reply to text or phone call.  I was waiting for a few moments in the lobby, scared to death security would come in and kick me off site, when I heard a faint ding.  
      THE ELEVATOR!  Maybe if I found it, someone would come out and tell me which floor to go to.  It wasn't far.  There were two floors that were indicated above.  Four and Eight.  I hit the up button and figured I would walk into a crew or a very confused looking office.  As I was making up my mind which floor to go on the elevator came down and a gentleman walked out.  
      "Can I help you?"
      "Yeah, looking for a camera crew!"
      "Fourth floor."
      I thanked him and walked onto the elevator and walked out to see a crew filming someone walking into a cubicle.  Scared I might have ruined the shot I nearly jumped back into the elevator.  Someone saw me and waved me into a room filled with clothes, makeup, and people.
      I get in a makeup chair, get in a costume that was picked for me and I wait a total of twenty five minutes before I was walked to the complete other side of the building and sat at a table where I sat in the background for maybe fifteen minutes and mimed with three other background performers.  I was done in less than two hours and made a decent payday.  Seriously, shortest day I have ever had.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bitter Bloggings of an Optimistic Actress: Depression and the Actor

Ups and downs.  Happiness and sadness.  All these emotions are part of life and actors in the ages past have tapped into all of them.  We are a slave to our emotions and will continue to be until the day we die.  For some actors this comes sooner than others in the form of suicide or drug overdose.  Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marilyn Monroe.  All taken too soon.  All with so much more to give.  Robin Williams had been dealing with illnesses along with the difficult life of acting.  Marilyn Monroe was popping pills to keep her spirits up.  Sadness and Anger just come with the territory.  And that is when you have made it.

There are plenty of other actors who "made it" and committed suicide as their careers were waning and the debt came in to swallow them.  I can think of a writer and painter who did the same thing, ahem! It breaks my heart that would ever happen to anyone.  The world is a beautiful place.  But the world of acting, when you aren't "on", can be cold and desolate and very isolating.

When I went into college for acting my professor told me, "artists can easily become addicted to their own melancholy."  She was right.  I have never seen a group of people who are so happily miserable in my life.  And when that gaping maw of depression opens it's laws yo swallow you up the sadness can feel like a great warm blanket.  The high tide of emotions can have a profound effect on your work.  I have seriously done some of my best performances when I was going through a break up.  But this is decidedly not healthy.  We can't stay in this place forever.  We have to find the way back to the light and be happy again.  We can't stay in that dark place all the time can we?

I read an article where Meryl Streep was talking about her daughter and her acting career.  Meryl is a proud mama.  We can see that.  She loves her children dearly, but even she says it is hard to watch her girls go through the rejection.  "It is personal,"  She said.  And she is right.

Now imagine going through that with no one around you who understands.  No one who understands being rejected day in and day out.  No one who feels that weight pressing down on you.  It is maddening to go to a day job where you are forced to do something you very honestly hate.  It's not that waiting tables or data entry is beneath you.  It's not that being the nanny or teacher isn't a good job with great perks.  It's not that your aren't a great teacher.  It's just not a job you want to do the rest of your life.  And that sucks.

Imagine wanting to be a surgeon.  You are good at it.  You graduated the top of your class.  Now imagine you had to do your first hundred surgeries for free.  Imagine you had to go in and schmooze with any client in order to get a job.  You wanna do that really well paying heart transplant that could really give your career a boost?  You have to go and hang out with the recipient of the heart and their family.  Sometimes they are great, but sometimes they make you wonder if they even deserve that heart.  Maybe you could just heal the person with the heart?  But you swallow your pride.  Sometimes while you are talking to a perspective client people will muscle in and start talking about all their accomplishments.  "I won best surgeon at the 2015 Rx Festival in New Mexico.  I have two surgeries already on the books and you would make my third."  In order to get the job you have to send a tape of your next surgery and you don't necessarily have one on the books so you go in and do a practice surgery of the same type.  Or you are fortunate and a heart transplant comes up and you can invite the family to come watch.  The operation goes off without a hitch.  And now you wait.  You receive a letter from the family and they decided to go with another surgeon.  Likely Best Surgeon Rx 2015.  "You're fine and the best surgeon we have ever seen but your pinky is too short and we want to make sure little Becca is in the best hands possible."

