Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Golden Men (Statues, Not Producers)

Published 2/27/2012

When some people say they have friends in high places, they mean that they get  free breadsticks at The Olive Garden. Gratis carbs are well and good, but when I say I have friends in high places, it means I may or may not have been at Elton John’s Oscar viewing party last night! Oh yes, I was, and IT. WAS. EPIC. Unlike most of my inauspicious outings, my evening was quite the opposite of horrible. At no point did I have to pretend to text anybody and I even made a few friends, which leads me to believe that there is a direct correlation between the number of sequins you have on your gown and the number of people who will complement you and ask you what they’ve seen you in.

Now before you get too excited, I did have to do a little work while I was there, but only a very little and it consisted of restraining the wealthy masses from bumrushing the registration tables and helping with the benefit auction. That was probably the most dangerous part of the night, as I almost fainted at the dollar amounts that Elton’s guests were able to casually give away to the EJAF.  

And boy does  that man know how to throw a party! Foster the People was his musical guest and they were amazing live. I would have enjoyed their performance more had I not spent most of it being jostled by two drunken ex-Disney stars who shall not be named. I also caught sight of a major, very grandfatherly music producer with a minor on his lap, but hey, you know what they say, it’s not statutory if she was in on it. Didn’t that work for Roman Polanski?

Anywho, I’m not usually one to be star-struck but even I fell victim to the wiles of expensive suits and douchbaggy charm last night. At some point, Chace Crawford, who I usually jokingly refer to as “gossip boy” bumped into me and apologized very sweetly and I hate to admit that I might have giggled like a schoolgirl. Axe hair gel voodoo be damned! You will not get the best of me again!

You may be thinking that this was the upper echelon of events at which I aspire to be networking,  but in reality the crowd consisted largely of music industry heavies, TV personalities, and young Hollywood socialites (there were multiple Kardashians in the crowd), and ultimately not too many people who a more opportunistic version of myself would solicit for career advancement. Everybody worth talking to in film was most likely at the Vanity Fair party and the few that were left were highly intoxicated. It occurred to me that the more famous people were and the richer they appeared, the more free liquor they had consumed, perhaps to erase the shame of the things they’ve done to become rich and famous, which would explain the near stupor of the previously mentioned Disney channel darlings. Conversely, the actors from a very popular tween show on Fox were very well behaved, although instead of questionable sexual favors they may be forced to watch Fox news in return for fame, in which case, I don’t know who’s paid a higher price.

In any event, yesterday's soiree was, in the words of Ron Burgandy, “the balls.” It was effing fantastic and I’ve been recoiling at the thought of normal parties I will attend in the future sans Godiva chocolate mountains and the option of breathing the same rarified air as Steven Tyler. But last night I felt strangely at ease among the throngs of people who could pay off my college loans with their pocket change, and reminded myself that one day I will abandon my artistic integrity, write and sell a horribly bad tentpole script and graduate into a world of Chopard watches and  Aston Martins. I will be rich and vapid yet, just you watch!


Venue: 5 (Duh!)

Alcohol Situation: 5 (It was free, so obviously…)

Actual Beneficial Networking Achieved: 5

Personal Victory/Dignity Retained: 5

Atmosphere: 5 (Elton John was there, so again, duh.)

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…

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Vow… AKA a Movie I Won’t be Watching on Valentine’s Day

Published 2/12/2012

This week I got my first ever speeding ticket but made a conscious decision not to cry my way out of it lest I ruin my makeup before the audition I was headed to, took a three hour lunch in Silverlake, and semi-seriously referred to my face as “my 8x10” more than once…  so yes I’m nearly a full-fledged Hollywood douchebag in case you were wondering.
Anywho, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and apparently there are  a few people in LA who believe in and celebrate love *scoffs.*  As for myself, I’ve already realized and accepted the fact that the only straight men who are attracted to me are hipsters, Europeans and pedophiles so I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be indulging in any sappy romantic clich├ęs this year.
However, despite my cynicism and in spite of lackluster reviews and dubious plot machinations, I’m slightly tempted to see The Vow, because who doesn’t love  Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, right? Unfortunately for me, my day off happens to fall on V-Day and I’d rather not subject myself to sympathetic looks from coupled strangers,  should I choose to see a romcom  alone on this amorous day.  As I remain laughingly sex(less) in the city(of Angels), I thought  I’d share a few Hollywood-specific dating tips that I’ve gleaned over the last year. Keep in mind that like most things in Lalaland, love is artificially produced, fleeting, and curiously more prevalent during awards season.
1)      If you always have to meet halfway, he doesn’t really like you.
When living in a place with horrific traffic and the reality that no matter where you live in LA, it is always too far away from at least  five places you need to go on a regular basis, one can quickly asses the strength of a relationship by your suitor’s willingness to drive to where you live (or take you to LAX). I am blessed to live in the only place in the world where dating someone 12 miles away qualifies as being in a long-distance relationship.  I once pseudo-dated someone who lives all the way in Santa Monica… and I reside in fair Burbank. If he really liked me, neither tempest nor wild beast would have kept him from venturing across Cahuenga , but alas, at the Grove we didst confer. Ditto for a former flame who lived near the Staples Center. But I totally get it because if you factor in traffic, and the probability that you won’t get your awesome parking spot back, well it’s just too damn far! Real love would make that trek… which is probably why there is more love in  Middle America where the traffic is normal and Highland doesn’t get diverted into a one way road EVERY EFFING DAY
2)      Lunch dates are not date dates. It’s just lunch, dummy.
I don’t know why women think anything that happens before happy hour in the presence of a lunch menu is a date, so just to clarify, it is not a date. It is lunch! Nowhere is that truer than Hollywood, where lunch is synonymous with meetings/castings/auditions/delivering screeners/screwing the interns… If a man invites you to lunch, it’s probably business related. Dinner and/or drinks however, are usually proposed under the guise of shop talk but almost always serve as a gateway to opportunistic sex. Beware: this does not involve romance!
3)      Spoiler Alert! Even if you are successfully dating someone, it is not going to last!
I’m sorry, was that a little too harsh? Well too bad, this is Hollywood, not Happy-Magical-Best-Friend-Wood.  It would be unfair to let you persist in thinking that finding love in LA is likely, because although it is not impossible, it’s about as realistic as becoming famous in less than a year. The fact remains that 99.9 percent of the men out here are far too narcissistic to pursue a meaningful  relationship.  Relationships require effort and commitment and in case you didn’t  know, mindless debauchery is the name of the game, folks. And if you do find yourself smitten but you’re a starving artist like me, kindly yank yourself to the side and remind yourself that you moved to LA to be famous, and alas, celebrity unions rarely last. These are the cold hard facts my friends… so who’s coming to see The Vow with me so we can watch beautiful people get paid to pretend love exists?