My manager got me an awesome contact with a print agency! YAY!! The one hitch is she wanted my digitals and portfolio that same day!! I was at an audition in Hollywood and it takes me 45 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to get back, sometimes an hour. On top of that I did not have or know what digitals were. I asked my manager to send me an example and then I used handy google to figure out the rest. Usually I have a few family members handy for this kind of thing but they were all gone so it was just me and the timer on my camera. Google showed me a few outfit options and I went with good old black and white with heels for good measure. That was the easiest part. Finding decent lighting and figuring out my camera's focus and getting the poses right took a lot more fine tuning. I tried a few different lenses. Then I fixed the focus, and adjusted the lighting, then tried a few different locations and then finally settled on my settings and poses. After about an hour of old school selfies I then spent 3 or so hours debating on erasing the door in photoshop so the background was clean. I tried a few quick fixes but none of them looked right and I really did not want to spend a ton of time editing out a door. Compounding that was my manager got me an extended deadline to later that evening and I was running out of time. So I just did some lighting corrections and made the flash a bit less intense and picked my four best shots. Now I have digitals! One more step in marketing myself. Bonus is that I got an in person meeting with the agency!
Shine Bright Today
That Was Easy.
I got an audition for a non-union web series for a supporting role as a beach volleyball player. When I had submitted for it I had inquired about their SAG status, since there are so few beach volleyball roles acting roles available I was hoping to see if they were willing to make the change or were in the process of changing it. The notice came in on a Friday and I had the audition, YAY, and it was for Monday. Plenty of time to prep. The sides never came. Not the first time I have had to cold read for a role but I was starting to wonder about this audition and how serious it would be. The second red flag for me was its location in the New York Film Academy. My last audition experience there resulted in the casting director never showing up and me waiting in a room for over an hour. When I arrive there is no parking since it is by WB studios. All the surrounding street parking in the neighborhoods was by permit only. I finally found some further down the street and walked two blocks in 100 degree weather, at least I was in workout clothes. The third flag came when the guard did not have my name for an audition. He let me in anyway and had me sign myself in. After I exit the elevator there are 5 people waiting in front of me and it seems to be going very slowly. No one is checking anyone in and there are no sides. I get my headshot out and start submitting myself for other projects on my phone. After 45 slow minutes pass the producers come by and shake everyone hands and introduce themselves, then they head into the room. A casting person heads out to find out who came in first and got a rough order. More waiting ensues.
I am finally called in and they apologize for the delay and say that this will be 2-3 minutes since they have so many people waiting behind me. They offer me a seat, I take it. There is no camera in the room, and still no sides to read. The producers inform me the series has netflix and hulu interest and that my role is supporting and recurring. Slightly puzzled about the whole thing I answer the initial questions they asked me. Then I elaborate on my beach volleyball career a bit nonchalantly, since my beach experience isn't new to me. The person casting had actually heard of the AVP beach tour(which is very rare!) and was impressed with my beach resume(also rare!). They said I booked the role and smiled. This stunned me a bit since it was more like an interview then an audition. I asked if it was a SAG show(since when I had submitted it was non-union), I was informed it was with smiles and the casting director circled the medium sized SAG logo I had placed on my resume. Finally I was asked if I was available on the 26th for filming. I told them I was, and just like that I booked a supporting role in a web series pilot.
To be honest I was still skeptical about it, so on Friday last week I emailed them to confirm that it was really happening and that I was booked. Their response email was YES! I was booked! My inbox now has a lovely call sheet for the pilot. My thoughts, that was surprisingly easy.
Sometimes you find the greatest opportunities in the most unconventional ways.
