Update on Possible Representation

i-guess-you-could-say-things-are-getting-pretty-serious

(Source: memegenerator.net)

 

Not long after my previous post about meeting the talent manager at the large casting event in Poughkeepsie, I submitted all of my materials (headshot, resume, and current reel) for his consideration. He responded back to me that he is looking for more clips of other work I have done, namely commercials but any other work on bigger projects would do.

 

At first, I was a little crushed due to the fact that I have the hardest time booking those types of roles as the production companies won’t look my way without representation. It’s the reason why I had to attend such a large audition to begin with. That open call was the only way (at this point in time) for me to have a chance at a speaking part in a major feature film or television production.

 

However, I’m going to find a way to get into something. Even though I’m not signed with this particular manager, he did add me into the email chain dedicated to clients. So I may have a shot yet. I am being proactive about my search too. I updated my account with Backstage.com to remove any and all background work, removed live theatre work, student films, and promotional modeling. It is now hyperfocused on anything related to film, television, commercials, and industrial shoots (as they are speaking parts). This will probably work since I’m more specific about which roles I’ll take.

 

While it’s still not a guarantee that he will sign me even after all is said and done, the worst that could happen is the addition of credentials on my resume for someone who really wants to sign me. That being said, I have a good feeling that he will be my manager. Wish me luck!

The Curious Case of Jussie Smollett

(Source: Facebook.)

For those of you unaware of the case or who Jussie Smollett is; let me break it down for you as it was previously reported:

Jussie is a star on the hit show ‘Empire’ starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard. About three weeks ago, he was the victim of a hate crime. Two unknown men (described as white and dressed in MAGA hats) jumped Jussie in the middle of the night, on a Chicago street (same city where ‘Empire’ is filmed) wrapping a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him. They called him the N-word and said “this is MAGA country.” He then reported the crime to Chicago police.

When the report was first released, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy and support as it was not uncommon for someone like Jussie who is Black and LGBTQ to be violently attacked. He was the most prolific, so of course it sparked a conversation for the non-marginalized to understand why this happens. Good. It should have done that. However, as time and reporting went on, more people are discrediting the story. The common denominator being that this was a staged publicity stunt.

Now here is something I can sink my teeth into.

For a little background about myself: I’m an actor, who is working an internship with an industry insider who’s job is dedicated to publicity. I benefit from this gig not only for college credit but also for a better understanding of how to promote and manage myself in this industry. I have previously wrote about the publicity stunt orchestrated by Conor MacGregor (which I still hold firm due to my time in Dublin and all of the rumblings I have heard about him); and another possible chance of two celebrities “dating” to make their exes jealous (though I did delete that post because no one could possibly be that stupid.)

Now you know where my head is at, let’s talk about how this could either make a good publicity stunt or a bad one.

As far as a good publicity stunt goes…like I said, sparking the conversation people need to have about violence towards Black LGBTQ communities benefited from this. It also sheds a much needed light on the fact that there are people emboldened by hate due to our current “leadership.”

Bad publicity would mean that he staged this for sympathy and attention devoted solely to him and not the community as a whole. Ultimately wasting time and resources by law enforcement and labeled a liar for the rest of his life.

Regardless of whether the publicity is good or bad, it does make people talk which would be a win for Jussie; but there’s no real gain beyond that. He doesn’t stand to make more money from this. There are no additional acting jobs being thrown at him. He’s not getting written off ‘Empire’. There’s absolutely nothing.

Some suspect that maybe the details of the case were fudged to cover up a sexual encounter gone wrong with, possibly, the two suspected male assailants in the case. But why? Smollett is openly gay, so making up this story to cover up a sexual relationship with another man in the year 2019 would be pointless.

There’s also the theory that he was purchasing drugs and was assaulted. In order to hide from the shame he made up a story about a hate crime. Once again pointless. Celebrities are notorious for dipping into illegal substances. He could be charged with a crime, yes, but he’s not going to completely have the book thrown at him as opposed to someone like me who is common and poor. If anything he would just issue a bullshit public statement about his drug use and then spend a couple of weeks in rehab.

The big theory amongst the social media rabble is that the creator of ‘Empire’, Lee Daniels, set Jussie up in an attack for reasons unknown to them…

This took the cake for me.

I have heard that Lee Daniels is not the most pleasant person to work with, but he is running a business, so harming someone who keeps his business running would not make sense either.

With all of this said: I believe he was attacked.

Now could Jussie have embellished the details of his attack in order to point fingers at a group he doesn’t like? It’s possible. Maybe it was a simple mugging and he used the opportunity to say racists did it, I don’t know. What I do know is that the reporting of this case from start to finish is a hot mess. I hope for a resolution and the truth to come out soon.

HOME

(Taken last night when I walked into the house.)

I made it! It feels so good to be home too. Yes, things are finally calming down with school, but I still felt scattered and out of sorts. Landing on American soil not only rejuvenated my spirit, but calmed some of the anxiety I was feeling.

