----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: June 2006

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Audition Mania!

Last week, I had three auditions...and I think I blew all of them. Fantastic! So my spirits are a bit low, but I had a good scene in acting class last night. Apparently, that is going to have to be my only acting outlet for now. And my father, who is so sensitive and supportive, offered me $1,500 if I would never take another acting class again. Okay, so he was joking. It still wasn't that funny.

The first audition was for a Safeway industrial. I was reading for the part of a disgrutled worker who has a beef with another worker. I got the sides the day before (the part of the script with my lines in it, for those who don't know the lingo), and I worked on them until I thought I had developed the proper righteous outrage. So then I get into the audition, and I'm doing my thing, and everything is going fine until the last big dramatic speech (which is like, four sentences), and I get through the whole thing, and then the casting director says, "Okay, I'd like you to do that last part again, but really take it down and try to play the truth of the scene. I don't think you're trusting yourself." Actually, I was trusting myself, because I played it exactly how I would tell a greivance, but I do have a tendency to be a little over-dramatic. So I did it again, and he said, "Okay, thank you, nice adjustment," and I walked out of there knowing that I sure didn't get that part.

Then on Thursday I had an audition for some promo piece for Diageo Cabernet. I was all excited because it was in San Rafael, so I wouldn't have to drive all the way into the city. Plus, I really like wine, and the job paid $800. But when I had to wait an hour and a half to be called in, despite having a specific appointment time, my excitement had waned considerably. So finally, I get in there and start doing my thing, and I can tell that it's been a long day for the casting people and they're just not that into it anymore. But still, I'm going to give it my best shot. But I get two lines in, and they stop me and say, "Yeah, you know, you're doing it really like a spokesperson would, and we just want you to pretend like you're on a picnic with your girlfriends and you're just giving them some casual information about wine."

Okay, I'm pretty sure that if I picked up my wineglass, turned to my friends, and said, "For the past century and a half, no grape has captured California sunshine and wine lovers' attention like Cabernet Sauvignon. The noblest grape of Bordeaux, it provides the background and complexity for some of the finest wines from Bordeaux's Medoc region, like Chateau Margeaux," they would burst out laughing and think that I was some pretentious twit. But you've got to give the clients what they want, so I tried it again. And again, I walked out of there knowing that I didn't book that role, either.

Finally, on Friday, it was back into the city for a contact lens solution industrial. It was an AFTRA job, though, and I'm non-union, so I would have to be Taft-Hartleyed in to do the job, which requires some extra paperwork and is kind of a pain in the neck for the producers, as I understand it. I think it would be easier for them to go with someone who was already AFTRA, so that could have been a strike against me right off the bat, but they asked to see me.

Anyway, I wear contacts, so I figured I could be convincing. I went in with another actress and first I was the calm, cool, collected one, and she was the spaz who couldn't get her contact in. We did it twice that way and then we switched roles. When it was my turn to be the spaz the second time around, the casting guy said, "Okay, so do it like you were out late with your boyfriend last night, and you were drinking, and now you're hungover and you're late for class. Also, she's your roommate, and you're really difficult to live with." So I was all rushed and harried and kept knocking over the bottle of solution, and I was squinting and made like I couldn't get my contact in at all, and then I started bumping into my roommate and sort of nudging her out of the way of the mirror. And then after awhile, he said, "Cut!" and he looks at me and goes, "You're awful!" Now, I really, really hope he was referring to the difficult-to-live-with character that I was trying to create, but I am not so sure. Maybe I really am awful! That seems like a mean and unneccesary thing for the casting person to say, though. Regardless, I probably won't get that part either.

But then last night, I went to acting class, and I did a really fun little commercial with a scene partner, and everybody laughed, and then I felt a little better. I guess you have to take your validation where you can find it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

More Laughs from Craigslist

So, I was checking out the Los Angeles Craigslist today, because every so often, dear Mr. Pink gets all riled up and says that we are going to move back to Southern California. So far, it hasn't happened, but it never hurts to keep up on potential job openings. Today, in the writing gigs, I found this gem.

It's about a guy who wants a ghostwriter for his book on how to pick up women. I thought he was serious, until I got to the part about how he considers T-shirts and "high-quality brand jean shorts (Gap, Old Navy, etc.)" to be the height of fashion. Then I realized that the whole thing was a clever satire. At least, I hope it was. Otherwise, his comments about staring at women at the gym while they're using the legs machine is just plain creepy.

So what do you think? Is this guy joking around, or is he really a clueless idiot?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Totally Awesome!

