Head of Casting - The Voicecaster - Los Angeles
Some of my Misadventures (Fun! and otherwise!) in the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles. Here are a few of my thoughts and tales of voice-over, theatre, film and television experiences, mishaps, and mayhem... and the people I've met along the way!! (Full Blog Here)
Thoughts or Comments? Have something you'd like me to explore and write about next? I'd love to hear it! Contact Me!!
August 29, 2012 11:30am
I know, I know... it's been far too long! A lot has been happening in the last year... More coming soon!
July 5, 2011 5:35pm
Ego is a funny thing. It's amazing how many people let their ego get in the way of not only performing better but of having fun. Acting is not a business that should be grueling and painful to get through the day. If you're a working actor and you get to play a role everyday... you should be having some fun doing it. If you're not, then why are you there? Why put in the time and effort when you can just as easily get a desk job somewhere typing data into a system... I mean there's less physical activity, steadier hours, and if you're not having fun acting, well that may not change with a desk job.
However, a low self-esteem and being self-conscious is the other extreme. Feeling vulnerable as an actor is completely understandable. You rely on not only talent, but having the right look (if it's on-camera) or sound (if it's voice-over). These are things not exactly in your control. But projecting these is not good for your work. As I mentioned... acting should be fun! If you aren't sure of yourself in this profession... why are you there? There is nothing more cruel than auditioning. It's imperative to have thick skin but room for improvement.
As a performer (or creative of any sort)... there needs to be both confidence and willingness to improve.
I tend to notice there is a very delicate balance when it comes to an actor or creative's self-esteem (as with anyone's really). Not everything can be constructive criticisms because then there is no support of what is being done right. When I teach I rely on complete honesty. I'll tell you what didn't work and give you ideas of how to fix it or improve upon something, but... I will also tell you what you did that really worked so you can continue doing that. If you're only ever told what you're doing wrong, it's easy to forget that the things unmentioned might be right.
It's interesting when an actor/student tells me not to be easy on them. I know if I were hard on them, giving them no positive feedback, they would fall apart, lose confidence, and their performance would suffer. It's human nature. Most of us can take constructive criticism in stride, but we all need some reassurance and affirmation in our work as well.
June 2, 2011 7:32pm
I don't think I will ever understand... You're an actor, right?! That means unless you're of celebrity status, you need to actually show up to your auditions for potential work. I could be stretching a little... but I would think, as an actor, it would be a GREAT thing to be called directly by a Casting Director who really wants to get you in to audition for a project they are casting. Most actors would love to be in that position... Please stop me if I'm completely off base.
Today, I am bringing in a total of 12-14 guys MAX. It's a great gig, big package deal (TV and Internet), paying a good chunk of change. Not to mention we are looking for some categories (sex/race/ethnicity) that may not always get tons of opportunity in the commercial voice-over world. If it were me and I wanted a successful career in acting/voice-over... I'd jump on it! However, I've had almost the opposite happening. Out of the first 12 men I called, there are still 3 who have yet to return the phone call (even with 2 or 3 messages left) and 1 that finally answered on the third call. Apparently he received the 2 messages I left on his voicemail but "forgot" to call me back.
So, as a Casting Director, what does that tell me? It says you're an actor who is... irresponsible, undependable, and maybe even no longer interested in being on my "special" list. Bad news for you: I have an amazing memory. People are shocked by the details I can remember. When I work with someone, I remember them and what they can do. I also remember their attitude... in the booth and on the phone. I don't forget people who don't return calls. And I especially do not forget the people who schedule an audition time with me and then cancel... very last minute. That not only looks bad on the actor's part, but it makes me look bad to my client... thus I will not forget the actor who did it. Unfortunately, today it was two different people. And as I wrote this... a third just dropped.
I'm honestly astounded by today's events. The funny thing is... I had another group (a category that receives the majority of the copy out there) and for some reason... they all called back and they all came in to audition. Some may have called running 5 minutes late, but they showed up. That tells me they want to audition for potential work and they want to continue working with me and our company.
Ultimately, actors, the decision is up to you. But, keep in mind that being in L.A. there are probably plenty of actors out there in your category... And we don't forget things as easily as one might hope.
