October 31, 2006
Things To STOP Saying
Okay, so I catch myself saying "DUDE" a lot. Not out loud as much as in my head. I know that's weird, but it's like I use the word "DUDE" as a substitute for "dang" and "c'mon" and "are you kidding me" and "boy, please" and "seriously" (among other things).
So, while I was thinking about the many ways in which I can use the word DUDE, I noticed a phrase that has LONG been a least favorite of mine (see item number six in the list of The Top 17.4 Ways To Piss Me Off) coming out of the mouth of a local morning show host ABOUT EVERY 20 SECONDS. Seriously.
Watch channel 5 (the KTLA Morning Show) and listen to the chick--Michaela Pereira--during her entertainment news segment (the only time the guys on the crew will let her talk for more than a minute at a time) and COUNT how many times she asks, "Do you know what I mean?" She uses it as an effin' punctuation mark to her EVERY sentence. Seriously, people, if someone doesn't know what you mean, you can bet that same someone will ask you to clarify. Stop it. Dude.
Well, I've also noticed that people have started saying "all of the sudden" instead of "all of a sudden" and I totally blame shows like Next and Parental Control and other MTV type programming for melting the brains right off kids and teaching them that however the hell they WANT to say it WORKS. (I mean, if the non-word alright can make its way into the dictionary, anything is possible. I actually heard a Real Worlder say, "Mark and I's relationship is complicated.") Yes, part of what I love about the (American) English language is how very OPEN to change it is. It's also part of what makes me effin' batshit crazy. *shudder*
So, then I listened to myself to see if there is anything other than the internal DUDE that I'm saying too much. Something that I'm saying AS A FORM OF PUNCTUATION instead of as the words themselves. And I found it. I absolutely have a phrase that must be just as annoying to others as "Do you know what I mean?" is to me.
"Here's the thing."
I start out about a third of my sentences with that. It's basically a, "Here. Listen now. This is the important part." And seriously, if you're listening to me, it's all important. You know that.
So, here it goes: I pledge to attempt to curtail my use of "here's the thing" as a means of underscoring my most important points.
October 29, 2006
The Actors Voice, 10/30/06
Okay, so here's what you need to know about The Actors Voice this week... the server on which The Actors Voice lives is going through a little upgrade right now... and it's not yet back up and running (and it may not be for a while). Ugh. I know... but it's one of those things that happens when you start putting out a little advice column for actors and suddenly get more hits per week than your server knows how to take.
So... assuming the techies get everything back in order shortly, here's a taste of what you'll be able to read at The Actors Voice in a few hours.
Demo Reels (Revisited)
Last week, I was a judge for the Inaugural Reel Actors Film Festival. I'd long been planning to revisit my two previous columns on demo reels, but the act of sitting down and making notes during a couple of hours of full-on, concentrated demo reel watching inspired me to make this the week I finally did that. I haven't changed my opinion about the importance of demo reels (high), the best length for demo reels (short), and the true purpose of demo reels (to leave us wanting more, after showing us how to cast you), but I have absolutely had a few shifts in thought that I'd like to share with you. Also, I have now seen some interesting trends in demo reel presentation that I think could benefit you, when you next head to the editor (or your trusty Mac with Final Cut Pro installed).
Check Your Demo Reel for These Sins
Highlighting someone else's performance instead of your own. If you must choose scenes in which someone else plays the hero, remember that your editor can help you edit the scene so that it is all about you. YOU are the hero in your demo reel, even if you weren't in the original scene. I have seen some amazing reels in which it seriously looks like Dr. McDreamy only exists to tell the nurse, "I agree. You're right," in an all-about-her version of the scene. It's awesome to show the world that you've worked with the biggest actors in the biz. But your reel isn't about getting them a job or maintaining the essence of the scene as-seen-on-TV. It's about getting you more work.
More of that good stuff, plus a YOUR TURN introducing a NEW column at Showfax.com as soon as the techies get the 1's and 0's lined up.
As always, thanks for the support and encouragement. I'm really excited about this new column that's due to start up on November 1st! But I'll always love my first column the best. (For you trivia buffs out there, that'd be "Lunchroom Report" in the Josephine Wells Elementary mimeographed weekly newsletter.)
October 28, 2006
I know I haven't blogged in awhile.
As I said in an email earlier today...
