So I was doing my laundry one night, and I looked around, and found that it really is a perfect place for a horror film. it was really dark and creepy, so I pulled out my camera, and did this in like 20 minutes. No edits done to it, just posted. So this is my apartment complex!!
This is something that I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks, and it continuing to show to be true in this town, so I wanted to share. No matter what your primary title is, when you’re starting out in this town, you need to keep your eyes, heart, and mind open for many things; guarded, but open. You have no idea what things may be a blessing to you, and the things you thought would be your blessings may turn out to be something that harms you. One of the best ways I’ve found this to be effective is to find places to serve. Let’s look at that word “Serve”. This doesn’t mean drop everything and go into charity, but it means don’t be afraid of doing free work. It’s hard, I know, because “free work” automatically puts stress on bills and time, especially if it’s not in the field you call your primary profession. However, I’ve found that God works in so many mysterious and complicated ways, that I’ve been blessed more in free shoots than paid ones. Here are two examples that I’ve had in the past few weeks.
I was looking through my LA casting notices, when I came across a familiar name: Matthew Morrison. Apparently he was doing a music video, and they needed extras and background players. Sadly, the compensation section said “No Pay”. Mind you, just by submitting yourself does not mean that you automatically get into the production, so I thought “Why not?” So I submitted myself for it. The next day, I got an email saying I’ve been selected to be in their music video as “Young Couple”. It was exciting to know that I was going to be in a music video, but it was hard to know that it wasn’t paid. Then, the email said that we were shooting on the Paramount Lot! So I thought “Okay! I get to be in a music video for Matthew Morrison, and I get to shoot on the Paramount Lot!” So when the day came, despite the 7 am call, I was ready to go; a little hesitant in the morning because it was so early, but I still made my trek over there. I got there super early as well because I was so paranoid of being late, so I was there with just the 2nd AD and the producer. But I was able to just walk around the lot, looking at some awesome stages, including a pool stage with the sky backdrop thingy, which I got super geeked out over. When the day finally started, the Extras Wrangler called me over and said that I was now the Cab Driver. I was okay with that, so I went over to where they wanted me to be, and what car’s waiting for me? The famous 1950′s Checker Cab!! I got to drive that cab around!! So if you see that music video now and see that cab, yeah, that was me. After driving that cab, while waiting around with the other extras (Awesome people by the way), Matthew Morrison walks over to us and thanks us each individually for spending our day for free to help this dream of his come true! So yeah, we got pictures with him, and talked to him, etc. I couldn’t believe I was just standing there watching Mr Shou do his thing!! So even if the day had ended there, I would have been happy working for free. It was such a fun shoot to that point! But the day just kept getting better!! I was waiting around to see if they needed me for anything, so a few of us and I just sat around talking and walking over to craft services for the cold but absolutely tasty breakfast burritos, then from the dressing rooms, this man walks out who looked SUPER familiar…it took me a little while, but it was Ryan Di Lello from So You Think You Can Dance season 6!! Then I turn around, and there’s his wife Ashleigh Di Lello as well!! I just stopped and couldn’t move for a while. For some reason, I geek out over dancers more than I do actors or film people. For the entire time from then til lunch, I was trying to find a time to be able to talk to them, because they weren’t shooting quite yet. My new friends thought it was absolutely hilarious that I freaked out that much, but I didn’t care. Right after lunch, I found the perfect window of opportunity to go up to Ryan and strike up a conversation. So I did, and I ended up talking to him and Ashleigh for the next 20 some minutes while the crew finished setting everything up outside. I couldn’t believe that I was just sitting there talking to these two amazing dancers that I loved during the show! Then the last cherry on top was there was yet another So You Think You Can Dance veteran Ashley Galvan shows up as well! So I met three So You Think You Can Dance dancers, and Matthew Morrison in one day of free work. That in itself was incredible for me, but I also became pretty close to some of the extras I worked with. So with that one day that I decided to work for free, I met so many incredible people and had such a blast on the Paramount Lot. None of that would have been possible if I didn’t agree to work for free.
My second story has to do with serving at my Church. If you’re not a Christian and reading this, finding some place to serve like this is always a great idea. Towards the beginning of my stay here in Hollywood, I found it so difficult to connect with people and to have friends that made me feel at home. I had 2 friends, both of whom are girls, and if it weren’t for them, I would have given up a long time ago. However, it was hard not to have any male friends. I didn’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t connect with the guys at church or alums from the LAFSC program, or at least the ones I met up to that point. I was at the verge of giving up with Mosaic when I don’t know how this happened, but I signed up to be a book club host of the new series Mosaic is doing. Of course, I chose the most awkward time (Mondays at 1 pm) so I didn’t get many people signed up at all. However, at the meeting, I met this really cool guy that I instantly connected with. We hung out for the rest of the night after having just met! Turns out, he was one of the leaders of the ambiance team at Mosaic (The ambiance team decorates the church before people arrive. Since I help out at the evening team, we light candles, set tables and chairs on the patios in their right places, etc.) This was the week of Easter, so Easter was the Sunday coming up. I find out that this guy was in charge of decorating a big portion of the church for Easter Sunday, so I offered to help that Saturday. It was an all day feat, but it sounded like fun. When I got there, it seemed odd at first because I came late so everyone had already started. But as the day went on, I was able to help get a lot of things together. The theme was an oasis, so we had tons of palm trees and flowers all over the place to make it look like an oasis. It really turned out beautifully. While I was helping out, I got to meet some of the other volunteers and the other leaders as well. One of the people I met that is sort of the point of this story, is a find arts photographer. I’ve never heard of it, so we traded information, and we ended up talking about what we both specialize in. He had just moved from Oregon a month after I moved here, so at this point he had only been around for a few weeks. As we continued to talk, I found out he was working on a music video, and he found out that I’ve had experience with editing film with music and dance in them. In the following few days, he contacted me to see if I wanted to help him with that music video! So we met to talk about it. Now, at this point, both of us had looked each other up; he had watched my films on my website, and I looked through all of his pictures on his. In addition to his photography, he had a book he wrote that he was selling! It was a little pricy for me at the moment because I still don’t have a job, but I really wanted to read it. On the way to the meeting I even thought about asking if I could just see a copy and read it. When I got to the meeting, he pulls out this white package wrapped real nice and hands it to me. It was his book! I thought it was hilarious that I was just thinking about asking him if I could borrow one, and he just gives me a copy! The meeting was great, though it was hard to know what steps to take from there due to some complications, but when I got home, I read through that book in 20 minutes. I normally do not cry watching movies or reading books, though there are exceptions. Up to this point, I had never cried reading a book. It was such a beautiful story, and his photography was such an excellent companion to the story. After reading it, I sent him a text message thanking him for the book, and telling him how much I loved that story. Then I received a text that had a jokey tone to it, talking about maybe turning this into a movie. I jumped on that boat so fast, and whipped up an outline and a binder (with nothing in it yet, but I printed labels and everything), because in my mind, this story lends itself so healthily into a feature length film! So I met with him again and presented the idea, and he loved it and agreed to let me make this film! So I somehow ended up landing my first feature on my 22nd birthday! (Yes, Best Birthday gift EVER!!) Ever since then, the two of us have been tossing more film ideas at each other. This happened just because I somehow decided (still don’t know how) that I was going to host a book club for Mosaic. I’m not in any position to lead anyone spiritually, nor am I equipped enough to host people into my home (which is why we meet at a Starbucks down the street haha), but I just went with the idea, and look where it’s lead me. Though it’s still not easy in the financial department (seriously, around $20 left for the rest of the month) I have community, a place to serve (I serve with the ambiance team every Sunday), good friends, fellow talented artists who want to work on projects with me, and support. Who knows where things will take me from here, but I’m excited to see where my path leads. I feel like this is a very good place to be. I’m still struggling to get by, but you know, what fun would it be if there was no struggle? It wouldn’t mean much either. This city, though I’ve been here for a little less than 3 months now, has become a place I can call home, and it’s because I found a place, not the place I want to land in forever, but a place that I can contribute. Keep your eyes, heart, and mind open. You never know what’ll be thrown your way. Just make sure you just keep swimming, and never give up. That’s my little speel for today!
