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March 26, 2002

ActorsBon: Minimum Road Travel

Dear Bonnie,
Greetings! I am an actor relocating to LA. And I have never driven around in LA. I have a car, but I would like to keep my road travel to a minimum until I am able to better navigate through LA. Where should a newly arrived actor live, so that she does not have a long commute to casting, directors, agents, and studio contacts? For now, could you consider all price ranges (in addition to the cheapest of the cheap)?

Thank you,


Dear Teresa,

Wow. That's a toughie. There are so many places to live in LA... and so many price ranges. A good way to start, if you don't want to do a lot of driving around, is by doing some research online. There are many apartment and house guides online, and you can do a search by price, by amenities, by size, etc.


If you have no idea what zip codes to even start with, I'd suggest checking out one of those services that profiles neighborhoods for marketing purposes. Here's a link to one of those: http://cluster2.claritas.com/YAWYL/Default.wjsp?System=WL

Next, if you haven't spent much time in LA, I suggest that you pick up either (or both): The Film Actor's Complete Career Guide: A Complete, Step-by-Step Checklist of all the Things Actors Seeking Professional Film and Television Careers Can and Should Do, When and How to do Them, from the Very First Steps to Top Starring Careers - by Lawrence Parke (This book includes essential information on where to live, traps to avoid, where to study acting, resources, interacting with those who've seen and heard it all by the time you've just learned the vocabulary, unions, promotion, resume formatting, and blank forms for your own record-keeping. A must-have,
for sure.)


How to Make It in Hollywood - Everything You Need to Know About Agents, Managers, Lawyers, Chutzpah, Schmoozing, the Casting Couch, Godfather Calls, Rhino Skin, Handling Rejection, How to Be Lucky, and All the Steps You Need to Take to Achieve the Success You Deserve - by Linda Buzzell (This book includes... well, everything. The author is both a psychotherapist and career counselor who has held many industry jobs. Featured sections include The Game, Who You Are, Industry Jobs, Niche Targeting, The Pitch, The Action Log, Your Team, Survival Issues, Luck, and A Glossary of Hollywood Terminology. Absolutely, without a doubt, a must-read for anyone planning to do the acting thing.)

Those are reviews from my columns. Both of those books include a general breakdown of neighborhoods and explain the importance of location, in getting to and from auditions.

Another piece of advice is to get the "Welcome to LA" issue of Back Stage West. I believe the last one that was done came out in January. We publish one every six months, and include a little map and an explanation of each neighborhood. Just call the BSW office to get information on ordering back issues. (323) 525-2356.

Now, the best way to GET a place to live in LA is to (sorry to say) drive around with good buddy and a cell phone, going up and down the streets on which you want to live, looking for signs posted in windows saying "For Rent." Usually, by the time the best places are up for grabs for even a DAY, they're already spoken for. So, if you see something you like, call from the driveway and say you'd like to look at the place. Have your checkbook handy, along with references, as most places won't hold a unit without a hefty deposit and some words in your favor from past employers or landlords.

Is it possible to find something not TERRIBLY expensive, centrally located, and available? Yes. Absolutely. But, you may have to hit town (perhaps bunk with a friend or find a temporary housing situation) before you can really refine your housing search. There's no amount of online research you can do that will compare with the experience of being here and seeing where you want to be.

Hope this helps.

Good luck with your move, and keep doing good work!

- Bon.

Posted by bonnie at 5:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2002

I'm a Prick

Recently, I began engaging in a practice that makes me almost entirely "Hollywood."


I took my friend to her appointment and decided to ask whether these folks could ease my headaches with some ancient needology. Sure enough, they can!

Sign me up!

So, now twice a week, I lie on a table wearing nothing but a blue paper ass-exposing robe thing while three Asians put needles into my head, neck, arms, stomach, legs, and feet. Then, they connect the needles to some sort of electromagnetic generator (SO not an ancient eastern medicine technique) and turn out the lights. Within a few moments, I am filled with sharp pulses of energy. A woman has entered the room to put a heat lamp near my skin and burn marijuana-scented sage over my toes. And so my treatment begins.

I know I'm supposed to be at peace. I know I am supposed to breathe deeply and fall into a meditative state. I am supposed to let the energy flow through me and feel stronger, renewed.

Here's what I'm doing instead: envisioning experiencing an earthquake during a treatment. I imagine the ten of us, each in private rooms, emerging to evacuate the building. We are mostly naked, filled with needles, and attached to battery chargers. Can you imagine the sight of the street below - filled with human pincushions?

When the clinicians come in to remove my needles, they always say, "Wow. You're not afraid of needles?" I guess this is an indication of the fact that I let the doctor put dozens of needles in at once, whereas many patients will only endure a few per treatment. As the clinicians remove needles one after the other, they marvel at my willingness to have so many needles inserted at once.

No. I'm not afraid of needles. The scariest part of acupuncture is the San Andreas Fault.

Posted by bonnie at 1:43 PM

March 19, 2002

ActorsBon: $600 To Get on a House Reel?

Dear Bonnie,

I met with a non-SAG Los Angeles agency who is interested in repping me for voiceovers. I have no experience in VOs. This agency, from all I have heard, does not have a bad rep, but I have not heard good. I have heard little of anything. They offered to help me make my VO demo and put it on their agency VO demo for a total of $600. Is this a scam like "Faces, Int - put your pic in a catalog for no one to see for $1000" or does a VO demo cost about that much normally?

Please help! I did hear some of their clients' VOs on their agency CD and they sounded really good. Is this the normal cost a VO demo would be, or is it just a pay-to-play?


- Becky

Dear Becky,

Thanks for writing. I have found, with most LA agents, that you *will* hear something about them, if you ask around enough. You mentioned the name of the agency (which I won't reprint, don't worry) and I *have* heard not so great things about them... so, for what it's worth, proceed with caution.

Getting onto an agency's "house reel" should not come at any charge to you. They want you on their sample demo because your voice could get them a commission. Of course, I make these statements with the assumption that you are already shopping around a VO tape (even a homemade one).

A VO demo of your OWN should cost a few hundred dollars at the most, and this amount would usually include studio time alone with a producer who knows how to get your best range in the fewest takes. A VO demo of $200-$300 is one you could get locally, including printing of the jewel case, labels, etc. Individual duplication varies, based on how many units you want. In this case, I would say that, if their VO demo sounds good -- really really good -- you should say that you would like to be included on it, and you will be working with your VO coach to produce a reel from which the agency can sample material for their reel. If they have a problem with that or still assert that a charge would be included, run and run fast. Agencies ONLY make money when their clients make money. Period.

Now, as for VO coaches, I have several I could recommend. The basic deal is, you sign up for a certain number of sessions and, included in the course fee is your "graduation" reel, of sorts, produced by the coach or the coach's producers. Of course, more important than my recommendation is whether you click with the coach. You could call around, try to do some auditing, listen to samples of their students' work, etc. The reason I think a coach would benefit you (and VO work pays very, very well) is that it's a small front-end investment for what could be a long career.

You mentioned not having much VO experience. I think that you could get experience by doing non-paying VO work on student films (many of them are filmed non-sync, which means they need VOs in post), doing non-commercial promo work (like in-house productions ANYWHERE you know someone who could get you "in"), and -- of course -- by taking classes. My experience came from radio. I worked as a DJ at a college radio station for seven years (undergrad and through my master's program). It was amazing discipline, and it is the only reason I had even a (self-produced) VO tape to shop around when I moved out here.

I hope this info helps. Please let me know if you want any specific contact information or recommendations. For now, just keep your intuition turned way up with that agency and keep doing good work!

Take care!

- Bon

Dear Bonnie,

Thanks for the GREAT info and advice!!!! I definitely do not want to get scammed or taken by an agency... I would appreciate any VO coach recommendations, etc. I have singing and acting experience and training, but little VO. Thanks for the tips, you probably saved me some hassle. The agency was indeed asking $350 for anyone WITH his or her own demo to be included on the CD, and $600 for anyone without a demo to be on the CD, the $600 including an in-house producer making the demo for the client and including it on the house CD.


Hi Again, Becky,

I'm glad the advice helped. Yeah, if they're charging people who already have produced reels just to be
included on their in-house reel... that's a big scam right there. Run and run fast. Good job keeping your intuition tuned in!

A dear friend of mine swears by Nancy Wolfson as a great VO coach and reel producer. Other reputable coaches who produce reels are Terry Berland, Susan Blu, Aliso Creek, and Kalmenson & Kalmenson. What I would suggest, really, is for you to post on The Bone-Yard, Wolfesden, Actorsite, et. al., that you are looking for a VO coach who does classes that result in a reel. You will get so much first-hand advice there, for sure! Also, ask your current and previous acting and vocal coaches for recommendations.

I recommend, before you do anything, that you check out a couple of great books: The Art of Voice Acting - The Craft and Business of Performing for Voice-Over, There's Money Where Your Mouth Is - An Insider's Guide to a Career in Voice-Overs, Making Money in Voice-Overs - Winning Strategies to a Successful Career in TV Commercials Radio and Animation, Word of Mouth - A Guide to Commercial Voice-Over Excellence.

You can go to Samuel French and flip through any of those, just to see what you might want to buy. Some of the tips you'll get just by browsing will help a great deal, I'm sure. Hope this gets you started.

Oh, one more thing... Back Stage West will come out with a spotlight issue, 6/20/02, all about voiceovers. How's that for good timing?

Take care, and keep doing good work!

- Bon

Posted by bonnie at 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2002

Hi Bloggers

First off - did my Madd Libs Oscar Speech thingy not come through? I posted it in the TV Blog, so that you could have an opportunity to write your speech before the telecast. Hmm. Lemme see if I can find the link. Ahh... here 'tis: Oscar Speech.

Now... Who watched the Boxing Match on Fox last night? Wow! No surprises in the outcome. I missed Danny's radio show this morning, though. I'm sure it was quite entertaining. Anyone lose money on this crazy event? Ideas of who will be up next?

Blog Comments:

Amy - Thank you for the 411. Very cool to go back and forth to NY and Boston (two favorite cities of mine, along with San Fran, Athens, and DC... hmm... it's like all of my cities are represented in Chippernet. That's so cool). Anyway, I know nothing of Brooklyn, so I guess I really don't know what I'm talking about. Big bummer about the lockers at Penn Station. One of my favorite things to do as a Delta Brat is fly to a city I love with a backpack for a change of clothes, store the airplane dress in the locker at the main terminal and go exploring for the day. I'm guessing that's all out of the question now. I've only taken one flight since 9/11 and that was to Sacramento to see Keith's fam.

Andy - Yay! Good for you! I quit a few years ago! Don't be big tobacco's bitch! Yay for you! Stay strong and watch how healthy you'll feel by summer! Woo hoo!

Big Mike - I so want digital pics of your world. That barber pole story was almost as good as the hotdog one. Keep 'em coming -- and don't get deported! That would suck. Oh, did you do anything touristy yet like go visit the "Axis of Evil" exhibit?

Chip - If you see anything in Athens paying $45k, that's a good thing. Nice high salary for that standard of living. I've only had a couple of jobs (back before freelancing) and the benefits were not included in the total salary I was told I earned. Generally, the benefit packages, if quantified, would be about $8k - $10k, which is a pretty big chunk of the income contracted. Hope that info helps. No matter what, I'm sure you're being underpaid at the Academy, but that's just from my own personal experience there.

Hey, tell me more about your mom building a new house! Will she move the doggie graves?

Courtney - I've only watched about three episodes of the X Files since Duchovny left, and I think two of those were ones where he made a guest appearance or something. Such a damn shame. Yes, the idea is that he will come back for the season (and series) ender and wrap all mysteries up. I hope I remember to watch, but honestly, my heart's not in that show anymore.

I agree that Mike's Blog is way entertaining. Hey Chip, is there a way to list on the main page when each Blog was last updated? I'm just so lazy that I've quit clicking on Cash's, Sean's, and Jenny's Blogs -- and almost missed out on Andy's, but just happened to click on it today.

Yes, Courtney, I guess we shocked the poor little jade plant. We started it out in water and then put it in soil after about two months of it growing new little roots and buds, and, that same day, put it outside, and it was cold that night. So... lots of shock to its system. Oh well, we'll try again. Thanks for the info. I'm just so clueless about all things plant-like.

Glad you like the photo of the cats. They are holy terrors. But I love them so much! Such a nice piece of Mom's energy to have in my life. They really are her two sides, so to speak. As I type this, Archie (the great pumpkin) is sitting on the cordless phone, dialing... well, Big Mike in Korea, probably. Gotta extract that phone before he makes a connection to who knows where. Talented kids, these.

Keith's recovery is coming along, thanks for asking. He's in a lot of pain (shoulder, mainly) and all of his road rash is healing nicely. His big issue is the shoulder stuff and it's pretty bad. Bad news for me is, I pinched a nerve in my back the other day and I had to take his Vicodin. Big scary, being a former pain killer addict, to take anything, but I was in so much pain, I had no choice. Still pretty sore today. Sucks.

Catch Phrase sounds awesome. I am so putting that on my list!

Dera - Yay! Glad to see you blogging again. And I really like the rock pics in your template. Very pretty. And it's wonderful that you survived the ride in the Big Benz. Does Chip have a suitable nickname for the car yet?

Sara - LOL about Big Mike posting from Portland. I really like that idea! Ha ha!

Shelley - YES! Please do share the bike-type lawyer contacts with me! I got an email address from Chip (he's pretty sure it's your address) and emailed you to ask the same, so sorry if this is a duplicate request, but I wanted to be sure to get your attention and definitely take you up on your kind offer to help us connect with someone here. Yes, it was the driver's fault. Already, his insurance company is calling with a settlement offer. Keith is too nice about that kind of stuff. He never wants it to appear that he's taking advantage of anyone, so he's now pretty sure he needs to defer to an expert in the matter, to keep him from being silly and accepting a settlement that will really only cover the cost of the ambulance ride. Again, thanks. Keith has learned that riding a bike in a non-bike-friendly town is not a good idea (even though he was in the frickin' bike lane)!

Susan - Ew to the Phillip Morris employee benefit story. I am SO sharing that with everyone I know. Just really evil! Thanks for the laugh.

Stephanie W. - What are you testing in Amsterdam?

Tina - Congrats on the 4% increase. That's almost a "you rock" raise. ;)

Okay, gang, that's it for me. I'm in too much pain to sit up right now and I really need to finish my article for the paper. Tomorrow is a Nurse Bonnie day for D (errands and such). Her next surgery is Monday. Keep us in your thoughts.
Barry's book

My epiphany of the night: I live my life like an interviewer on the red carpet. I'm listening to you. I'm asking (somewhat) intelligent questions. I'm right there with you. But I'm constantly looking just over your shoulder, in case someone better is coming up the path. Now, that's deep. [from Dead Laszlo's Oscar Wrap Edition, 2001]

Posted by bonnie at 1:52 PM

March 12, 2002

ActorsBon: From Model to Actor

Dear Bonnie,

Fantastic job on the interviews! FANTASTIC! I have been looking for something like this, you may have saved me a lot of time. I am coming from a successful modeling career and going into acting. It took me years to learn the ropes of the way modeling really works and I've been hoping to find some way to learn them in acting.

Actually I have a couple of simple questions. I plan to be in Hollywood. I believe training is important. Mary Jo Slater mentioned a few universities that she respected. Are any of those here in the L.A. area? Also, I know that there must be some respected managers and agents (does a person really need both?) in the area, some that are professional and work best with these casting directors. Is there a list of some sort that you know of?

Take care and THANKS,

- Tory

Dear Tory,

Thanks so much for your email. You're ahead of the game for having "learned the ropes" in modeling. You'll at least be prepared for what you need to look out for in acting. More than anything, stay smart about the business, study with people you trust, and find a way to learn from every experience. Okay, that being said, here's some specific answers to your questions.

You'll find that everyone has a different opinion on whether or not you need to be trained at a university for theatre. A college degree is always an asset, whatever the degree is in, but as for the idea of coming to LA to go to get a BFA or MFA in theatre, you'd probably do better choosing a school in your area. I'm not saying there aren't great programs in LA, just that they are very competitive and you'd do better to get a degree before coming out here, if that is your choice. Back Stage West has a guide to colleges and schools you might want to check out. Go to the website to find out about back issues. Also, Samuel French bookstore is a great resource for actors.

As for managers and agents, let me address these separately. Managers are not regulated by SAG or AFTRA, so you'll want to make sure that your manager is at least a member of TMA, the Talent Managers' Association. Agents should be SAG franchised, and SAG offers a list of these for the cost of a self addressed, stamped envelope. Go to the SAG website to get more information. For more in-depth information, browse the racks at Samuel French and find the guide that works the best for your style.