Eh, no. Way busy. (As usual.) A new column I pitched to my boss at Showfax rolls out on Wednesday (and I'm its managing editor), so I've been working like nuts with casting directors in New York and Canada all week. Also trying to nail a place down for Hollywood Happy Hour so that we can do a year-end event (which means a place has to be secured by Tuesday pretty much). And just got a new deadline for HILMMAKS casting stuff, so life is pretty busy 'round here. Quality problem, of course. ;) Lovin' it! Lovin' you! XXOO
Just the same, wanted to stop by and say HAPPY HALLOWEEKEND! Have fun, be safe, and remember to set your clocks back and all that good stuffs.
And goooooooo DAWGS... and KEEP VOTING FOR TIFFANY! Thanks!
October 24, 2006
Love the Halloween promotion over at Actors Access.
Soooo Spoooooooky! Heeeeeeee!
October 23, 2006
Happy Anniversary, Keith
Five years ago this morning, Keith pulled up outside 2240 N. Gower St. in a yellow Ryder van... engagement ring in his pocket.
Let me back up.
In early 2001, Keith's life as he knew it fell apart. His marriage ended and he was downsized from his computer job. On his 35th birthday, his wife, son, and dog were gone. Left to live alone in a large, empty house in Michigan, he took his suddenly abundant free time and began exploring soccer league, community theatre, and Internet groups. Online, he met the editor of a now-defunct humor magazine for which I was writing at the time. And at the suggestion of that editor, Keith joined the Yahoo Group that was the humor mag's staff and fan interaction forum. And he started to realize that I knew something about this business.
He started asking me about his interest in community theatre (he wasn't sure that's what it was called, though. He had done a play in college years before and knew he liked that, but really didn't know where to begin). I had been working for the Sundance Institute and Back Stage West, so I had plenty of advice to give (and just like I did when anyone would email asking for tips on how to get started, I would suggest this book or that book, provide information on his local film commission, warn him about typical scams newbie actors face, etc.). Eventually, we began flirting pretty hardcore. (What can I say? We're both big flirts.)
And by June 2001, we had come up with a plan to meet "on neutral ground:" Salt Lake City, Utah. He had a business trip (switching the bank's computers over in one of the last tasks before his severance package kicked in and he was officially unemployed) that would take him there, and since it also happens to be Sundance's home base, I scheduled a business trip too. And we met in person for the first time at the gate outside his flight (United 631) on 13 July (two days after my 31st birthday). We had already fallen in love emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. It was just a matter of answering the "physical" question. And really, that's the easiest one to answer. You're either hot for each other or you aren't. And because we hadn't had the physical distraction clouding our deeper feelings for one another in the beginning, we knew that was all it would take (and we would also be okay if the heat wasn't there).
But of course there was heat. And we flew me to Michigan after our weekend in SLC. I got to see Keith's life, meet Quinn, and prep Keith for his upcoming community theatre audition. I basically gave him a week-long course in Self-Management for Actors (long before there was such a book) and when I left, I told him he'd be moving to Hollywood before the year was up. A few weeks later, Keith came to LA and met my friends (all of whom were very protective of me and suspicious of Keith... many still feel the same way... heh heh). It was set. We knew he would show up here after his job officially ended and the play closed.
On 21 October 2001, Keith's play closed. He had shown up to the theatre in the yellow Ryder van, his house closed up and ready to go on the market. After striking the set, he said his good-byes to his Michigan friends and drove for 41 hours straight, ending up at the exact spot where he would propose (under the Hollywood sign) seven weeks later.
It's been an amazing five years, baby. Congratulations on all of your many accomplishments and thank you for your constant love and support. I can't think of a better way to celebrate than at the wrap party for the Hallmark Channel movie you shot earlier this month. We'll have a blast tonight, celebrating with your cast and crew. And every time they raise a glass to cheer the end of the project, we'll know it's also a toast to celebrate your anniversary... five years in Hollywood.
October 22, 2006
I know someone at MTV must've realized this, because there are NEW flags and logos that don't look like this.
Didn't the first version of the MTV The Duel flag look like it said The Duck? Yes. I think it did. Quack, quack.
Do you like the funny?
Bonus: He's really talented and smart and funny and creative and even Mr. Wonderfulest.
To answer your questions about what I must've done wrong to shower my husband with public bloggy love, I did nothing wrong. He's just a good. And sometimes a good needs to be told he's a good. And in front of people. Nothing wrong with that.
Don't forget that you can keep voting for my niece Tiffany up 'til November 3rd. I'm convinced that she will always be in the smack-dab middle (as that's where she is every time I go vote, except for that one time when she was LAST and I spent the entire day voting until she was up to the middle... and yes that was the day that she led California to the tune of like 93%). Huge thanks to the other passionate sources of many votes. ;) Y'all rock.
