Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

TOMORROW

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guess What


Yup, Of course, you guessed right. If there is a maid role anywhere in this town, I will book it. Well, it's not an "official" booking just yet. I'm "pinned" once again, but I was told I was the CHOICE. Meaning....after they check out the storyboard and make sure the role is still in there and after they negotiate my rate, then it will be an official booking.
My audition went well. Obviously. haha I just LOVE the casting director: Scott Genkinger! He is SO sweet! He greeted me in the hallway with a big hug saying "Lydia! My favorite!" Awww!!! He did just book me on Prison Break, so it was really nice to see him again. I would audition for just about anything for him! (Including a small one line maid role that POSSIBLY may recur on Desperate Housewives!) I walked into the room with my headshot and resume with my Prison Break postcard attached and a post it note on my resume letting them all know I just tested for studio AND network for a series regular on a pilot! That did spark some interest and I could see in Scott's face that the news impressed him! (YES!) After my one line, the director said he would like to know what pilot that was. I told him and they all just smiled and nodded and I was out the door. I felt really good about that meeting, mainly because it showed them that I was still willing to come in for this smaller role. And that I was capable of doing more, just in case they were inclined to write more for this character. You never know...
I talked to my manager afterwards and we talked about being "humble" and auditioning for the small roles that come my way. I told her that I didn't feel humble at all because I did feel like I deserved to progress to larger stuff. But after that phone call, I realized that maybe being humble is a good thing in this case (and every case, I suppose!). :) It keeps you grounded and striving for more. And as much as I pout about having to audition for ANOTHER freakin maid, or ANOTHER freakin co-star role, I have to see it as an opportunity. It's always an opportunity to work with certain directors, or co-stars, or in this case, a pretty big hit show. My manager somehow believes in her gut that this part will grow and grow and the next thing you know, I have worked a few episodes with a great storyline! haha Hmmm...I'm not sure that this will happen, but it's always nice to have that positive outlook, because...you never know!
My pinned dates are from Sept 3rd to the 15th. So I should find out exactly when I shoot sometime early next week. After they officially book me, of course.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How - No WHY - Does This Happen?

Ok. I have an audition tomorrow for Desperate Housewives. Great. Straight to producers. Great! Possible Recurring...AWESOME! Another freakin maid role....Ugh.... Oh, a MAID role with ONE line? WHAT???????!!!!!
I'm trying to understand how a.) I was even submitted for a role I have told my managers in the past that I don't want to do again (unless it was a major guest star with a great storyline or the lead in a film. Sad that there are prices I would sell out for! haha) And b.) How the hell I can go from SCREEN TESTING for a series regular role just two weeks ago to ONE freakin line tomorrow! My manager's defense was those words: POSSIBLE RECURRING. Ok, if it did recur, then I can understand wanting "recurring" again on my resume. That always looks good. But if it doesn't recur, I just sold my one opportunity to be on Desperate Housewives for a ONE line co-star. I have plenty of those on my resume already!
Like that saying: If I'm not moving forward, I'm moving backwards! (That is a saying right? If not, that I'M saying it!)
Alright, let me say that I have some readers who occasionally write me for advice on their careers, and I pride myself with giving out pretty knowledgeable information. But there are times whem I wonder if I take my own advice. Just tonight I had someone come to me with a similar issue. Their manager wanted them to take headshots that would show them in a stereotypical light, in a role they never wanted to do anyway. But they would probably work using these looks.
I told this person that they could do what their manager wanted, and it could suck, but they could build their resume and get some work that could possibly lead to bigger and better opportunities in their career. That's exactly what I did. Basically I paid my dues. I played Maria the maid more times that I'd like to count, and it has sometimes lead to great opportunities. But it has also felt like the black cloud looming over my head that won't ever go away. It's like no matter what I do, no mater how big my next project can be, someone somewhere will think of me when they have a maid to cast.
And that sucks, because I want them to think of me when they need a good actress for a role, any role, not just when they need a housekeeper.
So anyway, I digress.....I told this other actress that it also matters that YOU are happy with the choices you make. And proud of the work you do. But I think our jobs as actors are to find the balance of business and creative. To make a living while doing work we are proud of. That's the tricky part.
The whole reason I came out here to be a professional actress is to make a living doing what I LOVE. Well, I have to say that many years of doing parts you don't want to do because it either feels degrading or stereotypical, or insulting....can make it pretty hard to LOVE what you're doing. To have pride in it. You stop loving it after a while. And I never wanted that. I never saw that coming.
And again, I have to say that this isn't JUST about "another maid role audition". This is more about wanting the opportunity to tell OTHER stories. I feel like I've told that story. Over and over again.
And I want to feel like I'm evolving and growing as an actor. And in business. How am I supposed to be happy to go from a screen test to a one line co-star all in two weeks? Again, feels like I take two steps forward and three steps back. How do you progress that way?? (can you tell I'm venting here? Sorry)
Is it even possible?
When I did theater, I used to perform in 5 full productions a year. I was always in rehearsals. I was usually the lead or a major supporting role. My characters had arcs and meat to their storylines. I loved every bit of it. I move to LA, and I can finally say I'm a working actress and I make my living working on television and film, but that fulfillment is not there, not like in theater.
So I am going to this audition tomorrow, mainly because I know it will make my manager happy. It could POSSIBLY RECUR, you know! hmmm.... But it's blantantly obvious that I'm not taking my own advice of doing what makes ME happy. I even advised this person that if they didn't want to work the job they were auditioning for - then don't bother auditioning. And here I go....
With fingers crossed that if I book it, it will recur...and damn it, I hope it recurs a few episodes just to make me feel better about this whole thing.

