Monday, October 3, 2011

Advice for new actors! :)

So you wanna be an actor?! :)

Bumping this up to the TOP!

Originally posted on Myspace

Hey Everybody,

I've been promising to post this blog FOREVER. And after I saw the wonderful detailed blog my friend Tanjareen posted about "breaking in" I decided that it was time for me to make good on my promise. If you'd like to see how Tanj broke it down, the link to her blog is:

And here's my take on it all:

1) RESEARCH is key!!! God bless the child who has his own and all that. Find out about this business for yourself. Information is everywhere. And not just in the brains of folks who are where you want to be. Other folks in the business can be a wealth of information. But you should want to "learn to fish" for yourself. Researching the answer from various sources is how you learn to feed yourself. Other folks should only be used to confirm what you already found out through your own research. Trust me, you'll appreciate what you learn more. And to that end...

2) READ everything you can on the business. Make your BEST friend. There are books in print on every aspect of the business... acting, directing, producing, modeling, writing. You name it. It's there. If you live in Los Angeles, there's a great bookstore out here called: Samuel French. There's one on Ventura Blvd. in the Valley and another on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Do a google search to get the addresses. Samuel French is a wonderful place. I would spend HOURS in there when I first started out. Shoot, from time to time, I still do! And the bonus is that Sam French expects entertainment folks to "browse"... they even provide chairs for your browsing comfort. Their only rule is that you can't copy stuff out of the books. Which I think is fair. :) If you can't get to Samuel French or you're a little low on funds. Might I suggest your local bookstore (they have comfy chairs for reading too,) your local library or the Internet. There is SO much information out there. There is simply NO excuse not to research the basics for yourself.

3) BE WARY. If it sounds too good to be true... it is! Steer clear of the "modeling" agencies that promise you work. I won't mention them by name, but you know the places I'm talking about. They usually advertise in papers and hold huge cattle calls and miraculously EVERYONE who shows up is perfect for their "agency" and destined for stardom. And all it costs is $1000 for classes and pictures. Um, one word: RUN! Also steer clear of anyone who calls YOU that you haven't submitted to. No reputable agency is going to cold call an actor. They get too many submissions to ever need to do that. And if an agency is in the market for actors to the extent that they are calling you, they are either not a real player in the industry or are scam-a-licious. Simply put... agents and managers make money when YOU do. Not a second before. Anyone who wants you to pay them to represent you is a scam. Anyone who will represent you if, and only if, you go to their photographer or take their classes is a scam. Reputable agents may suggest a list (the operative word is LIST) of approved photographers. But they will never insist you go to one in particular. Same for any acting teachers or managers they recommend. Be wary of such foolishness.

4) STUDY your craft. Take classes. If you wanted to be a doctor you would study medicine. This is your career. Be professional about it. Now don't get me wrong, some folks are "born" with the gift. But even they may someday need the help of a teacher or coach to get them to the next level or through a difficult audition that requires a different skill set than they have naturally. So classes are helpful. Plus, when you're starting out, classes are a great way to meet and be around other actors... who happen to be a wealth of information when it comes to headshot photographers and agents... you know, should you have a question about the ones you've already researched? :) The actors you meet in class will also prove to be invaluable friends as you navigate your way through the business. Some of my best friends to this day are folks I met in the acting class at my church YEARS ago. We still support each other and applaud each other's successes. You will need those friends in this business. Friends who "knew you when" are the best kind! :)

5) SMILE for the camera! Or scowl, if that's your thing. (Gosh, this blog is getting cheesier and cheesier!) Ignore my cheese, heed my advice... This is of course all about headshots. Headshots are your calling card. Make sure you get great ones that look like you. You on your best day. But still, YOU! Glamour shots or ones that are retouched within an inch of their lives will not serve you when you get in the room with a casting director. You are cast from that shot. They want to meet THAT person. Not that person AFTER the 12 hours of hair and makeup it took to look like that person... um, did you follow that? :) Now, if you wear a FULL face of makeup every day and are prepared to recreate that look for EVERY audition. By all means, take that shot. But I don't know if there are lots of roles for folks like that. Most of the folk on TV look naturally beautiful/handsome. You wanna be in that number. Moving on. Pick your photographer carefully. Interview them first. And to get to the picking and interviewing part, look at lots of headshot galleries. There are lots online and sidebar: in LA and NY there is a place called Reproductions that does great duplication work once you get your final pics. But more importantly, they also have a headshot gallery in their stores... and even online, I believe. It's a great place to start when trying to pick a photographer. Other actors are a great resource in this area as well. If you're out and you see someone with a great headshot, ask them who took it. And then interview with that photographer. Expect to pay about $150 on the low end and up to $600 on the high end for photos. Although with the advent of digital photography, anything over $250 is really highway robbery. Anything more than that will probably produce a pic worthy of the cover of Essence or InStyle and again, you don't want that look for your basic headshot. There is a lot more detailed info available in regards to headshots... so refer back to my advice in item 1 and get to it! :)

