I WROTE THE LONGEST POST AND DID NOT SAVE IT AND NOW IT’S NOT HERE AND I REFUSE TO WRITE IT AGAIN
Ok it’s a few hours later…I’m feeling better about the situation. Not over it yet..but… P’raps this is an opportunity to truncate my previous post…praps not. Either way it’s going to be a lengthy one so you’ll need 2-3 sittings to finish up. Promise I won’t be offended.
So eight months ago was my last post. So many things have changed. Thinking about 8 months before that, things were way different then too…I hadn’t even graduated from NYU yet..if you would’ve told me I’d get to be here now, I wouldn’t have believed your lyin butt. Life’s wonderfully crazy.
So I moved to LA. I quit my job and came here with no monies. I wouldn’t recommend doing it in that order if you have a choice…but it was the way for me and I wouldn’t change a GD thing. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t, but it’s been amazing to see how things work out. My job was cool about leaving. My boss gave me two extra months pay when he really just let me look for a place to live and a job (they haven’t answered an update email I sent last week, which makes me mildly awkward, but hey…they were ‘nice’ when I needed it right?). I packed my stuff (always the light packer) into my friend emily’s car and we drove two hours to LA. The apartment I’d been banking on did NOT pan out so I stayed in a hostel for three days. Just like in San Diego, I did the footwork. I walked around when apartment hunting. Went from neighborhood to neighborhood and the very last place I looked at is the one from which I’m writing to you at this very moment. My tiny place. I never knew there was a category smaller than a studio. It’s called a “bachelor”. everything is LITERALLY in one room. Two burner stove on top of a minifridge. I think it’s adorable. My mattress? left it in San Diego because my other co worker was all set to pick it up and store it in her garage. She ended up not being able to do it until 2 days later and my super THREW IT OUT. HE THREW OUT MY 900 DOLLAR MATTRESS. THE FIRST REAL INVESTMENT IN MY LIFE. IT. WAS. A. PILLOWTOOOOOOOOP. and I can’t even do anything about it because I broke the lease…and he could still totally sue me. jerk
any way, so I got my apartment. The first few months were flukes/luck/blessings thrown at me left and right:
first month’s rent: savings from last job
second: tax refund
third: movie!! (I’ll get back to this)
fourth: family sponsorship haha I love you guys and I promise I’m getting a real job. And I also promise I’m gonna make it.
I had been tutoring, but that ends this month. Most of my projects are on the weekends and auditions take about 5 seconds so I can always go on a lunch break for those. Most importantly, I gots to pay the bills. So the plan is to invest in myself via a decent job.
In my first couple of months, I was doing some audience work (where you get paid to sit in on shows like Judge Joe Brown–he’s hilarious and I have a secret crush on him), and being an extra in Michelob and Olympics commercials, which pay considerably better, but still not awesome. After meeting a male model at Denny’s he convinced me to try modeling. I was like aight. The following week I perused about 10 agencies. All of which were like “you’re short”, but ranged from civil to sweet tones. LA modeling? Rude.
So I get there and I’m sitting in the lobby with 2 other girls. The first girl is called up and is met right there at the front desk by some lady. The lady takes a look at her headshot brings it to the back (where I’m assuming the wizard of oz is seated behind a curtain) and comes back saying they’re already representing someone like her. This girl was about 8 feet tall, skinny, beautiful complexion. ten seconds and that’s it. So I’m next. I don’t even get the chance to fully get out of my seat because the woman looks at me like I’m a dog auditioning to be a cat.
“How tall are you?” She says in the tone of ‘really!?’
I squeak “five se–”
“It’s a no. It’s a no” she waves me off.
I’m not gonna lie. I laughed. that’s how it happens for reaaaal. But honestly, all auditions, modeling and acting are only about 3 minutes long. You get such a short amount of time to be awesome. Then you barely ever hear back. If you’re lucky you’ll get a call back, which is like a second level auditon. Of the 30-50 auditions I’ve done, I’ve gotten exactly 2 of those, I’ll let you know how the level 3 auditons go when I get there (sometimes that actually means getting the part.)
So what roles have I gotten?
- I impersonated Nicki Minaj in this it’s a horrible impersonation…but it was so much fun. Those two guys are so sweet and they gave me a lot of notes. It was my first actual speaking role so I was nervous.
