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)

From the Anna Archives

Hi all,

I’m participating in the Bramon Garcia Braun 10 Day Actor’s Challenge for Letting Go and part of the challenge is to do an acting exercise each day and after making a self-tape for a comedy pilot (I just might book that!), I decided that my acting task for the day was to look over my old self-tapes and see how I’ve done.  I really cringed at the older ones that had me constantly looking at the script and my facial tics and unnecessary arm gestures.  I often punctuate my words with my hands and make “fish lips” (not as adorable as that sounds!)  I can’t show my most recent self-tape because the project hasn’t even finalized casting yet.

Here is one of my first self-tapes for the ABC Diversity Showcase.  Now, why would pasty little me audition for this?  Because I’m a woman.  I am sharing this to demonstrate how much I’ve improved.  I was really nervous and it showed, and I also looked at my sides constantly.  Ever since taking Chris Game’s How To Book Everything Class, I have sworn to memorize the sides for every audition and minimize the silly gestures.

Next up is a much more recent video of my doing a scene from the one-camera comedy series, “Kevin From Work,” in Chris’  class doing a much better job and being really funny.  Completely memorized, not really nervous, and minimized silly extra movements.

Of course, we can all get better at auditioning, especially self-tapes.  Many projects request self-tape auditions and I’m glad to have the resources to do them, but I always prefer in-person auditions because I can meet the production team.

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:

Christmas Palm Trees

Hi All,

I’m really making large gaps with these posts.  I hope your holiday season is starting out merry.  I’m singing in a Christmas concert with my church choir.  Here is the event page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/582314988874089/ It’s this Saturday, December 15, at 2pm at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Venice, CA.  Then I’m off to visit home for three weeks just in time for my parents to move out of the family home.  It’s the only house I ever lived in and where all my memories are stored.  I’ll be seeing all my friends in the Portland area whom I don’t see very often.  It’s slightly cold in LA right now and it’s to the point I actually have to wear a sweater to bed.

La Famille episodes one and two are written but three and four need to be finished.  I only have to take each section for each woman in the original screenplay and add 25 to 30 pages and edit all of them.  Then it’s the push to get this thing produced and in the hands of the right people.  The Go-Girls feature is officially cancelled.  I couldn’t get any money or anyone reliable to help me, so I had to finally tell everyone it was over.  I will be filming a pre-quel short that needed to have the production date moved due to Thanksgiving and the wildfires.  After, I will submit it to shorts festivals and see what happens.

On Veterans’ Day, I booked a co-star in new re-creation series and I had one line.  I got the most money I have ever gotten for a day on set, making my year total earned for acting $600.  That may look like a small amount, but it’s the most money I’ve ever made (except for when I did Rejected No More.)  There have been theatre auditions with the last one looking promising, but in the end, I wasn’t cast.  But my Shakespeare was on fleek.  So, no theatre credits at the moment.  I got my first SAG-AFTRA voucher from background on a music video.  I need two more of those to be eligible.

I got behind on my mailings so I’m making up for that now.  I did get two commercial callbacks in a row in July and September.  I met for a solo coaching session with Chris Game about my not getting callbacks and he helped me fix it.  I’m hoping for many more commercial auditions and finally booking them.  And finally getting some SAG-AFTRA TV/Film work.  Getting back to class is tough for me because of my finances.  I have to be able to pay my rent, but I really need to be in class.