What else? Um. I thought I had more updates, but I guess I don't. I've been spending the weekend updating the Casting Wiki like there is no tomorrow (sorry, Rockstar Intern Julie, that means more work for you... ready and waiting) and I think that'll be the topic of my next column, as working on the Casting Wiki has totally changed how I feel about keeping hardcopy headshots. And maybe I should say so.
Oh, and hey, Santa Ana winds... could you GO AWAY please? Thanks.
October 21, 2006
I love my husband.
That is all.
October 18, 2006
Lessons from Star Magazine
Okay, so less than two weeks ago, I was contacted by a reporter from Star who wanted to use me as an attributed source for a story about actors who get too thin to be realistically considered for leading lady roles. I had her email me the photos she wanted me to review, I spent hours writing up my way diplomatically-worded and impossibly-taken-out-of-context thoughts on the issue (having been a columnist for nearly a decade will make you a bit cautious, your first time out with any reporter) and sent the reporter my interview and bio, as requested.
She called me back the next day to revisit a couple of quotes, get a little more context on some of my comments, and hopefully find something a little dishy in my words (and that just didn't happen. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I said it, dammit). Again, she thanked me for being willing to go on the record with my words, as that would carry much more weight for this piece (no pun intended), and told me it would run in a week or so.
It ran today. My source alerted me to the fact that the piece was in this week's issue, so Keith ran to the store to buy a copy of the rag. Um. Wow. Where do I begin?
Was I misquoted? No.
Were my words taken out of context? No.
Here's what happened instead: Approximately two dozen of my words made it into the piece and I was credited as "a casting agent."
Dude. There is NO SUCH THING as a casting agent. Normally, I'd let that go, but when a REPORTER uses BOTH "casting director" and "casting agent" interchangeably in the piece, something's wrong. And I can guarantee you, on those little bits of quotes from "another casting agent", no casting director EVER would refer to herself as a casting agent, which has happened in this piece.
Since I worked so hard on my contribution and was actually a little proud of it, I'm going to share it here. And consider the rest as LESSON LEARNED. When you're asked to go on record for Star Magazine as a casting director, be ready to come off as an unnamed "casting agent" in the final product... and have a fraction of your contribution used. Fair enough.
Since I wrote all that stuff up and Star ain't gonna use it... here it is for your reading pleasure.
Here are my thoughts on your piece about actresses and their weight.
If I have learned anything in casting, it's that CONFIDENCE is what's castable. What is sexy is confidence. What is castable is that X-factor--and it usually has less to do with body type and more to do with self-assurance. As far as the conversations between producers and casting directors go... believe me, no actor should ever want to hear those discussions. The conversations that take place about an actor's box office draw (based on arbitrary things like the size of her butt or her nose or her left elbow) MUST remain confidential. The sad part is, most actors feel they need to adjust their body weight down without ever knowing that perhaps the reason they didn't get cast had everything to do with their accent or hair color or the fact that they look just like the producer's ex-girlfriend (and that had nothing to do with their weight).
Comments about the specific photos you sent:
Re: Victoria Beckham
Here's what I love about Victoria Beckham's body: It's healthy. It's athletic. Sure, she's thin, but her muscles are toned and she doesn't look hungry. She's got the build of an action hero. Ain't nothing wrong with that!
Re: Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson has a rockin' body and she pretty much always has. What I respect most about her--aside from her acting, which is outstanding--is that she hasn't let Hollywood change her body. She's healthy, she's strong, she's slim, she's sexy. This is pleasing to producers, filmgoers, and probably also tolerable for her! She's not torturing herself with some insane fad diet.
Re: Nicole Richie
The concern most producers have with someone who appears unhealthy or overly skinny (or, heck, extreme in either direction) is the insurance issue. A film shoot is not a small investment of time or money. The thought of losing a week or two on a shoot because an actress is dehydrated or suffering from exhaustion isn't just about the issue of a performer's health. It's about liability. And we're talking about blockbusters. Not reality TV. As a casting director, my job is risk assessment. If I see an actress I'm worried about, I'm going to recommend the next person on the list, just so the film gets made on time, and within its budget.
Re: Mariah Carey
Recording artists have different standards than feature film stars. The average consumer will watch a music video star for minutes at a time, whereas they'll see a film star on screen for two hours at a time. Apples and oranges.
Re: Nicole Kidman
Consistently healthy. Consistently castable. She has staying power and doesn't bend to body-image trends.
Re: Jessica Biel
Jessica got a following when she was young and that fan base will remain loyal. She has a very "normal" body. Her path is similar to that of Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, whose fanbase developed when she was a teen and sustained through adulthood.
