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2.25.2011

"whatever you do,
don't act."

these were the words spoken to me by the producer of my very first television show thirty seconds before i walked onto the set in front of five cameras and an audience full of fifty people.

yesterday was one of the coolest days of my life, and it all began...
with scrambled eggs.


normally if i have to be somewhere early in the morning, i try to plan a to-go breakfast--an english muffin sandwich, a cliff bar, a bowl of oatmeal (surprisingly easy to eat in the car)--but yesterday morning was different. this would be my very first time ever on a hollywood set...where i was actually considered "one of the actors." granted, my role on the court show was more of an improv performance, but it was based one a page-long list of facts that i had to stick by. having just recently had an experience where showing up on time was considered "late", i knew that i wanted to give myself plenty of time in the morning. although thirty minutes was more than enough time to be out of the door, i woke up at 8 to make sure i wasn't rushed.
my call time was 11 AM.
these are all of the reasons why i knew i wouldn't be late: i practically live walking distance from the studio, my name was on the security guard's list at the gate (HOW COOL?!) so i wouldn't need to find street parking, and i was given a map so i would know exactly which building to enter.
after my dad reminded me of all of the reasons to leave yourself extra time--unexpected traffic, no parking, construction, a metor hitting the earth--i knew i wanted to be there twenty minutes early. 
i'm known for being religiously late...but today was a special day.

i felt extremely important as the guard scanned the list and checked off my name. just when i thought things couldn't get any more exciting, he handed me this:


in the past, the only time a wristband like this was slapped across my arm was at the entrance of a bar. in those scenarios, the itchy souvenir was simply an invitation to drink draft beer and remind me of the fact that i would probably wake up with the imprint of this bracelet on my forehead.
yesterday, this purple band was my hallpass to walk by myself into the giant studio lot. i may have looked about six inches tall as i walked past all of these large buildings marked with different set names and numbers, but i felt like i was on top of the world. it's not like this was paramount pictures or the warner brothers lot, but it was a real hollywood set--and i was allowed to be there.

i spotted a long line of people dressed in courtroom-looking attire and as i walked up to the first person i saw with a headset, a girl behind me tapped me on the shoulder.
"are you asking to go to the bathroom?"
i smiled at her and shook my head. i'm sure many other actors out there would have acted cocky, rolled their eyes, and told her that they weren't an extra--but this was in fact my first rodeo, so i'm in no position to be a diva. i also don't like being rude to people. i told the production assistant (on set known as a PA) that my call time was for 11 and she directed me towards the right door. i quietly stepped inside the big dark set, looked around, and realized that i was still lost. next thing i know, another headset-wearing person came my way and asked if i was in the right place. he was probably expecting me to ask where i could find the bathroom or a vending machine, but as soon as i told him my name and that i was supposed to be on set at 11, he handed me off to yet another headset-adorned person.
i followed her down a long hallway of doors marked with numbers. we stopped at #6 and she told me to wait in there. i looked around the room at the couches, the high definition television, and the private restroom. just as i got out my cell phone to snap a picture of this random fancy room, the door swung open.

"makeup is ready for you. you can leave your stuff in your dressing room, nobody will bother it."

just as i almost blurted out--"i'm sorry...i didn't understand either of the two things you just said"--she turned around and headed back down the hall. i immediately hurled my bags on the couch and took off running behind her.
don't worry, of course i got a picture of the dressing room later on:


i only got it from one angle so it's hard to see how spectacular it was. it's not like it had a chocolate fountain or a life size poster of brad pitt, but it was my first hollywood dressing room--and i loved it. i don't want to bore you with the insignificant details of the next few hours, but my day consisted of the following things:

-having some glam artist all jacked up on coffee sing along to 50 cent and do my hair and makeup
-practicing and preparing my scene with my co-star (the "defendent" in my case)
-watching bad soap operas on my own personal HDTV
-enjoying free granola bars and cheetos
-getting "mike-ed up" (with a microphone pack)
-presenting a fake "prenatal promise" case to the well-known judge gloria allred with only the information in my head and the words that came out of my ass
-WINNING said case (which was completely unplanned)
-signing appearance release forms and getting $60 for a day that was spent mostly hanging out and watching general hospital
-watching my co-star make a ridiculous scene as he claimed that we were owed $80 and then threatened to tear up his signed documents

wait.
let's rewind that last part.
in my head, the day has gone completely smooth despite the fact that production is running hours behind. this was the first day of shooting, so problems like that are completely expected. although i was enjoying hanging out in my dressing room, my co-star (we'll call him drama queen) was complaining about how long the day was taking. as he went on and on about how this gig was nothing compared to what he normally does and how $10 an hour almost made this a waste of time--i wanted to remind him that he wasn't ben affleck and that it's not like anybody was pricking us with steak knives...
we were sitting on a comfortable couch with a pile of free snacks, bottled water, and a kickass flatscreen TV.