And I will try harder next time to take my own advice.

Because I happen to think it's pretty good advice.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New York City Itch


I don't know what it is lately, but I'm having the itch for New York. Maybe because I spent the entire weekend at home, bored, thinking about things. I surfed the internet a lot and spent some time on the Labyrinth Theater Company's website that's run by Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz. I saw that I knew a few people who were members, and I just felt like it would be awesome to be in that company, among those talented actors. It's very easy to miss the stage when you're here in LA and you don't do as much great theater as you did before. And maybe that's why New York feels so enticing right now. Plus, I'm just thinking it would be nice to experience a different place for a bit. Maybe spend a few months on the east coast, just to experience that. I had the choice to either go to graduate school in New York or move to LA 7 years ago...and well, obviously, here I am.
I know it would be a complete shock, expecially since there would be less auditions for tv and film like in Hollywood, but I wouldn't be going to the east coast for that anyway. I would love to just relocate and do an amazing play for a few months, and then just come back here.
Ok, just dreaming out loud. But the nice thing is I have the freedom to do that. No husband or kids that I have to consider before making that kind of decision. :)
I'll talk to my friend Larissa who lives in NYC and bounce that idea off of her just to see what she says. I wouldn't go this year anyway since I plan to visiting Italy in November and need to save my money for that...but maybe next year? Early next year? We'll see... Just a thought. You never know...I may be there anyway for work. There is this movie I possibly could be involved in that shoots early next year in NY. Hmmm.... maybe I could just STAY for a bit. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Still Got the Nerves

I had that audition this week for that movie of the week. It was for an office I had never been into, but casts a lot of projects: Perry/Reece Casting. I took a workshop with one of the associates a couple of months ago.
They brought me in this week to read for a bitchy mom at a skating rink. It was fun to do, but I don't think I did my absolute best. For some reason I felt a little nervous during the audition. Go figure! I screen test last week for studio and network executives and feel completely comfortable, I go in for a first audition for a movie of the week, and I'm a little nervous! haha Funny how that happens, huh? See! Even someone like me, who has been out here forever it seems, I still get nervous sometimes. Which is a good thing. I can't imagine walking into a room and not feeling those "butterflies" anymore. If that ever happens, I may have to think of a career change! :)
One of my managers wanted me to put somewhere on my resume that I screen tested for the pilot, but I received advice from a casting director friend that I should just postcard that info, or just add a post it note to my headshot, but it shouldn't be a permanant fixture on my resume. I kinda compromised and added it on my online resumes as a note under my special skills for a month or so... We'll see how that works.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to Work

Sorry I haven't written anything in a week. Don't worry, I haven't been locked up at home, too depressed to see the sunshine. Just not a lot has happened, really....
So get this - the day I got my bad news of not booking the pilot, I got my wisdom teeth taken out. (I figured what perfect timing! I was already feeling bad!) I got home all swollen and in pain (inside and out) and my manager calls me about an audition the following morning - at 10am. For a one line co-star.
Now, I understand work is work - but talk about kicking me while I'm down! "Sorry you didn't get this SERIES REGULAR job - but how about ONE line on a show??" ARGH!!!!! Man, just when you think you've progressed 2 steps forward, someone brings you back down 10! Luckily because of my wisdon teeth, I declined the audition. I knew I wouldn't be perfectly well to audition the following morning - and definately not well enough for one line! :(
That's the one thing I don't think I can ever get used to about this career. It's not like other jobs where you advance over time. Eventually you work yourself up to a certain level of success.
No. Here in the entertainment industry, you can progress, and progress, and still end up right where you first started! I'm reminded of this everytime I see recognizable faces waiting with me in an audition waiting room. Or waiting on me at a restaurant. You can have you're own show, or a string of hit movies, and still end up in obscurity. I'm especially reminded of that last part while watching The Two Coreys. Corey Haim and Corey Feldman were such huge stars in their teens, and here they are now, just trying to WORK.
Scary.

