Archives for posts with tag: acting

Hi all – I took a little break from writing, because the last thing I want is to be whiny and depressed all the time.  Things have been pretty hard over here – under the surface, which to me is worse than having your mess all out in the open. We moved into the perfect little house, we adopted the perfect little dog (even when he’s being a perfect little shit), and now I work from home in the perfect position that I manifested out of ponies and oatmeal and sleeping with a crinkly face. (“I WILL support myself this way… I WILL support myself this way…”) It all looks great from a distance.

Up close I’ve been kind of crazy. Over stressed. Under-creative. Quick to snap. Unhappy with my body. Unhappy with acting, or my lack of acting, or both. Generally lost. Even my puppy doesn’t want to take walks with me. (I’ve been assured he’ll grow out of it – it’s apparently a phase.)

I forgot about the self-care. I did. I forgot about doing small things for myself to take care of me. And I’m not sure what those things even are most days – that’s the whirlpool I’m swirling in.

I think I’m going to do the Artist’s Way again – at the suggestion of my best friend from NYC, who visited with her gf last week and told me I looked like hell, in so many words. Somehow that gives me the permission to write it all out without judgment. I recommend it to anyone who’s stuck like I am.

On the upside – all the lesbians on TV are making me happier! Making me more interested in keeping up with this crazy stupid acting industry.  The downside is that I only watch TV when I’m at the absolute bottom. But at least that means I’m starting to climb up and out.

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago I had a veritable golden week as a character actor – three auditions, two in the same day.

On the first audition of my double-day, I walked into a dark, couch-filled holding area to sign in, and casually looked around. There in the corner sat Julie Goldman, furiously engaged in her phone. When she was called into the audition room, the casting crew immediately cheered. I knew I was screwed. 🙂

I’ve been chasing the same parts as Julie since 2004 in Brooklyn when she threw her hat in for the L Word parody “The D Word” to play the Shane character (Drea), whom I had been seen three times for. (Actually, that one worked out well for me because the woman cast as the love interest of Drea ended up being my partners ex-gf, and we would have had some awkward makeout scenes to contend with. Too soon.)

So it’s both heartening and slightly painful to hear Julie speaking about existing in the same middle ground that I do – are we too butch, or not butch enough? Where is the room for comedy, as opposed to the butch always being a sexual predator? Why, in Julie’s case, does the role always go to the black woman, while in my case it always goes to the heaviest girl in the room, who may or may not be non-Caucasian? Apparently there’s only one kind of diversity in H’wood.

Read up on her thoughts here: http://www.austinchronicle.com/arts/2013-04-26/stuck-in-the-middle/

As the year ends, and another birthday arrives at the end of the month, I have to reflect on what I’m doing here. Both in Los Angeles and more existentially.

I’ve stopped submitting myself for any acting work, partly because I just need to make more money right now, and partly because I have the luxury of an agent submitting for me.

But going out for the professional television auditions once again brings me back to why I started writing here. Butch is just something most people don’t understand.

I’ve auditioned in the last month to play an estranged military wife, a “newsboy hat lesbian” (I nearly got that one), five different Eastern European members of a women’s ice hockey team (because all scary butch women are written as Eastern European, apparently), a “burly girl”, and a big dumb friend, among a handful of other non-specific parts. Other than the military wife – which, as far as I can tell, I was only called in for because they were looking for short hair – all the parts were written to be played bigger, dumber, and uglier than I am. So bizarre.

And you know, I’m what they call a “character actor” – meaning more interesting and less beautiful than the romantic leads. On the whole, I don’t mind playing big and dumb and stupid. But I still really hate that that is how butch women and MOC characters are written, if we’re written at all.

If any of you have examples of great, smart, normal butch characters out there in the media/tv/film world, I would love to learn about them. I want to see more of what’s been done so I can position myself to fill the ever-widening gap.

 

 

Location: a casting office in Van Nuys.

Look: super cute smaller butch, slicked up black hair and I think some piercings (I’m a sucker for piercings).  Black track suit to match the “sporty” character we were asked to play. Great smile. 🙂

This tribespotting almost doesn’t count since it was during an audition I had this week, but guys!!! There was another butch at this audition!!!

That has never ever happened to me before, in three years of acting in LA and 15 years of acting before that. Sure, there were a whole lot of other women there too who might or might not identify as butch, although none read butch to me. And sure, this butch woman didn’t seem to be an actor professionally – but it was SO GREAT to have some solidarity in the waiting room.

The best part was that the role was for an ice hockey player, and wasn’t even specifically “butch”. We are slowly infiltrating.

 

… and i’m feelin’ good.

I woke up today having completed a goal I’ve been after for the past year – I finally signed with a new agent. Well, technically, he’s a manager, but he used to be an agent, and in LA they’re almost the same thing.

The best part about this was that I was able to get in juuust as a perfect role for me was posted, a recurring lesbian gf part on New Girl. Now, due to unforeseen complications, I unfortunately wasn’t asked to audition, but that was more about timing and not at all to do with me or my marketing materials.  And it pushed the envelope regarding why I need a rep working with me on this whole career thing.

As much as I’m learning to take control of my life, to create the opportunities I want to enjoy myself, and to not wait around to be “validated” by anyone, there is an unparalleled sense of security that comes with knowing someone who’s been in the business longer than I have is rooting for me.

This doesn’t mean I will work any less hard. But it does mean that today, I am awesome.

 

 

I participated in an acting workshop last week where you perform for a group of agents, who in turn evaluate you (and, hopefully, sign you). Part of the workshop involved a coaching session with a casting director prior to the final performance, so that no one is going in there wasting either their own or the agents’ time.

I’m really comfortable with coaching/performing/auditioning, all the trappings of an acting career (thank goodness), so I was looking forward to the coaching just as a professional check-in. I figured I’d go in and get some tips on the scene I had chosen and that would be that. I don’t fit into any of the typical actor categories – “young mom”, “beach bikini girl”, “gruff blue collar man” – so for me the game is just to be known to as many people in the industry as possible. Since I’ve determined I’m the only “hip, young butch” around.  At least Guinevere Turner thinks so.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by the cd’s only real question to me – but it caught me off guard anyway: he took a look at me, took a look at my pictures, and said “So why don’t you have dyke-ier headshots? Your photos look like a variation of ‘young mom'”.

This is a weird variation of a theme I uncovered back when I was taking a “business of acting” class last winter, which is that people feel REALLY strongly about me and my butch or queerness.

If someone sees the softer (aka “less butch”) side of me, they often REFUSE to think of me as butch, even though that’s what I ask for and prefer.

Alternately, a lot of people here think I’m the dykiest thing since Doc Martens and the Chelsea haircut.

I think he’s right though (leave it to a gay man in Hollywood to lay it out for me) – it’s probably time for some butch-er shots. Case in point – the brilliant photographer who took my last round of photos wanted only to capture the soft side, so while I have great pics, they lack that gayness. Je ne sais queer, if you will.  Which I’m discovering, for my career, is essential.

 

 

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