I didn’t die! :)

19 Jul

So, I just wanted to start off this post by letting everyone know that I not only survived Tough Mudder on July 12th, but I actually completed all but one of the obstacles. And I have the battle wounds to prove it. I am black and blue and really surprised myself with what I accomplished. It is so incredible to see so many people come together like that. Everyone helps everyone out, and two people offered me the shoes on their feet when we were walking back on rocks and I had none (I turned them both down, and only slightly cursed with each step). My dad said he would do it with us next year, but for now, I have the Color Run to look forward to ;)

 Before and after shots…mudder beforemudder after

Since it has been an eternity since my last post, I won’t go through my day to day, but I will share the major points.

First, a guy I took the Dale Carnegie course with contacted me through my cousin Rikki, to offer me a modelling/acting job for his company. I start on Monday, for 3-4 days of kind of showing furniture. I have to admit that I am terrified. Not because of the acting, because I think I can master getting in and out of bed and stuff, but I am bringing my own wardrobe, as well as doing my own hair and makeup. I have done my makeup on sets before, but it has mostly been for background work, not for stuff where I am the only person on camera. Although I guess the furniture is considered the star of the show…I’ll let you know how it all works out.

On the 11th, I had two auditions for some non-union, student films. I thought they went pretty well, though probably not my best work. I didn’t get contacted by either of them, but I think they were filming this weekend, so I’m pretty sure we can rule them out. 

On the 14th, I was in Toronto, having driven there, worked and driven home in all a little more than 24 hours. Am I crazy? Maybe a little. But you see, when you get the chance to wear gorgeous gowns from the 1500s (style-wise, not age-wise) and be on Reign, even as background, you say yes. If you remember, I had being on Being Human as one of my 25 things to do before I turn 25, but Being Human was cancelled. Since the point of it was to be on an American Television Series that films here, I am just going to substitute Reign for Being Human. It would be a dream come true to get an actual role, or continuity background on it, but even being there for a day was truly a treat. I met a bunch of really nice and interesting people, got to learn some of the ropes of Toronto’s acting community, and even got some acting lessons. The lessons were from watching, not an actual coach of any kind. A lot of the extra work I have done has been in big scenes where you can’t really hear the dialogue and just do your own thing in the background, but this scene had most of the main cast in the room with us, and we filmed each of their private conversations, as well as a master with all of them. Seeing how they recovered from saying the wrong thing, or stayed absolutely in character while calling line…it was truly something to see, and take in. I hope I get to go back, and often. 

Last of my news is that on Friday, I did a self-tape. I had submitted myself through a casting agency and was asked to send in a self-tape. I tried to do it with my dad on Thursday, but although I knew it by heart, I had to pause and think of what came next, which didn’t look so great on camera, so we decided to do it Friday morning instead. I woke up super early and worked on it again for about an hour before waking my dad so he could tape it for me. It took multiple takes, but finally I went through the whole thing without making a mistake or having to look for my line. We watched it to make sure it was good, and I saw every pause, every moment of uncertainty, and thought it was horrible. My dad thought it was great though. I couldn’t tell if it was my overly-self-critical self that was being too hard on myself, or if my dad was just anxious to get it over with. So, I settled, uploaded the video and sent it off.

The whole time I was driving to work, I kept thinking how horrible it was, how I should never leave things to the last minute like that, how I should have just kept going the night before until I nailed it. A million things I should have done differently, with the blame dancing around in my head. Then I realized the only one to blame was me. Obviously. My dad probably said it was great because he loves me and like my mom told my brother she loved his drawings in kindergarten, my dad will love everything I do. And he has been so amazing with me every single time I have a self-tape request. I often ask him the day of, and he spends varying amounts of time setting up the perfect angle, the best lighting, and then running scenes with me as my reader and camera man. I am incredibly grateful and so lucky to have him. 

Which brings us back to me. I need to stop being so afraid to speak up. I don’t only need to be able to ask for what I want, to succeed in this business I need to fight for it and not take no for an answer. I mean, if I’m not fighting for me, who will? Also, I should never judge a self-tape about whether it is good or not, and whether I got all of the words right. The idea of taping yourself at home is that you have as many takes as you need in order to make it perfect. I should never be sending something in unless it will win me the job, or at least the room (in this case anyone who watches it). This lesson is especially important since I later got an email saying that I did a great job, but the quality of the video was horrible, making it so grainy that you couldn’t even see my face. Coming off as mediocre and like I don’t care about their time or value the opportunity is definitely not what I was going for. On the bright side, I have two hours of driving in a car, completely stressed out which will ensure that in the future, I will watch all videos before sending them, and if they are not amazing work that will make people want to hire me on the spot, I shouldn’t send them out. Lesson learned.

