Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

How Can I Help You?

This week has been awesome.
It's always been one of my dreams that I wake up every morning and go to work on a studio lot. And this week, that's exactly what I did. I reported to Warner Brothers Studio every day this week for rehearsal. I love working on a half hour sitcom. It's so interesting how it shapes and forms right before your very eyes! The script changes so much from the table read to the shooting days. And so many people have a say on how it turns out. We have two main writers for this pilot, plus the star who also co-wrote it (and created it since its based on his book), and we have the executives at the studio and network that have popped in during the week to see rehearsals. Then they have a meeting afterwards for notes and the writers make the necessary changes. They change jokes to make them funnier, they cut lines to get the timing just right. It really is an art form - the sitcom world.
We began the actual shooting on Thursday and we should be done by Monday or Tuesday. Everyone is really fun to work with and I've had a blast on set.
I just wish it was in a different role.
I play the housekeeper on this pilot, with an accent - yet again. I don't even have a name - just "housekeeper". On one hand, its very frustrating - and on the other, I'm just very grateful to be working!
I have an appointment/interview with a diversity executive over at NBC this week and I'm extremely excited about this! I would love the opportunity to be in a position where I can change the stereotypical view of minorities on television. That's my ultimate dream now. No, make that my MISSION.
As I sat in my trailer yesterday, I got a phone call from my agent about an audition on Monday for another pilot. It's a recurring role - which is awesome - BUT the role is an "immigrant housekeeper", with an accent - yet again. I just don't get it. Is it really so hard for them to see me as a DOCTOR? LAWYER? A BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL of some sort? A CITIZEN at least???!!! It frustrates me mainly because I remember when I was a little girl and I watched tv, I never really saw people who looked like me. And I just don't want today's little girls to see nothing but maids and believe that's all we are, or all we are perceived as.
Ok, I'll get off my soap box now. Sorry...

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Week...I'm a Working Actor.



It's funny how it changes from week to week!
Before my internship, I was an "out of work" actor, who was also a kids acting teacher in between my auditions - and private audition coach, when my students were auditioning more than me. Then, the internship came and I transformed into a Casting Assistant - even though I was interning. And I didn't feel much like an actor. And I was fine with that. I was thinking like a casting assistant. My days off consisted of me scouting other actors who may be right for this pilot. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before - and I loved it.
This week, I'm an actor. Again. And it feels good.
I was trying to think what is was that was missing from my career which makes me consider a change into casting. And I think I figured it out. I want to be a bigger piece of the puzzle.
Let me explain...
Today we had the table read for the pilot I'm in called Awkward Situations For Men. It was SO exciting - and way different from The Cape table read on Saturday. This set up was a long table in a row, facing all of the executived from ABC and Warner Brothers, watching us as we read the roles we were cast in. It was so nerve racking - yet exhilarating! Would they laugh? Would they love us? Would they love ME? Would they FIRE me??? Luckily,they all laughed, and everyone seemed pleased. I spotted Matt Lescher, who I worked with on Good Morning Miami about 8 years ago. I reminded him that I played the nurse in one episode and afterwards, as I walked to my car in the garage...it dawned on me. 8 years later I am still playing tiny 2-3 line roles while Matt is yet again a series regular. Mind you, I have played larger roles, and recurring roles, and even tested for a series regular not that long ago - but as of TODAY, I am another HOUSEKEEPER, with an accent - 8 YEARS later.
I'm not sure I want this for myself in the next 8 years! In fact, I'm sure of it. I asked myself if I would be happy if I was one of the series regulars - and of course, I answered yes - maybe even though it might mean a uniform and an accent - but preferably NOT. And I asked myself would I be happy if I was sitting where those executives were, hearing this pilot read by other actors, actors I either helped cast, or approved of - and I answered YES! I just want to be a bigger, more important piece of the puzzle. And if I had my way, the maid would not be of Latin decent, or with any kind of accent. I think that would be my biggest accomplishment - changing that image.
And I can't do that from this side of the table.
Hmmm...

The rest of my day was pretty awesome. I headed to Warner Brothers where we rehearsed for a few hours and I got to know some of my co-stars. I'm actually working with Brian George, Babu from Seinfeld and Laura Prepon , Donna from That 70's Show. This week is gonna feel GREAT! I don't even want to think about next week, when this job is over, and possibly my internship!
Then I will just be unemployed - again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big Changes