- I was an extra in a hunger games sketch with this show. It’s not up yet, but I’m right up front so keep checking on it. The lead guy and creator of the show is soo funny. His adlibs caught us all off guard. THEN someone farted during the sketch. I really hope they kept that in.
that’s Amanda, Brandon, and Me? I? I’m still really confused about usage…anyway this photo was taken after the Hunger Games skit. The shoot was on a muddy mountain top on a cold rainy day. The location had all this stored old stuff everywhere. it was actually really creepy. It was cool, but also like..some one totally died there. Brandon and I go way back to 4 months ago, we got here at the same time, registered for the same casting company the same day, took the same bus, same train and live on the same block. I also went to his birthday party. Amanda and I (I made an executive decision on that one) met that day and ended up being the Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph of the group. We were cracking everyone up. Mark my words: we will make our own show one day. When we finally get around to writing it…
- I was also an extra in a film called “The Silent Treatment” a silent, black and white, period piece. It was beautiful. I got to wear a really pretty striped dress. I thought I was going to be one of a million extras, but there were only like 15 of us. I got seated right up front! and I had to pretend I was on a date with this young man. We made up this whole back story for our characters. fun fact! So he had to pretend he was smoking. You know what they did? Baby powder in a rolled up pace of paper. He exhales, looks like smoke. From afar, we as the audience are none the wiser. But the baby powder kept spilling, so we kept calling it “product” and saying he was a dealer and I was his alcoholic lady. The drinks were really just nasty ginger ale, I had no idea it came in that flavor. They took close ups of our hands and stuff, so I’m hoping that stays in. That’s where I got my first IMDB credit.
- This week I auditioned and got into an improv group at The LA Connection (where Will Ferrell, Matthew Perry, Jon Lovitz, etc got started). Exciting!
- I have a part in a play..but the director’s being shady–rewrites and junk. She’s from NY though, and went to dance theater of harlem so I thought we were homies…but she play too much! It’s a cool project though, so I hope it happens.
- I also did this one really fun audition which I got a call back for. It’s called Prayer for the…something angel..I don’t remember. Anyway, it was how I accidentally started hiking. The audition was outdoors and we had to stage fight out side. It was really cool. We’ll see if I got the part. BUUUT another fun fact? When stage fighting, boys get to grunt, but girls have to moan. And no, this was not that kind of movie. Apparently that’s how it works though. Watch Electra and Catwoman and tell me what you hear. It was even more awkward because there were like 50 of us and we were outside just going through the line; grunt. moan. grunt. grunt. So people started watching wondering what was going on.
- BUT MY FAVORITE PROJECT THUS FAR has been a short by the name of “They Die By Dawn”. It’s already legendary: a black western. No not like wild wild west (even though I was singing it my whole first day there) like aaaallll people of color. Not one white person in the whole cast. It was pretty amazing. Add on to that, a DJ/Producer for a Director, and an all star cast. check it. So imagine being around allll those people all day long..they were all very cool and down to earth. Hung out with all of us and we just sat around and joked, at lunch together. Surreal. I didn’t get to meet Idris though…diss to life. But he’s the only one that wasn’t there.
I got the role like this: Submitting for roles is exactly the same as applying for any other job online. You post your resume and headshot on sites like LA Casting or Actors Access. You click the submit button for roles that are fit for you (and that’s a whole ‘nother story because “fit for you” is what you LOOK LIKE, not what you are) then casting directors either pick you or they don’t.
I saw a posting for a Western and I submitted to be an extra. I was like, yeah I wanna wear costumes! Only reason I submitted. No lie.
So I get a call a few days later and the casting director says she wants to book me. I’m like coo, monies in my pocket on Saturday. She calls me later that week and says it’s a no go. Why? The Ultimate Diss: My uh…proportions…weren’t um…ample size…for a corset. I was bummed, but didn’t give it a third thought (because I certainly gave it a second, I was looking forward to it!)
SATURDAY MORNING 6:12 AM I get up to use the bathroom. I never do this. Before I go mimitime again I check my phone. I never do THIS (we all know my phone’s always on silencio…I’m not good at answering). I see that I have texts and emails from the casting director asking if I’m available to come in that morning. I call her back and she says are you available from today (saturday) until Tuesday? I’m like of course (I’ve never gotten a multiple day paying gig). She says to be a stand in…I shoot up in bed. She says for Rosario Dawson..My lungs collapse. I attempted to remain professional. All I knew about stand ins was that they got paid more, they usually looked like the principal actor, and they stood in for scenes where the actors face wasn’t scene. I don’t look like Rosario BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I DID NOT SUBMIT TO BE A STAND IN. Which means THEY chose ME. Which still baffles me to this day..in the best way possible. I’m honored.
