Monday, 26 June 2006

Ah, this industry that I love and hate.

The theatre and film industries are such fickle but such beautiful monsters. One minute anyone with half a decent-looking face can be a star... the next, even the best of the best are finding it a rough trot.

Not that I'm the best of anything, mind you, but I had to choose this moment in history to take the big plunge, didn't I. Ah, but I love it so much, I so desperately want to be a part of it - this world where you make a living from the delightful and enrapturing art of acting - that I can't help myself. I think I love the suspense and the waiting and maybe even the rejections as much as I love the successes.

Two non-successes to report today. A TV commercial I was lined up for (hadn't mentioned it because I didn't want to jinx it! *roll eyes*) was cancelled because the client decided to use their own staff in the ad. Yay for those staff. :-) Not yay for us actors who were looking forward to it.

And, I called that agent I mentioned last time. She was perfectly pleasant and nice, and said I could send her my headshot but, because the industry is so slow at the moment, she's not actively recruiting. " I don't know what I would do with another actor right now!"

Ah, it's good. It's all good.

Friday, 23 June 2006

Let's go, people!

I posted a while ago about how at uni I was always the one to volunteer first for stuff. Well, I was also renowned for being a big fat nag about keeping time. If a class started at 9, I was ready at 9 sharp, fidgeting, asking the teacher to get started. If we had a 10-minute break, I was herding reluctant classmates back inside the instant the time was up. Some lecturers appreciated it. Some lecturers dragged their feet with the best of them, which drove me especially wild.

Let's just say no one was surprised when I decided to major in Stage Management for my final 3 semesters. Or when I attempted to run my rehearsal room with military precision (attempted being the operative word; it was the aforementioned reluctant student group we're talking about!)

Okay, trying to get to the point. Which is...

Today's shoot, as an extra for the short film. Oh my goodness, it tested my ability to cope with lateness and disorganisation. To be honest, a lot of the chaos was nobody's fault. Firstly, when I arrived I was told the diretor was at the hospital down the road getting stitches after severely cutting his arm during bump-in (bump-in? That's a theatre word, don't know if the terminilogy's different in the film world). So, there go the first few hours. Second, out of the 25 people booked as extras, myself and one other person arrived. 2 out of 25! How can people be so rude, to just not turn up! Thankfully there were a fair few crew people who could jump in as extras for crowd scenes.

Apart from those things though, they were just. so. slow. Drove me mental watching them faff around and chat about crap while slooooowly resetting and messing around pointlessly with lights. Towards the end of the day I admitted to one of the AD's (there were two - who'dda thunk a short student film needed two ADs?!) that the strain of not calling out "Right! Stop yakkin' and get on with it!" was almost killing me.

Apart from all that though, it was an alright day. Did some nightclubby scenes and a very-drunk-flirty-sleazy bit which was fun. The other actors were friendly and someone gave me the number of her agent to call. That could be handy. :-) People were astonished when I mentioned my kids and fascinated by the very idea of being married with two kids while so young. One admitted thinking I was 18 or 20. I can't quite decide if that's a good thing actually. I'm sure once I'm older I'll love looking 6 or 7 years younger but right now I'm not sure that I want to be thought to be a teenager. Better than thinking I'm 40 I guess!

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm buggered and the girls are finally both asleep, so goodnight.

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Hey, can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong when I try to post those BlogThing things? I copy the exact code it gives me and paste it but then it tells me the html is incomplete or something - something about a closing tag not having an opening tag... or vice versa perhaps?

"The movie of your life is a Black Comedy"

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy
In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.
Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho
If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

How bizarre. Those are the kinds of movies I get so confused about. Watching Being John Malkovich took sooo much concentration.

Tee hee, my life is twisted. :-)

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Thoughts on Starting Out.

I'm reading this great book called In the Company of Actors, by Carole Zucker. It's the stories of a whole bunch of great British actors, told in first person, compiled from interviews. Yesterday I was reading Eileen Atkins and this struck me:

Starting Out
I had a terrible time. Nobody got an agent. They used to say 'If you're a woman, give yourself eight years, and if after eight years you are not working steadily, give it up. Men, give yourselves five years...' Well, I went nine years before I was working steadily.

