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Dance-tress Acting Up: Hustle

I've been so behind lately. Not with my every day errands or work, but just with my blog writings and editing. Nobody has ever pressured me or anything like that, but it still bugs me to be "behind". I am not a procrastinator. I am a hardworking perfectionist who is absolutely obsessive about getting things done. I love being busy. I have a list of shorts, scenes, sketches, and photo shoots that I have already started piecing together. None of these self created projects have a deadline, but in my brain, they need to be completed NOW. 

I love it, but I am exhausted and it's only January. Perhaps, its my own fault. I didn't quite take a break over the holidays. In fact, the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year in entertainment land. I filmed an episode of my web series, "12 TeEn", wrote a blog or two, had several dance shows, and of course my regular j.o.b.

One of the things I think a lot of people don't really realize, is that pursuing a career in the arts is essentially like taking on another full time job, only you are not getting paid for it. You should be working on your free career as much as possible so that one day, you will be getting paid for it. Many suggest spending at least an hour a day working towards your ideal career, whether it be taking a class, learning an accent, networking, branding, producing your own work, etc. Ever heard the saying, "it's not a sprint, it's a marathon"? 

Well, let me tell you, I have been sprinting during this marathon and I am officially pooped. The problem is, it is so difficult for me to justify taking a break when I know time is passing me by and I am nowhere close to where I want to be. Well, I am getting there, but there is still a lot of work to put in. Am I the only one that feels like this? I understand that timing is everything, but it's just hard to sit back, and take a vacation, when you haven't had a single acting audition since November. Maybe even before that. And yes, I do submit myself EVERY day and several times throughout the day. How is this possible, I have no idea. 

I know plenty of people who are fortunate enough to work very little their day job (parental assistance or they were awesome and booked that big national commercial) or who can regularly afford to go on vacations and see their families, but that is not me. I believe my motivation and determination will one day surpass and conquer. Right now, opportunities are not knocking at my door, so it's time for me to suck it up, and get back to my hustle. And let me tell you folks, my hustle is good. Really good. "Diva is a female version of a hustla" - Thanks Beyonce.

Remember a few blogs ago, I mentioned that my friend and I were talking about something, probably the business, my back or computer issues, and she said to me, "you are not a victim", well this is now something I have to tell myself on a regular basis. There is a path and plan for everyone. Hard work never disappears. 

For now, I have to get ready for work. And I've already started season 2 of "12 TeEn". Enjoy. 

Obv, I do not own the rights to this song, its not mine. Nick Jonas- "Jealous" More... Follow Caslin- Instagram-CaslinRose Twitter- CaslinRose My sister channel at Chicksandgiggles01 'Like" me and I'll like you back

Dance-tress Acting Up: Getting Cut From a Feature

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Where oh where have I been? Quite busy to be honest. In fact, I’m on set as we speak. I’ve actually been on set pretty much all day since I got back in town last week. I’m working as lead set director on a feature film.

I took a week off to go and visit family since I knew I wouldn’t be able to go home for Christmas. While sitting at the airport getting ready for my flight, I got a phone call from the producer saying that the schedule has been bumped up a day earlier. Well, that’s a problem because I will still be out of town the day filming starts. In the midst of panic, I got online as fast as I could to start making arrangements to have my assistant/friend work on some things that I was planning on working on the day I got back. Also, to make sure I got the day off at work (this also was a HUGE problem). THEN, my computer crashed and wouldn’t turn on for the next few hours. What a way to start my “vacation”.

I feel as though my whole trip was filled with anxiety and I couldn’t truly enjoy time with my family. You see, when I signed on to do set design, I also stated that I was not really interested unless I have a role. Let's remember, I am looking for a career as an actress, not a professional set designer. This is a project that I have known about for the past year. “Yeah, we'll get you in the film”, “Yes, you will definitely have a role”. And the closer and closer we got to day one, nothing had been confirmed of which character I would be playing. I started out with a nice supporting role. Then, a featured student on campus. Now, I am just a glorified extra. This sucks. Not only does it suck, but it hurts. It hurts being on set every day watching girls say my lines. Maybe it’s just my ego?

In fact, one of the days, an actress had a problem getting to set (there were issues with the location allowing people into the gated community, even though production had paid for it) so I ended up taking her role. Hooray! All of my grumpiness instantly went away considering that it was one of the roles I thought I would be playing once I found out I wouldn’t have a supporting role anymore. It was a small role, but it was better than no role. Plus, I knew it had additional scenes throughout the film. This was great.