Today was the table read for The Cape at NBC/Universal. I am so excited that myself and one other intern were asked to attend to read all the day player roles that aren't cast yet! Shooting begins on Tuesday and we should be done casting by next week.
I arrived to the conference room on the top floor of a building at NBC. I finally got to see the entire cast in person, together for the first time. Along with the writer, Tom Wheeler, the director and E.P Simon West, and the Executive Producers of Berman/Braun. I can't tell you how satisfying it was to hear the actors in the roles that we cast! David Lyons as The Cape is going to be amazing!! :) As well as James Frain as his nemesis! Everyone did such a great job!
It was like a puzzle piece that was finally put together - with all the right pieces! It's funny how you audition so many actors in town for one role, and when it's cast with the right person, it feels like why couldn't you see that from day one?! Everyone was perfect in their roles and it's a great script! I'm so excited about it!
You know, I realized something during this table read. Usually when I'm at one of these, and I'm playing a smaller role, I usually daydream of reading the lead role. Feeling a bit jealous that I'm not sitting where they are, the leads. But this time around, I wasn't feeling that at all. I felt like I helped assemble this cast - and I was proud of it. Not jealous that I wasn't doing what they were doing, but more satisfied that I had a hand in the making of it instead.
And I got to meet Grace Wu finally! She is the VP of Casting at NBC and I introduced myself as she sat nearby. I told her my interest in casting, and in diversity casting specifically, and she wanted to get me in contact with the diversity person at NBC. She asked me to email her and she would get me in touch with that other person! YAY!!!
I never knew I could be excited about a career other than acting! It's SO weird! But I am passionate about it and I am really eager to get started on that "next career" in my life. It seems like a natural progression actually. And if that means I'm no longer a full time actor because I'm helping change things, then...I think I'm fine with that. If I could make a difference to how television audiences perceive minorites, Latinos specifically, I have done something right! I would love to never play a maid again, or never be asked to "do it with an accent" ever again! I think I will always be an actor.
So if that means doing a great play production when I have the time, or a nice meaty film role during the summers or slow times, even better.
I think I prefer that trade off.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Booked!

So, today I had my audition for Detective Donna, the role that we are casting for on The Cape. It was odd waiting in the waiting room with the other actors in an office where I'm usually running the session or reading with them. My audition went well actually. But I had to take my name out of the running because I just found out I booked that Housekeeper role on that other pilot, Awkward Situations for Men on ABC. I had to take that other one because it is paying me for a whole week, versus just two days. And that's a huge difference in money.
Ugh - another maid role...but hopefully I will move into a position where I can make a change in that area. Fingers crossed.

Stopping In

Today I stopped by Debra Zane's office to offer my services as an intern if she needed one. After my lunch meeting with the executive at NBC, he suggested that I check in with her since she will be started a new feature film very soon, and Tannis (her associate) is going on maternity leave next week. I didn't get a chance to talk to Debra herself since she stepped out to run an errand, but I did talk to Tannis. Their office is really tiny, so I'm not sure if they would have room for me to even help out, but I am eager to learn what I can from them - so hopefully I get the opportunity! :)
Tonight I taught my classes for the workshop. The kids met Jonathan Clay Harris from David Rappaport's office. They cast 90210.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Casting

I am loving my internship!!!!!
This week, I got to look through headshots and pull out people I felt were right for characters we still need to cast. I was looking for quirky interesting faces for the circus performer "Raia", and "cop types" for our officer day player roles, and reporters. I was so excited that I had the opportunity to call in some friends for the pilot! I called him 4 male friends for the cop roles, my friend Tonya for a witness role and my friend Jennifer for "Detective Donna". Then I was asked if I wanted to audition for Detective Donna as well. It's nice that it's a detective role. The character gets killed pretty early on in the episode. So I brought in my friend, and auditioned against her as well! haha It was fun waiting in the waiting room with her. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Helping Out Howard

Today is the workshop with Howard Meltzer. I don't get paid to be his reader, but I just love spending a Sunday morning with him! He is awesome! We saw some pretty talented kids today! I told him of my interest in casting and it was nice to feel his support. He told me how much he loves his job, and that made me even more excited about it!
I'm in search of an actual job in casting, or another internship in a feature film office to figure out which road is best for me. I am still thinking of the studio executive world - maybe specializing in diversity casting...that would be AWESOME!!!! :) We'll see...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SUCCESS!!!

So I am very proud to say that I just found out my student who I coached last night booked the pilot! He will be a series regular on a new show! AWESOME!!! He went in for a preread in the morning, they sent him to producers right after that, they sent him to test for the studio and network in the afternoon and offered him the part before the end of the day! Crazy how fast things happen in this town! :)
My audition for the housekeeper went well also. I always love auditioning for Valko/Miller Casting! :) I just wish it was for any other role besides "Maid". But at least this character is funny.
Audition lined up for tomorrow on another pilot: The Defenders with Felicia Fasano.

