Finally Some Good News!

I booked background on a show my grandma loves to watch. But that’s not the good news: the good news is I will be working 4 days on this show which means MONEY!!! 💵💵💵

(Source: Pinterest)

I put in for the job in the first place because of my grandma. Even though I have worked on other shows, the shows themselves could not hold her interest, even though she wanted to see me. With a show she loves and such a big scene (they added the fourth date for me today) it would be impossible for her not to watch!

Still, I remain cautious. I’ve been booked on jobs that kind of ripped the rug out from under my feet and said they didn’t need me anymore. So I’m not getting my hopes up too far until I’m actually on set. It sucks to fly by the seat of my pants.

The Background Actress’s Guide to Costuming


(Circa: Late July 2017 on the set of "Isn't It Romantic?")

Originally I had pitched this idea to Racked.com as a contributing writer. However they declined because they had articles of a similar nature. I was going to pass on writing this for my own blog. However, the store that I purchased the above cocktail dress from is hiring, so now this essay has become relevant.

Where to start? The beauty about working a background scene is that they give you a list of examples of how you need to dress for the scene. Like:

Gucci
Zara
Tory Burch
Prada
Etc.

They will also give you visual examples of cuts and fabric, plus what tones they need you to wear. Much of this depends on the scene you are shooting too. If you are playing a lawyer, obviously you would be expected to wear a suit of some kind. Playing a hipster would require a different wardrobe and so on and so forth. If they give you specific brand names as the type of look they are going for, it would behoove you to do some research. The best place for this is Instagram, with the next being Pinterest. Look at how your favorite celebrities dress and that will help you.

The roles I typically get picked for require me to be a wealthy, socialite type. Think Hillary from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:


(Source: IMDB.com)

When you're in my position of very little money and expected to look rich; what do you do?

This is where my friend the consignment store comes to play! The gold dress I'm wearing above is from a higher end retail chain. It's original price is closer to, if not above, $100. Yet I only paid $16 for the dress and an additional $20 for all of the jewelry. (The purse I received as a gift and the shoes were on loan from the wardrobe department, since my original pair were considered to be too shiny.)

The next thing you need to do is to bring options. Yes, I bought and used this dress specifically for this shoot. However, if the director's vision for this scene has changed in any way, it is as simple as changing into a different outfit.

A warning though: if you only brought one option this will force the wardrobe department to loan out an outfit and take your pay voucher (and maybe your driver's license too) for safe keeping until it's returned. This also means that you have to be extremely careful with the clothes (which you should anyway whether it's yours or theirs) and make sure you don't cause damage of any kind. (Or that could affect your pay or chances of being hired for other shoots in the future. One of the shoots I did, an actor walked out with a suit that was loaned to them. Needless to say that person didn't get paid and is more than likely not working for that agency ever again.)

A few other things I keep on me for the shoot as well:

A jacket or hoodie (for when it gets cold.)

A luggage lock (so no one tries to break into your bag.)

Lotion that absorbs well. (So it doesn't damage the clothes.)

A stain removal pen.

Deodorant that dries clear.

A robe or some kind of covering you can wear while eating or applying makeup.

A couple of other things I would add would be:

1) never bring real jewelry to a set. There was an unfortunate instance of an actress that brought real gold bracelets to the set and lost them, only to never find them again. Even if you get camera time, no one is going to know the difference; so keep it fake at all costs.

2) don't wear anything with a very distinct pattern or logo. Production crews do a magic trick what's called "cheating the shot." Meaning to make a scene look like it has more people than there really are hired on set. They do this in many different ways, by adding an accessory, or changing your hair or putting you in deep background. This means more camera time for you, so help them out!

I hoped you liked this essay as much as I liked writing it. I also hope I get the job at this particular consignment store since I do get a lot of my clothes from there. Fingers Crossed 🤞

IKEA


(Source: Greg Mania on Twitter.)

The new IKEA catalog came out and I received it in the mail yesterday. It's a little bittersweet especially since I'm no longer moving to Ireland. What I like about it is that it gets the wheels turning in my head. What would my future home look like and where will it be? I already know from having cleaned large mansions that I really want something small and modest. This is funny since it goes against my zodiac of Taurus, who lives for luxury and having many expensive things to brag about.

But…I was recently very poor and at one point: homeless, so having the largest and most expensively filled home is not on my priority list. I'd rather have that money in my pocket for emergencies, the occasional splurge every now and then, and the freedom of time. As much as I like to work, I don't want to work so much to maintain my home that I don't get to enjoy living in it. My first priority is to move out from where I am right now. (Probably to Philadelphia.) Next will be to furnish my home. (IKEA!) After that, lots and lots of gigs mixed with couch potato time.

It May Be a Good Thing

My relative and I reached out to officials at my school to discuss the issues of my funding to see if there was anything I can do or not. One thing I'm starting to notice is that there is more than one chain of command and I don't think everyone is communicating with each other.

I received an email today from a different official about something that I addressed last week with an official I'm working with and it was CC'ed with that person. So I replied and received an automatic response, which means they didn't read what I wrote.

This is not to bash the school, because they are doing what they can with what they have. My concern is that if I have to jump through this many hoops to convey the same message, this just may not be the school for me. It's a little upsetting since my relative works for this school and their name and my name is attached. (I feel that I'm making them look really bad.)

So now I'm looking at alternatives for training. I really had my heart set on moving to Dublin and that may still happen but with a different school. I have 2 options I can do now:

The Gaiety School of Acting, which is where Colin Farrell and Olivia Wilde attended.

The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art in Trinity College; whose courses were developed by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.

Both are very fine schools. Applications and auditions for The Lir happen in October so I will have to move very quickly on this. The next thing is to pick up a regular job and store all of the cash that I can to hustle my butt over there.

Industrial Epiphany


(Circa July 2017. On site of the commercial for MD Anderson Cooper Cancer Center.)

If you saw my Instagram post (which is featured on the bottom of this site) you would have seen that I took a walk this afternoon. I was severely depressed and I wanted to clear my head. After taking that walk I went to Starbucks and saw my friend Gail from Reedy Point. She asked me about the shenanigans that happened on Saturday. She also talked about industrial shoots and gave me a new casting agency to check out. During that conversation, I realized that I made more money doing industrial type work than anything I have ever done for tv and film as an extra. Even if I don't have lines, I have a featured part or the production company has a better budget.

The shoot I participated in where the photo above was taken, only took about 4 hours to shoot and I made double what I did working 14 hours on a national television show or major film. So I think I have found my niche.

I would still love speaking parts, but more than likely that would be from live theatre. I submitted myself to several things after I got back home that either were related to medical, industrial, or commercial. We'll see who calls me back.

Motherhood

I took one of those mini quizzes on Facebook this morning. I wanted to distract myself from the shenanigans I call my daily life, and it seemed like the fun thing to do. Until I got my result. It was about what big event will happen to me this month. The answer…I Will Get Pregnant.

Wow.

Actually, being a mother is something I have always wanted to be. However, I had this idea in my head that I will meet a man I would call the love of my life and we would start a family together. The chances of meeting that guy are extremely low, but motherhood is still on an all time high.


(Source: piecomic.com and John McNamee)

I did have a small taste of what it would be like to be a mom when my late friend and her infant son lived with me over a decade ago. It was a lot of work, but it didn't scare me away from being a mom. Even now, I have come to the conclusion that although there will be no man in the picture, I am still going to become a mom.

Just not this month.

An Update to the Update


(Source: Yuri!!! On Ice. Viktor Nikiforov 💗)

So what I thought was "No" was actually a very delayed "Yes" the film project wrote me back and sent me a script. I still have no idea what part I'm playing (there are only 2 female speaking parts and the rest are background.) I sincerely hope I have one of the parts as I really need the experience to list on my resume. The only reason why I agreed is because of the concept of the script.

