Creating The Evidence…Again!

On Friday, June 30th, I will be shooting a new scene for my actor reel. I want to make sure that I keep my arsenal, my actor package, current and marketable. I’ll be playing a computer hacker along with friend and fellow actress, Lindsay Hopper, who will also be playing a computer hacker. I’m excited to add this visual piece of evidence to my actor tool kit because this is a part I can play. I’m excited to share this scene with my reps so that they can use it as another tool to promote me with.

I’m excited that the script and production design are influenced by Mr. Robot to really hone in on a specific world of computer hacking. I’m excited that I asked Lindsay, “Hey, can you write a short scene for my reel where I play a computer hacker?”, and that she wrote the scene immediately. I’m excited that I’ve been working on my character so that on the day of shooting, I can let it go and trust that the work I’ve done will be there.

I’m excited that I have the ability to create the evidence (from filming my own products/projects to writing pilots and feature films) I’m excited that I’ll have a filmed scene for my reel that matches the computer hacker headshots I took earlier this year.

Creating the evidence puts me in the driver’s seat. Creating the evidence opens doors to opportunities.

What are you currently creating and working on? Let me know in the comments section below!

Auditions

LLL d 31_5418.NEFCasting directors in a scene from “La La Land” / Lionsgate

On Monday, June 5th, I had the honor and privilege of being a reader for a prominent casting director who was casting various roles for a feature film. As the reader, I brought each scheduled actor into the room and read the other characters in the scene they were auditioning for. A reader gives the casting director the opportunity to focus on the actor who’s auditioning, to take notes on them and give re-directs if necessary.

This was my third time being on the other side of the casting desk. The first time was when I was a reader for an AFI short film that was being cast by another prominent casting director. The second time was when I was casting for my own TV pilot. With this project, I read the entire script for context and I rehearsed the scenes I was in so that I could impinge and affect the actors when they read with me.

Being a reader this past Monday was a great confirmation and reminder of things I already understood about the casting process and I wanted to share it with you all:

1) Don’t take it personal if you don’t get the job. There are so many reasons why you don’t get the job. Reasons that are out of your control. This particular casting director (and the director of the feature film) was looking for something very specific with certain roles. So either the actors had it when they walked in the room or they didn’t. In some cases, several of the actors had one dynamic of the character, but lacked another dynamic of the character. All good and talented actors that came into the room. But again, nothing personal. The people behind the scenes are putting together a complicated puzzle and have to make sure the pieces fit looks-wise, age-wise, type-wise. One actor was too tall. Another was too short. One didn’t look high school enough. One didn’t look nerdy enough. Our job as actors is to deliver a strong product and book the audition rooms so that we can be brought back for other projects in the future. Remember, casting directors are not just casting that one project…they are casting other projects down the line.

2) Don’t take it personal if the casting director seems “unfriendly” or “cold”. This particular casting director was literally juggling 10 different things in between each audition session. It’s not that they were cold. This casting director loves actors. It’s just that they were dealing with a myriad of things regarding the project. In between actors coming into the room, this casting director was calling one particular agency to see if they could resolve a scheduling conflict with an actor they already cast in the feature; or they were working out a deal memo; or they were calling Breakdown Services to re-release a breakdown for another character; or they were on the phone with the director and producer of the feature film to let them know that they might be losing one of the lead actors due to a scheduling conflict.

3) Make strong choices. The actors that booked the room made strong choices and delivered a product. One actor asked me before we entered the room, “What do you guys want to see from me?” I answered, “Do what you prepared and they’ll give you a re-direct if necessary.” Don’t ask or figure out what the casting director wants to see from you. Create your product and deliver it. Show us what you created and how you brought this character to life. Give us the answer. Believe in what you created.

4) Don’t apologize. Apologizing before you start your audition, apologizing during your audition or apologizing after your audition doesn’t serve you. Apologizing leaves something in the room that doesn’t need to be in there. Apologizing leaves this icky feeling/energy in the room. Once you apologize, it gives us an “out” to not root for you. Once you apologize, you’re shaping our viewpoint of what you’re about to present to us or what you just presented to us. Don’t apologize. Do your best and let us have our own opinion and viewpoint about your audition. Don’t apologize for us and leave us with an apology.

5) Casting directors are rooting for you. They want you to be the answer!

This was a great experience and I hope to do it again!

Being “On Go” Update!

Hello my fellow artistic warriors! I hope you all are having a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

Last Sunday, I posted a blog entry about being “on go”. I challenged myself to be on go for the next seven days for my career. I also encouraged others to share with me how they would be on go for their careers as well. Here is the link to that blog entry: http://wp.me/p8uI5M-cK

Today, I’d like to share my experiences and accomplishments. Now, please understand that this is not about me showing off. Not at all! This is about creating accountability for myself. To hold myself accountable and to see where I backed off when it came to being “on go”. I hope that what I experienced will help others out with being “on go”.

When I look back at the last seven days of being “on go”, I think I did a pretty good job of doing so. I tackled and accomplished a lot of things from my list without hesitation. I reached out. I acted on something. I moved on something. I asked for things. I communicated and expressed. Again, I think I did a pretty good job of being on go. Being on go forced me to not question, to act now. To do it now.

