November 29, 2002
What's Really Important
Posted by bonnie at 10:44 AM
November 28, 2002
Well... I asked for it.
More later. Must bandage finger. And shoulder. But that's from the bird.
Posted by bonnie at 11:13 PM
November 27, 2002
So, I get up Tuesday morning (okay, so it was 12:20pm, what of it?) and decide that I'll do just a little online whatnot before cutting myself off from the Internet long enough to get all of the non-Internet but very much computer-oriented things done that I must do before my Wednesday at the office and the subsequent dead-days for anyone in any office with whom I need to connect.
I'm in the middle of something pretty dang involved and important (natch) when the power goes out (at 1:22pm). Now, since I elected to pay my student loans this month rather than allocate that money to the purchase of a new battery for the iBook, everything goes bye-bye. I sigh. These things happen. The Santa Ana winds, in addition to raising the temp up above 90 degrees in the last couple of days, have knocked down trees and branches, causing intermittent outages all over town. I am patient. I go outside and chat up the landlady while she waters her plants.
At about 1:50pm, we get power back. For two minutes. Back out again. For the long haul.
I catch up on my reading, and in an hour a stack of "to read later" copies of Daily Variety are read, interesting pieces relating to my world torn out and put aside. I pick up my "Correction Copy" of Casting Qs and resume finding the nit-pickiest corrections to make upon the revised printing (18 months away--but it's never too early to find fault with a product everyone is excited about). I know, by now, Keith is calling me to check in, let me know how well the drop-offs are going, see if I want a Smoothie brought home, etc. Of course, no one can reach me. I have no phone access due to the use of a cordless phone as our only phone-like source and the fact that no cell phone reception exists within a block of my apartment, on my cute little Visorphone. Can't get email, of course, due to the fact that I have no computer battery and... well the DSL box probably requires power too. Unreachable is kind of nice.
By 4pm, I realize there is nothing I'll be able to do in the apartment without creating some sort of light. So, I begin rigging up some flashlights (these cute little ones Keith got from the Saturn commercial he shot this summer...they were used as headlights in that world without cars spot), which--when shone onto the ceiling--do a fair job of lighting up the room. A little later, I will begin lighting candles and making sure there is a flashlight placed in locations I may need light later. I go back out and chat with the neighbors--there are now several of us hanging around, speculating on how far-reaching this particular outage is. One neighbor asks what I write and I tell him about the book. Suddenly, all my neighbors have a copy of the book. Good karma. I don't bake, so that's gotta be the neighborly thing I do, dammit.
As I've opened the screen door to hand over a book or two, Archie decides he needs to run out of the house (for the first time in his life) and bolt under some bushes. I grab him by the tail (I know, I know) and drag him back inside. I go outside and sit with my neighbors. Archie puts his claws into the screen door--stretching as high as he can reach--to let me know something isn't normal about this day.
Keith comes home, running in, out of breath, "Is something wrong with the phone?!?" "Yes, dear. It requires electricity." He looks around and suddenly understands the dark block, the dark apartment building, the dark apartments. Reminds me of that episode of "Roseanne" in which Jackie makes her entire breakfast at Roseanne's with no power, not realizing the blender, the microwave, and the fridge all have something in common until she calls and checks her messages, hearing Roseanne explain why they need candles. Roseanne observes, "Well, we now know the speed of stupid." Tee hee. I giggle and Keith doesn't know why. That's okay. My brain is happy for the laugh.
Keith heads out again to a casting director drop-off, but he'll return to grab a stack of books (to sell at the casting director's class in half an hour) and head out again. He assures me that, when he gets home, he'll cook a casserole for us, as we have one of those kits in the cupboard and our oven is gas. "Cool," I think, realizing that it is now coming up on 7pm and I am going to miss the (east coast feed) season premiere of "The Osbornes." Boo hiss.
I walk through the area with our landlady, lighting a few candles in preparation of neighbors coming home and needing to see their way to their front doors. Keith returns (with another $80 in sales) and we pack up the studio lot drop-offs for mailing, as he's met with little success gaining lot access to drop off copies of the book there. Good use of non-technology enhanced living. It's over too soon and I'm bored.
Keith learns, after taking the oven apart, that it includes a handy electric starter, and therefore protects the pilot light from being, well, lit unless electrically induced. So, he heads out, yet again, for a drive-thru dinner. I think he put the oven back together. I decide not to check. Are you feeling the foreshadowing?
