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.

Taking a Hiatus

(Source: Someecards.com)

My anxiety is at the same heightened state it was when I had that bad audition last December.

I’m not saying I’m an amazing actor, but I was better and calmer in 2016 and early 2017. After September 2017, my confidence was completely wrecked by the fact that I started having horrible panic attacks. I’m having trouble remembering my lines. My ability to listen and react is pretty much gone. It’s a whole mess. Now, I have stage fright…

I never had stage fright.

Even if my best wasn’t good enough, I would try to go with gusto and power through. I just can’t do it right now. I have one more month before I come back to the U.S. and I’m counting the days. I think one of the first things I will do is see if there is an affordable therapist to help me with this. I’m long overdue for a check up at the doctor, since sometimes my panic attacks are triggered after I consume food. I want to fix this for good.

A break from performing may be in order as I don’t see the situation or my ability improving. I still have a film and a show in the summer, so that will give me time to get the assistance I need.

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!

10/10 Update

(Source: Facebook)

Let me start with the positives before venting:

•I managed to find a room for rent and my roommate is a really nice lady.

•Out of the 10 classes I’m taking, the 3 main acting ones are quite informative. I’m getting some education out of them.

•The director of a film that reached out to me over the summer, messaged me this morning and wants me to audition for the main supporting role. I will perform a video audition in a couple of weeks.

•I do have a friend here at school and get along better with my classmates.

Now for the not-so-good parts:

•I also found out this morning that working on acting gigs while in school is frowned upon and may actually get me dismissed from school. While I understand that the school wants you to focus on your training and not on work yet, it really doesn’t hurt to have some real world experience. My perspective is probably a little different since I’m in my mid thirties, I came to school as an already working (paid) actress, I’ve never been to drama school before (my previous degree was in Interactive Media Design and my school did not prevent me from taking a job in my related field), the acting classes I have taken previously had working actors in regular attendance. As long as it doesn’t disrupt my attendance, hinder my learning, or prevent me from turning in my coursework on time then it really should not be a problem. Plus my career is important to me. If an opportunity falls in my lap while I’m in school that I couldn’t possibly turn down, sorry not sorry, I’m taking it.

•Apparently I was registered for the class that I thought I had missed out on and could fail since the beginning of the semester. Of course no one in the school’s office bothered to tell me, even though we had a meeting to make sure we were on the same page about my schedule. Missing those weeks have put me into a serious bind as this is one of those classes that builds upon itself each week and I should have been there on day one to understand what the hell is going on. My semi-saving grace is that it is based on reading sheet music and I used to play the Alto and Baritone Saxophone. The downside is, that was over twenty years ago so my memory is incredibly fuzzy. Some things I remember, some things I don’t. Plus the course is taught in the European style of reading sheet music which is miles away from how I learned as an American. The descriptions of all of the symbols (aside from the ones written in Italian, which are universal) are completely different. So I still might fail the course which will be seriously upsetting since I did absolutely nothing wrong. But I’m just going to study really hard and hope for the best.

•Speaking of music: this particular school places higher priority on its music theatre program than they do their basic theatre program; which is what I’m in. A large portion of my classes are more devoted to music theatre which is not what I signed up for. The original course outline offered more business classes than music classes since being an actress is me running my own business. I have to market myself, manage my money, be able manage events relating to my industry, all in addition to acting. This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t learn some music (it would make me more well rounded) but it’s not my passion. Yes, I do perform in musicals, yes I will perform in them in the future, but singing isn’t my strong suit. My voice is built to fill a theatre with spoken word (hence why I was a cheerleader).

I feel deep down in my gut, I was blocked from this last year for a reason. Now I feel like I’m in a bigger rut than I was at home. It’s becoming questionable whether this is all worth it in the end or am I just wasting my time and energy. I’m really struggling to make sense of it all right now.

I’m Drinking on a School Night

(Source: Facebook.)

Actually I’m drinking Gin & Tonic. I’ll save the whiskey for a celebratory evening. Today I found out that my schedule is wrong AGAIN. Apparently I’m missing a class in the music (I have a ton of music classes for some reason) module of my program and if I don’t take this class, then I’m basically failing school…..

I want to scream.

I literally had an appointment this past Friday to fix my schedule and to make sure I’m taking the right courses and NO ONE told me this. But now I find out today when I can’t meet the head of my program again until Friday which will put me practically a month behind in that specific class. Not to mention I’ve already been added to two new classes this week, totaling my course schedule to 10 classes.

I wouldn’t have bothered adding an elective in order to take that required class but the heads of the program pushed us to take it. Then come to find out that I also might not be officially registered for the elective I’m taking even though EVERYONE is aware that I’m taking it!

(Source: Memegenerator.net.)

I’m busting out the conspiracy meme, because I think they want me to fail out of this program. I’m the only person in my school with a full ride in this school, which came by way of the previous school president who is now retired. They make no money off of me being there, so I feel they’re doing the absolute most to push me out. At this point: I’m currently homeless (even though I have shelter) and unemployed (though I do have money and payments coming in from previous gigs); failing school is just the icing on the fucking cake.

I was so angry today that I went to the other theatre school I’ve previously mentioned on here where Olivia Wilde, Colin Farrell, and Aidan Turner trained. I signed up for a free class audit this Friday. If I switch schools I wouldn’t be able to start until next year because the new application cycle starts in October. However I just want to see if this will be a better place for me. Worse comes to worse, I go back home and apply for one of the acting programs in New York or go to Temple University in Philadelphia like many of my theatre peers did. I’m going to graduate from a theatre school come hell or high water.

