Castings, Agents and Bad Companies

I haven’t blogged in months. In fact my last blog is quite comical as it is titled ‘My Regular Review’…… there is nothing regular about it. Maybe I should have called it my ‘Once in a Blue Moon Review’ or ‘When I feel like it’

So what’s been happening in the life of this undiscovered actress you ask? SO MUCH!!! I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the positive news from the last few weeks.

So I have finally signed with a new agent, Karen Struel-White from KSW Casting. I’m very excited about the doors this will open as Karen is also a casting director and producer of many shows including West End Musicals. West End is the big dream for me so fingers crossed this is the step I needed to take. Already I have been working with a new fantastic singing teacher who really knows her stuff and is helping me build my repertoire. This is exactly what I need to feel prepared and ready to take on any audition.

Just 2 days ago I had my first casting through my agent. It was for a Christmas Asda Advert. A really fun casting where I had to improvise a girly night in scene with 2 other girls. Fingers crossed for me on that one!!

Also this last month I have been cast as the ‘Wicked Queen’ in Beauty and the Beast with Polka dot Pantomimes. This will be playing at The Secombe Theatre in Sutton from 18th to 24th December. This is my first Pantomime and I am super excited, especially as I get to play the villain. I’ve never looked forward to being hissed at on stage so much. It will be a great experience and a lovely credit to add to my CV of not so great stuff.

Talking about not so great stuff! Remember a couple of posts ago when I told you about me nailing that audition and getting a part in a musical with The Untold Theatre company….? Remember? Yeah you remember! Well what a load of old rubbish that turned out to be. 7 months of rehearsals, being treated badly, no payment, not even expenses, broken promises, lies and bullying. Yep! I think that pretty much sums it up. It was a horrific experience with an awful company, but still an experience. It has opened my eyes to this industry to see that so many actors get taken advantage of and ripped off. Mainly because the shortage of jobs and opportunities available are very limited so we grab onto them with both hands and we work damn hard. After this experience I will never be treated like that again. I know now that I need to value myself as a professional actress and will not give up my time for nothing……. even if I do get biscuits and a copy of the film to add to my showreel!

So the next few months involve me working on my repertoire and vocal stamina and starting rehearsals for Pantomime. For me this will be the perfect way to end a very eventful year.

Now to sit back with a cup of tea and wait for this storm that everyone is talking about to cause some chaos.

My Regular Review…..

So I’ve decided I am going to start writing regular reviews on films, plays, dramas and all matters of entertainment. I was going to choose a day of the week like a Sunday and call it my Sunday review and on a weekly basis (a Sunday clearly) have a fresh review. BUT realistically I know I won’t always be able to meet the deadline which will cause me great anxiety! So therefore I welcome you to my ‘Regular Review’

Django Unchained-

Jamie Fox and Christophe Waltz perform an exciting and brutal double act in this Tarantino revenge western. Set among the slave plantations in pre-civil war America this dual narrative tale is humorous, romantic and victorious.

Christophe Waltz plays a very well spoken and charming German bounty hunter by the name of Dr King Schultz. Fortunate for Django, a slave being transported through Texas in bitterly cold conditions, Dr Schultz needs his assistance in finding his next bounty. Django is played by Jamie Fox who portrays a brilliant revengeful and heroic central role who gets a taste of freedom whilst assisting Dr Schultz on his quest to track down bounty’s.

With some very comical scenes including one of which where an all white gang challenge Django and Dr King Schult, wearing what can be described as KKK type hooded mask that they cannot see out of or seem to agree on.

We learn that Django is married to a beautiful woman called Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who is also a slave being held at the plantation Candieland in Mississippi. Dr King agrees to help Django rescue his beloved but they must be tactful and cunning in their plan.

Candieland is run by a hideous and racist sadist called Calvin Candie whose unforgettably disturbing performance is played by Leonardo De Caprio. With some shocking scenes of racial violence and brutality that has a clear Tarantino stamp on it.