This is a hard business and we are told over and over again to keep busy.  Always be filming.  Keep trying.  Keep working.  You're blessed to work in this business.  But really when does all this madness end?  It doesn't.  Even at the top they are fighting for and losing parts.  You wanna work, go hang around people and get popular.  You want an Oscar? Be prepared to spend ten million dollars.  One in every hundred people is an "actor."  So, no you are not a special snowflake and you are not the only person who could have done the part.  That part you wanted more than anything, the director already has it cast, he is just looking at other options in the event he needs an understudy.  This is a cruel unfair business.  No wonder so many actors kill themselves.  

How can we fix it?  You really can't.  Work more.  Be better.  Be so good they can't overlook you.  Get a better agent.  All you can do is swim through the depression to the other side and hope you don't drown on the way.  That's what I do anyways.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bitter Bloggings of an Optimistic Actress: Beauty and the Beast

Casting is a process that always fascinates me.  Sometimes I do really want to be a fly on the wall.

Recently a casting notice was put into the world requesting two individuals.  They specifically requested the individuals not be models.  They were looking for real people.  People who were active, but average.  Now picture that.  Got the image in your mind?


Imagine how shocked the entire acting internet was when the agent of one of the said "Normal People" posts a picture of the client who booked the job and she was GORGEOUS.  I mean drop dead perfect.  Skinny, porcelain skin, and a "bottom so tight it could do lip sync."  Honestly?  What do these people think normal and average looks like?  And I get it, the client is the one who picks who gets the job. But, how does someone who looks like they should grace a runway get picked as the average?  Average compared to who?  A VS model?  I mean congratulations on getting the gig, but seriously.

About nine months ago I was called in to read for a commercial.  The commercial asked for an intelligent female about 30-40 years old.  Once again, I arrive at the auditions and am surrounded by women, whose total weight is equal to my own individual mass.  Most of them are models who "mom" on the side.  There is one nineteen year old who doesn't know what the sides even mean.  Seriously, the sides are ripped straight from an IT manual and placed on the page.  I had to read some specs myself the night before just to understand what was going on, and my oldest friend in the world is in IT.  Any guesses as to the one who gets the role?  Seriously, what nineteen year old needs that kind of money?  When did nineteen become the new thirty?

And the last straw.  I was recently not cast in a film due to my height because the love interest would be too short for me.  "The director loved your rendition of the character but we have already cast this part and the height difference would be distracting."  Great.  So what you are saying is you are willing to put out a sub par product because you are afraid of spending an extra few minutes making my love interest a few inches taller with camera angles and standing him on a box.  They dig holes in the ground for the girls opposite Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone.  That is kinda sick.

I read an interview with Anne Hathaway.  Her twenties were great to her, but as soon as she hit thirty she actually started losing roles.  Let me repeat this.  Anne Hathaway started losing roles in her thirties to twenty-somethings.  (**Not all the twenty-somethings were Jennifer Lawrence; which would have been ok**)

We laugh at this sketch, but it is truly horrifying.  Because it is true.  Even in the context of the sketch itself.  Did you know originally it was supposed to be about an ageing actress being welcomed into the fold of already aged out actresses?  The studio thought it would be more appealing to young audiences if they had famous actresses who hadn't aged out yet sending one of their own into the void.  See how messed up that is?

All I am asking is that those businesses getting the help of a CD actually think about what they want.  Do you want an actual average thirty year old or a twenty seven year old model with mature features.  Do you want someone who can speak to your consumers on a level that makes them understand or do you want someone who will draw in your viewers with their looks.  Honestly ask for exactly what you want and I promise, you will get it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Intern: Because Sometimes Even I Do Film Reviews!

