Auditioning

[From the Trenches] Linda Lowy has an elevator y’all!!


 

A few months ago I had to take my children to Linda Lowy’s office. I dreaded it–all 10 of my back up child care goddesses were busy, so I sucked it up and packed the stroller, the diaper bag and a ton of snacks.

 

Even though there are two separate waiting rooms, the office is reeeeaaaal quiet. And my children are, well, not. The toddler kept repeating, “hi” to a poor guy actor was just trying to focus on his work before going into the audition room.

 

Luckily, fellow mama actor and Mother in Hollywood podcaster, Heather Brooker, had an appointment with Linda that day too, and she came early to entertain the toddler with Snapchat filters. Thank you, friend!

 

But the most important thing I discovered that day, is that Linda Lowy’s office has an elevator!

 

Linda Lowy stairs

 

If you’ve been To Lowy/Brace before, you are familiar with that super daunting set of open stairs. But right underneath, past where that bike is, there is an elevator!

 

Here is a close-up of the paper on the post:

 

Linda Lowy elevator sign

 

So for all you brave or desperate mamas who may someday find yourself heading to Linda Lowy’s with your babies, at least now you know you won’t have to backward-drag your stroller up that crazy staircase. Break a leg!

 

From the Trenches is a series of stories, insights, and lessons straight from the audition rooms of Los Angeles to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day minutae of life as a working mama actor.

[From the Trenches] Boundary Setting for the Mama Actor

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Are you clear about your mama actor boundaries?

 
If there’s one thing I talk to my kids about a lot it’s boundaries. I’m constantly telling the big guy, “Your sister is setting a boundary when she does that. That means she’s telling you not to do it.”

 

All. day. long.

 

boundary: something (such as a river, a fence, or an imaginary line like a feeling or a word) that shows where one area ends and another area begins.It got me thinking about my own boundaries in my acting career. Am I clear with my mama actor boundaries? How do I even know? Is this another thing my toddler is teaching me? I guess it’s a fair exchange–I’ll teach you how to walk and talk and poo in the toilet, and you teach me how to set boundaries.

 

For example, last week I submitted to an unpaid project on Actor’s Access. I don’t usually do unpaid work, but sometimes there can be benefits–a great role that will give me good, fresh footage for my reel, for example. When I got called in to audition, I re-evaluated, “Do I want to do this? Is this within the area of yes or within the area of no?” I decided the only way to know was to go in and meet the creative team.

 

As I’m sitting in the waiting area, I hear them ask the actor in the room before me, “We’re having callbacks tomorrow, are you available to come in?” Shit, I think. I’m scheduled to volunteer in my son’s classroom tomorrow, a shift that I’ve already rescheduled twice now. Plus, I don’t really want to come to a callback for an unpaid short film. Ding, ding, ding–boundary alert, boundary alert! Approaching the limit where yes is turning into no!

 

So it’s my turn, I go into the room, and I have a great time–smart redirection, fun people, fun material. We get to the end of my audition, and sure enough the director asks, “We’re having callbacks tomorrow, are you available to come in?”

 

What did I learn from the toddler again? Speak up. Set a boundary.

 

Me: You know, I’ve had a great time today, and I’m totally available for your rehearsal and shoot dates. If there’s something else I can show you today that would help you make a casting decision, I’m happy to do that, but honestly, I’m volunteering in my son’s classroom tomorrow (yes, I went there with the mom truth and everything), and I’m just not available for a callback.


(silence)


Producer:
 Oh, wow. What grade? My daughter is in kindergarten so I totally get it. The callback is just our selfish desire to keep working with actors, it’s totally fine, don’t worry about it.

 

Huh, look at that. Setting boundaries isn’t as hard as I thought. It’s crucially important as a mama actor to recognize a boundary–the limit that indicates where a yes becomes a no–and be able to defend it and speak up for it.

 

Sometimes boundaries shift and that’s okay too. If it had been a callback for a recurring on a Netflix series you can bet I’d be speed-dialing my list of sitters, because that would have fallen into the area of yes.

