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February 22, 2001

Legend Larry Parke and My Scientology Article

Rob just forwarded a copy of the letter Larry sent to Back Stage West regarding my column on 2/8/01. Larry, thank you so much for your letter - and your understanding of my "judiciously worded" piece.

The letter to Rob was great, in that Larry acknowledged the fact that it's tough to blast an advertiser of that, er, prominence.

I was so nervous, writing the piece, as I'd heard so many horror stories (who knows how true). Turns out, thus far, I've gotten nothing but an outpouring of support and thanks for having taken that risk. That's been so gratifying!

The article remains here.

Posted by bonnie at 5:33 PM

Choosing My Religion

I'm not Catholic. I'm not Jewish (though I've been told I could pass -- it's all those Jewish ex-boyfriends, I s'pose). I'm not really anything, though I have things I believe that get me through each day and all of that stuff. Still, I don't go to a building and pray each week. I pray pretty much daily and I usually do that in bed, as I'm falling asleep, and even more while I'm driving. I'm not so much asking for things, when I pray, but really just being thankful for all the wonderful things that make up my life.

But it's almost that time again. Lent. Yup, I'm not Catholic but I always, always give up something for Lent. I figure, I can do without anything for 40 days. I mean, if I can't, then I'm a pretty big wus. And I know I've got will power. Anyone who's lost and gained hundreds of pounds over a dozen or so years knows how to show self control. At least for 40 days.

In 1999, after having lost 37 pounds, selling everything I owned, and moving out here to Los Angeles, I gave up COMPLAINING for Lent. I needed to give that up, let me tell you. I'd been working for a month with this borderline personality business owner who made every day in the office an absolute excuse for suicide (each day, I hoped it'd be hers, not mine) and had found a way to bitch my ass off every day about my psycho ex-roommate, my boss, not getting to eat chocolate, my pseudo-boyfriend's need for phone sex, etc. Complaining had to stop. So I gave it up.

That was a long 40 days. At first, I did a lot of complaining inside my head, which I decided had to stop as well. What's the point of giving something up if you're still thinking it loud and clear inside your head? Imagine, each time you think of complaining about something, anything, shutting yourself up. It kept me quite busy, honestly.

In 2000, I gave up GOSSIPING. I'd been working in a much better office, and only part-time, since I was beginning to earn more money doing freelance web design, pet-sitting, and acting. But my one or two days per week in this office provided me with lots of opportunity to engage in the good old fashioned office chit chat. I guess I appeared non-threatening, since I was hardly ever there, so everyone would tell me every piece of dirt they had on everyone else. I learned a lot. Oh, the temptation! Yeah, I knew what I needed to give up for Lent that year.

So, here it is, another opportunity to rid myself of some behavior. You've noticed I don't give up coffee or chocolate or smoking or drinking or swearing or something more traditional. Not sure why that is, exactly. Maybe because I'm sort of "faking" this Lent thing, not being Catholic and all.

Any suggestions for my 2001 Lenten Luau? Just email 'em to me. Winning suggestion will be, well, given up for Lent and written about in a future column. Woo hoo! Doesn't that sound like fun?

Posted by bonnie at 2:08 PM

February 13, 2001

Ah, the good ol' days...

When I was out here in 1993, I worked with an actor's showcase group each week. I had a partner with whom I'd prepared a scene, rehearsed a scene, dare I say - nearly perfected a scene, and we, for $10 each week, put up our scene for a CD.

We, and five other couples, did our scenes after hearing a 15-20 minute lecture from the CD on their likes, dislikes, advice, etc. After our scenes, we sat, one-on-one, with the CD for feedback on our scenes, our headshots, our resum├ęs. We had a "general".

I look back at the list of CDs I met with, back then, and they are (and were, even then) big time CDs, full-on CDs, not assistants, not associates.

Now, I have no idea whether my $10 per week went into the pocket of the CD or paid for the coffee and snacks we all enjoyed--or even for the rental of the space. I just know that it was *totally* worth it for me--and exactly why I thought, when I returned to LA in 1999, "Hey, the price may have gone up, but I remember these things being a wonderful experience."

Wrongola!

What goes on now is completely different. Bottom line, it's a paid audition. It's not a workshop, it's not an opportunity to learn how to audition. It's a cold read for $35-$50, with no conversation with the CD (oh, I'm sorry, I mean the CD's assistant).

So, I tried it when I returned to LA and, having determined it was no longer the same animal, I stopped.

