Borg vs. McEnroe

(Source: Teaser Trailer.com and Pinterest.)

This film just completed its run at my job and I wanted to unpack my thoughts about it. Not the quality of the film, which in fact was very good, but the process that went into making it.

The reason is, there are so many locations used, crowd scenes, costuming, historical accuracy respected, camera angles, stunt doubles, and shoot days.

Let’s start with locations. According to Wikipedia, this film was shot over at least 5 locations: Gothenburg, Sweden; Södertälje, Sweden; Prague, Czech Republic; London, United Kingdom; and the country of Monaco. The stadium used to mimic the Centre Court arena was in Prague and not the actual arena in Wimbledon* if you can believe that.

Crowd scenes. Oh boy do I know about quite a bit about this. Working crowd scenes, seems to be what I do mostly on my background shoots. Whether I’m at a party or a courtroom, chances are I, and a number of other background actors are being herded to set by Production Assistants. For this type of crowd scene though, they needed hundreds. With enough costuming to cheat the shot and make it look like thousands were in attendance. I could only imagine the casting notice for a shoot like this:

Seeking Men and Women, ages 18-99 for early 1980s Upscale Spectators in an outdoor sporting event. Must have multiple Summer looks to choose from and period appropriate hairstyles.

I didn’t include a pay rate because I don’t know how much they paid their actors, but that would usually be a part of the casting call too.

Costuming for the late 1970s, early 80s would be a pain. Not only does the background have to be in time appropriate clothes, but the principals as well. Many of the actors, I could tell, grew out their hair to match the look of the era. Though some of them had wigs on that looked mighty questionable.**

The costuming wasn’t the only thing that had to be respected historically, but much of the play too! The stunt doubles that actually played tennis match are great at what they do, because it definitely looked like they matched key moments of play.

The camera work and later editing, is what made this film. I’m sure this was multiple shoot days as it usually takes about a 12 hour day to film 5 minutes worth of footage at different angles. Plus the days had to be sunny. This doesn’t include the hard work the lighting crew has to put in to assist with making the lighting look consistent throughout the entire tennis match.

By far one of the more impressive films I have seen composed on the independent circuit.

*I kept wanting to spell Wilmington, which is where I live lol.

**I have a different word other than “questionable”, but I’m trying to be polite.

Side Work

(Source: Pinterest.)

Not the restaurant kind (though I’m familiar with that too.) The side work I’m talking about involves me writing résumés for fellow actors.

This all started about two weeks ago when a friend reached out to me to help them with their résumé. They didn’t know where to start and they wanted a streamlined process to continually update their file as their career progresses. That’s where I come in!

I did some research, to look how well an actor’s résumé is structured. Some are great. Some are pure garbage. I’m not a total expert, but here are some tips I have learned over time:

•Never put your Background work on a résumé. It is unfortunate that most casting directors don’t view it as real work, even though you are acting in a role no matter how small. However, those are the breaks for now, so don’t include it.

•Don’t put your personal information on there. My friend gave me their birthday, their address, their weight, everything BUT what I needed to construct their résumé. This is for your own protection. If the #MeToo movement has taught us anything, it’s that there are creepers still running amok in this industry. Don’t let them find you.

•With that said, if you have an agent, you put their point of contact info on there. That includes the agent, agency name, and agency phone number. If you have a work website like IMDB or a personally constructed one with your reels included; add that too.

•If you are super green to this industry, make a separate work phone number and email address. Google offers Voice and Gmail for free.

•Acting résumés are whole dimensions different from traditional résumés (believe me, I know.) Things you would think to include on an acting résumé, wouldn’t fly on a traditional résumé and vice versa. Keep this in mind when writing your own. Your proficiency in MS Office won’t help you here, but your ability to ride a unicycle would.

I hope I was able to provide you with some insight into how this process works. Feel free to reach out to me in the comments if you have any additional questions or if you would like this service for yourself.

James Bond Needs to Die

(Source: Facebook.)

