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.

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.

Film Update and Audition Update pt. 2

Well, as you can gather by the meme it was a "No" on both fronts. Believe it or not I'm ok with both.

I was certain with the film project even after inviting me to work without providing a reel, that they were going to use me as background. I do enough now as it is.

With the Shakespeare audition, it could have been a number of things; all of which I won't get into, but I'm very happy to have had such a positive audition experience with them. I know they picked the best person for the role whom ever it is.

I feel really good because I stood my ground, especially on the film project due to wanting more. I wasn't expecting a huge leading role; I would have been happy to take a really small part even it meant saying one line or one word. But I still wanted that speaking part. So it will just be theatre from here on out unless someone is compelled to put me in their film.

As of now most of what I have coming up won't be for another month and I put so much energy into scrambling for money that I'm kinda drawing a blank on what to do now. Do I take a mental vacation or do I continue to scramble?

If You Really Want To Get on My Nerves

All you need to do is tell me I'm not doing enough for my career or making money. Especially when it comes from someone who knows I'm notorious for holding down multiple jobs at a time.

I'm in a weird spot in my life right now. I was on the verge of being fired from my conventional job because I had to call out to take on gigs. As much as I hate doing that (I'd rather make all of the money) I had to leave. When that happened instead of completely sitting on my ass, I began to help my friend with her housekeeping business and teaching on the side. With that I still felt like I needed more of a cushion, so then I put in for work from home jobs that come with schedule flexibility. You know….so I'm not poor.

But life took a different turn and even still to this day I look for work I can do while doing what I love. Now that I'm not going to school and quitting working gigs during the week, I'm in the process of looking for a regular job again. A few opportunities have come up and I'm going to make those work, along with possibly adding another job to the mix. Tell me how I'm not doing enough again?

Considering the source, it's safe to say they don't do enough. God forbid they shoulder any of their mess.

I really can't deal with people sometimes.

Anticipated Rejection

I recently put in a pitch for a unique writing segment based upon my background experience. So far they like the concept and when I submitted my writing samples…crickets.

I'm not trying to take this as a "No" quite yet, however, it would not surprise me.

If you've been following my blog so far, the overall theme has been rejection and lots of very sad pitfalls. It's been very frustrating, but many of the "No's" have been to my advantage (keeping me away from things that didn't serve me well.) So I'm trying to keep this in mind.


(Source: A Random Share on Facebook)

Which leads me to this: there may be a reason why I am not going to school in Ireland. There also may be a reason why I'm not signed by an agent. Why I haven't been able to book any further film projects; and why I haven't been able to pick up any additional side income since the beginning of the year.

Although how it got to be this way was really shitty if I say so myself.

So what to do now? Well, I still have that audition for As You Like It coming up. The movie I shot background in asked me if I was available for additional days (still contemplating it since it was such a struggle to get to on Friday and it's not an official booking, just an availability check.) I also may have a possibility of a regular job soon.

Still, no guarantees. No rejections either.

Just more financial limbo.

So Much Drama!

So my mental health week is a total wash. A background job I put in for before attending the agents panel called me back. If it wasn't for the fact that money is tight, I probably would have turned it down. So I'm going for it. Even though I informed my family early on that I could use our car to go, all of a sudden they don't want me to use it to drive. (They don't trust that I won't be stuck on the side of the road somewhere.)

The logistics of getting there are so difficult, since the call time could possibly be so early that I won't be able to take the Greyhound. The point is to take a profit and I'm already cutting it down by half, by having to now rent a car and be driven there. My ear is being chewed off for something that should have had a simpler solution. Needless to say I'm not relaxing today either.

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)

The Panel and Remaining a Theatre Actress 

My go see with the agents ran flat. Here’s why:


(This was posted from my FB page earlier today.)

As a result I’m sticking to theatre. One of the agents said she already had someone that looks like me that she is representing. While she wasn’t mean about the way she said it, I kind of got the impression that she doesn’t need a twin. So why should I bother hopping into an industry where I’m just going to be nothing but a carbon copy?

 I got the sense that was an issue when I applied to be background in Creed. It wasn’t until I found out that Tessa Thompson was one of the leads and that is why I wasn’t selected…we look too similar.

As far as the background stuff is concerned. Yeah we get paid roughly $11-12 an hour and are herded around like cattle. It’s long days and it takes a lot out of me travel wise so it’s probably better if I stop doing it. 

My training overseas has been hindered, so I have to continue here in the states instead. I was thinking of getting with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and taking some of their workshops. Along with some more burlesque training and stage combat. I’m not really going to make big money in these fields so the businesses I recently got into have to keep me alive along with a traditional job (if I can find one.) This isn’t the sound of me quitting though. All I’m doing is staying away from the film industry. People in theatre are much nicer anyhow.