Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yes, you're booked. No, you're not.

The good news: lately I've had a lot more incoming calls from people who want to book me. In the past week I've had inquiries about a quick turnaround 300 page VO job, a VO role in an animated movie and, from a producer I've already worked with, my turnaround time for several upcoming projects. An agent called to book me for an MOS (without sound) video project tomorrow. I'd already been booked for two days in November for corporate training.

The not so good news: The 300 page job didn't materialize. Found out this morning that the MOS project was canceled. Because the client is doing the corporate training in another city, I'm no longer needed. Have not yet heard from the producer.

I need to start taking these potential/scheduled bookings with a grain of salt, and not believe they will happen until they actually do. But it's hard not to have expectations when I wind up cancelling appointments so I can go to a shoot or say no to other things because I think I'm booked.

Not only can scheduling change at the drop of a hat, sometimes I need to jump through a lot of hoops. I'd auditioned for a narration job from home. Then I was asked to record two short sections for the director...but they wanted them ASAP. Next they asked me to record the entire script because the client still hasn't decided. So I did, at an advertising agency. It was great to meet some of the people involved, and doing the recording in person was better submitting from home because I could give them the exact tone/pace/energy/emphasis they wanted. But they recorded over it by mistake, and asked me to go back that afternoon and do it again. Which I did.
Will I book this project? Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Look See

Got a call yesterday from one of my talent agents to go to a look see on Monday for for a print job that shoots Wednesday. The pay is good because it's a national print ad and direct mail. All I have to do is look nice, go to a photography studio and have my picture taken any time during the six hours they're seeing people.

Six hours of look see. If they spend 5 minutes on each, that's 72 women. 3 minutes each ups the number to 120. The last look see I went on was around 1 minute. That could be 360 people.

Far better odds than the lottery to be sure. And the studio is only 15 minutes from my condo. I'm sure some will have to schlep in from the burbs.

What can I do to stand out in sea of middle aged brunettes (no blondes, for some reason)? Clearly hair style is important. Many times I've heard that clients/directors see what's in front of them and don't think, "We like this actress, but want to change her hair." Do I go in with my natural curls? Try a sleek ponytail? Or invest the time to straighten my hair? In my experience, most women will probably have straight hair. So my curly hair might be different. Too different?

Then there's wardrobe..."Nice casual." A sweater set? A blouse? What color, to not blend in or be too bright, when I don't know what the background will be?

You see how easy it is to overthink what amounts to less than 3 audition minutes. But the stakes are pretty high...1) a sizeable print job to add to your portfolio and bank account 2) getting booked makes you look good to the agent who sent you and could keep you on their radar so they'll submit you for other projects. 3) you can tell other agents that you're getting work, which might make them want to submit you.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Usually I am very disciplined about getting my work done, even with few official deadlines and no boss looking over my shoulder. But these past two weeks, I have been a dawdler.

Instead of starting a new book or writing more on any I've started, I've gone out 12 evenings in a row. I've put away my summer clothes. I've cleaned my condo. Done laundry. Talked on the phone. Zoomed around the Internet.

Last week I scheduled something every day at lunch, which broke up the day in a funny way.

What do you do to get back on track?

Maybe I just needed a break, some time to refill the well. Or maybe I just don't feel like I'm really working unless I'm immersed in a book and turning out lots of new pages. Maybe I should acknowledge that there are different forms of work: I performed in an improv show Monday night, was an extra for almost 12 hours on Tuesday, finished a non-paying article before deadline, sent out a bunch of auditions, sent voiceover Web site updates to my designer...but I still wonder, is that enough?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Close but no cigar

Faithful readers may recall that one of my manuscripts was runner up in the national 2006 American Title II contest. Yes, it's quite an accomplishment to have my manuscript chosen as a finalist by a publisher in the first place, and additional accomplishments to have survived several rounds of online voting. But--it placed second, nonetheless.

I seem to be collecting "close but no cigar" tales.

I ran for Region 2 Director on the national Romance Writers of America board. And lost...by .9%. That's right. Not even 1%, .9. Or 19 votes.
In this race, as in ATII...was it my fault? Should/could I have worked harder to secure votes? Did more people mean to vote, but just not get around to it, as with political elections? Or did those 19 members vote for the winner because she is a multi-published author, while I continue to aspire?

And in the voiceover world, 1) I'm in the final 2 to narrate a DVD tour of a hospital. The director wanted me to record an additional section of the script, which I did Monday....no news. 2) Also this week was "in the lead" for a critical role in a computer game, with a voice "perfect" for the character. They also asked me to record a short second audition. But they found someone "not as good" who will do the role for free.

Sigh. It's wonderful and encouraging that my work and I are good enough to consider so seriously. On the other hand, it's also frustrating to come so close and not prevail. And not know what to do differently to win the next time.