Nine years! Later, she's talking about her first role as an extra at Stratford:

And I'd only been there 6 weeks, and the girl who was playing Audrey in As You Like It ... was taken to hospital for 6 weeks. Then her understudy was taken to hospital in the night with some kind of chest thing, she couldn't breathe. And I thought 'She's the understudy, who is going to play Audrey tomorrow night? What if she's not better?' So I stayed up all night and learned Audrey, and made sure I was in the theatre the next day, and they were all saying 'Oh my god, is there anyone who knows Audrey?' and I said "Yes, I know it, I've played it'. I lied, and I went on as Audrey, and from then on they accepted me at Stratford. But you see, I was cunning.

Nine years of trying. And even then it was a stroke of luck and some quick thinking that got her a "break". I find that so encouraging. I know I was just reminding myself a couple of weeks ago that I have all the time in the world; that I'm still young and I have the rest of my life for a career... but I so often forget that. I want it all now! (Veruca Salt anyone? Daddy. I want a squirrel and I want it now!) Nine years sounds like such a long time. But in nine years I'll still only be 34. Hopefully I'll still be fit and healthy and reasonably good looking.

Anyway I'm rambling and nearly forgetting what my point was going to be. It is, I guess, thatI need to keep reminding myself that this here career that I've chosen isn't going to drop into my lap next week, it's going to take hard work and some sacrifice, years and years of it.

Bring it on. ;-)

Going to the "nightclub" after all.

It would seem they couldn't find enough extras for Triple Back Flip, because the director wants me to come after all, even though I can only stay until 6. It's this Friday, in a club on Oxford Street. I have to "dress for a night out" and "come and dance, have a ball". Should be a bit of fun, anyway. :-)

Monday, 19 June 2006


Well, didn't get the hen's-night one - Triple Back Flip. The director hadn't read my email about not being available at night. So today I confirmed it with him and he said no he couldn't "use" me (ah, love that I'm consciously putting myself out there to be used!) because he needed everyone to stay until 8pm. Grrr.

I did consider changing my mind and saying I could stay late after all, but it just wouldn't be worth it. Miss Bear sooo wouldn't cope at night and Noel sooo wouldn't cope with her not coping. And most likely filming would go later than 8 and it would just end up being disastrous shenanigans.

I kinda wish, though, that I'd waited to hear if I was offered a part. Now I don't know what they thought. I asked in my last email if he wouldn't mind saying what he thought of my audition just for my own reference, but who knows if he'll be bothered with that.

I'm disappointed but mostly cranky actually - at the director for not reading my email before the audition, at myself for basically counting myself out of it, at Noel for not being more proactive with Bear so that she wouldn't be totally dependent on me at night.

Such is life. No use wishing things were different when they're not. And there's still the other one, Big White Heist or whatever it's called.

Ho hum.

Friday, 16 June 2006

A good day :-)

I done good today I reckon. Real good and proper-like.

Sorry, I'll stop being a bogan. :-)

First off, just to add to my little rant about the money-makers that are CityRail... at least their staff are nice, because as I ordered my ticket the man said "just wait a few minutes and you'll get a cheaper fare". Turns out "off-peak" starts earlier out here on the fringes of the urban jungle. So I only had to pay $8 after all.

Aaanyway, got to the audition and a rather spunky young assistant director welcomed me, gave me the script to run through etc... He came back a little while later asking if I'd be okay to stay a little longer, because the people who were in the other studio casting a different short film wanted me to read for theirs too. Fancy that.

I could really start to get a big head with these unsolicited audition offers!

The first director, for Triple Back Flip, didn't even want to see a monologue, so there was one weight off my mind. I'm not sure that I impressed him terribly much, but he did seem to like my growling. (yes, the script called for a growl.)
(Surprisingly this director was middle-aged and rather authoritative. I was expecting a bunch of young, casual student-ish people, which they all were apart from this director. Just an observation.)

The 2nd director seemed to like me. I finished my monologue (oh by the way, I did end up doing the "shouldn't drink before midnight" one. Decided that after rehearsing them both on the train on the way there), and she effused "thanks, that was really good!" A comment I rather appreciated, as you can imagine. And I think I did a good job with that script too. Let's hope she agrees.

Wouldn't it be good if they did like me? Either of them. The first film is (in my opinion) a much better script, but the 2nd one (can't remember it's name... something about a heist) would be a bigger role I think. The universal question - what's better, quality or quantity???

Anyway, don't count your chickens and all that. I read some advice the other day about auditions and the conclusion was that after you've done your piece, finished the audition, the only thing left to do is go home, and get on with your day. Simply, there's nothing else you can do about it.

