Saturday, August 7, 2010

I booked my first commercial!!!!!

Let me tell you about my first audition for a commercial.

I was asked a few days ago by my agent to put myself on tape for a hair product commercial. I had about 2 days to do it, but I wanted to be one of the first ones to submit to casting. I wanted to be fresh in their minds.

I'm not going to disclose the name of the product, but you will see it soon enough.

I was asked to put myself on tape, showing my hair and talking a little bit about myself, so they could hear my voice. I pondered over how I should do this all day.
I took Cassie's commercial advice, and looked up other hair commercials, most of it from the same hair company I was auditioning for, to understand the style they preferred. I noticed they focused on just the actors' hair A LOT, so I decided to showcase my locks and just smile and giggle and *try* not to feel too cheesy...

On my way home from my soul-sucking day job, I rushed to the salon, made a last-minute coloring appointment and got my hair Debra-Messing-red.
After ensuring my hair was sexy and shampoo-commercial-ready, I ran home to film myself while my hair was still.... fresh (for lack of a better word).

I had my husband turn on all the lights in our apartment & try to find enough white space to film next to, while I fretted over which shirts complemented my newly tomato-colored hair (I ended up with a power-cleavage black Tee).
We filmed me slating where I was from ("Hi, my name is Amber and I'm from Atlanta, GA. This is my audition video. I hope you like what you see!") and smiling my face off whilst flipping my hair in the most compelling way possible.
After taking about 10 shots, I felt comfortable with the last one, so we sent my agent the last 2 videos to choose what to submit to casting himself. (It always helps to have another eye!)

The next day I am encouraged to hear good feedback. They love my hair but they want more. They need to wow the head of the company. They want to use me as their "Glamour Girl" (What does that MEAN?)! I am instructed to take a longer video, flip my hair more, look glamourous, more make up than last time, more hair...

I wanted this commercial so badly.

I went BACK to the salon and paid for a $40 blow out, just to ensure my hair was SEX-Y. I thought, if I'm going to do another video, it has to look even better than the first. I have to KNOW I did absolutely EVERYTHING I could have done to one-up the other 100 girls auditioning. (I bet no one else went to the salon to ensure it's quality, much less TWICE.)

My husband (God Bless being married to an actor!) helped me choose a blue top that made my red hair stand out, and we filmed again.

Here are some of the out takes we DIDN'T submit, because they were awful. He kept messing around in the beginning and we had to goof off to keep me giggly and smiley...

In addition to the videos we took, I sent a bunch of photos from photoshoots I had done in the past to wow the head of the company (since I am out of state, he needs to triple check that I will look right on film). I also had my husband take snapshots of my hair (front, back, sides, all over!) to show them the length.

I hope SOME of this information was helpful on how you self-tape. I am by no means an expert, but in the interest of sharing my experience, hopefully this can prepare you for feeling less awkward on your next self-submission.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

While You Wait

Good news is, we have been busy.
Bad news is, we had to put blogging on the back burner.

We started this blog because we were sick and tired of waiting for something to come our way. Also, we wanted to create a community of help, advice, support and a general sisterhood attitude. We still want work and we still want to share as much as we can. Since starting this blog, I (Amber) have gotten engaged, married (yes, Cassie was my bridesmaid!) and lost my day job in Century City (Beverly Hills), and moved to Las Vegas.
Cassie has explored new work. She has since learned painstakingly how to edit digital films, bought a professional video camera and started her own production company, Jaye Bird Productions.

Now to catch you up to speed to today!

I could literally talk about how proud I am of Cassie all day. She made a small experimental short film to practice her skills as a film maker (as well as add to her reel). She made her first documentary titled "Daddy I Do" which premiered at Idyllwild Film Festival and won Best Documentary. Her short documentary on hunger in the US, "Faces Overlooked" was featured on YouTube's homepage, AND "Daddy I Do" was accepted into the oldest, most prestigeous film festival in the world, CANNES!

Getting married forced me to put acting on hold for a year. Now that I am getting my new life
together, I cannot wait to move back to LA and pursue acting and casting.

I have made a goal board this year (It's something we try to do every New Years).
Some of my goals are:
-Pay off my AFTRA fees (check!)
-Set up a home printer/scanner for resumes (check!)
-Become SAG eligible (check!) (more on how I found out I was SAG-e on this amazing blog: )
-Get a reliable car (almost have the downpayment! My last car was totaled)
-Pay off Credit Cards (half way there)
-Learn Photoshop (I have a teacher, just not a way to get to him yet.)
-Move to LA!!!!!!!!

While I was working my butt off and saving in the desert, I had more time to search for
resources to use in the future. So I made a list of books recommended
to me by working actors, CDs, agents and friends. It's always hard to find updated, RELEVANT books
on acting out there so I hope this helps! (in no particular order:)

-Desperate Networks by Bill Carter (the inner workings of how TV works)

-The Power of the Actor by Ivana Chubbuck (Acting technique by one of the most respected ALIVE acting teachers out there)

-The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor by Larry Moss (acting)

-How To Stop Acting by Harold Guskin (acting technique)

-True and False: Heresy & Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet (acting technique)

-A Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder (acting technique help)

-Acting In Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making by Michael Caine

-Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi (a great book on networking and starting your career!)

Most of the these books have been recommended to me by the fine people at the
Inside Acting podcast on itunes (it's free and if you are an actor, download NOW!)
Also a few books are from twitter followers and The Working Actress (see her amazing blog here:


PS- What are some books on acting, casting or networking, that you have read and loved?