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!

Why Training Is Important

It keeps you sharp.

It keeps you fluid.

Stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready.

There’s always more to learn.

There’s always something to learn.

Dancers train. They go to class consistently and work out on the dance floor. The best ones make it look so effortless because they train.

Athletes train. Athletes train. Athletes train. They train so that they can compete and perform at the highest level possible. Optimum. They make it look so easy too.

As an actor, I always want to stay sharp so that I’m not relying solely on my persona or tricks. I never want to feel like I’m rusty or catching up. Training allows me to have a system in place to get the job done. And then to repeat the work over and over again. No guessing work.

Training is also important because as we get older, our casting changes. So we need to start understanding those new characters and how to now play them. We have to step into the shoes of these new characters and understand who they are. How they behave. Training will help us to do that.

Training is fun!

Training gets you to a place where you don’t have to think so hard or work so hard. It’s in you and you work more efficiently.

Training keeps you on the artistic path when the bullshit of life and the naysayers of life want to take you off of it. This is a fucking tough business. No mother-effing bullshit. When I come into class every Thursday night or every Friday morning, I’m re-charged and re-inspired to keep going.

Training allows you to make mistakes and figure out the answers to them. Make the mistakes in class. Fail forward in class. Now, mistakes happen in the outside world too. However, with training, you can manage those mistakes like a pro! And they’ll appreciate you very much for it!

My ideal situation is to be a working, professional artist (actor and writer) working on set and then coming back to class whenever the project is wrapped or whenever we have a break in the shooting schedule. Come back to class. Come back to ground zero. Come back to where it all started. Re-energize and then head back to set.

Train.

Find a class that speaks to you, that challenges you and that has a great, supportive community. Train and take your craft to a higher level of creation, output and experience.

Train.

Cool true story: I was at a small focus group recently and they asked us if we wanted to make an extra hundred dollars. We all raised our hands immediately. The moderator said, “Great! I just need one volunteer to sing a full pop song in front of the group.” Everyone put their hands down except for me. I quickly said, “I’ll do it!” Because of my training, I jumped in and was on “go”. Because of my training, I didn’t question myself or judge myself or be self-conscious any step of the way because I followed my first impression with good-humored inflexibility. I’m a genius unti proven otherwise. Because I work hard and put many hours into everything that I do, I was able to deliver on the spot. Cold. No preparation given. I didn’t have to warm up or make excuses. I started singing “Like a Virgin” by Madonna. That was the first song that popped into my head and I didn’t judge it. Everyone was impressed as soon as I started singing. I connected with each person and sang to them. After I sang only the first verse and chorus, the moderator stopped me and gave me the extra hundred dollars. He jokingly hated the fact that I could actually sing.

Training paid off in this situation-which had nothing to do with acting or an audition…this was a focus group. Training put me on go and I sang really well and I connected with each person. I delivered at a high level and impinged every person in the room.

Week 2 Status Report!

For
a second week in a row, I stepped up my awareness in certain areas of
my personal and professional lives so that I can be in alignment with my
career postulates. With this increased awareness, and by taking a set of actions, I am stepping into
the light and power of my postulates. If I see and want these things for
my career, then I need to behave and act in accordance with the things
that I see and want. For example, 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, The
Weinstein Company and other powerful indie studio houses)

I
see this postulate. I just have to fill in the blanks to get there.
Take the actions to get there. So that when I do become a household
name, it’s déjà
vu because I already saw it X amount of time ago. But in order for me
to get closer and closer to achieving this postulate (and other
postulates), I need to have an increased awareness of how to live and
operate my life in certain areas. For example, I have to be a leader. I
have to be in the front. I have to speak my mind. My viewpoint must be
unyielding with good-humored inflexibility. I have to ask for what I
want from the people on my team, etc. I have to take actions and vibrate at the same frequency level of my postulates.

So
I tackled the same list of actions again from my October 16th blog
entry. Again, some of these actions are already a part of my everyday
routine. A few other actions are a little more challenging and I need to
lean into them more. That being said, I had a little more ease with
tackling the challenging actions in the second week than I did in the
first week. Moving forward, I have to continue tackling these
challenging actions until they become a way of life for me, a part of my
routine.

So without further delay, here are the list of actions I took again. This is not a final, comprehensive list of all the actions I take for my life and career. This is just a small sampling of my career administration, with a focus on challenging actions I need to step it up in. The asterisk (*) indicates a challenging action.

To sit in the front row. (Yes. In both of my acting classes)

**To speak my mind immediately. (Yes. Better. Improved.)

**To follow my impulses and instincts. (Yes. Better. Improved)

To lead. (Yes. Taught my ass off in the PDP 1.0 and PDP 2.0 classes.)

To
dance while in the passenger seat of a car when a good song comes on or
when the driver dances. (I did not ride shotgun this time.)

To spice things up. (Yes. Sunday night.)

To dance in the streets. (Yes.)

To make extra money. (Yes. Two times.)

To be myself without apology. (Yes. In terms of the way I laugh, the things I say, the jokes I say, the way I dance.)

**To hold my own space. (Yes. Much better. Improved)

To dance without consideration at the top of acting classes. (Yes.)

To continue administering my acting and writing careers. (Yes! Yes! Yes!)

To
engage in conversation with a new person (Yes. I engaged with a customer at the
smog check station, with the tech assistant at the smog check station
and with two people at a Halloween party.)