Good advice. :-)

Thursday, 15 June 2006


That's the return fare to the city from Richmond! How rude. Of course if I could travel off-peak it would be five bucks less, but I have to leave before 9 to get there before 10.30. And those clever people at CityRail have designed it so that you can't save money by buying single tickets; one-way off-peak fares are not available. Clever little money-makers they are.

No wonder so many actors are struggling actors.

In other news... I can't decide which monologue to do tomorrow. There's the one I did for the last audition, or there's this one, also from Europe:

I shouldn't drink alcohol before midnight. My body's not prepared for it. In an hour I'll have a headache. Some people seem to work better after drinking alcohol. I wish I could.
I don't appear any different, do I? I'm not staggering. I'm not falling over. I tripped on the stairs on the way in but nobody saw us. Perhaps I should forget where I am in the play. Lead the whole company in a different direction, towards a new ending. Expose the villain in the second act, decide to be happy and move to Stockholm and end the play with a dance. One night I'd like to, oh god I would. Instead of this... trauma I go through.
Have you read the programme?
It's full of essays about the historical role of suicide, the neurotic sexuality of capitalism, the effects of climate on newlyweds - all sorts of things I'm supposed to embody every time I drag myself through this masterpiece. All I'm sure is the costume is too tight and I hate the sound of a gun going off.

(Barbara, from Europe by Michael Gow)

That's actually a much longer monologue but I've cut it down.

It's more appropriate to this particular film but I don't know it as well. I quite like it though, and the panel at the last audition didnt seem too happy that I'd chosen an angry/frustrated piece... this one's a bit lighter so might be better.

I'll decide tonight, I just need to read through the play again and remind myself what Barbara's on about. She's on about something, I'm sure of it!

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Ooh Aah

I'm feeling a bit chuffed with myself. :-)

I applied for another short film to be an extra. This was last week, and I received an email saying yes, "it would be great to have you as an extra..." It was a nightclub scene though and when I asked about the hours, saying I wouldn't be available any later than 4pm, I thought they'd probably count me out.

So imagine my surprise when, today, I get a text message from the producer saying "just wondering when ur available on friday to audition for triple back flip".

"Hang on," I thought, "I can't do a triple back flip!"

And then quickly realised that "Triple Back Flip" must be the name of the film. So I messaged back, and found out that they want me to audition for a supporting role. Yay! I was rather thrilled to be honest but, as I was at the playground trying to keep an eye on my girls with stacks of other kids and mums around, I couldn't get too excited just then.

So, Mum's all set for babysitting and I've just been looking up the bus route numbers to get to Paddington for the audition. Thankfully it's at 10.30am on a weekday; not nearly as traumatic as getting to Double Bay late on a Saturday afternoon.

That little text message came just at the right time, too, because the last few days I've been going through a disillusioned, "I'm-crap-at-everything" phase. Another little step forward is just what I need.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

How I Live My Life

How You Life Your Life
You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.
You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.
You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.
How Do You Live Your Life?

Strangely accurate. Especially the dreaming big, but worrying that my dreams aren't attainable. I dream very big, and in a lot of detail... and I'm constantly reminding myself that life doesn't always turn out the way we dream it. That probably is actually a good thing, because I bet if I did get exactly what I dream of in life, there'd be all sorts of bits to it that I just haven't thought of.

Ah, but the bits I have thought of are gonna be good when I get them!

Friday, 9 June 2006

Ah, Rejection, my old friend.

"Unfortunately at this stage I will say no to representation as the industry is quite slow at present so I am being rather specific about who I take on as there isn't a lot of work.
Again thank you for your enquiry and good luck."

My first rejection from an agent. :-) And I'm pretty sure there'll be more. She's right of course; the industry is darn slow at the moment and directors don't seem to be very interested in new faces. Not to mention the over-abundance of struggling hopefuls just like me.

Anyway, plodding along. When I get some money at tax time I hope to do a short course or two. There's an "Auditions and Screen Tests" short course at NIDA in July which I'd love to do, and the Actor's Centre has some Saturday morning screen acting classes.

I'm just feeling good about the mere fact that I'm moving forward. Finally putting myself out there and declaring to the world I'm an actor and I'm ready to work.

Thursday, 8 June 2006

Johnny and Kate...

So, it's still technically a rumour, but that's okay...

I wonder if much of the film will be shot in Sydney? Hope so!