So today, I wanted to write a little bit about some of the auditions I’ve been going to, and a little speel I have on them. Through LA Casting, I’ve been getting quite a few different kinds of auditions (Mostly student shorts, but some bigger things, and a lot of music video/dance related auditions, but that’s not what I’m going to cover today). It’s always hard to tell how to approach the audition, because sometimes the producers give you sides, sometimes they dont, sometimes they tell you what to prepare, and sometimes they just tell you that they want you to show up and they’ll tell you what to do there. It’s hard to gage what’s going to happen, and what you need to do to make this audition the best it can be. But the most important thing is to make sure you make a choice about what you’re going to do in that room, and once you’re done, move on from it. Yes, there will be some funny stories you encounter, but you can’t hang on to every audition, waiting for them to respond, because chances are, they won’t let you know if you did not get the role. It does get difficult sometimes, because there are those roles that you read and think “Oh, this is the PERFECT role for me!!” but chances are there are at least 20 other people who may be “Perfect” for that role. But don’t let that get you down! Think of it this way: If it’s not meant for you, it won’t be, but the role that you do get, you’re the only one who can do it! It may be a long time before you land a role, and it may take forever before you land a role you REALLY like, but that’s all part of the journey! And also, make sure you treat yourself after every audition. Encourage yourself and congratulate yourself for making it through a hard but necessary step to get where you need to be, so give yourself a little break after each one. It’ll help not burn yourself out.
I’ll end this post with a pretty funny story (or at least it’s pretty funny in my head haha). I got an audition to play this Japanese student who just moved here a few years ago to study. He’s wanting to make enough money so that he can go back to his hometown, so he somehow gets wrapped up in a bank robbery. It was an interesting story, but I had no idea they wanted a super thick Japanese accent. So I get to the audition location, sign in, and wait in front of the door. As I get there, someone was just leaving, and this Japanese guy goes in. Naturally, since I’m sitting next to the door, I can hear everything going on inside. So the beginning was the same chit chat that you have when you go into any audition, like “Was it hard finding the building?” “Do you have any questions?” “Could you slate for the camera” yada yada yada…then I hear him go for it in his Japanese accent, and since he was Japanese and someone who moved here recently, it was natural for him, so it was a great accent. Already, I was getting intimidated, but I had no idea why. This wasn’t a role I really wanted, it was just an audition that I got so I showed up. All of a sudden, I hear this guy start yelling in Japanese, and the reader starts reading in Japanese!!! Then after a little bit I hear the director and the guy start talking about something in Japanese, and I’m sitting there thinking “Why the heck am I even here?” I wanted to walk away and save myself the humiliation…but then I said to myself, “What have you to lose?” So I waited til the guy was finished, and when he walked out, I didn’t even want to look at him, or I felt like I was going to crack up laughing because how embarrassed I was. I get inside, hand them my headshot and resume, then when they asked me if I had any questions, I flat out told them that I’m not Japanese, so if I could do it without the Japanese accent. They looked at me a little confused for a second, then said “Oh yeah, go ahead. Character comes first.” So I did the best I could do in the audition, and I was out of there well less than half the time the first guy was in there, but it didn’t matter. All throughout the walk to my car, I couldn’t help but laugh at how funny the situation was. It really isn’t such a funny story, but I guess I was so embarrassed and panicked that I ended up having the giggles. After that, i treated myself to a small In-N-Out Cheeseburger. Made the world a better place :)
Well, that’s all for now!! Til next time!
