Tuesday morning I had a costume fitting for a movie I’m going to be shooting the beginning of March. It doesn’t have a title yet, but it stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. Also, my Spring Awakening buddy, Hunter Parrish, will be starring as well! Eeek!! I can’t wait!!!
It's a very minor charachter, but my scene is with Meryl Streep, and I can’t wait, and it’s going to be amazing to meet such a great actress! In the movie, my name is Cory, and I work in a bakery that Meryl Streep’s character owns and runs.
I had my fitting for "My Name is Earl" on Friday. I was asked to bring some of my own clothing, so I took two dresses in, and wore a pair of cute, but comfy ballet flats that I wanted them to consider. No way I'm going to encourage wardrobe to put me in heels for an unspecified number of hours.
I got there, it was a bright, sunny day, and all felt right with the world. When the wardrobe department asked me how I was doing, my answer was a truthful "I am really glad to be here." Afterwards, I hoped I didn't sound hokey, but heck - it was the truth.
So I just finished my 5th commercial audition for the week and am returning to my part-time day job when my friend Wil calls me. He's with the same agency and says that he heard from a casting director today that our agency has closed it's doors, shut down. That couldn't be true, I told him. They're too big, and I just spoke with them yesterday. I relieve him, then I send an e-mail to one of my agents....
I did my taxes last night after groaning for nearly four weeks about needing to do them. The good news, is that I spent a lot of money on my career last year so I will have plenty of business deductions. The bad news, is that I did not organize any of my receipts so it took nearly five hours to wade through the muck. The good news, is that I kept all of my receipts! The bad news, is that I made less money as a performer in 2008 than I did in 2007. The good news, is that super sister accountant Robin does my taxes for free! The bad news...well...there isn't really any bad news when you have a super accountant in your corner. I think I'll just stop there!
Holy crapola, I spent a lot of money on my career. More, in fact, than I think I ever have in the past. Although, it may just be that I'm getting better at saving my receipts and tracking my business expenses. Next time I think I'm not taking enough classes, I'll give myself a break and refer to my '08 educational write-offs.
I’m going to go out of turn here from my previously scheduled blog to take this opportunity to talk about something else; celebrity. Celebrities, not actors. Celebrities, those manufactured personas that draw millions to the box office or television set, those faces, those personalities that we covet in our spare time; obsess over like Barbie dolls, they're all over Hollywood and they're reproducing everyday. And I don't mean biologically. The media and reality television have given birth to a few next generations.
When I was little, I bathed in Tiger Beat magazines! Bathed! My room was plastered with the mugs of Kirk Cameron and Michael J. Fox. My father once, when I was about nine, came to my bedside while I was waking and told me that Michael J. Fox was waiting for me out in the driveway. I shot out of bed and ran outside in my pajamas, only to find that it was my turn to water the plants. Love you Dad.
I've had a smattering of auditions over the past few days, and have remembered one thing I really do love about it- running into people I know! This city really does just seem like a small town sometimes, it's gotten to the point where I EXPECT to see people I know anywhere and everywhere. It makes it feel a lot more like a community and less like we're struggling through it all on our own. In any case - in the past 6 days I've auditioned for two short films, one play, five commercials, and two agents(at meet & greets). They all went reasonably well. Although I do feel that I tend to under-prepare for film auditions, just because I have a hard time really knowing when I'm ready. So I'm aware of that level of self-sabotage that I constantly inflict on myself.
Turns out I booked the play, and am currently on first refusal for one of the commercials. My agent auditions went very well, thought you can never know how that will turn out.
Most importantly though, is the role in the play....
What kind of nutter gets up at 5:30 in the morning, putters around with [accidentally caffeinated tea] until 7, and then jaunts over to the local Duane Reade to pick out casting director thank you cards for 45 minutes? Humming "A Pirate's Life for Me?"
That would be me.
So I woke up this morning, far too early, with the voices in my head again. Before you throw me in the bin, pause a moment. I've recently taken up a liking to martinis, and they tend to have this early-strands-of-morning-induction-of-insanity effect on me. My voice, literally, wakes me up at 5 or 6 either from talking in my sleep or resounding in my noggin. This morning I woke up to "That'd be fun, dress up!" and a dream about an old collegian-heavy scenepartner trying to force me to blow up a Home Depot with a grenade.
No more martinis for me.
I think I've had the most ridiculously social week of my life. In an effort to beat my sudden reclusive inner Winter Gremlin away, for the past month I've been attempting to get out, get amiable, and network as much as feasibly possible.
Back when I moved to the city at my jubilant and perpetually traipsing eighteen, going out and getting "chummy" with entertainment folks was virtually my favorite activity. Then, with the advent of schoolwork and the three-year escape from college plan, I ceased my professional play. Which was counter-intuitive to the way I always worked... nearly every big or leading-to-something opportunity I've finagled has been via the networking tactic.
But suddenly, post Christmas and a hell-of-a-lotta Polish family cheer... I'm back to my old self. I'm about to secure a film with a Sundance director I highly regard, have my first red carpet publicity shots [weee!], and I no longer am spending Friday night under a blanket with a Costco size bag of marshmallows.
Hurrah for Spring! Hurrah for work! Hurrah for networking!
C'mon 2009, Ashley Avis
OMG, COLOR ME HAPPY - I just booked a role on "My Name is Earl"!
