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Dance-tress Acting Up: Dreams DO come true

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You guys, I have some amazing news! Well, it's not quite about me, but a friend of mine. And yes, his good new is my good news. If he can do it, I can do it! He is one of the few people I feel 150% deserves every ounce of good fortune that comes his way. He may call it luck, but I know it's persistence and a boat load of hard work.

I am talking about my friend, Carlos Pratts. If you haven't heard of him yet, you will soon. He stars opposite Kevin Costner in the feature film, "McFarland", which opens THIS Friday. How exciting! Carlos isn't someone I see often, but he is someone I have known for a little while now and I know for a fact, that his journey has not always been smooth sailing. 

Trust me, this business is not easy and there are no answers to why Joe Schmo books and Sally Sue does not (well maybe because Sally Sue is female, but thats a whole other blog). Some people are just luckier than others and I don't call Carlos' years of pounding the pavement an "effortless" over night success.

Times haven't always been easy. Like mine, his family does not live close by. Saving up for a plane ticket to fly home while spending money on acting classes, new head shots, workshops, etc, may mean that there will be some sacrifices that will have to be made. I mean, who doesn't like sitting around at home during the holidays while the rest of the country spends time with their family. And who doesn't like eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the 99 cent only store? Actually, I really do enjoy this. Not always the best stuff, but if you're hungry and low on cash, this is survival. 

McFarland.jpg

That's why a success story like this means so much, to everyone. It was worth it and I am so excited to hear about the opportunities that may arise after the film hits theaters. Regardless if it does well or not in the box office, the fact that he has such a prominent role in the film, is a HUGE success in itself.

So, how does this pertain to me and my blog? Well for starters, we should all support one another. And, as Carlos said to me the other day when asking permission to talk about him in this blog, "we are here to inspire", but most importantly, this is just proof that dreams DO come true. If that silver platter isn't dangling on your doorstep, you just have to work really, really stinking hard. If you think you're working hard, work harder because if you're not, someone else is. It may not happen over night or even in 5 years, but it will happen. Be prepared for a marathon.

Steven McQueen

And if you were ever wondering what I consider a "silver platter", it is booking a co-starring or guest starring role on a TV show within 1.5 years of moving to your film hub of choice (unless you have extensive credits from your hometown). It is finding representation within 6 months of moving here. It is having direct connections to "important people". It is going on a leisure vacation and only self submitting to jobs every three days and still auditioning every week because "my agent just submits me to stuff" (ugh, that ones annoying).

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"- Roman philospher Seneca

In conclusion of this awesome blog, hard work never disappears so bring the family and support Carlos in Disney's "McFarland", Feb. 20 at a theater near you! Holla

Dance-tress Acting Up: Twitter

Am I bugging you with all of these extra pictures and posts lately on social media? I sincerely apologize. It's very annoying, I agree, but it's something I, unfortunately, have to do. Now, I know what you're thinking, you don't "have" to do anything, but I do, here's why. Social media is a huge marketing tool, we all know this, but now casting breakdowns are starting to ask you how many followers you have and how many views and subscribers you have on your channels.

Yup, its true. As if it is not already hard enough to break into the industry, now I have to have "X" amount of followers on top of it? I wish this wasn't true, but that would be a lie. In fact, I was having this conversation the other day with an actress friend of mine, and she was telling me that she had just lost a role to someone who had more YouTube followers than her. To make matters worse, this person had NO prior acting experience. They had not spent countless hours studying the art, ridiculous amounts of money taking classes, updating reels and head shots,  they just had more YouTube followers? Are you kidding me? Not only is this offensive and frustrating, but this is simply lazy casting and filmmaking.

The reason for casting these people is simple, they come with a built in audience. If you cast them, chances of them posting the project on their page is very likely, there fore, chances of your project getting a buzz is much greater than casting just a "regular" actress. Ok, in a sense, I understand the reasoning, but come on! It's hard enough to get an audition, now this additional factor is just ridiculous. If said person is an actor who just happens to have a ton of viewers, than great, I'm a little more ok with this new concept. But someone with no previous desire to act, is just plain annoying. 

So, whats a girl to do? Play the game of course, three times a day, 3pm, 6 pm and 9pm. I met a lovely gal a few weeks ago who has over 200k and she gave me the scoop. If you post on Instagram it will link directly to your Facebook and twitter. It's that "easy". It's actually a little obnoxious (in my opinion) to post that much, but its working. I've been getting several new followers a week. More followers= more views on my video = bigger audience and my own build in fan base :) Psh, by that time, who knows, I may not even need these other castings because I will have my own paying projects to work on. 

Along with the pay to play casting directors workshops, I don't think these specific casting requirements will be going away anytime soon. Our industry is always evolving and this is just another step one must try and conquer. Good luck to all, and #followme I'll follow you back.

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Dance-tress Acting Up: Self-Taping Your Audition

I write this blog out of pure annoyance. And, I use the term “annoying” because I understand that I am not performing brain surgery or serving our country. Thank you to those that do! I am lucky enough to even pursue a career in entertainment, so my “problems” aren’t really that bad, just an annoying inconvenience.