A couple of good things came out of my move to Ireland. 1) I’m down 20 lbs with 40 more to go. As long as I continue to work out while I’m home I should be able to shave off another 15 while I’m here. 2) I have a deeper appreciation for what I had back home. Things look less bleak and I’m ready to work my butt off as well.

I hope to post more now that I have a bit more time to work on my own projects. In the meantime, I’m going to rest.

A Scam that Built a Community

(Source: Image Orca Pinterest.)

Is it possible for a scam to bring people together? In my case and many others, yes it did.

A “recruiter” messaged me a few weeks ago to tell of a a beauty campaign featuring diverse faces and body types for a campaign. I was wary of it at first, but I was also wary of a strange email sent to me about a film (MUDA) that turned out to be very real. So I asked for more information and they sent me an email regarding what the campaign is and what the contract looks like.

Before I agree to anything, I typically do research to find out more about the companies involved as well as the campaign. Shockingly these scammers did an incredible job at crossing their “T’s” and dotting their “I’s”. They provided real companies, real discount codes for their products, a genuine conference call with everyone that would be working on the shoot, as well as a real location as to where we would be staying. Unfortunately, but fortunately, the veil lifted for everyone soon after and it was revealed to be a scam.

The silver lining in all of it was that everyone scammed was on a group email and we all corresponded with each other after the big reveal to figure out how we can fight the scam and stay in touch. Now we are a community that follows each other on Instagram with the hopes that we will collaborate on projects in the future. It’s definitely possible: many of us are models, actors, recording artists, bloggers, and brand ambassadors. Movers and shakers in this industry that are making big things happen.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not be pulled into an elaborate scam that affects my safety or my finances. Those people are out there and it’s concerning that they would go to such lengths. Take this as a warning: do all of your research, ask questions, ask others that are involved, and if something doesn’t feel right in your gut, walk away.

Workshops

(Source: Facebook)

I use this meme because it’s a process of appointments to get approval to work here. Especially with so many educational offerings from other theatre schools that my school does not offer in the slightest. Like:

•Casting and Auditions

•Stage Combat (primarily Rapier and Dagger work)

•Showreel Preparation

The Casting and Audition course is particularly interesting to me because that last audition I had back in December, I bombed completely. While my professors talk about auditions, they are not really touching on how difficult the process actually is. In fact many working actors in the thick of the industry say that auditioning is a skill of its own. Once you get a booking, doing the job is super easy.

The next beast to tame is the showreel. As I mentioned on a previous post, the hardest part of booking work has been a lack of a reel to present to potential casting agencies. Mainly due to not being cast in low budget or student films who are not paying me, but will compensate me with reel footage, but in order to be considered for a part, I must have a reel first…..

(Source: Twitter. Same, cute little dog, same.)

The workshop that is offering this is also teaching advanced techniques in working in film along with production of reel footage for me to use.

Of course, to cap it all off, there is another Stage Combat workshop that I want to take. Clearly I can’t get enough of this art, especially since I would be training in a brand new weapons category.

Two of the three courses are being paid for from my previous modeling jobs. The third I will need to find a job to pay for that course. Wish me luck!

My Apartment is Kicking My Butt in Shape

(Source: somewhere on Twitter.)

I haven’t really talked too much about the apartment I was able to rent. Honestly my schedule doesn’t really permit for much of anything so it’s been difficult to stay consistent with this blog, but that complaint is for another time. However the time has come to not only talk about the apartment, but also why it’s forcing me to get in shape.

The apartment is really old and the bathroom is scary gross. The tenants are good people, so the lack of cleanliness is not a reflection on them. It has more to do with the fact that the last time the space was truly renovated was in the early 1900’s. I would fetch a guess that the bathroom has not had an update since the early 1990’s. There are all sorts of vermin crawling all over the place. I bought special storage bins for my clothing and toiletries so they wouldn’t have bugs in them. Plus I regularly check my suitcases and my bed to make sure no critters have crawled in them. It’s bad.

When it comes to using the bathroom, I hover squat over the toilet…IF I use it. I just use the toilet while I’m at school or at Starbucks mostly. The sink is disgusting, so I use the kitchen sink in my apartment to wash my hands and brush my teeth.

The worst part is the shower. This is a shared bathroom for 3 apartments within the building with 5 adults living there and for the shower to work it charges €2 for 5 minutes.

Yeah…..no.

1) I need to take more than 5 minutes in the shower just for my hair alone. So in order for me to be truly cleansed, I would say I’m spending upwards of €6 per shower.

2) I bathe everyday, because I sweat profusely and I walk around in city pollution. €6 daily adds up big time. I’m looking at €168 monthly just to take a shower.

3) Since living in film and funk gives me anxiety, my family and I established that it would be cheaper to pay for a gym membership and use the shower there. Right now I’m on a student contract (3 month intervals) with a really posh gym in the city for only €45 per month.