It’s at Candieland that we meet old Stephen, Candie’s house servant played by the fantastic Samuel Jackson. His character surprised me and repulsed me as he represented a twisted and dangerous bitter old man, but not surprising was the excellent performance from Samuel Jackson who never disappoints.

Tarantino’s humor and visually thrilling blood thirsty scenes run throughout this pulsating yet witty modern spaghetti western. With twists and turns pleasing all the senses, this film left me feeling satisfied and redeemed.

A very enjoyable watch.

 

 

 

Pulled it out the bag!

Last Friday I had myself an audition!!! Woah it’s been sooo long since I had one of those.

It was for a new musical comedy with The untold Theatre company. I was asked to prepare a contemporary monologue and a contemporary musical theatre song. I must admit I did not feel too prepared, my auditioning has got a little rusty as it’s been many months since I’ve even had to think about remembering lines.

So I pulled out all my plays and sheet music and decided to stick with what I knew. The past couple of weeks I’ve been fighting an awful cold which  meant my usual audition song was out the window as I just didn’t have the range whilst being all stuffed up. So I had 2 days to learn and get the music to a new song. Given the title of the musical ‘The Daily Fail’ I guessed it was probably more comedy than Les mis serious, so I decided to go with the song ‘Pulled’ from The Addams Family musical. It’s a great character song that shows off your voice and range without being too belty, so it was perfect.

Friday arrived and I was the first auditionee of the day. I never know if that’s a good thing or not. After all the people they see after you do they forget you?

In I went, very welcoming panel, and performed firstly my monologue, then song. Luckily for me the acoustics in the room were great and the panel didn’t know the song. Had a friendly chat at the end and off I went feeling pretty damn good considering that had been my first audition in so long.

After an audition I like to forget about it and if I hear anything it’s a bonus. Luckily for me I received that bonus as I got an email that evening saying they would like to offer me the part of Anna Prentice in their Musical The daily Fail. Woop and a high five!!

Feeling very happy with myself. Rehearsals start next week….. that’s right me, an actress has a real life rehearsal to go to, and the show will be in July. 2013 is looking to be a productive year. I have my headshot’s booked for March with a top class photographer, 3 Gigs in Feb, first one being this Saturday ahhh, new showreel and a musical. And I don’t want to stop there, it’s only February so bring it on 2013, let’s have a great year.

Good start to the year!

Jazz posterSince my last update I have been very productive indeed. I have filmed most of my scenes for my showreel and I’m currently in the process of editing my material together. Having filmed a mix of comedy, serious and straight scenes I am hoping my reel will grab the attention of casting directors this year. If it doesn’t I may have to turn up on their doorsteps reciting Shakespeare to grab their attention. But I don’t really want it to come to that.

I have also been booked for 3 Jazz gigs for February, which I am very excited about. I feel I am starting to get somewhere. Being paid to sing is a lovely feeling, because that is what I do. I am a singer and a performer and unfortunately in this industry we are required to sell ourselves a bit by doing unpaid acting and performance work just to get our names out there, to be involved in something and to keep sane.

So to be paid to sing is amazing. Also the equipment was very expensive and if I didn’t get a gig soon I may have lost my mind.

So feeling positive and spending most days at the moment singing through my set lists and learning new songs……..because I’m being paid to sing……. Paid….. to sing……Hurrah!

New year new you, I mean me……you?

It’s been very quiet for me recently on the acting front which is quite depressing. So the past few months I have been trying to sort out my marketing materials to start fresh in the new year. New year new you and all that jazz.

My main focus has been on my showreel. Now I made the leap 2 years ago and spent money with one of those companies that film you a scene and promise to make you a really great professional showreel and edit it with footage you already have. I was not happy. The whole experience was not worth the money. Editing was awful, script not great and studio very average, leaving me with a crap showreel which is probably repelling casting directors from auditioning me. (I need someone to blame)

After this experience I thought I could do this myself. So I invested in a pricey canon SLR camera, microphone etc. and I’m basically going to film my own showreel with scenes that me and my partner have been working on. Filmed one scene so far (which already is a hell of a lot better than the “professional” showreel companies scene) and tomorrow we have put the whole day aside to film some more. I’m excited by this, I feel I’m slowly getting that ball rolling.