Annoying = Monday mornings. I woke up at 10:45am for my 11am dentist appointment. Whoa! First of all, I slept till 10:45! That hasn’t happened in years. I’m not exaggerating when I say my weekends are crazy busy. Turns out, I set my alarm for pm. So, I was late for my appointment which also meant I was going to be late to my 3pm meeting. Then, I had to figure out how to find 45 minutes to run to my friends house so that I could borrow her computer (I get mine back TOMORROW) to upload my current auditions video. It had been sitting around my room since Friday. It was due at 6pm today.

After pushing my meeting back an hour and almost getting into a car accident, I found myself roaming some building in Sherman Oaks to get to my meeting. Well, the address listed on Google is different than the address actually listed on the company’s website - Burbank. So, I missed my meeting.

This brings me to the real topic of this blog - self taping auditions. Do you love them or hate them? I straddle the fence on whether I like them or not. 

I LOVE them because-

  1. If I mess up, I have the luxury to press stop and go again. I have the ability to improve/correct things I didn’t like. 
  2. I like not having to drive anywhere. Rush through traffic.  Worry about parking. Ugh, how many times have you walked out of an audition to find a parking ticket on your car?
  3. I like not having to set up my printer to print my resume. Or run to CVS to have a picture made. Yes, you can have them made in bulk, but that is an extra $100 I don’t have right now. Also, I’m earth friendly so it’s nice to conserve paper.  
  4. If you are easily able to make a tape, then this option saves a lot of time. 

Now, time for the reasons I can’t stand self taping auditions.

  1. Not everyone owns a video camera.  What about using your computers webcam? Um, who remembers my sob story last week about not having a functioning computer or web cam. 
  2. “Well, then ask a friend to borrow theirs”. OK. Try linking schedules with that one person who volunteers their computer for a small period of time during the 3 day time frame given. Sounds like plenty of time, but its not. 
  3. Better hope they are also actors because asking your friend who is a student/full time worker to help you run lines may be hard to come across. Then use their computer for the next 30 mins. This includes the time it takes to tape, upload to your computer, convert to an acceptable format and size, then send it off to casting. You will owe a lot of lunches after the 10th time you ask. 
  4. Sometimes finding a reader is hard. Yes, I have tried recording the other characters lines with my phone in an attempt to create a dialogue. Man, I can’t even tell you how many times that didn’t work. 
  5. Self taping is becoming more and more common. Is it simply because producers can see more people in less amount of time? ”One of these 7,000 entries will be ‘the ONE’ ”. Is this the modern day “cattle call”?
  6. Or as some would say (not me, don’t blacklist me!) casting directors are becoming lazy

Just tonight I was supposed to upload my tape before my 9am deadline tomorrow. After having many of the above issues, I came to the conclusion that I would have to let this one go and decline the audition invite. Funny enough, when I got online, there was an email in my inbox pushing the deadline back to 6pm. Guess I wasn’t the only one having these problems and hadn’t received many. 

How do you feel about this type of audition? What are your thoughts? Any crazy stories?

Dance-tress Acting Up: Be Prepared

Wow, Monday was a crazy day. I was on my way home from an audition Thursday and found out I had another audition email in my inbox, Hooray! I got home, made a dentist appointment for Monday morning, then began reading information for my next audition. It was also on Monday, but it was a Skype audition since the casting office is in New York. I read the sides and was feeling pretty confident that I could rock this character. Friday comes along and I get another audition for Monday. Wow, I rarely even get auditions now I have 2 in one day. Must be my new headshots ;)

Weekends are usually insanely busy for me. I work all morning/afternoon both Saturday and Sunday, then Saturday night I had a show in Glendale, then Sunday after work I had a photo shoot for the new dance company I am joining. Didn’t get home till 7:30pm. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t much time to give my auditions the proper time I’d like to prepare.

I set my alarm nice and early for Monday so I can organize my thoughts, plan out the day, and get ready. Boom, I realize right away that I don’t have any head shots printed out. I quickly place a print order at Target to be picked up within an hour and a half. I start reading my second audition sides (the dialogue they want you to read from the script) and decided that I would need more time then allotted to feel good about my performance. Looks like I was going to have to reschedule my dentist appointment. Oh well.

Caslin_Rose_Oops

Then, I get online to make sure my Skype was ready to go. Yikes, I can’t connect. Remember all of those computer problems I was griping about on Facebook?  Well I’m still using my back up computer and its not quite up to date. Shoot. So I make a new Skype account thinking that it would solve the problem - it didn’t. Fortunately, my boyfriend gave me a desktop computer to use for editing. The internet is better on there anyway, so I put that bad boy together, sign into Skype again, only to realize there is no webcam on there! Ah. This is a problem.

