Friday, August 31, 2007

Extra, Extra

FOUR days of extra work, the most ever in a row for me. Two were for an Aquafina commercial starring Lou Piniella, a Cubs player and I think someone from the Milwaukee Brewers. I did this one for the $, not love of baseball. Spent from 7:30AM to 6:00PM at Joliet's baseball stadium. Knew assorted fellow extras. Despite frequent application of 55 SPF, some sunburn. We were assigned various reactions to the action on the field.
The next day, we went to Wrigley Field and repeated what we did the day before... moving from section to section, even the upper deck and skyboxes. VERY hot, even with an umbrella between takes. Fortunately, only from 7:00AM-Noon.

The next two days, spent thirteen hours each waiting to be called to the set of a major motion picture. Basically got paid to talked with friends old and new, eat, check e-mail, read. However, the reason I do extra work is to see actors/directors in action. Not to sit around.

These were the 54th and 55th projects I've worked on. Have I had enough of being an extra? Time will tell.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No Angelina for Me

I did get to work on the movie Wanted. With James McAvoy, who was in The Chronicles of Narnia and The Last King of Scotland. Not Angelina Jolie. Apparently, she had wrapped the day before. A suburban night shoot, in a grocery store, from 6pm to 1am. I knew four of the other extras, so catching up with them was fun. I am definitely "in the camera"..but of course it's all in the editing.

Today I'll be taping what's called an Actor Slate for one of the online audition services I'm registered with. It's to show casting directors what I look and sound like and for them to get a sense of my personality. I'll be interviewed for around 20 minutes, which will be edited into a minute. Stay tuned to see if it helps me get any auditions or jobs.

And I signed up for a second voiceover audition site. To be competitive there I'll need a fourth demo: narration. I have a tendency to talk fast, and my voice isn't as deep or husky as a lot of narrators, so I consider this the area that needs most improvement.

Who said, 'to make money you have to spend money'?

Writing wise: finishing an article for the national romance writer magazine. Almost done with the significant revisions my agent requested on my latest novel. A new challenge, because as I go I'm second guessing myself. I keep pulling out of the story and thinking, "Is this what she asked for? What if she doesn't like this new scene?" Will endeavor to turn these thoughts around, to "Aha. She's going to LOVE this!"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Me and Angelina Jolie?

Over a week ago I'd committed to working Tuesday as an extra on the Angelina Jolie movie Wanted. When you're an extra, you need to be available the entire day and night.

But when it rains, it pours...I got a call for a "big" audition Monday afternoon.

What's an actress to do? Say 'yes' to the audition and cancel the movie? Or stand by a commitment?

Not that being an extra is highest paying or most important acting gig, or that I couldn't go on living unless I see Angelina in person (reportedly Brad's in town too), but I believe a commitment is a commitment. The scene is supposed to be a small one, so my absence would be noticed more vs. if I bagged a huge crowd scene. Plus the extras agent wouldn't be thrilled if I canceled the day before, and might be less likely to book me in the future. Also, no matter how big the client, an audition is still an audition. There's no guarantee I'll get the part.

What did I do? I knew Monday was a night shoot, which, based on what I know of union rules, made it likely that Tuesday would be too. So I told the agent this info, and she went ahead and booked me for the audition. Then I decided to check if the Wanted extras agency had any clue about Tuesday's call time. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't know until the current day's filming wraps.

Guess what? The scene I was supposed to work on has been postponed. So I'm good to go for the audition. Then Monday early evening, I got a call with the new date for the Wanted shoot.

Sometimes things that seem complicated work themselves out.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What is acting?

When most people learn that I'm an actress, they ask, "What are you in," probably assuming I do theatre or film.

Just so you know, dear Reader, there are many other acting opportunities out there that pay better than theatre and take less time. Granted, they aren't Shakespeare. Most do not involve character analysis or digging deep within to find emotion.

Recent projects include:
A photo shoot for the National Restaurant Association. They had an e-learning project, and needed actors to portray diners and waitstaff in a restaurant, among other things.
Corporate role playing for a training program involving high-level executives.
A bawling bride for a corporate scavenger hunt.

It is this last upon which I wish to elaborate. I had to sit in the park across from the Sears Tower, dressed all in white down to my sneakers with rhinestones and up to my wedding veil, waiting for teams receiving clues via cell phone to pry 2 passwords out of me. I was supposed to cry.
As one team of around eight peppered me for information, a former corporate America client came up to me.

"What are you doing? Are you ok?" she asked. Cleary she feared for my safety and sanity. "If you need me, you know where to find me," she said.

I called her after the event ended and assured her all was well.

Sure, it would have been nice if she'd seen me in a movie or a national TV commercial instead of crying in a public park with my wedding veil flying in the breeze.
Maybe someday.