Yesterday was my birthday and my grandpa’s too. Guys and Dolls officially opened last week and we’ve had a full house each night. As always, I worked during the day in a classroom and rehearsed and performed at night all last week. Now not only am I a Hot Box Girl, I get to play the role of Mimi and say some lines. I get to twirl a ribbon and wear a calypso costume for the Havana scene and bear my mid-driff as a sexy farm girl. Of course, I wear a body-shaper leotard, so you don’t see my actual tummy. The show runs Thursday through Saturday, at 7pm each night. The site for tickets is http://www.donbluthfrontrowtheatre.com.
I was also cast in a VO film project through a local production company. I can’t provide details beyond that as it’s a major project. It’s an excellent step in the right direction.
I received the news last week that The Go-Girls did not win the screenwriting contest. They had me film Interview videos so people could get to know me and my script. I actually learned how to make films on my computer on iMovie and add opening graphics. I never knew how to do that before. Now I can film auditions anytime I want. The link to the playlist is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdzazEYOsJo&list=PLtdOV1g2RdSv1vvfa6pEeHIMkvkZvOv_Y
I’m also just about finished with La Famille. I should introduce you to all the characters. I promised to send it to someone a really long time ago. I’ll have to find someone to translate much of the dialogue into Cajun French. If you’d like the job, let me know. The script has a great deal of characters and locations.
I’ll be finding new housing sometime next month and it looks like there are many affordable options. I have to find Summer employment or book a great deal of commercial principal roles. I have applied to children’s theatres and learning centers. I have even more places to contact.
It’s time to get one last post in before May ends. This past weekend was really exciting because I went to Phoenix Comicon. I was hoping to have some new costumes, but I wasn’t able to get them put together. The costumes I did use were my Belladonna costume and my Husk costume. Most people don’t recognize either one because the Belladonna costume is a re-design and she’s a bit part in the comics, and because I guess no one remembers that Husk wore the costume I cosplay. I had two booth shifts for the Arizona Avengers booth and got to hang out with all the cool people. I love my fellow Avengers because they are so talented and nice. I was really lonely before I met them. They had celebrity guests including John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness!) and all those famous voice actors. I would love to voice act an anime, as I am sure I have already mentioned. I read the Yuri Lowenthal/Tara Platt book, Voice-Over Voice Actor, and it really does give you specific guidelines about how to be a voice actor. I unfortunately stopped at the chapter about voice demos costing between $500 and $2,000. Yes, they do cost that much and I don’t know where I’ll get that type of money.
I have two auditions this week for the Lunch Time theatre series at the Herberger Theatre. They both pay a small stipend, however, the shows are at one of the highest profile theatres in the state. I auditioned for Childsplay Theatre last week and it went great, but I didn’t get a callback. I was gone for the scheduled auditions, but they were able to find another time for me to audition. I really appreciated that. For some odd reason, I am getting to love auditioning. It’s just I begin to feel not so great afterwards. I really wish I could get callbacks from the major Equity theatres. I don’t want to be broke and non-union anymore and have people still think of me as an amateur.
I have to take some final, expensive tests for teacher certification and it’s just stupid because I have a Master’s equivalent, that if it were acknowledged as an actual Master’s, would automatically making me certified to teach. There would have been no certification program required. I’ll see what job I can get with that because I have to make enough money to afford housing and pay the bills. I need to do this before May of next year. The job is of course supposed to be acting, but it’s not happening right now. I still have subbing just in case full-time teaching positions are not available. I want to return to LA sometime in the future, but I don’t know when.
My cousin graduated from medical school in Omaha the week before last and I also was the godmother for my cousin and his wife’s little baby girl. I attended the proper Baptism class at my church so I was official. I was glad to see many of my cousins and aunts and uncles once again.
It’s been an eventful week. I got cast in the Network parody last week and we film this Saturday. I play one of the professors who join in the battle cry of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The setting will be Mesa Community College; it’s a bit of a drive but I’m happy to be in another movie. I will receive a check for $50. That fits my criteria of being paid. However, I hope to book jobs with a lot more money than that. The production company, the Grandview Group, is awesomely professional and organized. Sydney Donaldson is the director. She loved my audition, which consisted of a cold reading and two improv scenarios.
I just met with a prospective new agent and it’s looks promising. This agency actually books jobs, is SAG-franchised, and really is one of the best-trusted agencies in Arizona. It turns out Deborah Maddox Agency mostly exists to sell a product that is not the client. That is why I never heard anything. If you don’t book jobs, you’re not getting a commission. This agency has demo reels and digital photos for their clients for a one-time flat rate and often books jobs off the site. I also get to take the contract home and look it over and take my time to decide if I want to sign with the agency. You’ll know my answer soon.