Well, I hurry my butt over to Target to pick up a webcam. The second I walk in I notice that they are renovating the photo center and it is CLOSED! Yes, Closed! Holy freak out. Get my web cam (it’s not mac compatible, but I would rather try than not try at all. It was the only one they had), then get over to the help desk to get info about my print order that should have been ready. Turns out that I ordered prints from the other Target in town. Who has time for this? When I placed the order, I usually just click the first one that pops up after I enter my zip code for location. Oops, my bad for not realizing that they had taken this location option away since it was renovating.

Time to get this Skype audition rolling. I had 10 minutes before the audition was supposed to happen to make sure everything was finally working properly. I call my mom up and make her Skype with me ASAP. The video looked GREAT! But… I couldn’t get the microphone to work. I tried many different things, but no luck.  F it. Fortunately for me, casting called and apologize for not calling me and that they had an emergency and wasn’t able to make the call. Whew, I dodged a bullet. She said she would call the following day and reschedule. That was 2 days ago now and I haven’t heard from her.

Caslin_Rose_Audition_Sides

So, time to focus on the next audition. I made a new order at CVS for my headshots and waited about another hour or so to get the email stating that the pictures were ready. Never got the email, but I had about an hour to make it to the audition. They were stopping at 5pm and it was now 4 pm. Luckily, my picture was ready and the 405 was gracious. I made it to my audition at 4:50, and was the very last person to go. Still haven’t decided if this was a good thing or not.

When I walked into the room there were about 6 men sitting across the table with their arms crossed. I guess the actress who went before me didn’t have the greatest luck. They were all griping and complaining about her audition RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! “Did she just get those sides right now”, “that was just horrible”… um…ugh… ok, I have no idea what just happened, but I’ll just sit there and smile.

Finally someone apologized, then everyone just got quiet and stared at me as if I should just start reading. Normally you wait for the casting director to tell you to slate (state your name, role, show your profiles, whatever else they want to know directly to the camera) or let you know what they want you to do. None of this happened and there was no camera. No big deal. It was the end of the day, I can imagine they were just tired and just wanted to go home.

So, I read my lines, and the first thing I heard was, “very good, thank you for being prepared”. Whoa, imagine if I had shown up without a headshot? After all of the mornings shenanigans, I had planned on just showing up empty handed, “they’ll have my audition on tape anyways”. They specifically said to bring one in the original audition email and stated exactly what they wanted on the back of the headshot. They also specifically said do NOT attach a resume to the back. I knew it was important, but life wasn’t quite participating in the game. I just wanted to do my best.

I guess the moral of this story is be prepared! Read ALL of the information that is given to you. Perhaps this is a test to see if you can follow directions. For me…this was the final kick in the butt I needed to take my computer in for repair. $300 and I should have it back next week J

Oh, and for those wondering why I didn’t just use my iPhone for Skype, well my phone also has issues and wifi at my place is horrible.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Should You Cut Work For an Audition?

I got a message from my friend the other day; I could tell she was a little annoyed. She is putting together a burlesque show and she had scheduled rehearsals that all of the performers knew about in advance. Then, she started getting emails and phone calls and several of the girls were calling out. There was a big audition in town and they were invited to attend. But what about the job you already have and the time you already made a commitment to?

Well this is a tricky subject. If this had happened to me, I would have to think long and hard about the decision I was going to make. 1) A commitment is a commitment. You already said that you were available and you already blocked out that time, and because you did that, so did the person on the other end. There is also the time that you have already spent on previous rehearsals for this current job. Let’s not forget the time you had to block out of your schedule to attend for the audition. This job is a done deal. Its in the bank, its yours and you will be performing several times a month for this particular gig.

2) Who is the person you are working for? Do you really want to jeopardize that connection and the connections that they may have? Has the person invested a lot of time and personal funds to make this production the best that he or she can. How do you know that they don’t have other jobs lined up that may call for additional talent? If you are in their good graces, chances are you will be at the top of their list when it comes to being hired for further work. Just because this is a smaller production for this person doesn’t mean they don’t have higher paying jobs and a bigger production lined up next month.

Now, here’s the flip side. You get a HUGE audition for a job you’ve always dreamed of.  This job is rare to come across and it could potentially change your life. You could be “upgraded” on the totem pole of bigger and higher paying jobs. Having this on your resume would look amazing.  It would take your career from McDonald’s burgers to Morton’s steakhouse. (Blah blah, I don’t eat burgers or steaks either, but I couldn’t think of anything better)

Going to this audition seems like a no brainer, right? Well, here’s the catch, you are one of 300 girls asked to audition for one of 3 roles. Unless you are absolutely AMAZING, coincidentally the “look” they are seeking, or have previously worked for them your chances of actually booking this job are slim. Who knows, they may even typecast. This means that instead of teaching you a dance combination, they will line everybody up, walk by and either say, “please stay” or “thank you for coming”.

So what do you do? Take a risk and aim for one of those 3 spots? Or do you build a relationship with the up and coming artist that you already made a commitment to. What if you attend the big audition, don’t book it, but in the mean time screw over the choreographer and lose that job too? It’s your life and your career, what do you want? What would you do? Good luck!