Once again, to anyone who will attempt to use any pictures on this to try to get money from me.  This is a film review and all images underneath are actually free for my use under the FAIR USE ACT since the following is for criticism.  So NYEHH!

Found randomly online.  This is a FILM REVIEW!

So, the other night, because we love De Niro and Hatheway so much, and because we had heard good things, the better half and I watched The Intern.    I will be honest, not a fan.  If you are, that is your opinion and I can see why the general public might like it.  However if you really break it down it really is a slight film with very little to offer, except two A-listers really working for their money and a laugh or two.

So yeah...expect spoilers.  Duh.

Nancy Meyers, the brain behind such films as What Women Want and Father of the Bride, decided to make another movie.  I admit to enjoying both Father of the Bride films and What Women Want.  Both were nice little slices of life, even though they had more to do with the rich, white upper class.    She always manages to get great names for her films and there is a very sweet heartfelt message at the end.  It's something light I can enjoy since most of the film I watch is so deep and heavy.  Seriously, my must see list for last year included Room.  (Captain America: Civil War, if you break it down,  was only okay.  I watch heavy movies.)

The film starts off with De Niro in the middle of filming a kind of audition for an internship at a fashion startup that has apparently been doing very well.  He gets a job as an intern and aid to the boss, Anne Hathaway.  She immediately judges him to be incompetent, without knowing too much about old-fashioned work ethic, but through the film finds him to be the best thing that has ever happened to her and her company.  Sunshine rainbows and happiness.

Robert De Niro is playing a retired widower, Ben, looking to fill his life with activities.  After seeing an advertisement near his local coffee shop, he decides to return to the workplace.  He gets a job at an online fashion site owned by Jules.  Jules is a woman who only cares about the customer and overworks herself and this makes her "hard to work for," as is often repeated.

This is where it starts to fall apart.  And the film has just started.  Jules is constantly referred to as hard to work for, but I never saw a single moment when she wasn't kind, concerned and caring to any and all of her employees and customers.  Other than a breakdown by her assistant, who is obviously in need of a Xanax, and can't handle the workload, no one really seems to do anything but totally adore her.  She even has a house masseuse (by the way they prefer the term massage therapist) for anyone who wants one.  Why didn't they go ahead and make her a Miranda Priestly type, a la The Devil Wears Prada?  Someone who honestly doesn't care what other people think of her.  A powerful strong woman who runs her workers to death.  Missed opportunity.

Why was she the head of a fashion company and not an IT start up?  Women don't just deal in clothes and shoes.  In fact, this is something that bothers me.  So many writers pick a profession for their characters without knowing anything about that profession.  They then proceed to write about that profession without doing more research than a wiki search for a few simple phrases they can pepper in conversation.  They don't bother looking anything up about how the profession actually works.  In this particular case, I am always wondering in this film; does she design the clothes or buy from a second party and sell?  Since her entire life revolves around this job, I want to know more about it.

Ben is immediately liked by everyone at the company when he starts his internship.  He has a few problems with the technology, but there is almost zero focus on it.  A missed opportunity.  Jules kinda thinks he is nosey to start off with, but after cleaning off a desk and driving her through the city when her driver gets drunk she realizes his old-fashioned work ethic is irreplaceable.

Jules is told by some person who works for her, played by Andrew Rannels, that the people giving her money want her to get a CEO to run her company because they don't think her company will continue to grow.  Her job is now to look at possible CEOs and pick one...maybe.  So she starts vetting CEOs.  Not that she has to.  She will still have her company if she doesn't.  Why was it not written that her company would totally disband if she didn't pick a CEO?  That would have added some great tension.  Once again, a missed opportunity.  (Even Mel in What Women Want was about to lose something big if he didn't step up his game.)

Jules's husband, Matt, has given up his much better paying job (which we never see him do) so Jules can have her company.  Her job mainly consisting of riding a bike to meetings in the office, playing with tissue paper and riding in the back of a car while talking to her mother who, apparently, doesn't love her.  Seriously, what does she do?  She has TONS of money and yet I have no idea what she actually does.

