Archive | April, 2013

Quitter.

23 Apr

 

richard-simmonsI took a hike this morning to clear my head. It was foggy and overcast, but the quiet was calming. I mean — other than the police helicopters flying just above my head, and my heart kind of racing wondering if they’re searching for me, or – more likely – for a murderer who is right next to me, hiding in the bushes. There was that “Head in Beachwood Canyon” thing last year.

Atop the hill, my reward was a view of downtown. And some girly oversized graffiti on the rocks that read “Welcome to Hevian!” I couldn’t have been more lucky. I was in Hevian.

Afterwards, I got my favorite Cruciferous Cleanse juice (Yes and I did not learn my lesson about drinking it!), and realized I was waiting in line with Zach de la Rocha, lead singer for Rage Against The Machine, a band I love long time. And now I finally understand we’re raging against the wheatgrass machine. Because — people, it makes the line like super crazy long…

But what I’ve been thinking about lately is streamlining my efforts here in LA. Working smarter. A few people told me I would never work so hard in my life, before I moved here. HELL YES! I am up for a mindblowing amount of acting work!  I ain’t afraid o no ghost! 

Really, what the work has been is an onslaught of hustling for rent money, and taking jobs when they come around. The kind of jobs that are rarely acting related. And doing an inordinate amount of “stuff I can do good”.

So, I had to let go of a couple things I can do good. One of them, was my job as a Turbo Kickboxing Instructor for 24 Hr Fitness.

“Hold on” — you say, “What the what?” I know. To be honest, I never even taught a class. But since I’ve been in LA, I got really good at punching and kicking the air, paid for my certification training in Costa Mesa, CA, then auditioned and got hired at 24 Hr Fitness. Success! …Right?

I then spent weeks trying to learn the choreography to teach an actual class. I spent the hours at my delivery job, playing the songs in my car and trying to cue moves, while navigating rush hour traffic and looking up addresses. WHY CAN’T I F****** LEARN THIS S***!!!!!! — I gently encouraged myself.

I had fantasies of teaching a class-full of people, and of one of my students coming up to me and saying “I’ve been taking your class the past year and I am a Casting Director for CSI:NCIS:FBI:MURDERSHEWROTE and we want you on the show. TELL ME you’re an actress and that you’ll quit this life and join us for a million dollars!”

I’d learned plenty of scripts in less time than this was taking. I’d memorized full on stories that weren’t mine! I’d taken ballet! I know most of the moves to Thriller! WHAT was the g****** problem!

“I don’t want to do this.” I said.

“You get a free gym membership though!” I said to myself.

“Yeah, but I don’t want to be a fitness instructor.”

“But everyone wants you to do it!”

“I know it seems like that.”

“Come on. It’s easy.”

“It’s literally eating my brain and keeping me from doing things I want to do more and I want to murder everyone.”

“Stop being an idiot.”

“YOU stop being an idiot.”

“…………..Ok. Maybe you should quit.” I finally agreed with me.

“I know. Maybe I should.” We hugged ourself.

I’m saying it’s ok to say no. And to quit what I thought was a good idea at first. I think, around these parts, a girl can get all caught up in something that looks like a quick way out of a tough spot. Something where you might just have at least one person saying “HEY! You’re awesome at that!” instead of feeling like you’re not good enough.

But all these extra things are like flowering vines on a growing tree. They look all pretty and bright green and new, but they’re really sucking the life out of it.

I apologize to all of you who had hoped I’d post a bunch of sweaty pics of my Instructing career on here. Believe me when I say, I am no pretty lady when I work out. My hair gets all frizz, my face flushes, my mustache sweats first. No one wants to see that.

But I’m feeling good about this. My 24 Hr Fitness early retirement.

I got shit to do.

XX,

L

Richard

Advertisements

Sleeping On The Job.

17 Apr

mattress-firm-shoot-mattressesI BOOKED THAT MATTRESS COMMERCIAL WHERE NO ONE GOT MY JOKES!

And we shot it at the crack of dawn in Culver City, CA. (Unfortunately, Larry could not be there at the time.)

I mean — I don’t wanna brag about it, but… you guys. I did like the most incredible “Wow” of my life. It said so many things in just three tiny letters. “OMG”, “WTF”, “SOL”, “BRB”… all wrapped into one.

I arrived on set, fresh faced and frizzy free! (Not really. My hair needed some wrangling.) And I found my friend Keeshan who I discovered is one of the spokesmen for Mattress Firm worldwide! You make instant friends with everyone on set, but it’s always fun to see a familiar face.

I finally remembered to do a makeup/hair “before” AND “after”:mattress-firm-shoot-me-keeshan

A miraculous transformation!