Keep Shining Bright
The Most Magical Place on Earth
Once upon a time when I started my acting career I thought that only an agent could get you work. I was completely unaware of self submissions. A good friend of mine, Mike Sweet, enlightened me to the process about 2 years ago. At first I was timid and did not submit for much. As my understanding of the process grew and I got more comfortable with it I started increasing the range of things I would submit for. After I signed with my manager this past month we came up with a game plan for my career and I expanded my submissions even further. He recommended a site to join, and I joined another one on my own, bringing my total to 5 casting sites! Since then, I have been even more methodical about submitting myself to every project that pops up in my email from these sites. In addition I belong to several Facebook groups and scour their pages daily for castings. My diligence has paid off with a noticeable increase in the number of theatrical auditions I have been called in for, especially since adding the two new casting sites. Memorizing pages of dialogue has started to get less tricky, although the last minute 4 pages to digest in under 12 hours still throws a curve ball at me. This exact thing happened yesterday after I had completed a hair commercial audition in West Hollywood. I got a cmail at 2pm, saying I had an audition for a student film(YAY!), they want me to come in tomorrow at noon and gave me the show fax link for the script. Turns it is has 4 pages of dialogue to know. I had already made plans with my family to go to Downtown Disney for dinner with my nieces after they spent the day at the happiest place on earth. The clock was ticking down on the time I had left to memorize my lines. Fortunately, my sister kept pushing dinner back later and later into the evening so I had more time to work with my lines. I went to the gym and did my daily cardio and took my lines with me. I find that it is easier for me to work on lines while doing a physical activity like cardio. My younger sister drove to dinner and I worked on them in traffic as well. By the time we got there I had a good grasp of my dialogue and the 2 scenes. We walked around Downtown Disney and took in all the splendor, finally ending up at Rainforest Cafe for dinner. For whatever reason I had no signal on my phone and could not connect to the wifi. Once dinner had ended I saw a notification for an email but I could not check it until we left the restaurant. After we said our goodbyes I finally checked my email and it was for a web series I had applied to on Backstage. They wanted to know if I was available to work on the SAG Series pilot that would have IMDb credit tomorrow! This was the exact thing my manager and I had discussed less than a month ago. So it comes to pass that in the parking lot of Downtown Disney I booked a job from just my application for a web series filming the next day. Unfortunately this meant I was now unavailable for the student film audition I had just spent the last few hours memorizing dialogue for. I contacted the film through actors access and let them know I was no longer available to audition due to my web series booking and said I could video submit if they liked. Usually when I have to reschedule or cancel an audition they never have me video submit instead, and this case was no exception. However, they did give me another date where I could audition with the director! Now I had until Monday to shape my character!! Thank you for all the Magic Disney!!
Keep Shining Bright
Here is a glimpse into my day as an actor. I woke up exhausted from my long work day the day before. Was up at 4 am for a 5:30 am call time. Then I was on my feet for a good chunk of the day. After being there for 11 hours I was released. Today I felt the ache in my feet and the fatigue in my face. Nevertheless, I had a hair audition for a commercial today where I was contacted to come in. The advertising agency found me on LA Casting and had me come in for the salon to check out my curl. I put on my black tank and black skinny jeans and put on minimal makeup and was on my way. Auditions take me minimum 45 minutes to get to, and up to an hour. While I was driving to my hair audition I got a c-mail from actors access for a student film auditioning tomorrow at noon. It has 4 pages of dialogue to be prepared in less than 24 hours. The total time of my day spent out for just this audition was 2.5 hours. Gotta love traffic.
On top of that I saw a casting on Backstage for a news anchor where they requested actors read the monologue on camera and then send it via youtube. Since I like to hustle and get as much done as I can in a day I prepared, read, recorded, edited, uploaded, and submitted my audition video after I got home from my hair audition.
You can check it out above!! Up next is 45 minutes of cardio and reading over the student film script in its whole before memorizing the sides. Post cardio I'm heading to a family dinner in downtown Disney to spend time with loved ones. While sitting in traffic I will be preparing my lines. After my lovely audition tomorrow I have more lines to prepare with a Southern Accent for another feature film audition on Friday. That will be even more fun since I have yet to receive the sides...
As Scar said in Lion King, BE PREPARED!!