At 9:30pm, we decide it's best just to go to bed. I have to work at the paper in the morning and MUST use the computer for a couple of hours before I leave, meaning I'll have to wake up really early, since we've been told not to expect power before midnight. Asleep quickly, then probably around 11pm, I hear power start back up (the ceiling fan comes on, the phone beeps, the alarm on the computer network sounds to make sure we know it's been using backup reserves). Keith mumbles, "Power's on." "I want to stay asleep." "Me too." So we do. Until 1am, when I'm up, too curious to not head back to the computer--but more than that, REALLY hot. I mean WAY hot. And since the Santa Anas have died down, the temperature is nowhere near the high level of the weekend...so why is it sweltering in here?
I enter the living room, turn on the computer, and head into the kitchen for some water. Ah. There's the source of the heat. Keith has left the oven on 400 degrees, and it has been baking air for at least two hours. Well, I guess it's good to know that the oven, at 400 degrees for two hours, can heat the whole apartment, all the way back to the bedroom.
Insert "good thing I love this man" eye roll here.
So, that's how my day without power went. Did I mention an email inbox filled with, "Where the hell are you?!?" messages? Yeah. That's good fun. I think I'll send folks, as a reply, a link to this here Blog. Yeah, that's an efficient choice.
"The fact that Susan and Sean were drinking Pepsi leads me to believe that there was at least one person trying to annoy another. On the positive side, it wasn't in Ottawa." - David's brilliance in SpyNotebook, Oct. 2002
Posted by bonnie at 2:09 AM
November 24, 2002
Love for Theatre
The 2002 Ovations were wonderful. Theatre LA did a great job putting the gala event together, and Alfred Molina was pure genius, calling out to the audience of 800+, "Are there any theatre people here tonight?" The love in that room was something only theatre people could "get." And man, was it good love!
Major shout out to my dear friend Faith Salie and the rest of the Colony Theatre ensemble for kicking ass with The Laramie Project. Also, kudos to Taper's Flower Drum Song, for taking several awards and Road Theatre Company for its multi-award-winning Napoli Milionaria as well as Deaf West's Big River.
Amazing night filled with joyful actors who may happen to have TVQ, but--much more importantly--who love theatre. Period.
Yay! Faith!!!! Yay! Theatre!!
Posted by bonnie at 11:35 PM
November 22, 2002
Jury Duty-a-go-go, 11/21/02
7:48am - Keith drops me at 555 W. Temple. Jury duty is at 7:45am at 210 W. Temple. Oops. Glad I wore tennis shoes.
8am - Long line at security check-in. One woman has her scissors confiscated. Of course, there was a message on the call-in line last night about not bringing scissors, knitting needles, etc. And why, if you did forget to remove the scissors you just happen to carry around with you, are those scissors HUGE?
8:20am - Orientation leaders explain to all 300 of us that most in the room have attempted to postpone or get excused prior to today and that, while one-on-one interviews are discouraged, they are available, for people facing extreme hardship for having to do jury duty. Half of the occupants of the room leave to go downstairs, speak with interviewers one-on-one to try to get excused.
8:40am - I notice most of those folks have returned to the room, one-by-one.
8:42am - There is a very "traffic school" vibe to this room, but somehow, a few of us seem happy to be here. I mean, why not? Gotta do it at some point, right?
8:55am - I smell first juror steeped in liquor.
9:10am - I learn we can donate our mileage checks to charity (mine will be $1.20).
9:14am - I learn May is the month to aim for jury duty as that's when there is Juror Appreciation Week (which includes games, snacks, and Salsa dancing).
9:18am - I learn we are welcome to grant interviews to media reps downstairs after our trials end.
9:22am - I learn there are fresh baked cookies for sale on 13th floor.
9:23am - I wonder why on Earth most buildings do not have a 13th floor, how the whole "bad luck with 13" superstition got started and why we indulge that superstition by removing row 13 from airplanes, 13th floor from buildings, and even apartment 13 from apartment buildings.
9:30am - We are encouraged to use cell phones in this room, but asked to keep our language polite and volume low.
9:32am - I learn we can say "sidebar" to the judge during selection if we want to answer a personal question privately.
9:35am - I learn that DASH costs a quarter and we can take it to Alvero St.
