Be Memorable

I haven’t written a blog post since December – sorry! I have been focusing on how I can take my career to another level, specifically honing in on quality over quantity. In the meantime, I continue working with my improv team, networking with and learning from industry professionals, filming shorts and taking classes.

My First Tattoo (my indie improv team) just started working weekly with Rachel Rosenthal, our new coach! It is refreshing to work with Rachel as she focuses on making your teammate look good. In other words, we learn how we can highlight our teammates’ skills. Along with getting a new coach, we are also starting a new form – a montage with smooth transitions and a living room opening. If you want to see what this looks like, we have a show on Groundhog Day. You can read more about Rachel here and learn about our show here.

I recently had dinner with Adriana Dushaj, a talent agent at Glitter Talent. Adriana and I met a few years back while filming a short in New Jersey. While most of our conversation was about WWE and our acting experiences, we also talked being an agent. Adriana mentioned that she often goes to events/showcases where actors can perform for her. I picked her brain for some insight. Adriana said that she often leaves with stacks of headshots and resumes. While she may have every intention of calling people in, the list of actors can be overwhelming. This makes me think about how I can be memorable when I meet casting directors and agents. I usually send out handwritten notes on personal stationary to industry professionals after meeting them in educational/networking settings. Adriana’s insight  also highlights that an actor may need to meet an agent or CD more than once to get called in – my former acting coach used to suggest meeting professionals a total of 3 times in workshops/classes before moving on down one’s target list. I don’t believe that there is a magic number, but I do think that it is important to show CDs that you listened to their notes from workshops. I recently went to a workshop at The Network NYC with Rebecca Dealy from Chrystie Street Casting. Jen Rudolf at Actor’s Green Room added Rebecca to my target CD list after our career consultation last year. Rebecca used to be an actor, and this really showed in her notes to us. Her feedback was very applicable and straightforward. For example, Rebecca talked about paying attention the names of characters in a script. A “Sloppy Cop” should behave differently than “Detective Jones.” I feel good about my work in the class, and I would like to meet Rebecca again to show her that I listened and took her notes seriously. I think that this, along with the followup note, will help me be memorable amidst the endless headshot/resume abyss.

Speaking of Actor’s Green Room, I just completed one of the school’s monthly short film challenges. My team leader and director were very smart in that they kept the script to 1 location and created a film that is relatable, funny and upbeat. If you have ever been a bridesmaid, Wedding Season gives to voice to all of your wedding anxiety. This is the 3rd film challenge that I have worked on, and I learned something new every time. We filmed our entire short in 1 day. I was impressed by how smoothly the filming went – our director and DP had clearly planned out all of the shots in the days leading up to the shoot. Plus, none of the actors showed up with poor attitudes or other unprofessional qualities. We were so happy with how the ease of the shoot and with the final product that we are all brainstorming ways to work together again. Even though we created the film in a short amount of time, the film was not thrown together in the least bit. It was well planned and executed. As a result of this hard work, Wedding Season is being considered for the BEST OF screening in March – Major CDs (Ross Meyerson, Mia Cusumano and Rachel Goldman) will be watching our film and the others who made the cut. Then, they will decide whether it should be included in the BEST OF screening. So, either way, our work is being seen by top-notch industry professionals! In my opinion, proper planning and leadership (like that on Wedding Season) is the biggest positive factor that fosters short film challenge success. Check out the trailer below, and let me know your thoughts.

Last week, I went to a special production of Something to Wrestle. Something to Wrestle is a podcast, but this particular show was not aired. So, they were able to talk about experiences that they wouldn’t normally focus on. For those of you who don’t know, Bruce Prichard is most well known for being a manager and producer at WWE (formerly WWF.) JBL and Eric Bischoff were guests on the show. Bischoff ran a competing wresting show called WCW. Many of the topics discussed were specific to wrestling, but I did learn how the two shows competed against each other for ratings. Bischoff and Prichard talked about how WWE had right of first refusal at all of the Northeast venues like Madison Square Garden. This means that if Bischoff called MSG and wanted to book a show for February 15th, MSG would have to offer the date to WWE first. Then, in order to keep WCW out of the Northeast, WWE would book the venue on the date that WCW requested. WCW definitely fought back – WCW created Monday Nitro, a show that revealed all of the spoilers for that week’s Monday Night Raw. (Nitro was filmed live, and Raw was pre-recorded.) Nitro backfired when they announced that Mankind was about to win the title belt on Raw. The fans got excited (Mankind winning was a surprise) and tuned in to Raw instead of staying on Nitro. While these stories are not directly applicable to me, I love hearing about the business side of the industry and how, even at the highest level, talent/producers are still hustling.

Finally, I attended Sam Borowski’s acting class this past weekend. As I have mentioned before, Sam’s class focuses on teaching actors how to take direction on set. Last Saturday, Sam had a Andrew Akler, a special gust filmmaker, join the class. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Sam’s class – he brings industry guests and fosters friendships and professional relationships. Andrew directed another student and me in a scene from Room. I particularly enjoyed this scene as I don’t get show my vulnerable, soft side in most of the roles that I book. Also in class, I was able to read for an elderly man in an original piece that Sam is currently writing. I like being able to go out of my type and add metaphorical tools, like believably conveying the feelings of a character who I would never be typecast as, to my toolbox. The next class of Sam’s that I am going to is his Oscars class, in which he brings in guest judges and gives out awards. If you want to take the class, Sam is having a class this coming Saturday. Alternatively, you can also wait and go to the next class with me.
Until next time,