Monday, December 29, 2014

Ready for 2015

I completed my first theater class on December 9.  Acting I was intense and stressful at times, but my final grade was an A-. I can't wait to see my classmates and professor again. My classmates were nice, supportive, and no one was super competitive, which was very refreshing. I will start my next class (Acting II) on January 14.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hurt People, HURT PEOPLE; but God Can Heal the Hurt

I have one more performance left for my play on Nov.1. If you are in the Winston Salem/Greensboro/Burlington/High Point/Charlotte/Raleigh area, please come out and support. You will be blessed! I am having so much fun working with such a talented cast.

Monday, October 6, 2014

'Hurt People, HURT PEOPLE'

If you are in the Burlington-Greensboro-Winston-Salem, NC area, please come out to see my stage play, "Hurt People, Hurt People: But God Can Heal the Hurt". Show times are 3 and 7:30 PM on Oct. 25, 5 PM on Oct. 26, and 6 PM on Nov. 1. 

Acting class

            On August 20, I started my first acting class at North Carolina A & T State University. My Acting 1 professor, Frankie Day, is amazing! I have learned so much so far – acting lingo, articulation and relaxation exercises, stage combat techniques – and it’s already mid-term!
            We meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 3:15 PM. Wearing all black is a requirement for class. It’s been quite an experience interacting with my classmates, who are mostly freshman and eighteen. I’m a little older.

             I’m so glad I decided to take this class. The program is theater-based so it’s different from all the other acting classes I have taken. We are discouraged from doing monologues and scenes from movies. But I do have a new appreciation for theater now. I love Ms. Day, who is warm, knowledgeable, and talented but firm when she needs to be – the perfect balance. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Actors seem to be prone to depression

A few days have passed but I can’t stop thinking about actor and comedian Robin Williams. I’ll admit that I never really paid attention to his personal life. I was scrolling my Facebook page and saw that he was found dead, which was shocking enough. But then I was really astonished that he had died from an apparent suicide.

As I thought about it more, I wasn’t really surprised that a high number of entertainers suffer with depression and mask their pain with drugs and alcohol.  When the pain becomes too great, some want to end it permanently. Williams used his gifts and talents to entertain his fans and make us feel better, but he was seriously tormented in real life.  

As an entertainer, you really put it out there so to speak. Having to always be “on” can get draining after a while. I had a rehearsal about a week ago and felt rotten (body aches, tired, and emotional) but walked in smiling and acting as if I didn’t have a care in the world. It didn’t help that it was pouring down raining. At one time, I thought I was going to pass out, but I kept up my fa├žade. I didn’t want call in sick at the last minute and be seen as unprofessional. Imagine being a big star such as Williams, and always having to appear happy and perfect when you felt the opposite.

Add insecurity, messed up childhoods, broken dreams, rejection, cutthroat actors, and not knowing when you will get another acting job, and you have a recipe for disaster. I’m starting to realize that many entertainers, namely actors, are damaged creatures. I’m introverted and shy so every time I write my blog or post a photo of myself, it feels unnatural. I used to get in the trap of wanting to have my hair styled perfectly and wearing makeup when posting on Facebook. You never know what people will think or say about you. Having to be “on” is one of the things I hate about starting an acting career.

My old acting teacher told my class one time to not make acting your life. Acting won’t fulfill you but having other interests and goals will help when the phone stops ringing. Mental illness can happen to some of the most talented, loved people. It’s tragic, and it’s rampant in this industry. 

If you are having any suicidal thoughts, please call 800-784-2433. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Would you answer the casting call?

Since I read so many character breakdowns in a day, I’m looking for words that disqualify me so I can quickly move on to the next one. I read many breakdowns hoping I see the words “any ethnicity” or “black female.” Sometimes they are pretty vague, but most of the time they can be pretty descriptive. I also look at age range and skin color. Yes, skin color.