Once you've gotten a list of agents and managers you're interested in, you still have to find out if they are accepting new clients, if they are on your level (meaning, you don't want to get lost in a sea of faces just like yours), and if they have a good reputation for getting in to the best casting directors. The only way to find that out is through knowing people in the business who will give you their opinions. A wonderful website I like to recommend is a bulletin board discussion group of professional actors: The Wolfesden. Sterling Wolfe, along with a few other actors, put this site together as a way for us to discuss this crazy business, network, and get advice. I suggest that you read through the posts, do a search of the archives, and generally read up on topics of interest before posting your first message. That way, you can make sure not to ask a question that's just been answered, at length, in a post below.

Do you need both a manager and an agent? Depends. Since you come from a modeling background, you may want to have a separate print agent on top of those two. After a while, you'll want a business manager on top of that. Publicist too. This can get pretty confusing. Again, Samuel French offers books on Agents, Managers, Casting Directors, all sorts of great references. No one can tell you when the right time is to have more than one person representing you. That is up to you. Some doors, a manager can get you through. Some doors, only an agent can. Again, if it's a big agency, you may want the individual attention a manager could give you. It's so hard for me to assume what's best for you!

As for workshops, there are a bunch of those. Casting Directors' and their assistants conduct workshops, agents do too, and so do managers. So do folks that have no attachment to any sort of potential job. The best way to take care of yourself is to find classes by reputable teachers (ask around) who will let you audit a class. Auditing is important because you can get a sense of the teacher's style and personality, plus know if the type of students s/he attracts are on your level.

The best advice I can give you is to keep asking questions. No one will fault you for being new to town, so just ASK. Go to a search engine and find out about the sites I recommended like SAG and Samuel French and also back issues of trade papers that might serve you well. Just do your homework, keep learning from every possible source, and remember that opinions are just that, opinion - not fact. Research will pay off!

Good luck, and let me know how it goes for you!

- Bon

Posted by bonnie at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2002

Get started on your Oscar Acceptance Speech (Mad Libs style).

Posted by bonnie at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2002

I'm addicted to the Game Show Network.

I think I figured out why. It's always happy there. No matter what silliness is going on in the world, there is something very sweet going on on DirecTV 309, and it's just enough to remind me that life is good. It started out with a very healthy Match Game addiction, but now I've realized, that unless it's Let's Make a Deal or Press Your Luck, I'm happy with just about anything on that channel.

16.jpgI am sweet, like Sugar.

I am all sweetness and light; fluffy bunnies and dancing fairies; happiness and joy. Too much of me will make you sick. What Flavour Are You?

I swear I love these quizzes. Much less healthy than my Game Show Network addiction, I'd bet.

Evil Animals

Realizing we've spent more money on these cats this year than on ourselves or the TicTac. That's not sad, it's just devotion to the animals' happiness. Oh, my, do they love the California Condo and the slanted cardboard track with catnip rat hidden inside the case! There's kitty drool all over the dang thing, from them trying to out-mark one another. We JUST brought it home a few hours ago. Oh, boy... another toy to destroy.

Okay, so what's been going on out here and why have I been so non-Blogging? Well...

You already know about D and her breast cancer and the more bad news and the more surgery and the evil harsh chemotherapy and all of that. That's been a major time consumer for me, as, working freelance, I'm the one with the best schedule for helping her and still being able to make a living. I just need her to know, no matter what, she's not alone.

Well, last week (and one day the week before), I subbed in for the casting editor at the paper that runs my column. I do this about once every three months or so and it's a nice little diversion for me, plus a good way to stay in sync with the overall editorial mission of the paper. I've been doing this job in a sub capacity for 2.5 years now. Well, there's been a significant downturn in the quality of service our clients and our readers are getting, in terms of casting notices in the paper. I realized things were about to get really ugly, and in the wake of our latest corporate buyout (we're now owned by a MAJOR media conglomerate--pretty sure that'll get me out of jury duty next month), it's just getting worse. So, I pulled the associate publisher slash editor in chief aside and asked for a meeting (which was fine, because we also needed to discuss my book proposal and the timeline for hearing back on that from New York). I didn't want to be one of those people who just goes, "There's a problem [pointing]. There's one [pointing elsewhere]. Oh, and there's another problem [still pointing]." I want to be the type who says, "There's a problem and here's my idea." So, that's what I did. Looks like my next project will be creating a style manual for casting notices in the paper and doing a little training session with the newer, younger gals in the office about why it is the way it is. During some of the editing last week, the casting assistant said, "Wow! Reading your proofer's marks is giving me so much of a grammar lesson flashback! I'd forgotten that rule." Seems that the casting editor figures it's easier to make all the changes herself rather than tell anyone what the actual right way is to do something... so they never learn and therefore continue making the same mistakes. So, so, very inefficient.

Surreal moment: just saw coach Tubby Smith being interviewed about bobcats on Animal Planet. What the eff is that?

Anyway, as usual, I was asked to come work in the office full-time, something I've turned down again and again. There's just absolutely no way, financially, that they could make that offer worth my time. Still, it was a good week.

On Tuesday, while we were really crunched on the deadline from hell (since the assistant had decided to put off on Monday night all of the things that would've made Tuesday morning a quick once-over prior to production and then an easy stretch), my pager was going off like crazy. Too crazed in the office to return a page, so I just kept letting it go. Finally, we were on to the production phase and the assistant girl went home, very ill, since I could just cover everything else for the day, and I returned the page... to Keith's cell phone. Turns out he'd been calling from Cedars. He'd been hit by a truck while riding his bike to work in Santa Monica. Yep. Day six of his job at Yahoo and he's run over (well, actually, he flipped over the hood of the truck and then landed on his shoulder and head, rolled to his other shoulder and elbow, and then skidded a few feet on his backpack -- big endorsement for Jansport; not a hole in the dang bag, and it kept his back from receiving the same scalping that his shoulders received) on the way there. Of course, it's too soon for any sort of insurance coverage to have kicked in with the job... so, he's in the ambulance on the way to Cedars, having given his bike to the guy in the truck (who took it to have repaired, rebuilt, whatever), and wondering how the hell we're going to afford all of this. He had a CAT-scan and X-rays and got cleaned up, splinted, and sent on his way, Vicodin in hand. My friend Mike went and picked him up, took him home.

Of course, I'm feeling like the most evil girlfriend in the world. My fiancé is trying to get in touch with me and I'm editing in Quark. What the eff?! I suck!

Keith was feeling well enough by last night for us to go out and see Faith Salie (fellow North Springs High School survivor) do standup at the HaHa Café. In attendance were two other North Springs types: (another) Keith, visiting from Atlanta, and Stacy, who lives here in LA. We've all known each other since 1983. Very strange to imagine having known someone that long and still having anything to talk about. Faith was a genius, and she was thrilled that I put together a rather large group of friends to come see her work. I just go out so infrequently anymore that I really do love getting to gather a group to do something fun like see a dear friend do standup. She's got this whole bit about how she's a carney attraction back home in Georgia, being over 29 and unmarried. "Look at the spinster woman, Ashleigh. Don't touch her! You might catch some of that feminism!" Anyway, it's great stuff. Last night, she had new material about being a single mom (to her 31-year-old boyfriend). "This week we're working on putting the toilet seat down." Very cute.

We all went out to a piano bar after and it was such a great scene. There's this massive projection screen and a satellite dish... they're having a major Oscar party there. Could be fun. Not sure yet... there's always so many of those worth going to (I like the one with the biggest cash prize, as I've won the pool three years running). Anyway, it was great to have basketball on where the players were 15' tall... but no sound, so that we could enjoy the vocal stylings of... well, whoever that guy was.

Okay... who famous have I spied of late? Oh, did an interview on the lot of Alias and saw Victor Garber and Patricia Wettig (so, now that her hubby's crossed the line from executive producer to guest-star, looks like she'll be along for a few episodes). Attended a wonderful talk with Sir Ian McKellen that our paper put on Monday night. He was so very generous with his time. His answers about the craft of acting and his take on his journey as a performer and as a man were so genuine. Very cool guy. I got pretty ticked off at all of the, "Would you do Gandolf for us?" questions. So lame, reducing this amazing actor to stupid human tricks. Still, he managed to navigate the fools and handle everything with grace and class. Last night... Stacey Stillman (lawsuit-happy bimbo from Survivor) was at the comedy club. Charles Barkley was at the piano bar. And today, while in a toystore on Rodeo Drive, Keith and I realized we were shopping right next to Mike Myers and his wife. Very cool. It made me giggle.

Question: why is the term "on line" correct for (what I would say) "waiting IN line"? What is this "waiting on line" thing? I don't get it, I don't like it, and I don't buy it. Could someone explain?

