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Dedicated to Donna & John*:

Auditioning for a major brand…this line looks short but you should’ve seen the rest of the room!
“A lot of people in LA come to sprint to the finish line, but I’m here to run the marathon.”

Y’all, my sincerest apologies for the lack of updates! I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath. 😛

Summer tends to be slower as people mellow out post-pilot madness. I confess the slowness was slightly jarring as I’m used to the neck breaking speed of the usual hustle. A part of me also felt slightly guilty for skipping town to visit my loved ones in NYC — I blame my workaholic mother and my own workaholic past(?)! Moments like these also make it easy to fall into a downward thought spiral: Where are the auditions and why am I not working!? As a chronic list maker, who feels an immense sense of satisfaction in checking off to-dos…it’s hard to remember that I’m being productive in the interim periods between jobs. It’s also hard to remember that the hustle between jobs IS my job.

“…the hustle between jobs IS my job.” 

Let me explain: A majority of an actor’s work is NOT on a set. As an actor you are really a freelancer in most ways. In the same way a freelancer in any industry would constantly be looking for the next job so is the actor. (We’ve all learn that a job search is a full-time job in it of itself, right?) Marketing, networking, and managing the business aspects of the career are as crucial as the work you do when the cameras are rolling. Being better prepared on the business side frees you up to create the best/better art. Toward the end of last year, I realized that I was just going from set to set, job to job OR just working on the business side. When I recognized the two extremes, I realized I had to create more balance.

Instead of moping about the ‘lack’ at this particular juncture, I decided to use this slower pace to revisit the strategic aspect of my work. (The more I think about it…this industry, more than any other, requires immense mental fortitude. If you stay focused and centered, you are that much further ahead in your career.) I went back to the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of this adventure into professional acting to see where I was compared to my original benchmarks. Doing this actually made me realize that I (was on a solid path to or) had accomplished a lot of my goals. In terms of creating more balance, I had finally enrolled at Warner Loughlin Studios so that no matter how slow or fast the industry or my projects were moving I would always be working on my art. Being able to act on a regular basis improved every aspect of my life. It motivates me to stay on top of casting notices, attend workshops and network when all I want to do is act. It keeps me sane at my survival job because I know this isn’t ‘it’. When people ask me ‘what have you been in lately’**, I happily respond with what I’ve been working on in-class or otherwise. Also, it forces me to stretch as an actor. I want to play with best in this industry so I have to (be) prepare(d)! Plus, I’m loving the people in my class and the Studio. It’s good to be in a nurturing environment where people still push you to be your best.

Taken By Surprise

Happily, I was finally able to get to a table read of Taken By Surprise. As you might recall, I auditioned for, received the callback, and booked the role of ticketing agent (a character that actually plays a critical role in the outcome of the two main characters) in March. The cast, writer, and producer have all been meeting up periodically for the past couple of months to refine the script. Due to scheduling conflicts on both sides, I hadn’t been able to attend all of them. I did several weeks ago and what a blast. A majority of the cast couldn’t make it so we got to jump in and read other character’s parts. It was so much fun! We had an interested independent director come in for this read and it was great to get his feedback. I jumped into read a comedic female part in the script and, apparently, the director really liked it so we may be doing a switcharoo and have me play that role! I’m excited to do a little more comedy and working on a film in the romantic comedy genre.

Auditions & Callbacks

This is something that I always remind myself when I get really discouraged: I have moved forward. While being accepting of ‘just being’ as a person is important (a life long skill to be cultivated), I always strive to push my career to the next level. I don’t want to rest on my laurels or stay stagnant. My definition of success is pretty distinct compared to most actors of my generation. It isn’t fame or fortune. Having a clear understanding of what or how I define success makes everything feasible. If there was a certain $ amount or status attached to my success then I think I’d have stopped awhile ago. For me the simple act of being able to do what I love most in the world is such a pleasure. Though sometimes having obvious tangible indicators of what I deem successful would be helpful (goal setting again).

“There is a fine line between consistency and complacency.”

When I need a reminder that I’m on the right track, I always have to stress to myself that I book or get called back for a majority of theatrical & commercial projects. I have a casting director in the commercial space who ALWAYS called me in when there is a role for my type. That signals to me that she knows I can act & feels comfortable forwarding my audition to her big clients. I’m always excited to go audition for her office as I know I’ll be treated professionally and warmly. At the same time, I’m not going to become complacent. When I go into ANY audition in ANY office, I’m in work mode: headshot and resume ready to go, lines reviewed and analyzed, outfit and makeup picked and applied according to role (no costumes though!), and choices clearly defined. There is a fine line between consistency and complacency. In this business (hell, in every aspect of life), it is crucial to understand, recognize, and capitalize on the difference.

Theatrically, I’m been called back for OPEN CALL auditions for pilots and features. This is in short, trying to be a needle in the haystack. Actors with or without agents are allowed to audition so the talent pool you’re competing against is massive (read: hundreds — maybe even thousands — of actors). Additionally, there was a pilot I auditioned for where the odds were even worse because it was open ethnicity (another double-edged sword). Nonetheless, despite the odds, I got called back so it went from hundreds to a few of us. But the point is…*I* got called back. Now, there is a saying: Almost doesn’t count. Yes, and no. I didn’t get the role ultimately BUT I was in front of the CD, writers, director, & producers. Getting that call backs signals confidence in my ability as an actor and ability to stand out…getting in that room means I’ve just pushed past hundreds of talented people and that a seed for a new relationship has been planted. I remember being at a callback for a play when I first moved back to LA. It was between myself and another girl, who happened to know the director. Perhaps, it was her connection or previous experience working with him that got her the part? I’ll never know. Nonetheless, he remembered my auditions and forwarded my information to a bunch of his colleagues who were also casting plays. I got called into auditions without even submitting.

The brands, people, and material I’m auditioning for are also getting better and better too. 🙂 That signals to me that I’m on the right track.

Here’s the hard part, I have to remember all this while I keep going. Go I will.

A lot of people in LA come to sprint to the finish line, but I’m here to run the marathon. Are you sprinting or running the marathon? And, are you training every day?

*Donna & John are regulars at the restaurant I work at and two fabulous human beings. My work day brightens upon their arrival. I believe they overheard me chitchatting with another table about shifting careers from the corporate world to performing arts. They inquired about that and our conversation hasn’t stopped! Thus began, this great dialogue. As veteran artists, they bestowed upon me hope, kindness, oh yeah, and advice. It’s so fun sharing my latest acting exploits with them as they ‘get it’.

**A lot of my actor friends hate this question and it is one of their biggest pet peeves. The funny thing is for the most part I know people who ask me this aren’t trying to gauge how much of an actor I am but rather are genuinely interested in what I’ve been up to lately. It’s funny though. You never really ask your lawyer friends what they’ve worked on lately, right? Nor was I ever asked when I was a consultant, what I was working on lately. So actors chill out and non-actors be mindful of what you’re asking and how you’re asking it. Why can’t we all just get along? 😛

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