 

I spent about half a second wondering what they really thought of my boundary-setting before I checked my own nonsense. The producer may have been bullshitting me. He may have secretly respected that I spoke up. He may have not really cared either way. Who knows? (Update: I booked the gig, so I guess we do know.)

 

The point is, it doesn’t matter. We seek artistic truth and authenticity in our work, why not in our business? When your outside matches your inside that’s a state of integrity. Thank you, baby girl, for another lesson in adult-ing, toddler-style. It sure does grow you up, this parenting gig, doesn’t it?

 

What do you think, mama? When have you had to set a boundary in our industry as a result of a parenting “thing”? How did it go? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below, or in the TMA Facebook group.

 

From the Trenches is a series of stories, insights, and lessons straight from the audition rooms of Los Angeles to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day minutae of life as a working mama actor.

You CAN be both a mom and an actor: One mama actor’s story

giving up your dreams does hurt other people. If I’m not a fully-functioning, dream

 

Enjoy this guest post by fabulous funny-lady Julisa L. Wright in which she shares how her baby helped her book a role on the CW’s hit new show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. She also dishes some fantastic words of wisdom for mama actors everywhere.

 

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Self taping for the mama actor

Self taping for the mama actor


Do you self tape, mama actor?

 

I am smack in the middle of a 30 day self-tape challenge. The challenge entails putting myself on tape in some way, shape or form every day for 30 days, and sharing the tape in the challenge Facebook group.

 

I have been learning a ton about my look, my work, my brand, and what it takes for me to craft a powerful audition on camera, all for less than the cost of an acting class.

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[From the Trenches] The life-saving secret I learned about 200 South

200 South La Brea

I waited at the foot of the stairs for a break in the stream of actors leaving the large commercial casting facility at 200 South La Brea.

I dreaded the backwards drag I was about to do–hauling my big-ass BOB stroller up the narrow staircase, vaguely apologizing to the actors trying to squeeze by.

So I waited. For a pause, for permission, for salvation, I don’t know what exactly I was waiting for, but wait I did.

And wouldn’t you know it, salvation arrived.

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7 reasons why every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op

Every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op

Betcha one of these moms has a babysitting co-op. Either that or a million dollars.

Finding last-minute child care can be the hardest thing about the audition process. I know one mama who quit acting because the last minute nature of auditions was killing her. She simply decided it wasn’t worth it.

 

I recently reached a breaking point with this in my own life. Finding last-minute sitters was wreaking havoc on my sanity and my work, not to mention busting our budget.

 

One Friday night at the end of a particularly busy week in which I burned through my entire monthly child care budget in five days, my husband suggested setting up “some kind of babysitting trade thing”. 24 hours later I had a babysitting co-op. Mamas, it has changed my life.

 

Here are 7 reasons why every mama actor needs a babysitting co-op…

 

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[TMA Recommends] WeRehearse Video Chat for Actors

TMA Recommends is a series about sharing stuff. The best stuff. The kind of stuff that helps make my life as a working mama actor not just do-able but delightful. They’re not reviews or critiques, because why would I waste space talking about stuff I don’t like. I only recommend stuff that I use and love, and unless I explicitly mention it, I’m not compensated for my opinions in any way.

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Why did no one think of this before?

I recently discovered a new online service for actors called We Rehearse. It’s one of those things that’s so brilliant you wonder, “why did no one think of this earlier?”

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Daily Double (Standard, that is)

The Mama Actor on Double Standards

Double Standard: when a situation is desirable for one group but deplorable for another.

I was at a commercial callback yesterday, and the guy I was partnered with brought his adorable four month-old baby. This dad was awesomely devoted to his little nugget, and while we were waiting we bonded over sleep and poop (too little of the former, too much of the latter). A few minutes later another actress offered to watch the baby for him while he was in the room and said, “Is it terrible that I think it’s so cute when a dad brings his baby to an audition but when a mom does…well, not as much?”

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auditioning and making do

What on earth is this?

I’ve much to say on the auditioning process, but I wanted to pop into the blog to share this moment from the trenches…Anyone know what this picture is?

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