I fell into acting through a twitter direct message(that happens?!, yes it does). Beach volleyball is a small community, everyone training and traveling regularly on the professional circuit knows, remembers, or knows of everyone else. Hans Stolfus, a great beach player who was winding down his career when I was beginning mine was working to reboot the AVP—the pro tour that had gone bankrupt in 2009. USA was going to do a beach volleyball scene in their upcoming episode of Royal Pains and he was working with casting to help acquire talent, since like I said beach is small so he pretty much knew everyone who played at a high level. Royal Pains needed an African American beach volleyball player under 30. Since beach volleyball isn't very diverse, that eliminated every pro player but myself. Hans sent me a twitter message and asked if I was interested in being in the show, he knew I had done sports modeling and was not camera awkward. I said of course I was interested, then inquired about what I needed to do next. He gave me productions number and the rest was up to me. I called, and they gave me the number for casting. When I called casting they gave me my instructions to submit a self-tape audition. Since I was new to the whole acting thing I googled self-tape audition and followed the instructions I found there, which were most helpful. The instructions stated that first I find a blank white wall to "slate" which they described as stating your name then turning to your right side to show your profile, then your left side to show your profile. After slating, film the scene with good lighting also on a white wall. Casting wanted my self tape audition asap so I called my sister, and partner in crime, to help me get all of this together. We used my beach volleyball camera and tripod(the one I used to tape game and practice footage for later review) to record my self tape. She helped me memorize my 10 or so lines of dialogue and she read the other character's lines in a softer voice away from camera(as google advised) so the focus would remain on me. It took a few takes to kind of get the hang of it. Once we had something we liked I downloaded the footage from my camera to my iMac and edited it in iMovie. Royal Pains casting had an ftp server site for me to upload my video. I followed the email instructions, uploaded the video and kind of forgot about it. I got a call pretty quickly saying they wanted to cast me in the role! It filmed in New York and they needed information to book flights. Before I know it I am flying to New York! I got in late and did my best to start adjusting to the time change. A few other beach players I knew had been flown out to be featured background and Hans was there as a technical advisor.
The next day was a fitting, which took about an hour leaving us to enjoy New York the rest of the day. Filming began the next day and we had to awaken at 430 to leave by 530 am, which was rough since I was still on West Coast time. When I got to set I had my own portion of a trailer! Inside was a Taft-Hartley contract, a shot list, and miniature script. Someone brought me breakfast while I signed the contract. Then it was off to wardrobe, hair and makeup. For most of the day I hung out in the trailer until my scene, I would wander onto set to check it out, visit craft services and such, but I was tired and nervous and wanted to do a good job. When it was finally time to film my part the medical coordinator explained my symptoms and the kinds of things they did. Then we got our marks and began filming. It took me a bit to get comfortable and we shot the scene numerous times from various angles. I stumbled my lines once but was able to bounce back through the rest of the takes. After my big scene was lunch and I snapped a photo with Mark Feuerstein, who was so nice and easy to work with!
After lunch, I hung out in the stands and watched the rest of filming. We were all flown back to Los Angeles, and I continued playing beach volleyball. Eventually I got an agent and began to take the advice from the Royal Pains directorial staff and take a bigger dip into acting with my shiny new SAG-E status. The rest of the acting story is for another time and another post.
Thank you for stopping by and Shine Bright today.
Welcome to my blog! I know what you are thinking, another actor's blog, I can't wait to read all the amazing things that are happening in Lauren's life! Because you know...Los Angeles, Hollywood, Stars, Movies, Beaches...so much exoticness so little time.
If you hold that loud groan for a second and give me your patience I think you will find some of what I say to be interesting, maybe even helpful. I have a bit of a different background when it comes to acting and I want to incorporate that perspective into my blog. If you are going to build it, it might as well be your dream house. So please join me while I put down the foundation to create the blog I want to write in, and maybe someday, one which you will want to come and visit, and revisit. In the meantime, be mindful of the wet paint as this is still a work in progress.
An actor with an athletic background sharing some of the Bright Los Angeles Sun Shine.