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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: "Catching Up"

Hello, World!

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Dude, You don’t even know how much it bugs me that I haven’t written since June! I've thought about writing a new blog on a weekly basis, but I've been so behind with the every day life and lingering projects I have had the hardest time catching up. But the good news is, I’m finally caught up and it feels AMAZING! It really does. This is the first time in three months that I can actually take a moment to breathe and think about my next project and what I want to start working on. Basically, I’m ready to throw myself into chaos again and I’m excited for it.

Let me just clue you in on what exactly I have been doing these past few months since my last blogizzle.

-I’ll be honest, I went through a pretty shitty depression for a little bit. I had a birthday (yay) and like most of us actors, you start to really think about what the hell you are doing with your life. I’m hard working, persistent, determined, I would like to say talented, but let’s be real, that doesn’t really always matter when it comes to making a living being an actress. I still to this day believe connections and money matter more than anything else. I have neither of those, so I was a little bummed about that for a little while. I would be much further ahead in life if I just had a “normal” job. Climbed the ladder, traveled the world. That's where my mind was.

-Then, the day of my melt down, I booked a job. Hehe funny how life works. Short film. No pay, but shit, when you’re so use to getting NOTHING not even an audition, the smallest things mean the most. And I am still very thankful to be a part of it.

-Went out of town to visit family. I know I’ve complained about this a lot, but it rained about 80% of the time I was there. It’s just that, I rarely take vacations and every time I do it either rains or I’m sick. This time it was rain…. Typical. I also have a trip planned this weekend and guess what, I’m fighting off the sicks right now. Ew

Cows

-Moved. This one took up a lot of damn time. It wasn’t just around the corner, but I moved about an hr away. For those that know, I LOVED where I lived, but I am adjusting and it’s growing on me. It IS REALLY nice to be away from LA sometimes. Also, it’s RIGHT BEHIND the dairy farm so at times it literally smells like shit. Fresh cow shit less than a mile away. Yeah, we had no idea and obviously didn’t think to scope out the surrounding areas. Actually, I was out of town, so I wasn’t really able to do my due diligence as I usually would. Whatever.

-Had to find a new job..which, ugh, is not really my favorite, but it’s paying my now much lower bills.

-My back had another massive spasm and I was out for about a week. I was in the garage (alone, without my phone) getting a cart so I could unpack my room without having to lift things and hurt myself (hilarious right?) when I moved the wrong way and pretty much fell to my knees. It was awesome.

-My computer has only had ONE problem and I think that had something to do with the writing program I use, Celtx, because it happened to my boyfriend’s computer too. So I feel pretty good about this.

-Joined a new dance company. I am now dancing with the “Sahlala dancers”. We perform every weekend, I’ll keep you posted.

-FINALLY finished editing season 2 of "12 TeEn". Took me a way longer than planned, but feels awesome to accomplish this.

-Did a really fun photo shoot with my friend Yosh. I’ll show you when they’re finished.

-My very talented bf Hisonni Johnson, helped me film some new material. I’m looking for new rep. My goal is to go on more than one audition a year.

-I started working out again. Some say my back muscles are week and that is the reason for my back issues. Also, some may say that I am “chunky”. Thanks team, I appreciate the honesty though. Not out of shape for your everyday human, but in Hollywoodland I suppose I could shape up. Eh, it was time to chill out on my sugar consumption anyways. It was a little out of hand. It’s hard when the 99cent store has such delicious snacks for, 99 cents!

Ok. That was a lot, but hey, it was THREE MONTHS worth’s of shenanigans and I KNOW you were wondering where I was.  Also, you see that awesome video attached above? Or maybe below, wherever I ended up placing it?  If you’re like me and have a small attention span and have “zero time” to read, then check out this video and I’ll just tell you what I just wrote. You can also subscribe so you can be in the loop for the next one. Hopefully, next week :)

 

Dance-tress Acting Up: General Interviews

Hustling every day. Follow me on the tweeter and InstaG to keep up with my shenanigans

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Guess what, yo! I just had an entire sit down lunch with a casting director, for free! Everything I've ever heard is true, he was a real person! Not someone to be afraid of or intimidated by. AND, I didn't have to spend $ I DO.NOT.HAVE. Jealous? You shouldn't be because you can do it too.

Intrigued? Well my friends, it's called a "general interview". Yup, nothing fancy, just a general interview. The idea of calling up a casting office and asking them if they do general interviews NEVER EVEN OCCURRED TO ME.  It has been ingrained in my mind for so many years that if you want to get seen, follow "the rules" go to a workshop. 

I think there are a lot of different reason why actors either don't know about this idea, or simply don't follow through with the phone call.

1. Everyone is scared of being "BLACKLISTED". Do you really think a casting office is going to remember your name from 15 second phone call, put you on some evil list they have lying next to their phones, and NEVER want to hear from you or see you EVER again? Probably not. If they say "NO", then politely say good bye and don't call again. 

2. If you're inbox is anything like mine, then you probably receive TONS of emails every day telling you which casting director is holding a workshop and where. You are convinced they are going to spot YOU out of 100,000's of actors they see each week and are going to remember you for that one role that comes around every once in a while. Hey, I'm sure it does happen, but you will probably have to see that one particular casting director more that once. 

To me, an extra $50/month is a struggle. I'm not the gal to waste $5 for a coffee fix or a few drinks at night (things I don't like or do), I rarely get to fly home to see family (once a year or twice if I'm lucky), I HATE shopping, I simply don't have the extra money. Paying to play is a game for the wealthy and that's just not me.

3. There are no rules or exact steps on how to succeed in this industry. Everybody makes it a different way. There are books and articles from people who share what THEY did to succeed and many believe that is the ONLY way to make it because it's been "proven".  If they found success in one particular way then of course you will too. Like, duh. Times have changed and you need to pave your own way. Be creative. #useyobrain

4. Calling up and asking for an interview just honestly never occurred to me. I'm not an idiot, I have an education and a brain, I honestly just didn't even think about it because nothing in this business is normal. Whatever normal is.

Luckily for me, I do A LOT of researching online and came across some youtube videos from casting director Billy DaMota Guess what he suggested? Lol, yup! Be like Nike, Just Do It.

Personally, I would make sure you have all your goods prepared before you waste anyones time- ie. pics/resume/ reel/credits/ confidence. Do your research first and learn as much as possible about them. Maybe find a common interest and definitely watch a film or two they have cast. Nothing makes a more awkward chat when you know NOTHING about who you are sitting across from. It screams "cast me" and thats kind of difficult when trying to build a relationship. Desperate is never a cute look. 

Vegan ;)  I do my research 

Vegan ;)  I do my research 

Billy and I had a lovely lunch. He said that he was now going to be my mentor whether I asked for it or not. It's hard to come across good people, so I'm down. Although he's from northern California, he reminds me a lot of my family on the east coast and I liked that as well.

So friends and whoever else is reading this. Target those casting directors you want to connect with, do some research and make those calls! Don't be a douche though, be professional.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog where I fill you in on what its like behind the scenes of a film festival. Oh, and all my free perks :)

Know the facts. Donotpay.org

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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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