Acting Blog

Back Home to film A Country Called Home

A Country Called Home

 

After spending most of the summer in LA and enjoying getting to know the lay of the land, signing with my manager and agents and attending lots of Casting Director workshops, I had to make a quick trip back to Texas to work on the indie film A Country Called Home  “A COUNTRY CALLED HOME is a compelling coming of age story with universal appeal because it deals with trials and trepidations that most people experience in one way or another, no matter who they are or where they are from. The story incorporates the views of people from all walks of life; different generations, different places, different socio-economic backdrops and so the main character Ellie’s journey of growth and forgiveness is grounded in a rich and multifaceted setting that was inspired by writer/director Anna Axster’s travels and observations throughout the United States her musician husband Ryan Bingham.”

I am thoroughly enjoying my work on the film and have been welcomed so warmly by the cast and crew alike.  I have shot over a 3 week period in the role of Brenda (formerly called Wendy).  So many interesting characters in this sweet little film!  I’m so  happy to be working with leads, Imogen Poots (Need for Speed) and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) – two wonderful new actresses who are really doing exciting things!  I was delighted to meet Mary MacCormack (In Plain Sight)  who has a wonderful role, as well.  I’m also hoping I’ll have a chance to meet Oscar nominee, June Squibb, who has joined the cast.

I’m always happy to work, of course, and being able to come home to be with my family while working on a wonderful project with fantastic people is something for which I am truly grateful!

Update 5-2-2016

A Country Called Home premiered at the LA Film Festival in June of 2015 and has begun distribution in 2016!

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New Commercial Agent!

imageI’m happy to report that I have a new commercial agent here in LA.  I just signed with JLA!  Sumer is delightful, and I’m really looking forward to working with her!

I had my new headshots taken by David Carlson last Friday (all 1200 of them!), and I’m in the process of getting feedback from my managers and agents as to which ones they want me to print and/or upload to the various casting sites. We covered a lot of ground with the shots, from “warts and all” to glam senator’s wife, so there are lots to choose from. I’m sure I’ll be posting a few of the chosen shots after the verdict is in.

Another great tv CD workshop earlier this week as well as two awesome voice over workshops! In between, I recorded, edited and uploaded several voice over projects in addition to an ISDN session.

I had a great little phone session with Bonnie Gillespie this week, too. She had some wonderful, insightful suggestions for tweaks to my resume, acting demo reel, and this site as well as input on my new photos. Those will all be implemented soon!

Another Busy Week in LA

Beautiful sunset from our little balcony here in Burbank. The end of another 

Sunset over Burbankbusy week here in LA.

Work

Two great CD workshops this week – great feedback from both, especially the CD who casts a lot of TV comedy!

Had a meeting with a potential Commercial agent – fingers crossed and waiting to hear.

Even had my hair done – always a daunting experience trying a new hairdresser, and on the recommendation of my muse, Connie at Shag did an excellent job recreating and possibly improving on my “do”!

New headshots next week!

Play

In addition to more voice over work from the closet, “homework” for my manager, and keeping up with daily business from here and home, we had a lovely lunch on the pier in Santa Monica after my agent meeting on Thursday.  Beautiful sunny day with a nice cool breeze off the ocean…….I could get used to that.

Family

Keeping up with family from home and so thankful to my son for being my surrogate in helping my mom with all the prep, day of and follow up with hand surgery this week.  That’s the hardest part of being out here and away from home.

Manager Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Met with my new manager, ESI Network,  to sign paperwork and get my homework, talk about pictures, plans, etc.  I have quite a few things to do in order to help my manager market me correctly.  Fortunately, having been in the business for over 20 years, many of the things are already done like  listing with numerous casting websites, budgeting for business, investing in my business, etc.

 Homework

Now, I need to do things like get specific about my short and long terms goals, and make a list of the shows that I want to do and in which I can see myself being cast.  These are things I’ve been thinking about anyway, but good to get organized and put it down in black and white.

