"None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime.- Gail Goodwin
As we get closer and closer to the end of 2010 {already, really?} I figured it was time for me to take a moment and congratulate myself on the goals I've achieved this year. To kick things off, let's start with a really cute compilation of my facebook status updates in 2010...


My favorite status of the year has to be when we played the question and answer game. For those of you who aren't familiar, your facebook friends would ask you a question in your inbox. You'd then answer that question in your status without mentioning who it was who asked you the question in the first place. The question I loved answering the most was as follows:

Q: If you were single and without children how hard and long would you pursue acting as a career?

A: As long as it takes... which is the same answer that I have now even with the husband and kids. There's no set time. While I'd love to be a series regular on a hit TV show right now, that may not happen for 10 or 15 years. But guess what? I'll still be here trying to make it happen because I have to.

And I really believe that. Having a family doesn't change my goals, it just altars the way I go about attaining them.

Speaking of goals, here's what I accomplished this year...


And these are the classes I took...

There are definitely some areas I fell short, some things I need to change subtly and some things that need a major overhaul and I'll get to all of those in the next post. For now, I'm patting myself on the back for a year well done.
On Friday we celebrated Myesha's homegoing. I use the word celebrate because though we were all grieving we used that time to remember the good times we had with her. It was nice to see family and friends who I haven't seen in over a decade. There was a lovely photo montage that played throughout the service and I read a poem that I wrote for her. Here it is...

For Myesha: Think On This
What do you say to honor someone who's left you much too fast
when you took for granted the time you shared because you thought it would always last?
You might get consumed with anger or wallow in your tears
but for now let's take a moment to think about when she was here.
Think about her dimpled smile and how friendly she could be
and remember the rich sound of her laughing happily.
Think about the joy she spread to everyone she knew
and how even when she had little, she'd offer some to you.
Think about her as a mother and how proud she was of Jhai,
how much she truly loved him as the apple of her eye.
Think about all the good times you've spent with her, though they were much too brief
and let those memories bring you comfort in your time of grief.
For we can rejoice in knowing she is with our Lord above,
no longer feeling any pain, but covered in His love.
So when you think about Myesha, in all your pain and strife
go ahead and mourn her death but then celebrate her beautiful life!

Well this is a birthday I won't ever forget.

Today I celebrate the blessing of being able to see another year. The many blessings of having good health, a family who loves me, shelter, food, clothes, a car, all of my basic necessities met and all of which I'm thankful for.

Last year I didn't do anything for my birthday except bake a cake and listen to my sons and my hubby sing to me. Last year I was kinda bummed that that was all I did so this year I decided to do it up. I made plans at this awesome Cuban restaurant that offers salsa dancing lessons along with a live salsa band and even planned an afterparty at a hookah lounge. You'd think I was turning 30 by all the festivities {I'm not there yet, don't rush me} but I was just very excited to celebrate!

Until yesterday.

Yesterday my mom called me and said she was going to pray and fast for the rest of the day because my cousin Myesha, who had been in the ICU for the last 3 or 4 days, had taken a turn for the worse. Myesha had gotten an infection after being pregnant, but was an otherwise healthy girl so when she first went to the hospital I hadn't thought much of it. Sure I prayed but I still just knew she would be fine because she'd never really been sick before. After getting the call from my mom, however, I got a little nervous and prayed much harder this time. 20 minutes later I missed a call from my mom and I immediately knew why she was calling me back.

Myesha was young and vibrant and a mom to a 7 year old boy and we didn't expect this. I just saw her on Thanksgiving {so very glad I went out there now} and now I wish I would have spent some real time with her before coming back here. The toughest part is that her little brother's birthday is today too and I know he's hurting really bad right now.

So needless to say, I don't really feel like dancing anymore. I'd rather eat dinner and enjoy the cupcakes that I  woke up to this morning {thanks Stephen!} and just be with my husband and my boys. Same as last year but it's funny how different your perspective can be when you remember how short life is and what's really important. So yes, I'm still gonna celebrate, just in a much more intimate way. I'm sure my boys will still sing to me and right now that's all I want.

To any of you who are inclined to wish me happy birthday, thank you in advance! I appreciate the love and I am truly truly grateful to see another year.

And to those of you who believe in prayer, please lift up the Kingsberry family right now, that's the best gift you can give.

I love you cousin!
 Myesha Latrice Kingsberry, rest in peace.
Over Thanksgiving I went back home to Vegas to spend time with my family and meet my new niece, Ava Christine. She was just over 2 weeks old when these pictures were taken. Isn't she beautiful?!?


Jayden was a very big helper. He kept wanting to hold her and make sure she was okay.

Aww she loves her auntie!

I spent one of the nights with Kaymen, one of my best friends from high school, watching the film "Burlesque" {totally mad at myself for not taking one single dance class this year!} and drinking yummy Oatmeal Cookie Martinis at Friday's. Delish!

And before we got back on the road we stopped at a waffle cafe to eat breakfast with my friend Veniesha and my beautiful goddaughter Shalina. {And if you look closely you'll see our hubby's in the background. Hi guys!}
The boys definitely had a good time.

It was nice to get away from everything industry related and just spend some time with family and friends... but now it's back to work. Only 21 days left before this year is over, gotta make them count.
After not having much going on for the last few months, these last 2 weeks have picked up quite a bit for me.

  • I booked  a music video for Japanese pop star Ayumi Hamasaki.
  • Booked an LMU student project that will shoot sometime early next semester. 
  • Helped a friend produce the pilot episode of her super cute webseries Millie's 101 Things.
  • Was supposed to shoot a spec commercial yesterday but due to the rainy weather we've postponed it until December.
  • And had an audition with Stevie for a Huggies potty training video... and was quickly reminded why I decided to stop taking the boys on auditions in the first place. No cooperation at all! He was supposed to dance {they even played a song from his favorite show Yo Gabba Gabba} but instead of dancing he just kept stomping his foot and saying "I'm really, really mad!" Cute, but definitely not gonna book that one.

On the survival job end, I had the interview for the wedding planning position, actually I had a series of interviews. The first day I met with three people in the hotel: the Director of Catering, the Catering Sales Manager {who handles all the corporate accounts and hates weddings} and the Director of Sales {my former boss who told me about the job in the first place} and it was one of the best interviews I've ever had. They all told me what they were looking for and it sounded like everything I wanted and was perfect for, yay!!