Anna In Charge

Hi all,

Well, that was a long gap in posts.  How are you all doing?  It’s Spring Break but I haven’t slowed down at all.  It’s crazy that when I’m vacation from the day job, I still have so much to do.  I just auditioned for the relaunched Reprise Theatre cast by Michael Donovan Casting.  I briefly met Michael when my Acting Business class in college had a commercial presentation at his office.  We learned about commercials and got to even try reading copy boards and improvising on-camera.  Speaking of commercials, I’ve had several commercial auditions since January but not the past two weeks.  I even got to audition for a Google ad.  We also sometimes get voiceover requests.  The only booking I have gotten in the past few months is background on a Cisco commercial, that I got myself from Actors Access.  That’s the only site I usually get auditions from, except those I get through my agent on Casting Networks.  I also auditioned for a student film for Mount St. Mary’s University held at Sunset-Gower Studios yesterday.  A friend of mine recently had an audition for a series regular and has booked a few co-stars before that.  I wish I had his luck.  I’m considering using the representation finding service through Actors Access/Breakdowns Express to obtain theatrical representation and a manager.  My only manager meeting was not what I wanted.  I’m specifically looking for someone who believes in me auditioning for Union projects and doesn’t insist I keep working non-union jobs that don’t have consistent pay, protections, and residuals.  I can work a few more non-union projects, but that doesn’t pay the bills.  This is in regards to theatrical projects; my commercial auditions are taken care of.  I also did a large mailing this week of postcards and three headshots and resumes.  I’m doing one last push before Pilot Season ends.  I know many people say that a non-theatrically represented non-union person like me has no hope of obtaining a pilot audition, but I don’t care.  No famous person ever said they didn’t go for something before they became successful because they weren’t union yet or didn’t have the credits or even the agent.  So I have no idea where this attitude came from.  And many people mean well when they say it, but it doesn’t help me to place limitations on what I want or tell me it isn’t possible.

I once again auditioned for my favorite outdoor (and sometimes indoor) Shakespeare company and then went to Las Vegas for my birthday.  (Happy Birthday to me!)  I also recently took an amazing Shakespeare Monologue class with veteran Shakespearean actor, Joseph Culliton, and we had a student showcase last week.  And I’m auditioning for the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival on Saturday.  I’m bringing my Cordelia.

The weekend after this, I am attending the Supermentors Showrunner Summit hosted by Marc and Elaine Zicree, the founders of The Table of which I’m a member.  I am hoping for solid connections and good things to come from it.  The showrunners will have me in the same room as them for two whole days straight.

Well, Happy Easter!  I need to get back to work.  (Or maybe go to the beach.)

April Showers Bring…

Hi all,

As you’ve probably noticed, that one producer is no longer on the project.  Sometimes you encounter people who want to make it their show and don’t have your best interests at heart.  Well, onward the Go-Girls go!  I have cast all the other roles.  Special thanks to Film Independent for the use of their space for casting!  I have some really exciting and accomplished people acting in the project.  I am currently finalizing the funding plans and have filed federally and in CA to accept investors.  Please check out the website at www.gogirlsfilm.com.  If you’re not an accredited investor, you will be able to contribute to the funding campaign shortly once I figure out the best way to do that.

In acting news, I got a callback for a national brand commercial the week before last.  This is exciting because I currently don’t have an agent and it’s my first callback with an LA casting director.  I continue to submit to agents and connect with casting directors.  And I also recently completed the Soap Opera Intensive with Bob Lambert, Casting Associate for Days of Our Lives.  He will be teaching the class again on April 20.  Please visit www.actingupnetwork.com for details.  You will love his class as it takes you through auditions to preparing a final scene for a screen test.  He even loves my headshot!  Basically, you should go to the Acting Up Network site period because they are always having industry seminars and at least two ongoing scene study classes.  Jodie, the head of the company, is so awesome!  I am also attending an exclusive TV taping this week with the Film Funding Club, a group of people who produce films or would like to produce films (like me!).  Nancy Fulton is the head of the group and she has many seminars, events, and extremely useful articles.  You can find her contact information and more about her services at NoBetterFriend.com.

Oh, and I’m taking ballet classes again with Align Ballet Method.  You can learn ballet too in a really supportive environment (of course, you can’t automatically get the 14+ years experience I have!).  Go to AlignBalletMethod.com.

Basically, that’s what’s going on right now.  I’m singing in the church choir for the Holy Thursday mass, going to Good Friday service, and singing Easter Sunday!  Yes, I’m that Catholic.

