Tricks of the Trade

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Tricks of the Trade

Hello world!

I could start this post by apologizing for not updating you all more…But I’m not going to 🙂

Much has happened in these months of living, surviving, and fighting this city. It’s not exactly a gentle place, though it seems all sunshine and no clouds. Los Angeles has a very strong way of making one feel at ease, welcomed, and a part of something, though in reality, each person you pass is as vague a figure as the smog that hovers above them. I’ve realized after a year of living here the majority of passer byers are as empty and misguided as the befuddled six year old that dreams of being a police man or teacher but has no clue of the labor intensive work it takes to get there. For others it’s a challenge that pumps the very blood from their hearts to their veins to make the rest of their systems work and brings energy to the core of their being. For those people, Hollywood is a mark. It’s a podium they win medals on, a stamp in their passports, a trophy for themselves and their loved ones, it’s the opportunity to sever themselves from the decrees of the doubters and cynics in their lives.

For me, it’s a boat house. The rules of this place are always changing. It’s like turning tides. Sometimes you’re up on a really big wave, auditioning three times a week for major companies, serving Larry King and his family, meeting and trying to encourage Helen Hunt in a chance encounter, having a party at the producer of Narnia’s house and swapping stories with a cast member, or auditioning for movies that could have major potential. Nothing is certain you never know how deep the water is that you’re getting into. Some pilots can be as shallow as the kitty pool and go no further than their tiny classroom audience. But the director you worked with could end up being a golden globe winner of “best picture of the year” ten years from now. So as much as we want to put down our smaller jobs, you really have no idea how far that wave will take you in the future. Sometimes the water seems quiet and there’s no wind in our sails, i.e. no work but there’s so much to be said for past networking jobs. There’s lots to remember when you get into that lulled place. 1. It only lasts as long as you let it. There’s ALWAYS work to be found and if not found CREATED. Actors can always improve their resumes, reels, etc by writing themselves work, kind of a cheating tip but it’s actually perfectly acceptable and wise. 2. Your look and talent is always useable in someone’s project. All types, shapes, sizes, and personalities are needed to make a piece of work realistic. 3. If you’re here don’t waste your time. Go out and do something fun and enjoyable. Get to know your city. The worst thing you could do would be to get stuck doing nothing because you aren’t being handed your every job.

Remember when I talked about changing rules? Well here’s a few that are important to remember NOTE: not in order of importance

  1. Never offer to shake hands with a director unless they put their hand out first. They’ve seen a lot of people and they don’t enjoy that much contact since they don’t know you from Adam and don’t know if you’re hygienic or not. Would you like it? I don’t think so.
  2. If you’re auditioning for a serious piece of drama don’t smile so much. They’ll get your big grin stuck in their memories (because a smile stands out as it should but…) they’ll think you’re too happy for the part and we definitely don’t want that. You have to decide what you’re going to do. Sometimes it works best to be really friendly and smile at the beginning, audition with your serious piece, then leave them with your audition so the last thing they remember was your character. But sometimes it’s good to come in strong do your strong piece and then shock them with a super positive joyful personality at the end so they see what an extreme actor/actress you can be. This is coming from the girl that literally laughs all the time at pretty much everything. Ask anyone. But I just had to realize once I book the job I can drive them crazy with my bubbly, outgoing, goofy personality later…..after they start paying me and they’re stuck 😉
  3. When they say thank you don’t thank them back it sounds like you’re brown nosing. Say something that shows you’re appreciate the audition opportunity like, “what a great project, have a good day” or “It was a pleasure” or “I appreciate your work” it’s ok to do some research on them (if there’s any to be had) but don’t go overboard. Artists/directors like to be appreciated for their past works and flattered but they don’t like a kiss up. Ok SOME of them really do but don’t do it until AFTER they already hired you….it’s about playing the game, WINNING the game, then you can be whoever you are. BUT be who they want you to be first, that’s what actors do. We are paid to be someone else. They do care about you and will enjoy you when you’re working on the sets with them for ten hours a day but, they’re hiring you because they think you play someone else better than anyone else could play that someone. Makes senese? Good! Moving on.
  4. Wear the right wardrobe! If they’re asking for a soccer mom, don’t wear that teenager/highschool look you used for last week’s audition to try to look young and attractive, wear something that shows you have style but you’re not going to a cocktail party. I typically wear my hair down because it’s generic and they know what they can work with and a nice pair of trousers typically jean, with a nice top. Not a t-shirt, not a blouse, but something that is simple, bold, not print, and heels. Girls should always wear heels because it elongates their legs. This advice however did NOT apply when I went to my Reebok audition. Wear sneakers please ladies and gentleman if you’re trying out for athletic commercials.
  5. Don’t wear fragrances unless you absolutely stink lol Deodorant a must, but colognes and perfumes can set off an allergy or irritation and you do not want to be remembered as the person that they hated your smelly fragrances. Just be clean and brush your teeth or chew a mint. DON’T chew gum or leave a mint in your mouth where it’ll distract you as you speak.
  6. Don’t stress out about it! You got this and remember to totally pep talk yourself if you are nervous in anyway. If you can’t be positive about yourself and how amazing you and your gift as an entertainer is, you better work on that first before you try to sell something you don’t believe in. As odd as it sounds, WE are the product! We ARE selling ourselves as something to get excited about, love, and enjoy watching, so don’t be insecure about it. If you are unsatisfied with yourself it makes your job 100 times harder to satisfy others.

We have a tough job as entertainers. We are made to sell people on loving us (if we’re the heroes) or selling them on hating us (as villains). It’s a risky intimate business but I was just telling someone the other day that I love that while others are training their entire lives to run marathons, be Olympic gymnasts, professional baseball players, golfers, Rolling Stones musicians, I can just PLAY them! And I don’t have to spend my whole life working out at being the best at one thing. I get to be whatever I want to! It’s a privilege and a blessing no matter how hard it is to get there. There is nothing more rewarding then loving people through your talents and showing them that there’s so much joy in sharing what you’ve been given. The ship will come to port whether you control the speed it takes to get there I promise. Everyone’s port just looks different and some don’t look like you imagined but it’s where you’re supposed to be.

Hope these few practical tips were helpful! Blessings friends! 

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