Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

Follow an actress's journey beyond Hollywood. The life after a successful 10 year career...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Next Title: Producer?

Ok, even though I know that technically I haven't written in my blog for a couple of weeks, I'm going to be sneaky and change the date to make it seem like I have! heehee (Those of you who are faithful readers may be the only ones who catch that!)
ok, today I shot my last day on Graveyard Shift. I may have to do pick ups and ADR looping in the future, but as for now, no more driving to Santa Clarita or being covered in dirt! At least not for work anyway! ;)
I also met with a fellow actor friend of mine to discuss producing a play in the spring/early summer. I have never produced a play before, but he has. We have to look into getting a venue first, and see what that costs. It's not cheap, I know that much! It's a play that I first wanted to do 10 years ago while in college, and it never happened. It was a coincidence that he mentioned this particualr play to me! I had mentioned the possibility of doing this next year to my former acting professor, and he has shown interest in directing it! That would be PERFECT!!!! Hopefully this is something we can actually get off the ground. It's only a 2 person show, so the cast would be very small! :) I'll keep you updated....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Last Minute Call!

Got the phone call last night that they wanted me on set today at 8am for some wide shots. I was originally off until Wednesday. I had 4 hours of sleep since I had plans already to hang out with a friend last night! (I guess the best thing to do would have been to make sure I had an early night. I tried, just didn't work out that way!) I made it to set a little before 8am and got into wardrobe. I didn't have to do full on makeup (ie: DIRT) since it was a wide shot - Thank God! I shot pretty early in the day, and then I just sat around and hung out with everyone! Then, right after lunch the director Nik said I was wrapped. He apologized for running behind schedule, but he wouldn't be able to shoot what he wanted today, which basically means I could've had today off! But I'm glad I didn't. Those guys on set are pretty cool to hang out with, so I had fun anyway!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shooting Graveyard Shift

We began shooting the short film Graveyard Shift yesterday. I worked yesterday and today. Very awesome experience! The entire film takes place at a cemetery, so we are outside the entire time. It's been hot - but thankfully a nice breeze coming through made it bearable. I got to work with a very talented boy named Alex who played my 13 year old son. In fact, I got to work with a very talented cast! I haven't finished shooting yet, my last day is next Wednesday. But I did snap some pictures of the shoot to share them with you.
I have to say that I really like the director, Nikolas Smith. He definately has a way to bring out your best performance! I did this scene with my son where I basically sell out at the end of the movie. I had Nik in my ear telling me to look at my son and see what it is that I am doing to him. I look at him and he's looking at me with such disappointment in his eyes and they start to well up. Well, of course, that just sucks me into my character even more and my eyes start to well up. I literally felt so bad for letting him down. I was so much in the moment that tears are running down my face and his, and I drag him out of the cemetery with me.
It was pretty intense. And I have to say, I am glad I had Nik there to take me that one step further to get me where I needed to be. Having a director like that is awesome! :) And he ran a very professional shoot, even apologizing profusely for having to delay lunch for 30 minutes! Overall, a very positive experience! And I'm not even finished yet! One more day to go! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Working - and Loving It!

I had dinner at the director's house last night of the short film I will begin shooting tomorrow. I thought it would be a dinner/read through of the film, but since the lead couldn't make it, we didn't read through the script. We just sat, ate, talked, and watched a film made from the same producers. It was a nice night, getting to meet the other castmates.
Today I had an audition for iCarly again for Nickelodeon! :) They brought me in for the role of a Science Teacher, which I would LOVE to do! I mean, how perfect would I be for that??? Not the "Science" part - just the teacher! It went really well. We'll see what happens.
I finally bought a suit yesterday for those new "business headshots" that my manager has been hounding me about. Maybe now I can be seen for the lawyer role instead of the maid! ;) Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rerun Time!

Ok, mark it on your calenders everyone! My episode on The Shield titled "The String Theory" will reair on The CW this coming weekend late Saturday night (technically Sunday morning August 26th) at 1am! I play "Lydia" who makes a deadly 911 call.

