Blog

The best place to find advice, analysis, and information on demo reel services Los Angeles, whether for actors, singers, dancers, journalists, or anyone else with an interest in promoting themselves.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Insecurities, Nerves and Butterflies

Need more of me? Click on the Tweeter or InstaG so you can follow me on the daily :)

Instagram

Butterflies, Butterflies, Butterflies!

I'm positive there were butterflies in my stomach all last week. Luckily for me, they're gone now. But, truth be told, a lot of it was all in my head. 

I was lucky enough to film a couple reels with some friends last week. This was something that has been on my to do list for a while now, and I finally had the opportunity to make that happen. You know me and my check lists, can you imagine the amount of gratification I felt as I was crossing these off the list? Yeah, awesome.

First shoot was with Darwheezy himself, and the other was with some friends over at Relentless Filmworks. For the second shoot, I had a little over a week to get everything prepared- learn my lines, put wardrobe together, chill out, etc. This was more than enough time, maybe too much. As each day passed and it became closer to the shoot date, the more nervous I got. 

"What if I suck?"

"Maybe I should have started working out sooner?"

"What if the other actor outshines me in my own scene?"

"What if I've been given all this time, and STILL can't remember my lines?"

Oh, zetus lapetus! (ha, who remembers that one?) no wonder why there were butterflies procreating in my stomach. I was worrying wayyyyy too much. I actually worried so much I ended up with some lovely stomach cramps for a few days prior to filming. My level of confidence was all over the place. Yes, I've been acting in a ton of my own projects, but it has been a really long time since I have had the opportunity to work with other professionals and just to be honest, the lack of opportunities I've had lately has made me incredibly insecure in my own abilities. I mean, there has to be a reason why I'm not working, right? Could it actually be because I'm not as good as I thought? I know I'm not a stick figure, but could it be because of my weight? Or my semi ethnic looking facial profile? Blah, there I go again. 

Luckily, I'm friends with both Steve and Troy at Relentless Filmworks, and the actor opposite of me (Kevin Ryan Sweeney) coincidently happened to be an old friend of mine, so it was a pretty comfortable set. Whew. Thank you jesus, I needed that.

Regardless of why you're not going out for auditions, most likely for reason out of your control, you CAN NOT TEAR YOURSELF APART. Trust me, I know, this is very easy to do. I will definitely work harder and look into a mirror next time.

So the moral of this story is, calm the F down! Chill the F out! We are all here for one another and ain't nobody's poo don't stank. We are a team and we need each other to grow together. Have confidence and be the best you can be.

Gosh, I'm so lucky. Just wanted to say a quick thanks to everyone who has helped me out! 

As Scene On TV: "Game of Thrones"

Game of Thrones: “Viper and the Mountain” – Sansa’s Testimony

A few weeks ago, we took a look at a Game of Thrones episode, touching on how the scene used implication and insinuation to paint a more vivid picture than an explicit conversation could have conveyed.  Today, we’ll take a look at a different Game of Thrones scene, in which Sansa shows unusual character development by lying to cover for her aunt’s murderer during Petyr Baelish’s trial.

http://www.hbo.com/video/video.html/?autoplay=true&vid=1381053&filter=game-of-thrones&view=null#/

Prior to this point, Sansa has been a captive, passive, frightened character.  Amidst badasses and independent women, Sansa has served as an unlikeable, simpering girl who’s too frightened to become a woman.  While her characterization is consistent, and while Sansa’s had her reasons to be passive, particularly after seeing much of her immediate family killed for stepping out of line, Sansa’s character trajectory has not given any indication that she’s developed the sort of cunning necessary to lie on the witness stand, as she does on this scene.

Sophie_Turner_Sansa_Stark_Game_of_Thrones_The_Mountain_and_the_Viper

Ironically, in this scene, Sansa’s prior passivity is her greatest strength here.  She plays at being traumatized by her aunt’s “suicide,” a wide-eyed bystander in a series of unfortunate but innocent mistakes on the part of Petyr.  A known plotter like Petyr can’t be taken at his word, but sweet, young Sansa can be believed, a fact that Sansa exploits to her advantage as she corroborates Petyr’s story, then demonstrates her own power over him.  