May 30, 2011 2:55pm
We've all worked on projects that have been considered our "baby" in one way or another. Whether it's something you built from scratch, your first try at a new recipe, a special presentation at work that you've spent weeks working, etc.
Creating something like that out of nothing is exhilarating, exciting, fun and completely exhausting. It's a creative process that eventually has to blossom to the point where we HAVE to share it with others.
The first time putting your "baby" out there is extremely nerve-wrecking and down right scary. We don't want to be judged by our work or be told (even if it's in a nice or constructive way) that our work is less than we had imagined. It can be utterly heartbreaking.
But... it has to be done. You eventually have to let go and just put it out there. And when you do that, you must take a step back from it, and try to realize that even though you have such a strong connection, you need to allow yourself to take in constructive criticism and feedback from others without taking it personally.
Not everything we do is going to be amazing and have a strong positive response from everyone we share it with. We have to remember that everyone will have a different opinion. What one person loves, another may hate. It's all subjective and just because one person gives a negative response does NOT mean you need to give up.
I keep saying "we" because I am telling myself this as well as you. My current "baby" is a Commercial VO Demo that I produced for one of my students. I finished Version 1 of the Rough Cut last night and sent it off to him. He loves it and has now passed it on to his VO agents and other people in the biz for feedback. No matter how many times I go through this same process, it never gets any easier. Of course, I know my own speech by heart and try not to forget it... especially when it comes time to that email or phone call with any notes of what works and what doesn't. I can only hope it's all constructive and something I can build upon.
And, of course, I know it's not personal, and I know everyone will hear it differently. But, like we all do, I still hope every time that everyone who hears it will like it. Not sure that hope will ever change. We all have that endless desire for acceptance and for people to think highly of our work. Am I right?!
So now, as I await feedback to continue on that project, I will begin yet another one. Who knows, maybe getting lost in the excitement of a new "baby" will help me detach from my old one.
May 28, 2011 12:00am
With all of the various websites and apps these days, it's tough to keep up on what's what. I have spent countless hours trying to figure it all out. What are the "trending" sites? What should I be on? What is used for what? Why would I need that? Is it just another thing to upkeep? Or something to benefit from? Who knows all this?!?!
Like most other people, I have a Facebook profile. But, in all honesty, I don't want to be "friends" with everyone I cross paths with. My "friend" count is already up over 700 and I don't even remember who a lot of them are. It's almost embarrassing actually. Do I delete them and risk them finding out or being offended? Or just leave it be and let them get a glimpse into my personal life every now and again?
The biggest thing is drawing that fine line between professional and personal relationships. My purpose for Facebook is personal. It contains status updates on what I'm up to, wall posts to friends, social events, pictures of my family and friends... a crystal clear glimpse into my private life that isn't meant for colleagues or professional acquaintances.
And that is why there is LinkedIn, right?! I guess. Of course, I haven't actually discovered the power of LinkedIn yet. My profile is complete, I update things as needed, I have my VO Training business profile, and I'm making new "connections" everyday (some I know and I don't yet). But I feel like I'm just not getting it or something. Guess I'll keep working on that one.
Then there is Twitter which I honestly just do NOT get. I can post my thoughts or feelings or mostly just "good quotes" in 140 characters; but, what are the pound signs and letters? I've done a little digging and found out about tagging and trending but I'm still not quite catching on to the point of it all. And, on top of that, this is a site where there are no lines drawn between personal and professional. Not sure if I'm comfortable without a clearer line. Right now, I tweet both. Maybe I'll open another Twitter account to separate the two.
As I'm sure you've gathered by now... I'm on the standard social and professional networking sites, but still trying to figure them out and make my intentions for each one clear. The boundary between professional and personal is very important to me and with so many of these sites, that lines is not in focus... it's a struggle between the networking with other professionals in your industry to be friendly and make connections and the comfortability of trusting someone enough to let them in to your private life.
Even after all of this contemplating, one thing is clear to me... social and professional networking creates a line that will always remain blurred.
July 3, 2010 10:53pm
When you really think about it, it's incredible how many writers are out there. I almost think at some point in their lives, everyone wants to be a writer - or they at least like the thought of being a writer and some just the thought of being called a writer. Some people start off with a brilliant idea while others claim to be writers but never actually pick up a pen (or in most cases now, a laptop).
