Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pizza Rustica Should Happen Before the Alcohol

Published 11/26/2011

There are certain things one should be prepared for when going out in West Hollywood on a Friday night. Apparently, drag queens  named Dibujonay and men actively involved in girl fights are some of those things. I should have known that my first  experience on Santa Monica Boulevard would be ridiculous when my friend who regularly frequents that neck of the woods said “There’s no such thing as unacceptable behavior out here.”  Uh oh.
So the first place we went was Fiesta and within four seconds of walking in I’d been told how cute I was, that I look like one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and was propositioned by two girls. Interested though I was not,  I think this is a positive step as I have now reaffirmed that in addition to hipsters, gays also take a liking to me. This is good info to have. Fiesta  might have seen more of us had it not been uber crowded, and in an attempt to avoid getting sloppy and floppy in under an hour, we decided to  polish off our rather strong  margarita’s and stop at Pizza Rustica. Actually Pizza Rustica sort of just happened on its’ own, which leads me to lesson 2: If you have a friend whose nickname involves “crazy,” be prepared to do any and everything, not barring activities which may get you arrested.  Luckily we avoided jail time and ate awesome  six-dollar-a-slice pizza, which did me absolutely no good , as I am a hopeless lightweight.  All I could do was tell my cohorts to keep an eye on me at that point in the evening.
And what  pray tell do four straight girls and their token gay friend do after getting sufficiently sloshed? Dance of course, so to Mickey’s we went. This is the part of the night I started counting things. 15: Times awesome early 2000s songs such as Where My Girls At were played.  3: Time Mickey’s closed, making it the “happening after hours” spot Christian from Clueless would have loved.  7: Times I turned to someone and asked if they were really playing vintage Soul Train on all of the screens.   16: Times I declined to dance with the few straight guys who skeevily (yes, I just turned skeevy into a nonexistent adverb) tried to dance behind me- there is a reason I’m at Mickey’s, asshole!  4.5: Times a rather boisterous fellow told my friends and I that his name was Big Bird and followed that by literally saying “tweet tweet!”  76: Times I glanced at an ab-tastic young man with perfect hair and thought Damn,  I wish he was straight, to no avail. 1: number of fights we saw upon leaving involving three guys and a girl who appeared to be in some sort of awkward love square. As our evening came to a close my profound friend offered this advice: “It’s  like everyone just leaves all their fucks at home, hence they really couldn’t give a fuck.” And that is weekend Weho in a nutshell my friends.
Venue(s): 4
Alcohol Situation: 4
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved:0
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 4 ( I did not fall in my heels- score!)
Atmosphere: #winning

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Could You Get Out of the Shot….

