James Franco Said No To Me

James Franco said no to me. Okay, okay, insert endless jokes here:

e.g. He said no to me because I’m not a woman. He said no to me because I’m not an underage girl.

I started developing and writing a feature film back in November 2014 and I knew I wanted James Franco to play the antagonist. I tailored this part for him. I was so excited about my feature film script and had a blast writing it. I held a successful table read in August 2016 with working actors and created a clever social media campaign in the summer of 2017 that involved celebrities endorsing my script to James Franco.

In July 2017, my friend and I dropped off a hard copy of my script to his production company, and that same day, we emailed a PDF version of my script to his production company as well.

In November 2017, a fierce and courageous friend and colleague of mine asked me what was the latest news with my script. I told her what was going on and she offered to help me connect the dots and take it to the next level. After Thanksgiving break, I went to her house and we spent three hours connecting the dots. The meeting culminated with her calling James Franco’s manager and emailing my script to them.

I had an audition for a feature film in mid-December that Noah Baumbach was directing and when I got back from my audition, my friend’s assistant told me that James Franco passed on my film. Well actually, his first line of defense at his production company passed on my film. So James never received my script. I just like to say James Franco passed on my film because it will bring in more viewers to my blog 🙂

And I have to say that when I received the news, I felt great! I didn’t take a loss on it. I wasn’t upset or angry. I had nothing on it because I received an answer. I received an answer for this journey I had been on since November 2014. There is no loss. I still have a fun and great script on my hands.

Besides, there’s Dave Franco who could step in and play the antagonist. Or Samuel L. Jackson. Or Finn Wittrock. There are possibilities!

So, this chapter closes on James Franco (for now!)

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How I Got An Agent Offer In One Week

Hello everyone! Hope this new blog entry finds you all in great health and spirits. I’m really excited to share today’s blog entry, so let’s get to it!

On March 7th, I received a phone call from my agency informing me that they would be stepping down as a SAG-AFTRA franchised agency. And as a result, they wouldn’t be able to represent me anymore because I’m a union actor. They said that they could still represent me till mid-April, but that I was also free to start looking for new representation.

The phone call lasted a few minutes, and when we hung up, I was actually cool. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t start looking at the “loss” in this situation, but rather, the opportunity in this situation. I didn’t go into a dark place knowing that I would have to start an agent search from scratch. I didn’t look at the “burden” of having to start all over again. And look, there are millions of reasons for me to worry and stress over starting a new agent search.

For example, we are still in pilot season, and traditionally, that is considered the worst time to look for an agent. Pilot season is an insanely busy time for agents and they are not looking for nor have the time to interview and accept new clients. Actors are told to submit to agents after pilot season because that’s when agents drop some of their clients.

However, if you know me by now, I didn’t let that stop me. I said, “Fuck it. I’m going to start my agent search now.” Yes, that’s right! During pilot season! Why wait till mid-April when I can start now? Do it now. Do it now. Do it now.

I looked forward. I didn’t look at the burden of the workload ahead of me. Why? Because I know how to administrate the hell out of my career. I know what actions to take to get an agent. I know how to book the rooms that I walk into. I have a solid resume. I have a solid reel. I know my casting. I know what I want as an artist. I have a business plan. I have so many pros at my disposal. I’ve acquired agents before and I can acquire them again.

I set an intention to get an offer in two weeks. I got to work on March 8th with the first phase of research. I generated a list of agencies that spoke to me in terms of their mission statement and other qualifying factors that resonated with me. (The second phase is to reach out to my relationship map to see if anyone can act as a referral for me)

But back to the first phase and making sure that I followed it through to completion. I went through the list of talent agencies on IMDB Pro and focused on agencies in LA. I went to SAG-AFTRA’s website to get a list of SAG-AFTRA franchised agents. I cross-referenced both websites and created a spreadsheet of my target agencies.

I submitted to a total of 15 agencies. Each agency had different submission requirements and I tailored each submission to them. By Sunday, March 11th, I received an email from one of the 15 agencies asking to meet with me. I met with them on Thursday, March 15th and I received an offer from them.

One week later.

I went from not having an agent to having another offer.

What are the lessons I/we can take away from this?

*Intention without hesitation.

*Knowing that if I have to start all over again with something, that I have the tools necessary to get back in the game. That I have a system of actions, a structure, that will always get me back in the game.