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Two days had passed. It was one of the days I had requested off from work. Not just requested, but argued and made a big issue out of getting the day off. I HAD to be there to decorate the set AND to film the remainder of my scene. I have an actual role now, so it would be kind of messed up to not show up to set. Can’t let this opportunity slip away.

As I’m looking at the call sheet I see that the other girl's name is still listed. Oh well, I figured the other producer just forgot that I had already filmed the first scene as that character. I call them up to remind them that it will ruin continuity if someone else just magically appeared. Well, turns out that this girl is a good friend of theirs and they were determined to get her in the movie. Here’s what happened. Are you ready for it? They gave her MY lines and once again cut me out. They created a whole new role for her and even put her in a new scene. Yup, shafted.

There’s not really much I can say about this other than they wanted to cast their own personal friends regardless of what was promised and who would have been right for the role. As upset as I was, I will use this as motivation. I know what NOT to do on my own projects. And as a bonus, I will use this time to work on my next script. :) Everything happens for a reason, right? 

Dance-tress Acting Up: What Is the Secret?

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How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? The world may never know. We may also never know what it takes to “make it” in this business. Is it a specific talent or look? Or is it solely connections? What it is?

This brings me to a casting notice that was sent to me by a friend. Her friend was in need of an actress who can dance and do stunts. He was looking for someone who would be able to pull off the stunt choreography with fluid movement (most likely why they were looking for a dancer). There would also be a sword fight.

Goodness gracious, my first reaction was, “I’m perfect for this”. I’ve dance professionally, I’ve done gymnastics since I was 2, I have stunt experience, AND I have even performed an entire sword fight in front of a live audience two times a day for an entire month. I think I’ve got this. Game over. Job in the bag.

I emailed pictures, my resume, all of my reels as well as a link to my website within minutes of me hearing about the casting. He responded right away saying that he will forward everything to the director of the film, and that they will let me know that night if they are interested or not. Well, it is a few days later and I haven’t heard a thing. I understand that emailing everyone back would be time consuming and probably annoying. Receiving feedback/response with a “no” or “sorry” is a rare thing. Most of the time you don’t hear anything and are left to wonder for days until you forget about it. But to be honest, I convinced myself that I would definitely be getting a meeting or audition right away. It’s not that I feel entitled, but I can do everything they were asking for with ease. I have reels to prove it.

So this brings me back to my question, what is it? What are they really looking for? If I didn’t get this job, who did? What is it that caught their attention? Maybe the project fell through? Or maybe they wanted a male instead? Or possibly someone who doesn’t have as much experience so they can train them fresh, instead of trying to break old habits. Looks like we’ll just never know.

Wait, is it because I don’t have a six-pack?

***I would also like to take a quick second to thank my friends who pass and share castings they stumble upon. I always feel like if I don’t get the job, I would rather one of my friends do. 1) Because that’s awesome 2) keeping it in the family 3) I would hope that they keep me in mind when something pops up again.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Producing Your Own Projects

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I believe that a person should work at their career for at least an hour everyday. This is not a one-two-step-to-success kind of career. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and for those like me who hate running, the thought of a marathon is exhausting. Between your j.o.b, auditions, family and everyday duties, life can get pretty hectic. I know we’re not out on the streets saving lives or curing cancer, but it can still be difficult and frustrating at times. We still need vacations (if you can afford one) or at least another hobby to keep you occupied.

And hobby it is! I have definitely discovered some new hobbies, and they tend to keep me quite busy. One that I really enjoy is creating my own projects. I had no idea I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. I remember being frustrated the last time I worked a student film. They’re still learning so it took hours longer than scheduled, it was no pay, and I never got the footage back. Sadly, it felt like a big waste of time. I decided that if I was going to do something that was going to turn out mediocre and not get paid, I might as well make my own projects and write my own stories.

I’ve learned so much more about film production than I ever planned. I learned the importance of lighting, angles, pace and so on. I became a one-woman crew. I am writing, directing, acting, doing my own camera work and it’s incredibly fulfilling. My own wacky ideas are brought to life, and it’s also a great way to keep productive. It’s not always easy though. Editing can make me want to pull my hair out. I am not a professional in any of these areas, so it is very learn as I go, but I get better each time.

I have also realized that I am a comedy writer. Many of the sketches that pop into my head tend to have a silly twist in them. Or, at least I think it’s funny.

This brings me to my current web series, 12 Teen. It started out as a joke and a way for me to act. Then I realized how easy it is to continue with the story line. I’m not on a deadline so I can make a new one whenever I want. Who knows, I may even enter it into LA Webfest next year or gain a fan base. Time will tell.  