Published 11/23/2011

That’s just one of the things you may hear on set if you’re not a principal, a featured extra or a day player with lines. Welcome to my life. I can’t tell you what it looks like inside one of those Star Wagon trailers but I can tell you the best time of day to register at Central Casting. Please don’t ask me what I’ve booked lately, it will only depress us all. Anywho, LA is a place full of people who have opinions of themselves that are rather grandiose, albeit usually unwarranted. I really think that some people are actually unaware of the fact that they’re not yet famous, rich or important, so I’ve compiled this little list to help you assess whether or not you are in fact a starving artist. Be honest with yourself and act accordingly, and by act accordingly I mean take off those mothereffing sunglasses at night- you know who you are…
1)You are registered at Central Casting. I have nothing against Central Casting because I’m registered there, and despite the three to five hours it takes to get your picture taken, I have no qualms with the place. The problem I have is with the people who are there, acting as if they are not registering to do EXTRA WORK! Hello! You’ve seen them- Guy With Serious Actor Hair leaning against the wall pursing his lips and pretending to be James Dean. Kill yourself. Then there’s Blonde Reminiscent of Sco-Jo, Paris or Lindsey flipping her hair and talking loudly about her callback for a Budweiser commercial. Who do you think you’re fooling? You live in Encino, bitch! And then there is Urban Youth with Exciting Hair and a Controversial Tattoo singing really loudly and off key, constantly glancing around for approval. Guess what? No one is going to approve because you can’t sing. I promise you, you can’t. What these people don’t know is that they need not put on airs because they will be possibly not seen and definitely not heard. Extra work does not make you an actor.  Extra work does not mean you’re famous. You are a starving artist.
2)You get emails that end in thx/thks. For those of you who may not have worked in the trenches of an agency, studio or production company, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this signoff at the end of emails. Over the course of my development internship I quickly learned that I am not worthy of the “an” in the middle of thanks, and therefore not important. Important people get the “an.” Important emails end with things like  “Thank You,” or “Best Regards,” maybe even “Best.” Abbreviations are for peons and if you get an email that ends in “thx,” you should know that it doesn’t mean “thank you,” it  means “Fuck you, you will never have my job. Now go get my coffee.” You are a starving artist.
3) The “O Face” you get is not a good one.  Sometimes, when I’m running around town attempting to network, I find myself conversing with someone who has the career I aspire to have. How do I know this? They wear shoes that cost more than my rent, they look bored rather than desperate, and they parked in valet, not six blocks away. After the pleasantries, this Important Person With a Real Job will finish telling me about their disdain at having to sit next to Taylor Swift at the AMAs and will ask a fateful question: “What do you do?” Sigh. Of course I say I’m a writer, which will be followed by “What have you had produced?” As I try to explain myself, this person who doesn’t get excited about finding extra quarters for laundry the way I do, will somehow get me to tell them my real job which will be followed by a disappointed and disdainful “Oh…”  This is where I would try to distract them with my cleavage, if only I had some. Once you hear “Oh…” you are done my friend, because what “Oh” really means is “Damn it! I just wasted 20 minutes talking to this flat-chested girl with one IMDB credit. One! She is not worthy of  the leather interior of my Maserati! Time to pretend to look for the bar…” I’ve seen the “Oh” face of dismissal many times, and if you should run across it, just pack it in and try again when you’ve booked something impressive or maybe had something optioned. You are a starving artist, just accept it and make your way towards that sale rack with your head held high.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

They (One Person) Like Me, They Really Like Me…

Published 11/17/2011

Guess what, I’m still not famous, which means I’m still traipsing about the Thirty Mile Zone attempting to meet people who will take an interest in my (nonexistent) career and set me on a path that will hopefully include a SAG card, and if I play my cards right, Oscars, stints in rehab and embarrassing DUIs. Anywho, in a strange twist of fate, I managed to convince someone to accompany me on my latest Hollywood adventure… and they didn’t back out at the last minute! Something strange must be in the water.
I decided that I should visit the Library Bar at the Roosevelt because Yelp told me it was a good idea and because the location is actually not horrible. I mean anytime you can walk outside and see a bum, a celebrity, a drunk adult dressed as Spiderman, and a hooker within five feet of each other, you’re in a #winning atmosphere my friend.
Unlike most of my previous outings I didn’t have time  for insult tweeting because I was actually engaged in conversation, but even if I hadn’t been, I’m almost disappointed to say that there was nothing to insult. Library Bar may literally be the size of my studio, but what it lacks in floor space, it makes up for in ambiance and also by having the BEST DRINKS EVER!!! So, I’m probably sort of late on this but OMG- I think the bartenders have magical ingredients, and magical tumblers and magical ice cubes and magical hands, seriously. All I said was that I wanted something sweet, with no dark liquor and then he waved a magic wand and handed me the most awesome drink of my WHOLE LIFE! Like, is there some sort of Nobel Peace Prize for Mixology  that can be awarded here? I feel like I should make a Library Bar PSA because everyone should go there. Everyone.
Anyways, even though I didn’t mingle with anyone other than the person I came with, I don’t think I missed out on too much last night. There were no more than 20 people inside at any given moment, mostly because the place is so small, but I noted that there was a pretty consistent influx of certain prototypes: Drunken Socialite in Her Thirties with Too Much Botox, TV Producer Who Hasn’t worked Since 05 Talking Very Loudly, Hapless Midwestern Girls About to Find Out That Sleeping Their Way to the Top Probably Won’t Work, Hipster Hotel Guests Who Live in LA but Stay at the Roosevelt for Kicks, Hollywood Douchebags Complimenting Each Other’s Ryan Seacrest-Like Hair, and a few Starving Artists Trying to Look Important.
Aside from losing my car in the parking garage and forgetting to validate my ticket for said garage, this little excursion actually went rather well. Now if only I could find that soda shop where producers still walk up to bright-eyed ingĂ©nues and say things like “Hey little lady, anybody ever toldja, ya got a face fer the pictures? I’m gonna make you a star…(Insert finger guns, cheek pinching and a wink)” to which I would reply “Gee Mister, a star?” Hey, If it could happen in the 40s, it could happen today…
Venue: 5
Alcohol Situation: 5 (AWESOME!)
Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 1
Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5
Atmosphere: #winning

