La Famille Ep. 1 Table Read

Next up, I’m working on finishing up all four episodes for my limited series version of La Famille. I’m having an online reading on Zoom for the pilot episode on this Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2pm and you can RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/794606601355410 I am recording the reading if you can’t make it and posting the video on the site.

I will be having a reading of episode 2 in the near future, so be sure to be there!

Back To Set

Hi everyone,

As you may have heard, film and TV production is starting up again in LA. Of course, there are many regulations for Covid-19 and you have to test every three days if you’re working on set. I got to be a featured extra on the new series, For The Love Of Jason, which will be streaming on UMC in November. Here is an article with more info on Deadline: https://deadline.com/2020/08/amc-networks-umc-male-dating-drama-trell-woodberry-1203021940/

That means my SAG vouchers are up to 2. (One of them I thought I had didn’t count because the pay was deferred.) It does take several weeks to process official vouchers. You can also check eligibility on the SAG website or call them to confirm.

Film Festivals!

In other news, loyal viewers, the pilot episode for the La Famille limited series is a semi-finalist in the Filmmatic Drama Screenplay Awards and a finalist in the Flight Deck Film Festival. And Super Break-Up is a finalist in the Flight Deck Film Festival. Many film festivals have had to cancel their events this year with the goal of moving their selected films to their festival next year or have gone entirely online. The Nashville Film Festival is one that is happening entirely virtually this year.

Now here are my beautiful laurels.

There Will Be Changes

Hi everyone,

How are you holding up? I really can’t wait for this pandemic to end. I’ve done some more self-tapes and I’m getting the hang of things. I’ve been using my computer to tape myself and then tidying it up in iMovie. And my tripod are the plastic storage tubs that double as shelves and tables in my apartment. Pretty funny.

Well, I took the leap and decided to get business coaching for actors. I’ve been wanting to be more effective and do business smarter. I joined The Actors Think Tank program with Jodie Bentley. I had a free consultation with her and she was simply amazing. Jodie looked at all my materials and gave me pointers on what I need to work on. Check out her website at https://www.jodiebentleycareercoach.com/ You can sign up for the program like I did or do a series of one-on-one coaching sessions.

I am officially getting new headshots next week so you’re going to see the new and improved Anna brand images. I’m making some changes to market myself better and get those awesome jobs I deserve. And then I’m going to get back on the agent/manager campaign. We’re going across the board here!

Shakespeare On The Bluff Online

Hi everyone,

I was part of the first ever virtual Shakespeare festival, the third season of Shakespeare On The Bluff through LMU, my alma mater.  I was a theatre major and a Spanish minor.  I played the Widow in All’s Well That Ends Well and the Prologue/Epilogue in The Two Noble Kinsmen, both available below.

The entire festival was performed on Zoom with virtual backgrounds and you will love our inventiveness in making the unreal and unusual circumstances make sense.

http://www.lmu.edu/allswell

http://www.lmu.edu/kinsmen

 

Days Of Auditions Past

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all staying healthy, wearing your masks, and keeping up that social distancing.  As an introvert who often has to take breaks from dealing with people, it’s not so hard for me to keep my social distance, but it gets lonely after a while.  I don’t get to hug anyone!  Except my Mom because I am once again with my parents and this time I’m in Arizona.  More later about what I’ve been up to.

What I really wanted to share today were some funny and cringe-worthy audition stories, inspired by an article about different celebrities sharing crazy audition stories.  And also because in-person auditions will not be resuming any time soon.

Here we go:  When I graduated from college, I moved back home to the Portland/Vancouver area because I was afraid of LA.  I finally had my chance to audition for one of the big Equity theatres and I was so excited!  I went to sign up as a non-union person for a slot and came back for my audition time.  I chose a very shouty, angry monologue about a girl complaining about how her mother loves everyone more than her and part of Someone To Watch Over Me, eight bars as they had asked.  I had already e-mailed the company manager about how to break into theatre, so I knew him somewhat.  I walked in to audition for him and shouted through that monologue playing the anger and not the story.  And when it came to the singing, I started and then stopped the pianist, walked over to the piano, looked at the music, and then restarted.  I might have even apologized.  I knew immediately that I had bombed.

I once auditioned opposite a puppet for a web series.  I knew the series involved a puppet, but I had no idea I’d literally be auditioning with it with the creator doing the voice.  I had to give lines that were just absurd considering the set up.  It was about the woman telling the puppet that she had had a child from a one-night stand with him that he never knew about.  Also, it was in his home.

I auditioned for an interpretive dance version of Carmina Burana in the little town of St. Helens, Oregon, also right after college.  I hadn’t taken a dance class since first year of college, so I was rusty.  The director told me to choreograph my own dance on the spot and I flopped about having no clue what to do.  I decided that that show was way too weird of an idea, so that I wouldn’t accept it if he cast me, and he never called.

I auditioned for a summer theatre program when I was 19 and I did Desdemona’s “My Noble Father Speech” kneeling and talking to a chair.  It was a musical theatre program.  I did sing too, but I can’t remember what I sang.  And I auditioned for a theatre program after college performing the Miss Malaprop speech and another weird speech.  I didn’t do either very well.  The program head who auditioned me essentially made fun of me and asked if I had asthma and why did I yawn with my hand out like I did.  I got a rejection letter telling me to take acting classes at a community college because I wasn’t ready for their program.  I had a theatre degree.

