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Ms. Bubbette

Ms. Bubbette Revealed!
by Ms. Bubbette

March 2004

Well, dear readers, this is it! I promised to expose myself and come out from behind the disguise of Ms. Bubbette... in this printing!

But first of all let me tell you the origin of the name "Bubbette." I had to come up with a pen-name and this goofy one just shot into my head as I reflected on the saying "Bubba likes it!" So what’s good enough for Bubba has to be good enough for ‘Bubbette’ - my feminine form of Bubba - right? And by sticking a Ms. In front of it we became ‘respectable’ along the lines of "Dear Abby".

Those who attended our founding meeting of austinactors .net, way back in March of 2000 (where we all tossed our ideas around for discussion) have always known who Ms. Bubbette was. Now I reveal myself to the rest of you and my ‘headshot’ will change someday soon to my actual headshot. The one you’ve been seeing was actually a character I played in a nursing Industrial – "Mrs. Flibberty-Jibbott." After the shoot I had to rush to pick up delivery of our new truck and it was worth any embarrassment I might have experienced, just seeing the startled looks on the faces of fellow travelers on the highway during rush hour.

All right! I’ve hedged long enough. Ms. Bubbette is Helen Griffiths. Many of you knew me while I was working with Casting Director Jo Edna Boldin – co-ordinating actors on over 24 movies, hundreds of commercials and Lord knows what else. Several have acted alongside me in movies or on the stage and many became students in my "Breaking Into Showbiz" classes. Some even knew me while playing R & R in my band at Maggie Mae’s, Steamboat, and a dozen other Sixth St. Clubs!! Dennis Quaid even came and sang with us once.

Several of you ended up in my children’s Series "Once Upon a Wish" – seven episodes of which were shot before I left Austin to semi-retire on Lake Richland-Chambers just out of Corsicana. I’m ashamed to say that only two of those mini movies are edited and on sale on the Internet. But I am working on the other five and hopefully will have two more out on DVD before long. You can read up on these on my website www.kiwivideo.com

So there you have it for what it is worth! Now on to the important stuff.


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I just wanted to say that you are doing wonderful work, by helping the young who have dreams here in Austin, we don’t have to move to some huge expensive city to get our experience. We can stay here on our homeland and learn everything that is of importance. Thank you for helping me realize this before I made a huge mistake. My best wishes to you in 2004 . And one question. Ever think of running for president? 

Miguel

Dear Miguel,

How sweet you are! And now you know I’m just a regular actor like yourself. But, boy, I wish there had been someone like me around when I got started!! I made so many costly mistakes because I had no-one to turn to for advice. If I’ve helped just one actor save a few bucks and their dignity, then I know my time has been wisely spent.

And to prove a point that one doesn’t have to move into the big, expensive cities to find success, from my new classes in the little town of Corsicana, (22,000 pop.) one quarter of my students last year (2003), made National recognition, in commercials, children’s series or in film. One adult who was booked in a principal role on a BBC Docudrama discovered, after a 3 day shoot in Dallas, that he was going to be flown to London for an extra 5 day shoot. This version of the JFK Assassination is now being shown Internationally.

Keep on ‘breaking a leg’ Miguel.
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I am a 24 yr old medical lab technician in Houston (a hop, skip and jump away!) and have been interested in acting since I was a little girl, BUT I have pursued a more "practical" career in life in order to satisfy my family. The dream of becoming an actress still lingers so I do have a few questions. Where do I start?! I have no formal training so I am assuming that would be a good place to start. And if I need the training then where should I go? I've often wondered if I am too old to even pursue acting. I've always had the notion that the only actresses that are successful in any way begin their careers in their late teens. I know this isn’t totally true, but then again, I know nothing about acting. If it helps any, I don’t look a day over 18! I've been doing a bit of searching - casting calls and that sort of thing - and most of them, even for extras, ask for a headshot and resume. I'm just curious - what are my chances of actually getting a call back, especially since I have no history of acting or drama classes to list on my resume? Should I take a few drama classes at a local community college before I even try to send out resumes? As I mentioned before, acting has always a dream of mine, a seemingly unattainable one at that, but I don’t want to give up hope without trying. Even if I don’t succeed, at least I won't have to regret never trying. Any advice or information you have to offer will be greatly appreciated.

hopeful, but inexperienced,
-Jennifer, Houston

Dear Jennifer,

I was a Medical Technologist at UTMB, Galveston, when I started my acting career in Community Theatre - that was in my late 30’s. I think that blows most of your theories about ‘age’ and getting nowhere if you start late etc, out the window, don’t you?! Age does not compute! Desire, training and talent does. So if you still have that urge to become an actor, go for it, but do it the right way from the start.

Yes, do go and get classes. If your Community College has them, great. Here are some Houston teachers.
Kara Greenberg (713) 666-2642 – on-camera acting: Brandon Smith (713) 520-1991 – Film acting: Unicorn School of Acting (281)485-2126 These I know personally and can recommend them.
Call your Houston Film Commission (713) 437-5251 for more info.
Website: www.coollist.com/group.cgi?1=productionhotline.

To hark back at the age thing – what is acting but a slice of life from birth to death? I’ve had 4 year old students cast in national commercials and 75 year old ‘new’ students cast in commercials and films. 

Most Extra calls do not expect headshots and resumés. All they need is a recent, clear photo of yourself that is usually stapled onto an information sheet you fill out. Then you are filed into sex/age/ethnics/special talent etc ready to be pulled – with usually only a day’s notice to be out on the Set. This is not only fun but also great free training . You get fed well and you get paid minimum wage while you learn.

You can still put a resumé together using your name, specs, training (after a class) and special skills. A good acting coach/school should help you set it out correctly. It doesn’t take long to build up.

Keep in touch, Jennifer so that we can follow your progress in this fascinating world.
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I am halfway through reading your archived articles. Very inspirational! I am an actor in Austin with some
free time. I noticed for the past couple of years you have been trying to create a FAQ section. I am somewhat web and database friendly. Would you like some help creating a FAQ web page? I have some ideas running in my head mainly because I know it will help me when I need to refer back to your professional advice!

You can see my work on my own website
http://www.JohnLeonard.tv

If you need help, I am volunteering!
Thanks for your inspiration!

John Leonard

Dear John,

Thank you for your very generous offer to help create my FAQ web page. Is it really two years I’ve been threatening to do this? Shame on me!
Actually my husband has been setting it all up on Filemaker Pro and it’s well on its way. Then it goes to the ‘creator’ of austinactors.net, Brad Koester for his final genius twiddling… Even though it shows I’ve only got 32 segments in my archives, each of those has from 2-18 or more letters and answers. So there are hundreds of items to be cataloged. It is coming…

Thank you again for your kindness.
Ms. Bubbette



Dear Ms. Bubbette,

Hi there! I hope you don't mind long letters, because this may qualify just a bit. I just felt I needed to tell my story a little. I'm 26 years old, living down here in San Antonio, and was planning on moving to Austin in the coming months. I'm not moving to Austin for the industry specifically, but I know it's there, and was wondering if I can make something of it.

Anyways, my question is: I know I'm not without "some" talent at least, but what I lack is real experience. How much is the lack of experience with acting jobs going to work against me in "getting" a job? Can I still show I might be right for a role, regardless of experience? I'm a little embarrassed having nothing to show for on a resume, and confused on how one enters a life working in films. How do I start?

I may be just "from the street", so to speak, but I don't want to sound like I'm not serious. I'm seriously in love with acting. I did a lot when I was a kid, then through high-school, but after school ended, things changed (I'm sure you've seen my type). It's always been something I wanted to do, so when the pressures of the "real world" died down, I made an effort to work at it again. But the desire was always there, and I never stopped trying to learn about it for years now, even if it was mostly solitary.

When I finally got off my butt about a year ago, I started going to classes, and it was nothing but encouraging. Sad thing is, the teacher, who I started becoming close to, was struggling with problems of her own, and recently stopped teaching. And there aren't many other options for actors here: The only other class I've seen in the phonebook never answers the phone (I assume it simply doesn't exist). And I hate to be cynical, but unless I join the Methodist Church or something, it's kinda hard to find any local plays here to put my skills to "work". Maybe an exaggeration, but I think you get my point. It seems like the only things I've seen are touring shows or church plays. Then there's the rare cattle call for extras every year or so. *Sigh*

So, being that Austin is greener pastures, and that I'm moving there regardless, I'd just like to get started at "something". So back to my question: Is the lack of a resume going to haunt me, regardless if I show that I can work? The way I see it, I gotta start somewhere, and I'm never going to get better except by "doing". I'm desperate to have some opportunities just for the learning experience alone. Is there room for someone like me?

When I move there, I'm not sure if it's wise to seek out casting calls in my free time, maybe attend a class here and there, or just take my time, find a good class, and stay there first. Classes are fun, but I'd just like to learn "out" of the classroom too, ya know? I don't care whether I'm paid or not, so are there auditions I should look for, and ones I should stay away from at first?

Thanks for listening, I hope I made some sense =) If I did, I'm sure you have some insight, as always.

Ken

Dear Ken,

Whew! You write almost as much as I do! But I enjoyed your letter. I guess you have already moved to Austin by now and finding what a great movie city it is especially for Indie films. In fact it has recently been voted #1 city for just that, beating out LA & NY.

For those would-be actors in San Antonio, two good teachers I know personally : Tom Balmos at Focus Productions (210) 980-4254 does on-camera commercial and film acting: and Steve Stoli’s playhouse also works on film/commercials. (210) 408-0116.
Many S.A. actors make the trip to Austin for further training.

My highest recommendations for Austin:
Mona Lee Acting Workshops (512) 323-2090 at Britelites Acting Studio (author of the Biz Directory)
CK McFarland at Alleywood Studios (512) 441-3738: State Theatre School of Acting (512) 472-3160: and Marco Perella (512) 869-0623.
These Schools are run by ‘working actors’ with many film credits.