Of course, I need new headshots, too.  I know I’ve needed them for awhile, but thought I’d wait until I was out here.  It also helps to know what types of shots the manager and agent need. So, I’m gearing up for that.  I’ve been referred to a good photographer by acting friends, and I’m excited to work with him.

I’ve also scheduled 10 casting director workshops during the month of July, so that will keep me busy in addition to my voice over work!

Found a hairdresser here – so that’s a sigh of relief, too. 🙂

Personal Note 

Have to say I’ve been missing my family especially over this holiday weekend.  We’ve been keeping in touch, but didn’t feel like I could make the trip home for the 4th of July while in the middle of everything here.  Will hope to work out all that scheduling as we go. I will be going home for a visit  soon

Home Studio

Home Studio

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I Have a Manager!

hollywood

THE COLD READING

Last week, I went in for a cold reading with the prospective manager, and I was happy that the scene they gave me to read was a very good one for me.  Funny and age appropriate. 🙂  It went very well – they thought I was funny and said that if we ended up working together they’d start by trying to get me in the door with comedy.  Sounded good to me!  We chatted a bit more about expectations, etc., and then they asked me to call them the next day within a specific time frame to find out if they thought they could help me or not.

THE DECISION

When I called th em back on Friday, the response was that they wanted to rep me, and if I agreed, we’d set up a meeting.  I did, and we’re getting together next week to sign paperwork and make a game plan.  So,  until we do that, it’s verbally official! I am represented by ESI Network.

This will be a new experience for me.  I’ve never had a manager before.  In the Houston market, I don’t think anyone has a manager except for a few celebrities who live there and sports players.  I’m used to managing myself, and I’m sure that  will still be the case, ultimately, but having some help, guidance, and someone out there pitching me is welcomed and should be interesting!

The Adventure continues!

 

The LA Acting Adventure Has Begun!

HollywoodI’m here! Someone suggested that I blog about my move to LA to broaden my acting horizons. I’ve never been one to keep a journal up to date, and I’m a little sporadic at blogging, but I’m going to try to post about this new journey.

Dipping My Toe In

I came out for a week in May for a look-see and to get the lay of the land. Hit the ground runnig with a Casting Director 1 on 1 with Scott David. Great experience. He really liked my scene and told me “You need to be here”. Not a bad way to start my visit! I also had a meeting with a manager which went very well, and I was requested to come back in for a second visit and cold reading, which I’m doing this evening. During that first visit, I also broke in my travel audio gear. Missing my beautiful home studio that we built a few years ago back in Houston, I was back to recording in a closet. But the gear was easy to use and the audio worked well for my clients. I didn’t miss a beat.

Taking the Plunge

Now, several weeks later, I’m back for an extended time. Many thanks to my friend, LA actress and acting coach Connie Cooper! Her invitation to come out here, her help in getting me around the city, and her willingness to share her years of considerable experience and knowledge about living and working in LA make her my “angel”. My other angels are my family for their support and encouragement in pursuing my dreams.

Hit the Ground Running

As has become my norm, I hit the ground running this week. I’d signed up for an agents and managers showcase at Actor’s Advantage several weeks ago. When I discovered they were having a bonus rehearsal the night before the actual showcase, with Aqua talent agent Courtney Peldon on the day my flight arrived, I did everything in my power to make sure to be there. As luck would have it, the last leg of my flight was delayed by an hour, but thanks to my friend, and the fact it took awhile to get everyone checked in at the rehearsal, I made it! Another great experience. Courtney was very happy with my scene and encouraged me to use it everywhere. The other actors were very friendly and kind, too.

The next morning, I had a voice over session via ISDN at The Voicecaster audio studio with a client in NY. (I’d done an ISDN session from my home studio with a client in Louisville the day OF my fight) I recorded and sent audio files from “the closet”, too. The showcase that evening went very well, and I received lots of good feedback from the agents and managers in attendance – there were 20 of them and a large group of actors performing.

Tonight is the second meeting with the manager and my cold reading. He’s been responsive to my interim emails with updates to my reel, and I’m curious to see what he has me read. Wish me luck!

New Theatrical Demo Reel – 2 Minutes!

I’ve been learning so much lately from a variety of courses and sources! I’m getting ready to take the plunge into the LA market, so I’ve been updating websites, demos, reels, resumes – you name it! I’m waiting to get new headshots until I get to LA because I want to wait to see what my new manager and agent will want. It seems there are differing ideas depending on who you talk to. Bottom line, they need to look like me, of course, but whether I just want/need shots that express me or if I’ll be requested to provide headshots for specific categories – that still represent the real me, of course – remains to be seen. I like Amy Jo Berman’s way of describing that headshots show CDs what to do with you.

Another topic discussed in Amy Jo Berman’s “Social Discover Me” course was the acting demo reel. So much good information! I was already in line with many of the things discussed, but there were some areas on my demo reel that needed to be tweaked. I’ve also just received footage from my appearance on Salem, so it was a great time to clean up that theatrical demo reel!

Here’s the result:

Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Actress MELANIE HAYNES Demands Truth on WGN America’s Witchy New Hit-Series “SALEM”

Also Appears in Festival-Favorite Indie Film “THE LAST MARK”

HOUSTON, Texas (May 19, 2014) – Actress MELANIE HAYNES flexes her strength in an all-new episode of WGN America’s spooky freshman drama series, “Salem,” set to air on June 1, 2014. Haynes also appears as one tough lady in the indie feature, “The Last Mark,” currently screening on the festival circuit.

In the episode titled, “Our Own Private America,” Haynes gets fed-up and turns to the authorities for answers. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, the show explores the infamous times of the witch trials, uncovering the dark and supernatural truths of the times. Created and executive-produced by Brannon Braga (“24”) and Adam Simon, the show stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel and Xander Berkeley.

Haynes rolls up her sleeves as the no-nonsense bar owner Sissy in the indie drama “The Last Mark,” which recently premiered at WorldFest-Houston. The film reveals the stories of the good ol’ days of a legendary card shark (Bo Brinkman) and his sidekick (William Morgan Sheppard), which leads to the exposure of a long lost dark secret. It’s only then, that the legend’s son (Jeremy London) can escape his bleak future as a ‘mark’ and find redemptive kindness.

Haynes was thrilled to be part of the Houston-based project, adding “Not only did I get the chance to work with wonderfully seasoned actors, like William Morgan Sheppard, but I also got to share screen-time with actors I’ve known for years but have never had a chance to work alongside. We all had a great time telling this story!”

Haynes has built a solid resume both on-camera and as a voice-over actress over the years. The Houston native has appeared in and voiced numerous television projects, including “A Face to Kill For,” “The Con,” “Arrest & Trial” and “The Daily Apple.” She earned her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in Theater and English at the University of Houston, and danced for several years with Patsy Swayze’s Houston Jazz Ballet Company. Haynes served on the board of SAG-AFTRA’s Houston Local Branch for 15 years and as the President for two terms. Today, Haynes continues to run her own professional voice over studio which she established back in 2002.

Melanie Haynes is represented by Linda McAlister Talent (Los Angeles/Dallas) and Pastorini-Bosby Talent (Houston).

For further information on MELANIE HAYNES visit: www.MelanieHaynes-Actress.com

 

Salem – New Series Coming in April

I had the great pleasure of working on the new WGN series, Salem, recently in Shreveport, Louisiana. The series promises to be a beautiful, thrilling venture into the late 1600’s in Salem. The costumes and sets are fantastic, and the cast and crew are top notch. I can’t go into detail about the episode, of course, but I’m really looking forward to seeing it and the whole series.

Fearnet.com reviews it here http://buff.ly/1iXq2A8

Looking forward to my next great adventure!

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