6) REPRESENTATION. Ya gotta have it. No doubt about it. But don't get wrapped up in the size of your agency. Especially when you're starting out. The goal in the beginning and throughout your career is to have someone representing you who believes in you. Someone who thinks you are the BUSINESS! That one person believing in you wholeheartedly can get you into any door in this town. Remember that. So as you interview with agents. If they are lukewarm about you, keep on looking. You'll eventually find the one who "gets" you and is dying to work with and for you. That's the agent you want. As for basic submission etiquette. A nice cover letter... addressed to an actual person, none of that "to whom it may concern" or "dear sir or madam" nonsense... along with your headshot and resume will do the trick. Make the cover letter uniquely you whatever that is. Quirky, fun, cerebral. You, glorious you! Mention all the good things you've read or heard about their agency. And you should have heard good things otherwise why are you submitting to them? As for who to submit to, your research will lead you to the ones that are a good match. You can find agency lists online. And Samuel French has a booklet called "The Agencies" that breaks down each agency, as well. A magazine called The Ross Report also lists agencies and what they're looking for each month. There's also a great set of industry books by a writer/actress named K.Callan. She has a couple on Agent searches in LA and NYC. In the back she lists all the reputable agencies... well, and a few who aren't. But if you read between the lines you'll be able to figure out which is which. I would suggest submitting to about 7 or so at a time. You're not trying to blanket the city. It's about quality, not quantity. The next step is a meeting... which THEY will request. Don't drop by the office or call excessively asking if they've made a decision about you. As in romance, if they want you, you will know. At the meeting, be yourself... as long as you are bubbly and fun. :) The interview is really a test to see if you're someone they'd like to send out into the world with their name attached. Are you personable? Fun? Interesting? Intelligent? Well groomed? Articulate? These are all things they will be sizing up about you. There are long days on set. No one wants to spend 14 hours with a jerk. Don't be the jerk. And as a sidebar, you can be serious about your acting career and still be fun in an interview. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Find your smile and take it with you in the room!

7) DEMO REELS. Don't panic. No one is expecting you to have hours of film of you and Meryl Streep. They really just want to see what you look like on film. Just put together what you have and if you don't have anything...

8) INDEPENDENT AND GRAD SCHOOL PROJECTS. These will be invaluable in the beginning of your career. Take part in as many as you can. Consider projects for the Internet, creating content for youtube (but keep it classy folks, you don't want something going viral that you will regret later, there IS such a thing as bad publicity, I don't care what anybody says,) Independent films. Do whatever you can. Create whatever you can that will present you professionally and get you some tape for your reel.

9) FAITH. I'm a Christian. Most of you reading this already know that. So, you already know that I feel that faith, in some form, will be invaluable as you pursue a career in this business. But that said, I'm not trying to force my beliefs on anyone... though my beliefs are pretty cool. HA! What I'm speaking about most of all is "keeping the faith". Believing in yourself and your abilities. Positivity. Good juju and all that. This business is full of folks who list all the reasons you can't and won't make it. Your job is to not listen to them. Granted, not everyone who wants to have a career in TV and film will have one. But I do believe that everyone who wants to act will have the chance to act. Eventually everyone gets a turn. It may not be at the level they're expecting or when they expect it. But it will be a turn. Hang in there for yours and protect your spirit until it comes. Oh, one more thing... Haters suck! :)

10) UNIONS. To be a professional actor, you need to be in one or more of the professional actors unions. But join too soon, at your own peril. Once you are union you can no longer work non-union. That may sound like a "Duh!" to you, but I don't know if most folk really think about it. You will get most of your early experience from non-union projects. The pay is low... okay, non-existent... and the set will be perk-free. But you will get to see first-hand what it's like to be on a set. And acting, well the technical part of it... is really something you learn by doing. It's not as easy as you think to hit a mark and remember lines. I know it all seems ridiculously simple. But when your adrenaline starts pumping and you are star-struck by your co-star and your line comes in after a long tracking shot, you will be surprised how quickly your line shoots right out of your head and at how you can't seem to stop by the coffee table where the director told you to. It's muscle memory really. The more you get used to talking and walking and stopping and starting while under pressure, the better. And non-union projects allow LOTS of opportunities to do that. And demo reel tape at that! :) And lastly... at least for now, I may add more to this if I realize I forgot something...

