The whole point of this blog was to document what it is like to head to LA and try to start acting from scratch more or less. And to eventually win an Oscar at the end of the day. So far the blog have been side tracked with stories of the lunacy of LA, and I am sure there will be many more to follow.
My thoughts on what would happen to LA when I arrived were this…show up, do a few acting classes, get spotted, audition, land a few roles and be on the merry road to the Oscars. Surely that easy. In fact, almost too easy.
So far my road has been anything but merry and is instead like a country lane leading into a field. It is way way way different than I naively thought.
Firstly, there’s the issues of head shots. Photos of your head. Normal photos wont work. It has to be head shots. Which are brutal. Posing for a camera a foot away from your head and smiling like an ape. Sounds like a good laugh. Costs a couple hundred dollars to get get done. Good duck.
Then there’s getting a SAG card if you ever do want to get work. Which are either gotten through sheer luck of someone taking a punt on you(usually because they want to sleep with you) or through earning credits through doing lots of crap work on set. And the worse thing is that its vicious to even get this kind of crap work. And to make things even worse, if you ever do get enough credits to be eligible for a SAG card, you must pay a couple of grand to get it!!! No one once mentioned any of this to me!
I have decided to ignore the head shots and the issue of gaining credits for the SAG card(this is related to the fact I have no car yet which is the biggest mistake ever in LA). I have instead decided to go along the sure fire road of hoping someone will want to sleep with me and take a punt to get me a role somewhere, somehow – and not in porn.
If you were to Google acting classes LA, the worst and most expensive classes seem to be top of the list and thus very confusing. Its only when you get to LA and ask around to people who have half a clue do you get an idea of which classes would suit you best. Luckily I live with a girl who is a model/actress so she’s far more in the know than me and has been going to audit classes with me that her agent recommended. The majority of classes are expensive as funk to take. One that I was close to committing to before I arrived in LA was the Acting Corps, which is 990 dollar bills a month. Thank funk I pulled out. Of the class.
Its easy to get to try a few different classes, or audit them, for free with a bit of spoof. They must be getting stung by the big R as well so seem to be lowering prices and trying harder to get people to enroll. Add in a spoof Irish line here and there, visa issues, must make sure this is the right class, could I try one or two more for free and you’re laughing.
The first class we went to was highly recommended. This guy Aaron Speiser seems to have worked with a lot of top actors – Will Smith and Gerard Butler – on recent films they did. However, the worst thing about his class was that he would tell you this at every opportunity he could. Which was every time he spoke. So if a student did a scene then waited to be critiqued, or ask a question, the teacher would start by saying…”You know, Will Smith asked me the exact same thing on the last movie he did, and I told him…”. This is cool to hear the first or second time as a newcomer, but every single sentence starts like that it just loses its appeal and gets to be pointless. It was the master class apparently as well, some of the actors were very good, some were brutal. There was one guy in particular who was horrendous, and every time he was told stop for being so bad, he would reply “I have been classically trained in the Observatory in Florida, I know what I’m doing”. Every time. Eventually, in fairness, the teacher said back “So you’ve been taught to be shit?” Ha, shut the dope up fairly quickly.
The next couple of classes I went to audit were good enough, some savage actors in some of them, one guy and a girl did a scene that made a few people cry, it was weird enough, I thought they were doing a comedy scene myself, ha. The class I went to yesterday then was beyond a joke. The worst kind of people were in the class. The really annoying, hyper, doing accents all the time, half talking, half singing when chatting amongst themselves, disillusioned kind of people. The sort that will probably end up on cruise ships doing pantomime, like the majority of people in Ireland I knew growing up who wanted to act.
So anyways, its a roasting day in LA. I made the mistake of wearing a blue t shirt and walking to the studio, which is a good 30 minute walk away. I walk in to this small enough studio with no windows, absolutely roasting in there. Im feeling dizzy from the heat, sweat pouring off me, this annoying apes bouncing up to me, the girl in charge asks if Ill do a scene with them. Its my first time ever doing a scene, usually I have just observed. No real way of saying no, so I’m in. Not prepared for it, sweating like a whure and the thought of doing a scene with the two people I’m paired with is making it even worse. We’re given 5 minutes to prepare for a scene from god only knows what movie, I presume it was some crap movie anyways. The 3 characters are a coke head, and two prostitutes. I try to play one of the prostitutes but get the coke head role instead. I have very few lines, mostly actions in the background, suits me fine. My role was this more or less…come into the apartment, find my bag of coke, act jittery, get irritated that I cant find a dollar bill to roll up, get pissed off with the girls over the argument they are having, and then say my big line. Not too bad.
So I enter the room, at this stage the sweat is bucketing, between the room being like a sauna, my first go at up in front of everyone and remembering my few lines. After a few seconds its brilliant, only the heat is killing me, some buzz though. I have the coke head role down – cold sweats, jittery from it being my initial role, not remembering where they said the bag of coke would be(I keep looking under the wrong part of the couch) – it actually seems to look like Im acting well, ha. Anyways, scene progresses, they say the majority of the lines and I finish with my “Shut up and find me a fucking dollar”. The teacher gives me great credit, asks half jokingly if I am a coke head, ha, then thinks the weird voice I used to say my lines was great. I don’t think she really gathered that was my accent. It was actually savage doing it, once you get over the first hump. The rest of the class is crap though, boring scenes, way too hot, almost falling asleep.
Thankfully this morning I went to the best class yet that I have audited. No bullshit like a lot of the others, all geared towards them not only training you for film and tv work but also trying to get you an agent and a manager, in order to land a few auditions to see if you can actually do it. Plus its close to my house. They seem to be impressed with my classical training in the Laboratory back in Ireland too!!!
Two great songs I stumbled upon in my iPod today are Dance, Dance, Dance by Lykke Li, funky chilled, and Yours to Keep (Annie Remix) by Teddybear is funking savage, more pumparuu.
Love the blog. I’m thinking of doing the same thing myself (i.e.head to LA to take some classes). Which class did you end up liking most?
Brian Reise so far. Aaron Speiser was good-ish, talked about himself a bucket load although when he did give tips and critique scenes it was class. I’ve one other, Playhouse West, to check out next week as well.
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