seeing as this was my very first time doing anything like this, i was thrilled to just be there. because this show is only a pilot and not exactly a big-time production, i had no idea how i was going to be treated. not only did someone do my hair and makeup for me (i do it for myself the other 364 days of the year), but production assistants left and right were asking if i needed anything. at one point when i asked for a bottle of water, i almost wanted to tell the sweet girl with the glasses that i could get it myself.

drama queen continued to make snide remarks throughout the day, but it wasn't until we finished filming our scene that his true diva colors came out in full force. as the PA handed us our $60, his face immediately filled with anger. he screamed that LA casting's description of this shoot informed us that we would work THREE hours for $50 and then $10 an hour after that, not FIVE hours for $50 and $10 an hour after that. i could have sworn that i saw the same thing on actor's access, but i decided that i must have misread it. drama queen, on the other hand, stood up in a fit of rage claiming that if this wasn't taken care of he would make a scene, go talk to the producer, and then rip up his appearance release form. the PA and i exchanged eyes--almost as if to say "back up before his head starts spinning around like in the exorcist."

telling him to "calm down" (the PA) or "let it go" (that was me) didn't work, so PA #2 was brought into the room. as drama queen argued that he could pull up the information on his phone to prove that they were incorrect, we all waited in silent awkward suspense.
"see! it says right here! $50 for THREE to fi....oh shit. it does say three to five hours. what a waste of time. i never would have done this if i had known this. great, now i look like the asshole."

yes. yes you do.
flashback to my day: i'm polite and respectful to every person i see. i'm introducing myself, saying thank you at every opportunity i get, and making sure that everybody enjoys any time they spend around me. as drama queen sits there--red as a beet and angry as an iguana whose just lost his tail--the PA smiles and says to me, "fanny, you're good to go." i grab my sixty dollars, shake PA #2's hand, tell him i had a great day and really enjoyed myself, and walk out with a smile on my face.

moral of the story:
people may not remember your name, they may not remember when you're from, but they will certainly remember a positive attitude and someone who was pleasant to work with. drama queen will most likely never get asked to be on that set again. as for me, we'll just have to wait and see what luck brings me.


my first ticket into fame. and i loved every second of it.
well...that's all folks!
olive, hit the curtains.

YUM.

in an attempt to save some pennies, i've been rachael ray-ing it up in the kitchen a LOT recently. don't worry, i've been taking plenty of pictures :)

see them here!

2.22.2011


breakfast.
street parking.
action.


my entire life i've dreamed of what it would be like to go on a real hollywood audition.
today, that dream came true.
before we start picking out my oscar dress, i just want to make sure that everyone is clear about what this means. of course i would love to be going on the type of auditions where i'm reading opposite mark wahlberg or playing the high school flashback of jennifer aniston; however, when you're some goofy-named girl from across the country who is brand new to the bright lights and big sets of hollywood, you don't really get to be picky. a lot of friends and family have asked me if i'm getting any auditions. the reason i had an agent in north carolina is because she happened to be the woman who managed the all girl's singing and dancing group i was in at the age of fourteen.
i can't believe i just admitted to that in public.
out here, it's a little more difficult to get an agent--and having an agent is the key to getting auditions. besides, it's better to enroll in acting classes, improv lessons, workshops, showcases, etc. to get some west coast experience before asking someone to let you audition for one of the lead roles in the new jim carrey movie.

everybody knows that in any industry, you start from the bottom.
it's most likely that the inventor of cheetos worked in a few cheese factories before slapping CEO on his business card.
well it's no different here. as much as i would love to be signing up for all of these classes and putting myself out there, i've come to realize that the most important part of being out here is actually being able to be out here. as in--have a steady job to pay the rent. and if i need to do that for a while to save up money for the things i really want to do, then i'm game. i sure do hate a 9-5 and some closed toed shoes, but i would love a DVR and a few acting workshops. even if i end up back in the restaurant world, i'll do whatever it takes to bring in some income.
i've learned that pursuing acting out here is a process that takes time, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of money. you don't step off of the plane at LAX and become famous. you have to start from the bottom--even if that means just having a regular job to make some money--and work your way up. if i get an agent and more auditions along the way...AWESOME. if i have to be my own agent for a while...i'm down.
the hardest part was moving across the country,
now i just have to stay afloat.

