This week did not go as planned, at all. In fact, when they say “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” they really mean it. And so much more.
One of my favorite things to do lately has been to research my trip to Los Angeles, trying to find blogs of people who went to the school I am going to, looking into apartments, etc. Someone I trust had recently warned me about NYFA, so I decided to take a deeper look and discovered an article by Bonnie Gillespie, published in Backstage (two reputable sources, I believe) where she recommended that if you were unfortunate enough to go to NYFA, don’t put it on your CV as casting agents won’t take you seriously, and possibly won’t audition you because of it. With the evidence against it piling up, I couldn’t just go and pretend I hadn’t been warned, so I did something that is really hard for me, and I cancelled my NYFA program. It’s difficult for me, because I love to make plans and follow them, and this definitely wasn’t planned for. I lose money as well, but I guess I would rather lose some money than spend thousands of dollars on a class that won’t get me anywhere, and might even hinder my career.
This means I was not in the best of moods as I headed for my improv class. It didn’t help either when my power steering failed me on the highway, then while I was trying to parallel park. It had happened last Thursday as well, but I had brought my car to the garage and he didn’t think it would happen again. He did tell me to turn the car off and then back on if it did, which was helpful the 3 times it happened Monday night. This of course wasn’t so easy to do in downtown Montreal, or on the highway, but I managed.
Luckily, improv class was really fun, as per its usual, and it got me into much better spirits by the time I had to leave early to get to my audition at McGill. I got there a bit early, so I went over the sides in my car before heading in to audition. I had to sign in and fill out a sheet, then went into a room where 4 people and a camera were waiting for me. They had me state my name for the camera, as well as talk about myself for a minute. I talked about how I had just graduated for there, and how I was going to LA, but it didn’t last long enough, and even I know I looked awkward and uncomfortable in front of the camera. As for the actual audition, I had practiced for the role of Mercy, but they had me read for Lelie instead. I am often hard on myself, but that night, I had reason to. When I told my mother the only chance I had of getting the part was if no one good came along, I wasn’t exaggerating. The part of me that likes to find excuses and defend myself would blame it on my practicing for the other role, but I know the truth is that I wasn’t prepared enough to read for either role, and I should have taken Michael Shurtleff’s advice and prepared something where I talk about myself, that I can rehearse and make perfect, for these specific instances. Instead of beating myself up, since the world will do that enough, I decided to use it as a learning experience. I won’t go to an audition unprepared if I had received the sides beforehand, and I will prepare a short monologue about myself, so that next time I will have plenty to say about myself, and will look comfortable in doing it.
On Tuesday I did some thorough research on the different acting classes Los Angeles has to offer, since my flight is already booked and non-refundable. I went back to the list of classes I had wanted to take at some point, and realized that I was now available for the Intensive Studies Program at Margie Haber’s Studio. I had been planning on booking a separate trip just to do this program as soon as the dates for the next one came out. But, like anyone who has been fooled before, I was afraid of making a mistake again. I searched through all the reviews and watched the videos. I finally decided to book it when I saw that Sophia Bush had taken the master class there in May 2012. Ever since I first saw Sophia on One Tree Hill, I have been extremely interested in her. I knew she had studied with Margie before landing One Tree Hill, but I’m sure a lot of actors have studied with teachers that aren’t so great, then find success through their own means. But, the fact that she went back to Margie, nearly a decade later, after OTH, it gave me the extra push I needed, like her stamp of approval to book the ISP program from December 3rd to the 14th. Of course, the program itself looks amazing, with a visit to the Groundlings, going to an actual set, sessions with Talent Agents, Managers, Casting Directors, etc…I can’t wait!
Finding a class to replace NYFA certainly takes a load off me, but there is still a lot to figure out. The place I was going to stay is now really far from where my class will be, so I need to find somewhere to live for the month that I will be there, and my parents now need to find a hotel. Also, I had originally had to be back in LA for January 6th, when classes would start up again, but now I have no set date for my return, and have to figure it all out, back to square one. To help me figure this out, I have been making lists with all I have to accomplish while in LA, and before I leave. You’d think I would have learnt my lesson, but I don’t think I will ever stop making lists and planning everything.
