September 23, 2001
Recommended Reading for ActorsBone.com
Before even heading to LA to give acting a go, aspiring actors should skim, if not memorize, the chapters of the following essential books and guides.
An Actor Succeeds: Career Management for the Actor - by Terrance Hines & Suzanne Vaughan
I like this book, even though it's a bit out of date, because it is the first of its kind, featuring Q&A formatted interviews with casting directors, agents, managers, a writer-producer, an attorney, an accountant, and a publicist. When I first read this book, I was amazed that there was no "industry standard" when it comes to sending unsolicited headshots, demo reel formatting, or audition etiquette. It's nice to know that every CD is different, when it comes to likes and dislikes. That way, as a self-marketing actor, you can do what makes you comfortable and know that there will be CDs with whom your methods click. Much of the work I do in Casting Qs came from the early influence of this book.
The Agencies: What the Actor Needs to Know - by Lawrence Parke
This guide is so regularly updated that anyone seeking representation would be just plain silly not to keep buying it. It has the most current contact information for agencies, plus union affiliation status, and a list of what "types" are being targeted by each agency.
Be a TV Game Show Winner! - by Marla Schram Schwartz
An often overlooked way to get TV exposure, and make some good money while you're at it, the game show has long been a popular outlet for aspiring actors. There's more to booking a game show than just sending in a headshot and resume. While game shows encourage actors to apply (union status doesn't matter), the producers will want you to not "technically" be an actor. This book includes information on how to be chosen, how to win, how to handle the IRS, and how to be chosen again and again to appear on game shows and win fabulous prizes!
Breakdown Services' CD Directory
Updated quarterly, this is a great resource for the most current contact information on CSA and CCDA members, as well as independent casting directors in LA. I use it every day.
CSA's Casting By...
This is sort of the IMDB in book form; a list of which CSA members cast what projects and who produced those projects as well.
How to Make Yourself (or Anyone Else) Famous: The Secrets of a Professional Publicist - by Gloria Michels
This book may be out of print, but I like it because it includes checklists for fame-making formulas, ten commandments for dealing with the media, and recommended reading. Any book along these lines would be a nice addition to an actor's bookcase.
September 20, 2001
My Favorite Sport
As football season begins and Psycho sports wood, I began to reflect on my favorite sport: the High Speed Chase.
There was a time when I just thought I enjoyed the thrill of watching, from the comfort of my living room, the helicopter view of the inevitable end to some guy's wild ride. Then it hit me: in a city where sports fans are more fickle than teenage girls, we DO, in fact, have our own Official Sport. It is, most definitely, the High Speed Chase.
I mean, look at the parallels: sports fans of the more, shall we say, traditional nature, know the stats of every player on every team. Okay. I used to teach traffic school for the Improv Comedy Club, so I know the point violation and accompanying fine associated with each bold maneuver my car chase dude executes.
Sports fans cannot be interrupted when their sporting events come on TV. All right, just try to distract me while a car chase is on.
Football fans can predict which team will win, and by how much, but they still choose to watch the game as it unfolds, cheering and screaming at their TV sets. Me too. I know the cop will win. He always does. Whether the guy being chased has stolen the car, tossed drugs from the window, hit unknowing cross-traffic during his chase, or started running just to avoid that damn third strike, he will, unquestionably, be caught. Will it be a spike strip that flattens his tires? Will it be a PIT maneuver that ends the chase? Will his family and friends rush the street as he drives through his own neighborhood? Will he try to flee on foot after the car chase itself ends? All of those variables make my sport of choice exciting, and just the same as my football fan friends, I watch from the edge of my seat.
Now, I don't know much about football commentary. I personally prefer NBA basketball and Major League Baseball, when it comes to watching sporting events. But, I'll assume, for the sake of this comparison, that football announcers are just as annoying, with their attempts at humor and droll observations of the, well, obvious, as my favorite newscasters are in covering the play-by-play of a Car Chase. These pretty idiots chime in with their, "Oooh! He narrowly missed that pedestrian!" and "We're not sure what started this chase, buy since we've joined the pursuit, we've seen erratic behavior on the part of the suspect as he drives, sometimes on the wrong side of the street."
Last week, one of my heroes on KCAL-9 made the comment that the Geo Metro being pursued was, "the type of car you want in this situation, as its fuel efficiency will keep you on the road for hours longer than some other cars." Oh my God. Did this woman just recommend a car for use in High Speed Chases? Well, I guess it's no different than Howie Long hawking Radio Shack products. And there was that weekend that sales on Range Rovers skyrocketed in the LA area after one in a High Speed Chase survived three popped tires and an off-road pursuit better than any other car in recent Car Chase history.
Anyway, I realized that the only thing different about my favorite sport is the fact that I can't look at TV Guide to know when it will air. What I can do, however, is listen for choppers overhead. If they are hovering in small circles, I know what's going on, and I head for the remote! Of course, I could sign up for the service that pages you when a High Speed Chase is on in your area, but I don't think they notify you quickly enough. Still, I may try it. It's never as much fun watching the highlights on the evening news as it is watching the sport live! Now, if I could just find a way to buy tickets to ride in that helicopter....
Posted by bonnie at 1:52 PM
September 7, 2001
Okay, so... I have a couple of reasons for staying SAG-eligible right now.
1. $$$$$ (lack of).
2. I went on a self-imposed acting hiatus after my mom passed away, as I didn't think my emotional health could take the acting biz's ups and downs for a few months. During that time (didja notice my absence from the board *and* The Boards?), I was hired by Sundance, booked a great long-term voiceover gig, and saw my various writing projects pick up significantly. I've found that I am completely fulfilled by this life.
3 (which is 1 + 2). I only became eligible just prior to that hiatus, so why rush to get the money together when I felt, for my mental health, I needed to *not* act for a bit?
I've just recently accepted a couple of acting gigs in an attempt to ease myself back in and see if my passion is still there.
I think, in light of the fact that I've had any doubt of that (or rather, in light of the fact that I wanted to be sure there was no doubt of that) delaying the transition from SAG-eligible to SAG has been a wise choice.
Still haven't made up my mind, and I'm not rushing to do so.
Posted by bonnie at 10:44 PM
September 3, 2001
Amagi Was Cool!
Thanks for coming!
Finally got the beau to LAX this morning (5am... yawn!) and now can get back to life for a minute.
Thank you to everyone who participated in Official Check Out the Boyfriend activities this past week. It was a blast!
Posted by bonnie at 1:31 PM