i'm fortunate enough to have incredible parents who lend unconditional amounts of emotional and financial support because they believe in me. but at the end of the day, every college graduate in their twenties wants to attempt to stand on their own two feet eventually.

today i did just that...
in a very long line of other people standing on their two feet.


i know you must be wondering how this audition even came about without an agent. there are a few west coast websites--actors out here call them the "legit ones"--for finding yourself auditions. you can do it with or without an agent, which makes it very appealing to those of us who are only represented by our cat olive. on this website (actor's access) you can submit yourself for as many things as you'd like--as long as you pay the $60 yearly fee. at first it sounded like a lot, but then i realized that without paying the $60, every submission is $2, and the whole point of the website is to submit yourself for EVERYTHING that fits you every single day. the auditions range from unpaid student films, to national commercials paying thousands of dollars, to CSI backgroud characters, to non-union feature films. it sounds pretty easy right?
you think, "i'll just submit myself ten times a day. there's no way i won't get ANYTHING."

false.

the hard truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of other actors in this city submitting themselves for the same part that you are. and when the casting director sees rows and rows of tiny pictures, your chances can be pretty slim.

after getting home from breakfast yesterday, i checked my gmail and saw something i had never seen before.
"you have one new cmail message."
"cmail," i said to olive, "what the hell is that?"
i then realized that right there in front of me...
was my very first audition.

jump ahead to 10:30 AM this morning.
i'm inside sunset gower studios with a huge room full of actors and we're being told that they're auditioning us for a court show. *think judge judy* we would be lined up--girls on one side, guys on the other--given a court scenario, and asked to improv back and forth with each other. at first i was worried that i had gotten myself into some extra work, but when she told us they were casting all lead roles, the smile that spread across my face probably knocked out the blonde sitting next to me.
but it's not like anyone had time to ramble on. as soon as the producer's finger shot your way, you had about six seconds to say something brilliant before she lost interest and pointed to somebody else.

well.
i'm happy to say that not only did i get booked for one of the court scenarios, but i was DOUBLE booked and chosen to participate in something else filming tomorrow! the work tomorrow is essentially an extra/background/audience job, but it pays about fifty bucks and the woman's advice to me was:
"upscale business. eye candy."

although i was slightly befuddled as to what i would be doing, what the show was, and why i would wear a business suit when i was part of a group of girls known as "eye candy"--i was thrilled to be chosen for not one, but TWO things out of so many people! even if it is just "background work", i suppose it's nice to get validation for being good looking?

i so badly want to keep reminding all of you that while this is an accomplishment, it's so far down on the acting totem pole that's it's nothing to get too excited over. but you know what...
f*ck that.
like my dad told me earlier, "everybody has to start somewhere." this may not be anything to beam about in the acting world, but when you enter into an industry full of nothing but rejection--it's pretty amazing to get a yes on your very first try. i traveled all around north carolina going on auditions years ago, but this is the big leagues out here and i've waited my entire life to actually go on an audition in hollywood.
i still can't believe i live here, so you can only imagine how it felt to be escorted through a real set. the show shoots this week--i play a young mom who is suing her boyfriend for a few thousand dollars worth of child support that he never paid (not a hilarious situation, but hilarious that this is my role)--and the fun part is that the entire thing will be improv! fun part number two is the fact that they'll be doing hair and makeup.
again, while this may not be something to brag about in the acting world, it's my very first step.
and you better believe that my next step will be through the doors of yogurtland to celebrate.

below is something special for all of you :)
*olive would like to apologize for playing with my necklace in the first ten seconds of this video*

video

take a hike!

i'd like to introduce all of you to a brand new section of the blog! i've recently discovered a love for hiking--despite my complete un-athletic and un-outdoorsiness, and i wanted to devote a whole section of the blog to every time i find a new trail.

welcome to "take a hike!"

today's adventure:
woodland hills park in burbank

what better way to balance out my un-outdoorsiness than with something completely nature-ific and hippietastic like pigtails?
and a peace college hoodie.
duh.





this hike was definitely different than griffith park. it was a little more...nature-y.
geez i'm just making up my own words all over the place today.
the path was much more narrow, windy, and steep. there were also a TON of different trails you could take. after winding up and down a bunch of these hills, i looked up into the sky and decided that getting to the top of this peak (the highest one within hiking reach) was my goal for the day.





i made it to what i believed was the top--only to realize that the damn thing kept winding up.
kind of like when you eat a bowl of spaghetti and feel like you've been shoveling bite after bite in your mouth for an hour and then you look down to see that you've hardly made a dent.
once i realized that i had been hiking for close to an hour, i had yet to slip, had made it to where i thought was the top, AND saw a fresh snake trail imprint and didn't pee my adidas pants--i knew it was time to call this a success and head back down.

luckily, some kind hiker had left a handy piece of advice behind for those of us who had no idea how to get back to the bottom.


possibly one of the most exciting moments of the day:


i couldn't think of a better way to end this great day of exercise than by treating myself to a caramel macchiato (thanks for the giftcard bea bea!) and a nice little homemade lunch.


oh wait.
yes i can.