Many of you guys have heard of me talking about my “Bullying” Project, and so I thought I’d write a little post about it.
I’m not gonna give much away, but I will say that it has been really difficult to write because it deals with 2 heavy hot topics so it’s been hard to tackle them tastefully without manipulating the outcome or going cliche with them. I have a producer on board with 2 writers who are going to help me write this script. So as of now, it’s still in its earliest stages of development, but hopefully, God willing, and fingers crossed REAL tight, we can get a script finished by mid April, so we can start really getting some support from people, casting, and setting up a schedule and crew so we can get this going.
Due to the length of the script that deals with such heavy topics, we have decided that it would be a good idea to split this project up into a webseries under the New Media Contract, so we can have some form of “compensation” for especially the actors. But again, it’s hard to tell where everything’s going without having a script, so that has been the biggest concern as of now.
Now, my biggest problem, however, has been trying to balance four big balls at once: This film project, Playhouse West Acting, Schoolwork, and being on the job hunt…it’s been a nightmare trying to get all of that together. However, I know that regardless of my unemployed state, God has been opening so many doors for me to be able to be out here and work on projects that I really care about, getting my feet firmly planted on the ground, and starting to pave my path to becoming a working director. Though it’s hard and sometimes I want to give up, the fact that I’m out here, and that I’m able to post this post on a webseries that I’m working on is a blessing in itself. It’s sobering and so very humbling to know how little I can control to maintain a good balance of everything that I have to pay attention to. This confirms, yet again, that I am meant to be out here, and also confirms the goodness of God and how much he has been helping me through the past two months when it seems like I don’t have anyone around me or any strength to carry on.
Prayers, wishes, support of any sort towards this project is very much appreciated and really really needed. I’m sorry the project as of now is so vague, I just don’t want to get any intellectual property on here without it being protected, which has to wait til the script is completed. I’ll update this again when I have more to share :) Thank you all for your support, thoughts, and prayers. I can’t thank you all enough. Well, that’s all for now :)
As some of you know, I had my first paid music video gig late February! It was an incredible experience (Despite the horrible sinus infection and allergy attack I had haha). It was the first time I worked with students from NY Film Academy, and the crew was one of the best (AND most diverse) I’ve ever been on. It was a student film, yet their budget was incredible, everyone on set was absolutely professional, and we shot on a RED Epic! I had such a blast, and it was another reminder of how much I loved being on set.
It did have a shaky beginning for me though. The night before, I received the call sheet, and originally I was told that the location was in Pasadena somewhere, which for me was not a long drive at all. Our call time was 8:30, so I was thinking it would be a relatively early morning, but it wouldn’t be too early. However, on the call sheet, the address was located 66 miles north of LA, meaning we had to leave around 6:30 to make sure we got there on time. For a little bit, I had my own freak out moment, freaking out cause I didn’t have money for gas, but thankfully there was a group of dancers who were carpooling, so I had a great time then. Being in a car of 4 dancers, it was a blast, though the entire morning, I was constantly blowing my nose, with this pounding headache right in between my eyes. But once we got to the set, almost all of that went away or I didn’t mind because I was so happy to be out in nature. It was on this farm that was isolated from everything, so no reception for 2 days, but the air was so fresh, the sky was blue, the landscape was beautiful, and there were actual trees (Not Palm Trees, TREES!!! WITH LEAVES!!!! and needles…they hurt haha) so I was really excited to be there.
I was originally supposed to be a dancer, so I went to the rehearsals and everything, but when we got to the set, the director (Sergey) pulled me to the side and asked me if I wanted to be the featured Masked Huntsman in the woods that represents all the evil in the music video. At first, I was unsure because I had some things planned for the next day, but I decided to do it, and it turned out to be the best decision I had made so far. The crew was, as I mentioned before, probably the most diverse. The first day, we had Russians, a girl from Brazil, the producer was French, an Italian, an Australian, an AC from South Africa, a Canadian Grip, an Estonian dancer, three different Asian dancers, and I’m sure I’m missing some people…It was crazy!! I had so much fun getting to know all of those guys, and since I came back the second day, I got to bug them a little more. The second day, the producer drove me in the morning, so we had a great chat on the way up. Anyways, since I got “promoted” to the featured role, they only needed me for a little bit the first day, so I was able to just relax, eat some good snacks, hang out with the owner of the property and his dogs, watch some TV, enjoy the scenery, journal in Nature, and also watch people work with the RED Epic!