Springing Into Action

Hi all,

It’s been two months since the last post and I’ve been so busy!  I will be casting the other roles before beginning the crowdfunding campaign and contacting investors.  I’m a Filmmaker Pro Member of Film Independent, which you can also be for $250 per year. On that note: the site for Film Independent is http://www.filmindependent.org, where you can find out about membership, events, film grants, and filmmaking labs in screenwriting, documentaries, producing, etc. You need to apply and be accepted for the labs. My membership also includes two free casting sessions. I’ve already used my producer session perk. So, my task in the next two days is to contact potential actors for the remaining roles (I’m Amelia, of course!).

I am still auditioning for all the Equity theatres I can and I hope to get cast somewhere soon. The next two ones are Independent Shakespeare Company and Theatricum Botanicum. I’ve started volunteering for ISC and completed my first session last night for a screening of the documentary, Still Dreaming, about a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Lillian Booth Retirement Home for Actors. I had a wonderful time and the film was engaging and charming.

Recently, I got to see my acting teacher, Kevin McCorkle, in White Guy on the Bus with The Road Theatre Company and everyone was brilliant! You have got to go see it. It deals with some pretty heavy topics, so be prepared. The show plays Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm through March 18. http://www.roadtheatre.org/white-guy-on-the-bus-at-the-road-on-magnolia/

Next up classwise, I am taking a 3-week soap opera workshop with veteran casting director, Bob Lambert, and I am so excited! I am also attending the free industry seminar hosted by Billy Damota and Dea Vise at Acting Up Network on March 10. March 10 is also my birthday and since my Grandpa joined my Grandma in Heaven, I’ve been celebrating by myself. Check out Acting Up Network for great classes and seminars: http://www.actingupnetwork.com. Jodie, the head of the company, is one of the best people to know in the industry.

And the last piece of news is that I have a commercial audition this Tuesday via Skype, which should be interesting since I’ve never done an audition through my computer before. I keep pushing forward with my marketing, classes, and connecting. I’ve also gotten back into ballet classes and I really want to take more than just a class per week. I need to back up my special skills section on my resume.

The Little Anna That Could

Hi all,

I’m visiting home this coming week!  First off, I was wondering how many people are reading this blog.  I don’t receive many comments about the posts.  I wanted to first give you some updates.  I booked a court TV show a few weeks back as one of the litigants.  I can’t give any other details about the episode, but I can tell you the title of the show once it gets closer to the air date. I’ve tried out audience work but it’s precarious and you can get dismissed for wearing an item in the wrong color, and the tapings don’t last too long in general.  Some friends of mine swear by extra work and there are a number of gigs that pay well, especially commercials, but I came out here to do principal roles and speaking parts.  I didn’t leave job security in Arizona to keep doing the same things I did there.

The main crew for The Go-Girls is coming together with a director, cinematographer, production coordinator, and even more people whose job titles are to be decided.  I went to a distribution panel at the Film Independent headquarters with the head of Distribber and learned more information to get my film distribution.  I know it’s something you have to think about before you start filming.  (Our start dates will depend on when we get funding.)  One of the most important things he said was “Your list is your life!,” which means the more people you have who know about your movie and are connected to you, the more people will see  your film and support it (financially and emotionally).  I am working out the details but it has taken longer than I thought.  I went to an industry picnic in Griffith Park to network and have a Q&A with the head of 360-degree production company, Buffalo 8, which deals with producing its own content and helping with the funding and distribution of films.  I took lots of notes and gave just about everyone there my business card.  I have contacted several of them to ask for advice and even one who told me he would be interested in casting me in SAG-AFTRA films.