2.18.2011



1. nothing better than hanging out with some deer friends


despite the rainy weather, i've been trying to keep up with doing my hike almost everyday. i've been on the lookout for rattlesnakes and coyotes, but nobody told me i was going to meet some lovely deer! (sorry for the crappy picture, i didn't want them to run so i took it fast)
at our house in raleigh, when you sit down at the kitchen table and look out the giant window, you can almost put money on the fact that you'll see at least one deer. north carolina deer must be a little more skittish because they'll see us peeling a banana and run for the woods. when i came around the corner at griffith park and stood face to face (well...twenty feet away) from these two deer, they looked at me like i had just interrupted their dinner. west coast deer must be more laid back. i'm surprised they didn't ask if i wanted to hang my jacket on their antlers.


2. a day at the beach

although getting out to do the hike every day has been great, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. my griffith park hike also happens to be about a fifteen minute jog from the apartment, so i was feeling the need to get a little further away.

santa monica may be a bit of a drive, but the view is kind of worth it.


the weather has been a bit cooler this past week--in the 50s which is like alaska here--so i knew that this beach day wouldn't necesarrily be a laying out day. it would be a running on the boardwalk and finding a good lunch spot kind of day. i was craving something healthy and had done some research on good salad places in the area.
this yummy soup and salad came from urth cafe on main street.

the urth salad: hearts of palm, olives, cherry tomatoes, feta, and chickpeas.


mushroom barley soup.


if i said that the food wasn't good i'd be lying, but if you know me, i have a tendency to overly rave about everything that i eat (the joke i usually get from my best friend is: "oh my gah! this is the BEST splenda packet i have EVER had!") the sad part is that it's not really an exagerration. what can i say...i love food! ironically, i wasn't super impressed with what i got at urth cafe. i'm sure they have lots of other delicious sandwiches, salads, sweets, and coffees--but what i ordered wasn't exactly worth the $15 i paid for it. i mean really...fifteen dollars for a half salad and some soup? i realize that i'm in a pricey area, but you can get that at panera for nine dollars. and that's WITH a sweet tea. needless to say, i was a little ticked off about paying so much for something that wasn't even THAT fantastic.

so,
i did what any girl in my position would do.
i took home a few of THEIR dollars with me.


it wasn't exactly a refund...but it made me feel better.
plus i was on my last roll at home.


3. better than flowers


if you read my last blog post, you saw that my dad had offered to buy me dinner for valentine's day since i wasn't home to go out and celebrate with him and my mom. i very willingly accepted his generous offer and brought home some sushi the other night. olive and i enjoyed our delicious dinner and rented a movie from blockbuster.
it was the best valentine i've ever gotten.
it's not that i'm opposed to flowers...but you can't dunk flowers in soy sauce and eat them.


highlight of the day:

the joke about hollywood is that EVERYONE is either an actor or a model.
guess what?
yall were right.


2.14.2011

a recap.

veggie sandwich saturday




whole foods honey wheat sunflower bread, light garden veggie cream cheese, tomato, avocado, cucumber, yellow bell peppers, sprouts, salt, pepper, and smoked mozzarella.
sometimes it's nice to go healthy for lunch...
because you don't feel as bad about having pizza and beer for dinner.


rearranging furniture sunday

 for the past few months, my lovely sofa has had an identical mini-sidekick--we'll call her love seat. 


love seat has been residing on the left side of the living room next to the TV. although she was a wee bit big for my tiny little apartment, i was just keeping her safe until a friend of stella's had some room for her. i eventually got used to love seat and she became a great purse holder and also a nice place to curl up from time to time. it felt like i was saying goodbye to a friend as we hauled her out of my 4runner last night and into a storage room. however, when i got home and looked around at all of my new space, i stared at the beautiful gigantic wood coffee table in the center of my living room...and i couldn't help but wonder...





now with the coffee table off to the side, my living room has so much space...
i could dance around in circles.
i could do step aerobics.
i could throw a beer pong tournament.
i can even see the pattern on my carpet!

i was so enthralled with my new roomy setup, i celebrated the only way i know how:




lots of love monday


i saw this today while walking back from gelson's. of course it wasn't technically for me, but it doesn't mean that it wasn't some kind of a sign. thirty minutes later, i was in the kitchen making a sandwich and shoo-ing olive off of the counter--when i got a phone call from my dad. he was calling to wish me a happy valentine's day, tell me he loved me, and say that he wanted me to use his credit card to buy myself dinner one night this week.
moral of the story?
 you were right mysterious little sign...
i am loved.
thanks dad <3

happy valentine's day everybody!