Loved catching up on the Blogs. Lemme see if I can get all of my comments in order.

Reading: Courtney - great take on Shakespeare. I'm all over your comments! Excellently worded and so right ON! You would LOVE my friend Barry's short film: Romeo & Juliet, Revisited. I did the makeup, so I may be biased, but dang it's such a great adaptation of The Bard's work.

Watching: Tina - Danny Bonaduce is a morning DJ on a big radio station out here. They taped the boxing match this week. The day of, they were on the air with people calling in non-stop going, "Danny, you are gonna spank a Brady!" And Danny's response, to every caller, was, "That's what *I'm* talkin' about!" It was quite funny, all the trash-talking. Should be interesting to see who wins (of course, they couldn't talk about it after the day of the taping). You've heard, I'm sure, that Amy Fisher had to drop out due to the fact that her parole officer wouldn't let her leave the state for the taping. Tonya Harding ended up fighting Paula Jones, who Danny said was a real hick (no... really?). The mystery fighter against Vanilla Ice was Tod Bridges. Gotta love good TV. I'm so ready to watch that mess!

Amy - why do you go back and forth to New York so much?

Big Mike - how awesome about the hotdogs! That is just the coolest!

Chip - where is this Athens Music Factory? Is it the old place on Clayton that spawned a gun-wielding brawl every other weekend back when I was there? What was that place called? Shae looks great. What grade is she in now? LOL on the Statesboro paper and Worth's new setup. That's just awesome. Please tell the folks I said hi and I love them! Acer haikus rock, baby. You are so gifted with that stuff! Dear GAWD I am SO all over that Dead Letter Office keywrap at eBay! What the eff... you gave up eBay for Lent or something, Chip? What's that about? What can *I* buy for you there, then? I'm so there! Alf bookmarks: I still have mine! And Devlin... man, I had no idea he was still around. How about Ort? Any sightings recently? Oh, and Chip... what do the letters at the top of the page (in the < title >code< / title >) mean? I've tried to figure it out and I'm at a loss. Also... what was the best $750 you ever spent? Tell me!

Courtney - I am so sad about your moth. That's just tragic. Did you have any Jade-related advice for me? What is Catch Phrase? I'd like to know about it. We hung out with a great new couple (the guy was an actor in the film we shot in December, so he and his wife joined us last night for the standup and she's from Texas -- great gal) who want us to come over and play Trivial Pursuit. And I was thinking cards.... So, I'm up for learning about games that are fun and not too silly, but not so crazy that they'll make me super-competitive either.

Jocelyn - I just love all of your fun quiz links and little pictures. Makes me feel like a real slacker for just typing about my life when I Blog, instead of offering up some cool places for you guys to go online. Could I get fired for that?

Susan - Sean in the bathroom... very bizarre. I mean, I know guys are all about their bathroom time... but the CD player and the headphones? That's a little odd. I guess Keith does that too, but he's in a bubble bath when he's in that privacy mode (and usually reading Linux books... the perv).

Trevor - I love your tale of poker! Such good reading, there.

Oh, wow... the messenger guy just showed up (finally) with the blue lines on a casting director's book I'm reviewing for the paper. I think it's called, "Wanna be an Actor? ACT Like One!" and it'll be out in April. He's going to do Rosie, the Today Show, and Regis & Kelley. So, it's been like pulling teeth to get an advance copy of this. I think I'll start reading. Maybe more Blogging in a few days. Keith will take my car a couple of times to work (the bus takes forever) and that'll leave me here with time on my hands for that sort of thing (I hope). We're attending the Garland Awards Monday night (like the LA Tony Awards), Faith's play ("A... My Name is Alice") on Tuesday night, and then Wednesday, I am parking my ass in front of the TV (after doing an interview) so that I don't miss the boxing event of the year. One thing that gets me, with this satellite dish, is that except for the local channels, I have to look at the TV Guide and imagine I'm looking at EST. Dammit if I miss one more Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Seasons due to the time zone crap... I'm gonna... well... I guess I'm gonna wait for the next marathon one weekend and get all caught up. Sigh.

Bye, all. XXOO
Barry's book

Yet again: "Red Dwarf makes my brain want to jump through my nose and destroy my television." - Jay, on The Psycho Ward, 7/1/01

Posted by bonnie at 7:29 PM

March 5, 2002

ActorsBon: Ten Answers for the Price of One

Dear Bonnie,

I am a very frustrated well-trained and good actor. I just got my MFA in theater and am teaching acting. I am an actor, singer, and comedian who has been unable to get an agent because I am no beauty or what ever and no I'm not SAG yet. I am also gay and although that really doesn't matter I feel a little type cast.

Anyway, my questions are: 1. There is a new gay network starting with MTV and ShowTime and I have to get my info to the right people before programming is set. I have several wonderful characters that would be perfect as comedian hosts or main characters on new sitcoms etc. I also have a number of great ideas for killer show with several treatments. Is there anyway I could send you a tape to look at of my stuff and see if you thought that I had a product. I am really lost, but I am not being some diva, I am good, and my stuff is legit and real and sometimes funny. Anyway, write if you think you can offer any advice and would look my stuff over. Here comes another pilot season and there it goes. I'm 36 and I am a great character if I just had someone pushing me, I could make them a lot of money. Sorry if this sounds pathetic but it is.


- KC

Dear KC,

Thanks for writing! Okay... where to begin?

1. Stay focused. Don't get frustrated. There are SO many ways in... and so many more ways than anyone really knows. Don't ever think you've exhausted all of your resources. Your energy just needs to be focused on one route at a time.

2. What's that route, right now? You have the training. You are teaching, so you have the resources at your fingertips. You can do more than "just act" and, if you can do comedy, I suspect you can also write your own material and think on your feet. All good things.

3. Being SAG before you're ready is a dangerous thing. Not being SAG at a certain age comes with a stigma. I know that's the hard part, right now. If your primary goal is getting your SAG card, you should sign with some of those Extras Services and then go on every job you can, making nice with the AD, and mentioning that you're looking for vouchers. You'll get them. Just be persistent and flexible -- and most of all, professional.

4. You don't need to send a tape to me. While I'm sure I'd enjoy seeing it, it doesn't really matter if I think you're talented or not. You should send your work to people who have the power to hire you. That said, you really don't want to send a tape that isn't requested. CDs just don't have time to view unsolicited tapes.

5. Create a great press kit. It should have your headshot and resume, any press that's been written about you (reviews of shows you've been in, flyers from stand-up you've done, etc.). Send THAT to CDs and to the producers of the new gay network you've been reading about in the trades (I'm really excited about this, BTW). Ask, in your cover letter, if you may set up a meeting or send in a demo tape. If you have a show going, invite them to the show.

6. If you don't have a show going... get in something. Take one of those great stand-up classes that ends in a performance at The Comedy Store or The Improv. Get in an improv show with a small theatre company, so that whenever someone asks, "Where can I see you?" you always have a quick response (and a flyer) handy.

7. Beauty or no beauty... there is a place for everyone in this town. Know how to market yourself. It's not about being the best looking guy in your category. It's about knowing what your category is and being the most prepared, most professional, most talented YOU you can be. I have a dear friend who makes a TON of money being "that weird guy" in a ton of shows and on commercials. Know your market.

8. Your being gay really shouldn't have anything to do with how you are cast. If it does, then you need to decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Once you decide what your category is and how to best market yourself, if being gay gets in the way of how that formula works, start looking at ways to market yourself in the way that works best with being gay. To that end, finding a way to contact the producers of the new gay cable network will help quite a bit. But they aren't the only game in town... just stay up on the trades.

9. Networking groups are wonderful. Not only will you have the resources you need, right at your fingertips, you'll find that there are people right where you are, in terms of their experience in LA, and they can give you advice or at least be a friend to commiserate with, should you need that. I don't know of any specifically gay-themed acting networks out there, but that doesn't mean none exist. I would spend some time at Samuel French, browsing the racks, and see if any of the guides there include reference to groups you'd want to check into. I would also recommend that you visit a web-board called The Wolfesden and read the archives. This is a great board of working actors, managers, and writers who post about acting, the biz, specific questions about all different elements of the experience, etc. There are a bunch of boards, but this one is a personal favorite. Of course, you've found your way to The Actor's Bone, so you're already one step ahead of the game right there.

10. Stay focused. I know that was item number one as well... but really, just know that you're not in this alone! It's all a part of the journey.

Let me know how things go for you!

Good luck, and thanks again for writing!

- Bon

Posted by bonnie at 5:16 PM | Comments (0)