The best part of the shoot was lying atop the fancy prototype mattress for the shot. All I had to do was “respond to the sensation of it getting firm and soft”. That was my direction.

And no, I could not resist cracking a few tasteful…ish... jokes about it.

In this particular shot, the camera was shooting up my nose a little bit. Which can create the illusion (or truth) of double chins (millions of Facebook bikini girls agree! That’s why they all shoot from way up high!). I said to myself “Ugh, just relax. It’s fine. I’m sure it’s not really doing a stubby neck thing…” when wardrobe came over and whispered “Just between you and me, you’re looking a little wrinkly. Lengthen your neck when they start shooting.”

“OK”.

The director approached “You’re looking a little (shrugs shoulders, sinks head into collarbone). Chin up.”

“OK.” I stretched my neck out like a turtle, straightened my jacket, fixed my hair, held my hands where they wanted, looked at the remote control over my nose, tried to breathe, and THEN “responded to the sensation” with the world’s best “WOW”. Over and over.

That’s why we get paid. Because when you see it on TV, you just think “WOW. I want that mattress.” Well, alright – now that I told you this, you’re gonna think about stubby necks.

The worst part of the shoot was that it just was not any fun.mattress-firm-shoot-beth-meI had a blast! Thank you Mattress Firm! You can look for Beth right there (our gang sign is “WOW” — see it?), Keeshan, and a slew of other characters when this airs on TV just about everywhere except Los Angeles!

(Mom! It’ll be on TV in PA! I’m a real actress!)

And back to my neck exercises.

XX,

L

Oh, The Kids.

12 Apr

estelle-friends-actor-agentFor those of us who don’t already know, I do not have kids. I don’t change diapers, drive anyone to ballet, or save for college. (…Or save. Money.)

I always thought I’d have kids by now, but when you’re struggling to put Ramen on the table, the last thing you’re thinking is “OMG, I would love to split this in half and SHARE it with someone who’s simultaneously screaming and crapping their pants.” Right now, I’m enjoying my relative freedom to spend all my baby money on taco nites all over LA, while doing all the screaming and crying myself.

Just trying to get you in my head, for this phone conversation between me and my agent. We had already had a conversation weeks prior, about how she thought I was pregnant/getting married/something, and I corrected her on all accounts.

(Ring ring) — Wait. It’s my iPhone. (MARIMBA!) I see it’s her Vegas number. Because that’s where she is. I’ve never met her in person. Hey-ohhh!

ME: “Hello?”

HER: “………………….oh. HI! It’s Minnie.” (That’s not her real name.)

ME: “Hi Minnie! How are you?” I talk loud and slow because she sounds like a 900 year old Jewish woman.

HER: “WELL…. I’m ok. Except for my broken foot.”

ME: “Oh no! What happened?”

HER: “I don’t know. I was seeing the movie OZ at the casinos, and then my foot hurt and it was broken – I don’t know. Have you seen that movie?”

ME: “Not yet.”

HER: “Well, you probably don’t get to the movies too much these days!” I’m thinking – oh! She’s remembering I’m broke and movies are expensive in LA. That’s nice! “But it’s probably not good for the little ones anyway.”

ME: Oh no. Switch topics! “Yeah, well — so, what time is my callback tomorrow again?”

HER: “11 in the morning. Do you have to get a babysitter?”

ME: Shit. I have to say something.”Minnie, I don’t have kids.”

HER: “What?”

ME: “……I don’t have kids.” With gravitas. I really really really do not have kids.

HER: “Oh! Well, that’s right, you can just take em with you!”

ME: “YEP! Well… THANK YOU MINNIE! I’ll be there tomorrow.” End of conversation, please!!

HER: “OK! Bye-bye!”

UGH, it’s exhausting to be raising these fake kids. 

XX,

L

Estelle

I Could Get Used To This.

9 Apr

kroger-shoot-hotel-linensThis merely proves that I could totally get used to just acting and making an actual living at it. (But I had a hunch about that already).

A couple weeks ago, I flew out to Cincinnati, Ohio to shoot a corporate video for Kroger. (Wait, she’s acting? Is this the right Lalaland?) If you don’t know who Kroger is, they own you already, so don’t worry about it. Actually, they own grocery stores and products across the country. Fred Meyer, Ralph’s, Albertson’s, Kroger, Turkey Hill… Ya’ll know where you are. Since it was all for Kroger eyes only, I can’t tell you anything about it.

