Monday, April 25, 2011

Acting is for suckers

Or so it seems. Sorry, folks.

But here is the life of an average gig.

On, say, Tuesday, I hop on Ye Olde Craigslist, and I find an ad that says "ACTORS NEEDED". I click it and find a description that says, "Need 2 Actors/resses for a Short Film. I am a director. See? ... Credit, Copy, and Meal. No Pay."

Compared to so many others, this one looks less sketchy, so I send an email to the anonymized email address that says "Dear Sir or Madam, Please consider me for a role in your Short Film. You can find my resume and headshot attached. If you follow this link: , you can find examples of my acting." I customize this form letter if they give me enough information to customize with.

7 out of 8 times, I hear nothing back. 1 out of 12 times, I hear from some scam who wants me to sign up for their service. 1 out of 48 times, I hear from someone calling me in for an audition, and 1 out of 48 times, I hear from someone telling me to just show up for the shoot. Let's pretend I got called for an audition.

If it's a good one, I might go to the Film Independent studios, smile and shake hands with the DP and Director, and slate, then perform a monologue to a camera.

If I just show up, I get an email that says: Come here at 9am and we'll be done by 1pm.

Last time I just showed up to a shoot, I rode Stina's too-small-for-me bike 4 miles to the location because Belmont peed on and rusted my chain. Once there, I was directed to the bagels and leftover pizza from the night before. After standing around for 30 minutes, I was given a contract which said "We get to do whatever we want with you. You don't get anything for it." I signed it. Then I waited around some more. Eventually, a costumer comes and gives me pants 2 sizes too small, and a shirt 3 sizes too big. Then I wait. Then I listen to someone talk. Then I wait. Then I wait somewhere else. Eventually I am handed a cigarette because I'm an army guy in WWII and everybody smoked. I smoke it. They take moving pictures of me smoking it while some guy plays a guitar and I look afraid, excited, bored, and moved all at the same time. Then we do that 80 more times and I smoke 10+ unfiltered cigarettes and sing in a hoarser and hoarser voice. Then it's 4pm, and they acknowledge that they've kept us longer than they promised, but can we stay for just one more scene - it'll only take 15, 20 minutes, tops. We agree, even though some of us know we have to be somewhere else. After we wait an hour, we film for another hour. They ask us then if we can just stay to record our voices. We are getting mutinous, but we stay... another hour. Then they ask... and I say no and leave. Others stay. They're probably getting famouser as we speak.

But I love acting.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Don't you forget about me (in which I quote another song, too)

Over a month has gone by since we last posted. A promised post has failed to come, and will still not arrive at this moment. This post, rather, will be about where we, or at least, I (Stina) have been all this time.

Around the beginning of February I got a job at a cafe called Tada! I have full-time or near full-time hours there, depending on busy-ness. It is a take-out cafe with a full coffee bar that serves the surrounding businesses and schools. TOMS' administrative headquarters is right around the corner, the administrative offices for the Grammys are across the street, various production companies are nearby, and a school that teaches the children of some famous people and some not famous people is a hop, skip and a jump away.

It being L.A., or rather, it being Santa Monica, you can't seem to help bumping into celebrities even when you're not on a set. I helped Demetri Martin without realizing who he was, though I remember thinking he looked like Jason Schwartzman. I did have a heart-thumping moment, though, when I realized another man who looked vaguely familiar was none other than Val Kilmer. I covered well--I don't think he realized I was shouting "ohmygodthat'svalkilmerohmygod!" in my head.

You might remember we do not live in Santa Monica. I travel by bus and by foot to go to work every day. In the morning, my total commute time is about one hour. In the afternoons, though, with heavier traffic, it is always at least an hour and a half. I'm grateful to travel this distance by bus, where I can read the paper or a book, or text, or read Facebook posts on my phone, or occasionally have interesting interactions with other travelers.

For example:
One day, heading home, I was looking to pin my butt down to any available seat, my feet being rather tired (also, I've realized I'm started to get old: my knees ache after standing all day). At the back there was a seat. There was also a very large plastic bin on a nearby seat, which I realized belonged to the passenger seated to my right. I had a brief interaction with him in which he asked about a stop and I was able to provide him some useful information. Therefore we were genial with one another.

Another gentleman (I say gentleman to indicate his more advanced age and his stately mustache) got on the bus and sat next to the big plastic bin. He pulled out some papers and used the bin top as a sort of desk. After a few minutes, the man to my right rearranged the bin to allow more seat-room to the gentleman, and as he did so he pushed the papers to the side a little and said, "Just gotta leave some clear space here." It was then the gentleman and I noticed the air holes.

The gentleman said, looking at me, "Oh, I thought it belonged to you." (Don't ask me.) He then looked at the man to my right. "You've got an animal in there, eh? Sure is quiet!"

I asked the man to my right, "What kind of animal is it?"

He turned his head to me and said very quietly, "A python."

"Oh," I said.

A few minutes later the gentleman again said, "Sure is quiet! What kind of animal do you have in there?"

"Just a little snake."

"Oh! Well, sure is quiet."

"Yeah. Snakes don't make any noise."

Later, after the gentleman had exited the bus, I resumed a bit of conversation with the man to my right, and found out he was going to get some hens to feed to his snake. I guess it probably wasn't so little. Why he had to bring it with him to buy its dinner, I never found out.

The only trouble with working full-time and the long commute, is it doesn't leave much for other pursuits, like writing blogs. I've been meaning to remedy this for quite some time, but when I do have the energy and/or the force of will to write, I do my best to devote it to editing my novel.

I'm about halfway through the editing process, but it is slow-going. Some days I barely get through half a page when I feel too mentally drained to continue. Other days I manage quite a bit more, but then there are also days I don't open that file at all. I'm trying to eliminate those days.

When not working, commuting, or editing my novel, I'm generally found with Brendan and Belmont. On Saturdays we host game night, and on Sundays we alternate between a Brendan-led World of Darkness Vampire game, and a Our-Friend-Joe-led WoD Vampire Game.

That's basically everything that's been keeping me from writing in this here blog. I'll let Brendan answer for himself.

It's my life. Don't you forget. And I'll try to share it with you more often, to help with that point.