"None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime.- Gail Goodwin

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. :-)