In fact, if Matt didn't quit his job I think their kid would be just as well loved.  Honestly, the kid is kinda just there so Jules can be seen once as being incompetent and Matt can be seen as being a jerk.  I kinda wonder why they don't take their obvious wealth and pay for a nanny,   Are they too busy to call a service?  But anyways, Matt is now a house hubby and Jules is paying the bills, with no problem doing so.  However, apparently, the mom's at her daughter's school seem to find her incompetent.  Jules and her constant working is causing a rift between she and her husband.  Apparently, he is having an affair that Jules is aware of, that we don't find out about until almost the end of the movie when Ben sees it in progress.  When it is brought to light both Ben and Jules have a good long cry in their 5 star hotel room about how terrible life is.  How unfair.  Once again, I think he should have been having an affair with one of the mom's we see.  Then we might actually care that he is being unfaithful.

The end is simple.  Jules chooses not to get a CEO.  Matt tells her the affair is over, they cry and agree to never be unfaithful to one another.  Ben is now her chauffeur and assistant to her assistant.  All is happiness sunshine and rainbows.  And nothing all that bad really happened.

There was almost NO conflict.  Here was a great time to talk about ageism and sexism in the workplace and that topic was totally ignored.  The love interest between Renee Russo and De Niro happened too quickly.  So quickly there was zero build up, no sexual tension.  One day she meets him and by the end of the film she is sleeping with him and seems like they are living together after one date we have seen.  Matt and Jules are immediately fine as soon as he admits to the affair and claims it is over.  In real life, trust me, there is more anger than that.  There were two, maybe three moments of humor.  All having to do with De Niro and his sexual preferences.  

A"I might meet Jay-Z"
De Niro "Who is that?"
A "What if Beyonce opens the door?"
De Niro "Ok, I know who that is!"

Honestly, had the leads not been working so hard to be amazing, the film would have been nothing better than the worst made-for-TV garbage.  It was a slight film for adults, filled with hopes and dreams but no real substance. 

But that is just me.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dawn of Justice: Because Sometimes Even I Do Film Reviews

The following is a film review and attached to a blog which is connected to my webpage.  Odds are the pictures were gotten online from another source...but they are for reviewing purposes only.


So, after a much shorter rehearsal than I am used to I figured I would go see Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Sadly I had gotten ahold of some spoilers months before, but these are my general thoughts.

I didn't hate it.  Was I a huge fan?  Not really.  Was it the worst movie ever?  Oh please.

Let's start with what I liked about the movie.
Sexy Alfred.  Really, Jeremy Irons was my favorite part of the movie.  Mostly because no matter what he does Jeremy Irons exudes this charm and intelligence that just makes my little nerd heart go crazy.  He aged well too.  He is everything Alfred was ever meant to be, and then some.  A strong character to protect and shepherd a lunatic (Bruce Wayne) on his mission for vengeance, retribution and justice.  He is kinda like cowbell.  I gotta fever, and the only cure is more Alfred.
I know some people will hate me for saying this.  But, I really liked Eisenburg's Lex.  Hear me out.  When the villain first entered the Superman universe he was an aging mad scientist bent on world domination and destruction.  Then he was a super man or sorts himself fighting crime using machines until Super Boy turned him bald and killed his creation whom he loved as a son.  Ooops.  Then in the 80's they totally revamped the character and turned him into the most evil thing imaginable.  A corporate executive.  Most recently he was retold as being the son of an abusive alcoholic.  Born into poverty he vows never to be poor again.  This is what they did with Eisenburg.  This bizarre hipster Zuckerberg wannabe is actually what we'd get if we made Lex a real live person in the modern era.  Disgusting and creepy isn't it?  "BUT HE WASN'T BALD," you say.  Like with real people, even in the comics, the baldness occurred with age in the case of Luthor.  He always started his maniacal rampage with hair.  They really just didn't give this particular Luthor a decent plot line.  Even Eisenburg must have been saying..."why would I do this?"  But I think the character was pretty spot on.  He'd have been a great Riddler in another time.