The most important thing for a writer is to keep his or her ideas and writing protected. But how? Honestly, it's hard to claim an idea as yours because somewhere out there, a similar idea has been had by another person who claims it as theirs.
Almost three years ago now, I had a marvelous idea come to me while I was on a flight from Michigan to Los Angeles for the first time. At the time, I was into TV shows like Grey's Anatomy and loved the combination of comedy and drama in a hospital setting. It was then that, with the help of my boyfriend, I bore the idea of my first TV pilot.
It was going to be a show with a pristine mixture of comedic and dramatic elements but set in a different profession. Genius idea, right?! I knew I had the greatest idea of my career (which wasn't hard being only in my 20s)... so, I finally pack up and move to Los Angeles. Ready to finish my pilot and look into selling it. Finally!
But, of course, one day as I was driving home from Hollywood, right there on the corner of my street (not a major cross street but a small side street), there was... a sign that decided my fate: a poster at a bus stop for a new show with a title that told me... my idea was taken... or so I felt. Who really knows whether I had the idea first or not, but in that situation, does it really matter? My ideas weren't copyrighted or protected, nor was my pilot even finished, so who is to say it was even my idea at all? (I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.)
One important thing about being a writer is getting your work copyrighted and being protected. A person's ideas are easy to steal and honestly, "if you snooze, you lose" really comes into play with writing. I took three years to act on my idea and found out that somebody else already made the move... my loss.
Protecting your writing comes into play in many other ways as well. You need to do your research, look into what is being written out there, make sure "your ideas" aren't already someone else's ideas, and take the proper steps to protecting your work when it's completed. Even with something like entering a playwriting competition, make sure your work has a copyright on it because you never know who's hands it may fall in.
And the biggest lesson learned in my magnificent misadventure... don't simply hold onto your ideas... if you have an idea, write it down (because somebody somewhere may already be writing it).
May 19, 2010 9:20pm
It's really mind-blowing to see the differences in theatre and the people that are all around us, especially when living in such a big city. Lately, I've taken notice to how different two things can be even when sharing the same space.
A theatre that I've been working at for the last six weeks has two spaces inside that share one lobby area - a common thing in Los Angeles as small "theatres" seem to pop up out of nowhere: a hole in the wall, second floor of a plaza, and anywhere else there is enough space for a small "stage" and twenty or so folding chairs or even benches.
We are currently running two shows in rep in one theatre (the shows I am working on) while the "other" theatre has one show running. On most nights, as the patrons walk in we take bets on who's show each person is going to see.
So far, we've been batting at almost 100%. It's the girls with lots of makeup, fried bleach blonde hair, designer clothes and high heels that are coming to see the "other" show. It's the sometimes older, usually very casually-dressed in a Mid-West style of blue jeans and a t-shirt that are there to see our shows.
But it's not just in the patrons that come to view, it's the people running the show - producers, actors, stage managers, box office staff, etc.
The biggest difference is in the overall idea behind the shows. Our people would rather have a butt in a seat than money in the cash box. That's not to say we offer free seats to everyone, but we do offer half price tickets and even have "Pay What You Can" performances for people who may only be able to contribute $2.00. We also offered 2 comp tickets for each person involved (actors, designers, stage managers, producers, etc.) for each performance. That's a lot. Especially considering it's a 49-seat house. Hmmm... but it truly shows where our priorities are.
But not the "other" show. They are extremely money-driven. Everything from the stage manager making 7 times as much as I am (not a joke or exaggeration) to pushing ticket sales and having Sold Out houses and money coming out of their ears. And on top of that, cramming as many people in as they can, adding extra folding chairs where ever they will fit to make another dollar.
My group of theatre folk, however, are doing this being it's where their hearts are. They aren't there for the money - if any of us were, we'd be flat broke. They aren't there for the fame. They aren't there for the awards. They are there for the art of doing theatre. Most importantly, they love the art in themselves... not the like the others who seem to simply love themselves in the art. We like to call our way - "Down-Home Theatre".
As Stanislavsky once said, "Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art." And that is the motto I live by.