Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Headline: A Mature Thespian is to Eat Crow

I love Morgan Freeman, don't get me wrong, but somewhere, right now, he's eating a nice big helping of crow. You see, when I went to the screening of HUSTLE & FLOW late last year, Terrence Howard explained to the crowd how he'd just meet Morgan Freeman hours earlier, in which he asked the mature thespian if he would help him create an Oscar Buzz about his film. He was told: "Young fellow, the Academy will never nominate you for a role in which you're playing a pimp! You might as well give up now."

Good thing Terrence didn't give up!...

Score for the underdogs.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Won't You Stay/Just a Little Bit Longer?

So far the auditions have been going fairly well. With the exception of the one on Friday, which was a little confusing, the CD treated me as if I had a third eye during the read. I couldn't gage her at all. There were 6 spots total. On one or two of the spots she instructed me very well as to what the client was looking for, but on the others, I was completely on my own. She allowed me to read them just once. After the read, she asked me about the baby, and my due date and stuff like that, and she seemed very personable at that point. So I don’t know. It can go either way. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

I was proud of myself in that I didn't let my competition influence me like I have in the past. Just before I walked in Vernee Watson Johnson (best known for her role as Will Smith's mom on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) walked out. Her and the CD were chatting it up like old high school buddies. Had I of let that affect me, I really would have bombed like I did years ago when I ran into Lisa Gay Hamilton at a VO audition for an animated series. Last year it was Nicki Micheaux who rode up the elevator with me. Needless to say, I booked that one!...:)...

I lucked out because my audition was right across the street from Isgo Lepejian, and I happened to have my CD with my headshots on it in my bag. I ran in and ordered 50 lithos of each shot, and then bolted back across town to my day job. I figure 50 of each shot should be enough to get me through until after I have my baby, and can take new ones.

When I got home on Friday afternoon, my agent and I had a long telephone conversation and she enlightened me about a few things that have been going on within the agency that I didn’t know about. She stressed to me that this new bit of information was probably the reason why I’d been feeling neglected as of late, that, and my hormones, which is probably true. We agreed to keep our working relationship in tact until this summer (after pilot season, and once my baby is born) and at that time we can re-evaluate things. I’m cool with that.

Saturday night my family and I attended a “Sag-ulations” Dinner Party. A fellow actor friend of mine, Tann Moore, joined SAG last week, and her non-actor hubby threw a congratulatory surprise dinner party for her at P.F. Changs, and invited several of her industry friends. How cool is that as an actor to have such a great support system?!? After dinner he presented her with a cookie cake and a “Pilot Season Emergency Kit”. He also gave us artists in attendance inspirational cards, and gift certificates to Staples. The evening was really a great motivator. On the way home my non-actor hubby and I had a real heart to heart, and he confided in me that he wants to be the same type of support system for me. I was really touched and flattered, because he and I go back and forth about this crazy industry all the time. I’m excited to know that he has vowed to support me in my decisions pertaining to my acting career.

I’m sorry! For those of you who went out and bought BackStage West on Friday. I must explain. I learned that the article was supposed to run in BackStage West and the Hollywood Reporter. Turns out the date I gave you all was for the run date in the Hollywood Reporter (it got pulled by the way) and the BackStage West date has yet to be decided. I’ve e-mailed the journalist. I’ll keep you posted as to when the article will actually run.

I watched the SAG Awards tonight. Awesome! Many of my votes counted, which was cool. I love the SAG Awards because they are for actors, by actors. I also love them because they're only 2 hours long! Honestly, this is the only awards show I can watch from start to finish.

Until Next Time.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

VO Audition - 1/27/06 - PSA (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

4th week of January


Wow, I can get used to these VO auditions. They're keeping me somewhat satisfied for the time being...
So, over the weekend, I exchanged several e-mails with my theatrical agent, she’d like to talk things out in an effort to keep me from leaving the agency. That’s very good to hear. I realize that this leaves the door open for me to really lay out what I want to accomplish as an actor, and what I expect from them. Her and I intend to talk on the phone this week so that we can hammer out the details of me staying. Pray that all goes well.