That’s mostly what has been going on with me on the acting front. I should be pretty busy over the next few weeks, which might not leave that much time for posts, but next time, I will hopefully be able to share some exciting news I have been holding onto. Or at least not sharing here. If you happen to run into me I’ll probably tell you all about it. But officially, I’ll be telling you all soon ;)

 

“I don’t know what the hell I’m doing up there half the time. These performers that go on about their technique and craft – oh, puleeze! How boring! I don’t know what technique means. But I do know what experience is. I know in my gut when I’ve done a scene right.”

-Elaine Stritch

We’ve got a trailer!!!

17 Jul

Trailer for The Dark Shack :)

Things have been crazy, and I have so much to say in my next blog post, as soon as I have a chance to write it. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the Dark Shack :)

Summer

3 Jul

It is shaping up to be a busy summer, and although I wish more of it was acting and less of it was my other job, I have to look on the bright side, that I am making money to support my dreams. Luckily, I also got to make some money on set:)

As I mentioned in my last post, I was an extra on the 19th. I am used to really early call times that finish in the evening, but this time I had an afternoon call time with the possibility of an overnight shoot. We finished at midnight, which was great, because I had to work at 8 the next morning. I am sad to say I spent most of my time there in holding, which is where the extras stay when they aren’t being used, then walked around outside the bistro where the scene was being filmed…inside. So, I will definitely not be seen on camera in the movie, but I did get to meet a lot of interesting people, and hopefully showed some members of the crew that I am someone they would like to work with again :)

Last Monday, I got to see Carolyne for some Menchie’s and How To Train Your Dragon 2. I have never felt so much like a child, and so much not like one as well. To top it off, I got home that night and we booked a trip to Hawaii in November, which I cannot wait for.

I finally convinced someone to see The Fault in Our Stars with me the next day. Most people I usually go to the movies with weren’t interested in seeing a sad movie, but I think a good cry is important to have every once in a while. And not that I want to be in movies where I make people cry their eyes out, but there is something about seeing those heartwrenching, emotional scenes done seamlessly (or so it appeared to my tear-filled eyes).

I missed my stunt class due to work, and so will probably be joining the September class instead. There are a lot of things on my to-do list that I am worried I won’t be getting to, but if I have legitimate reasons and am doing something else, I think I will have to let it go.

I spent a lovely weekend in Albany with my family, then watched the season finale of Sex & Ethnicity when I got back. All of the episodes are currently online, so watch them, have fun spotting all of the awesome Montreal talent, and help get them a Season 2 :)

Also, since this is the place where I share all my secrets, I am semi-certain I will die either literally or figuratively during Tough Mudder on July 12th. If anybody wants to hire me for some kind of acting related job on that day, it would be great, otherwise, I will keep training and try my best not to die.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Sex & Ethnicity Launch Party

25 Jun

You’ve all heard me mention Sex & Ethnicity, an amazing webseries made by and featuring the best of Montreal’s acting pool. I was priviliged to get to go to the Launch Party, so am sharing some pictures, as well as the link, so you guys can all watch the show :)

It is by supporting each other that we reach incredible heights, which in this case means publicity, a second season, and an awesome opportunity for a bunch of actors who truly deserve it <3

http://michaeladicesare.com/sex-ethnicity/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1He9RcwYrM&list=PLuf_Hg8uA6LnTtaR6valiog0b5uLPPFND

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Extras, Parties and suits

18 Jun

When I last wrote, I was preaching about possibilities, which is exactly what was given to me. I had a music video shoot all booked on Friday, but it was an outdoor shoot, and anyone who was in Montreal last Friday knows that it was pouring, so the shoot got cancelled. Obviously, that sucked. But I was still believing in my possibilities, so I decided to work on them. I wrote back to someone who had tentatively mentionned something about background work. I had already told him I was pretty much always available, but decided to follow up with my availabilities this coming week. I figured that if I did this every week, eventually he would use me, right? Turns out he needed people that very Sunday!

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I will get to how amazing that day was, but the slight catch was that I was supposed to go the AMI Invisible Full Moon Party that started at 9 on Saturday, and my calltime was 5:30 on Sunday. All things considered, I would have to wake up around 3 am, which didn’t leave me much time for sleep. I also couldn’t bail, because I had convinced my cousin to come with me. So, we went in when it opened, with pretty much no one else there, had a great time once people showed up, and I stayed until 11 ish before basically abandonning my cousin with a girl I knew. I felt horrible at the time, but looking back, it was the right decision, because I had been on set for hours by the time he actually got home.