Ben Affleck will never be Bruce Wayne, but he was a good Batman.  I didn't hate his performance as much as I thought I would.  Dude got yoked.  The scene at Luthor's Party is amazing.  Holly Hunter is always amazing in everything she does.
So what did I not like about it?
I will ignore the plot holes.  Which are explained in detail here.  
First of all.  If you want to make the Death of Superman.  Make the Death of Superman.  Honestly it's like they couldn't pick what movie they were making.  
If another movie about Batman opens with his parents dying I am going to strangle a kitten.  Seriously, Thomas and Martha Wayne have died enough.  We know what happened by now.  Please let the Wayne's rest in peace.  Bruce is old enough I think the nightmares about their death have gone from nightly to weekly at least.  Why is Bruce always waking up from a dream in this movie anyways?  He aways seems to be suffering from night terrors.  If he is sleeping with all the socialites and models I am sure they would have warned one another by now.  "Liz, I know he is hot and rich and seemingly normal.  But the other night after a really good session, he woke in such a fit he nearly beat me to death.  Seriously.  I didn't run into a door."  All those dreams could be pulled from the film and nothing would be lost.  Not a single, solitary plot point would be missing.

So many questions.  When did Lois and Clark start dating?  Doesn't this pretty much prove the glasses disguise isn't working?  Why is Superman such a jerkwad face?  Honestly?  They give him absolutly no reason to hate Batman.  Why is it that Bruce and Clark hate one another?  From the second they meet they are at odds.  I think they both might be a little more kind to one another.  Seriously Bruce?  You are gonna tick off a press man?  Clark, you are going to pick a fight with the richest man within a hundred miles?  Why is Wonder Woman even here?  She doesn't even serve a purpose until the fight with Doomsday.  And who was their costume designer for Wonder Woman.  They need a strict talking to.

If you think about it, they give Batman very little reason to hate Superman.  He tore down my building and killed a lot of people, including one I may have liked a little and orphaned one little girl.
 Seriously, Batman didn't even known Wallace until he found him trapped under a beam.  It just seemed like the characters would have understood one another a little more.

Honestly, while the heroes look like the comic book versions of their characters (save for Xena:Wonder Warrior) they can't play the every day versions of the characters.  The closest, and you will never hear this from me again, is Ben Affleck.  Cavill is the same guy as Clark Kent.  (I miss Chris)  

Gal Godot.  Don't get me wrong she is very pretty.  You could bounce a quarter off that face.  This is why she will continue to be hired, because they can't tell me it is for her acting.  (Kate Winslet had a better butt:See Triple 9) Gal Godot has a gorgeous face and can throw a punch, but she really needs a dialect coach to get rid of that accent.  I will say this forever, Wonder Woman was patterned after a female body builder.  Did Zack Snyder even read the comics?  Have you seen the muscles drawn on Wonder Woman.  Her creator, William Moulton Marston, had a serious desire to be dominated by women.  Good Grief!  She will beat you down!  Gal Godot is way too small to be Wonder Woman.  I know she worked hard.  Diana was drawn after female body builders so as they got more muscular, so did she.  Sure she is a scientist and healer, but she is also an Amazon.  And this is me nitpicking here...why didn't they give her blue contacts?  Wonder Woman is Blue Eyed.

I could go on forever about unnecessary plot devices and how they were trying to make the franchise.  Is it worth a watch.  Ehh.  A good rental when you want to join the "in" crowd.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bitter Bloggings of An Optimistic Actress:Money Makes the World Go Round!

