Archives for posts with tag: casting director

The time is now 23:59 18 Wednesday 2015 NYC Eastern Standard Time

Wah wah wah.  I was in the running for a threee day gig on T.V. show “The Good Wife” to play a ‘Think Tanker’.  It’s a fun character title, and according to casting I made it pretty far along, even so far as the Director was hand selecting this specific group of background and my name was still on the short list.  When all was said and done, I was not picked.

Think Tanker

Think Tanker

I did not think I had much of a chance from the get.  I submitted anyway.  If the description was: artsy, hippie, or nurse, my confidence in the possibility would have been elevated. Nonetheless, the Director of the episode saw this picture —>       as ‘Think Tank’ material. Casting called me to say I had made it to round two, and the Director was looking over the photos again.  The ever-professional (and punctual) Arthur, at Comer Casting, rang me and left a voicemail [I was walking the pup] and when I had yet to respond to his message, he rang again.  I got excited; the far from possible seemed to be getting close, practically a sure thing!  

Then, within the half hour, a text, then an additional e-mail in the negative, nope, I was not chosen.  Smiling about it now, I immediately felt like a loser, that I had somehow failed.  Silly chica, there’s bigger and better to come!  Comer Casting has been marvelous to me.  The great opportunity I had to work with Al Pacino, yeah that is correct, was, an albeit less dramatic, similar situation.  I do not recall that said tale has been spun here as of YET, but therein lies fodder for another future blog.  Long story short there, I was passed over for one day as one of several nurses- only to be blessed with the gift of getting a high-five from The Man Al Pacino himself, a mere three days before my birthday.

Life is good, in spite of my momentary moody swings.  Thankfully they are temporary, and I am grateful for so much, so often.  Such as for you; thank you for reading!

UPDATE: now I’m ON for one day of the shoot because the Second 2nd A.D. told casting she likes my look and they are adding on additional ‘Think Tankers’!

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wolfLast night, research led me to this magnificiently informative and entertaining behind-the-scenes interview hosted by The Hollywood Reporter December 2013 with five of the top casting directors of T.V. and films.

http://thefilmstage.com/news/watch-1-hour-roundtable-with-casting-directors-behind-the-wolf-of-wall-street-her-blue-jasmine-more/

On the quest for self-improvement, listening to an audio track of Brain Tracy’s “No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline”, I came across the “Ten Goal Exercise”, which the writer proudly cites practicing himself nearly every day.  DIRECTIONS: On a clean sheet of paper, with the date and “GOALS” at the top, take 3-5 minutes to write a list of ten goals you would like to achieve in the next 12 months (financial/family/fitness/furniture), and imagine all are achievable if you want it long, and hard, enough.  Then imagine you have a magic wand making any one goal attainable within 24 hours: choose which one would have the greatest positive impact on life right now, and result in all the other goals being more easily achieved.  This focus became the direction guiding me to the above link.  

Ellen Lewis has been the Casting Director to Martin Scorsese for every one of his films since Goodfellas, including most recently “The Wolf of Wall Street”- a fairly good indictor she will cast Mr. Scorsese’s next movie.  Although that next movie may take place in Japan, who knows what the one after that will be, and I could always play a tourist.  One of the stand-out moments in the above interview related to Branding.  Pairing certain actors together and comparing their dollar value with the film’s budget.  The lead actress in Wolf, Margot Robbie, donning an impressive Long Island accent, puts butts in the movie theater seats here in the U.S. and her native Australia, upping her bankability.

Credits, being seen, getting a name/brand out to be known- I am dyslexic, and the adage is backward:  It is who knows you.  If Ellen Lewis knows I exist, am consistently complimented by camera operators as having great reactions to the lead actors in a scene, then… it comes down to Networking.  Ms. Lewis is savvy and sharp in this interview.  I look forward to telling her in person within the next 12 months.

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July held an eco-cast audition [a recorded video submitted on-line] Lawyer2which led to a live call-back [a second audition]. This was excitedly my first eco-interview.  Most actors agree, auditioning is THE dread downside of the profession. Anxiety in wanting the part, feeling the need to be “good enough”, and desire to be chosen for the part rather than rejected. Truth is, as I was reminded, talent may play less in casting than fitting the right Look of actors together, scheduling, and name recognition [a large part of the biz is who knows You].