My Busiest Day

Today was an incredibly productive day!
I started off at the casting office at 9am. Before I knew it, it was already after noonand I had to head out for my lunch meeting with a casting executive from NBC Universal. I made the appointment so I could pick his brain about his position and what it entails to be in casting at the studio level. It was interesting, but I'm thinking I may like the creative aspect of the casting office over the business end of the studio or network. But I'm still trying to figure all that out.
I got back to the office in time for the afternoon audition session. We were mainly seeing actors for the role of Ruvi, a circus performer/mentalist and Trip, the lead's 8 year old son. It was a looooong session, and I didn't leave the office until 9pm.
I went straight to coach one of my students for his audition tomorrow. He is going in for a series regular on a pilot. :) He's a very talented little kid and I'm sure he will book a series soon. Maybe this one!
Now its time for me to work on my audition that I have tomorrow. Its for a comedy half hour pilot, and I'm going in for the role of.....HOUSEKEEPER! WhoooHooo!!!! LOL
But first things first - Back to the casting office in the morning.
Busy busy busy...and I wouldnt have it any other way.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Crazy Busy Weekend

This weekend has been a busy work weekend for me.
I was put in charge of the intern schedule at the casting office and I've been working with everyone's availability (10 people's schedules!) and trying to make it work considering the next few weeks will be crazy hectic in the office. I worked a kids workshop this weekend where I found a young actor who I thought would be great for the pilot. I spent Saturday afternoon trying to get him an audition on Monday, which I did!
Then Saturday evening, I headed to Pasadena to see Oedipus El Rey, Luis Alfaro's modern day adaptation of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. It was A-MA-ZING! I loved it! It is so refreshing to see a production that inspires you! I want to do another play! :( It saddens me to think of how long its been since I've been in a great production of something.
I worked another workshop today and finished organizing the intern schedule and it's already Monday tomorrow! Where did the weekend go?!
Tomorrow morning I'm coaching an actor for an audition, then teaching my acting classes all day. I have definately found things to keep me busy! So busy that I haven't had time to do my taxes! Gotta do that this week!
And let's not forget about The Oscars! Watching them right now as I multi-task. :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Pilot Audition...and Stuff

Today I interned at the casting office again. I do it about three times a week - and like I've said before, I love it! I've been tossing around the idea of doing it professionally. As in, maybe taking a step back from acting to explore this new venture. Everyday that I'm there, I feel like I'm learning something new about the job. It always feels like there's so much more to learn! It's pretty exciting - especially working on the pilot. I'm learning a lot from watching other actors audition, hearing the casting director deal with agents and managers and producers, and watching people make mistakes with their careers - and also witnessing people get cast in roles that will change their lives!! It's pretty awesome!
Today I was "recognized" by an actor who was auditioning for the pilot. I guess you could call it being "recognized" - haha :) He reads this blog! That was cool! I also saw Peter Gallagher yesterday and he remembered me from when we worked on The OC a few years back. I even got to meet Harry Hamlin today! That was cool - he's very thin though.
After interning, I headed back over the hill to Burbank where I sat down at a Starbucks to read the entire script for the pilot I was auditioning for today. I was a little nervous about this one. It was a really good Jerry Bruckheimer script and my role was a distraught mother whose teenage daughter was murdered. I had to be emotional and break down after just a couple of lines. So I tried to focus as much as I could before my audition, to get into the right mindframe for the character. That was hard! I hate having to do emotional scenes! It's so exhausting! And I usually end up with a headache! I didn't think I would be able to do it. I felt connected to the emotion at times, and then I would lose it. It made me nervous. But just when I begin to doubt my own ability....I surprise myself! ;) hehe I walked into that room, and I guess I used that nervousness for the scene, because it went a lot better than I expected! I felt really good about it. :)
I just got home from private coaching two of my teenage students. One has two auditions for tomorrow. A feature film and a TV show. Nice!
I also just got a call from my agent saying he wanted to pass on an audition for a one line co-star role on a new pilot for ABC. He didn't want the executives over at ABC to see me in a co-star role. He didn't think that was the impression we wanted to give - that I was still a "co-star actor". We are trying to move forward as a guest star, recurring, or series regular on these shows, so he made sense. We passed.
I need a job. A good one. :)
Class with Howard tomorrow. And I want to see my friend, Leandro, in the play Oedipus El Rey this weekend in Pasadena. Trying to stay busy... :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tuesday

Yesterday I had a very interesting audition for a feature film. It was a Farrelly Brothers film and the role may not have been perfect for me - but I loved the opportunity to do another studio film! I need another one of those! :)
I interned again today and got the chance to run camera for a producer's session. That was very informative as an actor, because I got to hear what they say after someone auditions. What they liked, what they didn't like. I saw great auditions today and...not so great auditions. It was pretty awesome! I learned a lot.
I have an audition for a pilot tomorrow. A very emotional scene, so in a way I'm looking forward to it - and in a way, I'm already emotionally exhausted!
We'll see how it goes.
We're testing for a couple of the characters tomorrow. I wanna test again for a pilot! That was exciting - and it feels like soooo long ago already! :(