11) EXTRA, EXTRA!!! Wow, that was corny. And I think it's called "background work" now. So I was corny AND politically incorrect. But you know what this one is about. I think background work is a great way to get experience on a set without any of the pressure being on you. I highly recommend it. No, you won't make a lot of money. And yes, you may be treated like a herd of cattle. But the food is usually good and you get to see first-hand what a set is like. And you may even get bumped up and get a line. Hey, it could happen! Hope springs eternal!!!

Okay, those are my tips for now. I will update if I feel that something is missing. Please feel free to comment and chime in with your tips on breaking in... those of you who have broken in... and those of you who are working on breaking in, feel free to share what you've learned in all your research and reading!

May God bless you guys in your careers!!!~yvette nicole :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Whatever happened to LOVE SONGS (Part II)

What EVER happened to Love Songs?! (Part II)

Originally posted on MYSPACE (March 16, 2008)

Hey Guys!

This installment features the fabulous L.T.D. (which stands for Love. Togetherness. Devotion)L.T.D. featured the Super-Awesome Jeffrey Osborne. He was the lead singer of L.T.D. before he went solo. My mom played the following song until the grooves of the record were GONE. In honor of my mom and her amazing taste in music, allow me to bless you with the lyrics to:

"Share My Love"

by L.T.D.

From the album: Devotion

Won’t you share my love?

Won’t you share my love?

I’m so tired of being lonely

I want to be loving you only

So many girls have crossed my path

But I could not last

I needed you

You pick me up when the world’s down on me

You ease my mind when I’m feeling shaky

I can do no wrong with you by my side

Welcome to my life

Come on and share my love

Be a part of my tomorrow

Put an end to all my sorrow and pain

Come on and share my love

Won’t you share my love?

Won’t you share my love?

And now you’ve given me new inspiration

Without you in my live I have no direction

Together we can build a world full of joy

I promise you we will if you just share my love

Till the stars fall from heaven

Oh, my darling, stay right here with me

So you can share my love

I don’t want to leave you ever

Let’s spend our lives together always

Stay and share my love


Does it get better than that? I don’t think so!

As always, please chime in with your comments and favorite lyrics. Not just the song titles folks. Bless everybody with the actual lyrics, could ya?

Until then...

God Bless,

~yvette nicole :)

What EVER happened to Love Songs? (Part I)

Originally posted on MYSPACE (February 27, 2008)

Hey Everybody,

Okay, so I've been thinking about the sad state of music lately... primarily the demise of love songs.

Some of you youngin's might be thinking, "What are you talking about Miss Yvette? (don't you love how younger people put a Miss in front of a woman's name? tee hee... but I digress) There's lots of love songs!" And I would say, "No, young grasshopper, sadly, what you guys consider love songs are just lust songs or worse, sex songs."

FYI: Songs where the singer asks when he can "get it" or ones detailing what he'd like to do once he does have nothing to do with love. I hate to sound like I'm 500 years old, but this generation is missing it. You've totally missed out on what those of us who came of age in the 80's know... love songs are the bomb.

To school you, youngsters... and to remind you twenty and thirty-somethings who may have forgotten... I'm going to be digging up lyrics from some of the songs my mama used to play when I was a kid. This is the good stuff I grew up listening to. That's right, young whipper-snappers, I'm talking about REAL music!

This will be a multi-part series of blogs... so pace yourself. I present Part I of: What EVER happened to LOVE SONGS?!This installment features:


(That's right, Gerald LeVert's daddy and 'em) and their CLASSIC... "Darlin', Darlin', Baby..."

You're my darlin', darlin' baby
You're my darlin', darlin' love
You're my darlin', darlin' baby
I said you're everything I ever hoped for in a woman
And as long as I may live

Ooh, you're my darlin', darlin' baby
You're my sweet and tender love
You're a very special lady
I said you're the one that I always dreamed of in a woman

I'll give all that I can give

I'll give you plenty love
Because you deserve the best
You should have everything a queen sittin' on a throne should have
You deserve to have it all
And I'm gonna do my best to give it to you, to give it to you, to give it to you

Ooh, you're my darlin', darlin' baby
You're my sweet and tender love
You're a very special lady
I said you're everything I ever hoped for in a woman
And as long as we may live

I'll give you plenty love
Because you deserve the best
'Cause you're better than the rest
You're my queen on a throne, the one that I want to own
And all the things that you desire
I'll do my best to give it to you, to give it to you, to give it to you

Ooh, you're my darlin', darlin' baby
You're my sweet and tender love
You're a very special lady

Okay, so that, "one that I wanna own" part is a little outdated, but everything else is on point! And not because he's talking about all the things he wants to give her. This isn't about "Gold-digger" love.