The challenge, personally, is in the tension and pressure I place on the event as a pass/fail test of my ability.  A tense actor is not going to “Live Truthfully” or show herself in the best light.  The recorded audition went wonderfully well for two reasons.  One- a good director friend read the other character’s lines, and two- we did about four takes of each scene… progressively getting more comfortable with the material and relaxing to sound more like the voice I naturally speak.  Of course it helped greatly to have a bit of direction after each go AND having casting only see the best take. Another reminder was the importance of following instructions.

Two sides [a scene from the script used for auditioning to give the casting director/producer/director a glimpse of you as this character] were emailed to actors.  One actor posted her video on YouTube, having only filmed herself performing one of the scenes. Trusting she did not make the call-back cut, partly because subsequent correspondence included even more specific instructions as to the importance in reading and following ALL instructions as an indicator of both professionalism and one’s ability to take direction on-set.  I did not get the part in the end, the value remained in being reminded “the look” matters immensely. While I do have a tree-hugging quality (which was right for the role) the smooth polished look of a political campaigner or cop is not my “casting type”.  Thorough attention to detail is a pleasant asset, and as a said Asset- well reminded- not possessed by all.

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P.ost S.cript   I extend a Big THANK YOU to so many for your support and kindness throughout 50 posts, and beyond!

April has proven to be the Busiest month and, Made_in_NY_logotruly, I wish I had photos from one of the most recent “amazing” adventures!!  Alas, as with most all productions “Everyone who is working on the film will sign a Non Disclosure form; This means you will not share any information about what we are filming on any social media- twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. If you do share any of this confidential information you will be sent home from set.”  How long will casting hold a grudge for making their job more difficult and causing them to look bad?  For ginormous budget movies/television one may not even have phones on-set and we are warned: should phones be seen- they will be confiscated, plus, you agreed to the confidentiality agreement.  The element of surprise is ultra-paramount.

Even when phones are permitted, they cause unnecessary distraction- preventing the smoothest production value.  The reason texting while driving is against the law: a cell phone seize your sole focus.  Thus, making you unaccountable when, say, the Assistant Director needs you to perform the action captured in every other camera angle of this scene, but because you are on your phone …. around the corner, five-ten production minutes (which might as well be five-ten hours) are wasted yelling your name.  I leave my phone tucked away and only check it when “turning around” is announced-the term for placing all the equipment and camera on the opposite side of a shot to catch the corresponding coverage.  This usually takes a good ten minutes, between cables, lights, props, “the village” (chairs, monitors, etc.), people, and all the rest-thankfully allowing ample time to take a quick peek at the e-mail for any upcoming casting opportunities requiring rapid response.

Twice this month, I again worked on “Boardwalk Empire”, putting me, so far, in all but one episode for the new season.  In #403, one scene takes place in a charming real location, and while I sit at the counter indulging, take after take, in the after-glow of consuming the best cherry pie a-la-mode I never ate, my day actually started with a different action.  My shadow can be seen walking up to the ‘Ladies’ room opaque glass door and knocking as the beautiful main character, leg raised ….

Come on now, we covered consequence and curiosity at the the beginning here- Thank you for tuning in!

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A few days ago, the funk got me.  Though it only lasted the span of a day or so,IMG_0685 I felt it creeping in for several days leading up. Consciously suspecting some of the triggers collaboratively pushing me closer to the precipice, the ultimate tipping point came, naturally, from one I feel safest and most vulnerable toward.  However, I forget myself, back to the beginning… I believe it began with a reflection on my past arising from an opportunity working on a pilot called “The Tomorrow People” (an already successful UK production trying it’s faire in the US) involving an acting teacher I mentioned, coincidentally, in only my last post- Mark Pellegrino.

At first I was incredibly excited to see him, in New York, having taken classes with him in Los Angeles for over two years, because his working in the Business was always inspiring.  The Networking opportunities seemed lucid and a Casting Director, new to me, was now on my radar with which to create a connection.  Only hours later did the thought occur to me, perhaps he doesn’t remember me, it was over ten years ago.  Alas, it did not make a difference- of the scenes being shot he was included in only one- the first one, taking place outside on a cold, windy day by the water, where I was placed walking across the street.  Whether Mr. Pellegrino would have remembered me is a moot point, because the truth is I never got close enough to say “Hello, again”.

