Anna at Kulak’s Woodshed

I forgot to share this back in July.  I did the Two-Fer Night at Kulak’s Woodshed in Burbank, which is an open mic that gives the performers a chance to do two songs.  The event is so popular that slots fill up months in advance, so I applied for a slot in March.

Here is my HD concert video at Kulak’s Woodshed:

New Headshots and Demo Reel

I finally got new headshots this summer!  I had gotten feedback on my previous set that the photos made me look older and it caused my now former commercial agent to send me out on auditions for women much older. (Yes, I was put on the drop list in May.  I’m still broken up over it.)  So, this time I wanted headshots that make me look as youthful as I am.  These photos are by Renee Farias.  I also re-configured my demo reel with the Super Break-Up footage and took out the old photos.  I am listing them all below and they are also on the Photos and the Demo And Singing Links page (the song clips are new too!).

Super Break-Up

Hi all,

You might remember that pre-quel short that I said I was going to film.  I announced it on Twitter and all over Facebook.  Well, here comes Super Break-Up: the story of how Amelia, Goddess of Discord’s, first boyfriend broke up with her over her powers because no man wants to die if they tick off their woman.  Amelia can instantaneously destroy anything she wants and has complete control over time.  I don’t know when The Go-Girls feature will become a reality, so this is what you get until then.  I actually filmed this in February.  David L. Peters was my director/cinematographer and the majorly awesome Mark Needle was the 1st AD, Grip, Boom Handler, and Editor.  And he also bought the pizza.  (I thank the pizza delivery person in the credits.)  Richard Arzola so graciously composed the music for Imdb credit.  Veteran actress Athena Massey kindly let us borrow her gorgeous house in Calabasas for filming. The short was part of the Show Your Shortz event at Flappers Comedy Club and Mark’s retrospective screening of his projects past and present.  You can check out his work at My Extraordinary Productions.

So here is the full short available on YouTube and Vimeo:

Actress Mind Taffy

Hi all,

Let me start with some good news.  Go on over to my IMDb page to find out about my first foray into being a 1st AD:  The feature is set to film in November.  I’ll definitely need to read up on my Tony Bill film set terminology.  In all seriousness, I’ve been on a number of sets and produced short films, so I have a solid idea of how to be a great 1st AD.

And now into the main topic of the blog post: the actress mind taffy I’ve had to contend with, namely varying opinions on pursuing Union work for little Non-Union me.  I’ve encountered the SAG old-garde who want to make sure that the Union is only filled with “qualified members” and that being Union is the only way to be called a professional.  There is also the attitude that there are so many qualified Union people, that Non-Union people shouldn’t take their jobs or even submit because they aren’t “professional” and will just waste the casting director’s time.  I thought we were all supposed to be on the same team.  Let’s remember that Unions are about fair pay and working conditions, not whether someone thinks you deserve it.  One wonderful acting teacher told me that the gigs are all “lottery tickets.”  And don’t forget all the people who Taft-Hartleyed themselves before the budget requirement on New Media.  Is someone going to take away their membership because they didn’t “earn it?”  I certainly wouldn’t!  Rise anyway you can, my colleagues!  Unions rise and fall based on contributions to the pension, and the more members the merrier.

There was a long e-mail chain post 15 years ago in the Oregon Actors Yahoo groups about what constitutes a professional.  Yes, anyone can call themself an actor, but no one gets to arbitrarily decide who gets to do that.  Anyone who has been doing it for 15 years like yours truly and has trained ridiculously with a Post-Graduate Certificate in acting from British drama school, deserves some respect you’d think.  (Writer/Producer also!)  I’m not just sitting here doing nothing.  But I’m grouped by default with that kid from Ohio who just one day decided to pursue acting.  And that really hurts.  One retired Oregon casting director many years ago gave me a long speech about buses of wannabes coming to LA every week and essentially not to think I’d ever make it or think I’m something special.  Well-meaning veterans say things to the younger crowd (or those who don’t age) in an effort to give them what they believe to be true, but it’s really discouragement and that just makes life harder.

I’ll go back to drinking tea now and petting my imaginary cats.

Why SAG-AFTRA Is So Awesome

Here is a wonderful response I received from SAG-AFTRA about my query about Non-Union performers being hired for Union projects:
Hello Anna,
Thank you for your email. We do not have restrictions on non-union performers auditioning for union projects but certain projects do prefer to only hire union performers. This is a personal preference for the production. Working on union projects is how people become eligible to join, so we aren’t as restrictive with non-union performers working on projects. There is often extra paperwork for productions if they hire non-union performers so sometimes that can factor into their decision.
I’m adding our list of requirements for becoming eligible below, just so you have all the information available on this topic. Additionally, there is a process called “Employment Verification” for performers who have been in low-budget new media projects, ultra-low budget films, student films, student commercials or short projects. This is different from eligibility in that there are no grace periods, you cannot list yourself as SAG-E or SAG-AFTRA eligible with any agencies or managers, and a performer must be prepared to join as soon as their employment is verified. This can work different for New Media/Short Projects and Ultra-low budget/student projects. Please let us know if you have been involved in any of these lower-budget projects so we can best direct you.
 A performer must meet one of the following requirements to join the union:
A. One (1) day of employment in a principal or speaking role (actor/performer) or as a Recording Artist.
B. Three (3) days of employment as a SAG-AFTRA (or SAG or AFTRA) covered-background performer at full SAG-AFTRA rates and conditions.
C. Any covered job on the staff of a radio or TV station or network covered by an SAG-AFTRA or AFTRA
D. Union Affiliation – Performer is a paid up member of an affiliated union for one year and has worked as a principal in that union’s jurisdiction. Affiliated unions include Actors’ Equity, ACTRA, AGMA and AGVA.
Please Note:
1. Eligibility does not expire.
2. Ultra Low Budget, Student, or Short Films do not qualify towards SAG-AFTRA eligibility.
3. Potential Broadcast Members should contact the National Broadcast Department or their Local for information on joining.
4. Potential Sound Recording Members should contact the Sound Recording Department or their Local for information on joining.

Should a production fail to submit eligibility paperwork on your behalf, you can self-submit the documentation. To confirm your eligibility, please submit one of the following:

· Original Paycheck Stubs – The paycheck stubs must indicate date(s) of employment, performer’s name and social security number, production title, signatory company and wages paid.
· Performer Contract – The original contract with the performer’s name and social security number, date(s) of employment, production title, signatory company and wages paid.
· Payroll Printout – The payroll printout will include the performer’s name and social security number, date(s) of employment, production title, signatory company and wages paid.
Background vouchers and copies of paycheck stubs are not acceptable as proof of work. Submitting these types of documents will delay SAG-AFTRA verification eligibility.
In addition to enclosing proper eligibility documentation, you will need to include a separate piece of paper with the following information:
· Professional Name
· Current primary address
· Current telephone numbers
· Date of birth
· Place of birth (city & state)
· Social security number
· Gender
· Signature
A self-addressed stamped envelope must also be included so the documents can be returned to you. Once verification is completed, the performer will receive a letter of eligibility from SAG-AFTRA.
PLEASE NOTE: It takes the Membership Department 5 – 7 business days to verify the submitted eligibility documents.
Mail documents to:
Membership Services Department
5757 Wilshire Blvd. 7th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Attn: Membership Services/Eligibility
Please make copies of the documents for your records before submitting them to SAG-AFTRA.
Should you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.