Well, I mailed out a chunk of postcards today letting everyone know that I just screen tested for studio AND network for the pilot last week. Hopefully that will generate some juicy auditions for me.

Tomorrow I have an audition for a small but fun role on a movie of the week. :)

And I picked up my really cool postcards for my Prison Break episode. I'll be sure to put the picture up later this week. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Decision has Been Made....

Bad news.

I didn't get it.

I know I'm supposed to be positive and say "Everything happens for a reason". I know I'm supposed to say that I'm happy that Carla got that call today telling HER the good news. I know I'm supposed to say that "If not this one, then the next one"....

But let me just go to the dark side for a bit.....

THIS SUCKS!

Seriously. And it just doesn't suck because now I feel I can't trust my instincts (I was SURE it was mine). And it doesn't suck just because it was an opportunity for a GREAT job. It sucks for more than just that.

It sucks because I was SO close to the exact dream that I had had ever since I can remember, and I lost it. (And again, I do feel like I "lost" it since it did feel like it was mine. I saw it, I felt it, I just knew in my gut. That damn Secret! haha j/k)

It sucks because I didn't want this just for me. I wanted it for my parents. (I was buying them a new house with this job.) I wanted this for my family. For my friends. For you guys who read this blog. I wanted this for everyone who believed that I could and should have this. That's why it sucks. And I know everyone is still proud of me, and I know I have accomplished SO much. And I know there will be others. But it sucks that I didn't get this one. There. That's all.

I'm done with the dark side.

Back to positivity..... :)

It was an AMAZING experience that I wouldn't trade for anything in this world. I have learned so much through this process and am so grateful to have come this far. I am very proud of myself and how I held it all together, even through the most stressful part, the screen testing.
And I do believe there will be MANY more opportunities, and many more screen tests to come in my future!

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Network Test



Ok, I'm, a cheeseball...I took a picture of my 6 year contract that I signed! lol I had to! Things like this don't happen to me everyday! And I had nothing but a huge grin on my face as I signed all four copies. It was pure bliss. :)
I went into the network test today. I saw one of the other girls just as I walked into the main building. She and I walked to our room where we were told to meet. We saw the casting directors and they informed us that we were the only two that made it to this level of the process. That third actress was not coming today. Wow. For some reason I figured Studio and Network tests were a package deal. If you went to one, more than lkely you would go to the other one. Hmmm....Obviously that is not the case. We were very lucky to make it this far. Even most of the guys from yesterday didn't make it to this round. Wow - I'm proud of myself! :)
So we have another "work" session, but this time it was more of a warm up. I did my 3 scenes again for the casting directors and the writer/executive producer. No notes this time.... Hmm...That's a good sign, right?
We waited. And waited. And waited some more, until finally all the executives made their way down to our floor to the testing room. The room was a screening room with a big flatscreen on the wall, but the seats were arranged like a mini theater. The "audience" was raised on levels. There were about 10 executives from the network with the 2 casting directors, Emily the writer, and of course Wilmer, the star (and co-exec. producer). I was actually fine with a room full of people. My background in theater made me actually prefer it! An audience to react to my work! Nice!
Carla (the other actress) went first. Then I went in.
I actually felt REALLY good about my test. They laughed in all the right places, and the dramatic moments were there again. I didn't feel like I nailed it as hard as yesterday, but I have no complaints. It felt very good. Everyone seemed pleased.
I walked out and just exhaled. The hardest part was now over. The only thing I had to do was wait for the decision.
Did I just say the hardest part was over??? Am I crazy?
How am I going to sleep tonight???
I do have to say that no matter what the outcome, I am very proud of myself and the work I have shown to these people. And whatever is supposed to be, will be.