So I had to get to Melody Ranch in an hour. I’d been there for the Hunger games sketch…but on a bus. Buses don’t nail it on weekends, especially not to Melody Ranch. So I called my three friends with cars…let’s face it. my three friends. Mind you, it’s 6am, so understandably, Amanda doesn’t pick up, Brandon does, and is actually really concerned and excited (he even texted me later and said he couldn’t go back to sleep because he was so excited for me) but doesn’t have access to a car; Natasha DID picked up AND said she’d drive. I swear someone was on my side.
So i get there, rather late. But am immediately wisked on to set, given a name tag and it was a dream from then on. Every single actor on that set was so sweet. That’s the difference between an extra and a stand in. Not just the pay, but the fact that you get to interact with the actors and really learn about the process. Mics, lights, steady cams, set-up, terminology, everything. Stand ins, or doubles, are actually the play makers. That’s why it’s important to look like the actor. You are doing everything the actor does before the cameras actually role. So they tape down their “marks” ( where they’re supposed to stand in the scene) based on where you stand after they rehearse. Then you switch out. Since there were only 3 stand ins, and the other two were male, I had to stand in for every female…and males too when necessary, which was like, always because the cast was mostly male. I started to kind of realize why I was chosen, I’m about Rosario’s height, and close enough to everyone else’s complexion…minus Kelly Hu..So when the camera pans up, they’re practicing on stand ins. When their setting up lights their doing it based on complexion and how it will look on film. It was really exciting. Chris (another stand in) and I were just in awe. We loved every second.
I ended up being happy I didn’t have to where a corset. The other girls couldn’t breath or eat. And you wanted to eat:
The very first day there was lobster AND steak for lunch, next day pasta stirfry, then homemade Chinese food, then finally ribs. Desert? Chocolate covered strawberries, ice cream, berry cobbler, pie, cookies, brownies, cake…and I put it all on one plate. DIABETUS.
Omelet bar, pancakes, french toast for breakfast.
You know I was in heaven.
This is called Crafties or Craft Services:
it’s a TRUCK, yes that’s a truck, where you can get delicious snacks through out the day: dried mango, banana chips, nuts, peanut buttah jelleh sammich. veggies…coffee, tea. Delicious.
Terms I learned
“SECOND TEAM!” that was us. The stand ins better be on hand and step right in when they hear that. I was always scared to go to crafties and miss it!
“Points” WATCH YO BACK! (someone’s comin up behind you with a mic, or a board something that cut straight up cut yo head off sucka!)
“Woof” STOP (said usually by the camera man, as in: “Closer, closer, closer, woof”. that’s probably my favorite)
“Cold Weapon!” The is yelled to the entire set bet the weapons handler when a weapon is given to someone. It means it’s not loaded. She then opens it up, shows you there’s nothing in there and hands it to you. I’m just like, gimme! I got to handle a LOT of guns. Old guns. Real guns. They were heavy. And awesome.
LAST FUN FACT. There was one day when we had to make 4 extras look like an entire town outside of a window. They timed it out so that you couldn’t tell the difference. two at a time. One at a time. With an umbrella , without. take off your jacket. Take the bag. I love that stuff. It was really fantastic to watch.
My favorite me-I can’t even say it’s my favorite memory…it’s probably the funniest one though…I think. Anyway. It was cinco de Mayo and Rosario was telling a group of people how she’s Boricua. so I go “Puerto Ricoooooo!” and she goes “Hoooooo!”
So that’s not everything. But it’s most of it. I’m still in touch with the director and the assistant and hopefully the feature film will start up soon. That was just a teaser. I miss that set and I miss the experience. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say it was the best thing to happen on this earth in ever. At the end the director gave me a big hug and picked me up. That just goes to show you how much of a family we became in 4 days.
What else…I’ve had two wonderful visitors: Ted and Kyle. and Aisha’s on her way!
Kyle came to visit during the stage combat audition. I was there early and that’s how we started hiking. You know I don’t like exercise unless it’s disguised as fun or running unless I’m being chased or racing. But this is just such a beautiful hike and I felt so good afterward…of course. I ended up being at the audition an entire day early and we had to do it all over again the next day, but that’s neither here nor there. In anycase, I now hike every tuesday morning and I’ve started running down the second half of the path. I’ve seen, Johnny Knoxville and Micheal Rapaport so far. I’m not really paying attention though, in the zone.
Bottom line? I love fruity cheerios. I’m reading the alchemist. and I’m listening to Azealia Banks, Gotye and Justin Bieber (not sorry). And writing a lot, not here, but still…
Love you all and I’ll try not to let 1000 years go by again!
I’m NOT Proofreading because I’ve written this long ass post twice. smooches!
K so I ended up lightly proofreading..