Monday, August 20, 2007

TWO Auditions Today!

I had an audition this morning for Eli Stone. It was a little bittersweet considering I was originally called in for a series regular earlier this year, and now I'm being called in for a tiny one line role. WHAT???? Well, I guess the positive outlook is they are at least calling me back in, right?
After that audition, I rushed right over to my second audition. It was for a feature film called Legally Blondes. I'm not sure if it's a spoof on Legally Blonde, or a follow up to the last one made. I went in for the role of the custodian at the prep school (code for MAID again!) and she happens to be the character that mirrors Jennifer Collidge's character in Legally Blonde. The lead girls take this character under their wing. Looks like a fun role, just not crazy about being a custodian with an accent. Again. But the audition actually went well, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Acting for the Camera

I went to a free event last night that the SAG Foundation was hosting. It was an on-camera workshop. It was very interesting, to say the least. The man speaking/teaching had a very different "technique" than what I am used to seeing. He basically directed every move the actor made on camera. "On this line look here, on that word raise your finger, and when that is said, turn your head to the right." It was so freakin' robotic and rehearsed - too much rehearsal for my taste. My annoyance with this man and his method quickly rose within the first 30 minutes. One of my buddies, who I had been texting throughout the workshop, asked about the "organic" part of acting, and when does that come in? We were both really confused at this technique. It didn't feel like acting at all - felt very technical and rehearsed. The man basically scoffed at his question and said "Everything you learned about "feeling" in acting class, put that away in a shoebox and roll it under your bed. You need to know this first."
As much as I wanted to disagree with everything that this man said - he did make some sense, to a point. These past 2 jobs I had definately came to mind. We are trained to be real in a scene. "Acting comes from truth." "You have to feel the emotion in a scene"....yet, that is damn near impossible when you have to know your mark, know your lighting, know your frame so you don't move out of it, make sure you bring your prop into the frame on a certain line, and look at the side of the camera for the eye line of your co-star instead of their actual eyes. Acting for the camera is probably the most unnatural thing to do!
I remember having to do a very emotional scene for the pilot earlier this year. We were doing a car scene and were mounted on this trailer bed with the camera crew, lighting guys, sound guys, AND director and producers all staring right back at us through the windshield. While driving around the busiest part of Vancouver at 9pm at night! And I had to do the emotional scene where I'm crying about my husband being hurt, then I quickly change to anger when I find out he has been cheating on me! All in one scene! And I had to do it over and over and over again. Very draining, and sometimes I didn't even get to the emotion that I needed in every take!
And most recently, while shooting Lincoln Heights, I had to hit my mark while being very mad at my husband (hmm...a coincidence?) and bring the bottle of Vegetable oil he bought me into the frame. Not the most natural thing to do, yet somehow I was responsible for making it as real as possible. That's my job. I think its different when you're coming from a theater background where you don't really have to worry about all those details, you can just let loose and explore a character and run with it on stage every night.
So I guess he did make sense. The trick is...the talent is... doing ALL OF THAT, and making it real at the same time! I just wish he presented it better. The funny thing about all of this is, after doing some research on the guy to see what his background was (Since he was pretty apprehensive about revealing it to the crowd) I discovered he didn't have experience as an actor or a director himself. He used to be a set medic!
Interesting...a set medic teaching actors how to act on camera....???

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lesson Learned - Again!