I don’t think I ever got to bring you guys up to speed on the screening of RIZE I went to last Wednesday. The documentary was great, and I got to stick around to hear some of what David LaChapelle had to say. He’s a really funny guy, and like many artists, he’s come a long way. For some reason during the Q/A the moderator kept skipping over my raised hand. (I was kind of bummed because I usually don’t ask questions, and the one time I wanted to, she didn’t call on me!) It actually turned out for the best because the situation left the door open for me to approach him after the Q/A, in which I asked my profound question: “Did you learn any of the dance moves?!?” In which he replied: “Yes, yes I did. It’s kind of like experiencing the Tour de France, afterwards you immediately want to jump on a bike.” I then teased him about doing the dance moves secretly at home when no ones watching. He laughed eagerly. I was being silly, but it ended up being a cool moment. The next day, I sent a short (meaning two sentence) e-mail to an e-mail address on his website thanking him for participating in the SAG screening. It’s highly unlikely that it got to him, but hey, you never know. I’ve done it before, and I’ve actually gotten responses from the celebs, which completely shocked me! (And yes I know it was the celebs who responded to me.)

In other news, I finally got tired of paying $2, or sometimes $5, for my Actors Access submissions. I went ahead and spent the $68 for the yearly subscription. So far it seems to have been worth it, I’ve submitted myself 4 or 5 times already.

It's official, I'll be heading to Albuquerque in mid-February to meet with the NM agents. Now, I just have to find a cheap airline ticket. Southwest here I come. Actually, surprisingly, I do have a few dollars to spare this month, so if my energy level stays high, I will be knocking a few things off my Plan of Action too.

Last, but not least, don’t forget to pick up an issue of BackStage West this week. I’m in it!

Over and Out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Strong Medicine Cancelled...What?!?

VO Audition - 1/20/06 - MCDONALD'S (LA)

Where have I been exactly? Apparently living under a rock. I just found out 10 minutes ago that STRONG MEDICINE had been cancelled, and to make matters worse this was announced back in October 2005! NO WONDER I haven't been back in for that "possible recurring" I'd been promised. Man, I feel like an idiot.

On another note, I received an e-mail from my theatrical agent this morning. I was pleasantly surprised, I didn't think they cared about me anymore! More news on that later. I'm off to my VO audition.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Short and Sweet...

VO Audition - 1/18/06 - MCDONALD'S

I did it!...

Yesterday afternoon I sent the certified letter to my agency. They should be getting it sometime today I would guess. Although I asked them to contact me about picking up my things, I really don't think I will hear from them.

As I was strapping my three year old into her car seat, so that we could make our way from the post office to the market, I got a call from my VO Agent. Perfect timing!...

I sure could use a booking right now.

BTW, I didn't get to watch the Golden Globes on Monday night, but I heard that Sandra Oh won for her role on GREY'S ANATOMY. You go girl!...


Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Change is Gon Come.

Last week ended up being a serious mommy week for me. Thursday (1/12), I'd RSVP'd for a screening of PROOF with a Q/A with Gwyneth Paltrow to follow, and on Friday (1/13) I'd RSVP'd for a screening of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA with a Q/A with Ziyi Zhang to follow. Let's just say a low grade fever on Thursday (me) and lack of a baby sitter on Friday (for my daughter) caused me to sit out both nights. Drats! I saw on Entertainment Tonight Friday night that the media and paparazzi were all over the place at the PROOF screening. That would have been cool to experience. I had a day dream that had I of gone, Gwyneth would have noticed me in the audience as a fellow mommy-to-be. She and I would have compared belly's and stories about morning sickness...:)...

Next week, I have RSVP'd for the RIZE screening on Wednesday (1/18) with a Q/A with David LaChapelle to follow. I'm not missing that one.

I've updated the main page of my website:
  • The BackStage West issue will hit news stands on January 27, 2006.
  • Remember the Honor Society in High School? Well, in March I will be a judge at the International Theater Honor Society Festival. How cool is that? It should be fun.
  • Lastly, we got an air date for the BLACK FILMMAKER SHOWCASE 2006, in which BROOKLYN'S BRIDGE TO JORDAN will make it's television debut.

Now on a serious note...

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you'd know that since last summer I have had a major challenge with getting my commercial and theatrical agents to do much of anything of significance for me. Something happened, I'm not sure what exactly, but the gusto that was there for me in the beginning of our working relationship is long gone.

So, unfortunately, the time has come for me to move on. I've been putting it off for some time now because I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and to be honest, I'm a little terrified. Terrified of not finding another agent anytime soon. But, my brother in law (he's a preacher) made a good point this morning at church that got me thinking. He said, "Some women believe that it's better to have a piece of a man, than no man at all, and that's just not true!" And that reminded me of this situation. I think I've fallen into the belief that it's better to have a piece of an agent, than no agent at all. And as a result, I have probably missed out on more opportunities than I care to think about.

A fellow actor friend of mine reminded me the other day that life is way too short, and this business is waaayyy to competitive to be fooling around with agents who don't believe in you. Plain and simple.

If you're thinking, "Wow, you hid your frustrations pretty well Shenita." I'll second that. It's taken me 9 months. Yes, 9 months, that's when "the change" happened, to finally come to terms with the fact that it's time to move on. All I can do is step out on faith, and I'm finally ready to do that.

The letter will be in the mail on Tuesday (1/17)...

So, I figure I'll take the next few months to finish cooking my little one, and do some work on myself as an actor. Get things ready for the fall. Submit myself here and there when I see some pregnancy roles come through the pipeline, and just see what happens.

I'm still on the hunt for a manager, so he/she just might help me score new representation. I'll still be doing VO's, Lord Willing! I'll still be over at ITA Productions (where they have Agent Fests all the time) and, I just a couple of bites from agents in New Mexico that I might work with when I'm in the area. (I bought a house down there last year.) I also want to make the transition to a full-time actor after my baby is born, so I have a lot to work on over the next few months. A lot of changes are gon come...

I think I'm ready...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

It's begun - Pilot Season 2006

Happy New Year!

Well this past week I returned to my day job. I was off for about 10 days, so it took me some time to get back into the swing of things. I can’t even explain how happy I will be once I can say that I’m a full time actor. 15 years in the making...

I’ve got to force myself to sit down and draw up a complete master list of all the stuff I need to get done and/or scheduled over the next few months so that I don’t forget anything. (i.e. Dr’s appointments, meetings, passport, classes, baby stuff, braids, taxes, etc.) I predict that I’m going to be VERY busy and VERY tired til about early fall...that's when I pray the baby will be sleeping through the night...:)...I really needed this past time off to prepare myself and get as much rest as I could. Let’s just say I slept a whole lot!

Anyway, on the acting front, I sent my theatrical agent an e-mail early last week telling her I’d like to come in and meet with her and my commercial agent to talk about their plans for me this Pilot Season. I haven't heard back yet. I sent her an e-mail yesterday asking her to pitch me for a Pilot I’d really like to get seen for. (I already submitted myself for it through Actors Access.) So, we’ll see what happens. I’m five months pregnant now, and really showing, so I’m sure she’ll be hesitant in pitching me for anything, but hey we can at least try right?!?

I contacted the Managers who’d replied to my e-mail last month to set up some appointments.

I never heard anything about the Verizon job, but it’s all good because I feel like I did my thing at the audition, which is all I can do. I was surprised, being 2 days before Christmas, there were A LOT of actors there!

An actress friend of mine was nice enough to forward an e-mail to me over the Holidays, a writer over at BackStage West was seeking responses for an article she’s doing. I responded, so hopefully I will get to be in another issue. Click Here and Here to see the article I did last year.

Speaking of this article, I was a little embarrassed about the way I came off. My responses about my family seem so insensitive, but anyone who knows me knows what I meant. Being a wife, mom, AND an actress can be very tough. Every time my husband and I decide to have more children, it throws a monkey wrench in everything I've worked for as an actor, I'm pretty much out of the game for at least a year, and I just think that's unfair. (Other women know my plight, an actress in NYC just sent me an e-mail last month asking for my advice on how to successfully be a wife, mom, and an actress.) I'm not sure I know the answer to that question yet, but hey, I've decided that if the industry says I have to put my acting career on hold, I'm willing to do that for my family. But in the meantime, I can still do what I need to do to stay ready!

With that being said, here is my updated Plan of Action:

  • Braids done again. (I took them out for the Holidays.)
  • Hard copies of the three headshots I currently use. (Rush job!)
  • Voice Over Reel (Aagh!)
  • Passport (I only have a few more days.)
  • Research and sign up for a Commercial Workshop.
  • ITA Workshops (attend at least one a month)
  • I’d like to get my teeth whitened. (I have to call and see if I can get this done while pregnant.)
  • Press Kit (Since "Who's Who Of Stage And Screen" Volume 2 won’t be done until this Spring, I guess I can get started on this. However, I will probably wait and see if the article I mentioned above materializes.)

Here's wishing all you actors many broken legs this Pilot Season,