Her final look up at him, while clichéd and somewhat choreographed, still serves as a power-move on Sansa’s part, an acknowledgement that while she helped Petyr, it is ultimately she who holds the power in this circumstance, and she’s aware of that fact and willing to exploit it.

Like the last post covering Game of Thrones, this scene doesn’t happen in the books, and is a whole-cloth invention of the show.  However, as the show doesn’t have the benefit of giving viewers a first-hand look at each character’s thought process, scenes like this, that demonstrate character change, are necessary.  After nearly three full seasons of being used as a pawn at King’s Landing, it’s time for Sansa to take initiate, as she does at her first opportunity.

Angela Jorgensen originally hails from Iowa. She currently resides in Los Angeles and aspires to write for hour-long television dramas. She’s currently producing a documentary called The Longest Straw [www.thelongeststraw.wordpress.com].

Scream Scene: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"

“They’re All Part Of It!”

The year: 1978. The city: San Francisco. The Film: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The person writing this: Me, Ashton. This is my favorite horror film. And I only watch horror films. It’s skyrocketed to my number one for various reasons, not the least of which is its infamous final shot. It scares the shorts off me every time. Now when viewing, I only wear pants. I’m also only now starting to ask why that scene scares me so much.

Invasion_of_the_Body_Snatchers_Donald_Sutherland

The film is a remake of the classic 1956 version directed by Don Siegel, which is itself an adaptation of the terrifying Jack Finney novel, The Body Snatchers, written two years prior. All versions concern the same central premise of a small American town getting surreptitiously invaded by alien pods. The seemingly harmless plants swallow up the townspeople one-by-one and spit out replicas – replicas faithfully human on the outside, but mindless automatons on the inside with the sole mission of furthering their species.

Film historians generally agree on the themes and metaphors of the novel and first film adaptation. Whether the clones represent the dangers of conformism and loss of self under socialist rule or they conversely represent the tyranny of McCarthyism, there’s the general consensus that they’ve definitely got something to do with communism. Finney denies that this was ever his intention.

Born in 1986, I missed out on the fear of communists and of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy. To me, Kaufman’s Invasion is about something entirely different, which is exactly why I love his 1970’s remake more than the others. It hits me on a much more personal, visceral level that’s difficult to shake.

SPOILERS AHEAD (but come on, you’ve had 36 years to catch this movie.) The bulk of the film follows protagonist Matthew Bennell played immaculately by Donald Fucking Sutherland. Bennell is our loyal, intelligent, and incredibly charming hero - we feel safe with him. We spend the majority of the film watching him struggle to evade the alien invasion, losing many friends along the way. In the closing scene of the movie, Bennell silently walks through his office, past his “coworkers” than out into the streets of infested San Francisco. The world as we know it is gone, yet Bennell has miraculously managed to survive being overtaken by an alien pod…or so we think.

Veronica Cartwright, who’s graced us in other genre heavies such as Alien and The Birds, sees Bennell and runs up to him, relieved to find a fellow survivor. As she cautiously approaches him, the camera pushes in on Donald Sutherland. He slowly raises an arm, points his finger directly at her/the camera/us and emits a guttural, indescribable scroan (it’s like a scream and a groan). Veronica grabs her head and screams, realizing it’s the end. And there go my shorts again.

On the surface, it’s quite obvious why it’s so scary. The scream coupled with Donald’s contorted face, which goes zero to alien in the blink of an eye, is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. And we’re powerless to escape. The camera cuts back and forth between Veronica walking towards us and a steady push-in on Donald. The camera takes us hostage and drags us inexorably towards certain doom. We register that something is amiss and we realize that Donald Sutherland is not Donald Sutherland milliseconds before he points and screams. But by that point, it’s too late. The camera and its momentum are too powerful for us to disengage and there’s nothing we can do but scream along with Veronica. It’s a terrible feeling of helplessness as we realize that the one anchor in the entire film has failed us, and if Donny Boy can’t survive, there’s not much hope for the rest of us.

Which leads me to the deeper implications of this horrifying final scene. Like all good horror films, it reaches us all on a personal level. Every person, regardless of age and memory retention does have the clear recollection of being left somewhere as a child. Whether it was a supermarket or a playground, we remember suddenly looking up and finding that our parent is no longer holding our hands and we’re standing amongst a group of strangers. For me, it was the Westfield Public Library - let’s say 1990. And while I’m sure the whole ordeal probably lasted mere minutes, I distinctly remember the palpable feeling of abandonment and crushing isolation.

That’s what that final scene summons in me. Matthew Bennell is not a communist, nor is he fighting against them. He’s a simple human, one whom we love and trust and have no doubt in our minds that he will be with us and protect us through all this horror. While the rest of the world crumbles around us, Bennell holds our hands and assures us that everything is going to work out fine. When we approach him at the end, there’s a great feeling of relief that’s quickly snatched away. Philip Kaufman radically let’s go of our hand and leaves us in a world full of strangers. It’s a profoundly bleak ending and one that’s impossible not to ruminate over.

That’s why I love this film so goddamn much. Yes, it’s got oozy alien clones emerging from plants and thrilling noir-like chase sequences through claustrophobic downtown San Francisco. But it’s so much more than that. Watch it and see what I mean.

P.S. The hairstylist’s name is Edie Panda.

Ashton Golembo lives in Los Angeles and works as a television Field Producer and Production Coordinator. He's a genre cinephile and avid lover of all things horror.

As Scene on TV: "Bob's Burgers"

Bob’s Burgers: “World Warf II” – Bad Things Are Bad

Of all the animated shows in Fox’s Sunday night Animation Domination block, Bob’s Burgers is by far the most grounded. Family Guy and American Dad are prone to their fantastical breaks from reality, while latter-day The Simpsons is almost unrecognizable from the real world it originally was meant to satire. Therefore, Bob’s Burgers can feel almost quaint in its grounded, character-driven stories. When it does break from reality, like, say, with a two-part episode featuring a murder plot and multiple musical numbers, the series demands attention to its uncharacteristic stylistic choices.

Bob Belcher_Mr. Fischoeder_World Wharf Two

http://www.hulu.com/embed.html?eid=vpavoatwnbluyeqqjck_mq&et=808&st=686

Unlike many other episodes, the season finale’s two-episode arc involves a soapy plot. A murderous gold digger, familial betrayal, and an episode-long murder attempt against Bob drive the story. Perhaps, a cynical viewer could attribute the heightened stakes to a ratings grab, but perhaps there is something deeper going on here.

The scene draws attention to its own artifice. Each singer stands in a beam of light, inspired by theatrical spotlights. Likewise, the scoring is simple and straightforward: compared to other orchestral pieces common to modern television music, the accompaniment here is a piano line, which wouldn’t be out-of-place in a small musical theater setting.

Next, let’s look at the musical nature of this scene. The musical number in part serves to link this second episode to the first part from the previous week. In “Wharf Horse,” Bob courts Fischoeder in an upbeat companion song called “Nice Things are Nice,” sung to the same tune, albeit in major key. In this episode, we get a tenser, larger group number that draws attention to the life-threatening peril that Bob has fallen into.

From a lyrical perspective, the chorus is so simplistic as to be tautological. Of course bad things are bad. The verses are comparably silly, as the supporting cast fails to recognize the importance of Bob’s disappearance. Andy and Ollie suggest that Bob may be in a vase, Jimmy Jr. can only talk about his pants, and Teddy is overly concerned about the loss of his favorite burger joint.

So what’s Bob’s Burgers doing here? Perhaps it’s mocking its own sense of high-stakes, by throwing a self-mocking musical number into the most dire scene of a life-or-death situation. As the most grounded Fox animated sitcom, it won’t go so far as to demolish the fourth wall, but it will draw attention to the constructed-ness of its situation. Of course the titular character won’t be killed off, and Bob’s Burgers is winking at the audience to let us know they’re in on the joke.

Angela Jorgensen originally hails from Iowa. She currently resides in Los Angeles and aspires to write for hour-long television dramas. She’s currently producing a documentary called The Longest Straw [www.thelongeststraw.wordpress.com].