Keeps Getting Better


I can't even begin to explain how I feel right now!
But I'll try....
I went in to meet the studio execs today for the pilot The Emancipation of Ernesto. We had an hour work session before the actual "audition" for the studio. There were three of us girls up for my role and four guys testing for a different role, and we all sat there in the waiting room until it all began.
Wilmer walked in and introduced himself to everyone and said hello. We were all ushered into a separate room so we could work individually with the casting directors and the writer and Wilmer. When it was my turn, I walked in, did my three scenes and the writer had some adjustments for me. They were pretty big character changes from what I had originally prepared, so I took a few minutes to try and get it to the right place before I had to do it for the studio. I was a little nervous and unsure. Doubting my original choices I had made since they gave my notes and changes. I tried not to let that get in my head too much and I spent the time before I went into the room to audition completely alone and working on my scenes.
And somehow, right before I walked into that room packed full of executives, I felt this calming feeling come over me. I was completely at ease as I walked in. I began my first scene and after I uttered my second word, laughter erupted! It was perfect! They laughed at all the jokes. Everything that was supposed to be funny, they got! It was the most amazing feeling! I really did feel like I showed the comedic side of me as well as my dramatic one. I really connected with my reader (the CD) during a dramatic letter to my son. It felt good on all ends! I really don't think it could've gone any better! There really was this excited energy in that room. I walked out of there and I felt like the entire world was not only lifted from my shoulders, but I was floating right to the top of it! It was incredible!
Now, within the hour that I left the studio, my attorney called to tell me that they called me back to network which is tomorrow at 4pm. This is the very last stage of this process. I sign the 6 year contract before I walk in to do it again for the network execs. After tomorrow, they make their decision.
Let me just say, I already consider this a victory, no matter what the outcome. I truley hope and pray that the outcome includes ME in this role, but just to make it to this level of the game, and then feel like I really did my best and had the opportunity to shine...well, there are no words to express that. I have already won!
Seriously.
Now let's just hope, for my sake, that I CAN do it better than today. Shoot, I'd even settle for exactly the same!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Negotiations Update!

Well, yesterday I was updated by my manager about how the negotiations are going...and I have to say I am in SHOCK! *(And by shock, I mean, ecstatic shock!)There is a whole new world I am being introduced to here! :) It's pretty damn awesome!
Again, what sucks in this whole process is, I get all excited about the possibility of what I could be making, and what my career could be....and then the part could always go to someone else and CRUSH that dream. That dream that has already been negotiated! It's just cruel!
But we're going to stay positive and wish for the best. That's all we can do, right? And by we, I mean me! LOL
The negotiations include everything from pay per episode, to how many episodes I'm promised for the next few years, to dressing room specifics, to even hair and make up consulations where I can provide my input to how I want my character to look. There are so many little details that I don't even really have a say in as to what's "important" to me. They are just negotiating for me, trying to find the "best" deal. Pretty cool... The only thing I really care about is being able to show up to work everyday. That's always been my biggest dream. Driving to the studio everyday because that's where I work. On set. (sigh) So close....
Yesterday I went to an interview for a Teaching Artist position at the 24th St Theater. This position would travel to different schools teaching theater to students and teaching teachers how to teach theater. Sounded like a pretty good idea. There were 15 of us there at the group interview, and I didn't find out until after the 2 hours that they were only looking to fill one or two positions. Wow.
But we're hoping I'll never have to teach or do something like this again because I'll be on a series! :) Crazy how in one week, your life can change.
I'm hoping....
Ok, I'm going to church and lighting a candle between now and Monday...
Feel free to do the same! :)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rolling with the Big Dogs

I met with my new attorney this morning. Crazy that I even have a "new attorney"! She was very nice. We talked a lot about this whole process and I learned SO MUCH in that one hour meeting! They are a very reputable firm who represents Patrick Dempsey, Halle Berry, and now....ME! crazy.
I wasn't sure about this whole thing at first. I thought I would hurt my chances if I came to the table with an "attorney" representing me (My small town mentality). But the attorney made a good point, she said this would give me a stronger credibility. I'm sure there are numerous actors who get to this screen test level for the first time, and are so excited that they take the first deal offered by the studios. This first deal is so important because it establishes your quote. The remainder of your career is affected by this first step. If you get low-balled, and accept that, the rest of your career is "playing catch-up". So it's very important to hire people who know what they are doing and who can get you the very best deal possible. I thought that if we countered with a too high number, that they would roll their eyes at me and just say "forget it" and move on. Little did I know! Apparently that's not how it works at all. And apparently I forgot what NEGOTIATING means! hahaha
By the time I walk into the room to meet with the studio and network, my contract for the next 7 years has already been agreed upon by both sides, me and the studio (which is negotiated by their business affairs) and already signed! And my attorney made another good point, they won't agree and sign a contract that they can't afford or one that they aren't willing to pay. In her eyes, the contract has to be worth my while because essentially, the studio would "own" me while I'm on the show. I can't go out for other pilots, or do anything that conflicts with this one. Guest appearances on other shows would be limited, except for like game or talk shows.
All of this has been very exciting! I have always been pretty business minded in my career, and this is another level that I have never seen!
They ended up pushing back my screen test a week. I go in on Monday and Tuesday, the 11th and 12th. AND they added a third person. Great.
But I'm just going to stay focused and go in there and do the very best job I can. And then just sit and wait. I doubt I will have to wait long. I'm sure I'll hear a decision by that Wednesday, or Thursday the latest....
Again.....Crazy!!! But I love it! :)