9:50am - Roxanne, sitting next to me, points out a sleeping man and says, "That's the way to behave on a panel during jury selection. They won't want you if you fall asleep easily." She may be on to something.
10:23am - I am the last juror called in the 2nd group to be considered (the first group was for a 44-day trial, phew!). That means I get to carry the master lists of the potential jurors' names and the time sheet, which I must return to the jury holding people on our first break. Also, if no one collects us in 30 minutes, I must rally and return us all to jury holding. Wow. Is there a runner-up who can take over these duties if I fail to perform?
10:30am - Our group of 50 has two David Henrys. One is sent back to the jury pool, but first, the two David Henrys shake hands. I find that amusing.
10:40am - We're in the audience area of the courtroom, and our judge tells us we may only bring in water, adding, "What you spill today, you may sit in tomorrow." Our judge is a very pleasant man named Michael M. Johnson. He seems to enjoy his job and the process of justice. Makes me eager to start the process itself.
10:42am - I notice the attorneys checking us out, making notes, during the judge's opening remarks. I wonder what they are noting, what they look for and what things they can discern from looks alone, how often they are right, etc.
10:44am - As the judge goes over the charges and asks whether any of us has a relationship with anyone on the witness list, the victim's family, or the defendant, I realize that the defendant is the young woman seated right in front of me. I had no idea that defendants were in the courtroom during jury selection. It's not that I find that odd, I'm just surprised, as it's something I hadn't considered.
11:20am - After the judge has acknowledged the fact that potential jurors, at this point, have had the opportunity to postpone or get excused in writing prior to today, by phone prior to today, and again this morning in one-on-one interviews, he says, "If you're in this room, you're not likely to be excused. Still, if you have a case of extreme hardship, I will hear it now." Finally, the last of 20 potential jurors speaks as to why he should have an excuse on the basis of hardship granted. I find it embarrassing to hear what excuses are given--as if they hope their potential bias should be an excuse, rather than waiting for the attorneys to toss them for exactly that, and then call their jury duty served--and I wonder why people booked holiday travel tickets, non-refundable, for the week after their first day of jury duty. Duh! I mean, c'mon! Have common sense.
11:23am - The judge is nicer than I would be. Four potential jurors are permitted to postpone (are not excused, which is what they wanted) due to the judge's holiday cheer. Of course, had they stuck around, they may have been dismissed anyway and then jury duty would be over. Now they have to come back for mandatory service in December. Pff. Have fun, folks. Of course, as I'm feeling cynical, I realize they'll all just say they have Christmas travel plans and try to get out of it again. I am fascinated that anyone would get to the point where they are physically at the courthouse, having already committed half a day to the process, and then try to get the day not to count. People... odd.
11:30am - I notice the prosecutor has a three-ring binder with the accused's last name in print, followed by "MURDER" written big and bold, facing out toward us--very clever.
11:35am - The judge finishes his instructions and the first 20 potential jurors are interviewed. I remain in the audience.
11:38am - I am shocked at how many of the potential jurors have been victims of crime. No... I'm not shocked--I'm saddened.
11:42am - The scary sleeping man from Roxanne's earlier observation is in that first 20. He, awakened abruptly (I think it's an act), says he's a psychotherapist, as is his ex, who is also now his fiancé. We laugh. Guess the old coot's not so bad after all.
12:17pm - I spend $10 on a bologne-on-white sandwich, chips, bowl of fresh fruit, and a latte. What a racket!
12:20pm - I sit with a woman who is in another jury pool. We chat about family, about non-case-related elements of our experiences, and the fact that jury selection can take longer than a day. She has been in jury selection for two days, with no end in sight. She mentions that she is very scared of being selected, as the defendants in her case are two gang members with tattoos on their foreheads. I am glad our case isn't gang-related. I hadn't even though of that element.
1pm - I call my voicemail to find nine new messages. Keith is concerned about whether I got here, after realizing he dropped me off at the wrong courthouse. I call him to let him know I'm fine, to come up with a pick-up plan, and to see how his day of book drop-offs is going.
1:30pm - The woman I am convinced is the defendant's mom goes into another courtroom. Oops.
1:32pm - Sleeping codger man is late. The judge asks the clerk to go check the bathrooms. I notice a total of four missing potential jurors. Two of them had asked for sidebars due to their crime-victim history. I wonder if they were excused. One of the missing is the woman whose son and husband are in prison. The fourth missing is the old coot, as I already mentioned. I'm realizing I have developed a very definite attitude problem with this guy. Wonder what that's about.