And yet, for not less than a handful of other men on-set that night Katrina Perkins was a definite stand-out.  Please understand, as a teenager this duck was less comely, and these days I conduct myself with utmost professionalism- though this is not what makes me memorable.  In this business, assets are what you work with, and managing liabilities, namely sex-appeal in a male dominated field is (albeit absurd?) a current challenge I strive to circumvent. Supposing this was the catalyst to commence demoralization, I appreciate and am interested in a good conversation, even more-so when it lacks the obvious ulterior motive.  Am I too naive?

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For a third time, I will be playing a "Smash"‘costumer’ on the NBC show “Smash”.   This time I received a call from casting without even submitting for the role!  One can join casting websites, whether you belong to the Union or not, where casting directors post roles with type descriptions for current/upcoming projects. The first time I was contacted by this casting agency, I had been submitting for over a month on numerous parts.  Thankfully, the background casting company (Grant Wilfley) finally called to confirm my availability for the shoot date and tell me the necessary wardrobe to bring to set.  The soundstage was in Brooklyn, they were filming a baseball dance routine rehearsal; there was great catering, and it made me giggle to hear Anjelica Huston’s laugh at lunch.  

About five weeks ago, after submitting to another post for a ‘costumer’, casting called me again!  I was told wardrobe was “wear one/bring one”.  Simply put, they were getting more bang for their buck by using me twice (they do pay a little extra for a wardrobe change).  First up, I sat as an audience member in one outfit- had I truly been out for a night at the theater in late Fall (season specific, though it filmed in Winter).  This time filming was on-location at a gorgeous theater in Manhattan.  What a glorious day at work, being entertained by guest star Bernadette Peters singing and dancing in the episode’s on-stage routine at a historic vaudeville theater.

Picking me out in an audience wide-shot, or the back of my head as the camera flies toward the stage would be a challenge.  However, changing into my own all black wardrobe of a ‘costumer’, and an apron with some fabric swatches provided by the Props department, I stand on-stage with both Anjelica Huston and Bernadette Peters!  Despite not having any lines, it remains an immense thrill to be a part of a live set.  A phone call from casting today, to portray a costumer tomorrow, pleased me beyond words.  No post was there for which I submitted- I have made it to a short list- in a very good way.

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The average yearly income for an actor in the state of California is $60,000….a median number I would will be happy to earn next year.  This fact was delivered to my attention in the form of a notice stating $4030.50 was due by me before September 15th. Thankfully, a pleasant and knowledgable Jack in Sacramento made this simple mistake, via the city of Los Angeles, disappear.  Some individuals might have become worked-up over a scary expensive notice with no validity, but because I knew there was zero truth to the claim- it was easy to laugh.

I love how we are tested to practice what we preach.  This bill arrived the day I signed up to become a member of SAG-AFTRA, the union for professional film, television, and radio artists.  A weighty decision- admittedly not contained in the budgetary savings- with a price tag of $3,000.  Being eligible to join from time studying/pursuing acting in Los Angeles, I committed to the currency of this endeavor after taking a step back and re-evaluating the ultimate goal: to be working as an actress professionally.  Naturally, at some point, to achieve this ambition I would eventually be paying the initiation fee to be a part of this organization.  So why now?

Because, one company (utilized by ‘Boardwalk Empire’) supplying background actors for television and films shot in New York, where it pleases me to reside, allows union members to register with them on the first Wednesday of each month.  Non-union actors are invited to mail a headshot/resume, and submit themselves for occasionally updated casting notices listed on the website.  This option seemed to present a lower opportunity for success.  The intention is in pursuit to live the life of my dreams: to be paid as an artist, therefore, I consider this a necessary investment moving me toward my professional career!  In spite of the monetary magnitude, I am grateful for the skill alluded to with this status.  When approaching agents and casting directors one less obstacle, that may or may not have been preventing progress, is removed.  I was already behaving as a professional and now I made it official!

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