Cut to Friday, when I met with two more people: the HR Director and the GM of the hotel. They painted a much clearer picture of just how demanding this job would be. 10-12 hour days. Working 3 out of 4 weekends. Meeting high sales goals each month, boo!! By the time I finished talking to the GM I knew immediately that it wasn't the job for me. So I plan to send my former boss a note later today thanking him for the opportunity but withdrawing from consideration of the position. Don't get me wrong, the money would have been great. Seriously, I'd already started making a list of all the classes I planned to take since I'd be able to afford it. But what good is the money if I won't have time to ever go on any auditions? So back to craigslist I went, looking for something more flexible. I may have found it. I have an interview tomorrow with an event planning company for a full-time position. I let them know in my email that I'm an actress and I'm looking for a job that will allow me time off when I have auditions and bookings as long as I get my work done on time. And they actually called me! They don't produce the types of events that I'm used to working on but I'm meeting with them in the morning to learn more about what the job entails so we'll see.

Onward and upward.

Here is a Doritos commercial I did for the Crash the Superbowl contest. Husbands/Boyfriends pay attention!

Sidenote: Many people in my class have said I look like the type who is vindictive and shouldn't be crossed, I guess they're right. Tee-hee!

Email subscribers can view it here.

Two weeks ago I enrolled in an AWESOME marketing/business/branding class for actors called "Class Rules!" which is taught by casting director Bonnie Gillespie and boy am I glad I did! Though you can view the gist of what it offers here, this class really is so much more than what's listed on the site. Everyone is incredibly supportive and the exercises and assignments we're given have been extremely insightful thus far. That said, the first week we did a typing exercise {for family/friends who aren't in the industry, this is when people look at you and/or your headshot and describe what you look like} before we got to know each other so that it could be as true to a first impression as possible. 

Here is how I was described most often...
  • Young Mom
  • Entry-Level Professional {nurse, doctor, etc.}
  • Strong/Tough
  • The Best Friend
  • Sassy/Feisty
  • Fun/Playful
  • Sweet
  • Smart
  • Matter-of-fact/No-Nonsense
  • Bitchy/Catty
  • Friendly/Kind
  • Addict {yeeeahhhh I had to quickly get over my WTF attitude with this one & just roll with it}

And this is how my headshot was most often described...

  • Strong/Tough
  • Serious
  • Smart
  • Intense
  • Angry
  • Guarded
  • Vindictive/Don't Cross Her
  • Young Mom
  • Disadvantaged Background
  • Blue Collar
  • Lawyer/Assistant DA

Finally, these are the shows that are in production that most folks suggested I try to get on based on what they consider to be my type...

  • True Blood {one of my faves!}
  • Treme
  • Criminal Minds
  • The Game
  • Vampire Diaries
  • Defenders
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Glee

So obviously when I get new headshots to submit to the above shows I need to have some balance and find a way to show my strength/intensity along with my softer side {which is the REAL me anyway}.

Next we'll be discussing agents & managers that we should be targeting individually. The process to come up with the specific agents who need my type is time-consuming but necessary so I'm off to get started on my homework and compile that list. And if any of you want more details on the class shoot me an email, you'll be glad you did!

Have you ever felt uncomfortable at an industry meeting or networking event? Khristy has! Watch me as I go through the fire in Diary of a Wedding Planner's Episode 2: Wedding Nazi's. 




Email subscribers can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpqgml7wkwI
New clip from DWP. Check it out:



Email subscribers can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n0fzKTrDu0
So you wanna make a webseries but have no idea where to begin? Well read on...

First Elizabeth prompted me to write a post about the whole production aspect of Diary of a Wedding Planner, then I started getting a few emails from actors wanting advice on how to start their webseries and just today someone left a message on the FANTASTIC message board at Hollywood Happy Hour asking this same thing so I've finally composed a list of  tips to help you get started. This is by no means exhaustive but hopefully it will be a guide that can give you the jumpstart you need.

1. If you already have an idea, start writing! So many of your decisions will be based on what your production needs so get started on your first draft as soon as possible and see how far it takes you. Some people have 5 episodes in their first season, some have 15. Put pen to pad and see how extensive your season will get. For those of you who are still searching for an idea, write what you know! What speaks to you? What do you love/hate/are passionate about? Start with that.

2. Speaking of seasons, what will happen in Season 2 or Season 3? What kind of journey is your hero embarking on? Not that these need to be written from the start but the more you know about your characters from the offset the easier it will be when/if you do pitch it to sponsors down the line.

3. Create a line item budget. You can either start with a fixed amount and figure out a way to stay within that figure or you can look at all of your production needs, estimate their costs and decide to go with whatever amount it adds up to. Of course, the former is better for your pocketbook, but either way you should try to get as high of a production value as possible. And don't forget to include the cost of post-production (editing, sound design, score, etc). I left that as an afterthought and it definitely hurt me for awhile so give this some considerable thought.

4. If you're a member of SAG or if you want to become a SAG Signatory the process is pretty simple. Instead of me walking you through those steps, Marilyn Anne Michaels, the creator of the series The Best Friend, has already done that here:

Part 1: http://thebestfriend.tv/tbfblog/?p=30
Part 2: http://thebestfriend.tv/tbfblog/?p=32
Part 3: http://thebestfriend.tv/tbfblog/?p=34

5. Crew- this was an area I was absolutely CLUELESS in but quickly learned (and am still learning) from others. Determine your crew needs. Can you afford a large crew? And honestly, do you even need one? Can people double up? Do you have friends who also work behind the cameras and can help you out here? If not, can you get referrals from friends regarding crew they've worked with and trust? If you're still coming up short you can always post a message on HHH, Mandy and Craigslist.

6. Pay- In your budget did you allocate money to pay your cast or will they be working on a deferred basis? What about your crew? Some crew positions are easy to fill even on a deferred basis, others (dp, sound mixer, etc.) you will probably have to pay. Of course, if you have friends who do this that's another story. But if not, expect to pay the key crew. Tip: If you can find a DP who has their OWN camera (or access to one) that's much better than paying both the DP and the camera rental. Definitely a lesson I learned after shooting my pilot!

7. Casting- Breakdown Express & LA Casting are both pretty simple to use. I personally prefer Breakdown Express now that I've tried both but either one will help you get the job done. There are plenty of places to hold auditions and CAZT is one of the places that will cost you nothing but your time as you'll have to leave feedback for those who auditioned for you.

8. Locations- This is where you beg, borrow and plead to get as many locations as you can for little to nothing. Are they interested in the exposure if you show their signage in your show? Is your show's target audience a big part of their customer base? If they still want you to pay them then negotiate as low as you can. EVERYTHING IS UP FOR NEGOTIATION!!! Tell them this is a production you are paying for completely out of pocket and how much you love their space but is there a way we can work this out so that it benefits both of us? The tricky part here is that some places will require insurance. If you have it (and honestly that's the BEST route to go) then great! If you don't, which I didn't, because you can't afford it then you may have to pay a little extra OR sign an agreement that makes you responsible for anything that goes wrong because of you, your cast or your crew.

9. Catering- Make sure your cast & crew are well fed ESPECIALLY if they're not getting paid. A full tummy keeps everyone happy and makes the day go by a little quicker. Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart are all great places to shop to get what you need. And don't forget about any vegetarians, vegans, or those with allergies. Ask beforehand lest you find out while you're on set.

10. Marketing- Once you've shot and edited it, what type of release schedule do you plan to have? Are you going to shoot and release as you go (which is what I'm doing until I get more $$$) or do you have enough funding to shoot them all at once and actually release the episodes once a week? How will you get the word out? Are there message boards & online groups who fit your niche who might be interested in watching? Will facebook ads or banner ads on the blogs of those who cater to your audience be worth the investment? Will you host a premiere or wrap party and invite, among others, bloggers in your niche industry who might provide you with coverage? Take advantage of Social Media! Get a facebook page and even a twitter account just for the show.

11. Crowdfunding- This is a great way to get funds for your project but I wouldn't suggest going this route until AFTER you have something to show people in order to attract more interest. For example, I raised about $800 from my IndieGoGo campaign with no video attached but I know people who've raised thousands for their show via IndieGoGo and Kickstarter because they waited until they had their first season up or at least a teaser to spark more interest.

12. IMDb- If you want to get it listed on IMDb check out Withoutabox and submit it to an imdb qualifying film festival that has a New Media or TV category. I haven't done this yet as the festival I'm interested in submitting to requires 3 episodes and right now we have 2 completed (yep, the 2nd episode is coming soon!), so I don't have firsthand experience with this one but I do know it's worked for others.

13. End Goal- What is the ultimate goal of this project? Do you want to sell it to a TV network? Get it on Crackle or Koldcast? Or just have an awesome project that shows what you can do? And if it doesn't get picked up by anyone will you still be happy and proud of what you've accomplished? Hopefully that answer is yes because otherwise don't bother getting started.

Ok, sorry so long but those are my tips. I'm still learning myself so follow what you agree with and discard the rest. As you can see, it is a LOT of work but it's also incredibly rewarding!

If this post helps you at all consider supporting my show, Diary of a Wedding Planner by liking our facebook page or subscribing to our youtube channel. And when you're ready to release YOUR show, let me know in the comments section below.

Best of luck to those of you out there who are making it happen and taking matters into your own hands!
After reading an excellent article in Backstage today about auditioning for commercials by Killian McHugh, I realized I never posted this informal interview I gave him when I took his workshop back in May. Enjoy!


And if you're considering taking a commercial class check out his site at www.killiansworkshop.com. Once I get new commercial headshots that will hopefully get me some more auditions I will definitely be back for one of his refresher courses.
So I tried my hand at waiting tables but it just didn't work out, as I've shared in detail with the readers of my Unscripted blog so hop on over there for the full scoop.

The good news is, I may have an interview next week for a full-time gig. An old boss of mine from Vegas now works out here at a really cool hotel and sent me a message via facebook yesterday. Since I have experience with weddings he wanted to know if I'd be interested in a position focused solely on booking & planning weddings there...um, yeah! I've gotta meet with his director first though and win him or her over so hopefully that will happen next week because the sooner the better.
And in other news, last weekend was my sister's birthday which we celebrated at the W. Though the drinks and the food were overpriced {typical of Hollywood}, the drinks were strong and their steak sandwich was delicious so we were happy.  Love you sis!!
BIKINI LIMO DRIVERS
Trailer
NON-UNION
Pay Rate: DEFERRED $100/day to $250/day

PLEASE SEND A BIKINI PHOTO OF YOURSELF.
THERE IS NUDITY IN THIS PROJECT.

IF POSSIBLE, PLEASE SUBMIT ACTOR'S ONLINE DEMO CLIPS ALONG WITH EACH ACTOR SUBMISSION.

[ JENNY ]
Female. 18-30. Starring role. Very attractive, well endowed. Drives a limo, wears a bikini. Pay is $100/day DEFERRED

[ [MIMI ]
Female. 18-30. Starring role. Very attractive, well endowed. Drives a limo, will be topless at times. Pay is $200/day DEFERRED

[ SUSAN ]
Female. 18-30. Starring role. Very attractive, well endowed. Drives a limo, fully nude at times, Pay is $250/day DEFERRED

Oh what can I say about this one? First of all, it's deferred. Meaning whoever takes this role will only get paid if this is bought by a distributor {and that's a big if!}. Second, do you really think they're going to watch the demo reels of all the actors who submit? Puh-lease. Just be real. Big ta-ta's are the main qualifier for these roles. Don't ask for reels too as if that will make a big difference... Although, maybe they're watching the reels to size up said ta-ta's.

Anyhow, my ta-ta's are small {but still pretty, don't get it twisted!} so I will happily pass on this one.
In case this wasn't forwarded to you via email, take a look at some of Black Hollywood recreating classic covers of Ebony Magazine...
Regina King as Eartha Kitt
 John Legend as Duke Ellington
 Jurnee Smollett as Lena Horne
Nia Long as Dorothy Dandridge
Samuel L. Jackson as Martin Luther King Jr.
 
and Taraji P. Henson as Diahann Carroll
I should have posted this months ago, 8 months ago to be exact but at the time my digital camera was nowhere to be found. Now that I take it with me wherever I go I finally took a snapshot of the wonderfully encouraging gift I received in the mail back in February.

1. The Card
 In case you can't make it out, it says "Dream".
Inside are beautiful words of encouragement that were handwritten {lovely!} And in all caps are the words "I BELIEVE IN YOU!!"

2. The Gift
Accompanying the card was this lovely "Believe" magnet that stays on my refrigerator as a constant reminder that someone {besides my grandma} really does believe in me and my talent. And as you can see, little Stevie loves bending it from time to time when I'm not watching.

What prompted this gift? Nothing. No birthday, no holiday, no special announcement warranted this package that came in the mail. A friend just decided to send me something to encourage me while I pursue this crazy dream of mine and guess what? It worked!

So thank you Shelley for the lovely gift!! The card & the magnet serve as a great confidence booster when I'm feeling down but just knowing that you took the time out to even think of encouraging a friend beyond an email or facebook wall post is really really appreciated.
Hilarious depiction of a conversation most actors have with people outside of the industry on a daily basis...


Getting back in class is something I've really wanted to do but just couldn't afford {both financially & time-wise}. Well a friend of mine made a great suggestion that I start by taking a few private sessions with an acting coach until I have both the time and the money to commit to an on-going class, so I did! I had my first private session with Amy Lyndon and boy was it an eye-opener.

We started our session with a career consultation as one of the main things she works on is helping you put your package together so that everything's in order when you begin seeking representation. She looked at my clothes, my hair, my headshots and my resume and gave me her thoughts on the type of first impression I make- adorable, cute, fun, sassy, spunky... I can get with that. We talked about the main roles I have on my resume as well as the type of roles I generally go out for and she immediately gave me some homework...
  1. Take new headshots and shoot 3 looks: All American Girl Next Door, Young Lawyer/Doctor/Businesswoman and Sassy Spunky Sidekick. Three very different, very distinct looks that I can believably pull off. Each of these looks will become a character on a TV show that's currently on air and I even have to give each one a name and bio so that on the day of the shoot I can portray these 3 women, rather than just take pictures. I like!! She even gave me very specific suggestions on the type of clothes to wear and to avoid for each one. And since I had already scheduled a 2-look session for November with Bradford Rogne I simply upgraded to 3 looks. 
  2. Make a rough cut of my reel that's between 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds. I have a bit of footage from one scene in Dating Dilemma, the short film I did last year and of course I can now use something from Diary of a Wedding Planner as well. We may even use a clip from What I Hate About Me just to show a tiny bit of my personality. Typically that sort of thing wouldn't go on a reel since I'm not acting in it but we both agreed that until I get more material I can use it for now, especially since it was something that aired on network TV.
With my image and materials assessed, we moved on to the actual coaching. I brought in sides from the new season of The Game since that is one of the shows I plan to target {so glad it's coming back!!!}. The character was a guest star who had 3 scenes with the lead so I chose one and gave a read as if it were a real audition. Ha! Over the next hour Amy showed me how to really break the scene down in a far more detailed way than I ever have before. And I must admit, with each new read my character became much more specific. I didn't necessarily change any of the choices I made but I definitely realized that my approach was far too general, superficial and ultimately, forgettable. And she told me I need to work on my timing, apparently I was reading a half hour sitcom like a one hour drama, not good! It was a lot to take in in an hour but I loved every minute of it.

I left with Amy's book, The 15 Guideline Map To Booking and have to prepare scene 2 for our next session. Can't wait.
Notice what Hollywood considers "plus-size"...


Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010, 11:23 AM Pacific
Addendum to 10/11 9:39 PM10/8 9:44 AMMBIB 3 (Plus Size Models) REVISED
Cable
NON-UNION
Procter & Gamble Sponsored


Casting Director:
Interview Dates: 10/12/10
Callback Dates: 10/13/10
Shoot/Start Date: 10/14/10
Pay Rate: $130.00
Location: Burbank, CA



SUBMIT ELECTRONICALLY
IF POSSIBLE, PLEASE SUBMIT ACTOR'S ONLINE DEMO CLIPS 
ALONG WITH EACH ACTOR SUBMISSION.

POPULAR TALK SHOW ABOUT BEAUTY, FASHION AND HEALTH.

This is for adult females size 8-12 - we are looking for
African American Models.


AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALES, age 18-32.
This is for adult females, SIZE 8-12.
*Must have runway experience be true to size.
Looking for sassy and fun personalities.

8-12. Ridiculous.
My interview with Backstage regarding using social media for networking purposes has gone live. For the most part it's accurate, the only thing that's incorrect is that I don't yet have my SAG card, right now I'm still in SAG-Eligible limbo status {though I have a date in my head that I'm pretty sure I'll be joining by}. Anyhow, here's an excerpt:

When Brandi Ford moved to the West Coast, she initially thought she'd use Facebook and Twitter to connect with fellow actors and alleviate her sense of isolation as a newcomer. But her online life gave her far more than she anticipated. For example, meeting casting directors and other industry professionals on the Internet led to a few in-person networking opportunities.

For the full article pick up the latest edition of the magazine or head over to http://www.backstage.com/bso/content_display/news-and-features/e3i05a30aa117cd49d6f41fc4d74b808bf5.
After MONTHS of hard work 
writing 
rewriting
location scouting
casting
shooting
completing SAG paperwork
editing 
losing my editor
wanting to say screw it
finding a new editor who's FANTASTIC {actually they're a pair}
scoring
and tweaking the final product
I'm happy to present to you the pilot episode of Diary of a Wedding Planner...
I'm so thrilled with the way it's turned out and I truly hope everyone who was a part of it is proud as well. 

Now time to start editing episode 2. :-)
It's been a busy week to say the least.

Besides working both day jobs I've been focused on fine-tuning the score and overall sound design of the pilot episode of DWP and I couldn't be happier with our progress. Yesterday I watched the latest version which was the first time the credits were added and it made me so excited to see the names of everyone who've worked so hard to make this project what it is. Plus I never realized how much music and sound in general can really boost your production value until now. Rob Gokee has done a really great job with our score and Longlost Pictures have just been incredible with the sound design and the overall editing so I'm truly truly excited to show it to the world come Sunday! We have just a few minor music adjustments to make and then we'll be ready to go so here's hoping everyone will fall in love with the pilot like we have.
We shot episode 2 of Diary of A Wedding Planner yesterday. By the way, how do you like the new photo? I LOVE IT!!! Especially the little cake topper of me with a bobble-like head. Jesse Young, a friend of mine from Houston, created it and he did a great job.

Anyhow, yesterday's shoot was a breeze. We all had a fun time, everyone was professional and we wrapped a little earlier than planned so I couldn't have been happier. And on top of that, the real reason for this post is to announce our premiere date. Woooooooooo-hoooooooooooo!!!!

Get ready...

Get set...

The first episode of Diary of A Wedding Planner will premier on a computer near you on 10-10-10 at 10 am Pacific Standard Time. That's this Sunday people! So save the date. Tell your friends. And don't forget to tune in by going to www.diaryofaplanner.com.

Happy Birthday Jayden!! 6 years with you have kept me younger than ever. 
{And this is the perfect picture since he's always into something.}
I love you!
~ Mommy


And Happy Birthday to my mom!
Yep, she shares a birthday with my son and of course she loves it.
Hope your birthday weekend is both fun and relaxing because you deserve it.
I love you too!
~ Your only daughter
We're shooting episode 2 on Sunday! Yay!! Finally getting the ball rolling again with my show and couldn't be happier. Plus the editing of the pilot is coming along quite splendidly! We've had to do more cutting than I expected but we're finally ready to add the score and the graphics and call it a day.

Only thing that sucks right now is that after working temporarily again at the night-job as a reality tv logger for the last 2 weeks, working on the weekends at the restaurant AND working as an assistant for a fabulous wedding in Malibu all day & night on Saturday {which, by the way, had a sexy A-List celebrity couple in attendance, one of which had a hit reality show pranking other celebrities}, my body is EXHAUSTED. Seriously. My voice is totally gone and I'm doing my best to rest it because it's got to be back by Sunday for our shoot! Try explaining this to a 5 year old who asks me like 100 questions a day, not working. Here's our convo...

"Jayden, I can't talk right now. My voice is gone."

"Why is your voice gone?"

"Because I've been talking too much lately."

"Well why have you been talking too much?"

"I don't know but I have to stop talking so it can get better."

"How will it get better mommy?"

"It will get better if I give it some rest."

"Some rest, like a nap?"

*Sigh.*

I finally just started doing my hands like a game of charades to make him understand I'm not going to talk to him for awhile but I still think he doesn't get it, poor baby.

Anyhow, going to continue drinking my honey chamomile tea at home and green tea at work to rest this sexy sultry voice of mine and get it back to normal.

Last Monday morning. Not only was it the day of The Young & The Restless audition but it was also the first day of Jayden's new school. Needless to say there was a lot going on! Though I had already registered Jayden the Friday before, there was still a process we had to go through and the clock was ticking. Once he was finally settled in his new classroom I made a dash for my car and headed out.

I dropped Stevie off at his daycare and made my way towards CBS. According to my GPS I had more than enough time to get there, find a parking space on the lot and head up to their office without breaking a sweat. Thankfully there was no traffic so getting there was a breeze. 

I parked my car after circling the lot quite a few times and made my way up. The waiting room was filled with a handful of early twenty-somethings, black, asian, hispanic... all "ethnic" and all pretty good looking. I signed in, placed my headshot on the stack next to the sign-in sheet and found the sides that had my name on them. 

"Brandi Ford... Hotel Clerk". I look over the sides. 2 pages. 5 lines. Nothing to freak out about. Easy peasy right? 

Only when you only have 5 lines how do you really give them what they want in such a short amount of time? 

Agh, can't think about that right now. Focus on the scene. So I do. I break it down the best way I know how from the different books I've read (because I haven't actually taken a cold reading class yet) and wait for my name to be called. Once it is I greet the cd (without shaking his hand of course) and we take a moment to chat. The first thing he tells me is that he's brought me in because they believe actors who take time out to mail them a headshot should be given a chance to be seen- nice! He says it's a great way for them to meet fresh faces, especially those who are unrepresented like myself. 

"Why did you target our show specifically?" he asks. 

"Because my grandmother loves it!" came flying out of my mouth before I could stop to even think about the question. Maybe I should have said because they use my type often and I'd love to work on a soap but I just told the first thing that literally came to mind. My grandma Rose really does love the show and watches it religiously and to think about how excited she'd be to see me on there {even with 5 lines or less} is awesome. 

"Where are you from?" he asks.

"I'm a California-Las Vegas hybrid," I say. And ding, just like that the conversation switched to Vegas hotels for the rest of the way. Good ones, bad ones, those to try and those to avoid. Apparently he stayed at one of the newer hotels for the emmy's over the summer and was given less than impressive service. You know what I told him, try the Hard Rock next time! {Gotta stay cool with my former employers!} 

Alright, enough with the small chat {which normally doesn't go on that long but this was a "general," a chance to meet & greet, not a regular audition} time to do the scene. And the irony wasn't lost on us that I was reading for a hotel clerk! We stand. He serves as the reader and we're done in all of 2 minutes. 

"Very nice," he says. "You've got great energy. Thanks for coming in." Which means.........

I don't know. Could mean he'll keep my info for whenever he can use me. Could mean nothing and just be what he tells everyone when they leave. Who knows? The important thing is that I got a chance to make a connection with a cd that's on my target list and for that I am satisfied. Of course it doesn't stop here. Now it's time for me to send a thank you note {as soon as my new photo business cards come in} and make an effort to keep him updated via postcards on anything new that I'm doing but at least the initial connection has made.

And guess what? I can file him under cd's who are actor-friendly. Always nice to work with those!

For fun I thought I'd share with you some of the more interesting casting notices I see on a daily basis, starting with this one...

Casting Notice
Project Name: Search of Super Spokesmodels (REALITY)
Project Type: Reality TV
Rate/Compensation: between $250-$500 depending on experience and credits
Message:

Role Role Type Gender/Age/Ethnicities Description/Note
super spokesmodel search Featured Female / 21 to 33 / All Ethnicities The reality series is search for the Super Spokesmodel. The participants/contestants are given special assignments that are comedic, witty, unique and unusual by nature. The girls are judged on beauty, wit, charisma, smarts, and an overall presence in front of the camera

I just can't do it. It seems like the show has a nice enough premise but I shudder to think of all the cattiness and contrived behind the scenes drama that will most likely be more important than the girls actual talent. It is Reality TV after all.

Gonna pass on submitting to this one.
This video took forever for my computer to load but it was well worth the wait. For those of you who are looking for representation like me, this is fantastic advice from a panel of well-respected agents speaking at one of the many SAG Foundation events. Take mental notes!

http://a3.video2.blip.tv/6220003103071/Sagfoundation-LifeRaftLiveStreamSAGAgencyDepartmentAnEveningWithAgent874.m4v?bri=92.3&brs=929

And many thanks to my high school friend Desiree Abeyta for passing along the link.
Thanks to fellow Unscripted blogger Kali Kirk for sharing this today. It pretty much says it all.
After I get off of work tonight I'll be on the internet watching the latest few episodes of Young & The Restless. Why you ask? Because tomorrow I'm meeting the casting director! I sent their office my headshot 6 months ago and I just got a call on Friday to come in tomorrow for a general and a cold-read.

A general {for my non-industry readers, i.e. my family} is an opportunity to meet with a casting director or agent, show them a glimpse of your personality as well as catch a glimpse of theirs. I'll also get to do a cold-read so it's a chance to audition... but for no role in particular. No matter. I get to show a new casting director what I can do and I'm VERY excited as this is the first audition where I'll actually be on a studio lot- gotta bring my id to even be allowed on the property. Just knowing that I've been given a chance to get in the room is awesome and with 6 months gone by since my submission, pleasantly unexpected.
Praise God!

I literally just got a phone call from IUSD 2 minutes after my last post- Jayden's permit was approved.

Yaaaay!!! Doing the happy dance and breathing a huge sigh of relief!

And so glad I can keep that other side of me {you know, the one with the neck rolls & evil eye} under wraps. :-)
I can't believe it's Thursday already. Seriously, I need time to slow down just a little bit and take us back to Tuesday so that I can get more done this week. Not that I've been unproductive, I've just been swamped! I just got rehired at the production company working nights. Financially this is definitely a blessing and so right on time. Remember how I said I needed to find a way to continue shooting DWP and get back in acting class? Well this will help. I don't know how long they're going to keep me on this time since it's on a temporary basis but I'm grateful for each day that I'm there. The only downside to this is that I'm not home when Jayden comes home from school so I haven't been able to help him get back into the swing of things in regards to doing homework. After having a homework-free summer he needs help with this each day and Stephen's had to take over that role since I'm not there. I feel kinda bad about it but what can you do?

Speaking of school, Inglewood Unified School District is really pissing me off right now. They don't offer the Spanish Immersion Program that Jayden was in when we lived in Long Beach so I'm trying to have him transferred into another district that does. It took forever for him to even get accepted into this other district and now that he has, Inglewood doesn't want to release him. Why? Because they lose money when they lose students. But guess what? As a parent, that's not my concern. My priority is to make sure my child takes advantage of the best education that public school can offer. If they want Jayden to stay in their district they need to expand their programs. And if they're not in a financial position to be able to do so then they need to release him! So I've had to appeal their decision twice now and it's currently being reviewed by the superintendent. I really hope they don't make me have to go there with them but you don't mess with a mom on a mission!

More updates later.
What makes a film Oscar-Worthy? According to the trailer below there are some telltale signs. Some of you may have seen this video before but for those who haven't, take a look. It's definitely a gem!

It's the night before my Jayden will start 1st grade {technically it's the morning of} and though I should be asleep my night owl nature has fully kicked in! Instead of sleeping I've been reading a lot of inspiring industry blogs in the last hour or so, mainly from Lesly Kahn & Amy Lyndon, and it's got me revved up. Plus I've had the words from this video ringing in my head since I saw it a few days ago...



Note: Email subscribers can view the video here- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fsm-QbN9r8&feature=related, it's definitely worth taking a moment to watch. I've seen it 5 times now.

After watching that it's kind of hard not to ask yourself, how badly do I really want to be successful? Seriously, how bad do I want it? And what exactly does that "it" really mean to me?

Well I'll tell you, for me "it" means owning a home with a yard for my kids to play in.

"It" means having an emergency fund with a years worth of our salary in case of an actual emergency.

"It" means having good health insurance.

"It" means making a good FANTASTIC living as a working actor.

"It" means being able to proudly answer the dreaded question, "What have I seen you in lately?"

"It" means being able to pay off our student loans and still have disposable income.

"It" means entertaining someone with a performance that makes them laugh.

"It" means touching someone with a performance that makes them cry.

"It" means provoking someone with a performance that makes them think...and then take action.

"It" means being a member of all 3 actor unions.

"It" means being able to write & produce roles for black minority actors that are 3 dimensional.

"It" means being able to visit family who live on the other side of the country without it being a hardship.

"It" means making enough money as an actor that the people who once thought or still think my husband was/is crazy to "follow" me all the way to LA will one day have to eat their words.

"It" means being in a position to speak for people who might not be able to speak for themselves because when they do, they're ignored.

"It" means doing my part to financially and emotionally support my family while still being fulfilled.

How badly do I want it? 
More than I can tell you.
More than I can even begin to try to describe.
Imagine, really wanting success as badly as you want need to breathe? That's hard to truly comprehend. And yet, I agree wholeheartedly with this guy. This industry is not for the weary or for the faint of heart. If I really want the success I *SAY* I want, I've got to do better. I've got to! This is not me beating myself up. This is me just writing the truth.

This means, I've got to submit to more commercial agents. And if I'm still not getting any bites then I've got to get some new headshots!

I've got to get back in class. I've GOT to get back in class!!! It is so clear to me right now that I'm so not ready for a manager or theatrical agent that there's no point in me submitting to any of them anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, I'm very confident in my raw talent & ability but the training I've received from my performing arts high school and my theatre program in college just isn't enough to compete with the level of talent that's out here. LA is the SUPERBOWL OF ACTING people. To attract the kind of representation that I'm targeting I've got to step my game up and get back in class. I've been getting more hours at work lately so I've got to find a way to use the extra income to finish what I've started with DWP and still dig in with new training!

I've got to do something EVERYDAY towards my career and I mean beyond self-submissions. The idea of keeping regular office hours as the CEO of my acting business makes a lot of sense to me. Sure the hours will change on a daily basis but the point is that everyday I'll actively do something to help advance my career. I mentioned before that I need to read more plays anyhow, so reading plays, seeing plays, doing table reads, going on coffee dates, joining acting associations {I'm looking at you Actors Network & Women in Film}, attending networking events & film festivals and of course writing, auditioning and actually BOOKING something all count towards those hours.

Watch the video again, check out part 2 as well and then ask yourself how bad do you want it?

Whatever that "it" means to you.
Family vs Career, can you really have both? I'm sure you all have an idea of how I feel about this but I was recently given an opportunity to really break down my thoughts on this age old question. The talented actress & writer Lira Kellerman, a fellow Unscripted blogger, asked me to write a guest post on her awesome blog The Struggling Actress about why I've chosen NOT to choose between having a family and pursuing an acting career. Here's just a small sample...

As a young twenty-something with 2 small children I’ve heard it all…

“I thought you wanted to be an actress?”
Translation: You’ll never make it now.

“Oh, but you’re so talented!”
Translation: What a waste!

“Hollywood is no place to raise a child!”
Translation: You’re only thinking about yourself and not what’s best for your kids.

“LA is expensive, especially with kids. Maybe you should just stick to regional theater.”
Translation: No more major league hopes for you honey! Stick to the minors.

And my personal favorite: “Well we all had dreams once, but now that you’re a parent it’s time to get realistic.”
Translation: Give up this pie in the sky fantasy and get a real job!


To read the rest of the article {especially how I handle the naysayers and why I think having a family makes this career even MORE rewarding} head on over here but I have to warn you I have a feeling you'll find yourself digging through Lira's archives and quickly adding her blog to your must read list. I know it's on mine!

Thanks for the opportunity to share my pov Lira! I'm sure you'll make a great mother when the time comes. :-)


Happy Labor Day Weekend friends! Mine will be spent working the entire weekend so let's hope I get lots of nice customers with loose pocketbooks. :-)
First of all, HALLELUJAH! I finally have home internet again! This means no more going to Starbucks or Bricks & Scones at night for a few hours at a time trying to play catch up with everyone who's emailed me. It also means I can start submitting myself again for roles on LA Casting, which I haven't been able to do for about a month now. Unfortunately my Actors Access account expired and I haven't been able to renew it just yet but after rent is paid I'll get that taken care of.
 

Post production of Diary of A Wedding Planner has been a rollercoaster! Everything started off nice and smooth. Our teaser looked great! Our schedule seemed to be moving right on time then bam! The day our pilot episode was due to be completed we get an email from our editor flaking out on us. Turns out she got another better paying gig and threw us to the side. To say I was mad is an understatement! But everything does happen for a reason and though it's taken me quite awhile to find a new editor, it's a task that I'm very happy to check off of my to-do list. Our new editors are the fabulous Greg & Lex {husband & wife duo} of Long Lost Pictures. I can now breathe a very heavy sigh of relief and with them taking care of the pilot I am now focused on getting all of the pieces together to shoot episode 2 sometime next month.



It's that time again- Jayden is headed back to school! Time for clothes shopping, up to date physicals, nice fresh haircuts and school supplies. My baby is going to 1st grade! Of course I'll be saying "my baby" when he goes to 12th grade too. :-) I'm already prepared to be in a hectic state of mind for the next 2-3 weeks getting used to his new school schedule. And my little Stevie is growing leaps & bounds, counting to 12 and saying his ABC's. He's not yet potty-trained but he's running his mouth and his little legs a mile a minute so it's time for him to start preschool. I plan to check out quite a few preschools that are near Jayden's elementary but in the meantime he'll be going to the homecare provider where Jayden has been all this summer. There aren't any other children his age there, most are a little older, but it'll still be nice for him to be around other kids until I find the right place for him.



Sad to report that thus far none of my commercial submissions have got any response other than "no thanks." One agency brought me in for a meeting which was actually a good experience and another agency called to tell me they can't offer me any representation at this time but to resubmit within 6 months if I'm not signed with someone else by then. *Sigh* Gotta send out some more till someone says yes!



Finally our family fast is almost over, just 2 more days to be exact! And guess what, though I didn't agree to do this for the purpose of losing weight, I have. I've lost 15 lbs and am down to 130! 5 more and I'll be at my ideal weight. I'm absolutely giddy and just want to make sure I continue eating more healthy once our fast is over in order to maintain this size.

Whew! Enough updates for now. Hope you all have been doing well and have some great updates of your own.
So far I'm enjoying my day job. I work quick 5 hour shifts and my tips have been alright. What I don't enjoy are the people who stiff you, especially when you least expect it! I try to shake those folks off though and focus instead on the ones who are a joy to serve. I'm currently working 16-24 hours per week and would love to work at least 30. My managers tell me I'll be given more hours soon but in the meantime I'm applying to other part-time jobs.