1:35pm - I like our judge. He's nice, has a good sense of humor. I really hope I do get on this jury. I'd like to be a part of this process. It truly is fascinating.
1:38pm - Three of the missing jurors are now back. Only one was excused (the woman who works with the DA's office as a representative for social services).
1:39pm - A new potential juror is put in the DA's office woman's chair. He has had the same car stolen three times. He jokes that he got it back twice, and the third time, "let 'em have the damn thing." We all laugh.
1:41pm - I notice a potential juror smacking gum, despite the sign at the courtroom entrance: "No Gum-Chewing in Court."
1:42pm - I realize I've rolled my eyes about a thousand times today. I am not a very tolerant person.
1:44pm - Potential jurors begin listing their positive and negative interactions with cops. Some people are listing things from many years ago, saying these interactions traumatized them... "Oh, but I can't recall when it was." More eye-rolling from me, I'm sure.
1:45pm - Okay, this is so funny. This woman KNOWS the park where the murder took place. She begins preaching about how awful that park is. After hours of having heard the victim's name, the date the murder took place, the location, etc., suddenly (I suspect when this woman realizes she hasn't been excused for any other reason she has listed that she'd hoped would get her sent out), she breaks down. "Oh! I know that family! I know his father and his sister. Oh, lord, I do know them. I just now recalled the name." Dear GAWD!
1:55pm - We learn that gang affiliation may, in fact, be brought up: Hoover Crips.
2pm - I am now almost certain that the two women (one pregnant) and two small children from the hallway are here with our defendant. The adults take turns coming into the courtroom and observing the selection process. I begin to think, it's just so sad--whether the defendant is guilty or innocent--for members of her entire family to have their lives put in turmoil while this type of case proceeds. The crime took place almost two-and-a-half years ago. I can't wait to look up the case info online when I get home. I recall that we have been instructed not to do such things, if we are selected for jury service. Yeah, right.
2:20pm - It is simply fascinating to hear people attempt to throw out phrases and pieces of information, hoping they'll trigger something that will get them dismissed when nothing else has worked so far. I'm wondering why people ignored the dress code and security issues clearly stated on the phone call-in line. Are people that reluctant to follow directions, or are they insubordinate? Or is it something else altogether? I am really turning this day into a little sociology class.
2:45pm - Potential juror makes a broad statement about the right to live, another makes a statement about gun control. I wonder how much of this talk is evasive action on their part and how much is legitimately something about which they are passionate.
3:45pm - I'm excused. I was called to the jury interview area, met with mildly amused reactions to the way I answered the "occupation" item (I mean, come ON, how could I give just one answer and have that sum up what I do?), and called up for a sidebar so that the judge, attorneys, and court reporter could get details on my history as a victim of a violent crime, why no charges were pressed, how able I would be to remove my experience from the mindset I'd use in serving on a jury in which part of the defense would be that the defendant had been the victim of a similar crime prior to the murder, etc. Of course, the defense attorney wanted me. The attorney representing the people did not, and I was sent on my merry way. Well, not so merry... the day ain't over yet!
4pm - Back into the pool. I'm hoping they don't call me to another panel mainly because, at this hour, no panel would be decided and I would HAVE TO come back tomorrow. A veteran of juries (four times serving, and sat in the jury box from the first round in our selection process, was excused just before I was), to whom I refer as "the Susan Lucci of our case," and I joke about taking a very long pee break so as not to get back into the pool in time for a call. We've been warned that we could be called as late as 5pm (but could be dismissed as early as 4pm).
4:10pm - We're told to fill out mileage donation forms. Everyone gets excited because this means we're on our way out. I notice that the extremely high-maintenance woman who needed every instruction repeated at orientation this morning is getting hands-on help filling out her mileage donation form from the jury pool supervisor. I think she should NOT donate her $2 and buy a class in DUH, if at all possible. I find out she's a government employee. No. Comment.
4:18pm - Final roll call and dismissal. I am one of the last four names called. I feel like the fat kid in elementary school gym class, but I am so relieved to finally be called and sent on my way, I give out a "Woo hoo" and turn in my badge.