I audition for a production called Sakura No Ne this, which is co-production with the Japanese Friendship Garden. It should be great and they pay $1500 for rehearsals and performances. The production utilizes a number of Japanese folktales. I love anime and Japanese culture so I would really enjoy being part of the show. Funnily, I recently checked out a book about the history of samurai from the library and it was very enlightening. Yes, that is a random tangent.
In other news not really related to acting, I finished my class observation and began the tutoring portion of my teacher certification program in Dramatic Arts Teaching.
I’m way too busy.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and whatever else you celebrate. I have been spending the past two weeks at home and will be going back on New Year’s Day. My parents got to see American Pastorela and they thought it was really funny especially Horney, Huppey, and El Diablo. My cousin and his wife tried to see the show but weren’t able to make it. I found out that I was not going to get any payment for the show and some people were surprised I thought there would be. That’s what my fellow Sirena thought as well. All ended on a positive note and the house was pretty full for the last matinee performance. James was trying to put together a benefit performance in Tucson to support the Ethnic Studies Program but getting a venue didn’t work out. Instead I will be attending the Amazing Arizona Comic Con because I love conventions and also because I am now a member for the cosplay group, The Arizona Avengers.
I have an announcement to make regarding my first career step of the new year: I am firing my agent. She hasn’t gotten me a single audition in the past six months and one of my castmates told me that a few of her friends had her as an agent and didn’t ever get auditions either. I am sorry about this but it has to be done. One of the father’s of one of the young ladies in the show is a pro actor himself and told me about a new casting office headed up by Chris Bowe and gave me his e-mail. So I will get in touch with him. I will also work on possibly doing my own production of The Go-Girls. I successfully got in touch with one theatre about considering the play for production. The Arizona Women’s Theatre Company is accepting plays for staged readings for their Pandora Festival but my play has already had two staged readings, one of which was in a city-wide festival, so I won’t be sending it their way. I talked to one of the company directors and I gathered from her confused answer to producing my play that the only way they’ll produce it is if it is in the festival. I don’t have to accept terms that I don’t agree with. I have to remember not to let desperation guide my choices. I’ll also put forth the plan of Taft-Hartleying myself. I hope that I’ll be able to be involved in one of Ryan Lynch’s upcoming projects and that we’ll be able to put together an acting class.
I will also be working on my writing and at long last completing my screenplay, La Famille. I have an excerpt on the blog so please read that.
And in the boring files: I am now earning my teaching certificate to teach drama and I’ll still be substitute teaching of course. Off to work.
With Halloween happening yesterday I couldn’t help but use the title of an Ann Rice book. It’s All Saints’ Day and today in the Catholic church we celebrate all holy men and women. Yesterday my friend, Lawannah, who played my mom in The Rite of Exorcism, invited me to come see PoeFest from Arizona Currriculum Theatre. She had an extra ticket so I saw the show for free. Basically, five actors each enacted a story from Edgar Allen Poe so it was like short one-person performances. And they were all supposed to be inmates in an asylum. The performances were awesomely creepy and the three men I saw perform made me jump out of my seat at times. Lawannah was in their production of Salem:1692, which was about the Salem Witch Trials. They also have an on-going school program to teach literacy and share the arts with children who don’t otherwise have the opportunity.
So I saw The Rite of Exorcism and it was so awesome to see myself on the big screen. I hung out with the director, Frank Di Bugnara, and other gentleman who were involved in the film, before the showing. I told the ladies I was sitting next to that I was in the movie and they were thrilled.
The rehearsal and performance schedule has been set for American Pastorela. There were some delays in getting things settled for the show. The show is playing Dec. 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 7:30pm and Dec. 11 and 18 at 2pm. All performances are at the Phoenix Arts Center in downtown.
I filled in for a high school English teacher today. Some of the classes were studying Romeo and Juliet. The teacher had a student teacher responsible for the class and she recruited me to read Juliet when the class read the play out loud. The students were pretty impressed. I was glad to show off my skills.
Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on. My meeting with Good Faith Casting went great. I met with the head, Faith Hibbs-Clark, and she was very nice. I read a bit of commercial copy on-camera for her and she was impressed with my skills. I am now in their casting database. I haven’t gotten any auditions from my agent yet and I don’t know why.
I auditioned for The Man in the Black Pajamas, an interesting scientific drama by local playwright, Charles Hinckley, last Monday and I got a callback yesterday. I would love to be in a play again. It’s a stipend-paying production. I have another audition tomorrow for Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) with Class 6 Theatre.
I have been getting a lot of days of work through the school districts and I have a three-day assignment starting tomorrow. They use an automated phone system for assignments, which is a serious annoyance since it can call you beginning at 5am and you have no idea when it will call you for an assignment that day or for another day. It calls for future assignments and daily assignments.