I'm learning lessons left and right!
Yesterday I learned the importance of attending an audition stress-free! I tried making my Brothers and Sisters audition during my lunch break. I was subbing a 5th grade class and this audition happened to fall perfectly on my lunch break, and since I have "successfully" juggled that in the past - I figured I could do it again. Well, I got there perfectly in time for my appointment, but the casting director was on the phone for about 15-20 minutes! I couldn't think straight! All I had on my mind was the time, and the stress and worry about whether I would make it back to the school in time - which I already knew the! I finally got called into the room and the casting director was very nice - yet there I was wound up so tight and stressed out beyond belief! I did my scene - which was simple enough and memorized - yet I kept looking down at my sides. She asked if we could do it again and if I could just "bring it down a bit and make more everyday". In other words - I was too over-the-top. I did it again, not sure, or even caring at this point, how well I was doing. All I wanted was to be back on that freeway so I could make it back in time - which I knew wasn't going to happen anyway! I couldn't even concentrate on this audition! So needless to say I made it back to school a good 15 minutes late. I called the office to let them know I'd be running late - but the guilt was still looming over me. This principal knew me well, and I'd hate to give her any reason not to call me for future subbing assignments. When I got to my class, the Principal and the Assistant were both there, watching them for me. Yikes! Thankfully, they just figured I was running late from lunch and didn't ask me anything.
But the biggest lesson I learned was to take the day off if I have an audition. Period. That way I'm not stressed or running around and I can concentrate on the work. This part could have been easily booked by me, but because of the situation, I probably lost the role. Oh well.... I hope it doesn't hurt my chances for being called into this particular office again.
On a brighter note, I did get to visit with CD Chuck McCollum while I was waiting to get seen. He's casting a new pilot that I submitted myself for. He's a super nice and great guy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Breaking All the Rules

I have spoken to alot of new actors who want to know what "steps" I have taken to become a working actor and when I tell them certain things I always hear "I always thought you weren't supposed to do that!". Apparently people listen to other people who tell them all these "rules" of what to do and what NOT to do. "You should never call casting offices", "I thought casting directors didn't like when people dropped by their office", "I thought casting directors preferred vertical headshots to horizontal" etc....
I just don't get how you're supposed to follow all these rules like everyone else, yet expect to stand out from the crowd and see results. Just doesn't make sense to me. I don't believe in "rules" of what you should or shouldn't do in this industry. It's about taking chances and going with your gut.
When I first moved here, I didn't know anything - especially any "rules". So when I blindly submitted myself to a tv show and got called in, and even got sent to producers, I didn't know there was a "rule" about not calling the casting director's office. I called them the following week because they were the only industry people I met during my first few weeks in town. I didn't have an agent and I wanted one, so I called to see if they can refer or recommend any agencies that they know (and call all the time). She spouted off about 7 agencies off the top of her head and I quickly wrote them down. I submitted to those agents and waited. They didn't call. So, because lack of knowing any "rules", I picked up my phone and called THEM. I got a meeting and signed with an agency who I was with for 4 years.
If I had followed anyone else's rules, none of that would've happened.
Which brings me to today. I saw that one particular office was casting a pilot with a series lead that I thought I would be great for, so even though my manager had already submitted me, I decided to stop by and drop off a hardcopy of my headshot anyway. Why not? Couldn't hurt. And who cares what "rules" might go against it!
Well, I have never been called into this office to audition before, and because I did the drop, I got called in for another tv show they are casting tomorrow!
I say be fearless and forget about any "rules" and do your own thing and see what happens! It may just work out!
So, tomorrow I am auditioning for TWO roles on the ABC show Brothers and Sisters!

Last Minute Callback

I got home around 3pm yesterday and checked my messages because my cell phone was acting up. I had a message from my manager at 2:30 telling me that iCarly wanted me back ASAP for the role of Sonya, the personal chef. So I rushed right over and checked out the new sides. They changed some dialogue, looked like they added more, which was a good thing. But they wanted the character to have a non-descript accent, where you ddin't know if it was Latin-Russian-Yukaslovian-German or anything else! I had never heard this at an audition, but they really didn't want to have the character have an obvious Spanish accent because they didn't want to make it seem they were making fun of this character - which I completely appreciate! Wow..what a concept!
They actually called down the executive producer and he sat there and directed me exactly how he wanted the character. That was cool - but at the same time, nerve racking because I wanted to do it right - but I wasn't sure if I was hitting that accent "non-descript" enough. I'm so used to doing the Spanish accent that sometimes it just comes out when I'm supposed to do any accent. Plus, with my face, do you think the audience will ask themselves what I am, really? Would there be any confusion on that? probably not.
So I'm not sure what my chances are on getting this role, but I do know he loved my character choices. He said he liked the way she was so caring and loving to the main character, and he did laugh out loud a few that's good.
Whether I get the role of not, it was a successful audition! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lincoln Heights!