4:24pm - I'm at the corner of Temple and Broadway waiting for my baby.
4:33pm - He's here!
And so my civic duty is done, and I'm ineligible for jury duty service until November 22, 2003. God bless America.
Posted by bonnie at 3:25 AM
November 21, 2002
And yes, I'll post about jury duty later (I kept a journal... wheeeeeee). But for now... dig this:
Take One Bookstore, 11516 Santa Monica Blvd. (five blocks west of the 405) 310.445.4050 Wednesday, December 11th, 7:30pm, FREE OF CHARGE.
Take One and Back Stage West present another in a series of free casting director panels, this one in celebration of the publication of moderator Bonnie Gillespie's new book, Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews. Panel will feature casting directors Twinkie Byrd; Linda Phillips-Palo, CSA; and Mark Teschner, CSA.
Bring your headshots and Qs for Q&A!
Casting Director Bios:
Twinkie Byrd, casting director for many high-profile music videos, including Notorious B.I.G.'s "Sky's the Limit" and Ice Cube's soundtrack songs for "Friday After Next." Also cast several national commercials, TV shows such as MTV's "Lyricist's Lounge" and "Becoming," and did additional casting on the films "Blow" and "The Joy Luck Club."
Linda Phillips-Palo, CSA, independent casting director who frequently casts features for Francis Ford Coppola. Past casting credits include "Shetan, The Young Black Stallion" for Buena Vista, "Jeepers Creepers 2" for MGM, "The Rainmaker" for Paramount, and "The Virgin Suicides" for Paramount.
Mark Teschner, CSA, casting director of "General Hospital" since 1989. Former Vice President of the Casting Society of America. Has received one Emmy nomination and has won three CSA Artios Awards for excellence in casting. Mark is a former actor, so he knows what it's like on both sides of the casting desk.
Bonnie Gillespie--casting columnist for Back Stage West, author of "Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews," consultant on the business of acting, and owner of Cricket Feet Management.
Posted by bonnie at 8:27 PM
November 17, 2002
The book, she is here! Well, in Los Angeles, any way. Yes, Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews is at the warehouse and our distributor has said we are welcome to come by on Monday to pick up the comp copies we need. Wow! I am so very very very excited.
The battery in my iBook is dead. Did you know these things cost $160+ to replace? Dear me.
Currently riding the crest of a migraine. Not happy. I know it's stress-induced, but man, is it awful! Delightful new friend and actress I manage brought over some pain meds for me, so that I could be productive and also, well, have light or sound around me. I have a wet washcloth draped around my neck, and two good puppy dogs on the sofa, snoring. Keith is upstairs in the bed, not snoring.
We like pet-sitting here. It's very pretty and nice and comfy. Hate kicking it dial-up, but that's just me being spoiled.
I have to call that jury service phone line Sunday night to see if I'm called for jury duty Monday morning. Ick. If I'm in, I hope I get something good. If I'm not in, I have a LOT of work to do. Even if I'm in, I have a lot of work to do, but I won't be able to do it, obviously, as I'll be doing my civic duty.
Sunday is the judges screening for the film festival. We have about five hours of tapes to watch, based on the top scored ones from the lovely screeners' results.
The application is up at 15 Minutes of FEM. I strongly encourage ANY woman with ten minutes or more of stuff to say or do to get over there and fill out that application by December 13th. If being seen by industry professionals and sharing your craft with others is important to you, DO IT. Just amazing stuff, going on there!
Major controversy since the airing of the 20/20 piece last week. This town is filled with angry people, saying the investigative reporting was one-sided and unfair. I can't imagine how a report which contacted everyone on the "other side" of the issue to speak about what was discovered in undercover investigations could be considered one-sided. Honestly, the negative lashing-out that's going on now... I think that's the smell of fear.
Major major major thank you to BrYan for fixing my code issue with the Roxbury Search page. THANK YOU!
Can't believe I actually get to hold my book Monday. Wow wow wow.
That is all.
Brit is Brilliant: "That's what parenting is sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I've had to pull out the 'I mean business' attitude, then stomp off to my room to hide a giggle fit." - Nov. 2002, Somesuch-Whatnot
Posted by bonnie at 12:46 AM
November 13, 2002
A Request for Assistance
Anyone want to take a look at the Search Function over on Roxbury's website and tell me what's suddenly wrong with the java script code? It was working just fine until about a week ago. All I did was open it up in Netscape Composer, add a new title or two, and upload the puppy (something I've done a hundred times over the past three years). I'm stumped.