Re: Jennifer Lopez
Confidence is castable. Jennifer Lopez has always been confident. She enjoys living in her own skin. That's huge in Hollywood. Just the FEELING that she's going to be incredible to watch on screen is a safer investment for producers. Sure, she may have body-confidence issues, but the viewing public would never know it. And THAT'S the illusion that really sells in Hollywood.
Re: Kate Bosworth
The unfortunate thing about young actors choosing to lose so much weight is that their success as actors--which may have nothing to do with their body size and may instead have everything to do with their talent or industry connections--is somehow seen as a result of their weight loss, and that sends a really scary message to young women who already have a tendency toward obsessive body issues.
Even "normal" girls growing up in small towns are going to worry that they aren't thin enough. When an actress who earns millions of dollars a year endorses and embraces that worry, it's just a reinforcement for something that exists on its own. When--instead--there are actresses who enjoy their bodies and embrace the work, they are providing a service to the world.
October 17, 2006
How'd I Do?
HUGE thanks to my friends at PARF; members of the HHH mailing list; bulletin re-posters at MySpace; my rockstar intern; visiting cousin; and the many agents, managers, and acting coaches in my contact list for helping pull this together so fast. Y'all rock. Thank you!!
October 15, 2006
Vote 4 Tiff!
Okay, gang, a Gillespie needs your help. Go vote for my niece Tiffany at the Sideline Spirit contest on the AthlonSports.com website.
October 13, 2006
12 of 12 (finally) for my nonaversary
FINALLY, I have had enough time to get my 12 of 12 edited and uploaded. Phew! What a day or so! If you're new to 12 of 12, head over to Chad's site for the lowdown. My previous entries are here. As always, I hope if you did your own 12 of 12 that you'll share with the world! Click any photo to enlarge.
So, that's it for my 12 of 12! No special nonaversary trip this year. Just lots of playtime and good friends, amazing food, and strong drinks. Life's fun like that. Shall we do it again next month? Yes. Yes we shall! Thanks again, Chad!!
October 12, 2006
The INSTANT each episode ends, I want another one to begin. RIGHT THEN. I'm like a crack whore for this show. I've had several conversations with folks who feel the same way. We also tend to agree that this show can't possibly last (and that we'll all buy it on DVD and just enjoy the brief time we shared with such quality television).
So, anyway, as I tune in each week and see another actor friend guest-starring on the show, I get ever happier. It's awesome. And what a showcase for the actors in roles as "cast" on the show within the show! They get to show us glimpses of characters they'd play if they were on MadTV or Saturday Night Live, but in such tiny snippets that we want to see more more more (something that rarely happens on the senior sketch show). I could honestly listen to Sarah Paulson's character Harriet Hayes doing a dead-on Holly Hunter for hours.
Prediction: Emmy. Man... as much as I love working in indie film and small theatre casting, I have to say that this show makes me wish I had anything to do with the series. I'll just have to settle for being a rabid fan. Good thing I'm not alone.
Next, my NBF Milissa and I went to the premiere of Running with Scissors on Tuesday night. It was way fun. We were way under-dressed. That's totally my fault, as I thought I was just going to a SAG screening, since I had been invited by the SAG Foundation folks who wanted to give me a little thank you for all of the guest-speaking that I do. Well... oops. There was a red carpet, there was media, there were superstars. Good thing I was in a, "I yam what I yam" state, and had fun in my jeans just the same. (Besides, sure everyone looked stunning in all sorts of eveningwear, but in the end you're still sitting in a movie theatre for a couple of hours and you should be comfy.)
So, this movie felt like American Beauty meets Requiem for a Dream meets The Royal Tenenbaums. Very edgy and cool. Lots of screamingly uncomfortable and so inappropriately hysterical moments scattered throughout full-on jaw-droppingly "this cannot possibly be based on a true story" scenes. And I know I've gushed about Evan Rachel Wood before, but dear GAWD I cannot wait to cast this woman. What a rockstar!
Beautifully acted (and brilliantly cast, although it simply pisses me off to have a director stand up in front of the audience, thank BY NAME many members of the cast and crew--having quite a few stand up and take little bows from their seats--and not even MENTION that he's grateful to his casting director Mali Finn). The music was amazing (and yes, probably worth the $1M over-budget they had to go to secure the rights to it all) and the production designer (Richard Sherman) deserves an Oscar for the YELLOW scene alone. Gorgeous work!
I was mildly amused to see that Ryan Murphy and Augusten Burroughs look somewhat alike (it's how I feel when I watch Ryan's EP's other show's lead actor and consider how much she looks like her; and Jessica said something about this last month when we had tea. Directors often seem to cast actors who resemble them, so why not adapt a book by an author who looks like you, right?).