12 Teen 2 - watch more funny videos

As a former competitive gymnast/dancer, I will be sharing with you my journey as I transition into acting full time. I want to share my experiences and hopefully give you insight and tips on some things that I wish someone would have told me BEFORE I moved to California to start my journey. Some times, you have to live to learn, but always remember that you're already living the dream. - Caslin Rose

LA Advice: A Different Path to Success In the City of Angels

Here’s The First Thing You Should Do When You Move to LA

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Whether you’re a college grad moving out to LA for the first time, or an acting veteran looking to break into a new corner of the industry, you’re going to receive a lot of conflicting advice on how to get your foot in the door.

Maybe you’ll do what your college recommends and get an unpaid internship. Maybe you’ll sign up for a highly-rated acting class with a world-renowned teacher. Maybe you’ll pull all of your friends together and max out your credit cards on an independent web series.

Those ideas have worked for some people, and maybe they’ll work for you. But if you really want to guarantee yourself an ongoing chance at success — not just a one-time gamble — here’s the first thing you should do: Start a business.

Why a business? Why not just a “project”?

When I moved out to LA in 2008, I was a naive film school grad with no idea how to make a living in the industry. My college had taught me how to load a camera and cut film on an old-fashioned editing machine, but they hadn’t shown me how to apply those skills to make a living. In fact, many of those skills were already obsolete.

I sunk a lot of time and money into projects that I thought would bring me success at film festivals or on Youtube, and after my first year in LA, I was flat broke.

If I wasn’t going to get my big break, I thought, I could do the next best thing and become a freelancer. I had a camera and a copy of Final Cut Pro — how hard could it be?

What I didn’t realize was that making a living wasn’t as simple as having the required skills and equipment. There was a whole business side of things — marketing, invoicing, even just getting a website together — that I hadn’t considered.

Five years later, I’ve turned my freelancing career into a business -- complete with an online mailing list and e-books for sale -- and every day I kick myself for not starting sooner.

Save yourself the trouble, and brush up on these skills before you get to LA. Bring a copy of The Personal MBA or The Lateral Freelancer on your cross-country road-trip or your flight to LAX.

But I’m a creative person, not a businessman!

Starting a business doesn’t mean that you’ll be putting aside your creative life — it means you’ll have more opportunities to invest in it. Instead of working a low-paying day job, or a full-time position on somebody else’s project, take control of your time and finances.

Many big-name actors and filmmakers are also businessmen, from Ashton Kutcher, who’s become a savvy tech investor, to Francis Ford Coppola, who owns a winery in Napa Valley. If you’re serious about building your acting or film career, you’ll want to be just as serious about developing an income stream to help fund it.

A few years ago, Darwin embarked on a feature-length project that took over a year to shoot. Without any investors or a side business to depend on, he had to rely on his day job — or rather, night job — to pay his actors and for other expenses.

He would spend weekday afternoons in pre-production, head off to his editing gig until midnight, and shoot two or three scenes every weekend. Imagine how much easier it would have been if he’d had a side-business to help cover those expenses!

With First Class Reels, he has exactly that: a business that allows him to hone his skills, connect with other creative folk, and even act as a launching pad for a new project.

Your small business doesn’t have to require a big up-front investment or time commitment. Check out The $100 Startup for some low-cost business ideas, or The Four-Hour Workweek for ways to cut down on the amount of time you spend running your business.

What kind of business? It doesn’t matter.

Whenever my one of my friends tell me that they want to make a documentary or shoot a short film, I always ask them how they’re going to fund it. Grants, they might say. Or Kickstarter.

Why not tie it into a business instead? If your goal is to write and direct horror films, for example, consider starting a horror podcast or subscription box service.

My friends at LootCrate started up a “geek and gamer” subscription box with very little up-front cost. They now have thousands of subscribers, and each month, they put out an original Youtube video related to that month’s theme.

A built-in fan base + steady revenue = creative freedom.

Capitalize on all of your skills

If your first business idea doesn’t take off, try something new. The more ideas you have on the table, the more chances you have of your business becoming a success.

Start a blog. Design T-shirts. Sell prints of your photos.  Run a Patreon campaign.

Over at AppSumo, Noah Kagan challenged himself to make $1,000 in 24-hours by starting a jerky delivery business. This Instagram photographer made over $15,000 in a single day selling prints to his followers. Dustin makes science videos for YouTube and earns $3,000 every time he puts up a new one. Your business can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

Stop waiting for someone else to greenlight your project. Be proactive about building a revenue stream, and you'll never have to depend on industry insiders again.

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How about you? Have you tried starting a small business or side-hustle? For more ideas, check out Saul’s e-book, The Lateral Freelancer, which contains dozens of resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs.