Posts Tagged ‘LA’

My First Pilot Season as an LA Actress

melanie haynes-177 rt onlineI can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since heading back to LA after the holidays, and here I am at home again for Easter with my family and an extended stay.  It was a very busy time when I went back in January and different than episodic as far as living arrangements, focus, and activities.   I was still staying with my roommates, but things were a bit tighter and more going on with  relatives visiting – some for extended periods, and some just briefly.  My oldest son and his girlfriend were there just for a day, and we managed to celebrate his birthday with a Tres Leches cake from Porto’s Bakery and a very full day of touring.

During this stay,  I also focused more on having new voice over demos made and starting my contacts with the top voice over agencies in LA.  I participated in several workshops, including vo workouts, game voices, and a meet the agents night.  I was very busy with my own voce over work recording on my travel gear and also booking ISDN sessions in studios for my usual ISDN agents and production companies.

On camera auditions were mostly on video for my Texas agents, but I did have another fun audition for a guest star role on The Mindy Project.  I lost out to Laura Dern on that one, so I couldn’t feel too badly about it. 🙂  I had been told that Pilot season was often slower for “new to LA”  actors, and that turned out to be my experience as well.  Still, I feel as if I’m still moving forward and making strides toward my goals.  My manager met with me before I left town, and we’ve made a plan to continue the momentum moving forward.  Some additional pictures and targeted CD workshops are on the agenda for mid summer, so that I can hit the ground running for episodic season in the fall.  I’m feeling very positive, and I just know so much more about what to expect along with having some great auditions under my belt – with great feedback from lots of casting directors.  It’s all going to align and click for me in LA, soon!

In the meantime, I’m loving being back home near my family, working in my professional audio studio on awesome work, and looking forward to more regional auditions and bookings on some of the great series and films shooting here!

 

 

Acting & Voice over at Home for the Holidays!

candlesThis fall has gotten away from me!  November was just a blur.  When I got back to LA in October, after being back in Texas to shoot “A Country Called Home”, things started popping.  Almost immediately, I got my first LA audition and it was a doozie! –  a lead villain in a film with a major star.  When I walked into the audition, I was surprised to see only 3 other women, and of the 4 of us, I was the only one I didn’t recognize. 🙂 Although I didn’t book it – and none of the other women there that day did – it was a wonderful first audition experience!

That was followed by several national commercial auditions and two TV guest star auditions.  On the first, there was another star auditioning along with me, and on the second, I went to producer!  Those not in the business may think that it only counts when you actually book the job. Of course, that is the point, but when you’re new to LA, and booked out for almost a month during your first episodic season to shoot a film out of town,  just getting called to be in the room is a major step forward!  I am very encouraged and feel that it is just a matter of time.  It will happen, soon. I will say, that meeting the casting directors at workshops has been very valuable and affirming.

For now, I am back home in Houston enjoying being with my family celebrating Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas.  I’ve put myself on video for several film and television roles while here, both through my Houston agent and my Manager in LA.  As always, I’m keeping busy with voice over work and  continuously reading, listening to and participating in  audio and video workshops.

I’m excited that I have also met with a top notch demo producer to build a new promo demo and update my commercial demo when I get back to LA in January!  After that, I’ll seriously pursue top tier voice over representation in LA as well.

Here’s to a very Merry Christmas with family and friends and a wonderful, healthy, and prosperous New Year for all!

 

 

 

 

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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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.

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!

 

 

 

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