Thursday, February 7, 2013

GETTING OUT OF AN ACTOR'S RUT

FEBRUARY 7. 2013

DEDICATED TO FRANK MICHAEL JR.
"To a very special young man who was a part of my family's life."

DR. MEL'S WEEKLY MESSAGE

I am going to begin this weeks blog with an apology for not having published a blog last week.  But, sometimes even I am not perfect, contrary to popular belief.  Yes, I have flaws, emotions, rejoice, and I cry.  In fact, I have been in a rut for a week now and I haven't been myself.  I make no excuses for my behavior as I was hit with very tragic news a week ago today.  A very dear friend of mine, in fact has been my karate instructor for more than fifteen years, son died last Thursday.  My entire family is close to this family.  

The son, Frank Michael Jr., was the same age as one of my girls and they went to school together, attended karate together, and competed in national tournaments together.  Those of you who have a relationship with an extended family, such as one a karate school offers, or even  KSK or ADAM, understands how this type of news can have impact.  For me, it really hit hard as I was a second mother to him when he was in junior high and high school.  But, after Katrina and of course after the kids no longer were in school or karate, time slips away and communication wasn't there.

Frank's death hit me hard.  I couldn't write, think straight, nor was I even motivated.  I just wanted to curl up and stay in bed.  In reality I was in a rut and depressed.  Well, that explains why there wasn't a blog last week.  However, the funeral is tomorrow, which also saddens me and causes me to really do some inner reflecting as I face the hour.

Last night, as I tried to go to sleep, I couldn't.  The only positive outcome from this was it did give me a chance to really think and put things in perspective.  I agreed with myself that I was depressed.  At least, I was giving myself permission to be and acknowledge that I am going through a grieving process.  My inner reflection did me some good as I came to some very good revelations.  One is that life isn't forever and the people that you encounter, those you cherish, the ones you form relations, all impact who we are.  This means that as a person, you too, impact others that cross your path.  If I take my own lesson to heart, Frank is still with me today as I go forward.  I take with me his forever smile, his quest for perfection, and his grace.  And, just as this young man impacted my girl's life and mine, I'll never forget him and what he means to us.  Nor, will I forget how I too may impact others and their lives.  

I'm not out of my rut, but I will be.  I'm strong and I also gave myself permission time to grieve.  

How does my own rut and revelations impact my readers of this blog?  Yes, I asked myself that too. Then it dawned on me.  Every one of us has a story.  Each one of us is going through something personal that affects our attitudes, our jobs, and our relationships with others.  It could be one of us is going through a breakup or his in a troubled relationship.  Another may be facing a medical crisis, a lost job, foreclosure, lost hope, or is on the verge of giving up on their acting or screenwriting career. Yet, somehow we hide the truth from others and possibly deny ourselves the truth and make excuses. Someone reading this week's blog is in a rut, just like me this week.  That is why I decided to share this self-disclosing moment of myself.

I'm not one to stay in a rut long.  I fight back, review my goals, and talk it out.  I think for me, just admitting my rut to someone was my first step in getting back to normal.  Thank you Stephen Beal for listening and giving me permission that I don't have to be perfect.  And, of course, thank you Robby for being there for me.  The second step was giving myself permission to feel the pain.  And, the third step I am in now, doing something about it.  If one thing I realized last night was that I am the only person that can control my own emotions and rut and do something about it.  Yes, friends are nice that help you along the way, but in the end, it is up to you.  If you are currently in a rut, no matter the reason, sort it out in your own mind, confide in someone, even if that someone is yourself, and make a plan.  I have come to find out, getting in a rut isn't the problem.  In fact, it can be positive for you.  The problem is not doing something about it and turning it around.

Thank you for letting me get this off my chest.  Now on to my normal blog stuff.

A.D.A.M. UPDATE

Oh happy day.  We are moving forward with A.D.A.M.  As of last week, I have received all of the papers from SAG to complete and get things going.

In fact, my contact at SAG is wonderful and I have learned alot about the different paperwork necessary for a film trailer, a demo reel, a promotional trailer to raise funds, etc.  So, we are on it.  Also, A.D.A.M. is now listed on IMDB.  As we cast each role, we will be adding the actors to the IMDB listing.  I have never done it this way before, but I thought I'd give it a try.

Also, we have now gotten some of the footage for a new A.D.A.M. trailer that features DH LEWIS, STEPHEN BEAL, JAMIE ALYSON, and GARY SIEVERS.  All of the six hours of footage isn't edited yet, but I thought I'd share one of the scenes with you to give all a sneak peak.  Take a look.



THE A.D.A.M. FILM CREW

I owe a very special thanks to the very small film crew who helped us assemble some of this footage for the A.D.A.M. trailer.  They are:

GARY SIEVERS:  DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAHPY
IVAN HOEY:  CAMERA B, STILL PHOTOGRAPHER, PRODUCER'S ASSISTANT
CAYLEN RAY:  CRAFT SERVICES, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
ROBBY COOK STROUD:  ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JACK E. CURENTON:  CO-PRODUCER/LOCATION MANAGER

Take a look at some of the still photography Ivan took while we were filming.  To make it easier on you for viewing, I put together a video clip of the still photos.  It really was a very fun day.



KEYSTROKE KILLER UPDATE

I know everyone wants to know what is going on with KSK, so I'll do my best to bring you up to speed on what I know.  Please remember, that as the screenwriter, I am basically in the same boat with everyone as I don't make the decisions on the shooting schedule, day out of days etc.  However, I do have some information.

First up is contracts.  The Supervising Producer, Michelle Ventrilie, is working on all of the SAG paperwork so that the film can be a SAG production.  Once complete, and the preliminary STATION 12 is approved by SAG she will be sending out the CAST DEAL MEMOS.  

There will be two contracts depending on your SAG status.  If a cast member is a SAG actor, you will receive your SAG CONTRACT on the first day you report to set, as per SAG CONTRACT.  So, please stop asking me where your contract is.  I have nothing to do with it.  That is a production issue and not a screenwriters.  However, I am told that your agent will get your CAST DEAL MEMO in advance for all of the key points to be sorted out to put on the SAG CONTRACT.  

If you are NON-UNION, your agent or if unrepresented, will get the CAST DEAL MEMO, and your CONTRACT will also be provided on the first day of shooting.  If you need to be TAFT HARTLEY, that paperwork will be completed that first day as well.

This contract and cast deal memo is standard procedure and nothing new.  

Also, although the shooting days is scheduled for 32 DAYS for the pilot feature film, NOT EVERY ACTOR WILL BE ON SET FOR ALL OF THOSE 32 DAYS.  In fact, I have seen the prelim DOOD (day out of days), AND THERE ARE NO ACTORS WHO ARE AFFECTED FOR ALL OF THE 32 DAYS. Most actors, other than BLAZE AND MATTHEW, are scheduled on average for four days and some are only needed for one day, such as MILO,  ISSAC JOSEPH, LORENZO, AND HAMMER.  Some actors are only needed for two days.

There are a couple of roles that don't appear until episode three and four, so may or may not be used in the pilot SHOT IN APRIL, BUT THOSE IN THE SUMMER.   AGAIN, I'LL KNOW MORE NOW THAT THE SCRIPT REVISION IS FINALLY APPROVED.  Speaking of script revision - we have to cast four new characters -DAY PLAYERS ONLY....ALL NEW ORLEANS HIRES I'VE BEEN TOLD.

Everyone cast, was cast for the first 13 episodes.  So hang tight.  Most of the shooting will take place in New Orleans with a couple in Los Angeles.  And, as far as I know, JUDAS....WILL BE SHOT OUT FIRST.......AS HE IS ONLY SEEN BY HIMSELF......AND THE IMAGES ON HIS COMPUTER WILL BE SHOT OUT AS THE FILM IS SHOT......Marge will be there during some of those opening scenes with him....Then, they plan on shooting all of the DR. FRANK FRANKLIN STUFF OUT WITH MARGE AND NEXT AND THE PROFESSOR FAUST SCENE WITH MARGE.  SO MARGE, I THINK HAS TWO DAYS OF FILMING, MAYBE THREE. AND PROFESSOR FAUST ONLY HAS ONE DAY/HALF WITH MARGE, THEN BLAZE AND DR. WRIGHT SCENE.  WHEW.   As you can see, planning a shoot is very detailed and the film is shot out of order and shot by locations and set designs.  My suggestion is just relax and be patient.  WHEN THEY ARE READY FOR YOU, YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED.  SO, DON'T GET YOUR FEATHERS RUFFLED.  

That is all I know for now.  So, it isn't necessary to call me or write me as I am not the producer in charge of the shooting schedule.  I am the screenwriter, who was smart enough to get producer credit and creator credit.  Remember, I optioned this screenplay to another company unlike A.D.A.M. in which I have total control.  There is a huge difference in how each proceeds.

An Acting Agent Can Be Your Best Asset
By Jack Curenton

A talent or acting agent is a professional person whom you employ to represent you. That being said, the best agents are usually the busiest and are usually the hardest to get to represent you. Their main job is to find work for the actors they represent. If you don't get paid, they don't get paid. It's that simple.

