I'm an actress in Los Angeles, sharing my Lessons Learned along the way.

The Casting Director Intern

April 15, 2016

I once was a member of the now defunct, yet prestigious The Actors Network also known as TAN. Kevin E. West, actor and founder, created and ran the brick and mortar space for 20+ years. It was his way of paying forward resolute information about the entertainment industry, notably, Hollywood. He would tell us how he’d made every mistake a young actor could make, moving to Hollywood, and how he was conscious enough to recognize his mistakes, learn from them and put structures in place that would allow him to make better choices and strides as an actor. Thankfully, he was compassionate enough to share his vast knowledge with the members of The Actors Network.

Kevin would have, top-notch, industry heavy hitters, come to speak to us, almost nightly. They’d demystify all that happens behind the scenes, valuable and priceless information. I learned a great deal on how to navigate Hollywood, how not to squander my time and energy and how to focus on what served me best, as an actor and in my life. That place was a plethora of knowledge and insight, I must admit, I miss it, but I’m grateful to have spent 4 years soaking up the information that I still use to this day. His motto was “Help Me, Help You, Help All Of Us.” Tan was a tightly knit community of, camaraderie, focus, and passion. Kevin just released a book called “7 Deadly Sins – The Actor Overcomes” I’m purchasing my copy today.

One of the things, out of hundreds, that I learned at TAN was, asking agents or casting directors for an internship. Interning can the best on-the-job training for an actor or anyone really. Interning allows us to see just how much is out of our hands and it takes away the neurosis of the “I Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas.” Most importantly, you build a rapport with the agent or casting director that allows you to forge a long lasting relationship and if you’re lucky enough to be a reader, you get to see the high percentages of people who are not well prepared or allow nerves to ruin their audition. It’s baffling. But, you also get to see the actors who are profound experts at their craft and auditioning.

Last year, around May, I had a lot of time on my hands and I was using it to binge watch television, unapologetically, my favorite pastime. The month of May is typically an industry wide slow month, due to Upfronts. Upfronts are presentations where the major television networks preview their upcoming fall and midseason series for advertisers, the press, and the other networks. For TV development, they are the ceremonial end of pilot season, where the year’s works are displayed. When Upfronts take place, broadcast television and commercial auditions become sluggish until the Upfronts are complete and all the of the ad dollars have been spent. In a nutshell, studios spend millions of dollars wining, dining and entertaining the ad agency and corporate brands to have them return the favor by purchasing commercial time slots, up to billions of dollars. Continue reading

My first Los Angeles commercial agent came by way of a targeted mailing. In December 2006 I had purchased the latest issue of Ross Reports, now called Call Sheet, and I highlighted commercial agents that took on new non-union clients, then sent them a headshot, resume and cover letter. By January of 2006, I opted to give 3 […]

Leap Of Faith!

December 4, 2014


 

In 2004, I was living in Jersey City, NJ, after a long term relationship had ended,  was fired from my full-time job at Bergdorf Goodman and had euthanized my 16 year old ill cat.  What felt like a trinity of catastrophes, was actually a turning point, a silver-lining if you will.  I’d lived in NYC all of my life, except for 3 years spent in NJ.  At that point, I realized that I had nothing tying me down.  A friend had been trying to persuade me to move to Los Angeles, where she lived, for at least 5 years. Recognizing I had complete carte blanche to do what ever I desired, I set September 2005 as the date I would move to Los Angeles, to pursue acting.

The only experience in acting I had, at that time, was completing a Meisner program at the Ward Studio in NYC.  Fortuitously, I had a brilliant career coach who taught me how to be business minded by setting & achieving goals, being professional and knowledgable about my industry.  I created a 1 year plan broken down into quarters, to prepare for my move to LA.

In August 2005, 1 month before my big move, I visited LA, for employment interviews  and to look for an apartment.  What was supposed to be one week, turned into two, and I was able to go back to the east coast with a full-time job and a studio apartment in place for my return.

The idea of working a full-time job was met with resistance.  See, I was making a modest living off of non-union commercials and a part-time job in NY.  I enjoyed having my freedom to be an artist, although, sometimes a struggle.  My co-worker asked me how was I going to purse acting while working a full-time job.  My response to him was, to bust my ass at the new job for a year, make them love me and ask for a part-time position. Continue Reading