Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reflections on 100 Days!

One of my new friends out here suggested that each month I write down a list of my accomplishments. Times can be very emotionally difficult out here, and having a positive list can help you stay mentally strong. Do not worry, I am not going to turn this into a pat-myself-on-the-back post.

Over the past 100 days a lot has happened for me! I can definitely tell that I am where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. Of course there has been several instances and days, like today, where you feel super down on yourself and you are ready to pack it all up. However, I am going to start back at day one and try to point out positive, affirming things that have happened.

By back at day one I mean bag check at the airport. My bag was over weight, instead of the charging me an extra $25 the attendant let it slide. On the plane the woman beside me bought my dinner. Within a week of being in LA I had a potential roommate and job. (The roommate worked out, the job did not.) I went out to LA with no means of transportation because I planed on using the metro system. My third week out there a family went out of their way to let me use one of their cars for the next four weeks. On my official move to LA in February, it was a complete work of God we made it through Texas. Most of East Texas was iced over and probably had one of the worst winter storms they have seen. We bought our refrigerator from a guy at In-n-Out. He asked where my parents and I were from, so naturally, that lead to him selling us his fridge. My first day working as an extra I met a guy from Tuscaloosa who grew up with my brother-in-law! After joining LA Casting within a week I had an agent contact ME, instead of having to send out my information to a several agents hoping to hear back from one.

All in all I am pleased with how things are going. Some instances are still open without conclusion yet, like the agent or a job. But you have to take one day at a time, right? They say it takes five years for someone to become an overnight success and ten years for everyone else. So, we will see. I am just trying to serve God and pay them bills!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Make it Count

Last Friday a new page turned. In fact, the twenty-fourth chapter began, and I usually do not read books with that many chapters; however, in this case lets be glad I did. I turned twenty-four years old! Can you believe it? I am growing up! Here I am almost done with the first quarter and I am still trying to get over the disappointment that kindergarten nap time set me up for.

Besides my birthday happening, so is Spring! I love Spring, it is by far my favorite season. For starters its about the only season in Alabama that the temperature is actually bearable. It host my birthday, talk of the upcoming fall football season and college spring games. Easter, which is my favorite holiday and with that comes the best candy. The colors and the flowers are fantastic, especially all of the tulips covering the Alabama campus. All of the green grass and trees. I could continue but I will save us all the time.

All of that aside, I hate that I will be missing Alabama in Spring time. It seems as though part of my journey so far can be marked by things I have missed. Christmas. My brother and father's birthdays. My birthday. I will miss my sister's birthday and Easter. Probably my sister-in-law's birthday and my grandfather's. It makes it hard and causes me to question my being in Los Angeles. Sometimes I am afraid that when looking back on these occasions it will be as though my life was void during this time. I will not be in the family photos or the stories. Almost non-existent in reminiscings.

In stead of allowing this to get me down, it has encouraged me. I cannot make up the events and holidays I have missed, nor can I prevent my absence at future ones. What I can do, however, is make it count. Failure is no option, that only means it was all for nothing. I am setting goals and fighting to reach them, striving to make it all count. If I achieve my goals and serve God in whatever I am doing, I believe it will all be worth it.

I find it very appropriate that I have begun this new season of life during my favorite season. The Spring season is significant of a fresh start, starting over. Is that not what Easter is all about? Jesus bringing new life? A second chance? Now, during Lent and with the start of Spring right around the corner, is the perfect chance for each of us to make our lives count. Let us not leave our hardships and struggles in vain and bitterness, but in strength and with determination. Let's Make it count!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fabulous Life of an Extra, or Something Like That

I have gotten some questions about my background acting gigs and how that process works, so here it goes!

I have found out that there are talent agencies for everything under the sun. Acting, modeling, singing, writing, voice overs and background acting all have separate agencies. I am currently signed up with an agency called Central Casting which is a background talent agency. What this means is that casting directors for television shows, movies, commercials, print ads and so on, will call up Central Casting when they need extras and stand ins for their projects. To do background there is no talent needed, you just pay $25 for a three year membership to Central Casting and you are in.

After you sign up you are given a pin number and a little online profile. Each day I have a number that call to listen to see what the different casting directors are looking for. If I feel as though I fit the description, I call up the director. At this point it kind of turns into a radio show contest. Busy signal, after busy signal, after busy signal until hopefully I get a ring. If I get through and they answer I give them my pin number and they pull up my profile, which has my picture and measurements. Right there on the phone they will tell me if they want me or not. Sometimes they say you are not what we are looking for, but you cannot really take it personal, although it is hard not to. If you are booked, they give you another number to call which has all of the info you need for the shoot. What to wear, where to go, when to be there, where to park, if you will be feed, etc. Most of the work is for the next day so you call on Monday to get booked for Tuesday and so on. Sometimes they book a few days in advance and sometimes they are booking for multiple days.

You do get paid to do background work which is great! You are paid a set $64 for eight hours of work. What that means is that if I only work three hours I will still get paid the full $64, and if I work longer than the eight, I will get paid overtime! So that is a great deal!

Being on set is fun and I do enjoy it. You get to see all the background action and learn all of the filming terms and lingo. What is not too fun about it is that you are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole. You do not want to mess anything up because they will not hesitate to chew you up and out. I was on one set and the actress stopped the filming to fuss at one of the background actors for clinking his dishes during the restaurant scene. Another director yelled at a background actor for missing his cue and was sent off of the set. So it is very important to pay attention and not get in the way at all! For the most part the actual actors have been nice! While doing Extra with Mario Lopez he would joke around about his lines and make fun of them. He would call the writers out for the lines not making any sense or for being lame. It is nice to see when actors realize they are just a normal person who has been very blessed!

So far I have been able to work on Mad Love, Extra, Cougartown, The Event, and 90210. I filmed the season finale for each of those, except Extra, so it will be awhile before I can watch to see if I made any face time. You never know where background stuff may lead. The chances of anything coming from it is very very slim. It is about like a janitor of a fortune 500 company becoming the CEO. However; I am making lots of connections with other people who are working to become actors and directors. Do you remember Gunther from Friends? He was the Barista at Central Perk who had the crush on Rachel. He was just a background actor that they decided to make a regular. So, you never know.