Archive for the Theatre Category

Stand-In 101

Posted in Acting, actor, Television, Theatre with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by actingchick

Stand-in.  We’ve all heard the term.  They stand-in for the actors, right. It’s right there in the name.  How hard can that be?  You just stand there, right?

Sort of.

I always thought stand-ins stood in place, so that the light and camera guys could focus the lights and the cameras.  And that is true, but there is more to it than that.

I arrived on set about a forty minutes early.  It would have been an hour early, but I waited in the car for a while until I couldn’t take it any more.  I had planned on extra time to get there in case I got lost, since I don’t know Portland at all, and also in case I ran into traffic.  Turns out neither happened. I took this opportunity to find the honeywagon among the rows of trailers, and pop in my contacts and relieve my nervous bladder.

When you get on a set the first thing you notice is that there are people, generally a lot of them, mostly dressed in black,  going this way and that. My rule of thumb is to find someone with a radio attached to them.  The people with radios know things, and if they don’t know what you need to know, they can ask over the radio and find out who does.  I didn’t see a radio person at first, so I asked a few random people, until I was pointed toward a guy with a radio. They were rolling at the moment, so everyone was standing quietly, and I patiently waited until “cut” was called so I could slide on up to him.  I said, I’m supposed to be a stand-in today, where do I go?

He got me over to the wardrobe truck to get my “color cover”, and radioed to find Matt the Background Coordinator to come and get me. Color cover is items of clothing that are the color of the clothing that the real actor is going to be wearing.  I had thought I would get a costume that more or less was what the person was really wearing, but as it turns out the color of the item is the important thing, rather than it match exactly in form.  So for instance, my character was wearing a hospital gown.  Did I wear a hospital gown?  Seems like an easy enough thing to procure, but no, I wore a button up dress shirt (three sizes to large) that was the color of the hospital gown.

After I changed into that, I met up with Matt who took me over to the soundstage, which was located in a big warehouse.  He kindly took a moment to give me a tour of the set when they were in between shooting set-ups. They section off different areas of the warehouse with the different sets they build. Some are just for one episode, and some will be used repeatedly.  Matt took me around the different areas.  It was the first day of shooting for this new series, so it was nice to get this orientation. I’d been an extra on Leverage and they have a similar warehouse set up, but no one took us lowly extras around.  I had settle for stealing quick glimpses as we walked through.

After the tour he took me to the background holding area, basically an office space attached to the warehouse that had a few well-worn couches to match the even more well-worn carpet.  I was to hang out until they needed me, which as it turns out wasn’t going to be for a few hours.  Hurry up and wait.

Which brings me to a special note.  Not that I’ve been doing this sort of work for a long time, so I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in any way, but I have learned that two things that will get you through the day are flexibility and patience.  If you don’t have these attributes, you will have a much harder time of it.   You will be called over in a rush, and then stand there for a half hour.  You won’t get your call-times for the next day until late the evening before.  They will tell you something and then it will change. If you are a person who needs to know how everything is going to be beforehand, well, you are going to be very disappointed.

So I chill in the holding area, until suddenly someone comes to get me. I’m on.  They take me over to the part of the warehouse where we will be shooting.  It’s a mockup of the inside of a camping trailer, the kind you would pull behind your car in the 1960’s.  I’m not going to go into a ton of detail because you aren’t supposed to talk about this kind of thing.  Don’t want to have spoilers and all.

Luckily the person asks me if I’d been a stand-in before.  I say no. So he explains it to me. He says, what you have to do is watch the actor you are standing in for, and then do what they do.

That’s it, in a nutshell.  A simple one-sentence description of what a stand-in does.

The actors and the director work out the blocking of the scene.  My job is to watch this.  This is hard because there are lighting, camera, sound, costume and makeup people standing around in front of you trying to do the same thing.  There are set people trying to get the last-minute things they need to do done.  There are PA’s running around doing what they are doing.  So basically there are 15 people standing in front of you, and you are trying to see around them and through them to see what the actors are doing.

My character enters the trailer.  Pauses at point A.  I count.  Seems like about three seconds, and then she moves to point B.  She looks at something, says something to the other character, then moves to point C.  She opens a cupboard and removes something.  She returns to point B. Then she does a specific movement.  This changes a few times, but basically by a few run-throughs this seems to be the settled on progression. Then she leaves.  Now it’s my turn.

I enter the trailer.  Stop.  Now I wait while the lighting and camera guys come over and look at me.  Really I’m pretty much the equivalent of furniture at this point.  How is the light hitting the sofa, I mean, um, person standing here?  We need more light here?  A little discussion, somebody radios for some kind of light to be hung. The Director of Photography tells the set dresser what he’d like to see in the background in the way of props.  Then, get someone to paint this door edge a little darker, it’s too bright.  OK, now back to me.  Go outside and enter again. Stop.  OK, now move to point B.  OK. Repeat process. Lights, set fiddling, props moved, cameras focused. OK. Go back to point A, then go to Point B.

Now I put in the pause.  The stop at Point B.  OK.  Go outside, then Point A, then Point B.  Put in my pause. Three beats.  Then move on.  I’m serious because this is a serious scene.  Something bad happens at the end.  I’m trying to recreate the mood.  This time I make it over to Point C.  I open the cabinet.  OK. Pause.  Fiddle with the lights again. Someone’s on the radio to get some blackwrap to block out a light.  Someone’s moving some props around to get a better foreground shot.  OK.  Back outside to move through the points.  A, pause, B,C, Open, return to C. Action.

You get the idea. Then when the camera, lighting, and props guys have everything worked out, and have rehearsed the camera moves with me a few times, the real actors come in and do the actual acting.  Then, when their takes are good, they leave.  We did the shot sequence Wide, Medium, Close Ups, from the one side, but now we have to get the other side. I go through my moves again, but this time the lights and camera have to be in a different place.  Props have to be moved. More fiddling.  Then the real actors come in and do their bit. Repeat.

You stand around, get stared at, and a bunch of people are moving around you constantly. You have to listen to the conversations around you because mixed in all that is a someone telling you to do something.  Move over here.  Back to one. You have to hit the same marks the actors do when they are doing their scene. I can’t imagine how the actors manage to do the movements and say their lines with any sort of emotion.  But then again, when they come on to do their stuff there isn’t this chaos, and everyone is quiet. All this is done with me instead, to make the actor’s life easier. And no doubt the crews life easier too.

I try to pay attention, and I also try to soak up as much information as I can.  I’m watching everyone as much as they are watching me.  I’m curious, and I also don’t want to get yelled at.  I try to joke with the crew as much as I can while I’m standing in one spot.  I joke with the other stand-in since I’m mimicking doing something painful to him repeatedly. I’m going to be here for three days so time to start learning names.  It’s hard to pick them out of the conversations, but eventually I get most of the people I’m interacting with names down, either by hearing them or seeing them written in sharpie on their radios.

During one of the changes in set-up I am standing off to the side waiting and I hear my name mentioned a few times.  Then a guy comes over to me and asks me if I have a place to stay in town.  I’m like yeah, thinking how late is this going anyway, I’m supposed to go back to Seattle and work the next day.  Then he asks me if blocks are OK?

Blocks?

You’re from Seattle right?

Yes.

So blocks would be better?

Um…blocks?

I finally figured out that he meant blocks of time.  As in multiple days in a row.

Yes, blocks would be better.

They asked if you were local, but I told them you are from Seattle.  They really like what you are doing, so they wanted to work you as much as possible.

Wow, That’s great. Thanks

I realized that I have had a lot of experience watching someone and then trying to recreate movement.  I do Aikido, and the teaching methodology is that the sensei demonstrates the technique in front of the class.  We all watch, and then we try to do it the same way.  I’ve been doing that in Aikido for years, and now I can transfer that to something else.  Very cool.  I felt pretty flattered by the compliment.  Really what I was trying to do was pay attention and not get yelled at.  And do what I was told to do as best as I could manage.

Watch what the actor is doing, and then do what they do.

That’s all there is to it.

Stand-In the Place Where You Aren’t.

Posted in Acting, actor, Life, Television, Theatre with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2011 by actingchick

Sometimes things come out of the blue.  Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not.  Luckily the call I got last week was of the good variety. The phone rang at 5:30 on a Friday evening.  I had a voicemail from background casting for the new NBC series Grimm.  They were looking for a stand-in for three days.  I freaked out, called back and said yes, even though I hadn’t gotten permission from work for the time off.  I figured I’d work it out somehow, and my job has always been very accommodating.  However, this time period fell right in the middle of one of the two deadlines that I have all month.

The days I would be working would be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, so I would go to my day job on Monday and Wednesday.  Seems pretty simple except that this show is shooting in Portland, Oregon.  I live in Seattle.  It’s a three hour and smidge drive when there isn’t traffic, and when there is, well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty.  I also have to have a place to spend the night.

Luckily for me, my girlfriend has family down in Vancouver, WA area, just across the border from Portland.  And luckily for me her cousin happened to be up visiting us, so I could ask her if I could stay at her place.  She gracefully said yes, so there was one hurdle down.  Next, getting approval for time off.

Of course I found this out on Friday at 5:30 after everyone (including me) had gone home.  My boss(es) weren’t there, although I did try calling in hopes of catching someone.  Then I thought, hey, they are workaholic types and will probably be coming in on the weekend, so I sent an email and begged for the time off.  Just as I hoped I got a reply, at 9:30 Friday night.  People, you work too much, but I appreciate it!

Unfortunately, the email said, this probably won’t be a problem, but there is this meeting on Tuesday (that no one told me about) so you have to check with the big boss to see if it’s OK.  So at this point, I’m a nervous wreck because I told the Grimm guy that I’d do it, yet what if my boss said no, which I intellectually couldn’t imagine, and yet who knows.  She is a new boss to us, only been here a little over a month.  Who knows what she is capable of.  She seems nice, but…

I’m a worrier by nature.  I try and override it, or more accurately supress it, but I spent most of the weekend freaking out, until I got an email from the big boss saying sure I can go.  Yeah!

Monday I went to work trying to get my stuff done as much as I could. The Grimm guy, whose name is Matt, called to confirm.  He’d send me the call time for the next day later.  When he said later, I thought he meant around the afternoon or so.  So when around 6:30pm I hadn’t heard anything I called to see what was up.  Matt patiently told me he’d get the schedule to me when he got it, but he was still waiting for it.

Now if the call time is 6am, and I have a three hour drive, it means I would have to leave at 3:00 in the morning to get there.  If the call is at noon, then I could leave in the morning.  So when I was supposed to be there would be helpful in my planning.  By 7:30 I still hadn’t heard anything, so I decided to drive down to Portland and spend the night at my girfriend’s cousin’s house.  That way if the call was early morning, I could just get up and go and have a much shorter drive.

When I had talked to Matt earlier, I had also tried to get wardrobe requirements out of him.  As an extra, which I have been before, you are required to bring clothes with you.  What the scene is will determine the types of clothes you bring.  If it’s in an office, you would bring work clothes, or if it is in the forest you might bring things you would wear camping.  Often there are requirements to wear certain colors, or not others. So I wanted to know what to bring, and asked him, but he said they would give me some “color cover” which, I didn’t know what that mean, but took to mean wearing my regular clothes would be fine.

So off to Portland I go.  Luckily most of rush hour traffic is done, and I only have a slight slowdown near Tacoma.  I’m cruising along, about an hour from my sleeping destination, when the phone goes off.  I have a text.  Call times are in check your email.  So I get to a rest stop, pull over and check my email.  Call time is 12:45 pm.  I could have stayed at home and slept in my own bed.  Oh well.

So in all this you might wonder about the cost-benefit analysis.  I’m going to drive three hours each way, spend a significant amount of money on gas, impose upon relatives, make some people at work follow-up on things that didn’t quite get done (through no fault of my own), and use up three days of my vacation time, which I’m pathetically low on, and this will just about clean me out.  All for $9.50 an hour.  Yep $9.50 an hour.  Welcome to the world of the non-union stand-in and extras work.  Actually this is pretty good money since the extras only make $8.50 an hour. And I’m guaranteed 8 hours whether I work it or not.

Of course I’ll be learning lots and lots of stuff.  This is a real set,  network TV.  The major leagues as it were, so for that alone it’s worth the time and effort I think.  Probably by the time I factor in my travel expenses, and subtract my wages, I’ll break about even.   But as those Mastercard commercials point out, some experiences are priceless.

Apr 13 – Acting for the Camera

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2010 by actingchick

So I’ve been a little remiss in my blog updating, mostly because not much has been happening on the acting front these days, that is until recently.  Nothing super exciting, I haven’t gotten any great acting gigs, but at least these things are acting related and will hopefully further my career.

First of all I got new headshots.  I chopped my hair off a few weeks ago, and adding to that the fact I’ve lost some weight, I don’t really look much like my old headshots.  And since you are supposed to look like your headshot (or your headshot is supposed to look like you) to avoid pissing of the casting directors when you walk in the door, I had to get new ones taken.