When I was a little girl, I dreamt of being in plays and on TV.  I loved it all.  The glamour, the clothes, the paychecks, the classes, the good friends.  Everything about acting was everything I wanted.
Things have not changed today.  I still dream of being on set.  In my worst nightmares, I am onstage with fifty people making up lines and hoping we get to the next scene, completely unaware of what the next scene is even about.  In my greatest dreams, I am sitting backstage playing musical instruments I could only hope to play and singing for an audience that isn't even there.
*Seriously, I have been memorizing lines and last night I had a terrible dream that I was running 
late on opening night."*  
Well, I can't actually say they haven't changed.  They have.  Now I have bills to pay, most of them forced upon me(but let's not talk politics), some of them of my own doing, but all of them have to be paid.  This is the cost of being alive.  I don't have cable.  I cook at home for myself as much as I can.  I take maybe one vacation a year, and that is usually for two days.  When I am not doing a show I teach acting and dialects, bartend and hold the occasional CPR class.  You know, the things that are necessary to eat and not dig a deeper hole for myself while I try to make my way towards living the dream, working as an actor 12 months out of the year instead of 9.  And I am making headway, no thanks to the economy and the world in general.
Where is this all going and where did this come from?  Yesterday my boyfriend handed me a newspaper.  Yes, I still read newspapers.  In this newspaper I saw a few plays listed and one given a great 10 our of 10 review by a friend and fellow theater lover.  I love seeing good theater reviews, but that was not what got to me, it was WHO put it on that make my brain itch.
Last year, while I was in Beaufort playing Pirate and auditioning all day, a friend of mine sent me a link to a great studio they had been attending.  I looked it up and instantly fell in love.  They offered training workshops for longer periods of time where you spent a day to seven days a week rehearsing and practicing your craft.  That is so great, I thought, I can go here and practice acting every day.  Then I looked at the cost.  I'm not saying it was expensive, but I don't think I could live off the universe for 4 months.  Seriously, a month at this place would cost me a third of my yearly salary and literally did not guarantee I was going to be making money afterward, just that I would be a better actor.  While I think it is worth the cost, I have starved for my art and will do it again, to spend that money would go way beyond starving for my art into killing any more chances I have to audition.  Did I mention this friend who was taking classes was quite wealthy?  
This bummed me out for a day, until I went to do some modeling for a painter.  So I went in and told her about how bummed out I was and she had this great story.  Once, when she was a little low on funds, she paid for a workshop with a well-known painter by working for him.  This gave me some hope so I emailed the head of the studio asking how to join and mentioning that I am REALLY short on cash, any cash I make has to be used to get to auditions and feed and house myself, but would be willing to work it off, be it by teaching something or taping or selling tickets or scrubbing the toilets or cleaning his house for free.  It didn't matter what it was, and I wasn't asking for a handout, I just would not be able to pay cash.  
The response from the head of the studio made me first sad and then angry.  He said he only accepted cash.  I get it.  He offered me a class where they only met once a week that still cost 3 times more than I spend on food in a month, and I love eating.  And said if I couldn't afford that, I could always take their one day class.  Which cost $10 less than that.  If I can't pay for the more involved studio, I am not paying part of that to meet for 4 days, or worse, once.  Seemed really offended that I would ask him to teach me in exchange for anything but cash because he had been in the acting game for fifty years and he was worth the price.  I get that you worked hard sir, and I respect that.  But even I give a few free classes to students because they can't afford it, or because I don't know if they are going to like what I tell them. And it's not like I was asking for free.  I was offering one service for another.  I am sorry if you were offended.  I just really wanted to work with you.  He then said to email him back when I had the money and was serious about my career.  