Sometimes I’m disqualified because even though the character is black and in my age range, they may be looking for a “thin, model-like black female, preferably light-skinned, mixed, or Latina.” Or maybe “a dark-skinned sassy, overweight black female.”  I get it, I can’t have every role. But more times than not if the character is a dark-skinned female, she usually has deplorable characteristics. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen “hoodrat,” “bad attitude,” or “overweight.” It’s disheartening.
Check out the breakdown for the upcoming N.W.A. biopic:


A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair - no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@g subject line should read: A GIRLS

B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@g subject line should read: B GIRLS

C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@g subject line should read: C GIRLS

D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@g subject line should read: D GIRLS

I won’t judge the actresses who want to be a part of this project. I understand that an actress who wants experience or a resume credit may submit her information to be a “D Girl.” You have to start somewhere. But when I see something such as this that in my opinion perpetuates racial stereotypes, I pass on it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I have had a very busy month

I did three auditions, which is good for being in the Southeast. I heard back from one of the auditions and was cast. It's too early to tell from the other two. I also had my first real rehearsal for "Hurt People Hurt People" this past weekend. It went well, and I received some good, encouraging feedback from the director. I did a fun photo shoot with a local photographer. I've been trying to get back into modeling. After having a bad experience on my last shoot, I was glad that this one was nice, gave directions, and excited to shoot. Lastly, I was an extra on the show "It's Supernatural." I am trying to cut down on background work and focus more on lead and principal roles. However, from time to time I will be an extra if the pay is nice.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I've been cast in a play

I received the news today that I've been cast in a play called "Hurt People Hurt People." I'm so excited, because I've had the desire to do another play for some time. I will be playing Joy, who everyone thinks is straight-laced, but she really has another side. I had second thoughts about even going to the audition. After deliberating with one of the producers, I decided to go and see what happened. I'm so glad I did. I auditioned, and the director asked me to stay for the table read. What was supposed to take only 30 minutes turned into four hours. I was happy, famished, and exhausted at the end. The cast is very nice and super talented. Can't wait to take the stage!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Acting can be a bruising business

I encountered a few bumps in the road. Some of my experiences have been disappointing, but I’m not ready to give up just yet.

I’ll be in touch

A few months ago I had an audition that was almost two hours away. I burned rubber straight after work trying to get there on time. I was going to be about five minutes late, so I called the casting director to let him know. This is when I was informed that the audition had been canceled. There were some red flags I overlooked – getting the sides around midnight the night before and the casting director being rude and arrogant in previous emails. But this casting director, who was also the writer, cranked out movies regularly, showed at film festivals, and won a few local awards. I just had to work with him. For my trouble, he promised to send me a copy of his latest script for me to play a small part. I never heard from him again. Either the project fell through or he had already found an actress he liked better.

The check isn’t in the mail

Since there isn’t a lot of acting work in Greensboro, I usually have to make the drive to Charlotte, Raleigh, or Wilmington. I spend a lot of money on gas, but it is worth it if I’m compensated. I booked a paid job – it was low pay but a nice credit for my resume. After shooting, I was told “You should get paid the end of this week.” I never saw a dime. After sending several messages, I gave up on getting the money.

Can you be more black?

I auditioned for a role recently where the woman was supposed to be angry and combative. I guess I wasn’t giving enough attitude and fierceness so the casting director suggested that I “act more black and ghetto.” I tried improvising but was told I came off too articulate. I wished I would have known I would have to be so ignorant and embarrassing. I was so offended I didn’t care if I booked the role or not. I didn’t.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't expect everyone to be happy for you

Except for filming a local commercial and going out on several auditions, I’ve haven’t been doing that much acting-wise. Slow times like this, I remember all the amazing jobs I have booked so far and try to remain positive. And I’m thankful for the people who support me.

Supportive friends and family are vital. Encouraging words can stop you from having a pity party when things aren’t going your way. I had to get rid of a toxic, unsupportive boyfriend who seemed to be dismissive whenever I mentioned anything acting related. At times, he would get threatened and angry if I booked a paying job. The funny thing is as soon as we broke up, I started to book more work.
I’m telling you now, everyone won’t be happy for you. This includes family and friends. It hurts, but people you love might not want to see that You tube clip of your national TV commercial that’s currently playing. If I described family members, the best thing to do is not tell them. Keep it to yourself. If you have toxic friends or associates, cut them out of your life. Your career will thank you, and you will be much happier.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dreams do come true

I beamed with pride as Lupita Nyong’o clutched her Oscar tightly and said her inspiring acceptance speech. I got a little teary-eyed when she ended with “ When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Congrats, Lupita!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I’m an introverted actress

For most of my life, I’ve always felt that whatever I did wasn’t enough. I was always too this, too that but need to do this or that. I would try really hard to please people and still come up short. I’ve been called really unkind names – cold, conceited, self-centered, snobbish – sometimes by family. I always liked myself, but being shy plus introverted bother some people around me.

