Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everything AND "The Kitchen Sink" (Updates!!!)

Well things have been pretty crazy for me this past month. Crazy in a good way. Crazy in a great way actually. And they seem to be getting crazier. So I'm gonna take a couple minutes to write it all out.

First, I'm very blessed to be working in three films right now- two features and a short:

1) Jim Terriaca's "Apex Rising." Which I've loved working on so far. It's coming along quite nicely. I've written about this film a lot on here.

2) Joe Ciminera's third film "The Library." This will also be my third time acting in one of Joe's films. I've mentioned before that it is such an honor to be asked by a creative and talented director to work in more than one of his/her films. (Also, it's so cool when you don't have to audition!!)

3) And "The Divorce." This is a short film written and directed by Eric Naylor which will be shot in about a week and a half. I'm so excited about this film!! The script/director/cast is great and I'm playing a lead role. It's a emotionally deep, challenging role which any actor appreciates.

On top of the new films, I had the premiere for Joe Ciminera's second film "Acedia." Which of course was exciting and the film turned out awesome!

I filmed another episode of Community College Comedians which is just pure fun and the cast and crew are always fantastic to work with.

I completed my commercial acting class with Angela Mickey which concluded with a very productive showcase with two top commercial agents. I didn't hear anything back but that was my first agent meeting ever so I was just happy I got through it and did okay. I feel pretty good about it. I got a lot of unexpected and constructive feedback and I'm sure the next time will be better.

AND in a few weeks I should receive my SAG-AFTRA eligibility letter!!! I will get this from a principle role I played in an episode of a new web-series called "The Kitchen Sink." This series is actually filmed as part of a one day class with The Actor's Corner NYC. When this opportunity arose I really wasn't sure if this was the right way to go about getting my SAG eligibility. But honestly, I feel ready for it and, well, why not? I don't plan on joining the union until I have to but it's nice to have it in my back pocket. And this series will also be another IMDB credit for me. Industry pros advise actors to make their own opportunities nowadays and that's ultimately how I viewed this class. And as another career investment.

So that's what's been going on. Between all that and working full time things have been hectic and it's no wonder why I've had a bad headache the last two days (it always catches up with you and I have a tendency to over stress about things). But I guess I prefer it that way. (The things being hectic part not the having a headache part.) I have to just enjoy it while I'm riding high and somehow make it through the next couple weeks. (And pray my acting schedule works out with my job!!!) Luckily, the headache finally seems to be subsiding and I have the next couple days off to prepare for the busy weeks ahead. My main focus will be developing my characters fully rather than looking for more auditions. I want to be the best in all these films I can be. And I continue to thank God for every single opportunity I get to follow my dream:)

****My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy in any way these past few days***

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Responsibility to be Irresponsible(?!!)

Sometimes I really hate being such a responsible person. You may be thinking "responsibility is good thing!" Yes, it is. But when it comes to juggling acting (what I love) and my day job (what the pays the bills for right now), I wish I didn't care so much about whether or not my manager sees me as a trouble maker. Especially since I know that I am anything but one.

I expected my next blog- which was to be written sometime this week- was going to be all about the joys of being SAG eligible, because I am as of today (hollah!!!!), but after a shoot for the feature film "Apex Rising" this past weekend, I am inspired to write about the inner turmoil that I face on a regular basis. I'm talking about the stress I face when trying to balance acting with my survival job.

The bottom line is that acting comes first. But it's not easy for me to call out or come in late. I hate to put myself in a position where I can be reprimanded in any way. When I do finally leave my day job I want it to be on good terms. I would never want to be fired. I never want to be written up. I can't stand confrontation and I don't like to disappoint anybody. So I can't even tell you how fast my heartbeats and tight my stomach gets when I have to pick up the phone and tell a manager that I wont be in for my shift that day. Just being late isn't as big a deal. But to be a few hours late does make me a little nervous.

Well, Saturday was my third shoot day for the upcoming horror film "Apex Rising" by Jim Terriaca. This was exciting for me because usually for these indie films all my scenes are shot in one day. We have been filming a few months now and with a longer shoot period such as this, an actor is able to develop and understand their character more deeply. And I can't explain how satisfying that is. That's why Saturday's shoot was so important to me. I began to understand my character in a way that I didn't experience the first two days of shooting. And the funny thing is I barely had any dialogue for this shoot.

But before I even get to a set I have to work out my schedule. I want to quickly say that my stressing out over being late/absent has nothing to do with money. I stress because of my sense of obligation. I don't care if my check is short next payday. That doesn't matter. (I can't afford to lose my job either but you know what I am trying to say.) And by the way, I am not getting paid for this film, but I believe in it. Anyways, this was a morning shoot so I had to switch my schedule with a co-worker so I could do a closing shift. No problem. I was told I would be done for sure with my scenes by early afternoon so I chose to go knowing I would probably be only an hour or two late for work. Again, that's not too big a deal. (And my manager was off that day, so that made things a just little easier:)) Of course, the set was an hour train ride away from my job and filming somehow never quite goes as planned.....

As the time that I was anticipating leaving was getting closer and closer (very quickly I might add), my last scene still had not been shot. This is when I start getting nervous. The director actually told me it would be okay for me leave since my shot for the next scene was really just going to be background shots to establish my character further in the film. But to me leaving would have been unprofessional. I mean, I made the choice to be there and I know that filming always runs longer planned. This is when the inner battle begins. Do I stay and miss half a day of work on a weekend then have to come up with something to tell my manager before she checks the clock-ins Monday?
Or do I leave since I probably won't have dialogue and make it to work at a decent hour?

Of course I decided to wait it out. Nothing beats the feeling of being on set. I would have been very sad if I left. But what really made the decision for me was my desire for the film to be the best it can be. And the desire for my character to be further developed and firmly established throughout the film.

Well, I ended up staying only a couple hours later but with an hour train ride ahead of me I would actually be more than half a day late. I realized though that by next week or so this wouldn't even be a memory for anyone. Not even my manager.

I guess for some people this type of decision isn't a big deal, but for someone who hates confrontation it is. I am always telling myself that I wish I were more brave when it comes to dealing with my job. But when I think about it, I guess I already am brave. When it matters, I make that phone call and do what I have to do despite all the nerves and queasiness. Then I let it go and focus completely on my role.

The fact is until I am consistently booking higher paying acting gigs this type of situation is going to be my reality. I am at the point where I am constantly trying make my work schedule fit my acting but I feel like I'm getting better at handling it. And with the holidays coming up and me working retail, I need to be strong.

The decision to put your art and dreams first can be so hard at times when you have other obligations and responsibilities. But you have to think about what it is that you really want. Sometimes you are going to have to let people down, take a smaller paycheck, and let your other responsibilities slide until tomorrow. Or next week. (Or next month!!) That's life. When you are finally living your dreams those moments won't matter any more and you will wonder why you ever worried about them in the first place. And the people who really matter will still be by your side cheering you on.

It's never easy but I can tell you one thing- as I sat on the train to Manhattan, about to be four hours late for work on a Saturday, I was smiling.