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.