----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: At Last!

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.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

At Last!

I have very exciting news, but I didn't want to share until I was sure that everything was going as planned. Are you ready for this?

Today, I had my first prominent role in a national television commercial!

Okay, so it was a non-union job, and the commercial will only be on the cable channels, so I'm not going to be raking it on the residuals or anything like that. Also, none of us had speaking parts. Instead, it's one of those montage-type commericals with a voiceover narrating over images. The footage is for Countrywide Home Loans, and the company is actually going to create a series of commercials out of what was shot. The first commercial will air in December, and the others will air starting in January. Not all the footage will be in all the commercials, but be on the lookout for me...I'm the girl in the white T-shirt standing on a lawn in front of a sprinkler.

The shoot was really fun and low-key. It was just down in front of a house in San Rafael, so I didn't have to commute too far. I got there at 8:30, and I went into makeup soon thereafter, because my little vignette was one of the first to be shot. The only glitch came when I checked in with the shoot coordinator/wardrobe person, and she said, "Okay, you're 'Girl in Front of Sprinkler.' They wanted you in a bikini swimsuit top, but I talked them out of it and you're just going to be in a T-shirt and shorts instead. So, show me the stuff you brought." Well, that was a problem, because the information I'd gotten said to bring slacks, sweaters, blouses and casual shoes. I had one stretchy T-shirt and a pair of jeans I'd thrown in at the last minute. Everything else was more upscale casual. But, in the end, they found a plain white T-shirt and a pair of khaki capris for me to wear. Well, they were supposed to be capris, but since they were two sizes too big, they were full-length, and they barely stayed up around my waist. I was told that mostly only my head and torso would be in the shot though, so it didn't matter.

Anyway, once I was in the makeup chair, the makeup artist spent a long time lining my eyes and blending my eyeshadow and powdering my face and lining and glossing my lips. Then, once I got in front of the camera, the director decided that I looked "too polished," so it was back into the trailer so she could take most of the makeup off. Then the director decided that it was supposed to be a hot day, so I should look a little sweaty. So, my hair was gelled and spritzed with water and mussed up, and my face was dabbed with glycerin to make me look all dewey and hot. Also, there was a brief, terrible moment where I thought I was going to have to wear a really ugly cowboy hat, but luckily that didn't happen.

Here's how the shot went: "Okay, look behind you at the sprinkler. Now turn to face the camera. Now shift your weight from foot to foot. No, not so much like a dance, just like a little shift. Okay, good. Now look down. Now look back at the camera. Now pretend you're hot. Now look around some more. Okay, good. Cut." Setting up the shot took about an hour. Shooting it took about a minute. And then they brought in a photographer to do some still shots, and I was done. The makeup artist told me later that the client was very happy with me because I was "so pretty."

They asked me to stick around in case they needed me for something else later, so I hung out with the rest of the talent, sat in the sun, enjoyed a really good catered lunch, and read my book for a while.

Then, at three o'clock, the coordinator said I was wrapped and could take off. I signed my contract, changed back into my regular clothes, and gathered up my stuff. Then I drove off, $500 richer and happy knowing that I would soon be making my TV debut. Unless they cut me, of course. But I really hope that doesn't happen. When you next see a Countrywide commercial, look for me!


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