I did a lot of this research on Thursday, before going to get my car from the garage. I had been warned the motor would cost about 500$ plus installation, plus tax, so I was expecting to pay 700-800$. Instead, the part had cost 700$, and he forgot to inform me, so I got a lovely bill of 950$. Then, to add insult to injury, my credit card was refused, because I had two acting school tuitions on it, and the payment I had made hadn’t gone through yet. My dad had to put it on his card for me. I tried not to be upset as I drove to my on camera acting class, but when I was caught in bumper to bumper traffic, all of my setbacks from the week overwhelmed me and I called my mom, crying. Not my proudest moment, but I felt like the world was against me. She helped me get the teacher’s number so I could let her know I would be late, and tried to make me feel better, which didn’t work at the time. My class was at 4:30 and I got there at 5:10, feeling absolutely horrible, convinced my scene partner, Morgan, would hate me, and that the teacher would think I didn’t take her class seriously. When I walked in, they were in the middle of making my scene partner do our scene with a reader. Suzanna decided that since I was there, she would have us do the scene right then and there, so I hardly had a minute to catch my breath before going on camera. The first take really wasn’t good, as I wasn’t focused or in the moment, but before the next take, I took a breath and let it go. Suzanna had been completely nice and understanding about my being late, Morgan didn’t seem mad and I was doing what I loved. SO, instead of focusing on the bad, I focused on the good. I concentrated on becoming Shoshanna and doing the scene justice, and all the bad feelings and negativity went away. We did the scenes a few times and by the end, I was so happy and excited, and couldn’t wait to go home and watch the DVD of the scene that she was letting me take home.
Now I probably shouldn’t have written about this little meltdown, as it kind of makes me seem like a bitter, miserable, pessimistic person, but even though I’m not proud of it, it happened. This week I had a lot of setbacks and chose to focus on them instead of on all the exciting and amazing things I have going on in my life, or planned for my future. I can’t promise I won’t have another mini-meltdown, but I definitely realized that focusing on the negative didn’t help me, it just made me more miserable and upset the people around me with my foul mood. Next time, I will make an effort to remind myself of all the good things, all the amazing opportunities I have, my family, my friends…I will list what I am grateful for, and hopefully won’t let a few little bad things get me down.
After Morgan and I had done our scene, Suzanna had me film one of the actors in the next scene. One thing I love about this class and the Tom Todoroff workshop is seeing the other incredible actors, watching their scenes and just being amazed. I like filming, but all I had to do was zoom and move the camera once, so I wouldn’t quit my day job any time soon 🙂
Jazz class was definitely a workout, and my thighs still hurt when I go up or down stairs, but I am really enjoying it. I especially love the ballet she puts in it, and can’t wait to do pirouettes and stuff. Rachel, the teacher told me that I was getting better, which made me extremely happy, but she also had us rolling around on the ground, so my knees are black and blue.
When I got home, I made my parents watch some of my scenes. Their main comment was to tease me because one of my lines is a confession that I truly don’t love my grandmother, but as my cousin said when they told her, I must be a really good actress if I managed to convince someone of something as ridiculous as that.
On Friday, I received an email from the Tom Todoroff studio, with a link to information on his one week summer intensive in New York City. Normally I plan out every details and consider things a long time before deciding to do them, but this week I have been pretty spontaneous, and signed up for it. So, from July 30th to August 5th this summer, I will be in NYC, learning and doing what I love most!
I also signed up for now casting, and will be signing up for casting workbook as soon as I get more recent headshots, which should be soon, as the guy who wrote Angels and Humans want pictures for his portfolio, and offered to shoot my headshot for free!
On Saturday, I went to my cousin’s boyfriend’s 21st birthday party, and had a really great time with a bunch of friends, and some family as well.
Today, I did the Heart and Stroke walk with my mother and a friend of hers. It was a nice workout, but it was also for a cause that is very close to my heart, since heart disease runs rampant in my family. Afterwards I spent the day with my mother and am now trying to decide which pictures I want to purchase from my scene last weekend, as Luisa Muhr, one of the other actresses, is also a photographer. They should be up here once I get them!
For next week, I have to practice my scene from Girls so that I can nail the mock audition on Thursday, research potential monologues for myself, figure out my LA dates and where I will stay. I didn’t do the agent sendout yet, because of everything that happened, and now I guess I will wait until I get my new headshots.