Posted by bonnie at 12:08 AM
November 12, 2002
Blogity Blog Blog
Gearing up to work three days in the office over at Back Stage West. I like going in every once in a while, to see what the world is like from the office side of things. Three days ought to do it.
Also going to pet-sit for a week. Two cute dogs. It'll be fun. Another little change of pace thing I like to do.
This weekend will be the Judges Screening portion of the ActorsBone ShortsFest. Our screeners have been so rockstar about everything. They've worked hard to get us to the point where we only need judges to screen the Top 20, which should be less painful than screening every single entry, as you can imagine. We're very excited about the film fest. It's really going to happen! And that's something we can all be proud of.
Got a new neighbor here in the Hollywood Hills this weekend. Keith met her. He did the whole, "Here's who we are, where we live, what we do," thing...and she countered with nada. No info whatsoever. What is UP with people? That's the second time that happened to Keith. I asked him to try and get someone's name for me at the casting director panel last week, as I'd forgotten it. He went up, introduced himself and welcomed the gal. Nope. She shook his hand and said thank you. What is your name?! Don't people know this?
Anyway, now Keith wants to bake the chick cookies. Whatever. I'm premenstrual. Those cookies are MINE!
Of course, what I really need to know is: how long before I get a garage spot?
Keith has an audition tomorrow for a commercial or something. He's going straight to callback level, due to having met the casting director at the panel last week. Woo hoo! His play is in the rehearsal process now, and he's very happy with how it's going. He starts the play alone on stage, and has the last line. Very cool.
Please say a little prayer for the mighty TicTac. She is sick. She is 13-years-old and then some, and with all the miles Keith is putting on her, well...she needs some work. Ooh, prosperity, come on down!
Cricket Feet is down, so anyone who's been trying to reach us with Cricket Feet contact information or even trying to access the site for the book (yes, this timing really really really sucks), please be patient and keep on trying.
Here's a tip for you good folks: if you register your domain with Names4Ever and then a year later, when it comes up for renewal, you decide to transfer the registration over to the same company that provides the server space, make sure you remember this: Names4Ever will hold your domain name hostage and demand a high ransom in order to ever let you switch it over!!!!! Outrageous, but true! Effers.
Okay, enough of this. Time to get to the really important part...the quizzes! Woo hoo!
Rose Knows: "All in all, people are weird. Thus, literature." - November, 2002, Somesuch-Whatnot
Posted by bonnie at 4:23 PM
November 8, 2002
Ah, the pleasures of living in an old building in the Hollywood Hills!
As I type this, I have no Internet access (so, I'll be copying and pasting into the ol' Blogger template at a later time). See...it's raining. Yup. First rain since, oh, July...and it's been constant for 24 hours or so. I LOVE it. LA does not. Old wires do not. I guess that's why we're offline. The phone line is working, though, intermittently, while the Pac Bell dude walks around with his hardhat and tool belt. Eh. It's probably good for me to get some non-computer work done for a minute. Just addressed postcards to 20 of the casting directors in the new book, letting them know I'll be sending a copy over and confirming their addresses, etc.
Now I'll offline Blog and then do some more book work.
Oh, back to the pleasures of this building. I did say pleasures right?
Yesterday, 8am, I am awakened by the sound of rain. In our bathroom. No, it's not raining...the maid upstairs has put something into the drain that has caused a blockage below us...and the whole building's water flow is headed up through our toilet and our tub, filling the room with not-clean water...fast.
I was on such a high from Wednesday's event (details below) that I couldn't get to sleep at a decent hour, so by the 8am flood wakeup, I was really soundly sleeping. So, I spent the morning trying to do phone interviews with three different casting directors while plumbers and landlord types traipsed through the apartment, having to step over Archie, who decided that right in the middle of everything was the best place to flop. Oh, to be a cat!
It was an interesting challenge, but we survived the morning. My poor bladder was so angry by Noon. You do the math. ;)
Okay, so about the Take One Event. Wow. Wow and more wow. Tim and Keith counted 130 people (standing, sitting on the floor, leaning against walls) in attendance. Wow. The panelists were charming and witty and well-spoken. It was just delightful! So nice to meet many of my readers. They were so generous to say thank you to me for putting the thing together, and also to say thank you to me for writing my column each week. That's a really nice confirmation that I'm doing the right thing.