I’m now also a member of the LA Table and they are so nice and actually helpful.  They even help members have table readings and small film projects.  My mind is boggled with all the information I have been given with all these Q&A’s and panels.  I even went this week to see a free for Film Independent members showing of the film, Little Men, that Buffalo 8 helped fund and distribute.  It’s a really great movie with heart and deals with real life like actual real life.  And I auditioned for a paid student film, did an audience taping, and then went to that distribution panel all in one day. I had nearly forgotten the two Film Independent things I had signed up for this week I was so engrossed in details.  You can join Film Independent for $95 per year and a film pro membership with free castings, consultations, waived film festival fees, and other goodies is $250 per year.  I should really get the film pro membership because that is exactly what I need.  http://www.filmindependent.org/

Now, I’m off on vacation to get my head back in order.  I really need a break from all the anxiety and the endless list of tasks, and acting like the extrovert I’m not.

The Supportive Industry

Hi all,

Right now I’m looking for the rest of the main production team.  So, here’s the ad: https://www.stage32.com/jobs/21717/Director-Financier-Line-Producer-Producer   I know that a great deal of people, especially here want money up front and won’t start at the ground floor.  Somehow anyone who makes a film is supposed to magically have money up front.  I had two useless phone calls with two industry experts who told me to get business collateral before I even begin funding.  But they had no advice on how to get it except for crowdfunding development funds.  I’ll wait for the official film budget to be finished before I set the amount for crowdfunding.  My trouble is that I have a tough time getting people on-board to give me money or anything.  I will give my best try to get the word out before I launch the funding campaign.  Maybe fliers in comic book shops or other marketing jaunts.  I’ll just have to review my crowdfunding notes and use my resources from Film Independent.

I had a great time volunteering at the LA Film Festival!  I mostly spent my time at the information booth helping attendees find what they needed.  We got vouchers for movie tickets after each shift.  I got to see Like Cotton Twines from Ghana, Opening Night starring Topher Grace, and the documentaries of Denial and Life, Animated.  They were all very excellent.  The film festival is a qualifier for the Academy Awards.  Many of the films sell out in advance so I didn’t get to see everything I had wanted to see.  I was going to be in a play but it didn’t work out; and that’s about all I’m allowed to say.  I did, however, get to see my friend, Sokrates, in a play at the Hollywood Fringe Festival called The Wheel of Invention, a dark satire of theme parks like Disneyland.

One thing about being in LA is that a number of people are not willing to reach beyond themselves to be helpful.  I have seen postings from successful actors saying to not contact their Agent/Manager about representation as you should do that work yourself.  And certain hiring people saying that they won’t accept auditions from non-union people, or even people with SAG-Eligibility, or talking about a casting that’s agent submission only and expecting people to not ask about being considered.  We are all hungry for work and deserve more respect and openness.  Making things limited and impossible doesn’t make companies and hiring individuals look better; it just makes them look closed-minded and discriminatory.  Most of us actors are really talented and dedicated people, not little flies to be swatted off.  And hiring individuals or really successful actors need to remember that success or power doesn’t make you superior.  I went to two EPAs and had no chance of being seen because the Equity actors get to go first and no one wanted to (or was permitted) to squeeze anyone else in.  This isn’t New York so I was surprised.  I got really hurt and angry after waiting six hours one day and a few the next with the lady making the announcement that non-union people wouldn’t get seen for a long time.  She then told me that being number 13 on the non-union list meant I was never getting seen.  I wasn’t available the second day of auditions.  She also told me that the company has resident artists so it would be very difficult for me to get in in the first place.  I saw so many people younger than me who were already union, including one really entitled and snotty brat who went to both auditions.  I know not all hiring entities or successful actors behave this way.  But the entertainment industry needs more community, not divisions, entitlement, or more closed doors.  We are all important and have a great deal to offer.  So, please support your fellow artists and creators and be nice and make opportunities for others.  Maybe donate an hour or two of your precious professional time to help someone create a funding promo, or maybe make some footage or a SAG-AFTRA New Media project to help your friends get SAG Eligibility.  Helping others is no assault to your dignity or street cred.