Another really weird experience was when I auditioned via table read for a children’s musical in the writer/producer/director’s apartment.  I was reading for a British Sheep Dog wondering why I even decided to do this.  The whole set up was really creepy and amateur and the dialogue was awful.  When he and his assistant director told me right after that I was cast on the spot, I told them no and they insisted on me telling them why not.  I said I didn’t want to be part of it and that I didn’t like it.  He replied, “Well, you have to start somewhere.”  And I walked out saying, “I’ve already started.”  And I ran straight down those stairs and out to my car.

I got a rejection letter from the Brown University MFA program stating that I was “unacceptable for [their] program” and then the regular rejection message under that.  Two years later, I was chosen out of 4 candidates from the US to be in the post-graduate program at Drama Studio London.

What have we learned from these experiences? We do not talk to chairs.  Use age-appropriate material.  Do not stop your audition unless it’s an emergency.  Trust those instincts.  Desperation makes you do dumb things.  You can improve.  Acting coaching does wonders.  You don’t have to work with people who don’t respect you.  And puppets make funny co-stars, so do macaques.

10 Things About Me!

Hi everyone,

In a fun change from the regular post, here are 10 things about me styled after those celebrity fun interviews in magazines.

1. I’m scared of the dark because I still think that monsters will come out.

2. I visited Budapest with my family two days after the Russians had left.  People were celebrating in the streets and they were overjoyed to see Americans.  My Dad wanted us to do the day trip to Yugoslavia but my Mom told him no way.

3. I’ve had a root canal.  I was 19 when that happened.

4. I have sprained my right ankle about 15 times.

5. I once disjointed my baby toe by getting my foot stuck under the closet door.  I had to go to work, so I snapped it back into place and went about my day.

6.  When I was 12, I wanted to dye my hair black.  My Mom told me it would turn green, so I abandoned that idea.

7.  I wanted to be a Marine Biologist for a long time when I was a kid.

8.  I briefly took fencing lessons.

9. I won a first place blue ribbon for the backstroke when I was 7.

10.  I was among the last visitors allowed to climb Chechen Itza in Mexico.

Not The Apocalypse

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re alright as we go through this coronavirus pandemic together.  My day job is on hiatus as are all jobs that have more than 2 people in one building.  I submitted Super Break-Up to five film festivals and I already know it wasn’t selected for one.  I took advantage of festivals that have free submissions and allow myself to pay a fee for two.  I also submitted episode one of the La Famille mini-series to a script contest.  I’m really proud of what I have written so far; I just have to write the rest of it.  No more procrastination!

I signed up for the Relationship Ramp-Up class with Emily Grace and the program starts on April 7.  It’s all online and through Zoom, which many creatives are using for networking events and even staged readings these days.  You can check out the class at https://pickfordwest.lpages.co/relationship-ramp-up/  Basically, it’s about making genuine industry connections that lead to work.  Oh, and it’s just for women.  I’m really excited to finally get myself in order to book the work I want.  There are only 11 hours left to sign up.

About those staged readings: I just joined a Facebook group for script presentations online called ISO(lated) Company: Virtual Readings of New Writings and the link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/232443464569209/  I’m playing Roman Senator #2 in a reading of Coriolanus, a not-often performed Shakespeare tragedy, and I am excited!  I get to do the reading with someone I’ve wanted to work with for a while.

Alright, everyone, please wash your hands and stay inside as much as you can so we can send this virus packing!

P.S. I now have two SAG vouchers!  Here’s to #3 in the New Year!

Execution, and Roll Credits

Hi all,

A while back I discovered a site called Kanopy.com, where you can see 10 films for free each month using your library card.  The selection is made up of classic films, indie films, and foreign cinema.  I was searching for the French film version of Les Misérables with Gérard Depardieu, and came upon Le Retour De Martin Guerre with him playing the title role.  It turns out it was a huge hit at Cannes in 1982 and deservedly so.  It won a César (The French Oscar) for best screenplay and was nominated for best costume design at the Academy Awards.

Basically, Le Retour De Martin Guerre is based on the true account of Martin Guerre, a man who lived in southwestern France in the 16th Century.  He abandoned his wife and son to join the army and then supposedly returned home after nearly 10 years.  However, the man claiming to be Martin Guerre was really an imposter who managed to fool the people in the village and Martin Guerre’s wife for three years.  He was executed for defiling marriage and falsehood.  For those people who have no idea who Gérard Depardieu even is or have only seen his American film appearances, this is a fantastic introduction to back when he was a young heartthrob.  His performance as the false Martin Guerre will have you nearly believing that he is the man himself, but has just that bit of dissonance that makes you wonder if you’re right.  This is clearly masterful acting at its best.  And Martin Guerre’s ill-fated wife, Bertrande, is played by the lovely Nathalie Baye, a reknowned French actress you might remember from playing Frank Abagnale’s mother in Catch Me If You Can.  She gives a very subtle performance as a woman whose life and fate is very much controlled by men.  Bertande attempts to do what she can to ensure her own happiness, but in the end, she only encounters tragedy for trying to be a good woman and to protect her children.  And her outfit in the courtroom scene is simply gorgeous. The end of the film is incredibly heartbreaking and disturbing with the execution of the false Martin.  And then the credits roll right after the character dies.  It’s like “scene direction: execution, and roll credits.”

My first introduction to foreign cinema was actually Cyrano De Bergerac starring Gérard Depardieu at an art film house in Portland when I was 8.  That was my first time seeing a movie in the theatres with subtitles.  My parents have serious standards when it comes to arts and culture in our family.

Gérard Depardieu et Nathalie Baye lors du tournage du film ‘Le Retour de Martin Guerre’ de Daniel Vigne en novembre 1981, France. (Photo by Jacky COOLEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)