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.

Work Falling Away

(Source: Facebook.)

Well…two of my three jobs went from certain to uncertain.

Tomorrow, I have a staff meeting at my theatre gig because of a massive management overhaul. While I can’t disclose everything that happened, just know the events leading up to this meeting have not been good. The meeting itself doesn’t feel promising either.

My restaurant job has welcomed back the woman who trained me. I’m happy for her because I didn’t want her to go, but it does mean I may be losing out on that extra income now. Right when I have a month left before leaving for Ireland. IF that even happens.

I have a theory and it’s been a theory since my financial aid was rescinded last year….I don’t think I’m meant for this school. My family doesn’t want to hear that and they keep pressing to make it a thing; though I am still woefully unprepared to live there financially. Not to mention the fact that some things career wise are now falling into place for me right as I’m supposed to be leaving. I mean, if I was in Ireland last year, I wouldn’t have been able to earn eligibility into SAG, because I would have been over the Atlantic and in school.

Education is important however. Not having a degree has hindered me from taking financially secure jobs over the years that are not retail, restaurant, or even human resources; which I was lucky to land the position I did without the degree. Mainly because I worked my way up that company and my friend was in a position to hire me.

This is one of those times when I have to exercise faith in the Universe over where it wants me to go. My biggest prayers are to let go of the things, situations, and people who no longer serve my highest good. For my family to truly support my career and to stop letting fear get in the way which, I feel was causing a lot of blockages in my career (among other things.) Finally, to be put in a position where I can excel at my career (may be simple as a workshop that helps me be a better actor compared to 4 years in school.)

I shall see what happens in the next few days.

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.

How It Always Works Out

(Source: Yuri!!! On Ice, Mitsurou Kubo.)

This morning I received an invite to audition for a role on an indie film that would be shooting next month. The timing comes right after I complain about my career going stagnant, which now renders that post null and void.

There’s no guarantee that I will get the part, however, the fact that the director reached out to me is important.

So what is the film?

It’s about a young woman who has major relationship failures with except for a meaningful relationship with another woman in her early twenties. I was offered to play one of the supporting roles in this film. The best part is, it’s a paying role too.

YES. This is the dream. To play a speaking part in a film or television show and actually getting compensated for it.

The only issue is that the schedule may roll into when I’m supposed to leave the country. Who knows what will happen, but it’s an opportunity I feel I couldn’t turn down. Prayers and fingers crossed for the best possible outcome.

At Another’s Expense

(Source: Facebook.)

If you were following my blog up to this point, you would know that I currently have three jobs. Pole Dance Instructor, Arthouse Movie Theatre Projectionist, and Host/Server at a popular restaurant.

Recently, at the restaurant, I managed to pick up more serving shifts and ultimately that means more money in my pocket. However, that came at a cost: the person to trained me on the restaurant’s system was removed from the schedule.

I don’t like it.

Let’s be clear that I’m in no way ungrateful for the extra income (I NEED it), but I was hoping to earn it on my own merits and not because someone was forcibly removed. If you’re wondering if there was a valid reason for their removal? Yes. I will not disclose why though.

The next question you may be wondering is, if there was a valid reason this person had to go, why do you feel guilty about it? Well, as I stated earlier, they trained me. It’s a really ugly situation when companies require employees to train their replacements when they’re being let go by said company. Even worse when you train someone, get let go, and then find out that person you trained filled your spot. It feels sneaky.

Personally, I prefer to cover shifts for people. When they can’t for reasons due to illness or conflict of schedule. Better yet if they are quitting their position and are training their replacement to do the job well. I like to call this “an approved exchange” where no one gets hurt.

I liked this person. I bore no ill will, though I had concerns. They were cool and easy to talk to. Plus, believe it or not, they did train me well and did their job well when they could. It also worries me that I may be blocking my own blessings from feeling immense guilt about it. In the grand scheme of things, this job is temporary. Hopefully this sick feeling I have subsides by the time I leave.

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.

Big Things In The Works!!!

(Taken Monday after my epiphany.)

While I was rambling on one of my Instagram stories (saved in the highlights) about one of the films we showed at work: I thought about vlogging film and television reviews. A friend of mine suggested I use a separate platform as to not disrupt my current social media brand. Well that sparked something.

Currently I have an active YouTube channel that I use specifically for self-tape auditions. Since those links are usually private, I don’t have other content posted for the public to view. Until now.

Posting reviews is hardly anything new and there is plenty of competition out there for me. However, I just want a platform to air my grievances at other people over what I should actually be doing myself…work in the film industry. That is the premise. You are going to watch an actress who is also trained in the technical side of film, bitch and complain about why the production was bad, while also praising what’s good about it.

Don’t expect it to be comedic. Comedy is a precious skill afforded to few and its not my forte. My biggest hope is that it’s relatable and informative. Just like my blog.

I’m excited aren’t you?

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!

Mini-Break

(Source: Pinterest.)

My family was away this past weekend. Dad is still getting treatment at the outpatient facility and Mom took a business trip out of state to consider a possible relocation.

It reminded me of the old days before I was homeless. I used to have my own space, a working vehicle, a job that paid all of my bills, and freedom…

So what did I do with my new found quiet time? Slept a bit, organized some papers, reassessed my life, and prayed.

Lately I’ve been down about my career. It’s been a dry year for me and seems like it’s taking forever just for me to pull together my down payment for SAG. Even though I’m working three jobs, the money is sparse; which makes me worry if I can even get to Dublin at this point. Having to focus on my family’s care has also added to the stress, which makes this break all the more beautiful.

My Mom will be home late tonight. My Dad, a few days later. I will miss the peace a quiet for now, but I know I will get back to it soon.

Men, Again 🙄

(Source: Twitter.)

The founder of a website that I follow, has just been exposed as an abuser. Creating insanely strict rules for his girlfriend to follow, fat shaming her, and sexually assaulting her. He even went so far to ruin her acting career by blacklisting her when she walked away from him.

(Source: Pinterest.)

One thing I took away from the article that was written, is that dating someone high powered isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. I mean, dating in general isn’t all that great, but adding fame to the mix makes it especially difficult. Look how easy it was for this poor woman’s career to be tanked simply because he didn’t want her story to be believed? He was worried about bad publicity and his actions have led him down the path of…bad publicity.

If he had not been an asshole, he wouldn’t need to worry as his conscience would be clear. But that’s far too easy.

Anyway, I’m happy that this woman is safe and recovering financially, spiritually, emotionally, to be able to tell the tale. He is a scumbag.