Let me clarify, first, by saying I’m a big fan of the Bond movies…but I’m tired of them. All of this speculation going around the internet about who the next Bond should be is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve gone on record on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook crying out that Bond needs to die. I will go further in detail here.

Spectre:

The most recent film in the franchise is the one that did it in for me. Besides the fact that they pulled the storyline from the 3rd Austin Powers installment, they wrote a terrible Bond Girl:

Bond’s main squeeze is a classic example of telling you that a female character is strong/intelligent/empowered but having her get beaten down/captured at almost every opportunity. Lea Seydoux’s Dr. Madeleine Swann is the most useless “tag-along girl” that James Bond has had in decades.

(Source: Forbes.com contributor Scott Mendelson.)

The biggest issue I have with the franchise is that 50% of the films are actually any good. With that being said, why to we want to put a black man or woman in the starrer role that could potentially flop? Why do we need to reboot at all? There are so many options and stories to tell in the Spy genre, that we really don’t need another Bond.

(Source: IMDb.com Jeffrey Wright in Casino Royale.)

If anything, the production company should make a Felix Leiter film. Felix is the U.S. equivalent of James Bond and is a C.I.A. agent. The name Felix is unisex so the character can be a he or a she. With that in mind, and with a little bit of bias, I would like the character to continue to be portrayed by Jeffrey Wright. I say with bias because he and my uncle attended school together as kids and he has always been kind, even years later (when my uncle told us that he bumped into him in L.A.)

But I digress. It’s not my decision to make how they go forward with the films. Though my attendance to the newest film is questionable at best.

Flexibility Training

(Source: Facebook. This is me 50 years from now.)

Last night my pole studio had an open house. Since I’m staying stateside, I kept my job here and I set some new goals for how I want to teach the class. My main focus this month will be flexibility training. It is much needed for both myself and my students.

The big goal that I have for myself is to get my splits back (regular and Russian on both legs.) I’m also going to do back bends again (people will say it doesn’t really stretch anything; that is until they have to do something that requires a back bend…so they can just shut the hell up.)

I have some moves in mind that I want to do that will keep me motivated:

(Source: Studio Veena and Pinterest.)

(Source: Pinterest.)

(Source: Pinterest.)

Don’t let the bare feet fool you on the first and last photos. Those moves can also be done in heels (which is my intention.)

The pole room is free just before my class begins so I will be doing solo work as well as work with the class. I hope to document my progress.

A Background Shoot and An Audition

(Source: Facebook)

It’s been a productive couple of days after the unsuccessful attempt to work at my old company again. I booked another background shoot in Philly on Monday, and an audition in Philly two weeks from now. I don’t want to talk about what project I’m working on this week. Not because they are preventing me or anything (nor would I ever give away any details); but because of the last shoot I did over a month ago, the casting agency dinged me for mentioning that I’m working on the show (I’m taking no chances this time.) What I will say is: this is a very important shoot for me. Once I officially step on set and complete my job, I will talk more on the subject.

The audition, however, I can talk about liberally. It’s Shakepeare in Clark Park, located in West Philly. The audition is in December, but the first rehearsal isn’t until June 19th, 2018. If I get it, I will have plenty of time to truly learn the text and get off book by June. The production is ‘Twelfth Night’ with a bit of a rock n’ roll twist. The info about the audition was forwarded to me by my Stage Combat instructor, who coordinated the fights for Coriolanus this past Summer. They were looking for actor combatants and it piqued my interest. From now until then I will be preparing a monologue and a 30 second rock ballad to perform. I hope to convince the casting team that I’m a better fighter than a singer and to pick me on that alone. Fingers Crossed.

Re-working My Upper Body

(Source: Pinterest.)

I had a back to back run of pole class and stage combat; now my arms are dead. I’m happy to get super active again, though I’m a little frustrated that I lost so much of my physical strength from the car accident. I used to be able to lift humans, now I can barely lift a shield.

(Source: Facebook, anime Unknown.)

Now it’s going to be a process of reconnecting with my body again, while not inflicting any damage to the previously injured area. It’s doable, I just have to move slowly…Who the hell am I kidding?! I’m going to do what I always do and work my body to total wreckage. Thankfully I’ll have a couple days of rest.

