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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: Self Promotion

Good Morning, World!

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Congratulations Actor! You've taken your career into your own hands. You made your first project and it took a great deal of bravery and guts to jump into a whole new ball game. Ah, where do I start? I've never done this before? I don't have any behind the camera skills, but you spent countless hours of your own free time studying this new beast. The feeling of completing a new project is ugh-mazing. It feels like Christmas morning and you know the gift you've been begging for is under the tree just waiting to be opened. You can't wait to share your success with everyone. Your project is complete, now you're done, time to take a nap and go about the rest of your days. NOPE..here comes the fun part, promoting.

So, you share it with your friends and family. Maybe you post it on Facebook once or twice. But, the struggle is, not everybody gets online everyday, so perhaps those people will never see it. Or, so many other people have made posts within that hour, your project may get lost in the crowd. 

Let's remember the blog I posted a few weeks ago when I talked about how casting directors cast people who have a strong following. A low view count on a video means you are not getting seen, therefore, you're still not building a following. If you are just looking for new reel footage, or to practice a character, then great, but you will not be "discovered" by someone just randomly deciding to click on your video. 

Here's what I have been doing. Has it been working, yes, maybe, I think so, I don't know. I have linked my twitter and Facebook together so that I don't have to post on each site. I can post whatever I want to twitter and it will automatically post on Facebook. BAM, its that easy. I have also been scoping out people who may have an interest in my video and sharing it with them. For me, it's people who enjoy comedy, women film makers, actor friends/non friends, people who I have donated to their projects, people who have supported me, and to be honest, when someone I don't know randomly send me a direct message asking if I can vote for them in a contest, I reply with a "sure, can you retweet this video for me?" and then the favor has been returned. You know what else is kind of cool, because I have been posting so often friends who I haven't spoken to in years have seen my video, commented, and even helped me on my mission to reach X amount of followers by sharing it on their pages. Because of that, I have also been extended into their network of friends and gaining new followers. How cool is that? 

On the flip side, posting the same video every so often, many people can consider this spamming. They may even block you. So, I'm reaching out. What do you do to market yourself and your videos? How do you share it with like minded people and people who you believe would be a part of your audience? Help me, help you, GO!

Dance-tress Acting Up: Want to get paid?

What up, Peeps!

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You're an artist, therefore, you work for free, right? That is obviously not true, but that is what the common belief is and that is why you are not getting paid what you DESERVE. Why does this happen? Why do so many companies/people think they can ask artists to volunteer time on their projects, while they reap all the benefits? You'll get a copy of the finished project (if you're lucky) and credit, and maybe, just maybe you'll be on their mind when a paid project comes along.

Let me explain why this happens. Say for example there is a job available for $100/day. A person who is trained, skilled, over qualified, and fully capable declines the job because the rate is incredibly too low for the amount of work you will be asked to do. Break it down by the hour, the job ends up being $8/hour because we all know a day on set can easily be 12 hours, sometimes more. The rate is a bit of a joke when you calculate the years you have invested perfecting your skill. You can make more money in less amount of time waiting tables on a Friday night.

Then, Joe Schmo comes along and accepts the job because he is desperate for work. Now, the company thinks it's an "OK" thing to think that $100 is an acceptable pay rate, therefore they will never pay you for what you deserve because someone else will do it for less. 

Well, way to go Joe Schmo. You have officially lowered the standards for an entire industry. This happens everyday in all areas of entertainment in front and behind the camera. But, how much can you blame Joe Schmo? He wanted to make some money working in his industry that isn't opening any doors for him. And hey, $100 is better than no pay right? What a catch 22. And if you're new and still building up your resume, this is a great opportunity for you. How else are you supposed to grow and network?

On the flip side, super talented Tim McGee, who has invested THOUSANDS of dollars, loads of sweat equity, and time spent away from his family, has to settle for either no work, or stoop down to $8/hr. This is not ok and guess what actors, if the crew isn't making money, there is absolutely no way you're going to get paid.  Unfortunately, as important as you are, you are at the bottom of the totem pole and if you chose not to work for these rates, someone else is lined up right outside ready to take your spot. Ouch.

How can we fix this? Can we all stick together and demand more? Know your worth. I'm not saying that you should be getting rich off student projects, but some of the bigger productions may be able to offer some compensation if we (you, me, her, him, all of us) demand it. All I'm trying to say is, I like my current job, but I love my art. Power of the people, yo.

Have a good suggestion? Let me know and I'll write about it.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Dreams DO come true

Entertain yourself and follow me here :)

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Dancer

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. 

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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: #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!

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