*Rules can be broken. That it’s okay to go the other way. “Don’t submit during pilot season. That’s a no no.” I decided to go against that thinking and went for it. The turn over rates at agencies are frequent all year long. My intention put me in the right place at the right time.

My Oscar Speech

Oscar

On Sunday, March 4th, I attended what I call the Super Bowl of all awards shows: the Oscars. I live for awards season and the Oscars is the culmination, the peak, of this exciting and hectic season.

I attended an Oscars viewing party at the WACO Theater Center and it was hosted by Richard Lawson. We were asked to come dressed in our Oscars best. I chose to wear a black blazer, black pants and black shoes. I was going to wear a crisp, button-down shirt underneath, but I quickly discovered that dry cleaning stores are closed on Sunday (I was going to drop my shirt off the day before) So I quickly improvised and decided to wear a simple maroon t-shirt underneath. Rock and roll, baby!

As we settled inside the theater to watch the Oscars, Richard made an announcement. He said, “Now you know…because I teach about the power of postulates, I’m going to randomly call up a person to deliver an Oscars speech during each commercial break.”

(By the way, here is the definition of a postulate: A self-generated truth. A prediction. A proposition that requires no proof, being self-evident, or that is for a specific purpose assumed true, and that is used in the proof of other propositions. To demand or claim something.)

I could feel some people in the room shift uncomfortably in their seats and I also heard slight groans and murmurs of protest. Perhaps they felt this was some hokey pokey nonsense. Perhaps they don’t have belief in their own abilities to reach this pinnacle of industry recognition.

Not me. I wanted to lean into and embrace this opportunity! Winning an Oscar is on my DOIN’ (Declaration of Independence aka my business plan) and what better way to get closer to my postulate of winning an Oscar than to deliver a speech in front of a live audience of artists. What better way to assume the position and believe and experience.

On the second commercial break, Richard called my name over the speaker system! “And the Oscar goes to…JORGE ORTIZ!”

As soon as I heard my name, I was in instant belief. I jumped up to my feet and grabbed the glass bottle of mineral water I was drinking so that it could represent my Oscar. I remember seeing people around me giving me a standing ovation and cheering very loudly and happily for me. I remember walking with energy down the stairs and Jordan Bull giving me a hug along the way. I got to the stage and then quickly got off of it and ran back upstairs to give my partner a hug and a kiss! I made my way back to the stage and soaked in the applause and cheers. The lights shone brightly and warmly on me.

I heard Marlo Stroud yell from the front row, “I love you Jorge!”, and I quickly pointed to her and yelled back, “Thank you Meryl Streep!” When the applause died down, I began my speech. The first thing I said was, “Well I guess this means one thing: My IMDB star meter will FINALLY be number one tomorrow! I’ve always wanted that!”

My speech flowed. It was moment to moment and it had equal parts humor, charm, irony and earnestness. I was impinged. I impinged the audience. I would look at my glass bottle Oscar with pride and joy. I ended my speech, and to pay homage to the winners who sometimes walk off the wrong way, I did the same. When I realized I was exiting the wrong way, I played up the mistake and then pointed to the usher who helped me exit the right way.

I walked down the hallway and made my way into the lobby where I was still in absolute belief as people congratulated me on what a great job I had done. So many people congratulated me and I felt like I was in the press room that winners immediately go into to answer questions from the press.

Someone asked me in the lobby, “What kind of film do you think you would win an Oscar for?” I immediately said, “I could see myself winning a Best Actor Oscar for being in a film like Moonlight. A movie that pushes, provokes and inspires.”

This was such an incredible and real experience!!!!!!!!!

As the night continued and I watched other speeches, it was interesting to see who was in belief and who had a judgement about it. And all I can say about the latter approach is that this judgement, this non-belief, this doubt, this feeling of it being hokey pokey nonsense are all postulates. That’s right, these are postulates too. Negative postulates. You’re putting that negative belief out there. This self-generated truth, this prediction, this proposition that requires no proof, being self-evident…is all rooted in negativity and doubt. What you put out there is what you get back. So if you don’t believe that you can have an Oscar, then you won’t get it. You won’t ever put yourself in a position of belief to get closer and closer to the postulate of getting an Oscar.