That being said, I've talked with many CDs who require that their associates NOT join CSA specifically so that they can continue to do these workshops, as a representative of their office. Do they bring actors in? CDs say they do.

Did I prefer the way I first met Billy DaMota to the way I more recently met the assistant to an associate to a CSA member? You betcha.

What does any of this mean? Who knows? But I agree that the current occurance of paid-to-play showcases will only cease when we, as actors, stop paying for these things. If we make it so that LA theatre is the only way CDs can scout actors, they will show up, no matter how small the black box theatre may be. But why bother doing that, when they can show up at a classroom, collect their stipend, and say they've been out scouting?

Feeling mighty sassy...

Posted by bonnie at 10:30 PM

February 10, 2001

What was the #1 Single the day you were born?

Mine was "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" by Three Dog Night.

There's some irony in that, methinks.

This Day In Music

Posted by bonnie at 1:52 PM

February 8, 2001

Long Hair for Life?

I refuse to get my hair cut.

No, I don't have some odd phobia (well, I do--I have a cotton ball phobia--but that's not what this column's about, so, for right now, I don't have a phobia), I just cannot get my hair cut.

I can excuse away my all-one-length, hip-grazing red hair by saying, "I'm an actress! I can't cut my hair." Okay, that works. Here's why: When you are an actor, you are expected to show up for auditions looking like your headshot, which arrived in the hands of the casting directors (hopefully) well before your arrival. One of the biggest Hollywood pet peeves, from my understanding, is the air-brushed, glamour-shot-looking headshot, when the actor then shows up, less air-brushed, less glamorous. You piss off people that way.

I've been told, almost on 80% of the auditions I've attended, "Oh, it's so nice that your headshot looks like you!" Seems logical that it would, but I'm not into touch ups. I wear just a little makeup, so there's just a trace of it on me in my headshots. I have freckles. Those show up. I have blue eyes. Those show up shiny and light in those black and white 8-by-10s. I am a curvy, big girl, and I have what's called a 3/4 headshot that doesn't crop off my hips or boobs (this really shocks people, as I am told, "It's great that you use a headshot that shows your ass." Are you kidding me? I show up for a day's work on the set, my ass shows up too. Who would I fool sticking my head on Julia Roberts' body? Sure, it might get me in the door, but my own ass following me around the corner would get me thrown out. I'd rather go legit). I also have, in my headshots, long, long hair.

Getting a haircut, and I mean more than just a trim, means not only getting a haircut (a staggering $125 venture just for a cut and style, when you start out with such long hair in Los Angeles), but getting new headshots. That's a new photo session, new proof sheets, new 8-by-10s, new prints, and a new supply of 'em to cart over to my agents' offices. It's also new photo postcards, photo business cards, photo mail inserts. Face it, I don't have an extra $600 lying around so that I can get a haircut right now.

But, this is just an excuse.

I have headshots from my last session that I could use, just by cropping them so that no one sees where my hair ends. No casting director would scream at me for entering a room with shorter hair than they thought I had, if it had been just their assumption that gave me longer hair than the photo indicated, right?

No, I refuse to get my hair cut because I watch too many court shows on TV.

I'm not talking quality television like "The Practice" and "Law & Order" - though I do watch those shows too. I don't mean CourtTV (I don't have cable). I'm talking about Judge Judy, The People's Court with her hubby, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Mathis, Judge Mills Lane, Curtis Court, Moral Court, Divorce Court, Judge Hatchett, and reruns of good ol' Judge Wapner's People's Court. If there is a court show on, I'll watch it... unless it's on up against any Brenda-weilding episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210" or a rerun of "Match Game."

These court shows have taught me a lot about life. Forget book learning! Forget talk shows and the (ha ha) local news! Watch court shows.

The average Joe or Josaphine (Judge Jerry's bailiff's name) gets up in front of the esteemed (or at least judgmental) entertainment professional and presents his or her case, supplying paperwork, photos, and other assorted pieces of evidence.

Including bags of hair.

In the past few weeks, while I've been planning "the big haircut" (actually preparing for a pretty major cut with some style and layers and things from which I can never turn back), I've noticed an enormous amount of hair being presented in these courts. And it's not all worn in on heads--it's in bags--the only transportation device appropriate for hair that's been burned, damaged, or processed off the head in the hands of an evil stylist-slash-defendant.

Look, if I'm going to get booked on a TV court show, I'm going to look damn good. Why risk getting my big break while holding a bagful of my own hair?

Posted by bonnie at 2:10 PM