Carl AKA The Creeper. Awkward auditions. Part 2.

It’s about 6 months or so into my LA experience – a casting comes through for a short film about a white girl who’s never dated a black man. This character has a love of hip hop, and figures it might be time to go beyond her usual dating preferences and try something new. It said it was a paid comedy, and I thought it had the potential to be quite a laugh.

I submitted, and not long after the phone rang. A Russian sounding man introduced himself, “Hey, I’m Carl, I’m the producer on the project you submitted for”. We had chats about the film, and he explained at the audition I’d be meeting with a guy who was playing the male lead, we would interact a little to see what the chemistry was like, and then go into the work. I was told to dress nicely, like I was going on a date. OK, seemed pretty straight forward.

Come audition day, I had no car, so was on the bus in all my dressed up glory. High heels, full face of make up at midday and a tight-ish dress. I didn’t have too far to go, but once off the bus, the street I needed to get to was blocked by a fence of sorts. The only option to get to the street without doing a massive detour (which would result in me running late), was to climb the damn thing! Picture me, in heels, hoisting myself over this waist high wire fence, whilst attempting not to flash myself at any passing cars. What was I thinking?!

I get to a gritty looking prefab apartment complex and walk into the dusty looking courtyard. I hadn’t anticipated it being a private residence, have no apartment number and start to wonder what to do. Did I save Carl’s number? My instincts are screaming dodgy, but I’m here, so I wait it out for a minute or two, looking up to the landing that squares the courtyard, when a tall black man in black slacks and a white shirt slinks into sight, and comes casually down the stairs.

He shakes my hand, introduces himself, confirms I’m here for the ‘audition’ and we proceed to stand there and banter a little. It feels somewhat awkward, but I’m just trying to go with the flow.

Then he asks me, “So, what do you know about this project?”. I tell him I spoke to the producer Carl and he told me a bit about the production. He queries “Ohh, you spoke to Carl did you?”. “Yup, yes I did. He was a Russian guy, I think”. His face lit up. ” He sounded Russian?”. “Mmmhmm”, I responded.

THEN, he does the BIG REVEAL!

“That was actually me! I was testing out my accents, and that’s so awesome you thought I sounded legitimately Russian”.

Cue, back up against the wall. “Whha, whaa, WHAT!? Are you being serious? Because right now you’re starting to freak me out.”

He goes on, “Oh, I don’t mean to freak you out, it’s just I’m not having a lot of luck with online dating, so I thought this would be an interesting spin on meeting girls and doing something different, ya know..!?”.

I can’t believe my ears. I feel frozen, stunned to my very core. At this point, I’m grateful a neighbor walks through with his child, providing me a flash of security it what now feels like an out of this world scenario.

I proceed to tell this guy what an ass he his, deceptive, dishonest and a waste of my time. I turn my back and start walking away when he says “Noo, but I seriously do have other projects I’m working on, there’s a bunch of stuff I’m doing”. I keep walking.

I call Actors Access – the reputed website where the casting originated, and report this scumbag. Then comes the email from ‘Carl’, apologizing, asking for another chance and sending me a link to his current project – him reciting poetry over moving black and white footage of naked women by rain stricken window panes – suggesting maybe this is something I’d be interested in!!!!!

Jesus wept.

As they say, the rest is history – lesson learnt, the hard way. And, thank goodness I’m still alive to tell the tale…

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Awkward auditions. Part 1.

JULY 2015.

Ever had one of those auditions where you bombed so hard it was straight up embarrassing?!? I’m just gonna assume all you actors out there have experienced this, AT LEAST once!?? And maybe it didn’t suck as much as you think, but at the time, OMG!

Well, that was my afternoon a few weeks back. Let me start by saying it was not the razzle dazzle audition of a lifetime, but it was a chance to be seen, to do my best and possibly book a very nice paying, (seemingly) easy series of commercials. The special skill for this audition was teleprompting – which I’ve claimed I can do. Now that was a fib, kind of. I mean there was that one time…

Days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Mum and I happened to be in New York City and ended up in the audience for the Ricky Lake show. I bet you’re wondering where this is going, but they selected yours truly to read a ‘welcome back to the show’ paragraph of dialogue from a teleprompter. I was like an old pro, delivering the goods, no worries. So, fast forward to 2015, my expectation is to go into the audition room and nail it…I’ve had experience after all!