You do have resumé info. – those plays at school are all experience and should be put down under ‘theatre’ to start with. Your drama teachers go down under ‘training’ along with your new classes.
E-mail capydan@academicplanet.com and get on his mailing list. You will receive dozens of opportunities for Indie films - most don’t pay, but look at the experience you get and there’s something else for your resumé . You usually get fed and a copy of the film when it’s edited. U.T. Student films are always looking for new talent.

Go to the austinactors.net monthly get-togethers at Momos (announced monthly on this site), listen to excellent speakers for free and mingle with other actors/directors/film makers/casting directors. A great way to make important contacts. Also on this site, auditions are placed daily. That’s what austinactors.net is all about – helping other actors – for free!

As you get comfortable with your progress, then it is time to think about headshots with resumés attached. Put any money from paying gigs back into your actor ‘tools’. Then get serious about finding an agent. They are in the phone book; in the Biz Directory; the Austin Film Commission will mail you names and phone numbers (512) 583-7203.

I hope all this and the earlier letters today will help you in your quest for acting? Good luck!
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I love reading your column Bubbette and look forward to your next one all the time. I hope you keep doing this because you help us so much. I want to know how to reach the stars. I especially want to reach Sandra Bullock( I'm told I look like a young Sandra) and other Texans. I hear that you I should go through the agents but how do I find out who the actors agents are? I want Sandra to read my letter not just someone who will sign her picture etc or trash my letter. What are the odds? Do you know if she reads her mail?
Txactress


Dear Txactress,

Hmmm! I’m sure Sandy has a local Fan Club seeing she lives in the Austin area – I wonder if you can get that info from the Austin Film Commission? Try talking to them at (512) 583-7203. I worked on Miss Congeniality for around 5 months on Pre-production and although I often passed the open door of her office I did not get to hon-nob with her! Here are two agencies in LA connected with her: Write to her at C/O United talent Agency (UTA), 9560 Wilshire Blvd. #500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Also C/O CAA, 9830 Wilshire Blvd; Beverly Hills, CA 90212.
I’ve read that her father took over managing her business so she may not have a specific agent now.
You can find a lot more info. about her in Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

Thanks for reading my column – I love to hear that actors appreciate it.

Ms. Bubbette



Dear Ms. Bubbette,

Hi. I am a 33 year old female, interested in taking a look at acting. As everyone seems to require a headshot, I suppose I need to get one. Could you please tell me a reasonably priced place where I could get a nice headshot?

Thank you,
Coral S. Gunter

Dear Coral,

You don’t mention what city you are in? Never mind! I am discovering, more and more, that digital is the way to go for headshots now. But it should still be taken by a professional headshot photographer who knows the ‘rules’ for headshots – correct lighting, no shadows, no model posing, different looks and so on. Digital keeps the cost down and you should end up with all the shots on a CD. Whatever you do, don’t go into a place that does ‘glamour shots’ and provides you with outfits! This is not professional and you will not be taken seriously by the acting community…

But before you go dashing into headshots it sounds like you are still a novice at this business seeing you’re just ‘interested in taking a look’ at acting.
So I would suggest you take a class or two first and see if this is really what you want to pursue. Check out other actors’ opinions on coaches, acting schools, photographers.
And do read all the previous letters today as they cover many questions that may be passing through your mind.

Good luck!,
Ms. Bubbette 



Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I was a NY based fight choreographer until 2000, when my loving hubby convinced me that we absolutely positively had to raise our children in Austin. I have now been in Austin for nearly four years, have two kids and have managed to stage about two fights a year and run the same number of workshops, all of these from either New York connections in Austin or (serendipity at work) meeting another theatrical mom at the park. Despite sending out my resume over and over again, which has never netted me a single job, I am at a a loss as to how to get work in this town. It's not like I came in knowing anybody in the theatrical scene and, being a full-time mother, I don't have the freedom to use any kind of social scene to make connections. I feel strongly that, once someone works with me, they will be pleased with the results but, man, I am hitting a brick wall in just getting to the conversation stage.

Please tell me you have a suggestion. I've tried the ACOT website, sent out resumes, etc. but, well, so far, nothin'.

Help!
Kathy McClure

Dear Kathy,

Sorry you’re having a hard time making connections. It’s rather a specialized field that you are working in and there may not be too much call in Austin for a fight choreographer. Let’s see what we can do.

Bobby Sargent comes to mind. Although he’s a stunt coordinator, he’s working on movies constantly and may be able to introduce you to the right person. His phone number is (512) 459-6330. He’s a very helpful person – mention my name – my real name! (see above!) And that I used to work with Jo Edna Boldin.

Also try State Theatre School of Acting and talk to Babs George. (512) 472-3160. I kinda recall they had classes for sword fighting once and so maybe you can set up classes/workshops there?

Another suggestion, get in touch with the Austin Film Commission (512) 583-7203 (Gary Bond) and also the Texas Film Commission (also in Austin) (512) 463-9200 and talk to either Tom Copeland or Carol Pirie.

I’d love to know if any of this pays off for you? Do write again. Good luck!

Ms. Bubbette


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