I can't go into too much detail but what I will say is that I could be a witch in this shoot. (Since I'm a crystal hoarding, tarot reading, incense burning, somewhat clairvoyant woman with a very loose Christian affiliation; playing a witch is probably closer to who I really am.) This also fulfills my dream role of playing Hecate in The Scottish Play. (Which was already cast when I came to audition last year 😢 However, I'm not playing Hecate in this shoot.)

Another good thing about this film is that they want us to wear as much black as possible. (Easy enough for me, that is the staple color in my wardrobe.) They also want us to bring a prop.(My tarot cards of course!)

One more thing to add about this film is that it is structured very similarly like my story writing prompts. This is a film competition with the contest runners making up strict rules that the production crew has to follow.

•A specific set of lines need to be included.

•A specific character and their background has to be included

•The production company has a time limit as to how long this film will run (roughly about 5 to 6 minutes.)

Both the lines and the character were selected in a random drawing last night and the writers had to structure the story around that. All of this shoots tonight and be a completely finished product by tomorrow night. (Talk about pressure!)

Hopefully, with their permission, I can share the final product with you on a later post.

Film Update

So I did hear back from the production group who were looking to cast actors for their film project. They added me on as a potential actor for the film. However, it's still a crapshoot if I actually get a speaking part or not; and I won't find out until tomorrow night (the film shoots on Saturday.)

A couple of positives to take away from this are 1) they still wanted me to be a part of their film and 2) if I'm not selected for a speaking part, they gave me the option to turn down a background part. That second one is important as I do enough background work already. They know that some people really do need speaking parts for their resume and don't want to waste our time.

The biggest frustration I have had is not being able to book too many film roles; and for some reason, even extreme low budget student films are putting a figurative wall up for potential talent by asking for a reel. (Customized reels are expensive and not a good return on investment if you're only booking non-paying parts. Though I get it, they want the most professional actors for their project.This is another reason why I was walking away from film, I really can't afford to pay for a reel and I'm not booking enough parts to build one organically. )

We'll see with this project though. Maybe they will take a chance on me, who knows.

No and Yes

At the request of my friends and family, I did try to go out for another film project. Mind you this is a film project that is Unpaid and open to everyone. The responding email included "do you have a reel?"

Interesting…

I thought the purpose of doing unpaid film work was to, in fact, build a reel. That's what the agents recommended to me. That's what all of the actors I'm associated with tell me to do. Needless to say I asked them to disregard my application and sorry for wasting their time.

And with that said; I'm never attempting to do film ever again.

On a somewhat positive note, I'm getting another chance to perform Shakespeare again. A theatre troupe in South Jersey needs a replacement for the role or Orlando in As You Like It, since their original actor dropped out. I audition for it on Tuesday. Fingers Crossed that I land it.

Mental Health Week!

After taking two major hits within this month, I’m following up with my promise of taking a hiatus. The reason why it’s a week, and not longer, is due to the fact that I submitted myself to several projects before these traumatic experiences happened. Now they are calling me back to shoot soon (I still have to pay bills you know.) 

To help with that, I’m taking some time off of social media. In the past I would attempt to go ghost with little success. This time it’s absolutely necessary. The reason being, is that I’m connected to so many industry related sites that the news is starting to wear on me. 

  • I’m reading too much about other people’s success stories when right now I feel like a failure. 
  • I’m seeing too many projects out there that I could be a good fit for “if only” I was thinner, in the union, in Los Angeles, have a huge Instagram following, Caucasian, etc.
  • I abhor celebrity gossip, but too much of it is getting shared on my feed and those people and everything they do make me sick.

Frankly I’m turning into a Hater and that’s the last thing I ever want to be. I will continue to write and update on here, because writing for me is cathartic. 


(Source: tank.sinatra IG)