2.10.2011

 

the TEAPOT is back!
occasionally i like to change it up with different blog posts, but don't worry--things will always come back around to the TEAPOT. it's kind of my signature move--you know, like the big mac is for mcdonald's.
great.
now i want a big mac.
for those of you new followers who have no idea what the hell i'm talking about: TEAPOT stands for three extremely awesome parts of today. however, today's teatpot doesn't exactly cover the events of today. that being said, i'd like to formally say a big F you to whatever google cloud picker is for giving me error messages and not letting me update my blog for the past few days. i'm not exactly sure if it's fixed, or if i just got lucky today--but keep your fingers crossed that things are back to normal. as for the teapot above, there's a very specific reason why the reference is a disney movie. i guess you'll just have to keep reading to find out!


1. take a hike

without a job and a lot of structure in my life, i've been looking for things to keep me busy (other than job hunting) and keep me on somewhat of a schedule. for the past three mornings in a row, olive and i have stuck to a very consistent pattern. we wake up, brush our teeth, eat a little breakfast...

 her: salmon
me: a protein bar and some orange juice

and then we get to our business.

her:


me:


i know what you're thinking.
"wait...YOU voluntarily put yourself out into nature? YOU who would rather be watching reruns of wife swap and getting your hand stuck in a box of granola?"
you're right. i'm generally not the outdoorsy type.
okay, that's putting it lightly.
when my family travels to hawaii year every year to visit my sister, at some point in the vacation, they stick me on the side of some tropical mountain. i then spend the remainder of the hike texting my best friend and asking everyone how much longer until lunch. sometimes i don't even participate. i just stand around and ask what the hell i'm doing there.


however, seeing as i've been looking for some new activites recently, i decided to branch out (dad, i know there's a pun in there with the word branch but i'm going to pretend like i don't know that). the truth is that while i love a good long day of lifetime movies and pajamas, lately i've been feeling like some fresh air would do me good. it IS 72 degrees and sunny here every single day. i've done the uphill walk in my neighborhood more times than i can count, so i felt like i needed a change of scenery. through hiking, i've found that i like the kind of exercise that happens when you don't really realize that you're doing it. case and point: when i go out for a run, i'm pushing myself to do the actual running.
 i'd rather be driving.
to taco bell.
when i'm hiking, i'm basically just walking up a hill looking at pretty views. i'm still a novice so right now i'm just sticking to the trail, but hopefully soon enough i'll move up to being chased by mountain lions.
no really.


the hike to the griffith park observatory is pretty simple. except for the fact that it's about twenty five minutes...uphill. but that's what makes it such a good workout after all.



my very first time on this hike, i was walking along looking for rattlesnakes--which isn't funny any more now that i saw a snake yesterday--and minding my own business when i saw what appeared to be aladdin's palace on the top of the mountain. it suddenly occured to me that this very building was the end point of my journey. i then wondered how the hell i would actually arrive at my fancy destination. would a mountain lion appear and ask if i'd like a ride on his back? would the genie and his magic lamp grant me the wish of motorized rollerblades?

nope.

you literally just have to walk.


turns out, the view from the top is worth every step.





but aside from the beautiful views, the cool air, and the amazing workout--on top of EVERYTHING, i'm so grateful that i saw this sign.


how else would i have known that it was illegal to share my ritz crackers with a coyote.


2. ebony gets a bath!

it's been a LONG time since i've washed my car. okay i lied, i've never washed my car. i've occasionally tidied up the inside and wiped off the north carolina pollen, but as for a full on scrub down, it just hasn't happened. i believe it was at the point when i realized that the amount of crackers and granola between my seats could feed every homeless man on sunset boulevard, that i knew it was time.


eight dollars later, and my 4runner was sparkling. i even opted for the do-it-yourself hand wash so i could pat myself on the back afterwards.





besides a pat on the back, what better way to congratulate yourself than with a homemade fruit and yogurt granola parfait?


3. congratulations!


i was feeling fancy, hence the kiwi and pineapple.




highlight of the day:


i made myself an awesome dinner the other night, but of course you'll have to click here to see more!


mini highlight of the day:


olive discovered carbonation!