And it’s just not about the belief in getting an Oscar. I’m curious to know where else you have doubts about your own career. Do you have doubts that you can have wonderful representation? Do you have doubts that you can put together a great demo reel? Do you have doubts that you can be a working actor? Do you have doubts that you can do a great audition or put up a great scene in class? Do you have doubts about the power you have as an artist?

“The man who says he can, and the man who says he can not. Are both correct.”-Confucius

Artistic Abundance

Happy Oscars day! I want to say congratulations to all of the nominees. It was raining this weekend in LA and it inspired today’s blog entry! You’ve heard the expression, “When it rains, it pours”? Well, that’s what I feel like is happening at the moment for me in my artistic life.

Earlier this year, I laid out my 2018 goals and I’ve been going after them in a deliberate way. One of the goals was to put the actor back into Jorge Ortiz Actor (jorgeortizactor is my social media handle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…hint hint…follow me!) And since putting the focus back on acting, I’ve been up three times on stage in my scene study class (and in one of the scenes I did, Richard Lawson used me as an example of the teaching and how I effectively and clearly apply it) I also have a few more scenes scheduled to go up and I have other classmates who want to work with me as well.

My editor is doing the finishing touches on the first cut of a film that I not only executive produced and wrote, but that I also starred in. Actor.

A friend of mine highly-referred me to the playwright, the director and the executive producer of a play that they are launching in June. I met with them yesterday and the meeting went great. I got to select and pitch which role I would be interested in playing should I decide to come on board.

I did a table read last month for a feature film and my performance left a wonderful impression on the writer and producer of the film. This past week, I shared with him a self-tape audition I did and he really enjoyed my work. As a matter of fact, he enjoyed it so much that he is considering me for other parts in his feature film.

I have an audition for a feature film tomorrow (Monday) for a leading role in a feature film. I’ve been working on my sides all weekend and I also have to sing a song! My goal and intention is to book the audition room! I can’t wait to deliver my product.

I’ve also been researching commercial acting classes to take!

On the writing side, a friend of mine recently did research for me on various writing competitions because I am interested in getting my writing works out there!

I’ve been teaching four acting classes at the Richard Lawson Studios since January of this year and really being of service to the students and to their growth. I am maintaining my relationship map and keeping that alive and healthy.

And of course, celebrating along the way!

There are many more things happening this year and I can’t wait to continue sharing my journey with all of you!

Until next week!

Chasing The George!

Table Read Fun!

Hey artistic warriors! Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

I had an opportunity to act in a table read for an exciting and powerful feature film. I was asked to be in it by the writer of the film. He and I met at the Richard Lawson Studios two years ago and we kept in touch by sharing our artistic endeavors with each other. Plus, he had seen my work as an actor and liked it. He mentioned at the table read that he hand-selected each of us because he knew what we would bring to the characters.

And although I can’t talk about the storyline of the feature film, what I will talk about is the process I employed for the table read. First of all, the scripts would only be available at the table read, so none of us had the opportunity to read it and work on our characters beforehand. We were only emailed our character names and their breakdowns. So essentially, this was a cold reading! Which I thrive on!

Based on my character’s breakdown, I came dressed as the character. I decided to wear something “hip nerdy” and I wore non-prescription glasses. When I took my assigned seat at the table, I literally had five minutes to find my scenes and read through them. On the first read through of my scenes, I just read them in order to gather the facts that the writer was giving to me. What’s going on? What’s happening?

When I finished the first read through, I went back and created a quick history for my character. Then, I created a moment before and then I began reading through my scenes again. I allowed myself to be open and present so that my instincts and impulses could come through. As subtext and thoughts popped into my head, I wrote them down on the margins of the pages. I didn’t question myself, I didn’t flinch, I didn’t critique. I honored my impulses. When I finished the second read through of my scenes, I closed the script and let it go. I didn’t do any more read throughs.

A minute later, the table read began. I connected with my other scene partner and found moments where I was impinged by him and where I impinged him. I allowed myself to have a moment of real reflective delay when he delivered some bad news to me and I allowed myself to have an experience.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience and the writer loved and appreciated what we all brought to the table read. We had a quick Q&A afterwards and he shared with us his upcoming plans for the film.

Until next time! Have a great artistic week!

I Can’t Act!

