Happy Christmas

rehearsal
I Want to Kill Lena Dunham with Melissa, Marie, Nikki, and Shauna.

This play is killing me, financially. Don’t misunderstand, I am loving it, but between gas prices and driving to North Hollywood every day and not working at the bar as much as I need to, I’m hurtin’. So, I refuse to submit for any acting roles that pay less than $100 a day. I’m not always so strict about it. I’m down for acting in a grad film or working on any project if I love the role, but right now, it’s not possible. Definitely no more plays. At least for a little while.

My inbox is flooded with the usual 100s of casting notices I receive every day. It can get overwhelming. I go through and delete the ones I know won’t pay. Then I see a notice for theatre. I know, no more plays. But it’s called The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever. I mean, I can at least click on it.

I do. The role looks fun. The assistant director of a terrible play who takes her job seriously and has no time for people’s shit. Sounds right up my alley. Whatever, I’ll submit for it. Doesn’t hurt to audition. (And I’ve always wanted to act in a Christmas play!)

Don’t you know I get called in? Of course I do. And of course I’m excited. I am to perform a monologue for the audition. It’s actually a Craigslist post. It’s so amazing, you have to read it:

“I have approximately 200 cinder blocks for sale. They are standard 8”by 8” by 16”. They cost you about a buck seventy five if you get them someplace else. I’m asking fifty cents a block. You pick them up and you move them yourself. Please don’t waste my fucking time with endless emails. You want the blocks, come get the blocks and give me 50 cents for each block you take, how fucking hard is that? The next moron who emails me with “I’m building a blah blah blah and I was wondering if…” The answer is NO come get the blocks and build it yourself! These are plain ol’ cinder blocks for fucks sake. What is wrong with you people?? You want the blocks, come get the blocks, and don’t fuck with me.”

How fucking fun is that?? I get to work on it and a couple of my cast mates, Melissa and Marie (they’re so great), even help me with it. I get to the audition and I’m not even gonna lie. I fuckin’ nail it.

And then I get a callback! From the director, Paul. But shit, I have to work that night. And I REALLY need to work. I email Paul and tell him the situation. He actually works at the theatre where I’m having rehearsals right now so he knows I’m there all the time. He emails me back that he will “check.”

The next day, I get another email. “Lindsay, I want you to play the role of Janet. Please read the script and let me know if you are interested.” So I read the script. It’s hilarious. My character is awesome. I can’t wait.

So that’s that. So much for resolve. I’m doing another play. Ha. Sorry Mom and Dad, I won’t be making it home for Christmas this year. Love you!

***The following video is me practicing for my audition for I Want to Kill Lena Dunham…

When You Believe

On set of Christmas fun
On the set of Christmas fun

Action! decides to make monthly goals, starting in October. One of mine is to go on at least one audition a week. Need to get myself out there. In order to do this, I need to start submitting WAY more than I used to. Up until now, I have paid per submission on Actors Access (website). Basically, if I get a notice for an audition that I like, I’ll submit myself. The casting director will then see my headshot, resume, and reel. It’s $2 a submission for just your headshot and resume, and an extra $3 for the reel. I only just recently uploaded a reel (finally!) to my profile. So that’s $5 a submission. No wonder I’ve been so picky with my auditions. It’s so expensive!

That’s where Natalie comes in. Silly Stets, just sign up for the year subscription. I think it ends up being a little less than $80 for the year. I get my money’s worth within the first week of submitting. Amazing. Now I can submit for any and every audition. And I do.

Noticing a lot of Christmas postings right around now. Love it! A lot of it is theatre, which would be great if it wasn’t unpaid with shows every weekend in December – I wouldn’t be able to afford to live. But there is one USC (University of Southern California) short grad film that pops up. The premise looks adorable – young Saint Nick lives in an apartment building and has been practicing getting into apartments during the night, thus breaking into people’s homes. A nosy neighbor (that’s me) comes around, knocking on his door, wanting to know more about this new tenant. So cute.

I arrive on the USC campus for my first time. It’s a really nice campus. Everyone is riding around on beach cruisers in true California fashion. Find my way to the film department and take the elevator to where the audition is being held in a classroom. A guy is sitting outside the room, going over sides. Walk past him and into the room where a girl sits by herself. This is the writer and director, Haley. I get the sides from her and go back out into the hallway to go over them. It’s a few pages of dialogue. As soon as I read through it in my head, I get the kid’s attention who is sitting outside the door. Wanna come read with me? He says sure, and follows me outside to a balcony. Perfect for practicing. We go through it twice and are ready to go. Sure, I could practice longer but I just want to get in there.

Haley has us read together. It’s a one and done. I think it went well, but I don’t feel like I had the chance to do ENOUGH. I wish I brought more to the role. I do tell her that I love the premise and that the writing is good – something I haven’t been seeing a lot of when auditioning.

I tell the girls about it at our Action! meeting the next day. I really want this part! They collectively tell me to email Haley and tell her that. So I do. Reiterate what I said at the audition and if she’s on the fence about anything, I’d love to have the opportunity to audition for her again. She gets back to me asking about my availability for the following week before she makes any final decisions. I don’t see the email until the end of my shift at work, and freak out a little that since I didn’t respond right away, she may have already went with someone else. But she didn’t! I get to play the role of Kate!

Cast and crew sans our talented photographer,
Cast and crew sans our talented photographer, Anne

Rehearsal on Monday at Haley’s apartment in downtown LA. Pretty sweet set-up she’s got, and that’s not even including all the amazing Christmas decorations everywhere. November 1st and I am officially in the Christmas spirit! My co-star, Josh, has not arrived yet, so I get to talk to Haley for a bit. Find out it’s not the same guy I auditioned with and that the third character in the short – Santa Claus – is AMAZING. I don’t get to meet him, because we’re not in any scenes together, but guys, he looks just like Santa! It’s crazy. And awesome.

Find out that Haley has four siblings and is also obsessed with Christmas, so, we have a lot in common already. I get to talk to her a little about the script. She sent us the most recent version of five pages and told us that if we have any suggestions, feel free to email her. I just can’t help myself. Email her just a tiny idea. It ends with Nick and Santa at the North Pole. I suggest ending it with Kate walking back into his apartment and seeing something that makes her “believe.” I don’t know what, but just a thought. Haley has decided to use that! When Kate walks back in, all the Christmas decorations will be gone, except for a snowglobe, sitting on the floor in front of her. “We can’t end it with that. My teacher says it has to end at the North Pole, but we’re still going to use it.”

Excellent! I’m excited. Josh arrives and we go through introductions and get right into the rehearsal. Lines, blocking, wardrobe. Thursday we’ll be filming, and that will be it for me. Josh has a couple scenes with Santa. I’m really only in the one scene in the apartment.

Thursday I arrive at Haley’s apartment and everything is set up, now with lights. She also has a crew of three others, all from her class. Josh is running late, so we get started with my individual shots. Josh then arrives and we get right into it. He’s kind of a weird dude, as many actors I meet are. Nice guy. By the end of the shoot I’m giving him a hard time about everything and he’s telling me to just be myself on camera (because my character is kind of bitchy —- good one).

I’m wrapped at 10. That’s it? Wow, that was so fast. I mean, it is only a 5-page script, but still. That was fun. Can’t wait to see it.

(Haley recently emailed to tell me that it’s almost finished and guess what… ended up going with Kate walking back into the apartment at the end. !!!)

*Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston