Thursday, December 06, 2007

The World Of WD - A Week In The Life

A Typical Week in the Atypical Life of an Actor.

So the last post brought up some interesting questions, especially when I mentioned the actors striking. Unless you are submerged in the industry, it's easy to be mislead about the glamour and money.

There are millions of people in LA who want to be actors. Out of those millions, 5% are in SAG (Screen Actors Guild). Out of that 5% in SAG only 5% work enough as an actor to get health care benefits through the union.

To qualify for health benefits you must earn at least $15,000 in a year. You do the math. Out
of that 5% only 10% can make that much a year as an actor regularly. I'm not that great at math but I think that doesn't leave us many people.

Most actors wait tables, do temp jobs, substitute teach and audition like crazy. The number of actors making millions is a handful. Those actors don't need to strike or really need SAG because they have huge powerful agents that negotiate their contracts for them, and people like Ent to review them.

Hopefully the SAG strike will not happen but if it does, even though the people you see in the press are huge stars, it's not really for them. A strike would be for those who are living well beaneath the Los Angeles poverty line.

All that being said, don't pity us. Support us, but don't pity us. We wouldn't be doing this to ourselves if we didn't want this more than anything! I hustle my butt off to get everything I get. But that makes me value it even more.

In an ideal situation, my agent would get me out on hundreds of auditions. They try, but they don't. In an ideal situation I wouldn't have to compete with stars for small TV roles, but
I do. So let me give you a glimpse into my week and all it took to get me there.

Some weeks are slow, this week was CRAZY!

Thursday 11/29th

I had a meeting with my agents that I just signed with. The meeting went well...not what I was expecting. I thought it was a sit down with everyone at once. It turned out to be a sit down individually with 3 of the 5 agents. But the most important one was the owner. He was very
kind and we actually talked about my family for a while. When I asked him what he saw for me he was honest. He said I might not be the "typical" leading lady but I was very versatile. And he listed the types of roles I'd be good for. And I agreed. "You've done everything we've asked and then some. The onus is now on us to get you in front of as many people as we can." It was a good talk. The others had a similar tone and content.

After meeting my agent, I had to book it across town for a play reading in which I am playing a dominatrix whose roommate has been raped. My character is tough with the guys but really caring with her roommate. Great role. It is by this amazing new playwright Ross Tedford Kendall. Such fun!

Then, my BF whisked me away to Santa Barbara for the night at the Four Seasons. He had booked a job and the studio was paying for the room. We drove Thursday night and I left in the AM and he got a ride back later.

Friday 11/30

Writing session with my friend. We are producing a webisode together. I'm really excited about it. Then, it was off to the editors to put together a short that I had written and shot. After meeting with them, I had a meeting for a fledging film festival of a friend and for whom I am on the board.

Saturday 12/1

Drove to San Diego to visit with my cousin who lives in DC but was at a conference in San Diego.

Sunday 12/2

Came back from San Diego, coached my friend on her audition. Then to the Magic Castle (an exclusive club for magicians only. You have to be invited. My friend's uncle is a legend in the business. John Calvert is 97 years old and still awe inspiring).

Monday 12/3

Vet trip for the new rescue puppy, Edison, I just adopted. That night was a really cool party where I got to hang out with some old friends and made lots of new ones as well. It is all about networking.

Tues 12/4

I did some more Motion Capture for a video game I had worked on in the past. We recreated a fight scene from the film. So much fun. (Motion Capture is when you wear a tight one piece suit with little silver balls on it. The cameras film your movement and the data is then transferred to the computers. That data is used for the animation.) Plus they always have the BEST craft services. (pictures below)

Weds 12/5

Picketed with the writers and got together with an editor to piece together a demo reel of all my acting work.

Thur & Fri

I will be Stunt Coordinating the new music video of someone you all know. ALL of you. I might have to end up doubling her too depending on what she feels comfortable doing. I'll tell you all about that next week and I'll try to take a bunch of photos!


Voice over gig for Google.

Let me go back to what I said earlier about networking and how it has helped me with all these projects. The MoCap is a relationship I've been building all year. The music video work was because I did a favor for the production company fight coordinating the Queens of the Stone Age music video, 3's and 7's, a couple of months ago practically for free. So now, they are paying me
much more!

The Google V.O. gig is because I offered to help the company cast the other voices. From working with me they decided to recast and record one of the voices because they wanted me

Then there's a role in a new film I got. A really nice sized film with a good budget. Not sure when I film that but I got the role because the casting director was in a rush, knew my acting coach, asked her about me and my coach RAVED about me. They also called another casting director that they knew I had auditioned for and he also raved.

These are seeds that I'm constantly planting, and it feels SO GOOD when they blossom into roses!

Here's my point. All this running around and there are times I'm still afraid I won't make rent. Everyday is different which is a blast but, every paycheck is different too and that can be like winning the lottery or really scary. I have to say, and maybe it's because I'm having such an amazing week, but I wouldn't change it for anything...except actually winning the lottery...that'd be cool.


Simone said...

I enjoyed reading this WD, I'm exhausted for you.

I wish you the best of luck, and it seems that things are picking up for you. I know you are lucky than millions of other struggling-t-find-work actors in LA, but I think your work ethic has you ahead of the pack.

mngddess said...

Congratulations!! You are very blessed to be working in a profession you love, when so many of us wish they could turn back time and do things a bit differently.


Lipstick Mystic said...

You are one grounded and talented lady - it emanates from your posts. Thank you for sharing more of the day-to-day world of show biz. Most people have no idea about the unemployment statistics amongst actors - even union member actors - that you quote. So thank you for posting that! I worked for some years as a professional actress, mostly doing stage work, some TV and film bit parts. I remember my parents telling some (well-educated) friends about my constant hustling to network, meet directors, impress agents, collaborate with other creative types, etc. and they actually asked my mom, "Why doesn't she just go to New York and get one of those roles on a soap opera?" As if they were simply HANDING THEM OUT and I was a fool for not taking advantage of the fact! Meanwhile I was, of course, like every other non-agented East Coast actor, dropping my resumes off at the soap opera studios every other day, working hard to appear in free showcase productions to get noticed, yada yada.

Anyway, you know the drill! But I truly believe good karma pays off, and since you have planted so many wonderful seeds throughout various aspects of the industry, I have no doubt that you will have a long and profitable career. You're approaching it like anyone should approach building their own business, and most actors don't understand or respect that part of the equation. Only instead of trying to become a massage therapist or a sales rep for a company, you ARE the company.....(and the sales rep, and the wardrobe and makeup mistress, and the distributor, etc etc.)


sabrina said...

Thanks for the great post, WD. The modeling world is exactly like this as well, if not even a little harsher. I spent what should have been my childhood hustling and being someone else's product and meal ticket.

It's given me great success, but I have no regrets. It just makes success that much sweeter.

Glad to see someone who appreciates that concept as well.

God bless.

Snautrag said...

Love your puppy! Thank you for choosing to rescue.

Alisonthefirst said...

That puppy is so cute! I'm glad you decided on rescue as well. :)

Sharon said...

Very cool! I am happy that you are really working at some terribly interesting things (love the idea of doing the MoCap stuff).

It sounds very much like you embody what Thomas Jefferson meant what when he said, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."

I wish you the absolute best luck in all you are up to, you sure are working hard enough for it.

Love your posts and the real insight they bring.

Tracee said...

I want to win the lottery too! My paycheck's the same every month and every time I see it I want to cry because I have visions of living on the street, asking folks to spare some change so I can get a biscuit.

Video Game work huh? Are we talking RPG or Action...or fighting game? Love video games and I always wonder how involved they are to make especially being a model for a character. Do you feel like a freak with all those motion balls attached and rolling around? Or is it totally awesome?

Deets please?

DNfromMN said...

WD, damn, you're busy, and you still can't make rent? We need to have ent get paid for blogging, then maybe he can pay his contributors. ;)

If I were as busy as you, I'd need to sleep like, 12 hours a day, but not have time to.

Great story!

Katy said...

Your doggy is the cutest!! said...

That is one hot dog. He melts my cold heart.

I'm tired just reading about all the stuff you have lined up. Where do you get the energy?

Do you have to follow a strict diet/exercise routine to fit into the Hollywood crowd?

Kim said...

WD, thanks for the insight. Regarding the work for google, is it a commerical? I didn't think they did advertising.

jax said...

were you possibly in Deathproof?

great read.

jenner said...

Snautrag said...
Love your puppy! Thank you for choosing to rescue.


And great post. :)

eileen said...

Motion Capture sounds like the best gig EVER!!! Best of luck!

Jolly said...

That really is a busy schedule! You have a lot of ambition, that's great.

WHy were your photos from March and April? Is that the same project? Just wondering!

Rebecca said...

I would work for the Queens of the Stone Age for free.

Loved reading about you and the struggle. Struggle builds character and you have a lot of it. Good Luck with everything and hope things get smoother.

Jolly said...

Ok, oops - I just realized that the date is turned to read the day first, followed by the month. Sorry! I am so used to seeing the date written as month/day/year. That is the way it is usually written in the US, especially digitally. Are you from the US? You must have been munching on donuts and orange juice on the morning of the 3rd as well as working on the 4th, given the dates of the pictures.

Customer said...

You sound like a great person, and judging from your cheerful personality, you are probably very easy to work with. Good luck and stick with it! All the steadily working actors I've known are very dilligent. When I have seen their schedules it made my head spin, because they always have a ton of meetings. Because they always have something brewing, is why they get the jobs!

curious_cailyn said...

LOVED it! It's nice to hear from someone who's so happy/enthusiastic about her job(s)/life... Thanks for taking the time to write!

I have ONE piece of (unsolicited) advice for you, though.... I think it's time you fessed up to being America Young, aka "Danielle Young" - don't you? (You REALLY gave it away in today's post, girl!!) ...Although I understand your desire to keep the anonymity thing going, the peeps around here take pride (and/or shame) in their "research" skills, so they don't take kindly to being misled about the "facts" -- even if it IS just to extend the fun. ...And I just KNOW you can come up with a clever/funny (kickass?!) way to introduce yourself that'll win everyone over!!

OK, I've said my piece. Either way - please keep writing! :)

redgurl72 said...

Thanks for that post WD. Sounds like a blast to me even though I know it can be stressful trying to pay the rent and stay creative.
Good luck to you!