Ladies and gentlmen, if you have ever doubted my awesomeness, your doubts will now be assuaged. I have proof. I have (dun-dun-DUH!) the medal of awesomeness!

Yes, this a real thing, and I have won it. I am wearing it around my neck right now. My awesomeness cannot be contested. I am the awesomest of all.

My husband, Mr. Pink, presented me with this fabulous prize upon his return from Las Vegas, where he was attending a design conference. Verily, this is the best souvenir he could have brought me. Well, actually, that's not true. It would have been even better if he had been passing by a slot machine, stuck a quarter in, and won the jackpot, but come on. We're living real life, not a movie. So instead, I have (dun-dun-DUH!) the medal of awesomeness!

The medal is my gift for being the best wife ever. I would like to believe I have accepted this great honor with grace and humility, but we all know that I am going to gloat about it. But I shan't be selfish. When Mr. Pink shows signs of awesomeness (as he frequently does), I will relinquish my medal and allow him to know the joy of wearing (dun-dun-DUH!) the medal of awesomeness!

Dear readers, I will take your suggestions. What should Mr. Pink do to prove that he is worthy of this honor? Write in and let me know. And when the medal changes hands, I shall inform you of the great feat that was performed to secure its transfer. It will, of course, be awesome.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Fun With Words

I am in the midst of copy editing some truly terrible text right now, so I thought I'd take a break and read a few articles on LATimes.com. And what did I see right on the front page? This sentence: "Renown chef Thomas Keller, who gave us the French Laundry, is inspired by In-N-Out."

But that's probably just a typo, and it will get fixed soon, I am sure. It's not nearly as funny as a sentence I read in the Santa Monica free paper on Monday when I was down in the Southland for a visit. I can't recall it verbatim, but the article was talking about the parking options near 3rd Street Promenade, and how the mall parking lot fees needed to come in line with the other public lots. It said something like, "We really need to bring the lots in parody with each other." Yes, that's right. Not parity, but parody. Well, that certainly makes it easy to parody!

That's probably the most egregious example of poor usage that I've seen lately, but this sentence gave me a chuckle, as well: "Our [program] provides ongoing training to our employees to ensure we remain fluid in the language of regulations and requirements." Clearly, the writer is not entirely fluent in the English language.

Okay, I think I'm getting a little punchy. But wouldn't you be, too, if you had to edit sentences like this? "The new Cardiac Chair by IoA features a reclining motion designed to be operated with a minimum of effort for patients of all conditions." I don't know which is worse: that a PR rep wrote such a terrible sentence, or that an editor at a trade magazine just copied and pasted it verbatim! What is the world coming to? Well, I guess I should consider myself lucky that so many people seem unable to grasp proper written English. If more people were adept at it, I might be out of a job.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Salad Days

How hard is it to make a salad? I would say, not very hard at all, but I was proven wrong a few days ago.

I was having lunch at some sports bar with Mr. Pink. Not my choice, but he assured me it was good. It was quite clean and new, although it did have some cheesy name, like Glory Days or something, so that it could appeal to all the old, washed-up ex-jocks who now live in the suburbs and must rely on their memories of scoring the winning touchdown to enliven their sad, sad daily existence. Or maybe the restaurant owner just thought it was a good name.

Anyway, I didn't feel like ordering the traditional sports bar food (hamburger, chicken wings, french fries, or pretty much anything that's deep-fried), so I went for a salad. On the menu, the description sounded pretty good. It was chipotle-glazed chicken breast on a bed of greens with corn, black beans, roasted red peppers and avocade. But the salad did not live up to its billing. It had some chicken, a bunch of iceberg lettuce, and five black beans. Our waitress had disappeared, of course, but some other guy came to check on us. I mentioned that the salad was not what I was expecting and explained that it was supposed to have a lot of other stuff in it, like red peppers. "I am so sorry," he said as he whisked the offending salad away.

Moments later, he was back with a new salad. "This is really embarrassing for me, because I'm one of the owners," he said. Oh, really? Then why was the salad he brought back only marginally improved? It had a few more black beans and some red peppers, but still no corn or avocado. I mean, come on! All the ingredients for the salad are listed right on the menu! It shouldn't be that hard to get it right!

I really wanted some avocado, but of course, then the part-owner disappeared. Finally, our waitress returned, and she was kind enough to bring me some avocado.

Mr. Pink had a hamburger. He said it was good. Maybe you're just not supposed to order salads in sports bars. But then it shouldn't have been on the menu. I mean, seriously...don't put a salad on the menu and list all the ingredients if the kitchen staff isn't going to adhere to that ingredient list!