Dear Ms. Bubbette: July 2002
by Ms. Bubbette
So glad to hear from so many would-be actors. Ms. Bubbette is merely my nom-de-plume (pen name) - In reality I am a working actor, screenwriter, director and producer of my own children's video series. My answers come from my film, theatre, casting and directing experience over the years as well as from my heart. As you will understand, my time is very limited and so from now on, when similar questions are asked, I shall give a collective answer. I'm also working on a section of FAQ (frequently asked questions) which may be a short cut for those who can't wait for my monthly column. Unfortunately I can neither indulge in personal e-mailings, nor answer between printings. So it may feel like weeks before you get an answer. Hang in there - this is a business of hurry up and wait!
I will be on vacation for the month of August. But keep those letters coming in. Check back in my archives for answers that may already relate to your questions.
Break a leg!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
Thanks so much for your quick response to my email about being a 29 year old Dallas Actor in Corporate America. Your advice is awesome & inspiring. Thanks again and to anyone who is reading this. You're never too old, too late just be like Nike and "JUST DO IT!!!" Always believe in yourself. Thanks again & I'll let you know my progress so other actors can see it from another viewpoint. I also think this is good for Minority Actors, as I am African-American. Thanks!!!
Dear African-American actor,
Thank you so much for acknowledging my answer. You have no idea how much that brightened my day. And I certainly would like to follow your progress. Two other African-American students of mine who followed my advice ended up, one on "Living Color" in L.A. and the other at the renowned Julliard University in New York. Don't you just love those success stories!
For the other readers, this letter can be found with my answer in the June archives under - "When should an actor make the move to L.A.?"
Hi, Ms. Bubbette...
I'm the owner of La Luna Films in Dallas, TX. I've shot a few short films, and just completed my second full-length feature (a horror movie).
I heard through the grapevine that there is a remake of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE being shot in the Austin/Dallas area. Would you know of any websites, etc. that I could send an email/resume to or a contact number where I could talk to someone about helping out on production?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Dear Owner of La Luna Films,
My suggestion would be to contact the Texas Film Commission in Austin : Phone: 512-404-4562; toll-free 800-926-2282; fax: 512-404-4564; Web Site: www.austintexas.org. Gary Bond or associates should be able to point you to the production folks on this film.
My name is K. C. and I'm a beginning Actor. I love Acting, I have already booked acting jobs, and I'm thrilled at the response I've been getting. My Problem is this: I have horrible memory skills. When a casting director hands me a script to memorize I inwardly start freaking out and panicking! And monologues, fogetaboutem- it's horrible. Is there a method that actors use to memorize pages and pages of dialogue? If so, what is it?
Thank you for taking my question
Dear Unmemorizable Me,
Ouch! Been there! My own cure was to really learn to listen to the other actor, director, whatever. Once you forget about yourself (how do I look?, what's my next line? do they like me? etc) then you'll be in actor-mode, really there in the moment. It's a confidence thingy. Say to yourself "I can do this - better than anyone else in this room! Ha." The only person you are in competition with is yourself!
One teacher whom I believe addresses this particular problem is Marco Perella. Call him for a class or private coaching at 512-869-0623. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I just finished a play where, in the lead role, I had 72 pages (out of 74) of dialogue. I just cut it up into quarter pages and pounded into it, relentlessly. Over and over and over again. Then I audio-taped the other actors' lines with gaps to put in mine. With monologues I paint pictures in my mind of each thought, event - it seems to help. And list the sequence of the events.
Let me know how you get on.
Hey Mrs Bubbette!
I am a thirteen year old girl who wants to act more than anything in the world! I want this more than anything I have ever wanted! But I live in a really small town, Bixby, Oklahoma. I can't seem to find any kind of auditions. I have looked on the internet, the newspaper, and even asked around. The only acting I have done is school plays so I can't get an agent yet. How do I find some roles? Would an acting camp director have any information? Please help me! thanks!
That's a tough one isn't it! Did you know that Sissy Spacek came from a really small town too? But when you want something badly enough you will find a way.
Have you asked your drama teacher at school who you should contact ? My suggestion is to get in touch with the Oklahoma Film Commission at 440 S. Houston, #304, Tulsa, OK 74127. Call them at 918-581-2603; Toll-free at 800-766-3456
Go into their Web site: www.otrd.state.ok.us/film commission. Tell them what you've told me.
You can get an agent with little experience you know. That is provided they want to take you on! Your resume can have your school plays on it, your particulars - height, weight, eyes, hair; your skills - what you are good at like singing, dancing, roller blading, horse-riding etc. What classes you have taken. Ask your drama teacher for an example of how to set one out. Then send it off attached to a headshot to local agents with a cover letter asking for an interview with them. Ask the Film Commission for a list of agents in your area - or nearest town.
Acting Camp directors may have the right info. for you too.
Remember that you never pay money up front for an agent. They earn that through their commission when they get you a job.
I really wish you the best of luck in this. You will find a way.
Dear Ms Bubbette,
I have theatre experience and I want to get into the Austin film scene. I'm just wondering what kinds of day jobs Austin actors typically have. Is it possible to hold down a 9-5 job?
Dear Jill G.,
Don't count on holding a 9-5 job if you haven't previously worked it out with your employer that you'll need time off to be on a movie Set every now and then! Most actors have regular jobs - very few can live off their acting gigs. But they had to find sympathetic bosses who would be somewhat lenient to time off and allow them to make up their time in say, the weekends.
I know literally thousands of actors (through casting) and they seem to manage - working in restaurants, beauty parlors, doing secretarial work, florists, hospitals, firemen, policemen - even a lawyer or two. Just be up front when you interview for work and you may be surprised how many bosses are flexible.
Biggest myth - thinking you'll only be on the Set for an hour or two. Once called, do commit to the whole day (and night!) - even the bigwigs don't know how long certain scenes will take. It's not uncommon to be on a Set for 12 or more hours. My longest shooting day was around 20 hours. Sigh!
Hope you find the ideal job and boss...
DEAR MS. BUBBETTE,
MY NAME IS KASI AND I WAS WONDERING, DO I NEED TO HAVE AN AGENT TO BECOME AN ACTRESS? WILL I HAVE TO BE IN SAG OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT? COULD YOU GIVE ME SOME AUDITIONS IN MY AREA IN MISSISSIPPI? THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
First of all think about using the lower case on the internet! When people use caps it's like they are shouting! Save them for emergencies. OK?
No you don't have to have an agent to be an actor - but if you want someone in the business to look out for work for you, then you really need to have an agent. Doing it on your own is hard and the Casting Directors mostly ask for actors through the agents.
SAG - Screen Actors Guild Foundation is the actors' union. Until you get contracts for speaking roles in a film, videotape, TV program or commercial, you are not eligible to join. If you live in a Right to Work State (like Texas) you are not compelled to join a union as condition of employment.
For auditions and film news you need to contact your local Mississippi Film Office - Phone: 601-359-3297 or write to your Film Commission at P.O. Box 849, Jackson, Mississippi 39205. Ask them for a list of talent agents in your area - or nearby - and then make appointments for interviews.
Get started by being an Extra - atmosphere - background - on any movies being shot there. The Film Commission or Film Office would know what movies are coming and who would be doing the extra casting. One step at a time.
Good luck there in Mississippi.