People think I don’t like them because I chose to listen instead of talking incessantly. I don’t know if my resting face falls into a frown or what, but I can be deep in thought about the latest fight on “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and someone will ask me why I’m upset. Instead of being phony and tensed, staying home to read a good book was a better option.
Words do hurt. If a person insulted me, I would pretend that he or she didn’t and appear stoned face. Or I would smile and laugh it off. This would keep me from crying when that was all I wanted to do sometimes. 

I was acting all along so I decided to pursue it seriously.

I knew there would be challenges. I kept it a secret for the most part scared that a well-meaning family member would try to talk me out of it. I already knew people would have their doubts since I’m so quiet. I had some bad auditions, some so soul crushing that I wondered why I even got out of bed that morning.  I did mostly background work but got to speak a line or two in a student film.
Then I finally got up the nerve to start classes. To say the least, my acting coach was aggressive. And I get that – to fully let yourself go and just be as an actor is serious business and takes lots of dedication.

But my former coach bordered on abusive. When I had enough I nervously gave him my two week notice. In front of my classmates he uttered matter-of-factly, “You’re not going to book anything.” Shaking his head he said, “You haven’t gotten out of your shell.” I knew this, but I was dreading class every week instead of being excited.
I was offended and embarrassed as I tried to explain that I needed a break. He only got more irate and stated the same thing louder. I wonder if he was angrier about losing an extra $200 a month or that he wouldn’t be able to help me reach my “full potential.” That comment gave me such a complex until I told myself that I would book something. I used his damaging remarks to fuel my passion. And I did book too. As a matter of fact, I booked some good paying jobs.

I saw my old coach at an acting event about six months later and proudly told him I had booked a paid job. He was happy for me as he gave me a hug and a big kiss on the cheek. Maybe he was just in a bad mood on the day I decided to quit his class.
Even though it was a little scary, I took another class. This time the coach was courteous but firm and helpful when I needed it. Taking classes and studying are vital to being a better actor so I want to study theatre and film making at a local university soon.

I feel myself growing into a more confident actor with every job I book though I'm still getting used to rejection. I’m not there yet, but at least I do see improvement. I just want to see more. And I do want to fully get out of my shell.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Now I’m depressed

When I get the call or email that I have booked an acting gig, I am ecstatic. I will have one more credit to add to my resume, network with some cool actors and crew members, and have a lot of fun doing something I adore. On the big day, I’m nervous but still really excited. After hearing “That’s a wrap,” I’m drained. However, a few days later I experience somewhat of a depression. The thrill is gone.

I’m not sure if it is because I’m coming down from an emotional high or what, but sometimes I get really melancholy and want to be on a set – any set. Panic sets in and I start wondering if it will take a while to get something else. I start submitting my headshot and resume for jobs more. I may even submit for jobs that I had passed over previously.

I used to think something was wrong with me, but other actors experience this too. My patience wears thin and when I don’t book anything as quickly as I’d like, I start questioning why I’m even pursuing acting. It’s silly, I know, but I can really work myself into a tizzy.

If I haven’t booked anything after a few weeks, I am at peace and start thinking rationally again. I’m proud of myself. My resume isn’t loaded with tons of jobs, but I’m astounded every time I peek at my resume. I become thankful for what I have accomplished so far. And my passion for acting is renewed.  Never give up on your dreams.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My first acting job in 2014!

I took the day off from my survival job to shoot a commercial for Hanau Products. The company launched their delicious liquor cakes nationally. I was selected by the company representative to be a principal or main talent so I was extra excited. What a good way to start off the new year! I was worried that I would not book anything for the month. My goal for 2014 is to book at least two paid jobs a month.

This is the second time I was picked based off my head shot. I even had a line in this commercial. I like to get to the set at least fifteen minutes early but was running behind and I had an hour and half drive. I made it five minutes to the 3 p.m. call time. So when I reached the restaurant where we were shooting, I ran to change into my dress and do my makeup. Usually on lower budget productions, the talent arrives hair and makeup ready.
Prior to the shoot, the producer sent emails instructing me on how to wear my makeup and hair and what to wear. The commercial has an island theme, so I brought plenty of sandals and sundresses.

One reason why I got to the set later than I planned was because of my hair. My hair is natural, but the company preferred for my hair to be straight and pulled back. I normally wear my hair in an afro or twist out, so my sister flat ironed my hair and pulled it back in a bun as the company requested.  

The commercial was pretty fun but quick. At first, we interacted with the restaurant extras as if we were mingling with drinks in our hands. Then I along with the other principal actresses did our scenes. We did no more than five takes for the different scenes. We were done by 4:45 p.m. As a thank you, I got to take some cake home with me.
Some of the other talent from the commercial.