Okay, I'm getting me a proper agent quicksmart, and telling them I wanna be in this film!

"Thank God You're Here"

I love this show! Apart from the (I think) vulgarity of the term "thank God", it's such a great show to watch. I really enjoy watching Theatre Sports and it's inspiring to see actors/comedians who are really good at thinking quickly and improvising clever ideas. (Of course sometimes they're not so clever... like Frank Woodley had a bad night last night, that was a bit embarrassing.)

There's such an art to improvisation. And such a fine line between "this is really entertaining" and "what the heck?!" I remember doing impro classes and struggling to find new ideas that developed the story rather than blocking something. Of course the difference with Thank God You're Here is that all of the 'backing' actors know what is happening and have story ideas already planned out, and only the "featured' actor is left wondering what's about to happen. That would make it even harder I think. Often they are expected to finish someone else's sentence and there seems to be only one or two correct possibilities, so when they get it 'wrong' it's fascinating to watch the way they deal with the correction and redirection. Some actors cope well with that, others get all flustered and find it hard to carry on with the flow.

Anyway, I like watching it. I wish there was more of that sort of thing on TV instead of so many silly game shows and ridiculous reality shows.

Monday, 5 June 2006

Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?

When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad...
you should do what I do!

Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more...
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!

(from Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr Seuss)

So very true, don't you think? Not that I actually know of anyone who can't fix his Throm-dim-bu-lator, or who needs to be watched by a bee-watcher-watcher. And I don't actually feel very sorry for the rusty tin coat-hanger hanging in space. BUT, there are millions of people who are muchly much-much more unlucky than me.

Just reminding myself, that's all. I find Dr Seuss is strangely good for reminding oneself of such things.

Sunday, 4 June 2006

My 2 seconds of fame.

Anyone who knows me well, especially from college days, knows that I am one of those goody-two-shoes types that is always the first to volunteer. Back in classes in college, whenever a teacher asked who would go first for something or other, my classmates would pretty much already be looking at me and laughing before I'd even piped up my usual enthusiastic "I will!" They could also tell you that it was partly because I was plain old enthusiastic, and partly because I just wanted us all to get on with it - I hated waiting around wasting time when there was work to be done.

So, yesterday at the filming in Double Bay. There was lots of waiting around because before we (the extras) even got there they were running behind schedule. We ended up starting on our bit about an hour late. Which is fine - there was food, comfy chairs, nice people, and we just watched the others doing another scene and I really enjoyed watching the process actually.

Then, our scene is set and the director (Sam Atwell, a really nice bloke) asks for a girl to do the first bit. Of course good ole Sumara pipes up "I will". I could almost hear the college girls giggling at me from 5 years ago.
Here's the catch - the bit I so enthusiastically volunteered for was to walk out through the door and close it behind me! Yep, I darn well volunteered myself out of the scene! Well done, Little Miss Enthusiastic. My very brief character did have a name though.

I take comfort from the fact that Sam was quite disappointed when he realised I was "wrapped" for the day, and very apologetic that I'd waited around so long for not much.
And, it turned out to be a good thing because my 16-month old Bear was home and not coping without me as it turned out. If I stayed for the rest of the scene I would've been home hours after bedtime and goodness knows what kind of a state my Bear would've been in, poor sweet girl.

Anyway, another "I'm glad I went" for that experience.
I could look at it as: nine hours away from home, 2 hours of waiting around for 20 minutes of filming and 2 seonds of screen time. (not to mention the freezing weather, slow trains, splitting headache and screaming bubba!)
Or, I could look at it as: My first screen experience. Always good to meet and get along with a successful Aussie actor, especially when he's apparently getting into directing.

And hey, I have an entry for my CV - "Kristy, Dog Without a Bone, dir Sam Atwell".

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Extra, extra! Read all about it!

Scored myself a teeny tiny part in a different short film! Shooting this Saturday afternoon. In Double Bay, of all places, but it's only a 2 1/2 hour call.

So, it's a teeny part (not sure if it qualifies as a 'role' or an 'extra'), in one scene that's not even scripted (we're going to impro some dialogue on the day apparently), I didn't even have to audition (just send a headshot), and it's not paid and probably very amateur - but I'm excited, damnit! Yay for me! *happy dance*

The director says I will be credited in the film - so yay! again, for sometime soon seeing my name rolling in the credits of a film!

(Laugh at me if you like, but I'm excited, so there!)