Hey artistic warriors! Today’s blog entry is inspired by several scenes I have on the schedule for my scene study class. Coming up, I have: Best In Show, Black Mirror, The Out Of Towners, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and a repeat of a scene from Weeds, to name just a few. And I thought about a blog entry I wrote back in August 2015 that addressed the doubts I have about my talents whenever I do a first rehearsal for anything I’m working on.

I wanted to share the original entry below for laughs, shits and giggles. And also sharing this entry to see if anyone else has a similar experience when it comes to picking up material for the very first time (Like a virgin…touched for the very first time…)

Original entry below…this was when I was rehearsing a scene from “I Like It Like That”

On August 2nd, 2015, my scene partner and I began our first rehearsal for a scene we’re putting up in class. We met at a neutral midway point since we both live far away from each other. And “neutral” meaning no coffee shops and no restaurants. Somewhere where we could sit down with minimal to no distraction and start digging into our scene work.

We settled on a small park that was inhabited by a handful of people. It was a very quiet park and we both knew this was a perfect setting for our first rehearsal. We sat on the lawn and became really excited to start working together on this powerful scene. We pulled out our scripts and before we even read one line, we talked about the movie: Our observations; our relationship to each other as these characters; where in the movie this scene took place so that we understood the magnitude of the event and evaluation of what was going on; questions that I had; questions that she had; we talked about how to effectively rehearse and what today’s rehearsal would encompass.

Everything was going great! We were quickly getting on the same page. We were bouncing ideas off of each other. We were very “yes, and…” Meaning that we were building upon our ideas: “Yes, that’s great and how about…”, “Yes, and I can bring this…”, “Yes, and if I do this, then…”

Again, everything was going GREAT…

…Until we read the scene for the first time.

OH MY FUCKING GOD! I WAS SO AWFUL. As soon as I started saying my first line, I was like, “I should quit acting right now. Who the fuck am I kidding? I’m terrible! I can’t act.” That’s right. I said it. I’m a terrible actor and I can’t act. I should just move to Hawaii and open up a surfboard shop by the beach (LOL Does this sound familiar, DawnMarie?) As I continued saying each of my lines in the scene, I could hear discordant piano chords gradually getting louder in my head. Each off-key, jarring chord made my body twitch and jump. My head kept cringing more and more to the left. I could hear missiles getting closer to hitting their target (the target, by the way, was me!) I could hear nails scratching against the chalkboard.

Even WORSE, I could see all of fellow Vassar grad Meryl Streep’s 18 Oscar nominations flashing before my eyes. My eyes crossed. My vision got blurry. I may have even slapped myself to snap out of it and become present again. My scene partner–thinking I was making an inspired, bold choice in the moment–slapped herself as well. I looked up at her and saw Meryl Streep sitting across from me, pointing and laughing hard, while she was surrounded by her 3 Oscars, 8 Golden Globes, 2 SAG Awards, 2 Primetime Emmys and countless other awards. And just when I was about to lose my mind, we finished reading the scene.

Depleted, exhausted and shaking, I looked up at my scene partner and said, “That was really cool. Let’s read it again.”

LOL!

What I just described is an interesting phenomena that occurs 80% of the time when I first pick up a script for scene study class or sides for an audition. The first read through is so horrendous and I always question my abilities as an actor. Does anyone else experience this? If so, I’d love to know why it happens to you too. And look, I’ll be honest, Meryl Streep has never laughed at me, but I’ve heard and experienced those discordant piano chords. I think part of it has to do with starting from scratch. I’m picking up a script again for the first time and embarking on a brand new, unknown journey. I’m starting with a clean, blank slate that I now have to start filling in and piecing together bit by bit. It’s that first step into the unknown that is the worst.

Bottom line: Can I build another scene from scratch again and deliver a fully-realized performance? (Even though I have delivered fully-realized performances countless times before.) Will this finally be the scene where people discover that I can’t act? That I am a sham artist? That I am a fake?

However, by the second read through of the script or the audition sides, I feel better (That’s how I felt when my scene partner and I read through the scene again.) I got through and survived the first read. I got it out of my system and no longer felt this expectation to deliver an Oscar-winning performance. I am now open to actually receiving what’s on the page. And then I read the script or audition sides a third time. And then I read it again. And again. And again. Each time, I gain more understanding of what’s happening. I know which questions to ask. The picture comes into focus more and more.