Repeat Technique

(Source: Giphy.com)

Ok dammit, I guess I can’t stay away. I NEED to journal this.

So, today was my first class and well…it was somewhat frustrating, but I guess the first day of school is always frustrating. There’s still a lot of issues, confusion, and concern in regards to my major, but that’s beside point of this blog post.

Today we did a review of the Meisner repeat technique. Something I’m familiar with since I began training in Meisner back in 2015. The point of this technique is to break down any tension and barriers between the actors to find truthful moments. In essence it helps the actors deliver the text they’re given more realistically without over acting, or forcing oneself to dredge up past traumas for realistic emotions. We start by making simple observations first: noticing eye color or what shirt a person is wearing and we make a statement.

“You’re eyes are blue.”

Then the actor sitting opposite responds by repeating the statement

“My eyes are blue.”

From there we dig deeper and try to identify discomfort, or further details about the physical things that we see. What we can’t do is make a judgment. I can’t say “you’re wearing an ugly shirt” as opposed to saying “your shirt has lots of colors in it.”

Once we reach the the advanced stage, we begin by sitting in silence, make an observation, repeat the observation, and sit in silence once again. There’s also a balance of power that comes into play, meaning one person can’t make all the observations while the other repeats. The partner I had seemed to struggle with making observations, which is how we ended up in a staring contest much like the GIF I used above. After we finished the exercise, our professor asked why we reached a stalemate? My partner responded by saying he had so much to say but not sure how to phrase it. Um, ok. I’m going to pass it off as him being young and unfamiliar with the brutal honesty that comes with this practice, and his politeness was kicking in.

Now I’m left wondering what was on his mind

Blog Clean Up

(Source: Chappelle Show, Comedy Central.)

A lot has happened over the weekend and unfortunately it left me with a lot of anger and grief. I got into a Twitter argument with someone that I liked and respected and ended up being labeled a horrible human being en masse.

I still stand by my statement because there were no ill intentions on my end. But it reminds me that I have a pattern of dealing with the same type of people when I get into disagreements online. So I figure maybe I’m not great at communicating whether it’s in spoken form or written form.

Because of this, I cleaned up my blog of anything I think could be taken the wrong way. Deleting posts. Cleaning up the language of some. I just noticed not every photo was sourced, so that’s a silver lining. I may change some of the photos too.

It’s not going to completely stop arguments from happening, or people loathing me. However, it is what I need to do to make the moment right.

But I may just go off the grid period. Not only because this was an unwinnable situation, but also due to one of the responses directed at me was super racist. Being misunderstood and not being able to fight back because I’m already written off and would be perceived as “grasping at straws” is aggravating.

The Big Move

(Source: DIYLOL.COM)

Just a couple of more weeks before I jet off to another land. I’m a roller coaster of emotions, but I will be alright. The big stuff is still yet to come:

•Wardrobe

•Packing

•Having all of the necessary documents

•Energy

A couple of things about this move are making me a little nervous. For starters, even though I have proof of acceptance to the school, medical insurance, money for cost of living, a valid passport, and accommodation, the immigration officer is well within their rights to block me from entering the country. I’m a U.S. Citizen, and unfortunately my country is not in good standing with the world right now. This is a valid reason to not permit me to study in Ireland.

The other concern is when I get there, will I be approved to work part-time? When meeting with the second round of immigration officers, I have to prove my finances by way of bank statements and additional income. I really NEED to work while I’m there. My family is not rich and we still have a slew of money issues.

I’m trying to hope for the best though.

As of right now, my notices were put in for work and next week is my final week at two of my three jobs. The last one I’m working all the way until it’s time for me to jet off. I have no idea how I’m going to pull it all off, but I’m going to make it happen.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

(Source: Facebook.)

Cruel fate, why do you do this to me?! There is a new movie being shot in Philadelphia that is backed by the Russo Brothers and stars Chadwick Boseman called ’17 Bridges.’ It starts filming late September after I leave for Dublin.

WHY?!

This would have been to closest I’ve ever been to work with people from Marvel (besides Creed 2 and the Wizard World Convention a couple of years ago.) I am sad and will have to live vicariously through my friends who will undoubtedly be working on this project.

Sigh 😔

(Source: Facebook.)

Falling Behind a Bit

(Source: Facebook.)

Welp, it’s not Sunday. Not only did I fail to post ‘Work Update pt. 2’, but I also didn’t post a new episode of ‘Save the Drama for Your Shamma’. My apologies it’s been a long week.

Here are the updates:

•I lost one of my shifts at the restaurant, which sucks because I was starting to build up some more cash. It also came at a time where I did get a windfall of money from my Grandfather to complete my move to Dublin; however, having extra padding is super helpful. I’m going to put in my resignation notice soon anyway, so there’s no use in complaining about it now.

•Other particulars for school have been in place for a while now with the exception of student accommodation. Mainly because I’m not using student financial aid and paying on my own instead. This means I have to find my own accommodation and it’s been difficult. Dublin is one of the hardest cities to find housing. There are plenty of apartments I could live in…if I was wealthy. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of money to live in one of those spaces so it looks like my first semester may be spent living in a hostel.

•I WILL have a new episode of ‘Save the Drama for Your Shamma’ tomorrow and again on Sunday. I just had to get my life together in the meantime.

That’s all for now. I hope to have better news next time.