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.

Let’s All Take a Moment of Silence…

(Source: Facebook.)

Tomorrow is the big day. My audition with the industry professional. Before that, I have to work. Tomorrow will be my first official serving shift at this job. There are issues however.

We have a new POS system that I’m not familiar with.

Friday lunches are usually very busy.

Plus my nerves will be racked the entire time thinking about my audition.

Pray for me that I survive the day.

Second Chance

(Source: Sailor Moon, Toei Animation. Creator Naoko Takeuchi.)

Remember two weeks ago when I submitted my information to a high level mover and shaker in the industry? That gig they advertised has come and gone with me not working on it, but they advertised another casting call scheduled for this week.

As always, I strike while the iron is hot with this strike leading to some success! I got a call back for a live audition.

This gig may also not be for me, however, I will definitely be on their radar for any future project.

The other rumor about this individual…they may be able to represent talent. Ultimately that is my goal: to get representation, bigger parts, and more work. Wish me luck!

The Weird Is Beginning To Show Itself

(Source: Facebook.)

I’m into the third week of my new job and it’s already starting with the nonsense. So far I have already received unsolicited life advice from someone I’m pretty sure is 15 years younger than me, cattiness between coworkers, and cranky customers. While I know this is typical of any job, I had sincerely hoped that I was going to enter into a more pleasant environment. Especially since management is cool with working with my schedule.

I just have to remember that all of this is helping me with my career goals and it’s not permanent.