Most of the legitimate acting agencies are franchised, which means that they have pledged to adhere to a certain set of rules set forth by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). You will often find that they also align themselves with the Actor's Equity Association (AEA) as well as The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA). When you investigate the various talent agencies, prior to working with them, as you should, it is a good thing to know that they are affiliated with the unions.

Deciding to work with an agent is a very important step in an actor's career...As you interview and audition with various agents, it is important that you understand the relationship. There should be good communication between you and your potential agent. Before you sign with any acting agent, be sure to ask questions and make sure that you fully understand what will be expected of you. Also, make sure that you are clear as to what you expect from your agent.

To give you a brief synopsis of what will happen once you sign with an agent...you need to understand what it is that they do, and how exactly they get paid. Each day, talent agents, through their contacts and through professional agencies, get information about auditions.

This information can come directly from producers, directors, casting agents or it is sent electronically by an agency called a "breakdown service". It is the job of the agent to match the audition opportunity to the correct actor, whom they represent.
The right actor being the one(s)that the agent determines has the best chance of getting cast in the role. They will take into consideration, the actor's qualifications, experience and whether he/she fits the "type" being sought. The acting agent chooses from among the people he/she represents and may send one or several people to audition.

If one of the actors sent on the audition is cast, the talent agent will negotiate the contract for their client. By sending the right people to audition, getting actors work, and negotiating well, the agent makes their money.
Talent Agents are paid on commission.
The usual commission is 10%, however, it can go as high as 15% (but not usually higher). If you get a job through an acting agent (working on 10% commission) and you are paid, for example, $100.00 dollars, the agent will receive $10.00 dollars of that money and you will receive the other $90.00 dollars. This means that you will make the most money and in return you should expect to do the most work.


Only by being professional will you get ahead in the business.
You cannot expect the agent to just make things happen without consistent effort on your part, too.

However, if you do what is expected of you...
· by preparing well
· showing up on time for auditions
· communicating with your agent
· and whatever else your agents thinks will help you get cast

You and your agent should have a long, profitable relationship.



DEAR DIARY

BY ROBBY COOK STROUD

Dear Diary,

I can’t believe it is already February. This year has started out with a bang. First it all started with me dedicating 2013 to my health. I quit smoking and signed up for a year to Tae kwon do. I am feeling better and have more energy. LOL, If you think I worked hard before watch out now! Then I went to Los Angeles for 10 days. Mel, Caylen, and I did about 30 days worth of work in 10 days. We visited casting directors to introduce our team, we visited the SAG office for half a day to figure out what to do to become SAG franchised, and when we walked out of their office, We looked up and saw office space for rent, and waltzed across the street and rented an office on Wilshire Blvd. WOW!! That was so scary and exciting all in one. We bit the bullet and signed on the dotted line. How could we do this? Because we have such a great team and we believe in that. Without all of you , none of this would not be possible.

So here’s to LACA NOLA, ADAM FAMILY AND KSKER’S !! We are gonna ROCK this industry this year!! Then Caylen and I went to Universal Studios with Jack Curenton And Stephen Beal as our tour guides. We ran into Raven Lacy and her daughter Jade there also. We had so much fun and the Transformer ride was the BEST RIDE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON. We rode it twice. I’m so glad I purchased the season pass because I will be back. The Tram ride thru the back lots was awesome too. We filmed 2 projects and had a photo shoot on the beach, whew,,,

Let’s not forget our first dinner party at The Jeff’s home. Wine and a great time chatting, then our meet and great at The Belmont. We took Furby to Hollywood blvd and he made a big splash down there. That’s another story all on its own, Furby does Hollywood. The weather was perfect the 7 days that Caylen was there, then the rain came,,It is true about LA drivers and the rain, but we slid thru the rest of our trip without a hitch. We had a birthday dinner for Jack on Friday and John Henry Richardson got to join in on the fun, since he missed the other party.

On the way home on the plane, we also ran into a few producers and started promoting our clients there too.. All and all we had a fantastic time and I can’t wait to get back and start all over again.. Then came the superbowl in NOLA. I was going to party but a friend of mine was desparate for a chauffuer for Sunday, So instead of partying I drove the Limosine and helped people from all over the country get from Missisppi to the Dome in high fashion. I had a very good time and I did get to watch the Superbowl on my computer while I was in the ack of the limo waiting on my clients. So that’s a wrap on January into the first part of February.

 

No comments:

Post a Comment