I’m An Actress: Free Work Is Good Money

 

Watch

out there now! What’s crackalatin’ AllHipHop? It’s been quite an adventurous month for me, which is

why it’s taken me a little while to get back into the swing of things, but I’m baaack.

Miss me? I’ve missed you.

 

I

have to give you all your respect due for all of the email feedback and

messages sent to me here and via myspace – even if it takes me some time to get

back – I read every one, and they’ve been priceless.

 

Ironically,

you’ve given me a window into your worlds, telling me your journeys,

and your ups and downs; and I was struck by just how much my last

article struck a lot of you.

 You all wrote me about feeling unsupported, uninspired, giving up, living homeless, and about life in general on that daily artistic grind. I have to be honest; I

wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of passion and emotion that came pouring my

way from all of you. But I am eternally grateful for it, because when you are

inspired, I am inspired, and you are inspired. It’s cyclical, so let’s keep the

cipher going, shall we?

 

So,

speaking of that “grind”…

 

Outside

of learning a few very valuable lessons in “industry friendship” in

the past couple of months (more on that later, perhaps in the next article

*wink*), my car breaking down on me, my laptop hard drive crashing, and my

blackberry dying and leaving me with no contacts because they were

backed up to my laptop, all in the time span of one week, it’s been a

pretty good month, but only because despite it all, I kept pushing forward.

 

I

auditioned for two feature films; visited the set of Atlanta Homicide to meet the director and executive producer; had

what will be my first major studio film project move on to the next step in

negotiations (keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!); was plucked out of a

group to audition for a regional McDonald’s commercial while at the studio of

my acting coach. And hey, don’t sleep on Mickey D’s or regional

commercials, they can really get you put on, so chalk that one up to good

Karma! I also worked on the set of the Pastor

Brown, a feature directed by Rockmond Dunbar, starring Tasha Smith, Tisha

Campbell, Salli Richardson, Nicole Ari Parker, Keith David, and Michael B.

Jordan. The latter of which, brings me to our current topic.

 

As

we’ve acknowledged many times over, making it in any creative industry requires

humbly paying your dues, which for an actor, can mean working as a background

extra, which also means that on non-union projects, you may end up working for

little to no compensation – hence, my involvement with the Pastor Brown production.

 

While

putting in my daily hours sniffing out the active local film projects on deck,

I came across a casting call for extras, submitted myself, and was contacted by

the casting agency to come to the location where they were to film a church

congregation scene. What was my role? You guessed it, a congregation member. In

a sea of hundreds, no doubt.  

 

Life

as an extra isn’t glamorous by any stretch of the imagination. Most of those

long hours are spent simply waiting, and waiting… and waiting, while being as

quiet as possible as not to disturb the production in progress. It gets a

little difficult for me, primarily because I forever long to be actively

working in front of the camera, like a dope-sick addict. Harsh analogy,

but I just love what I do that much.

 

However,

a few weeks ago, I put my time in, because when I stepped foot on that

particular set, I had my sights set on the bigger picture, which turned out to

be larger than my initial expectations of simply networking for industry

connections and future opportunities. And no kidding, as soon as I

parked my car, I met and chatted with a crew member from the new series Atlanta Homicide, gave him my headshot

and resume, and much to my surprise, he actually passed it along to the

director – instead of finding it crumpled under his passenger seat a month

later when he’s getting his car detailed.

 

And

so began my first of two days, sitting in a church pew for hours at a time,

hungry, hot and sometimes anxious, catching holy feelings on “action”

and reacting to various director cues. I have no idea if my face will even be

seen in the final footage, but just being there on location in that church,

pretending to be the angel that I’m not, set off a domino effect of events that

every artist with a dream should not only come to hope for, but to expect.

 

On

that very same day, much to my pleasant surprise, I ran into one of the lead

actors who I’d met two years prior in New York on the set of a BET commercial

for The Wire. He, in turn, introduced

me to another one of the leads, who happened to know my sister very well, also

an actor based out of L.A. So outside of the long days on the set, I found

myself having an awesome time, kicking it with some very well-respected and

down-to-earth faces of Black Hollywood, which set off talks for my possible

involvement with another film project this summer.

 

Kind

of dope, huh?

 

I

also passed my information along to the on-site casting agency, who has since

contacted me about hosting several promotional events in the near future. And

there’s more, like the sloppy meal I shared with Boris Kodjoe’s brother (Hi

Pat!), but since that definitely won’t make the E! True Hollywood story cut, we’ll just leave that one out for now!

 

Paying

your dues and putting your time in eventually ends up paying you. Like I

mentioned in my very first piece, Samuel Jackson himself was everywhere at

once, taking roles and projects large and small, paying and non-paying. And

today, everybody knows his name.

 

Love,

Hip-Hop and a “Will Work for Connections” sign,

 

Noree

Victoria

 

Visit

Noree anytime at myspace.com/noreevictoria

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