Sabotencon is this coming weekend and I’m excited! Get your tickets at http://sabotencon.conmagick.com/. I’m going to be in the Masquerade. I will be dressed up as an original character shinigami from Bleach and I made my costume myself. You have to pre-record your dialogue so I’ll have to record it on my computer. It’s Saturday night of the convention at 7:30pm. So please come.
Off to bed as I must get up for work tomorrow. I wish it was on a film set.
I got behind with my posts. I didn’t get into the Christmas singing group. I never know exactly what voice these groups are looking for. My singing gig went great and the lady, Linda, was absolutely thrilled and all the guests loved my performance. That made me so happy.
Some people in my past have accused me of not being able to sing in tune. It was actually because I hold tension in my face and throat causing my vocal chords to tense and stretch, which leads to not getting the right note. Most people know better than to tell me I can’t sing in tune. Once upon a time in high school I was in the liturgy band, which performed at school mass. I decided to do cantoring for the first time in my life and there was a special class for it. I had never soloed before so I would get so nervous that hardly any sound would come out. The teachers in charge of the lit band treated me as a potential embarrassment and one of them told me not to mess up the song one day. After that year, they had cantoring be audition-only and I missed the sign-up so I couldn’t cantor the following year. The next year I made the sign-ups and auditioned. I didn’t make the cut, which was preposterous as I’d done it before. The cantor list was on one of the teacher-leader’s doors and while I was reading it he was coming into his office. I wanted a good explanation and he started into a pseudo-apology speech about how I had a beautiful voice but couldn’t sing in tune. I didn’t buy it and said I had to go. He was obviously forced to use the people the choir teacher liked and I was the only person who wanted to cantor that wasn’t in choir at the time. I had to teach myself that just because someone says that I don’t have the ability to do something, doesn’t mean they are right.
I auditioned for a murder mystery company but I didn’t get cast in their first show of the year. I had two auditions that were laughable. I auditioned for this one student film, by myself, and it took about an hour. The director thoroughly went through and acted out the entire movie. I was reading for a middle-aged boss who was originally supposed to be played by a man. I’m far from that age and don’t even look the age I am. He told me to go see Love and Basketball and Miss Congeniality to get a sense of the part and audition again the next week. The school is far out and that’s just plain silly so I said I couldn’t. The other one was for an independently-produced children’s musical. The audition consisted of going to the writer-producer’s apartment and reading through the script. Rehearsals were going to be at his apartment and then at a hotel. The director and him didn’t really know what they were doing and the script had glaring typos. They loved me and badly wanted me to play a British dog but I saw red lights flashing before my eyes and had to run away from that production. The writer-producer’s defense was that you have to start somewhere and I said, “I’ve already started.” You have to be careful not to do projects with people less capable than you are.
I don’t know if I’ll be getting a callback from the Equity theatres this season. I wonder if it’s my acting or my look or something. I will be meeting with a major casting director sometime this coming week. I am so excited!
I’ve gotten some more assignments from the school districts. The reference went through at that one district and I got my first substitute teacher assignment ever. I can’t give specific details but it was one of the worst days of my life. It was worse than a migraine and wiped me out for way longer. I found a posting for a long-term drama substitute teacher assignment at a high school and I put my hat in for the position. That should actually be fun as drama is what I do best and the students will want to be there since it’s a fun class.
I want the good life.
I had to get a post in before too late. So, is anyone actually reading this? I’m auditioning for a Christmas singing group in the area. The special appointment with Goode Time Productions didn’t work out. I’ll also be auditioning for a murder mystery theatre company. Many years ago I tried to become part of the Eddie May Murder Mysteries troupe. I auditioned and the lady accepted me as an understudy, but after rehearsing with them for a month or so, I found out that she had no room for the understudies. I only found out after I had e-mailed her when I came to the rehearsal space and no one was there. So this had better not end up like that. I have received no callbacks from the Equity theatres. I got a special local artist ticket deal for Boeing Boeing at the Phoenix Theatre.
I want to be considered a proper professional but according to the head of one acting studio that I had submitted to as an instructor, I have never acted professionally. She said her other people are 10-yr+ industry veterans. I have acted for money, that’s professional. Pardon my non-union status, I’m trying to do something about it. I applied to a local community theatre to be an instructor today and I hope to hear back soon. The nice man on the phone invited me to audition for their season, but being community theatre, they don’t pay. Before you say that that is no problem, I have to tell you that I didn’t go to London nor am on in a docudrama on Netflix so I can act with the plumber next door. There’s a difference between extensively-trained people going for a career and people who do it as a hobby. I want to work with people who can increase my skills to the next level, not lower them. As the late Bob Fraser said, professional, high-quality projects don’t involve actors working for free. (My little movie technically doesn’t count with that guideline.) This theatre has won a lot of awards but I need union, paying professional work. I’m not settling for much less. I don’t mind doing commercials and industrials that pay. Those are often not under a union contract, but a great deal of people see commercials so that would be awesome.