Day two was a lot of fun as well. I had a lot more to do. I was asked to basically create my own physicality for this masked creature who lure the two children into the woods and wrap them in my darkness MUAHAHAHA. But the point was that I was able to use the mask work I learned from the incredible Gulshirin Dubash to create my own physicality!! At one point, though, I fell out of a tree, which was lovely (seriously, I had so much fun falling out of it, but the crew freaked out so I felt bad haha). In the end, leaving that set was really difficult, because that meant that I was going back to the job hunting, auditioning, submitting limbo I had been before that. I was just reminded of how much being on set brought me life. It was an “Aha” moment for me that affirmed my home in this industry. Now, surviving in it is a different story, but I know that this is where I’m supposed to be. I’m excited to see where things go from here, and maybe some of the relationships I made during the shoot will go places, I can’t know at this point. I Can, however, make sure that I’m making my steps towards my place in this world. Well that’s all for now!
HERE ARE SOME PICTURES!!!! They’re so pretty :)
So, I realize it’s been a long time since I wrote, but I have so much to update, so I’m going to take you all on the past few weeks bit by bit.
Early this month, I joined the incredible organization, Film Independent, located on Pico Blvd. They’re in charge of putting the Independent Spirit Awards on, as well as the LA Film Festival that’s coming up. (PS, if you’re a member, you get free screeners to the Spirit Awards, and you get to vote on the winners!!! How cool is that?!) Anyways, there was a members’ night coming up, so I decided to go, since I was new to the organization and wanted to know the benefits of being a member, and what it all entailed. What I did not realize, however, was that it was basically a networking event for the members and people who were considering being a member of the organization! Thank GOD I brought some business cards, and it was encouraging to know that I ran out of cards half way through the night! People really wanted to know what I was doing, and what I planned on doing with my craft in the coming months. I met some incredible people, including composers who worked with Howard Shore, Actresses from Romania, Directors of awesome music videos, and a crew of people shooting a pretty big film in April that I am now PA’ing for! All happened in less than 2 hours. It was an incredible experience, especially since I was not expecting something like that to happen when I walked in the room. I also received a copy of the LA 411 book!! It’s pretty awesome!!
Since then, I’ve been making sure I kept my Tuesday evenings free so that I can go to these events, meet producers, writers, directors, actors, composers, etc, so that I could expand my network here and have people who I can call upon to do some great work! It really opened my eyes to how networking works in the moment. Selling yourself as an artist is not all that difficult if you know how to do it. I wasn’t ready for it, so I was shaky on getting people’s attention and keep it throughout every conversation I had, but it was great practice, and now I know what to expect. Good advice for anyone coming out to LA, GET BUSINESS CARDS AND ALWAYS HAVE THEM ON YOU!!!! You never know who you’re going to meet, when you’re going to meet them, and what future that relationship holds for you. If you use this website called “GotPrint”, you could get 250 cards for $18 (not including shipping…so if you’re in this area, go pick it up, cause the shipping and handling is like another 10 bucks :(…It’s worth it though! Great cards the way you want them without looking generic or boring. I’ll post mine up here. But yes, that was an experience I will not soon forget, and this is an organization I feel like every artist in the industry or any film lover should join. Go to http://www.filmindependent.org to learn more about it, but it’s fantastic. I missed a David Fincher talk cause it was sold out so quickly, but they have great events like it! So join if you haven’t, cause the benefits and network is FANTASTIC!!! So that’s all for this segment. :)