At this point, I politely thanked him, said if I ever had an extra 6 grand lying around I would happily pay him (and I do sincerely mean it) and if he ever offered a scholarship to please let me know.
He then immediately emailed me back and said he would never offer a scholarship.
So I have been applying for grants to go to this acting studio.  I told you I meant it.  Yes, I think acting seven days a week is worth it and there is never a bad education.  This was who put on the show with a cast entirely from his studio.
It's what is rarely discussed in this profession.  It is meant for the wealthy.  Or for children whose parents devote their lives whole lives to giving their child an acting profession in some way or another.  I have met several people in my life who were at Sundance this year, funny enough they just started getting enough money to pay for things on their their 30s.
Honestly, people are talking about it.  Even the great Dame Judi Dench mentioned it.  Even Spacey send the ladder back down to help people up.  *As a quick side note, Middle-Class England families include doctors and lawyers, in other words people who can afford to pay for school.  Yes RADA and LAMBA still charge their students about $10000 a year on top of their government funding.  If you are American and want to go you are looking at $20000 a year American not including the cost to live there.  I wanted to audition and so I looked.*  
Let me just break it down for you.   Good headshots are a minimum of $200.  Really you should be getting those every three months (hands on anyone who actually does?), or every time something on your face changes, whichever comes first.  You have to pay for a casting websites.  I know most of them offer a free version but you have to pay $2 for ever submission, why not just pay for a small package that gives you access to self-submit.  That runs about $300 a year...over $500 if you include IMDb and Backstage.  Then there is the equipment to shoot auditions, which is thankfully only a one time cost, but still, about $900 for a basic set up.  Or you can pay a taping service $25 every time you tape  You can't live off a regular phone anymore so you need a smartphone to keep in touch with the world, $80 a month.  $75 to cut your reel together.  $10 a month gym membership.  $250 to pay someone for a speed scene if you have no film to put on your reel.  The list goes on and on and that doesn't even include having to pay for food, rent, utilities, gas, health...which, according to the government, should equal about $1600 a month for a single individual.  No wonder most of our most famed actors came from families who could afford it.
Is it fair?  Probably not.  Is it right?  Not even a little. We have lost hundreds of Mark Ruffalos...Ruffaloes? the need to eat.  Seriously, Mark Ruffalo did a Clearasil Commercial in 1992 and then didn't work for 8 years.  There are so many AMAZING actors out there who can't afford the big acting studios.  They can't afford to attend the premieres and watch the plays due to the cost.  I know I will not go see a show simply because I can't afford it.  They can't afford to pay the best headshot photographers out there to get headshots done.  Really, if you can't afford to pay for these things,  some may say you should just give up on acting and find another job.  It's not for you.  And for some, this is for the best.
But there are those of us who are just stubborn.  Maybe a little proud and insane too.  Maybe we just want this more.  So we work, and save.  We quit jobs to go work regional theater.  We take 3 weeks off a good paying job, or just quit altogether, to go and shoot a film where we make $125 a day.  We sit in our backyards and tape short films.  We save for 3 month to take a workshop that costs $100.  We beg a little to get into studios, or save to be able to go to The Actors Studio auditions in NY.  (By the way the Actor's Studio is free.) We apply for grants.  We don't sleep.  Much.  We are poor actors, and we will not go quietly into the night.  We will prove we are worth it and we will show you we can.  And when we get as high as we can go, we will reach back and pull others up.  If we can't climb and high we will push those who need it most higher.  Who knows, maybe one of those someones will reach back with a helping hand.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Confessions of a G-List Actress: AND I WOULD DRIVE 500 MILES...