To ask various industry people for something I want. (Yes. I reached out to two TV showrunners to be their assistant.)

To
excite my agent again with a new piece of administrative evidence that
will push my career forward. (Yes. I sent them my commercial headshot
template.)

To be submitted on 3-5 TV series and 3-5 feature films. See below:

TV Series: The Fosters, Silicon Valley, Counterpart, Grey’s Anatomy.

Feature Films: Happy Anniversary, Willie and Me.

To
impinge! (Yes. I stood by my Halloween costume concept and didn’t yield
from it at the Halloween party. Also posted my concept on Facebook. I
also impinged when I taught PDP 1.0 and PDP 2.0. I impinged with an audition I did. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

Here’s What Happened!!!

So
last Sunday, October 16th, I made a commitment to tackle a small list of
actions that would help and push me into being the living embodiment of
my postulates (The blog entry was titled, “This Week, I Commit Myself:”) A
postulate is something I see for myself and claim. A prediction. A
proposition that requires no proof. Being self-evident. You see
something, you work towards it and when you achieve it, it becomes déjà
vu. A postulate is a way of life. I have to live my postulates and be
them. Currently, I do a pretty good job of living and operating within
the realm of my postulates, but I know I can step it up even more.

In other words, if I want to achieve certain things in
my life and career, then I need to start living them even more so. Behave as such. Behave as if I already have them and achieved them.
So I
created this small list of actions to start moving faster towards the
completion of my postulates. I already execute some of the actions on this list on a daily basis, while other actions on this list need more awareness and attack.

I
committed to doing these actions for a week, and man, what an
experience. Many of the actions on this list were easy to complete, but a couple gave me a challenge and I found myself flinching from them.

The areas I flinched on (flinch: to back away, to retreat) was speaking my mind immediately and listening to my impulses and instincts. This is the people-pleaser
in me. This is the person who wants to run for mayor and be liked. Many
years ago, I was running for mayor big time and trying to please
everyone. That shit was so fucking exhausting. It was not fucking
realistic. Who has time for that shit? As Bianca Del Rio says, “Not
today, Satan, not today.” I’m not about that because it makes me weak and puts me at affect. I have come a long way from that person I used to be.

However, there is probably 9% of that
people-pleasing aspect still in me. And that 9% held me back from
speaking my mind immediately this past week. I spoke my mind in certain
situations, but not in others for fear of rocking the boat and
disturbing the waters. That 9% also held back my impulses and instincts
in a few situations. Again, to avoid getting into “trouble”.

When
I flinched, I immediately busted myself and asked, “Why did you flinch
on that?” “Why did you back away?” “Why did you look the other way?”
“Why didn’t you speak on that?” “What do you think is going to happen?!”
Because when I do speak my mind and when I do follow my impulses and
instincts, it’s fucking liberating!! So, I kept calling myself out every time I flinched.

It takes a lot of energy to be a star. To be a leader. To see and be seen. To perceive and take responsibility for what you perceive. To just be. To not fidget. To hold your head up. To be the example. But I want to achieve what I see for myself and so I have to work at it.
The more I do this, the more manageable it will be. So, I will repeat
the same small list of actions this week–and beyond–so that the challenging
actions become second-nature. A way of life. Again, some actions on the list were
easy to complete and is a part of my everyday routine, while a couple of actions were challenging.

Below is the list of actions and my status report for each line item:

To sit in the front row (Yes. I sat in the front of my acting classes. I
must always sit in the front row or be in the front of a group.)

To speak my mind immediately (Yes on certain topics and no on others.)

To follow my impulses and instincts (Yes on certain things and no on others.)

To lead (Yes on certain things and no on others.)

To dance while in the passenger seat of a car when a good song comes on
or when the driver dances (Yes. This pushes me to be the fool. To be
present. To loosen up.)

To spice things up (Yes.)

To dance in the streets (Yes. I danced and skipped down the streets of
Sherman Oaks. I also danced while holding 5-pound weights inside of
Target.)

To make extra money (Yes. I made extra money on three different
occasions. The intention is to create a state of affluence and financial
abundance. To know that I can always create money for myself.)

To be myself without apology (Yes. In terms of my point of view, in
terms of my laugh, in terms of my reactions to things, in terms of how I
dress, in terms of the stand up comedy I recently did, to dance how the
fuck I want to dance, etc.)

To hold my own space (Yes and no. Yes in terms of allowing myself to
hold space at Queen Mary Dark Harbor Nights, holding my space on the
trains and buses, at Trader Joe’s on Sunday during peak hours when the
Brooklyn in me went in and out with groceries in FIVE minutes. No in
terms of fidgeting. No in terms of looking the other way when a few
people looked at me throughout the week. No in terms of not speaking my
mind immediately.)

To dance without consideration at the top of my acting classes (Yes.)

To continue administering my acting and writing careers (Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!)

To engage in conversation with a new person (Yes.)

To ask various industry people for something I want (Yes, yes, yes! I asked for advice and leads on self-publishing a book.)

To excite my agent again with a new piece of administrative evidence
that will push my career forward (Yes. I emailed him my theatrical
headshot template.)

To be submitted on 3-5 TV series and 3-5 feature films (I was submitted
on several TV series including: Criminal Minds, Speechless, The Real
O’Neals, Master of None, Dear White People
, etc. I was submitted on 3
feature films: Skin In The Game, Patriarch, Killer Complex.)

So, here we go again for this week! Round two!