My husband Stephen works for a company where he has access to tons of job openings and he came home this week with a printout of an awesome part time job I'd love to have! It's an administrative position working in the theatre, film and tv department of a local university assisting current & prospective students. The hours are great: 10am - 3pm, and the pay is fantastic! So I immediately applied AND sent an email with my resume to the Dean of that department since that is who this position reports to. Besides the finance factor it sounds like an environment I'd enjoy working in, being surrounded by actors {both aspiring & working} all day long. Hope to get an interview!
This past weekend I coordinated a retirement party for a good friend's mother {pictures coming soon}. While I was excited to coordinate an event {that was a BEAUTIFUL success}, I realized that all the time and effort I put into planning it could have been time and effort put into furthering my REAL career. So no more wedding/event planning for me. What I will be doing however is assisting the wonderful Tami Brown with Fabulously Wed with her clients. Tami has two more weddings this season and I'll be working both of them, helping her tend to the many details that a wedding brings. This way, I don't have to plan anything. I just show up and do whatever's needed to help make their wedding beautiful and special. {I know ya'll didn't think I was going to completely give up the wedding industry- it's a part of me!!} Seems like the perfect side gig! Here's hoping she books lots of clients next year.
For the month of August my family and I have gone on a fruits & vegetables fast. While it has been a bit challenging, it's also great to try out some new recipes and try to make creative, tasty dishes that are super healthy. The funny thing is, it's not the meat that I'm missing, it's bread. Everytime I have to take someone's order of garlic breadsticks to their table I just want to sink my teeth into them...but I show restraint. The great thing about this fast, aside from all of the spiritual reasons that I'm doing it, is that it aligns perfectly with my goal of healthier eating. And thankfully my job offers some incredibly delicious salads so I can still have a shift meal. :-)
Picking up from where we left off 2 weeks ago, the goals I'm actively working to reach before the year is up includes...
  1. Live a healthier lifestyle
  2. Land a commercial agent
  3. Book a national commercial
  4. Land a manager
  5. Land a theatrical agent
  6. Book a co-star credit
  7. Book a lead role in an indie, short or student film
  8. Shoot 3 more DWP episodes
While the majority of my Action Plan will remain the same, the main differences are the removal of CD Workshops and acting classes. After all the hoopla over the CD Workshop issue in the last few weeks {read here if you've been out of the loop} I've decided it's better to focus my energy and money on other ways to get the attention of casting directors, with DWP being on the top of that list for now. As for acting classes, with most costing about $250 per month I simply can't afford to enroll in any if I'm going to continue to put up money for DWP. So once I have 3 more episodes shot, edited and ready to show the world THEN I will use my extra income for class. That said, here is the revised Action Plan for the second half of the Year of the Hustle.
3rd Quarter {July - Sept}
  • Substitute fruit for sweets as a late night snack
  • Start dance class/fitness membership
  • Begin submitting to managers & commercial agents
  • Shoot DWP Episode 2
4th Quarter {Oct - Dec}
  • Continue eating more fruits vs sweets
  • Continue with dance/fitness class
  • Begin compiling footage for reel
  • Submit to theatrical agents {continue with commercial agents & managers if necessary}
  • Shoot DWP Episodes 3-4
  • Send thank you notes to those who've booked me, referred me or helped me along the way
  • Create goals & action plan for 2011
So that's what I'll be focused on for the second half of the year and with today being the last day of July, ALREADY, I have a lot of work to do!
The revised 2010 Action Plan is on its way but first I'm off to shoot a commercial. It's just background work but I booked it straight from my headshot on LA Casting so that's always nice. :-)

Be back soon!
We're halfway into 2010 {how is that possible already?} so according to my "Year of the Hustle" Action Plan it's time for me to reevaluate and update my goals and the steps needed to achieve them for the remainder of the year...I was supposed to do this in June, my bad!

1. Live a healthier lifestyle
I've been eating a lot of seafood and fresh or frozen {never canned} vegetables. Sushi has quickly become a favorite- so much so that it's usually my go-to choice when meeting with people for lunch. Side note- Bricks & Scones is my favorite coffee spot! Their scones are golden, buttery & delicious. Their salads are fresh & tasty and they have free-wifi. Best of all, it's about 10 minutes from my place and from those who live in the valley so it's a pretty central spot. I actually have yet to taste their coffee but it's Intelligentsia and apparently that's the crème de la crème of java. Anyhow, as far as eating more food made from plants, I'm doing fairly well. What I still need to improve on is to stop eating sweets at night. Sweets are truly my achilles heel {has been all my life} and though I've cut down on them, I still reach for them first to snack at night which means all those calories have no where to go once I go to sleep. Soooo not good for any attempt at losing weight. Lastly, exercise. Haven't done it. At all. Not for lack of want but for lack of funds and that needs to change.

2. Land a commercial agent
I haven't submitted to any commercial agencies yet because I'm not in love with my commercial headshot. It shows my smile but doesn't look really natural so I was planning to hold off until I took new pictures. However, my friend {and Low-Budget Bride from DWP} Rayshell Curtiss has referred me to her rep so I'm mailing her {and 14 other commercial agents} my headshot & resume early next week. Hopefully I'll get a few meetings. Fingers crossed!

3. Become SAG-Eligible
Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh boyyyy!

4. Get listed on IMDb*
Check! But I feel like I've cheated with this one because though it's a legit tv credit it's not for acting. The Style Network show was reality tv and though we all know reality shows have scripted moments, there was no actual script for me to read or lines to learn. It was just me being me so this gets crossed off but with an asterick next to it for the technicality.

5. Book a national commercial
Though I don't need an agent for this, it would help my chances tremendously! Suffice it to say, no national yet.

6. Land a manager
I didn't want to submit to managers until I got my SAG eligibility and had some reel footage. Now that I have both, I'm ready. I've put together a list of about 50 managers that I'm considering. Some manage friends & colleagues, some have clients with co-star & guest star roles on the shows that I'm targeting, and some are those who I've read are looking for new clients right now. Using imdbpro, their websites {those who have them} and feedback from various message boards, I'm going to cut this list in half and begin submitting from there. I have some specific requirements for what I'm looking for in a manager- but that's a future post.

7. Land a theatrical agent
Ideally, I'll sign with a manager who will help me get a reputable agent. For now though, I'm putting together a list of theatrical agents I'd like to submit to when the time comes.

8. Book a co-star credit
I submit on a daily basis for the rare breakdowns for network tv that are sent out on Actors Access and {even rarer} LA Casting. Problem is, so do thousands of other unrepresented actors. The numbers don't discourage me though. They just make me keenly aware of the fact that I have to do all that I can to make my headshot & resume stand out. That, and be patient.

9. Book a lead role in an indie, short or student film
The hard part for this one is done. I've booked the lead for the student film "Low Count" but due to funding issues the start date has been pushed back. Hopefully they'll raise the funds they need but until then this one only gets crossed off halfway.

10. Develop vocal strength/stamina
I didn't actually plan to begin to tackle this goal until October but instead I've decided to replace it with something else. In light of writing DWP, which wasn't even a priority when I created this list in the first place, I want to continue to devote my time & energy into getting it off the ground. That means shooting more episodes, which means investing more money. Though we have a kickstarter fundraising page it hasn't been as successful as we had hoped so we're preparing for Plan B. Part of that plan is to shoot 3 more episodes and then pitch it to production companies who can help fund the remainder of the season. So Goal # 10 is now to save/raise enough to shoot 3 more episodes of Diary of A Wedding Planner.

Wow! That's a lot to take in for one post, so we'll Save the Action Plan for tomorrow.