Here I am, I’ve rescheduled/cut back hours at work so I can make the audition. The chunk of dialogue I need to deliver has been emailed out pre-audition, I’ve rehearsed it, it feels pretty comfortable, I’ve spent about 30 minutes primping myself and at least an hour in driving to do this thang. I get there, here we go!

I walk into the casting room. Two faces. One of which I know from a couple of prior castings. “Oh hey, good to see you”. Yadda yadda ya. The greetings go all good. I ‘slate’ my name to camera – claim I’m an ‘expert’ in teleprompting. Their words not mine. The required dialogue is written on a board to the left of camera. How hard can this be, right?

It seems, in this moment, near impossible. I proceed to right royally hick, halt and himmer over the first two sentences. I sound like I’m a robot, when I’m supposed to be having a ‘conversational Skype like conversation’. The casting director stops me, “Ahhhh, I really need you to make it more natural”. Yup, I totally understand. I get a bit looser with the dialogue, but then start doing these overly dramatic hand gestures, like some sort of chopping motion. They tell me to tone down the hands. I try again, now I’m really just lost in the chaos of my mind. They give me further suggestions, which I unintentionally throw out the door. By this stage I am simply struggling to get through the dialogue with any fluency or life. Several attempts later, I’ve managed to well and truly sink the ship. Needless to say, I did not get the part.

Talk about face palming all the way home! (: This experience made me think of previous auditions over the years in LA… ones that have been rather memorable.

There was an indie feature film in which I was down to the final two people for one of the main roles. I was feeling lukewarm about the script, but none the less, very excited to be seen. I get into the room and there’s about 6 people in there, including the person I’m reading with – who has a real life baby attached to them! And, the baby is not even turned inwards towards the mother’s chest, she’s all arms and legs and smiley face out front, like an alien growth from this woman’s body, a metre away from me. Now, honestly…how the heck am I supposed to do my audition with an 8 limbed double headed creature sitting across from me?!? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Was this a test?! As I attempted to sit down, I was so spellbound by this situation I missed the center of the plastic chair beneath me, landed off center and cracked the side of it. Awkward grimaces all around. The audition is a blur of moving limbs and attempted stealthy focus. I did not get the part.

Then there was another indie film, but this one had a dynamite script and the role was bang on perfect. I wanted this super bad. And got the call back! I wasn’t down to the last two, but I was in running for the lead female role. I was pumped. In the room I was auditioning with a guy being considered for the male lead role. In the scene we’re performing, the script reads my character lunges to grab a dollar bill out of his hand. Well, somewhere in the action my scene partner comes towards me, and me towards him and I reach out…and…gouge him in the freaking eye!!!!!!! Ohhhh Jesus!!!!!!!!! He repels backwards. The casting table rise in horror. The victim exits the room holding his face, and I sheepishly look to them and exit the room, now improvising in character, to check if my fellow actor is OK. We enter back into the casting room and further dramatics unfold as he believes I’ve scratched his retina and predicts a bloody eye, “not a good look for his next audition” he says scathingly. The room is silent, except for me apologising profusely. Of course it was an accident. I did not get the part.

And then there’s Carl…now this story takes the cake. The creepy cake…

Read all about Carl in my next post, coming soon!!! xoxoxoxoxox

Business is booming baby!

It’s Friday February 27th and I’m chillin’ in my new apartment. YUPPPP!!!! NEW. art deco. (I LOVE art deco) studio apartment!!! Having lived in the one spot since arriving three years ago (Ardmore ave), I have ventured out on my own and am now in downtown Korea town, or K-town as the locals call it.

It was a weird transition, moving from a big 2 storey, 5 bedroom house with a yard, drive way and bunch of housemates, to a studio apartment of medium size, on-street parking that’s like a nightly competitive sport, and coming home to just little old me. I’ve never had my own place. Always found myself in share houses, or before that, living with my Mama.

There are sooooo many yummy places to eat in walking distance, it’s ridiculous! Mexican wood fire rotisserie chicken, Pho noodles, Malaysian, Japanese and more Korean BBQ houses and karaoke bars than you can poke a stick at. Not to mention the foot and body massage spots on every other corner…starting at $20 for a one hour session.

It’s a different feel from Harvard Heights – my old hood. It’s a real mash-up of Korean, Hispanic and young artsy peeps. This area is busier, more apartment buildings, beautiful historic architecture. One breathtaking building around the corner has great turrets that reminds me of something out of a Disney movie.

It’s been super nice decorating, setting everything up, and putting pot plants on my window sills. Slowly my tomatoes, lettuce, basil, eggplants, nasturtiums, swiss chard and various other flowers are growing. I’m taking on what feels like a more ‘adult life’. Creating a home exactly the way I want it. I’ve been here for 5 days and the initial state of disorientation has passed and I think I could get used to this arrangement. Now to work out the best parking ninja moves!? Hmmm.

Life in LA has grown and grown. It’s been a fierce journey my friends. But ultimately satisfying. Brilliant. Lots of lessons learned.

I have had a super busy last 6 months. In fact much of 2014 was ripe, and stuff started to sprout. I had more auditions and bookings last year than I have had EVER! So, that was great for a start.

I just wrapped a week ago an independent feature film, titled YOU based around the Sandy Hook, Connecticut 2012 shootings. Directed by dynamic Sri Lankan, Linton Semage, it was not your everyday kind of film making experience. We rehearsed over the course of 2 months every Saturday morning. It was like collaborating on a stage play. Very physical and theatrical. Our director only spoke basic English, so everything was translated back and forth adding an extra challenge to the equation, AND we were dealing with an abstract and symbolic story line, something non linear, with poetic sounding language. Ha! It was hard to get my head around at first. What does this all mean? But part of the process was trusting and allowing the director to show us his vision through rehearsals and the creation of this piece. And, it was fascinating!

The shoot went great. I played two roles – both the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza and a general symbolic representation of a mother who has lost her child.

20150220_073917One of my favourite days shooting was at The Big Sky Movie Ranch, where Little House on a Prairie, Django Unchained, Saving Mr.Banks and numerous other productions have been filmed. It was soooooo pretty and remarkably green, with wild flowering lupins as far as the eye could see. A 6000+ acreage of rolling hills and beauty.

We shot a very moving scene under a huge, lone, ancient oak tree. Under this tree was a shrine with candles and flowers in memory of the children who were killed. It was so quiet whilst shooting. Just the wind and us. It felt very powerful.

BillNyeTheScienceGuy2014 (2)

Chillin’ with Bill Nye.

Now, back to 2014. I shot two ‘pilot’ projects that were super fun. One was with the ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye,  playing a wacky intuitive. It was an NBC production called The Science of Attraction, that never came to light.

The other was a hilarious parody of ‘The Bachelor’ called Green Card for Love. I played the rural Russian hoare, naturally. This production didn’t make it beyond initial filming also (the nature of the beast). BUT! You can watch the trailer here.

10257424_10154105216700227_3767280181171587930_n

About to go on stage. The Vagina Monologues.

Then there was some theatre opportunities. I was a conservative British woman talking about the discovery of her clitoris in The Vagina Monologues, and in Suite V a free thinking and liberated mother with two mixed race sons in 1970’s Los Angeles. I did comedy, drama, and even got to have a boogie on stage. Voila! What more could you want?!

I shot a print and video commercial for Megafon – a Russian mobile carrier. It was a super easy days work; lying on a couch reading a magazine with my ‘boyfriend’. If only days like that rolled around more often!

I helped make a short film called Only on Mondays with some LA friends and was stoked when it was accepted into The Hollywood and Vine Film Festival and took out the Best Acting in a Short Film Award! It’s a cute and quirky film about a community of women who have alcoholic others and meet once a week to relax and get their drink on!

IMG_20140105_225000

In the studio with Chuckii Booker.

I even had the opportunity to record with producer/singer/songwriter Chuckii Booker. This cat is crazy talented and has been Lionel Richie’s musical director for eons. I was introduced to Chuckii through a friend who asked if I’d write and sing a hook for his track that is still in development. I also wrote, rapped and sang on a hip hop track with my old housemate, Marty. We’ve got a film clip coming soon.

And just to round things out nicely – I was training twice a week for 16 months at Playhouse West in the Meisner technique. It was unlike anything I’ve studied before and I LOVED it. Created by an American man named Sandy Meisner, the school breeds a superb work ethic and emphasis on living and breathing your craft every day, reading plays, educating yourself, rehearsing and remaining inspired.

I got to flex lots of creative muscles in 2014.This here is an incomplete log, but some of the highlights! I’ve had truly wonderful experiences, met some great people and collaborated on exactly the kinds of fun, fulfilling and interesting projects I’ve dreamt of.

Right now I’m sitting on a wide open slather.

It’s time to rise and shine!