So, the past two weeks have been insane.  Mostly because a large portion of these days have been spent driving.

Yes, driving.  Because I am poor and airlines are expensive.  So I took off two weekends of work to drive way more than a human being should.  Starting Monday the 8th.

I woke up at 7:30 am and then drove 13 hours to Memphis.   Yes, the very city Elvis was referring to when he sang the song, "In the Ghetto."

13 hours of driving is a long drive.  Seriously, had I gone crazy it would have only taken me 2 more 13 hour days to get to LA.  Next time.  Did you know that in Tennessee there is a law stating that at every exit there must be a Cracker Barrel?  Neither did I til I took I-40 all the way to Memphis.  Yep, every single exit had a Cracker Barrel.  Hungry?  No?  Well don't worry, I am sure you can find some great southern food at the next exit.  Apparently, Cracker Barrel are like Starbucks.  I actually saw a Cracker Barrel, across the street from another Cracker Barrel.

Another odd thing about the LONG state of Tennessee, there are countless country stations, and not a single one of them comes in clear.  It's like all their stars are playing by the ocean.  Good Grief!

Oh I would love to see this view I found on Wikipedia.

After a REALLY LONG DAY I GET TO MEMPHIS.  Oh don't get me wrong, Memphis is really neat.  There is a great view of the Mississippi, that I never get to take in, because I always drive there and have just enough cash to pay for two days of staying in the hotel where the auditions are being held.  But it is also really dirty.  Seriously, someone always gets mugged while attending UPTA.  Usually some guy who thought he was bad enough to walk from a restaurant on his own.  He will be sober, but the people beating him nearly to death, won't be.

UPTA is in the SHERATON downtown.  Great hotel.  The only nuisance is there is NO FREE PARKING.  I am too tired after the long drive to go looking for a place to park, so I valet.  The hotel room is so nice, and Sheratons have the BEST BEDS EVER!

YAY UPTA. United Professional Theater Alliance.  The place to audition if you love to do theater.  Yes THEATER, Film's more deserving, less pretentious cousin.  I love both equally.  But, film is a director's medium and theater is an actor's medium, but I digress.

The boyfriend is with me and we are starving.  Hey let's walk to Beale Street.  Gotta be something there.   So we walk the ten blocks, looking at whatever appears to be open and offer food.  Astonishingly there is not really much open at 8:45 on a Monday.  Beale is mostly bars but now Walking in Memphis is playing in my head on full blast.  Likely this is exhaustion.  We start to walk back, thinking maybe the Sheraton Hotel Restaurant will be open.

We quickly run into this little place called Automatic Slims.  Oh, the Brisket was to die for.  I love BBQ.  I don't think I have inhaled food that quickly in a long time.  We walk back and already the mugging has happened.  There is a kid with a huge bandage on his head and he looks really out of it.  I actually see an old boss of mine and we chat a bit.  It is always great to run into someone you know.  I hadn't talked to Joe in years.  Got a free beer out of it too.  By the time I get back to my room, I shower and pass out.  I actually don't recall falling asleep that night.

The next day I dress and go to my audition.  I had been given the wrong number online and was actually in the last group on the last day.  Bummer.  I sat in the waiting room for three hours before getting to audition and only had about thirty people to watch me, as opposed to the hundred there usually are.  Bummer.  I do get some callbacks, though, which is nice.  The callbacks are short and I hope very much to be involved in something.

So, after a total of 30 minutes of hotel TV, which is great TV by the way, I pass out again and I wake up at 9:30 the next day.  Another 13-hour drive and I am home, only to work my butt off in CPR classes and bartending.  I do about 3 auditions during the week and at the end of that wonder is my next trip.

Yes, Connooga.  Not a 13-hour drive, but, isn't 7 hours enough one way.  Logically at this point, I could have driven to LA.  

Friday February 19th I pack myself, boyfriend, roommate, and Doctor Who memorabilia, into my car and we drive to Chatanooga, TN.  We get there just in time to set up our vendor table and take a few donations before the dealer room shuts down.  We manage to have the patience to wait 45 minutes for a table in one of three places you can eat at within walking distance of our hotel room.  Great Burgers at the Terminal, but we were going to eat at stir the next night if it killed us.

A day of Doctor Who promotion and British dialecting later, and we are able to get an idea of what people want to see in their Doctor Who fan film.  Now I just want to sleep but we have a table at STIR, where I spend over $100 on food (totally worth every cent) drink and dessert.  We go to some room parties and I pass out once more at an early, 1 AM.

I have plenty more I could tell.  But I am still trying to rest up and I don't actually recall 90% of the past 2 weeks.  I guess that is just #actorlife.  Yeah, even I feel like a jerk hashtagging that.  Who came up with hashtagging acting?  Honestly?  Must have been someone who needed attention and wasn't getting any.