Journaling

There is a lot going on in this world right now, as well as in my personal life. Like I detailed before, much of it I was advised not to talk about on this blog. Because of that advice, I'm keeping it all within a journal. Not hard since I already keep one for work. The sad thing is, looking at my words written down reflects how truly low and angry I feel. I'm beginning to see where hate stems from: inadequacy and broken dreams.

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 🤞

Keeping to Myself

Yesterday I was scheduled to work a gig at an event that would have paid me a little bit of money. The company ended up not needing me, which added to the list of lost gigs that I had this summer. Me, trying to be transparent, posted about my lost gig on my regular social media site. Some people misinterpreted as me quitting acting for good, even though I said I'm not but taking a different approach. Needless to say I got a little frustrated and made another post to clarify the situation which led me to getting a text from a friend of mine with some advice.

Basically he told me that I have such a huge support system now and everyone wants to help, although he admits it may not be the help that I'm looking for. So I have to tread carefully from here on out and not get frustrated with them. He's right. However it puts me in a very awkward position as I feel that now I can't be transparent anymore. I may have to flat out lie about my life being sunshine and rainbows when it's really not.

So it pains me to say this, but now all of my social media, including this blog, is not going to have as many updates unless it's good news. I don't think I'm a fashion influencer with the M2M network anymore (I emailed them to see if I was doing enough but got no response) but I think I will post more fillers from them. Also get back to writing my story prompts since I have to flesh out a story around the theme and vocabulary they give me.

This seems extreme, but there is good reason for it. I've already lost two friends from misunderstanding and I really don't have it in me to lose more.

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.

Audition Review

I just got out from my audition for the role of Orlando in As You Like It, and I feel pretty damn good about it!

Will I be offered the part? Who knows.

When I auditioned for my very first production (which happened to be Troilus and Cressida) I will admit that I had the "nervous poops". This time I felt confident with the text and speaking the language. Much of that is to do with the sheer number and quality of productions I have performed in prior (and a little bit of studying too.)

No matter what happens, I felt like I was home again. Auditioning for Shakespeare was the correct choice for my confidence.

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.

Dear Amber Rose…


(This was me watching your interview.)

I just want you to know that I have a serious distaste for celebrity gossip. However when something like this falls in my lap I cannot avoid it. Especially since this is so close to home I need to address it.

I could care less about the before and after photos of you that are being spread around. I also could care less about how you live your life. In fact, I follow you on Instagram simply because you are a girl from my area that "made it"; but now I can no longer follow you.

The moment you set yourself apart from the women growing up in your neighborhood in South Philly, you made yourself ugly. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your statement came from wounds that are unhealed. I too have experienced my fair share of bullshit. This. Was. Not. The. Way. To. Address. That. Wound.

There were definitely ways you could have worded this differently to share your pain without diminishing the value of the other women in your neighborhood. I have friends that were born and raised in South Philly that are drop dead gorgeous; so basically, you disrespected my crew. Take the public's anger as a lesson.

Peace,
Shamma

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 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.

Writing 

(Source: a random share on Facebook, artist unknown.)

There have been a few gaps in between my blog posts and that is no accident. I’m having a bit of a weird kind of writer’s block. It’s not that I have nothing to write about, on the contrary, I have everything to write about! However, my life is moving so fast at the moment, it’s easier for me to do a quick post on Instagram instead of really taking the time I need to craft a post reflecting my thoughts. Plus I have a tendency to pump out too much information which isn’t necessary either.

This is a real problem. And now my meme collection grows larger by the day. I’m not sure if I’m going to have any storage left. 

Hopefully I can get some writing done on vacation…