Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Things We Do

I realize in all of these postings I rarely talk about what I do for a living.  Although most of the times], it isn't a living per se.  But what I do is such an integral part of my life, that everyday I'm doing it.  Does that make sense?

I'm an actress.  Not a flakey one, I didn't wake up one day and decide this is what I should do for fun.  Because it is NOT fun.  Okay, fine, it's tons of fun.  About 10% of the time.  It's really hard work because everyday, we (actors) work to get work.  Exhausting, heartbreaking, make you want to cry, WORK.  The pay off?  Seeing yourself about 20 feet high in a Heath Ledger movie opening this weekend at VIFF.  

The other day was a prime example  Part of the deal I have with my agent in Vancouver is that I submit myself on tape.  In cities like Vancouver (where I simply walk into my agent's office), Toronto & LA, this is easy peasy.  In New York?  Anyone want to start a business?  Get on board the 'make it easy for actors to put themselves on tape' train.

I thought I had found somewhere to do this.  Simply.  For $25.  When my agent emailed me with a fantastic 7 page audition the first thing I had to do was re-arrange my friends and mine bus tickets to Philly. Annoying, but do-able.  This was step one.

Lucky for me, I had two of my favorite actresses in town who could be readers for me the next day.  Oh yes, and operate camera.  Check.  Call studio.  Book space.  Co-ordinate with friends.  Print script.  Easy.

Practice script on subway with friend.  Fine.  People stare with smiles on their faces (probably other actors) or scowls (old man trying to read paper).

Go into studio (arrive 30 minutes late by the way) all sweaty and gross.  I don't know why this happens.  Each time I have an audition I have to BLAST the a/c in my car, even in the dead of winter.  Nerves I guess.  But here I am, in muggy NYC Times Square with Bare Minerals running down my perfectly make-upped face (just at FYI, we have to pack on so much make-up to show up natural in the horrible lighting that is the audition room that I feel whoreish walking down Broadway.  Then I see a woman from the South and feel better).

Plug in camera, record, and done. With great direction, feel good about the scenes, etc.  Oh did I mention I walked in on another casting session to grab a light?  Whoopsie daisy.

Rush now because people waiting for room.  Throw everything into bag.  Walk out.

Realize three blocks later that my water cap wasn't on correctly and now my laptop is soaked.  Super.  Walk down 44th drying computer with cardigan and dodging annoying tourists.  Pretend I not panicking.

Walk around Midtown for a bit.  Show friends Macy's and Victoria's Secret.  Drink some Starbucks.  Audition does not have to be emailed for another five hours.  

Take friend to fake hair store.  While she peruses the wigs, decide to check out water damage and edit scenes.  Find my screen mottled.  Minor freak out but still can see screen.  Check out scenes.  Discover there is NO SOUND on half of them.  Panic.

Call Vancouver and talk to another iMovie user and ask what I have done wrong.  She just learned how to send attachments with email so unhelpful. Call agent.  Tell her link will be late.  No problem, she quips.  What about 'Breakdown Services'?  she asks.  They do taping everywhere else.  Gives me number.  Call them.  Nope.  Never heard of doing that.


Now panicking.  The chance of me landing this role is so slim, but must try or will never know right?  And last time I went to crazy effort I booked it, so must try.

Take taxi back up to Times Square.  Rush into previous studio.  No one working.  All in meeting.  Tiptoe around desk, take firewire and sneak into room.  Set up.  Bad lighting, no time, fuck it.  Teach other friend how to record on my computer.  Do one scene.  

Then sneak out again.  Convinced I have some sound, head to Apple store in Soho.  Cab goes too slowly.  Countdown is on. 

Rush into Apple store.  It's packed.  Obviously.  Beg someone for help.

There are no more appointments available so I have six people in short bursts help me.  Turns out my hard drive is full.  Buy new external hard drive.  $150.  Transfer all video files (which are there WITH sound, thank god, but won't work together on my drive because no room) to new drive.  Glance at new computers as fear I might need new one.

F Train it home and book it up to my apartment.

Yell at dogs to shut-up.

Transfer all the video files onto my friend's macbook (thank heavens she was staying with me).  Edit clips.  Upload to me.com It takes half hour, email link to agent with two minutes to spare.

Email takes forever and she only receives postage stamp size version.  Call Vancouver and tell her to check email again.  And again. And again.  She gets it.  

Breathe a sigh of relief.  Have auditioned in New York and thanks to technology am superstar. Look at clock.  I realize it's four o'clock Vancouver time, not five.  Oh well.


An actor's life for me.

PS.  If you should happen to spill water onto your mac and screen goes wonky, don't worry, it evaporates!

No comments: