Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Please Arrive With Hair and Makeup Ready…

Published 2/22/2012

If you receive booking confirmations that say any variation of the above, please be advised that you have not yet made it as a thespian. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Oscars are less than a week away, which means that on Sunday at the Kodak, real actors will be celebrating their advanced memorization skills and receiving their highly politicized, heavily campaigned for, and extremely coveted miniature golden men, while people like me are trying their darndest to get grandfathered into SAG on a new media project… sigh… Anywho, if you have any doubts about whether or not you’re any closer to making the leap from SAG-E to SAG Award winner, here are a few clues: read and choose producers to sleep with take meetings with accordingly.
1)      You are lead to “B.G. Holding” by a handler.
Do you even have to ask? last week I worked on two lovely projects with great crews and pretty decent craft services, but guess where I had to wait between scenes. Background holding is so impersonal and so common and so unlike having your own trailer with your name on the door. Please be advised that as a background actor you are little more than a living prop and  that somewhere, Angelina Jolie is laughing at you.
2)      You’re fretting over the increasing fees due to the SAG/AFTRA merger.
As you race from your audition somewhere in Century City to your quintessential  waitress/retail/casting assistant/au pair/agency temp job you are wrought with despair at the prospect of having to come up with 3000+ to join this new mega-union entity. I’m pretty sure Anne Hathaway isn’t worried about that. She’s a real actress and you are not. Real actors book work, usually constantly, and they cannot deign to concern themselves with pesky matters of union convergence.  Real actors have agents that exist outside of the internet (stop telling people LA Casting is your agent, dummies!)  and they know that if they get screwed they can very easily sue the shit out of anyone they so choose. If you or I get screwed it means  we’ll be working on yet another student film for “gas money and great experience for your resume”… and Angelina Jolie is still laughing at us.
3)      You have responded to “must be comfortable in lingerie” castings for less than the cost of your phone bill.
Of my recent acting endeavors, I recently agreed to do background for a very reputable production company… in my skivvies. Thankfully the crew was uber professional and I got bumped up to  “crosses in front of camera girl,” which means my Hollywood fitness regimen of cardio and involuntary starvation is paying off, but then I thought about what a real actress would have done in that situation and became a little concerned.  Halle Berry was paid 2 million per exposed breast in Swordfish, while I was nearly naked for an embarrassingly small amount of money. If I don’t get an agent soon, it’s just a slippery slope between “featured bikini girl” and “girl to pose nude for art students.” Someone please represent me, quick!
If you find that when Sunday comes you are worried not about pulling off a convincing “gracious loser” face, but how you’re going to get to work despite Hollywood, Highland and many surrounding streets being closed for the event, you can take comfort in two things. One: there is at least one famous, blonde,  and as yet un-Oscar-nominated Friend-ly actress who shares the pain of Angelina Jolie’s laughter, and two:  40 or 50 years from now, the actors who are going to be at Harvey Weinstein’s party this weekend will die. Then you will have your chance…

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