The first reason why Sunday was so awesome is because it was the first time Carolyne and I ever got to work together. Knowing I would be on set, especially with Carolyne, was enough to make me excited to be driving to work at 4 am. The second awesome thing, for me at least, was that we were dressed for business/corporate. This doesn’t sound like much, but I have been watching a lot of Suits lately, and the girls are always wearing pretty dresses and blazers and I sometimes wish I had a job that required me to dress like that every day. And this is the beauty of acting, even as an extra. For that day on set, I was a paralegal, doing some shopping with my best friend on our lunch break. Because the day spent on set as an extra is a lot more interesting when you have a backstory ;)

Another thing I love about being on set in any capacity, or just working in the acting business, is meeting people, whether they are actors as well, or just doing this for fun. The advice and conversations you have on set are priceless :) Even when the conversation is interspersed with running for your life, with the camera nowhere in sight. All in a day’s work I guess, and can’t wait to go back!

Since Sunday was also Father’s Day, I rushed to my grandparent’s house for s’mores, having missed supper. I also planned on watching or doing whatever my dad wanted that night, but instead I fell asleep almost as soon as we got home. Still, my dad took it in stride and let me know what was happening in the golf game, even while I slept. You guys should be so lucky as to have a dad as good as mine :)

On Monday, I got some more extra work for this week, before my brother and I took my dad and grandfather out for a proper father’s day supper, to make up for the fact that I missed it the night before.

My fitting was on Tuesday, and I have been lucky to get shoes I can walk in every time I am an extra, and although the outfit isn’t exactly what I would wear today, it was definitely nice back in the day when this particular movie is set. Once the fitting was done, I met my cousin for some menchies and to find out what happened after I left him on Saturday. We ended up walking and talking for over an hour, mostly leaving because it started pouring.

Now before I go, falling asleep on Sunday meant I couldn’t watch Sex & Ethnicity live, but the first 4 episodes are currently on youtube, and you will find some laughs, some heart, amazing talent and even a little bit of me ;)

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“God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear.”

-Ruby Dee

A World of Possibilities

11 Jun

Carolyne and I were discussing the ups and downs of our chosen career path, and we came to the conclusion that often, our optimism is determined not by all the amazing work we have already done, but by whether we have any future projects booked. Being on set is amazing, but knowing that you’ll be coming back and having another opportunity to act…that’s what convinces you you’re on the right track :)

Luckily for me, I am currently in the phase where I think that the world is full of possibilities. And I refuse to hear otherwise. Last Tuesday I had an audition and a call back. The audition was first, with the people that I was supposed to skype with the week before. I met them in a library, and think I did really well. I knew my lines, I connected with my character, and I took all of the adjustments they gave me. In the end, they wanted me to also read for another character, but didn’t have the sides, so I am supposed to be going back, either an actual audition, or maybe sending in a self-tape. We shall see :)

After getting our tshirts for the AMI party on Saturday, I went to the callback at Dawson. I already knew one of the actors, and absolutely loved being able to audition not just with a reader, but with scene partners. We did each of the scenes once as a cold read with the script, then a second time with no sides, kind of improv-ing. I did the callback for 2 separate and very different characters, one of which has a breakdown, and I had a blast. The guys were awesome and I really hope I’ll be able to be a part of this project :) I am also truly grateful that I was caught in the torrential downpour after the auditions, not before them ;)

I also won a ticket to the Sex & Ethnicity launch party on Thursday, which was so much fun and inspiring. There wasn’t room for a plus one, but as the brilliant Michaela said, I knew a lot of the people there. Most of the actors were either in some kind of class with me, worked with me or I’ve met at McGill. I was only ever an extra on the webseries, which could have been awkward when people asked how I was a part of it, but everyone was so amazingly nice, offering advice, discussing careers and the show…as soon as I was no longer the only person there, I not once felt left out or alone. I was always talking to someone, learning and sharing, having a truly incredible time. The MC was hilarious and we got to see the first 5 minutes of the first episode. An amazing night that I am so happy I got to be a part of. I met a bunch of really talented new people, and got to catch up with some friends. It would be an honor to be able to be a part of season two, so remember to watch, either on ICI on Sundays at 9:30, or on youtube ;)

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After the party, I had to rush to a dinner party at my brother and his girlfriend’s. We had delicious food and incredible company, with my parents and some cousins. If this acting thing doesn’t work out, I have a babysitting gig starting in November :) 

Other than that, I have mostly been working and writing and reading and planning, but I have a music video shoot on Friday. And I was a crazy person who went ahead and signed up for the summer stunt class.  And the world is full of possibilities, right?