I went back to Mark Brennan.  I think he does good work.  My only complaint is that my headshots look like me.  I know there supposed to, but somehow I keep hoping that I will suddenly get 25% more attractive, and my hair will get thicker, and my nose will get, well I don’t know, less like my nose I guess.  But those are my hang-ups and Mark does make me look pretty good.

The second thing I have done is to take a more  in-depth Acting for the Camera class.  This time from Tony Doupe, who was recommended by Jodi Rothfield, whose one day class Auditioning for the Camera I had taken and wrote about in a previous post.

I’m really liking it so for.  It is sort of an extension of Jodi’s class in that it covers some of the same material, and even more.  Tony talks about auditioning and the things you need to do for that, but the class goes further in terms of types of work you would be doing.  Industrial videos, commercials, film and television.  It’s sort of a sampler class, a little bit of this a little bit of that.

The first class we did an industrial training video.  The sort of things company’s show their employees.  Our subject happened to be sexual harassment.  We broke into pairs and were given short scenes to perform.  We were given about 20 minutes to work with our partner and to run lines.

Then Tony set up the camera and we shot the scenes.  We did multiple takes with one person in the camera view and then reset the camera so the other person was in camera.   We also brought video tapes on which our performances were recorded and we could take them home and watch them.  I don’t have a VCR at the moment so I haven’t watched it (and I’m not sure I could bring myself to do it anyway if I did).

We were also given commercials to memorize for the next class, where we had to do a walk and talk.  You see it all the time on commercials and news type segments where the host or actor is walking and telling you whatever it is they have to tell you.  I would just like to say that this is a lot harder than it looks.  A lot.

The set up was to pretend to be leaving our apartment, then “naturally” start talking to the camera, saying our commercial spiel,  as we started to walk down the hallway.  There were three points we had to hit marked out with yellow sticky notes on the floor.  At each of these points we had to pause, say some of our text, and then natural move onto the next point.

When I see these people on TV doing this now I have a lot more respect.

We practiced a cold reading like it would be in an audition circumstance.  We got a partner and a scene, had about 10 minutes to run through it and then we were up in front of the camera.  Tony directed us a bit, critiqued us a bit.  Then for the next week we were to memorize those scenes and do them as if we were doing a film or television episode. More on that later.

Overall I really like the class.  It is an interesting mix of people.  We have teenagers to people in their 50’s.  More women than men, which seems to be typical of acting classes.  Some people hadn’t done any acting before, some had done it in high school and college many years before.  In fact I am probably, with one possible exception, the most trained person there, which is an oddly incongruous feeling,  since I feel like a newbie to acting.

I like learning about camera acting, which is different from theater acting.  Not that the actual acting is so different, it’s  that you have more constraints on you when the camera is on you.  You can only move so much or you’ll be out of frame. You have to take into account how your physical actions have to be repeated the same each take to facilitate editing.  You have to know how to hit your marks and stay in your light.  You sometimes have to pretend the camera, an inanimate object made of plastic and metal, is a person you have to connect with.  It’s challenging, and fun, and challenging.  And fun.

Feb 20 – OK, um, let’s try that again.

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , , on February 22, 2010 by actingchick

Since I’ve been doing rather badly on my auditions lately, I decided to take Jodi Rothfield’s Auditioning for the Camera class. I’m glad I did.

Jodi Rothfield is as highly respected casting agent in Seattle.  I’d been wanting to take her class for a long time.  She was endorsed by one of my teacher’s at Freehold, George Lewis. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect of, she is an ethical and real person in a business not known for that.  Because of that comment, I was looking forward to meeting her.  I was not disappointed.

Jodi is a boisterous, passionate person, in that way that people from New York can carry off.  For those of you who know Robin Lynn Smith, I’d say there is a similarity of energy that I found comforting.

I showed at up her office.  She was efficiently handling conversations with the people already there, while informing me that still owed her $75, and telling everyone to ignore the signs that said that everything in the fridge was a dollar, and that really it was free for the class, and to sit down and make myself comfortable, and that bathrooms were around the corner.  She sat at her desk in the ping-ponging conversation with everyone.

When everyone arrived she ushered us into the casting room.  The first part of the class was lecture.  She tells you what you need to have and to do to show up as a professional for an audition.  Very helpful.  Some of it I knew, but the questions you are supposed to ask when you get called by a casting agent for and audition was great.  Not only did she tell you what you were supposed to do, but she gave you the reasons why you did them. Most of which distilled down into “this will make your life easier, and the casting director’s life easier.”

One of her main points of the day was that “Auditioning is the most unnatural thing you will do as an actor.” She stated this over and over again.  All her tips and tools presented that day were to help you survive this crazy process.

Another point she made is that acting for the camera, and acting in general, is about connection.  But how do you connect with an inanimate assembly of plastic and metal?  It’s not going to give you any feedback or respond to your demands. You can play your action at it all day long, it doesn’t care…it can’t.

She gives you three simple questions to ask when you do a cold read, and a process to answer them for yourself, so that when you go in front of the camera, you have something to work with.  For the second part of the class she gave us some text from commercials she’s cast.  She gave us some time to work through her process on them.  Then we went in front of the camera.  The rest of the group got to watch you on the TV.

I went first, because I like to get the painful experiences over with as soon as possible.  I got worked over a lot, but that was OK, I didn’t expect less, and it was handled humourously and compassionately.  My big issues were trying to read my lines from the paper, while also trying to have them somewhat memorized.  It doesn’t work real well.

We would do readings in acting class where you would look down at the paper, get a chunk of lines, then look up at the person you were reading with, say your chunk of line, then look back down. Repeat.  This doesn’t work for auditioning for the camera.  You need to be able to read lines and remain connected at the same time.  Your script has to become and extension of your body so you can glance at it and move it naturally at any time you need to.  This is very hard.  Did I mention that auditioning is the most unnatural thing you can do as an actor?

We watched each other as we went up.  She corrected and encouraged.  After lunch we did the same thing again.  It was amazing how much better everyone was with just that one earlier session.  Not that we all couldn’t improve a lot, because we could all use a lot more work, but everyone was improved.

After the second round, Jodi opened it up for questions. She is very actor friendly and very supportive.  If we had questions, or needed recommendations for things, she offered herself up to being called and emailed.  You really got the vibe that she wanted to help you and was in your corner.

Anyway, I’d recommend her class.  Sign up at her site at World Perc to get on her email list, or call her office to find out when the next class is.

Dec 18 – One audition. One part.

Posted in Acting, actor, Art, Theatre with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by actingchick

It’s been a while since the last post.  There hasn’t been too much to report…until now.  A month and a half ago I did an audition for an independent short.  It was down in Olympia, which is an hour and a half away, but I figured beggars can’t be choosers, and I’ll take whatever part I can get.  And if nothing else it will be audition practice.

So I drive down to Olympia, show up at the Evergreen College campus, where the director, and fresh-faced intrepid young man, is a student.  My girlfriend used to go there, so I’m not totally unfamiliar with the campus.  I find the audition room easily.  I enter, and no one is there.  There is a bottle of water and some printed sides on the floor next to a chair.  That’s all that is in the room.  I head back out into the hall and look around.  No one is around.

I was surprised that no one else was there. I sort of expected a cattle call audition with people out in the hall waiting for their few moments to shine.  He gave me a time range of 2 – 4 o’clock, so I assumed there were other people scheduled as well, but if they were they weren’t there, and either was he.  A few minutes later though, he came down the hall.  Potty break.

We chatted a bit.  He asked my experience, and I said not much, just got done with acting school, and I’m looking to work, etc, etc.  This is his first film.  He seems with it, and somewhat conservatively dressed for Evergreen, which is known for its hordes of, um, free thinking, tree-hugger types, who sort of float around campus doing whatever it is they do.

He did indicate that he had gotten a lot of responses from TPS, which is where I saw the audition notice.  We chatted a bit about Aikido, since he saw that on my resume.  Then we chatted a bit about the movie.  A mockumentary short on the subject of religious cults and how people are easily enticed to believe some things that others find ridiculous, and how this sort of thing can spread like wildfire under the right conditions.

My role was to be the Woman, a believer in the cult, and enthusiastic supporter.  It’s pretty simple scene.  I’m being interviewed by the documentary film maker and narrator.  All in one room, all in one take sort of thing.

He explains what he is looking for, and then I read it through cold.  I give it my best shot.  I try to keep as much eye contact as I can with him while I’m reading, but of course you have to look at the paper when you read.  I run through, he gives me a few notes, I do it again.  I feel weird, since I am in this huge room, with just him and me.  Luckily I’ve had plenty of practice feeling weird, uncomfortable, and winging it in acting class, so I just ride the wave.

He likes what I’m doing, gives me a few more notes, and then video tapes me.  After that he offers me the part.  I’m excited of course, but part of me is like, did anyone else show up?  Is it just me?  Still, he was laughing when I rad a few lines, so I must have been doing something right.  I leave happy, and excited to do my first film role.

I went down about a week and half later for a read through with a few other cast members.  Another rehearsal was to be scheduled, but I heard nothing for two weeks, then an email from the director saying he is still trying to get things together, apparently the camera he was planning on using fell through, and of course he is a student, poor, and also has a day job, so I get it.  I write back, just let me know when you are ready, and I’ll be there.  I’m not holding my breath.

This is the second role in an independent, mockumentary style short that I have been cast in that hasn’t gone anywhere.  The other film was written by a guy I went to acting school with.  He was having trouble working with his D.P., so it got put on hold, while he finds someone else.  Again, I’m not holding my breath.  Call me when you are ready for my close-up. Until then, I fish the audition waters.

So on the good news, I submitted my headshot to be a featured extra in a real film.  One where they like pay you, and has famous people in it.  Well, at least they are famous in Asia.  I don’t know the details yet, but I’m going to be a woman in prison.  How cool is that?  And we actually get to go to a real prison and film.  Sounds fun.  It will be sometime in February, and they will actually pay me.  Not hardly anything, but I’ll take it.  And since it is a film with a budget, I think it will actually get made.  This time I am holding my breath.

Sep 18 – Just Shoot Me.

Posted in Acting, actor, Art, Theatre with tags , , , on September 18, 2009 by actingchick

p_photographer

So I had my first casting call today.  Not for a film, not for a play, but for a photo shoot for print and web media for an unnamed pharmaceutical company.

I saw the audition notice and saw that I fit one of the categories of people they were looking for.  Now that I actually have my headshots, I could easily email the JPGs over, which is what I did.  They were looking for the following types:

People with physical disabilities, Native Americans, and LBGT youth and middle aged couples.    They were looking for people to be doctors, nurses, etc, of any race and gender.

So I thought I had two chances.  I could be a doctor.  I mean I work in a hospital, even if my job consists entirely of putting numbers into spreadsheets.  And I also qualified under the LBGT, and since they were looking for couples, I noted in my email, that I have a girlfriend and I’d be happy to bring her along.

I was happy when the next day I got an email, saying come on down to the casting, and bring your squeeze.  How exciting.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured I’d at least had one photoshoot experience, my headshots, and how different could it be.

The day of, I picked out what I thought were hip middle-aged lesbian clothes to wear.  And told my girlie to attire herself similarly.  Now I should mention neither of us are fashion mavens, in fact the opposite, but I think we did OK.  I was a little worried, because my girlfriend looked cuter than me.  What if they want her to be the doctor?

Anyway we get there, feeling a little unsure what to do, but the company doing the photography runs like a well-oiled machine.  We are waved in and told to sit down in some rows of chairs they have set up on one side of the room.  The other side of the room is blocked by dividers, but the flashing lights coming through the cracks indicate where the photographs are being snapped.

I scope the competition.  So far no other obvious lesbian couples.  That’s good, maybe there won’t be to many to compete against.  We get waved up to the table to check in.

It turns out to be the guy who I emailed in the first place, and who said to come on down.  He was gay.  In fact it seemed like almost everyone working there was gay.  I try to be friendly and charming to cover up my nervousness. We give our names, addresses, and the like, and then sit back down.

A fashionable young man with cool glasses waves me up.  He has a white board and has me write my name on it. We wait a bit until the previous person is done with the photographer.  Then he escorts me and my girlfriend into the back to meet the photographer.

The photographer is also a fashionably dressed man, who warmly introduces himself to me, and shakes my hand.  He then asks me to stand back.  I look down and see an “x” taped on the floor.  I say, do you want me on the x? and he says, oh you can see that? It was small and put on with clear tape.

The white board is put into my hands and a picture is snapped.  Then he takes a closeup of my face, then he has me turn to the side. Glasses on. Click. Glasses off.  Click.  Then he says 3/4 turn. Click.

Then he asks me to move my head back.  I move it what I think is back, but that’s apparently not the right way, so I try another way.  What he meant was to rotate my head towards him, but his description, and my comprehension of that movement weren’t synching up.  I felt like a little bit of a dork, when I figured it out, but oh well.  Click. Body shot. Click.

Then it was my girlfriends turn.  Same routine, but they had her put her hand on her hip in a few shots.  I thought, hey, I didn’t have to put my hand on my hip, what does that mean? Do they like her better?

Then we got to do a few shots together. That was fun.  i would like to have seen them, but the monitor was facing away from us.  Click, click, click.  It was over.

I made sure to thank everyone, the photographer, and the person who checked us in.   And out the door we headed.

If we are going to hear anything it should be by the end of next week.  I think we have an OK chance.  I’ll think it is funny, if my girlfriend got a spot and I didn’t.  Ha ha. Sigh.

Did I mention that this pays really well? I guess that’s because they are paying us not just for the actual shoot, but for the right to use our images on the company pamphlets, website and advertisements.

Anyway, I guess we just have to wait and see now.

Sep 7 – Heads up.

Posted in Acting, actor, Art, Theatre with tags , , , , on September 7, 2009 by actingchick

So things are warming up a little in the acting world.  Revving back up after taking some downtime after the Meisner class at Freehold.  I’ve gotten my headshots, I’ve gotten a part in a short film that a fellow Meisnerite is doing, and I’m working on a project with another fellow Meisner classmate.  So there are irons in the fire.

The big thing I wanted to do was get my headshots. I felt like I was off the hook until then.  I didn’t have to go out into the big scary world and audition, and get rejected, since you need headshots (or should have them so you don’t look unprofessional) to audition.

I had been searching the web looking for people, and I ended up picking Mark Brennan.  He is up in Vancouver, BC, and I was willing to drive up, but then I found out that he comes down to Seattle once a month to take people’s pictures, so that made it even easier.  Although I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have a reason to visit Vancouver.

Why Mark Brennan, and not someone local?  I don’t know.  I just like the way his photos captured people, especially the eyes.  Check out his website and see what you think.

To get ready for the photos, I had to get some new clothes.  I’m am a, um, how shall we say, fashion failure, and I’m a butch dyke at heart.  But I figured that I needed some girly clothes, since there are more regular girl parts out there than butch lesbian trucker parts.  I took one of my friends who actually has a sense of fashion and taste, and she helped me pick out clothes, most of which didn’t make it in the photo shoot, but I have them for auditions now.

I kept saying to myself as she would hand me something, I wouldn’t wear that.  But then I thought that is like an actor saying, but my character wouldn’t do that.   If the part (and the director) calls for it, you have to make it work. So I tried them on and apparently I looked good even though I felt uncomfortable and dorky.  Fish out of water.

The shoot day arrived.  Mark Brennan and his make-up person, whose name I have sadly forgotten, were really great.  I was tired that day because I had just finished the Danskin triathlon about two hours before.  He would have me stand different ways, and then give me cues, such as, I’ve just walked in the room, and you are really happy to see me, or, you are a bitch, and you don’t care if firing me ruins my life, in fact you enjoy it.

There was the technical part of being in the right position.  He would have me lean forward or tilt my head a certain way, and then add in the emotions as he cued me.  He also just talked to me, trying to get me relaxed.  I was actually feeling pretty relaxed at the beginning since I was still zoned out from the triathlon.  After awhile of standing there my shoulders and neck tightened up (from the swim I think), and he’d be like ok, relax your shoulders.  And I’m thinking, I can’t, they won’t go down.

We finished up the shoot, and I waited for him to send me the photos, so I could pick which ones I wanted to use.   He took about 100 photos, picked out his favorites, his seconds favorites, and then sent the rest.  Now my job was to pick the two I liked and he would color correct and touch them up for me.

I have to say, I was hoping for miracles.  I’m not bad looking, I think I’m nicely average, but I was hoping to look like a movie star, but instead I just looked like myself, with makeup and some fancier clothes on than I normally wear.  They always say your headshot should look like you, and not someone else, so in that respect they succeed rather well.  I was just hoping for more, but I guess that’s my baggage.

I narrowed down the choices to about eight, which was hard.  Then I posted those up on my facebook page and let people vote.  I’ve posted the results below.

I must say that putting my pictures up on my blog makes me feel a little exposed, since it is nice to hang out and write anonymously to the three or four people who actually stumble across this blog and read it.  But I figured I have to get used to putting myself out there.  I’m an actor after all.  People are supposed to see me.