The next step is editing which worries me slightly but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I think once I have a credible showreel I will feel much more confident in putting myself out there. I have also been updating my website and in the new year I’m going to dish out on some new headshots. This is all positive stuff.

I’m also interested in expanding my skills and taking some short courses to work on certain areas. I’m working towards a RADA Shakespeare certificate which will hopefully freshen up my CV a bit and early next year will be taking a course at The Actors Temple in the  Sanford Meisner technique.

Now all this sounds great but it all costs money. So what am I doing if I haven’t got any acting work….. Oh of course I’m spending every weekend in December dressing up as a big bear and entertaining people as they enter the store, does it get any better than this…..I do hope so.

Going Solo…

Since my last update I have set myself up as a freelance Jazz Singer.

I was inspired whilst traveling to one of my many soul destroying jobs that undiscovered actor’s have to do and listening to a relaxing radio station that was playing classic Jazz music. As a Jazz singer and creative mind myself my imagination went off on one and I was performing these songs in front of a large and very impressed audience. When I snapped out of it I thought “Why am I not doing this?” I could be payed to do something that I love doing and have trained in….. and I’m pretty good at it.

So that was how it started, it happened really quickly. In a matter of about 2 weeks from thinking the idea I suddenly had a professional PA system, an amazing Shure 55 Microphone (you know the old classic silver mic that Elvis used, I just love it), an abundance of professional backing tracks and music and a website. I am quite impressed with myself.

Now this equipment wasn’t cheap so my next step is actually getting some bookings or this could have been a bad move. I need to market myself and fast as it’s scarily getting closer to Christmas and I reckon that would be a good place to start.

My first live gig will be at The Angel hotel in Leamington Spa in a couple of weeks. It’s unpaid as it’s a charity fundraiser but hopefully it will be the start of good things, basically good things is not having to do crappy degrading jobs and actually do something I am trained and have a talent for, that would be nice.

Keep the Beat

Today I fought for something that is very important to me.

My nephew was born with hyperplastic left heart syndrome, which basically means half a heart. He had to undergo open heart surgery as soon as he was born. Over the 2 years of his life he has had some major surgery and spent a lot of time in intensive care. He has one more open heart surgery to go and hopefully this will be his last and he can begin to live a relatively normal life.

All his surgeries and care have taken place at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. The care he received was amazing and they really do work miracles. So many lives are saved or prolonged due to their care…….But now Government plans to close down this amazing life saving place.

If this happens experts have said that around 50 or more children will die every year. This Heart unit is the only one with ECMO which is a life saving machine. If this is moved and children have to travel far to receive this care they will not survive. I feel so strongly about this because after my nephews operation he had to go on to this machine, if he had to travel hours to another hospital he may not be with us today. This hospital changes and saves lives, I think it’s disgusting that Government would even think about closing such an amazing place.

So today I took part in a peaceful protest outside houses of parliament. There was around 100 of us fighting this cause and trying to raise awareness. I have to say it felt like a positive day as we had MP’s with us supporting us and also the BBC news.

I’ve never been involved in anything like this before, especially something I feel so strongly about. It’s so typically a case of out of sight out of mind. If it doesn’t effect you, who cares!

Two charity’s were also with us today ‘Keep the Beat’ and ‘Heart Link’. Amazing charity’s that are fighting with us to try and keep this wonderful Heart Unit open. We need more signatures on the petition for Government to reconsider this closure. If you have a minute please visit http://www.keepthebeat.co.uk and sign the petition. Every signature helps.

As I said I’ve never felt so strongly about something and it makes me want to get out there and do more. I feel quite inspired and I also think it’s great life experience and may come in useful for future acting work. As actors we draw upon real situations to help with character choices and situations.

I really hope this has a positive outcome. Not just for my nephew and his future, but for all the other children born with this condition that have a chance at a full life if they have proper facilities and care widely available to them.

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