My commercial/voiceover/teleprompter workshop with Gene Ganssle is great. I’ve had a lot of fun and read some fun scripts like the one for the “car whisperer” and Mother Nature. The last session is today. And I’m working on those monologues for my agent. The Rebel group acting competition was cancelled, which makes me sad. They thought they hadn’t planned it right but it sounded fine to me.
Also, a buddy of mine contacted me about a lady he knows that needed someone to sing Ave Maria at the renewal of her wedding vows. I was so flattered and I happily agreed. She’s paying me money, which is the way I like it.
I only got a day instructional aide substitute assignment so far from one of my school districts. Another one of the districts is having an issue with reference forms so they won’t let me sub for them yet. And I didn’t get into the standardized patient program. And I thought the interview went so well.
Here is post number 2 for today. After hoping and submitting for a good agent, I have been signed! Deborah Maddox is now my agent. Her agency is SAG-franchised and she has been in the industry for a long time. My photographer, Jon Simpson, knows her and thinks she is terrific. Most projects that come through in Arizona are commercials so she wanted me to get my commercial skills in order. I will be attending a commercial workshop with her colleague Gene, an industry veteran. And I will be preparing two film monologues to show her.
I can’t believe I wasted so many months trying to get a straight answer out of the Young Agency. I don’t know what they think they’re doing. I heard a radio ad for a casting director who is holding a workshop to get your kids on the Disney Channel. The Young Agency has a casting director come out quite often to hold a workshop at their office who is supposed to cast for Disney. The cost is $99. This must be the same person. No one can promise to give your kid or any other actor a job and I don’t know why she comes to an agency and charges their talent to audition for her. Agencies don’t do business like that so I don’t know why they have an A from the Better Business Bureau. They certainly don’t have SAG approval.
So I’m working on the skills and hope to book some well-paying work soon. I interviewed to be a Standardized Patient at a local medical school. Standardized Patients portray patients with a specific medical condition as part of training medical school students. They help them communicate better by giving feedback and a safe environment to make mistakes. I got to act out a case as part of my interview and the lady was impressed. I will hear by next week if they would like to hire me. It pays really well.
So yes, I have many things going on.
I took too long to post something. I just found out about the deaths of a colleague and a family friend. James Peppers, who directed me in The Music Man with The New Blue Parrot Productions back in 2005, died last Thursday. He had had several health problems but he wasn’t very old. James was a beloved fixture of the Portland area theatre scene and a really talented guy. He was a really good person and I am deeply sad that he died. I can’t stand losing people I know.
I am in the midst of auditions for the major companies in Phoenix. I auditioned for the Southwest Shakespeare Company and it went great. The artistic director and I had met the Saturday before last when I was volunteering for the Souvenir Sales for one of their performances of Anthony and Cleopatra. I saw the first half of the show and then left after my volunteer duties were finished because I had become ill. (I still have that darn cold.) Anyway, we had a nice conversation about people we know at ACT and Drama Studio London. He was great to audition for. I auditioned for a staged reading series yesterday at the Herberger Theatre Center. It went well but I had to pay $3 for parking. I’ll be auditioning there again since the Arizona Jewish Theatre, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, and Childsplay Theatre are holding auditions together. So I’ll audition for three theatres at once. I audition for the Phoenix Theatre this Sunday and for the Arizona Theatre Company on Tuesday, May 17.
I’ve been on assignment as an Instructional Aide Substitute for Special Education for the last two weeks and my current assignment goes until May 27. I am sworn to secrecy on details about the work but the best part is getting off before 4pm and 2pm on Fridays. But enough about that.
I have a full pass to the Phoenix Comic Con so I hope to get to enjoy that. And I’m still sick so I badly want to get better because I’m suffering a lot.
I saw the Thor movie. It was so awesome and so were the effects. Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, who is so hot he actually looks like a god. My cousin was an extra in the movie. I remember they had a breakdown for extras and you had to be SAG; otherwise, I would have signed up. I never thought much of Thor the character from the comics being a staunch X-Men fan. I got to hang out at Gotham Comics in Mesa near the Southwest Shakespeare Company after my audition and I met a role-playing group that would be happy to have me. It sounds interesting but I want to check it out thoroughly first. I got a CD of music from the Final Fantasy VII game Advent Children.