But I can tell you everything around it. kroger-shoot-elevator-buttonsKroger put me up in a swanky art deco Hilton downtown. I love staying in hotels and this was no exception. Here’s some hard evidence:kroger-shoot-hotel-bathroomMe. Cheersing myself in the bathroom mirror. (Fabulous — and hydrated.) Seriously, my organizey OCD was giddy with crispy clean glee. My own bathroom. Fresh towels. A coffee maker. A tiny closet with hangers. TV.

People, it does not take much these days.kroger-shoot-room-service-pouponIt didn’t take me long to realize I could swipe my neighbor’s mini Grey Poupon’s from their ABC (– already been chewed) room service tray, in the hall. I made it to 2 before I think they checked out. Or caught on to me.

But really, I wasn’t there to poach mustard. I was there to WERK! Day 1 of our week-long shoot, started out like this:kroger-shoot-before-shotYou guys. I had planned on showing you the amazing transformation from duck to swan, but I completely forgot to take any “after” shots. SO. Keep this in your head. The puffy face of success! 

kroger-shoot-homemade-granolaThankfully, there was an amazing craft service spread, including some ridiculously good coconut granola, made by our girl Franny. “Oh yeah — I’ve worked on set with her before. It’s so good,” said almost every Cincinnati actor. An UN-perk of being the LA hire: getting homemade coconut granola on this shoot – only.

Among other delicacies, Franny also made Puppy Chow for us. I am *sure* she used some kind of secret ingredient to kick it up (she’s a gourmet chef), but for the rest of us, here’s the recipekroger-shoot-puppy-chowBe warned: It’s easy, it’s Chex cereal, and (whispery voice) I think the powdered sugar might be cocaine.  

Being a responsible actress (snore), I stuck to the fruit and water (and caffeine… I have a thing in my contract where one of my vices must be coursing through my veins at all times.) The camera is Judge Judy about what you’ve done to yourself lately. And totally not like the kind of friend who says you still look good, after you’ve eaten a bunch of salt and slept on your face.

Keep in mind, this is my fellow actor on set: A perfectly styled, juicy, piece of meat. Literally.kroger-shoot-on-set

Every day, I’d return to my hotel, exhausted, then go bang out 5 miles on the treadmill in the gym downstairs. Just trying to sweat out my tortilla chips, while catching up on Parks & Recreation and The Mindy Project.

I tried to save room in my suitcase by bringing minimal workout options. So I had to hand wash and hang them in my shower. When my sisters and I were young Caucasians growing up in PA, we used to play “Mexican housekeeper” when my Mom asked us to fold the laundry.

How to play: Fold the laundry, while playing the Spanish radio channel.

A fun game.

kroger-shoot-hotel-laundryIn my downtime, I tried to get out and explore a little bit of downtown Cincinnati! Famous for 3-way chili (and not how you think), and a burgeoning arts district. You know, get a samplinz of the local flavor! (This is one of my favorite things, by the way. I wanna know what the natives like.)

kroger-shoot-hotel-viewI’ll be honest with you. I think I spent most my time in the Chipotle, ordering a salad bowl and too many chips, and skittering to my room to watch TV and hunt for Grey Poupon. But I did manage to check out adorable Mica down the street, have dinner with everyone at Taste of Belgium (they do chicken and waffles with hot sauce and syrup – why is that good – but it is!), nearly get suckered into buying a Bond No. 9 NYC candle at Saks for $95, throw a whiskey back with a penguin at Metropole, and check out the Contemporary Arts Center. Which was rad. cincinnati-contemporary-arts-center-01Have you ever played the game Simon? My Ma-Ma and Pop-Pop had it at their house and we used to play it all the time at Christmas. Had I known it at the time, it would have made for a great drinking game. (With our kids-size 2% milk, of course!)

Well, this was my favorite exhibit at the museum. SIMON:cincinnati-contemporary-arts-center-03That’s the green side. It makes all those same weird sounds, and you have to run across the room to hit the buttons, as the whole place floods with neon green, red, blue and yellow light. It’s so much fun and SUCH A GREAT WORKOUT!

Whenever I have my mansion, as much as I love bowling, I’m commissioning a really big Simon. cincinnati-contemporary-arts-center-02This was kid art from the youngin’s section. I think she has a future, here. And I would know… (Wait… oh… where’s my Ringling diploma when I need it…?)

Sigh.

I’m not gonna lie. I had a really hard time reentering the atmosphere, upon my return to LA. No one cleans my room every day. I have to pay for my own mustard. The only acting I’m doing is when I’m pretending I enjoy driving in rush hour traffic to deliver people their fancy dinners.

But. At least I had a taste of the good life. Eventually all these little tastes will add up to a whole meal, right?