(Source: Pinterest.)

Sword and Shield

(Source: Facebook)

While I’m still working on getting bookings to pad my bank account, I did sign up for another stage combat course!

This time it’s sword and shield. Taught by my same instructor that ran the unarmed stage combat course. Sword and shield is a SAFD category, though in this class and inspired by the recent Wonder Woman movie, my instructor wanted to take it to another badass level. The other cool thing about this course is that I will see many of my old classmates from my previous class and that too is very exciting. I can’t wait to kick ass and take names on the battlefield.

New York So Far

(My tourist photo lol!)

I arrived back in New York this past Friday to attend a stunt training and to work a volunteer gig for NYFW. So far, so good.

(Taken yesterday. They were doing Stair Falls. Since it’s my first class they didn’t have me do this yet.)

The stunt training went particularly well. Much of the essential skills that they teach are very similar to what I was learning in Unarmed Stage Combat, but with tweaks that read for film. I plan on taking more trainings until I’m good and ready to do this professionally.

(Taken earlier today.)

Since it was so nice today and I had free time, I took the subway down to Coney Island to walk around. I haven’t been to Coney in 8 years and I just wanted to buzz around to see if anything has changed. Not much though it does seem like they are building more apartments in the area. It’s still Coney and I love it.

(Taken yesterday before taking the train to stunt class.)

Tomorrow I meet up with a friend and former co-worker I haven’t seen in person in a long time. (Although we correspond regularly on social media.) She is getting married next month, and since I am unable to attend her wedding; I wanted to give her part of her wedding gift when I see her:

(A Signed Tom Hiddleston postcard that was gifted to me from Wizard World Philadelphia last year.)

This was given to me by the friend of the young lady that I calmed down from a panic attack before meeting him at the convention last year. My friend is a major fan of his (me, not so much…at least not anymore) so I felt that this postcard would be in better hands with her. I can’t wait to see her as we have much catching up to do.

I will update more later once I go to the Jason Wu Grey Out event and after the Chulo Underwear NYFW event I’m working.

The Dream is Dead

The more I keep getting denied for a loan, the more I keep getting fed up with my life. My dream of attending school overseas is swiftly dwindling and now I must figure out alternatives to continue to make my career work. Student aid is denying me on all fronts, so going to college in the United States won’t make a bit of difference. Instead I will have to pay for training out of pocket and continue to work low paying gigs in order to support myself. I guess it makes no difference, I would have had to take a low paying job in Ireland anyway to stay afloat. However, I really wanted to move away from my family and Delaware; to move to a city that supports the arts. 

But all is not lost, I could go back to training where I started up in NYC at Studio 4 or stay in the Philly area and go back to Playhouse West Philadelphia. I’m still going to make a goal to move out of my family’s home. Staying in Delaware while working on an acting career has become cumbersome in traveling, opportunities, and expenses. Plus like I said the environment has become toxic (even though I love them) which is also dragging me down. 

So I put myself out there to see if there are any opportunities that could make me union eligible and provide more paying opportunities along with more opportunities to have speaking parts. I’m probably going to have to make a customized reel and seek an agent as well. I have to keep going or I will be trapped in a void forever.

My First Sorta-Stunt Gig

All tears and sadness about school aside, I want to talk about what I am doing for my current show You’ve Got Red On You: A Musical Parody of Shaun of the Dead. I was originally hired on as a stage manager, and that is still part of my duties; however, I now have a small part as a florist and as multiple zombies. This, of course, is due to making sure we have enough people to play zombies and get killed off. I will have 6 costume changes in this show, and I will be doing a lot of stage combat. So much so, that I can now consider it a stage combat category on my resume. (A stunt category too since I have a planned fall.)

 

(I feel like I’m back in competition cheerleading doing this show.)

So this is cool! This play, I will be speaking in a British accent, fighting, falling, dying (multiple times), and spraying blood everywhere. It is helping me take my mind off of my reality for a little bit….