Despite what you see in the last picture - I had a GREAT time shooting Lincoln Heights! :) I guess I should explain before my mother sees this and freaks out! ;)
The first picture is of the two cops who answer the domestic dispute call. They also happen to be series regulars and very nice! The second picture is me and my tv husband, obviously in happier times! (Actually we are waiting to shoot our first scene.) And now, the third pic....apparently my pushover husband whom I'm yelling at in my first scene snaps and takes matters into his own hands in the second scene, thus the messed up face. I'm not sure if you even consider me being in this second scene since I'm only seen being carried away in a gurney.
Crazy makeup huh? I spent 2 hours in the makeup chair for that "look". I really liked playing this particular character. I got to stretch some acting muscles - because I'm not nearly as mean as her! ;) And everyone was SO nice!
Feels good to play someone who doesn't have an accent, nor cleans someone else's home for a change! :)
I was told that this will air Tuesday, October 9th, on ABC Family...but in case the schedule changes, the episode is titled "The Cost of a T-Shirt".

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Last Minute Audition!

I had a last minute audition for the Nickelodeon show iCarly today. It was the role of a chef/personal cook. It went really well so we'll see what happens.
Ok, I'm not really superstitious, but I noticed that today was my 32nd audition for the year...which means that the very next audition I have will be my 33rd. And since 33 is my favorite number, AND how old I turned this year, that must mean something great will happen! Right?? I just have a good feeling that my 33rd audition will be huge and change my career! Maybe even my life!!! ok, ok, I'll bring it down a bit. Shoot, now that I made such a big deal about it and I put so much pressure and expectation, watch it be a one liner - that I don't even book! hahha
No. No. Can't think like that! Thinking positive!! :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wardrobe Fitting

Had a wardrobe fitting for Lincoln Heights today! :) I just found out that my character will be in two scenes. One where I'm fighting with my husband, and the other where I'm being carried out in a gurney. Hmmm...
You'll just have to tune in to see what happened!! I'll make sure to post when it airs!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Being a Working Actor

Yesterday I went in for the role of an EMT on Life. It went ok. I did it 3 times, so I'm not sure if I gave him exactly what he wanted. Oh well. Gotta just let it go, right?
Today I had an audition for a SAG ultra low budget film called Why Am I Here? The role was described as a "26 yr old Latina, petite, quiet, cute, agreeable". Hmmm...Well, I'm not sure if I'm young enough, or petite enough, for this role, but I went in anyway. I did it once and that was it. He said "perfect", and I was out the door. Now perfect in an audition room could mean two things: That you were REALLY perfect and you'll probably get the job, OR That you were good -but just not right for the role and they won't call you. I don't have a good feeling about this one, so it's safe to just put it behind me.
It's funny how a good "feeling" really can work itself out. Like for instance, my Desperate Housewives audition. I did well enough to get pinned for the show, yet I had this "feeling" that I wasn't going to get booked. I just felt it. And I didn't. Yet, the second I read the sides for Lincoln Heights, I felt like it was mine and I could book it. And I did. Weird huh? It's The Secret! LOL Seriously - The Law of Attraction! It works!
Well, I'm spending my days lately as a "working actor" which means I'm just going to auditions, spending time online researching and sending emails, and sending out postcards. None of that brings me an immediate paycheck like subbing does. (Well, as immediate as once a month is!) Yes, being booked on a show is a GREAT thing, but after taxes and after I pay my agent and manager their fees, I'm left with HALF of my contract rate! Which means I have to sub! Soon..
Thank God school should be back in session this month. And I do have to admit, I LOVE that my schedule is this 'flexible' to allow me to shoot whenever I need to this month! It's a beautiful thing! :)