Tuesday was a crazy busy and pretty tense day at work. As usual on "one of those days" I got a same-day audition call. I'm working in Mid-Wilshire, and the audition was as far north in Van Nuys that one can go without being in another little city. My audition time was at 5:45, so that meant that I didn't have to go back to the office, but it ALSO meant that I was driving in rush-hour traffic. In order to not shortchange the production gig, I planned to leave no later than 5PM (cutting it close), but the guy I work for asked for something as I was leaving, and I didn't get out of there until 5:15. I drove as fast as I could, but at 5:40, I had to call my manager and tell her I was running late. I wasn't that far away...I was just stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and couldn't get there. The later it got, the more stressed out I became. I just knew I would get there and everyone would be gone.
I arrived at 6:15.
Answer: place a last minute order for khaki pants, a blue polo shirt and send her to a commercial audition on the other side of town during rush hour.
I have been drowning in emails lately. And, sadly, they are not from people who know and/or care about me. They're solicitations from theatre companies and networking sites and training programs, etc etc etc. Some I signed up for - yes. Others bought my email from other related sources. And a few months ago when I realized I just couldn't handle it anymore - I noticed that I started avoiding my professional email because wading through the ticket/class/coaching/resume offers was just too laborious and head-spinning - I started unsubscribing to the ones I knew I had no interest in... but like the many-headed hydra, more seemed to have sprung up in their place.
I take acting class with the cast of Ocean’s Eleven; meaning I’m the only girl in a class full of male actors, each of whom could pass for the characters in Stephen Soderbergh’s remake of the rat pack classic. I can’t decide in this pseudo-fantasy of mine if I want to be ‘Julia’, ‘Catherine’, or the saucy ‘Ellen’.
But I guess since I’m the only girl, I can take turns being all of them. It’s LA! And there really are countless numbers of dashing Brad Pitt and George Clooney types strutting around this town hoping to be discovered. And no, they’re not all in West Hollywood, if you know what I mean.
What a whirlwind past couple of weeks. Finally, just as winter has begun to break and we're all coming out from hiding under mounds of covers... taking leave only to obtain another box of Extra Chedder Rainbow Goldfish... [perhaps that's just, er, me] ... the industry has come alive again.
In the past twenty three days, I've had a whopping nine auditions. Eight for pilots, and one for a film. Two callbacks. And waiting... on pins and needles and various other supremely unpleasent objects... on one particular project I went in for on Friday. But I shall say no more, lest I jinx it.
I wanted to touch on something I noticed in my auditioning technique the other day, as I have a very specific methodology in the way I memorize [for I abhor nothing less than not being off book... how's that for a double negative?]. I either pace about my coffee table, usually eating something chocolate, muttering out the lines by rote (i.e. without emotion)... or I attack everything with Windex and clean and couple that with the muttering.
At 8 o'clock last Thursday night, my agent's assistant rings my cell phone as I'm en route to teach a swing lesson. "You have a pilot audition tomorrow, forwarding you sides and script NOW!".
Part of my choosing to be an actor was based on knowing that I cannot handle going into an office 5 days a week, 9-6, 10-7 or 9-whenever. I just can't do it. I need variety, I need to be reminded that I am a beautiful and unique snowflake. But with that comes periods where there isn't that much going. Let's call it downtime, that's a nice friendly word. Some actors deal with downtime badly. Example A - Example B. And some deal with it well - Example A - Example B.
I am learning to deal with it. Hopefully following this learning, I will also be able to deal with it well.
Everyone in a freelance/creative field deals with this. I just met a brilliant costume designer who PLANS on being unemployed for 2 months out of the year. At first glance that sounds awesome, having 2 months off - but when your job is also your creative outlet, it can actually be a little tough.
If living in this city and pursuing this line of work won't give you a thick skin - I fear only the worst of the worst circumstances ever would. Yesterday morning I was second in line for an audition starting at 10 am. I had the day off from work for the holiday, but only slightly lamented losing the opportunity to sleep in. I am, after all, an actor, and the chance to work is greatly appreciated. The company's website said I'd need a monologue OR a song, but when I received my time-slot via email, I was told to prepare BOTH. **I am not a singer** So, I panicked a little.
No one wanted to be my Valentine this year. I guess I can’t blame them. I mean I’m just some young, fun, partying, but wholesome girl from Nebraska with a successful acting career and positive outlook who writes poetry and does yoga in her spare time. Who wants to take out a blonde haired, blue-eyed girl like that for dinner on Valentine’s day? I’ll tell you who…No One!!! (sniff, sniff)
I spent this weekend on the other side of the casting table and it was an eye-opening experience! All of the things that I've heard casting directors say that they like and dislike absolutely came into play during my little casting session. I still wish that I had interned for a casting director when I first moved to Los Angeles...not that I can't still do that in the future, but I probably could've saved myself a lot of mistakes and grief when I first started out.
It’s another producer session for that NBC psychic show. I think this is my third one since I’ve been here in LA. I go straight to producers now for this show, usually co-star roles that my manager disapproves of, but I need to work. I need to audition. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a co-star role. It’s just that apparently she thinks once a co-star, only ever a co-star.
Co-star roles, particularly this one, are based mostly upon
look. A friend of mine who is an exec-producer on one of those law and
maintaining order shows in