Friday, March 26, 2010

Vlog experiment

Last night I recorded an audition for a vlogging project, and I was inspired to actually vlog. Here is the result:

We'll see if it happens again. Signs point to yes - it was sorta fun.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Resources for taking the plunge

I have a fellow actor friend from college who is very talented and is starting the journey of pursuing acting in LA. We had lunch this week and I compiled the following links of resources that I find valuable. I thought this might be a good list for anyone else embarking on an acting career in Los Angeles.

As ever, take these with a grain of salt. I think they are great, but what speaks to me might not be right for you. This list is not comprehensive by any means. If you have a great site that we should all know about it, please add it in the comments!

From my email to my friend:

"There is an unending wealth of information on the internet, which is a mixed bag. These are my go-to sites and a good starting point. Feel free to direct any specific questions back to me and I'll do my best to answer them.

Bonnie Gillespie's book Self Management for Actors, is the book I recommend everyone read first. Her column, The Actor's Voice, comes out every Monday and her archives are a treasure trove. Have fun.

actor's access
is a casting/self-submission site where it is free to create a profile. You can peruse the breakdowns and pay $2 when you want to submit, or pay $68 for a year of unlimited submissions.

I believe you can also set up a free profile on Now Casting but have to subscribe to submit. This is one of the newer casting sites, but I have booked work on it and have seen some big shows (24, Criminal Minds) that exclusively post here when they open it up for self-submitting actors.

LA Casting is the other main self-submission site. It seems to be more for commercials, and is more of an investment to create an account. They have an informative newsletter that you can read on their site and also offer free information workshops with casting directors.

Brains of Minerva is an actor's career and lifestyle resource. They frequently post interviews that are so good that I feel an explosive burst of inspiration and feel the need to share the article with everyone I know. is a great blog that I've been reading recently. I know one of the contributors, Ben Whitehair, from twitter, and actually met him in person last night.

I have some lists of industry people on twitter, if you're interested in jumping on that bandwagon - I have gotten a couple of auditions from casting directors posting jobs on twitter, and learn something fabulous from a post by another actor every single day.

I have heard rave reviews about The Actor's Network from more people than I can count. I'm a little fuzzy on what it is exactly that they do, but it seems to be a great resource, and a large number of the people I know who have been affiliated with them are working consistently.

There is a lot of controversy over casting director workshops, where you pay for the opportunity to read for a casting director, but I have had good experiences at The Actor's Key in Burbank. You get to choose and prep your own sides, you do your scene with a reader, and many of the CDs will give you a written evaluation. (I've also gotten called in for a show after meeting someone here, so there's that. However, the only guarantee is the opportunity, and you should always research whether or not that particular CD is known for calling people in from workshops.)

Hollywood Happy Hour
is a really useful yahoo group. Members ask for advice on various things and also sometimes post casting notices.

A similar useful yahoo group is Big Cheap Theatre. People do more show promotion on that one, but also sometimes post theatre auditions.

Alex's Info is a daily email for actors with all sorts of info - who's casting what, movie premieres, industry events, gas prices, side jobs... I look forward to reading it every morning.

The LA Stage Alliance is the group that puts on the Ovation awards, among other things. They are a good resource for half-price tix and info, and I like to check there to see what theatres are doing work that is consistently nominated. Same with the LA Weekly Theatre Awards - here is the list of nominees from this year:

Dallas Travers
is a great resource who focuses more on the business of the biz and career planning.
has great message board - The message boards are also a great resource when you want specifics on a name you think might have something shady going on. :)

Showfax message board as well - great resources there since some of those posters don't post on the Backstage board. (Thanks AmbitiousB!)

I hope this helps. I'm so glad you're considering the adventure - I say do it for as long as it makes you happy!"

So there you have it. I've already included a few things I forgot to put in my email. I'll edit as I have "I can't believe I forgot that site!" moments.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Know your type - the common theme

This morning I met with Kris of k2foto to talk about shooting headshots. I'm very excited to shoot with her, mainly because she spent so much time emphasizing the importance of knowing your type, and how she likes to know how you see yourself and how you plan to market yourself when she goes into the headshot session, so that she can help coach you through it to get the photos you want.

I've done typing exercises in class before and know how invaluable it is to hear how other people see you. The harder and somewhat more important task is knowing who you are and how you present when you walk in to the room. Everybody wants to be the stunningly beautiful girl, but everybody can't be. Knowing that isn't who you are can be difficult, but is so important.

I left my meeting with Kris thinking a lot about my type (and about how I really need to go shopping) and remembered that I had homework for the commercial class I'm starting tonight with Jill Alexander. She asked us to bring a description of ourselves as a character, as it would appear in casting director speak. Here's my crack at me:

Sweet but sassy best friend next door who can charm your mama, make your daddy laugh, and kick your brother’s ass. 22-28. The kind of person even shy kids hug on the first play date. Experiences soaring joy from clear blue skies and pugs. Smart with a barely suppressed inner librarian. Feminist who loves to cook. Southern girl with Midwest appeal. Liberal arts type with a few hippie tendencies. Kind but fiercely loyal. Saves worms and slugs from certain concrete deaths. Music lover born in the wrong era. Avid swing dancer. Plays clarinet.

After sitting down and doing that exercise, I feel much better about me and knowing who I am. I do know my type, I just need to remember how to articulate it. I'll let you know if the feedback I get agrees with my own assessment. I highly recommend that all actors write the breakdown that encompasses you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back on stage!

I'm performing the role of Lavinia in Titus Andronicus at Theatre of NOTE tonight and tomorrow night, and I'm excited!

I also have a revitalized passion for live performance, and a refreshed respect for live actors. Because when you've been in the film/tv world of "That wasn't my best, can we do that again?," you get sorta used to it and it gets sorta comfy. And then you go back to stage and you want to say "That wasn't my best, can we..."

Granted, I'm an understudy, so I've been watching instead of doing for the most part. The awesome cast came in on one of their nights off and rehearsed with us, so I feel great about tonight, but it is certainly a different animal. I love that live performance different animal. I never want so much time to elapse between the times I'm onstage, unless it is by choice.

There's my "live actors rock" soapbox. Come on down to Hollywood if you want to see the show!