I learned that being on go means that you also honor your instincts. I had an instinct, a knowingness about something on Tuesday morning (May 23rd), but I went against it and now I’m experiencing the repercussions of it. Fortunately, the repercussions are not damaging or devastating or irreversible, but still annoying because I KNEW. I KNEW! My instinct told me to act in a certain way and to go in a particular direction, but I went against it to not rock the boat. To not cause trouble. Lesson learned. I won’t do that again.

I also flinched Wednesday morning (May 24th) on executing the beginning of my social media campaign for a project I have developed. I flinched (to draw back or withdraw from) because I realized I wasn’t ready to launch that social media campaign. I know that this social media plan (plus a couple of other things related to my project) will put me in a position of attention and accountability…and there’s just one dynamic regarding my project that I haven’t mastered yet. So that’s where my flinch came from and why I stopped being on go in this particular instance. I was like, “I have one shot with this. I have to make sure that when I do launch this campaign, that I’m ready to deliver.”

But like my teacher, Richard Lawson, says, “The wrong way is the right way.” Meaning that it’s better to stay in motion than to remain at rest. Cause at least while you’re in motion, you’ll figure out that you’re going the wrong way and then you’ll equip yourself with the right tools or knowledge to start going the right way. I didn’t want to start my social media campaign because I’m still trying to understand this one important dynamic about my project.

That being said, I should have started my campaign and then been on go to get the information I needed. Being on go means that I’ll figure it out. Being on go involves trust and confidence that everything will work out. Being on go means that there are no regrets or what if or would have, could have, should have. I wonder what would have happened if I had launched my campaign on May 24th? I’ll never know now.

However, I won’t stay stuck on that. I won’t kick myself and feel bad for myself. The point is that I identified my stop and now I’m on go again. Since Wednesday, May 24th, I have been on go to get this information and I will execute my social media campaign once the holiday weekend is over. Be on go! I still don’t have all the answers, but I’ll start the campaign and know that I will have the answers and info I need. When the opportunity comes, I will be ready. Trust that, Jorge (“George”)!

Here is a list of things I was able to accomplish by being on go. And this is not just a random list of things. I’m not trying to be busy for the sake of being busy. I’m pushing a career forward as an actor and writer. All these actions are connected to my DOIN’ (Declaration of Independence) aka my business plan. These actions are connected to what I want to accomplish this year from my DOIN’. For each action, I bolded what area that pushes (e.g. actor, writer, producer, human being)

  • Responded to a contact that used to work with someone I am targeting. (Writer)
  • Printed a series of postcards at FedEx for my feature film project. These postcards will be part of my campaign. (Writer)
  • Typed up and printed mailing labels for postcards. (Writer)
  • Posted new blog entry about being on go and shared it on social media and with my contacts. (Actor and Writer)
  • Responded to post-production timeline on a film I produced. (Actor and Writer and Producer)
  • Returned a ton of emails. (Actor and Writer and Human Being)
  • Found other projects that a casting office casts and engaged with them via Twitter. (Actor)
  • Found out who the casting directors were for two TV shows I could be on. (Actor)
  • Donated to a fundraising campaign for a web series that my friend created. (Human Being)
  • Reached out to a director in scene study class and asked them if they would direct me in a scene. They said YES. They suggested I look at “A Fish Called Wanda” (the Kevin Klein character.) I will watch the movie as soon as I post this blog entry. (Actor)
  • Emailed a showrunner to check in and rekindle communication. (Human Being)
  • Posted two procedural auditions on Youtube and shared them with my agents. (Actor)
  • Followed up with and read the marketing campaign my commercial agency did for me. (Actor)
  • Continued reading articles on pitching movie scripts. (Writer)
  • Sketched the floor plan for my office. (Mogul. Empire)
  • Read three new scenes for my actor reel. (Actor)
  • Communicated with team about my feature film project. (Writer)
  • Met with a student from class to answer questions they had. (Human Being)
  • Helped another student on their journey to secure an agent or manager. (Human Being)
  • Sent self-care reminders to another student. (Human Being)
  • Emailed my agent a proposal. (Actor)
  • Engaged three separate times with a list of individuals I admire and respect. (Artist)

 

Being On Go!

From Dictionary.com

Go:

3) to keep or be in motion.

22) to move or proceed with remarkable speed or energy.

48) energy, spirit, or animation.

59) to proceed without hesitation or delay.

Word origin: Old English gan “to go, advance, depart; happen; conquer;”

I love these definitions! How will you be “on go” this week from Monday May 22nd to Sunday May 28th? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll share my status report with you all on Sunday, May 28th!

Let’s push our careers forward!

What Inspires You?

 

IMG_1312

“Storm Hits The Sideshow” was the first painting I ever acquired. Famed acting teacher and director Milton Katselas painted it and the second I saw it in his art gallery, I knew I had to have it. As a matter of fact, I walked into his Saturday master class during a break, marched straight up to him, looked him directly in the eyes and said, “Milton, I love your painting, ‘Storm Hits The Sideshow’, and I must have it. I will own it.” And in true Milton fashion, he put one hand on my shoulder, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Good!” That’s all he said and I knew that he knew the painting was going to be in great hands.