I believe another reason for this phenomena is that I want to know and have all the answers right away. Instead, I have to remind myself that part of the journey with rehearsing a scene or preparing for an audition is the willingness to have patience and not know the answers right away. To trust that by doing the work, the answers will eventually come. The “ah ha” moments will hit me along the way.

And like I mentioned earlier, this phenomena doesn’t always happen. There is that remaining 20% where I immediately connect with a new scene and I know exactly what’s going on and how to play it. Interestingly enough, however, whenever I have to do a cold reading at an audition (where the casting director gives you the sides on the spot and you have a few minutes to look them over), I DON’T experience this phenomena. With cold reads, I put no pressure or expectation on myself because it’s a COLD read. I know that they know that the performance I’m delivering is based upon the few minutes I’ve spent with the sides. I have a few minutes tops to figure out what’s going on in the scene, what’s the relationship between my character and the other character(s) in the scene and to make one or two strong choices that supports the story.

My scene partner and I have had more rehearsals since our initial one and I am having fun with the process. I am gaining more clarity and certainty with the scene and with my character. I am honoring my genius and instincts. The unknown is no longer an issue and doesn’t scare me anymore. I am piecing together the wardrobe of my character and have taken my character public on two occasions so far. By taking the character public and interacting with people, I’m enhancing my belief as this character. If the public believes who I am, then my belief is enhanced as well.

We are exploring subtext. We are figuring out WHY we are saying each line. We are looking at the chapters in the scene (a new chapter occurs when there’s a dynamic shift in the scene). We are looking at our relationship. What makes this night different from other nights? What’s the moment before? What is this moment about over here? Why do I turn off the music? I bonded with my scene partner’s child this past Monday for a few hours because in this scene, I’m arguing with my sister about the way she’s raising her child (my nephew). I need a nephew. I need to have a real kid that I can connect with and fall in love with and fight for. My scene partner and I even took a picture with him so that I can frame it and make it part of our set (Specifics equals belief) We had another great rehearsal today where we connected to what the scene was about!

So our rehearsal process is progressing beautifully.

What allows me to build confidence in my work is a set of solid training tools which helps me to create and construct things from scratch. To take words on a page and bring them to life. Tools are vital. Without them, you’re fucked. You’re kind of hoping and praying that you’ll get lucky and deliver a great performance. And let’s say you DO deliver a great, solid performance. Great! But you have no idea how you did that. How you got there. So, when you’re asked to repeat it either by an acting teacher, a casting director or a film director on set, you’re fucked because you don’t know how to repeat that experience or moment. You were just winging it. I’m glad I have tools to work with to help me understand how I got there and how to repeat a performance. I have structure that helps me be free and play within it. I’ve done the work. Now I can go play.

So whatever your acting training is or wherever you currently study, use those tools to embark on the journey of the unknown and into the known.

And yes, I CAN act. See you soon, Meryl Streep.

My 2018 Goal

Hey kitty girls! I couldn’t resist. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 premiered on January 25th and I am getting all my life right now!

We’re still in January and 2018 is still very much new and filled with wonderful possibilities. I wanted to share with you all what my goal is for 2018. I recently shared that my birthday wish was to continue honoring my imagination as an artist. Which I love! So, what is my goal for 2018? What am I focused on?

When I look over my DOIN’ (Declaration of Independence aka my personal business plan), one of my postulates is:

I am a household name infiltrating and conquering mainstream Hollywood through my film acting work and by creating TV and Film content that is just beyond the margin of comfortability (Daring and artistically free content that falls within the wheelhouse of HBO, Showtime, Netflix, A24 and powerful indie studio houses)

Which is great! I still love and believe in this postulate. However, as I looked at it, I realized that in order for me to fulfill that postulate, there was a prior step that I needed to accomplish. There’s a step that comes before becoming a household name and I need to achieve that first. And that is to become an industry name first. I want name recognition and name value with industry professionals (e.g., producers, writers, directors, casting) That fellow colleagues know my name and respect it because of my professionalism and hard work.

So the goal for 2018 is to close the deal on at least one writing and one acting project that puts my name in the entertainment trades (e.g., Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, IndieWire, etc.) I have created a DOIN’ specifically for this goal. My 2018 DOIN’ as I call it. I’m so excited to have a plan of attack to make this goal happen in 2018. Close the deal so that fellow colleagues in the industry take notice of my name.

What is your 2018 goal or goals? I’d love to read what they are in the comments section below!