Friday, November 4, 2011

No One Wants to F*ck You...and Other Reasons You're Not Booking Work

Published 11/4/2011
In addition to being an (un)successful writer I’m also a world-renowned (obscure) actress. Did you miss my starring role black in Black Swan? What about my four episode arc in The New Girl. Oh that’s right, it wasn’t me. My acting career is currently limited to my improv  class and various background gigs. Yesterday I had the extreme (dis)pleasure of expressing my art (being herded around) on the set of a talk show and I was forced to do some self evaluation. Why is it that a thin, attractive person who is capable of memorizing lines and emoting, is not booking work? After failing to be called in for many auditions, I’ve  finally realized and been told (accidentally overheard) some of the reasons why this may be the case. I’ve compiled this very short list so that my fellow aspiring thespians may glean from my knowledge and avoid these problems in their own careers.
1)   No one wants to f*ck you.  Remember when the movie industry was about talented, unattractive actors giving really heartwarming performances? Neither do I. In England it might be okay to be less than a seven and throw your accent around with Shakespeare and emotional memory, but Hollywood is not a town built on inner beauty and talent. I’m pretty sure those things are frowned upon actually. As I’ve mentioned before, I look like a child 90 percent of a time, but like one who has a curfew and maybe has recently gotten her headgear removed, not a primetime CW vixen. Unfortunately this means that the only people who think I’m doable are usually sex offenders, and casting directors don’t like that, which means audiences won’t like that, which makes me less bookable. If the casting director doesn’t tell you to take your shirt off when you’re auditioning for a toothpaste commercial, you’re probably not good for ratings.

2)   You don’t know how to read castings. In my misguided attempts to gain vouchers, I’ve submitted more than once for roles with descriptions like “Sexy bikini babe” and “beach hottie.” See 1. Also, what I didn’t realize is that though you may look good in a bikini by virtue of your flat stomach (and flat chest) it does NOT mean that you will book “Rush Call! Hot poolside girls for Entourage.” Let me be clear- you definitely won’t book that.  When you see anything that says hot, avoid it unless you look like a Playboy bunny. I learned the hard way. When I regrouped I thought that maybe I should just submit for fitness shoots, you know workout videos and industrial health equipment ads. Wrong again. Those CDs are actually looking for women who look like WWE wrestlers, and that is not me. So let’s review, I look like I’m in high school, but not in a 90210 way, I don’t have man-muscles and no SAG vouchers. #failing. I’ve also mistakenly submitted for “African American featured club extra” and been turned down a multitude of times. Apparently I’m not African American enough because I don’t have a neck tattoo, a curly fro, and of course no T&A. “If you’re going to try to get booked off of your ethnicity, you really have to be more convincing than that. How about you try a ‘ghetto’ accent. have you ever been to Crenshaw?” These are the things casting directors say to me. Sigh.

3)   You’re actually a great actor. There is a possibility that unlike me, you have been classically trained, you can convincingly do 7 different British accents, which are remarkably distinguishable from your Scottish and Welsh ones, you have a good headshot and you know how to give and take with the other actors in the scene. You know all this, but you find yourself sitting next to me in the ‘background holding” area which is either freezing, sweltering or both depending on the production company. Why have you found yourself in such a predicament? Because this is Hollywood and life isn’t fair. If you don’t have an agent and you’re not the right person’s nephew you will be a starving artist with me for quite some time. Who told you they were giving out Oscars  at LA’s city limits? That person was lying. That person may have been from Barbizon…
So back to my “acting” experience for the day: as I listened to the girl next to me talk about the nine commercials she’s allegedly booked, (Why the hell are you working for 64/8 if you’ve booked anything with residuals?) and thought about how I would have to rush off set to go to my uninspiring real job, I laughed to myself. Voucherless though I may be, nothing stopped me from telling at least four of my non-industry friends who don’t know any better that I was on set with celebrity-who-cannot-be-named-because-of-strict-NDA, and embellishing to the point that it sounded as if we had done a scene together. Hollywood is full of shit.
Location: 5
Craft Services: 0
SAG/AFTRA vouchers procured:0
On set experience: #meh