Monday, July 23, 2012

The Skype Audition

This morning I had an audition via Skype for a web series.  This was not only my first time auditioning this way but it was also my first time using Skype period.   So even though I was in my own home wearing my pajama bottoms (I did look nice from the waist up!!)) I was nervous.  I have done several video auditions with my webcam, but to have the casting director on my computer live, seeing into my home, my personal space, at that very moment, made me feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe vulnerable is the word I'm looking for.   The nerves definitely took over this time.  To start, the casting director mentioned that my microphone sounded muffled but I couldn't figure out why.  I turned up the volume and I guess that fixed the problem. Then, I had no idea if I was supposed to look at the camera or the person on the screen,  I didn't know where to hold the sides, and the whole thing just felt awkward.  I don't think I have ever flubbed my lines so badly!!!   And to top it off, my cat decided to she wanted to audition.  She had jumped up on the couch behind me and I didn't realize it until the casting director complimented my cute cat and said she was stealing the scene. Lol right! It's funny but it's not.  I guess next time I do this I will have to lock her in another room.  Poor kitty. She hates that.

So the whole thing was a disaster.  But I'm glad I did it. No matter how bad it turned out it was still a learning experience.  Next time, I will be prepared and it will be better. I will decide where to hold the sides beforehand by practicing on my webcam, and I will make sure my cat won't be able to steal my spotlight.

It's awesome that casting directors will interview an actor using Skype if they are unavailable for the casting call or if they live in another city.  I see this quite often recently although I have never had to do one.   I think the key to a great Skpe audition is to set up your environment for success. Make sure your space is clean and your lighting is good.  Do a camera and microphone check before hand.  Dress as the character from HEAD to TOE even if you will only be seen from waist or chest up. Wear colors that you know look good on you. Solid, colorful tops will bring out color in your face, while neutral colors can make you look cold and grey on a web cam.   A little bit of blush, mascara, and gloss will go a long way. Make sure there is nothing or nobody around to distract you (meow!!).  Treat  it as though you are actually in the studio rather than your home by not allowing yourself to be overly comfortable,  or else you may lose your energy.  That way when the call comes through you will be all pro.

After having written this, I am over the embarrassment of this morning and have let this one go.  It has been  a rough few days for me and I almost canceled this audition.  However, I always listen to my heart and I believe for whatever reason God was nudging me to go through with it.  So I did, it's over, and I am ready for the next one.  :)

* I would just like to note that this blog was written about a week ago.  I have refrained from posting anything out of honor and respect to my dear Grandfather, Floyd Tompkins, who passed away on Sunday July 15th, 2012.  He will be greatly missed.

**I would also like to note that although I did not get cast for this particular role,  the producers contacted me and let me know that they liked my audition and will still be considering me for a lead role in their upcoming episodes.  See,  it's never as bad as we think.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2012 Year in Review (Well, half a year)

The first half of 2012 has been productive as far as acting and came with a couple of nice surprises as well.  This year I got to actually enjoy some of the fruits of my labor.  So that's what this blog entry will be about.  I will write more later about the struggle to make it all happen (which of course is part of the journey and we have to learn to love it, and I do) but this is about enjoying what we all work so hard for as actors.

The year started with the premiere of "Purification the Movie"  by Joe Ciminera on January 13th at TriBeCa Cinemas.  This is actually the second time I got to see myself on the big screen.  It's the most exciting thing in the world.  Unlike many people, I actually like watching myself on-screen.  I can see things I did well and things I need to work on.  Not only in my acting but also appearance.

But one of the coolest things about this premiere was that the actors actually got to walk the red carpet and pose for pictures in front of the movie poster with at least 10 photographers snapping pics all at once- just like you see at the awards shows!!!  Of course I have practiced my poses many times so I was prepared:)

And the surprise- my name appeared in the opening credits of the film!!

Of course the absolute best part was being able to share this evening with my super amazing, very supportive, and not to mention extremely sexy husband.

"Purification" actually went on to play in a few theaters around the country, and had sold out showings in Alabama, Maine, and Toronto.  It also did well in a couple of film festivals and will be out on DVD in September. So buy it:)
                       (Special thanks to Nick Mancuso for snapping this pic of a movie ad for "Purification" while in FLORIDA!!!!! How random and awesome is that!!!)
Two days after the premier, I got to act in a short indie film called "Pack Rat," written and directed by Brian Fairbanks of Marquee Moon Productions. It's just a really cool little film.

In March,  I was lucky enough to be given a great role in a short student film called "Suffocating in Suburbia." This film was written and directed by Nick Mancuso whom I had worked with previously in "Diane." It is such an honor to be asked by a director to work in another one of their productions. Nick and his crew are so talented and professional that I couldn't wait to work with them again.  The role I played was that of a drunk, abusive, suburban housewife. In other words, tons of fun.

In April, I worked in a beautiful, silent film called "Vision," filmed by the creative Tara Violet Niami. This film was shot in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  I had never been to this park before and feel lucky to have experienced such a beautiful, peaceful place while doing what I love.

On May 1st (my birthday!), I got word from Nick Mancuso that I had been nominated for Best Actress in the Five Towns College Film Festival for my work in "Diane." I loved the way this film turned out and I was pretty excited about my performance, so to be nominated for this award was amazing.   And then-I actually won.  I was resolved to the fact that the award would go to someone else and couldn't believe it when I won.  I even got to make a speech!! I was so nervous, but again, this is something I've always daydreamed about and I think it was good preparation for bigger awards to come;)
The next month or so brought a few auditions-some good, some (to me) terrible, some great. A  couple of the auditions were for pretty decent scale productions. It's always a success to even just get an audition for roles with decent pay. So I took this as a positive sign.

By the middle of June, I was starting to freak out a bit because I wasn't getting cast or even getting called to audition.

And then-it always seems to happen so fast- i got the official word that I would be in Joe Ciminera's next feature, "Acedia."  I would have a few scenes, it would be a great dramatic role,  oh and I would have to learn French- in two weeks.  Besides the occasional "bonjour" or "sil vous plait" just in fun, I had never spoken French. But I had always wanted to learn.  I dedicated myself to this role.  Every free moment until the shoot I studied and practiced like a madwoman.  I also listened to French music and watched "Amelie" over and over.  I was very blessed to have one of my colleagues, Sandra Venite (who is from France), teach me the correct sounds and pronunciations. So a very special thanks to Sandra.  I couldn't have pulled this off without you!! And by the way everyone,  French is freakin' hard!! But I think the scene turned out well:) Guess we will see at the premier.

And from a connection made on the set of "Acedia," I have my next film booked.  I will be acting in Jim Terriaca's indie feature film "Apex Rising."  And it sounds like a good one!! I'm up for two different roles. I will be thrilled with either one.

So as for after that, I will have to be patient, and that's the hardest part for me.  I am currently looking into a couple of classes that sound promising and I think I'm gonna work on getting more toned physically which will also open me up to more roles.

So that's all folks!!!! For now anyways.  I know I still have a LOONNNGG  way to go.  I have no delusions that I am a star (yet) in any way.  After all, I do still work a day job.

And of course, I  will always give God the glory for all that I am and all that I have  accomplished and will accomplish in this crazy business.

                 (On the set of "Acedia." My scenes were filmed at St. Josephat's Monestary in Long Island, NY.  It is such a historical and peaceful place.)