The casting directors were just great. They stayed and answered questions for a half-hour beyond the scheduled time. They chatted with actors who ignored my request that they NOT rush the table and did so with smiles. I did finally have to provide extraction services to the casting directors who were less-likely to say, "Hey, I gotta go. 'Bye." Such a great mix of casting directors: broad experiences, great backgrounds, styles, casting projects, just really good mix. And they didn't mince words. That was really nice.
I hope actors learned a lot from the experience. We'll do another one on Wednesday, December 11th.
There was a moment when I thought to myself, "Hm. There's a lot of this information that I take for granted that actors (should) know. I think, having been inside the offices of these--and 150 other--casting directors, I have a visual picture of what they mean, when they advise actors of their process. Then I realize, that for an actor who has never been inside that office, some of what I assume they know, they haven't a clue about.
Here's what I mean: Actors focus so much on the tiny little things ("Will a casting director care that I only used three staples to attach my resumé� to my headshot, rather than four?" "Is the clasp envelope better than the adhesive-sealed one?" "Does font size matter, on my resumé?") and I think it's because they want to control what ever tiny thing they can, since so much of an actor's journey is outside of her control. Honestly, if these actors could just SEE how these offices work, really, they'd realize that it doesn't matter A BIT what sort of font they use; that no casting director cares about the type of envelope they use (why? Because no casting director has to open the envelopes... ask the assistants and interns which types of envelopes THEY prefer); and staples, glue stick, printing directly on the back of your photo... whatever! None of that is what wins an actor a role.
So, I think that's given me a little clarity on the focus of my second book.
As for the second edition of the first book, I'm already getting excited to do it. I have done so many interviews since the cut-off point for this book, that I really do want to share those articles with a wider audience. I wonder if anyone outside of the entertainment industry finds casting directors as fascinating as I do. I just really think their work is amazing. Their passion and their courage and their entirely behind-the-scenes work goes unrecognized by so many people.
Oh! Here's a mainstream look at some casting director work (though this piece will be about casting director workshops, which are being called "pay-to-play" illegal by the state of California, rather than about the actual work of casting directors): ABC's 20/20 will air an undercover investigation of these workshops tonight. Their website has a really cool article already...I have no idea what to expect from this show's coverage. But the pro-workshop folks have already begun to mobilize; trying to get people to go on record in support of workshops. It's just a really complicated issue.
Technically, casting directors do NOT hire actors. Therefore, the law that's supposedly being broken (potential employers receiving money for job interviews) doesn't technically apply. However, thousands of actors spend millions of dollars (yes, millions) to see these casting directors, associate casting directors, and assistants; hoping this exposure will increase their chances of getting cast.
The sad thing is: the TOP casting directors have NOTHING to do with these workshops. They are far too busy to attend workshops to see actors who, frankly (by majority), are NOT ready to be seen. However, their assistants and associates "advertise" that they have the ability to bring actors into their offices...and when I interview their bosses, I learn that this just ISN'T true.
The people who are really making money off of all of this are the workshop owners. Actors pay $30-$50 a night in order to get in front of casting directors. That's 20 actors at a time (minimum). The casting directors get a $150 honorarium for their time, and the workshop owners keep $450-$850 per night for "expenses." Now, keep in mind that MANY of these workshops have three and four classrooms, in which workshops take place simultaneously...and this stuff goes on five nights a week in most cases. So...doing the math JUST on the MINIMUM end of the scale: we're talking $450,000 per year (conservatively) for the workshop owners. No wonder they are desperate to keep workshops in business!
Listen, before anyone gets upset with me for being anti-workshop, let's make this clear: I did workshops, as an actor, a few years ago. I paid for access to casting directors (and their associates) who I knew I couldn't get in front of via my agent at the time. Did I book work this way? Hard to tell...as this business is all about relationships and some were established during workshops. Who's to say what caused the end result of a job? The issue is, as the labor law is written, workshops where no instruction takes place are in clear violation of the law. But they still operate.
So, I think the ABC show will be a big eye-opener for a lot of people. I look forward to seeing it.
Okay, so enough of that, for now. Bottom line: if you're a workshop supporter and want to stand up and be counted, email Kathryn Joosten. If you want more info on the campaign to shut down workshops, check DoNotPay.org.