Thank you Kroger. Hope to do it again sometime!cincinnati-metropole-artXX,

L

I’m Lauren – I’ll Be Here All Week.

4 Apr

mattresses-and-sandra-bullock“I literally haven’t had an audition in a month,” I texted my friend Adrienne. She gets it, but some people assume that when you’re in LA, you audition all the time and you get famous, like, faster than Superman ever did anything ever.

And if you don’t, something must be wrong with you. (What? Nothing’s wrong! My agent simply asked me how my pregnancy was going. And when I corrected her, she said “Oops, well you’re getting married, aren’t you?” She so totally knows me!)

Then out of the blue, an audition notice. Not for a major feature film or even a one-liner on a TV show we all pretend we watch. No.

It was for a mattress commercial.

Immediately, I imagined myself breezing around a fluorescent-lit, Memory Foam paradise, daintily brushing my manhands over one cotton cover after another. I never thought I could sleep this great in all my life! – I say, to the Unicorn tucked in next to me, for a sleepover.

“COOL, ATTRACTIVE, RALPH LAUREN STYLE, ASPIRATIONAL, CLASSIC” read the casting notice. “SEE ATTACHED SIDES.”

What — There are lines! And my name is Lauren! A sign!

I downloaded the sides and read a bunch of testimonial style information about mattresses. I thought of all the dead skin, sweat and dust mites, currently living in my mattress. I wondered if I could squeeze out another 8 good years if I flipped it over. And drowned it in Febreeze.

I prepared my audition (memorized the little script, did my hair conventionally pretty, made a weak attempt at covering my moles that just resulted in blotchy tannish splotches.) I was ready.

I walked into the casting office and saw one other actress. “Wow! This place is usually packed! This is so relaxing!” She smiled, and not with her eyes.

I signed in, and noticed the script changed completely and became two versions. A few other actors strolled in.

“Are we all reading the same thing?” I asked the other actress as I sat down.

“Yeah.” She said.

I looked at one of the scripts and these were the lines: “Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.”

“Well, I think I got this one down…” I joked aloud and laughed a little.

Actor dude: “Well, they’ll be wanting you to do different emphasis and meanings for all the “wows”, and multiple options for them to work with…”

I stared at him, hoping I didn’t really look that stupid. He shook my hand with his, which felt more like an effervescent dead fish, than a hand. “I’m Steve.”

“Lauren.”

I sat down next to another actor and skimmed the other script. It was a scene with a couple, testifying about how they got scammed into buying a crappy mattress and then had to live with their horrible mistake for 8 years. YOU CAN IMAGINE THE TORTURE.

I joked to the actor guy next to me, “Doesn’t it totally sound like the 8 year mistake they’re talking about, is really their marriage?” Hahahaha…. (Here’s where you join in, guy…)

Actor guy: “….Um. They’re actually talking about the mattress.”

SERIOUSLY?

Me: “Well, yeah. Yes. They are…” Pause. I wasn’t giving up. “But wouldn’t it be funny if it were their relationship that was the – the, um, thing?”

Him: “(OH RIGHT. HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING. HE JUST LOOKED AWAY AND THEN STARTED MOUTHING THE WORDS TO THE ONE LINE HE HAD TO MEMORIZE).”

I looked around and realized that everyone who had arrived, was mouthing “I went to a department store and made an 8 year mistake” over and over.

I re-read my script, wondering if I had missed someth—- ok, nope. It was just that line.

I thought about practicing my “WOW! … Wow?? … Wow. … WEEEE-OOOOOOW” ‘s out loud for everyone, but I got called in to the casting room.

The casting director asked for our names – except for mine. He goes: “Wait — Blair.”

I sprung to life. “BAIR! Yes! Lauren.” Um, this might seem like peanuts, but for a casting director to know my name in this giant town full of thousands of actresses, is truly a lil milestone. Blair, Bair, Blore — I’m counting it.

Dead Fish Hand chimed in: “MY last name is B-A-R-E”.

Casting Director: “Any relation?” as a joke.

Dead Fish Hand: “Hahahahaha not that I —“

Me: “NO!!!!!! (pause)… Uh, no….not that I know of…” Don’t ruin this for me, Fish!

I did my line, I did my “Wow’s” three different ways, I covered my neck moles with my hair.

A success.

I thanked Casting Director Rob, who remembered me, and walked out of the office, with the church giggles.

I’ve never been around people so serious about mattresses, in all my life. It’s a MATTRESS AUDITION.

I immediately left a ridiculous account of this whole thing on my sister’s voicemail.

WOW. Wow. (wow.)

XX,

L

Mattresses and Sandra B

%d bloggers like this: