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: #LikeaGirl

In honor, of this past weekend's Super Bowl, I am going to write this awesome blog, #LikeaGirl. During the highly anticipated commercial breaks, Always (don't freak out- tampon/pad brand) featured a commercial of what the stereotype of being a female is like, and how it became a "bad thing" to be a girl. By the end of the commercial, there was a young girl who shared her untarnished idea of how to run like a girl.  Her answer was "as fast as you can" as opposed to the frilly wimpy response that came from the teenagers and adults. She represented strength, power, and fearlessness and that's what being a female is all about. Males too. We just have to get the rest of the world on board. Women are often overlooked, not taken seriously, and underpaid. It's 2015, how does this still happen?

Fortunately for me, I was raised by a feminist. Now, lets talk about that. Since when did the word "feminist" become a negative term that is associated with man hating? Last time I checked, it stood for equality. My mother never told me that I shouldn't do something because "I was a girl". In fact, she encouraged me in sports and never once told me or my sister to stop climbing the trees because "only boys do that". We're all kids at one time, why do things change as we get older?
 
I was never taught to "play my role" and be a trophy wife. If that's what you want, then that's cool, but it's not for me. I don't need to look perfect every time I step out of the house. I don't need flashy name brand clothes to seek approval from my peers. Actually, I rarely ever match. Perhaps, I take this one a little bit too far sometimes. I don't need to hide when I want to stuff my face with a bag of cookies because it's not "lady like". Guys don't, and we all know cookies are delicious. When I need to be professional and get something done, I do it. And I do it well, just like every other successful person.
 

I never realized my gender struggled so much with opportunities until I moved to Los Angeles and began my career in entertainment. Turn on the TV, watch a commercial, look at the billboards, I guarantee you will see far more males dominating the TV than females. Open up a magazine, and I can assure you there are probably some awful pictures and gossip about an actress with a headline that reads something similar to this, "Fat, wrinkles, no make-up, oh my". Think of an actor, now try and think of a time when you saw his private areas on the screen. Now swap it, how many times have you seen a naked, semi nude, in lingerie or fully topless female on your TV? Eh? Got you thinking now, don't I? Trust me, there is nothing wrong with the human body, I love my body and being sexy, but there are a lot of other AMAZING qualities that we females possess. I know I would personally love to see more of it on TV.

Entertainment plays a big role in our society. I feel pretty confident that if there were stronger female roles portrayed all over our media, things would begin to start changing. It would take time, but people are inspired by what they see and hear. If you are constantly being told you can't do something, then you're probably going to start to believe it. If you only see women in roles as mistress', secretaries, one night stands, the "party girl" then what would inspire young girls to think they can one day be as successful as their male counterparts who are portrayed as lawyers, presidents and CEO's?

Check out these movie posters. Lots of opportunities there. Are you sensing my sarcasm? These are just a few examples, and I'm not saying that female opportunities don't exists, but we can still aim to do better and achieve more, for everybody.

CONGRATS to Always and Procter and Gamble for paying, probably millions, to have this #LikeaGirl campaign play during one of the biggest male dominated sports days in America. That's some smart, clever marketing right there. They KNOW people are sitting around waiting to watch these commercials. Good work, we have your attention now.

Hello, World!

Instagram

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].

As Scene on TV: "Resurrection"

Resurrection: “Pilot” - Opening Scene

The difference between a good story and a great story often lies in the degree of detail and coherence.  Anyone can tell a story that makes sense and fits together, but a real work of art is elevated above other creative media in the careful construction of its smallest parts; a single scene can bear narrative weight even outside the context of the larger episode in which it occurs.

Resurrection_Cast

Take a look at a recent scene from a newly premiered show: Resurrection, the opening scene (00:00-02:15).  The full episode is viewable at http://www.hulu.com/watch/606178.

The scene is simple, almost dialog-free, but sets up several mysteries of the series.  A young boy, wearing American clothing, wakes in a rice paddy somewhere in rural China.  He walks through a street, until he encounters a couple who ask him a question in what closed captioning only identifies as “Chinese dialect,” which is not subtitled.  The boy asks the only line of dialog in the scene (or at least the only line in English, and therefore the only intelligible line for the majority of the show’s viewers): “Is she dead?”  Then, the boy faints.

Pilots bear a heavy burden in the world of a television series.  They need to capture the viewer’s interest, and tell a satisfying story, while establishing the characters, their conflicts, and the rules of the world.  In the world of television development, a pilot runs the risk of being the only episode of a series ever produced, unless it wows network and studio executives and stands out amongst dozens of other pilots produced each development cycle.  And after all of this pressure, the pilot must leave enough conflict open-ended that there’s room for years’ worth of subsequent seasons.

Resurrection boldly tackles these issues with a strategy that is apparent even in the opening scene.  A great deal of information is conveyed wordlessly in this opening: based on the disorienting nature of the opening shots, we know that mystery is going to be an element of the show.  The main character, who we later learn is named Jacob, is clearly an outsider, as the lone Caucasian English-speaking child in a village of Chinese farmers.  This theme of Jacob-as-outsider becomes an integral part of the show’s premise.  And the lone line of dialog, “Is she dead?” hints at the themes addressed in the show, questioning the finality of death, while also setting up plot points that will occur later in the episode regarding the cause of death for the unnamed “she.”

None of these suggested themes or plot points are explicitly stated (at least not in this scene), and a viewer may not even be consciously aware of these hints, but on some level, a person watching this episode is now primed for all of the events that will follow in this episode, and in the rest of the series.

I’m not going to spoil the episode by discussing specific plot points for the episode, but I would like to touch on the premise of the series, which according to IMDB, is “The lives of the people of Arcadia, Missouri, are forever changed when their deceased loved ones return.”  People who have seen the Resurrection ad campaign know that the show will entail the dead returning to life.  Viewers will probably even (correctly) intuit that this boy is one of the dead who return.  However, Resurrection is a rare series where viewers who are familiar with the show’s premise and those who are not start on equal footing, at least in the opening scene.  We know something weird is going on, but we don’t know exactly what, yet.  We’re not even sure if that’s the right question, but we’re being guided toward the real meat of the story.

All in all, Resurrection may not be a perfect show, but its opening scene perfectly encapsulates the themes of the series while setting up several key plot points without feeling overly expositional.  It draws the viewer in, giving just enough information to hook him and depict how strange the situation is, before the rest of the episode lets the situation get even stranger.  Not every show has an opening season that sets up the series so effectively, but when it does, you know the show is working at a higher level: maybe even one that could qualify as art.