On to the quizzes!!
"Welcome to the humiliating world of professional writing." - Homer J. Simpson, food critic, to Lisa, his ghost writer
Posted by bonnie at 3:20 PM
November 5, 2002
I voted. Keith and I went through the little voter guide book together this morning and then walked down to our little poling place (a school) and did our civic duty. As if a perfect little reminder of what that duty entails, I get a reminder of my jury duty service, which begins on Nov. 18th. I hope, if they don't just say, "Sorry, you work for a major publication conglomerate, you're excused," that I at least get on an interesting trial.
Learned that only 3.9 million people are registered to vote in LA County (population over 9.5 million). Seems low, but I guess it's not that different a ratio from anywhere else in the country. The big issue here is Free Hollywood. I received phone calls yesterday from Dianne Feinstein and Martin Sheen. How did these people get my number?
Attended an amazing showcase for HBO and the Aspen Comedy Festival last night with the Best of the Best of FEM. Just greatness. Faith was amazing, as always, but this time, she was actually flawless. And I do mean that. Just learned that the casting director we'd arranged to scout her got turned away at the door (it was standing room only, which Keith and I did, in the back, with Faith's agent and the event producer, Steve). That's disappointing, but we're going to see what we can do to get HBO to send a tape to the casting director. I'll meet her tomorrow night at the Take One casting director panel I'm moderating (she's not on the panel, but called to ask whether she could come meet me and discuss getting involved on a future panel with me), and I'd love to have a copy of Faith's tape to share with her.
For a Christmas present, of sorts, I designed an official website for Faith: FaithSalie.com. Please do check it out and tell me what you think. She's very happy. I just couldn't believe that anyone with the status of "tradable life form" on some Star Trek fan site didn't have an official site of her own. So, anyway, check there to see when her Dragnet episode airs and when she's doing standup around town. She's up for an Ovation Award for her work with The Laramie Project later this month. So awesome.
Big things seem to be happening for a few actors in my management stable, which is really exciting. I love seeing good things happen for amazing people. Just so very cool! I think I'll leave it at that...for now.
No one is using the Comments function I coded into the Blogs. Hmm... why is that?
The ActorsBone ShortsFest deadline has past, and with very little advertising and promoting, we have been flooded with entries for our first festival. My department (screeners) has been impressively performing and I am just thrilled to have such great people on board for this. Thank you, everyone, for your help. We'll be announcing winners later this month, and the festival itself will be January 11th & 12th in Hollywood.
Oh! Very exciting: Nelson and I are working together on a new cool thing called Hollywood Happy Hour. The website is coming, but basically, it's going to be "news, reviews, interviews, and schmooze with booze" one night a month, starting February 6th. We're bringing in some radio folks, to see if we can shop the demo around, after the first event, and do a live telecast for subsequent events. I'll keep you posted. Nelson and I have been wanting to work together on something like this ever since we met in early 2001. I'm very pleased that we're finally doing something...and something this grand!
Ordered some marketing supplies for the book. It's pretty bizarre that I'll get to hold the dang thing in just a few weeks. What an amazing process this has been! Just about to begin the process of contacting drama schools and college theatre departments about adding the book to their curriculum (and therefore getting into college bookstores). Luckily, my work with Roxbury Publishing educated me on how to do all of that. Also, the shopping cart I designed for their site will be the template I use when I design one for a local bookstore's webpage. I just LOVE how the universe works sometimes! It just always puts me right where I'm supposed to be (even if by the scruff of the neck, at times).
Keith is auditioning for the game show Lingo tonight with our friend Rich. The two of them should be a great pair for that silly spelling show. Heck, just saw a pair win $6500 the other day, so it ain't a bad day's work. Good vibes to the dyslexic beau!! I'll keep you posted on the outcome.
Still no word on when Keith's shows start airing. They "say" we'll have plenty of lead time from the notification they provide about the airdate. We shall see.
Oh: spied in the past week...Reba McEntire (at last night's showcase) and Holland Taylor (during lunch with Nelson). Good spy scores.
Okay, need to get back to Pilates. I miss it. The walk to the polls today was good, though. Every little bit....
"Yup. Kids are growin' up too fast and it's all because of the Dairy Council." - Dale Gribble, King of the Hill
Posted by bonnie at 12:45 PM