Tuesday, April 28, 2009

skinny bean pole legs

So getting back to The Great Frog Hunt....

During those childhood years, when it would rain, frogs and toads were EVERYWHERE! You could fill buckets with them! Tons of tiny little guys, and a couple of big fat hoppers here and there. As if suddenly it was amphibian day at the fair. But when it was dry and hot for several days, those happy jumpers were hardly seen.

So far, as an actor, this I know - when it rains it pours, and when its dry there's a drought. Its a constant fluctuation. You may not have a job for a month, then all of a sudden you are offered one the same day you already have another job booked. Argh! You have to turn one down. But that's how it goes. You can't dwell on it. You need to deal and move on. Certain instability is the name of the game. Last week's weather report in Deb world...Rainy!

This is a rundown of what I needed to accomplish in 3 days...

Wednesday - up at 2am to travel to the shoot location in New Jersey. Work through the morning, all teleprompter scenes and a few memorized monolgues. By the end of the day we're behind schedule by a few scenes. Travel back to NYC around 11 am. At noon I have an audition, I'll work on the copy during the car ride. At 1:00pm I have another audition (which I will go into further embarrassing detail later). Get home around 2pm, memorize tomorrows lines for the Industrial. In bed by 9:30pm.

Thursday - up at 2am to travel back to the shoot location in NJ. Get motion sickness in the car...with the producer and client! (always make an entrance I guess) Shake it off and work hard through the morning to catch up from the previous day. Travel back to NYC and home around 1:00pm. Work on tomorrows lines. I have a lot of memorization to do, my brain is foggy and tired, staying focused is difficult. But I'm in bed by 8:30pm and feeling confident.

Friday - up at 2am once more to travel to the location. Work through the morning and wrap the shoot by 10:30am! Travel back to NYC and home around 1:00pm. Breathe a huge sigh of relief that the job is completed and I don't have to memorize anything more today! But I need to get some sleep quick because at 10:30pm I have to be at a distribution modeling job until 4:00am. After that the weekend is mine. Unfortunately I'm too tired to sleep (been there?) and I get maybe and hour of rest. But I work the job with a smile on my face, and was even offered employment by the venue's Manager.

It was a tight crazy schedule, and sometimes its like that in this business. When it is, you need to be grateful and go with it. Take each experience head on. Usually there is plenty of waiting; for the next audition, the next job, the next scene, the next pay check. Work now, rest later. This job was a test. My most challenging to date. If last week had a quote it would be, "one minute at a time." That is literally how I got through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

There were many obstacles in which I could have used as excuses for myself to not be at my absolute best. Like...
-Working odd hours, with travel and work time from 2 am - Noon, strange things will happen your body and brain after a day or two. Lack of sleep and fatigue made focusing extremely difficult.
-Very copy heavy job, 70+ pages of memorized scenes and monologues as well as teleprompter scenes. I received the script only a few days before filming. I've never memorized so much in such a short period of time.
-This was the first job booked through a new agency I am working with, and I need to be sure I make a good impression to prove I am valuable to them.

When "Action!" is called NONE of that matters, you have to let it all go and connect with your material. Excuses only make you appear pathetic and unprofessional, either your prepared or your not. You must focus on the task at hand, be sure not to get overwhelmed with thoughts of all you have to do, breathe and take it one moment at a time.

For a period of time I ran on the cross country team. One race in particular had a lot of hills and I was having an extremely difficult time finishing. I kept thinking "I could trip... I could just, oops!, trip on my laces, twist my ankle and be done with this race!" But I'll take on any challenge with all the heart and grit I can muster. So I didn't trip myself and I kept going even though I felt I was going to collapse and die right there on the golf course. I finished. And though I did not place, I did PR! It was my best time ever. I had no clue of that while I was running though. Imagine if I had let my destructive thoughts take over my actual actions. I would have never known how far my skinny bean pole legs could take me.

Last week was a huge test, and I feel confident I passed. Perhaps not with a bright shiny A yet, but a good solid B (kinda like my grades in high school calculus). In the end, I learned so much. It was a valuable experience in which I am very grateful to have had.

So... now that I've given myself a sufficient pat on the back, its time to reveal...

Deb's Embarrassing Story of the Week

The synopsis... An audition for a candy bar commercial!
The set up... At a party a woman seductively flirts with a guy across the room as she eats her candy bar.
Sounds easy right? Well, give me a candy bar and tell me to be sexy and somehow my awkward girl goof button gets turned on. When they were looking for Cindy Crawford, I gave them Tina Fey. Complete with eating my own hair, tripping awkwardly over my shoes (flat heeled even) and having bits of chocolate stick to my face - none of it purposely though, I was being serious! Ohhhh it was a HOT performance! Clearly I'm not getting a call back for that one. All I can do now is laugh at myself. Though it was not the performance they were looking for, I took a risk and gave them something that probably none of the other girls had. Lets just hope they had a good laugh at it and will remember me for the next comical job.

Thanks for stopping by to read! Come back in a week or so to see what I'm getting myself into next.

have you kissed a frog today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

and it begins...

This is NOT a blog about hunting and killing frogs. FAR from it. I love the amphibs! So why would I call this blog The Great Frog Hunt? Let me explain...

Where I come from there were only a handful of things to do as a kid. When your closest neighbor is a mile away and just happens to be your cousin, you find creative things to do. We had four basic activities we used to entertain ourselves...
- ride our bikes over miles and miles of gravel road
- play Ghost Kickball, complete with two full teams of Ghost players
- have a rousing game of Blind Man's Bluff
- or go Toad Hunting
many many times we did the latter.

Toad Hunting is easy, you just bend over, pick the thing up and wait for it to pee on you. Simple. But the sophisticated art of
Frog Hunting is a whole other story. It takes stealth, cunning and cat-like reactionary & stalking abilities. You're locked on your target, you wait for your moment, and when the adrenalin kicks in- you LUNGE for that big green slippery sucker! But he's on to you, he gracefully pirouettes through your hands and gives you the finger, "argh! almost had it!" And that's how it goes with hunting frogs.

But sometimes, every once in a while, you catch one! (and let it go, of course) As you do it more and more, you catch more and more. That's what this blog is about, metaphorically speaking I guess.
Hunting frogs is like trying to be an actor. Every audition is a frog waiting to be caught or slip through your fingers. This blog is to be a documentation of the trials and errors, the hits and the misses, the frogs that I've caught and the ones that got away, as I navigate through this business. Ultimately, I want to share my personal experiences trying to make acting my full time job.

So lets jump into it (pun intended)

April 21st, 2009
  1. I need to finish memorizing a script for an In-House Training Industrial which I will be working over the next 3 days. All days I have to be on set in New Jersey by 4 am. (yes, am, that's not a typo) Thankfully, the production company has arranged for a car to pick me at 2:20 am. Which means, I need to try to be in bed and asleep by 8:00 pm.
  2. With an audition scheduled directly after tomorrows shoot, I need to print out and go over my sides to be prepared.
  3. Throughout today I will continue to submit through my favorite casting sites, NYCastings.com and ActorsAccess.com as well as read archived articles by Casting Director and Author, Bonnie Gillespie (I can't link the articles, you need to have a subscription to actorsaccess, but I have linked her website)
So come back in a week or so, I'll let you know how the Industrial went, auditions had, tips gathered, photos & links to past work, as well as any recently caught FROGS. Thanks for reading!

have you kissed a
frog today?