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

-Dr. Seuss

 

A Time for Firsts

31 May 20140601-001358-838958.jpg

I believe I mentionned that Carolyne and I decided this would be our year, and things are looking good :)

Last Thursday after I finished work, Carolyne and I met up for some menchies and talking about our careers. However, we had a movie to get to, so we definitely need to meet again as soon as somebody stops booking so much work ;) The movie we went to see was X Men Days of Future Past. Most Montrealers, especially those in the acting industry, know that the movie was filmed here last summer. I was lucky enough to get to spend a bunch of days on set, just absorbing everything. Getting to see what it is like on a huge production like that was amazing. You only see me for half a second, and everyone I went to see it with missed me, but the experience of being on set was incredible and I loved it. It was my first time seeing myself in an actual blockbuster movie, although hopefully it will be far from the last :)

The next morning, I had an audition at an actual casting agency. I have been auditioning, but not so much for casting agents, or at casting agencies. It was a cold read, like my last somewhat failed audition, but I didn’t dwell on that, I remembered everything I learnt in LA from Margie and Tony. I was calmly waiting to be called in while the casting associate called people to cancel their auditions, saying some project didn’t get its funding. I felt so bad for them, not realizing that once I got into the room, that was the first thing the Director told me. The project I was auditioning for was the one that was being cancelled. The Director basically told me that the project was most likely dead, but since I was here, he would audition me. My first thought was that this was a total waste of time and they should have just told me to go home. But then I remembered what so many casting directors and Backstage articles had told me. The point isn’t to win the role, it is to win the room. So, I put the knowledge that this project would never happen aside, and just took advantage of the opportunity to act. I did the cold read really well if I do say so myself, then did an improv exercise, which they seemed to really enjoy. Overall, if you disregard the parking ticket I had when I got out, I would call the audition a success. The project will most likely never be made, and most of the other auditions were cancelled, but I think I would have gotten the part. Regardless of the role though, I definitely made a good impression on everyone in the room that day :)

On Saturday some plans fell through, so my mom and I spent the afternoon at the spa. This is what it looked like when you drive up, but luckily, it was not just a barn, and I actually had quite the incredible, relaxing time with some excellent company. We definitely deserved it after all of our hard work, and the MS Walk we did on Sunday before going to my grandparents’ for the first swim of the season :)

Last Monday, I finally made it to the Booze and Schmooze event. Carolyne had an early call time and couldn’t make it, but I decided to do something that scares me and went by myself. I put enough money in the parking meter for an hour, and figured I could make up an excuse to leave once the hour was up. As soon as I got there, I signed in, put the little name tag on, and saw that everyone else was already in little groups. I was psyching myself up to go and either join one or pounce on someone who was alone when I spotted someone I knew :) I know the point of these things is to meet new people, but I was taking baby steps. We went to a table and he told me about the projects he had planned for this summer, we talked about my scripts I have been writing…And new people did come and join us, but since I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t so nervous, and could actually talk to them. When I finally checked my phone for the time, I was a minute over what I had paid for in parking, but my friend was giving his elevator pitch. (What you would say to someone like Steven Spielberg if you happened to ride an elevator with them. You have 30 seconds to make your case and pique their interest) I had the choice to either interrupt him to say goodbye, run off without a word to anybody, or pay for some more time with the app on my phone. I considered all 3, but the answer was pretty obvious, so I paid for some more time, and ended up staying almost 3 hours. I did get to meet some new people and handed out a few business cards, but I mostly cultivated existing relationships, which I think is equally important. I am on the list of two very promising filmmakers for all of their future projects thanks to an audition I gave last year, and another is still telling people about my scream from Lonely Ninja. Plus, bonus points because when I go next month, even if no one comes with me, I will know or will have seen a bunch of the people this time :)

On Tuesday I had my lines down, the outfit chosen, found the best angle to film from and was ready for my first ever skype audition. When the person was offline at our designated time of 7, I decided to take advantage of it and really get into the proper mindset of loss, to inhabit the character and ground myself. Ten minutes later, I decided I would give them until 7:30, then figure they forgot about it. At 7:30, I decided to give them an extra 5 minutes before coming to the conclusion that the audition was not going to happen. I emailed them to reschedule but didn’t change or anything until 8:30 when I figured it truly wasn’t happening. He eventually wrote back and apologized for having forgotten, which I can definitely understand, it happens. But at the same time, this sort of thing has been happening to me a lot lately. I have been debating the pros and cons of becoming ACTRA background, since I didn’t want to give up the possibility of all of these non-union projects, since I have had such awesome opportunities on them. But lately, I have been left without a calltime, waited hours for people to show up to a shoot, had a project be cancelled, gotten stood up on skype. I am either having terrible luck, or it is the universe telling me that it is time to go union, even if it means missing out.

That being said, on Friday I did a self-tape with both of my parents, a family affair, which earned me a callback less than an hour after I sent it in. So, for the time being, I will keep auditioning and go to the callbacks, for the experience and because I do love acting and being on set, even if it isn’t perfect. But there are some very interesting developments happening in the next few weeks and there will be some big changes :)

To finish off, just wanted to say that last night, my beautiful cousin was amazing in her dance show, making me wish I were as graceful as her <3

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."

-Maya Angelou

Also, if you happen to be a fan of punk music, there is a moving being filmed this summer, with a big announcement coming tomorrow. Check it out :)

https://www.facebook.com/PUNKNOIR

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