So I’m taking advantage of my new membership by using the facilities for more than just hygiene purposes. I’m seriously out of shape and even though I lost a little weight since I got here, it wasn’t significant enough for me to buy new clothes or look better in photos. This is a good thing. I worked out after school today for 30 minutes and was already super winded. I’m now motivated to workout every day until that no longer is an issue. Hopefully I drop a few more pounds and gain some energy back.

Oh and I took a super long shower too.

(Source: Facebook.)

I’ve Landed

(Source: Pinterest.)

Ok, ok. One more post before going off the grid for a bit.

Currently I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in City Centre Dublin. My flight landed in Dublin Airport at the buttcrack-of-dawn this morning. The airplane seating was a little tight. I know good and well that paying economy prices usually means less than favorable seating with domestic flights; however, I was quite surprised that my international flight was the same way. Previously I have flown to England and Japan with a little wiggle room, so I expecting the same with this flight. There were still in-flight films provided and it gave me a chance to rewatch ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ It took up most of my flight time which was great.

Once I arrived, I called my mom to let her know that I arrived safely. After that, I had to get approved for student status at the immigration booth. Super easy process.

The real panic came when one of my bags did not arrive in baggage claim. Of course it’s the one bag with all of my underwear and my coat in it (SMH). I started to get nervous. I went to baggage claim only to find a long line with other passengers from my same flight. The employees knew something was up and asked the people doing the unloading of the bags if they possibly placed bags from our flight in the wrong receiving bin. That was exactly what happened and we managed to recover our bags. (Thank goodness!)

Once I exited the terminal, it was chilly. A huge difference from the 100 degree hellscape I just left from. Not really a complaint, but more of a shock to the system. From Summer to Winter in a blink of the eye.

I took the shuttle bus from the airport to the area where I’m staying and got a little confused as to which direction I’m supposed to be heading. An older gentleman saw that I looked lost and asked me where I’m going. Once I told him it was easy for him to figure out. He also asked me where I was coming from, I said the United States and the first thing that came out of his mouth was “You didn’t vote for HIM did you?” I chuckled at the fact that no one, myself included, will refer to my country’s awful leader by name. I replied “Absolutely Not!” to which he replied “Good for you!” A great first few hours in Dublin so far. 😂

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m taking less time on social media, but I will definitely be back to report on the upcoming ‘Hamlet’ production with Ruth Negga.

For now, I’m just killing time until I can check in to my accommodation and take a much needed nap.

TrapStock

(Source: Patientce Foster and The Cream Agency Instagram.)

This Sunday, I’m attending a new music festival event that I am not working (what a shocker!) I’m going to listen to trap music and relax in my lawn chair with a book.

(Source: Facebook.)

I’ve been working pretty much every day this summer without reprieve. My gears are grinding down to a halt and I’m in need of some semblance of self-care.

(Taken at the end of June.)

I’m also trying to support this lovely lady featured above. For those who don’t know, her name is Patientce (this is the correct spelling for her name) and this is her first major music festival that she’s putting on in her hometown…which also happens to be my hometown. She is also the industry insider that I have auditioned for before.

Now before you think this is my way of jumping in favor of her, the answer is no. Yes, she works with high powered people, but meeting her was truly enough for me. Besides I’m not going to be here in Delaware for much longer so working with her is now an impossibility. At this point I’m supporting building something good in this city that is not gentrified. I’ll post pictures on Instagram so be sure to follow me: @shammacasson.

My Career Is Stagnant At The Moment…

(Taken late last month.)

There’s not much I can do about it. What I can do is take stock of where I’m at now:

•SAG eligible

•A decent theatre resume

•A film credit

•Nominated for a regional award

That’s what I have for the time being, though I managed to get this done at a rapid pace of 3 years (SAG alone takes some people a decade.)

Right now, the only thing I have going on is my YouTube channel until I work another film in 2019. I’ll try to keep this page updated on any industry related things that may come up in the meantime.

Pole Competition

(Taken yesterday at the Kleinlife Center in Northern Philadelphia.)

Yesterday, one of my students performed in the local pole dancing competition. She had wanted to compete for some time now so she took a brave step and signed up.

She choreographed her own routine and did not ask us for any input. The result was a marvelous! She also placed 4th in her division. Not bad for a first-timer huh?!

More so than that, I was inspired. For years I was a competition cheerleader and loved the thrill of preparing for a competition whether we won or not. It’s the same thrill I get when preparing for a show…which is also why I’m feeling a little empty about my career right now.

I have done pole comps in the past, but they were significantly smaller in comparison to yesterday’s, and that isn’t even the largest.

My goal is to compete as a way of getting out of my rut. I think focusing on my career too much can actually be detrimental rather than helpful.

Hopefully there is a small comp in Europe that would allow me to perform.