I purchased the painting a week later, and to this day, I still love it.

This is a work of art that inspires me and is personal to me. If you zoom into the picture of the painting, you will see a guy riding a motorcycle in the middle of this storm. I always saw myself as that guy. I am cutting through the storm, the uncertainty and the craziness of this industry. I am that guy on the motorcycle who is cutting through the ups and downs, the naysayers and the rejections with force and intention.

That guy on the motorcycle is stepping into the storm. He’s stepping into the fire to get to the other side. He is bypassing and pushing through any doubts, fears and considerations he has. I have no doubt that this guy will make it to the other side of this storm and into a place filled with sunshine, clear skies, rainbows and drag queens (Yes to RuPaul’s Drag Race!)

I know that I too am pushing through with intention, even when I don’t have all of the answers. Even when things look dark. Even when it looks like the storm will never end. Why? Because I can ask the next question. Because I am on go. Because I take specific actions for my career. Because I am surrounded by a great community of like-minded artists and friends. Because I am a motherfucking artistic force who knows this is what I want to do with my life. In this painting, there is no sense of where the storm begins or ends, but it doesn’t matter because I am creating and building my career one action at a time.

I would love to read your comments below about what inspires you! Is it a painting? A song? A movie? I would love to know!

Maintaining Healthy Agent Relationships

I wanted to share some cool advice on what I do to maintain a healthy relationship with my agent. I hope this advice will be helpful to you!

Maintain consistent communication with your agent. You and your agent can determine the frequency with which you both communicate because each agency is different. Also, find out what their preferred method of communication is (email, text, phone call, in person) In my case, it’s through email.

Please know that agents are incredibly busy people, so make sure that your communications are clear, to the point and not filled with filler and bullshit. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste their time. Make the communication effective and business-focused. This is your agent, not your best friend from college. The communication should be about something that can move your career forward (e.g., you signed up for a new improv class; you are taking new headshots; you updated your reel and are providing a link for them to watch it; you are taking a casting director workshop; you took a casting director workshop and you are providing your agent with quotes that the casting director said about you; you are reaching out to see what materials they need from you, etc.)

Use communication to work together towards the realization of your dreams. Is there a series you’re passionate about and can see yourself on? Let your agent know and have them keep their eye out on the casting breakdowns for that series and possible characters on it that they can submit you for. If your agent knows you’re passionate about a series, then their attention will be on it. They may even encourage you to target the series as well!

Return their communications in a timely manner. Don’t have them chase after you. If they ask you to do something that could benefit your career, consider it and do it. The relationship between you and agent is a dance partnership. Present your viewpoints and listen to their viewpoints. Fight for the stuff you believe in and consider their ideas as well. Be open and “yes, and…” The cool thing about this dance partnership is that when you first interview with an agent, be clear about what you want for your career and how this partnership can support that. Be clear about what you want from jump street so that all communications and actions can be in support of your dream.

Update your materials on a consistent basis and send to them. Headshots, reels, etc. In addition, email them auditions you’ve done in your on-camera audition class. Email them links to projects you’re in. In this way, you’re giving your agent tools that they can work with and pitch you with. In addition, they’ll also see that you’re active about your career. Keep them excited and invested in you by involving them in your journey. Make the effort to stay in their minds.

Be in a good acting class to continue training and growing as an actor. Scene study, improv, on-camera audition class, etc. I don’t care what it is. Be in class and stay sharp.

Be prepared for the auditions you are sent on. Prepared from confirming the audition with your agent to knowing what the project is about to being off book to getting there on time to sending thank you cards to the casting directors afterwards, etc.

Be enthusiastic about your career and be committed to it! If they see that you are enthusiastic and committed to your career, then they will be more inclined to go to bat for you and prolong the business relationship longer.

Thank them for the work they do for you! Whether it’s in the form of words or gifts, appreciation goes a very long way! Agents do a lot of work and don’t get paid until their clients book work. Show them that you appreciate them. Thank them every time they secure an audition for you. Thank them for going through the casting breakdowns every day for you. Appreciation goes a very long way!

Understand that we have to do the majority of the work in this business relationship. It’s your career and so it’s your responsibility to put in the hours and work. Don’t rely on your agent to do it all for you. That’s not how this works.

Leave me a comment and share what you do to maintain healthy relationships with your agents! I’d love to read them and possibly implement them as well!

Let’s Recap

Hey everyone! I thought this would be a great moment to recap the blog entries I’ve done so far in 2017. Enjoy!

Follow Your Genius:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2GuSkBS

Taking Headshots Part 1:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2HBSD9A

Taking Headshots Part 2:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2IJMGXN

Taking Headshots Part 3:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2IusPpq

Bad-Ass Women In A Trump Era:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2HTsdKh

I’m The Artist Of The Month!:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2I3Tspp

Why Training Is Important:
https://tmblr.co/ZZ3IIx2IcxNdo