Anyway, this was a wonderful date night with my new actor friend. Thank you to SAG Foundation for the gift. It was great fun to schmooze with casting friends, manager friends, actor friends, former co-worker friends, and basically the entire supporting cast of Nip/Tuck. Kate Mantilini beforehand was a great choice. God, I felt so dang Hollywood after this night it's no wonder I needed a day of work on the Casting Wiki to remember that it's NOT the Entertainment Tonight version of Hollywood in which I work and live every day.
PS--You're doing your 12 of 12, right? Get on it!
October 11, 2006
Vote for my niece TIFFANY!
This is a repost from my niece Tiffany. Help her out, yo!
Hey friends! I have been chosen to represent UGA and SEC for the Athlon Sports Sideline cheerleader contest. The voting starts on Sunday so vote for me everyday starting sunday!! Alright? Thanks everyone!
MCJ at Dan Tana's
MCJ (my cousin Joni) is in town for a day. On Thursday, we're taking her to Dan Tana's for the first time. No, she's not Paris. No, we're not Nicole. She's not coming to LA to experience what she's seen on Entertainment Tonight. She missed the Thirty Silly celebration and hopes to meet the Dan Tana's regulars on her li'l trip to town. Come play! (It's 12 of 12 AND our Nonaversary too. So many reasons to celebrate!)
PS--I love my NBF Milissa. We had a blast tonight at the Running with Scissors premiere. I encourage everyone to find his or her dozen-years-younger version to hang out with from time to time. It's fun!
October 10, 2006
Another Cool Film
I'm so busy I can't even see straight right now. But it's good. It's very, very good.
Finally got to see a pretty much final version of A New Tomorrow Sunday night (bizarrely, at the home of Heathers writer Dan Waters--the home Orson Welles died in) and it is REALLY good.
Very much This Is Spinal Tap meets Wag the Dog. I agree with Keith; it feels like a Slamdance film. *fingers crossed*
I just get so proud of the actors I cast, when I finally get to see their work on screen. Yes, I'm super proud of the ENTIRE crew, but something about watching actors DO the work we saw SO many people GO FOR during the casting process (reading those exact same audition sides) is just phenomenal.
More news when it's available, but I just have to say that the past few weeks have included some of the most jam-packed action my life has ever seen. If I were to list it all, you simply wouldn't believe me. Not even a little bit.
October 8, 2006
Some of the Finest Actors on the Planet
I had the great pleasure of witnessing an amazing read-thru of How I Lost My Mind and Killed Someone last night. And the actors we put in place made me look like a BRILLIANT casting director.
They were passionate, professional, filled to the brim with talent and a sense of joy at simply BEING. And really, that's all anyone EVER wants an actor to be. Present, talented, committed, easy-going, and ready to share a story with the world. MAN, I LOVE MY JOB!
Thank you, amazing actors!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
October 7, 2006
Um, can anyone out there who subscribes to Star Magazine let me know when a particular issue comes out?
I'm looking for one (maybe as early as next week) in which Hollywood casting directors talk about actresses' bodies and whether skinny gals are more likely to get cast in lead roles.
I'll, um, tell you why I'm looking to pick up this particular issue after I see how I came across in the interview. Yeah... thankee.
October 5, 2006
Busy, busy, busy. As soon as I'm sure I couldn't get busier... well... whooooosh! There's another boost. I actually now have a subfolder in my email inbox of "stuff to read" because if the email is too long to skim, I'm not even reading it lately. Ack! And I never have time to get to the flagged messages. Quality problem, of course. It's just a dang good thing the gym is open 24 hours or we'd never go.
Look at me with Deb and Eitan last week (this was after the panel discussion at Samuel French). Aren't we cute? Okay, break over. I'll try to blog again soon. But seriously, I'm not even sure when I'm going to get my column done with this busy casting week. (I know, I know... quality problem. Shut up. Blah blah blah.)
October 2, 2006
CSI: Miami (tonight)
Remember when Keith's paparazzo role went recurring?
Well, tune in tonight at 10pm on CBS to watch Keith on CSI: Miami (again). This time, it'll be a tiny blip at the end of the episode (but he earned overscale this time, so woo damn hoo).
Oh, honey... am I allowed to tell everyone about your Hallmark Channel movie of the week with Barry Bostwick yet? No? Okay. I'll wait. *smirk*
How much do I love my sister in law?
Lookee what she sent me!! Hello Kitty PEZ, baby! Heeeeee! Thanks, Liz. you rule!