The beauty of this song is that this man loves this woman SO much that he dreams of giving her everything she desires (it doesn't matter if he actually can or even if she's the kind of woman who'd want him to give her things... not all women are like that, by the way.) It's the thought that, "Ooh, if I could, I'd give you the world, baby! That's how much I love you!"

It's like in "It's A Wonderful Life" George Bailey tells Mary that if she wanted it, he'd lasso the moon for her. Mary didn't want the moon. Mary wanted George. But it had to be nice for her to know that George wanted to give her the moon. Ya gotta love that! That's love!

In the song, the point is that he loves her so much that he wants her to have the best. He says that,"she should have everything a queen sitting on a throne should have!"

Say what, now?

He's saying she's a Queen!

And again, I say, it's not about things. Who cares about things. It's not about treasure. It's about being treasured! He treasures HER! That's what I'm talking about. That's love!

Okay, that's it for part one. Chime in with your thoughts about it all, would ya? And share some "vintage" love songs that you love as well!

God Bless,

Yvette Nicole :)

A little Sunday Morning Encouragement...

Originally posted on MYSPACE (April 20, 2008)

Hey Everybody,

As you all know, I LOVE quotes.

Consider this blog the: "Why so glum, chum? You're fabulous!" edition of my favorite quotes. :) There's a great song by Fred Hammond featuring a singer named Pam Kenyon called, "I Anoint Myself" and it's all about telling yourself what God thinks about you. Reminding yourself that all will be well on those days, at those times, when you just don't feel it.

So my friends, on those days when you're feeling a little "less than" may these simple yet profound thoughts encourage you! Use them to "Remind" yourself! There's also some great inspirational quotes about following your dreams.

It's all good stuff, but this post is a little long, so pace yourself.

God Bless,


"There is more inside you than you dare to think" - David Brower

"You are an unrepeatable miracle" - Diane Roger

"We know what we are, but know not what we may be." - William Shakespeare

"Great hopes make great lives" - Dan Zadra

"Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you." -Marsha Norman

"Your heart often knows things before your mind does." -Polly Adler

"Make your own trail!" - Katharine Hepburn

"Life is too short and too wonderful to waste time doing things you really don't want to be doing." - Bruce Isaacs

"What do you pack to pursue a dream? And what do you leave behind?" -Sandra Sharpe

"When you were born, God said, 'Yes!' " - Unknown

"Nature never made a nobody..." - Melvin Chapman

"Everyone has a unique role to fill in the world. Everyone, including you and perhaps especially you, is indispensable." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

"There are many wonderful things that will never be done if you do not do them." - Charles D. Gill

"Talents, small or large, are God-given. They are a sacred trust." - Paul Robeson

"One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage to fulfill it." - Katherine Ann Porter

"What you do matters. All you need is to do it." - Judy Grahn

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" - Dr. Robert H. Schuller

"A great goal in life is the only fortune worth finding." - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

"Let me listen to me and not to them." - Gertrude Stein

"They'll tell you, 'Quit now, you'll never make it.' If you disregard that advice, you'll be halfway there." - David Zucker

"As a dreamer, you will be laughed at... Thank them!" - Unknown

"What great achievement has been performed by the one who told you it couldn't be done?" - Melvin Chapman

"Most people see what is, and never see what can be." - Albert Einstein

"If people don't agree with you, so what? If people agree with you, so what?" - Dr. Robert Anthony

"Don't let other people tell you who you are." - Diane Sawyer

"There is only one you. God wanted you to be you. Don't you dare change just because you're outnumbered!" - Charles Swindoll

"Talk back to your internal critic." - Robert McKain

"The greatest gift you will ever receive is the gift of loving and believing in yourself. Guard this gift with your life. It is the only thing that will ever truly be yours." - Tiffany Loren Rowe

"Hell would be if God were to show me the things I could have accomplished if only I had believed in myself." - Unknown

"Think for yourself. No one else is qualified." - Frank Vizarre

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child, listen to the don'ts--listen to the shouldn'ts, impossibles,the won'ts--listen to the never haves, then listen close to me--anything can happen, child. ANYTHING can be." - Shel Silverstein

"You must take your chance." - William Shakespeare

"Ain't no chance if you don't take it." - Guy Clark

"Every day you sit back and wait for something to happen is another day lost." - Jennifer Flavin

"There is the risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take." - Peter Drucker

"The real moment of success is not the moment apparent to the crowd." - George Bernard Shaw

"No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our lives are made." - Agnes De Mille

"Be assured that any worthwhile action will create change and attract support." - Philip Marvin

"What convinces is conviction." - Lyndon Baines Johnson

"Bad things don't happen because you care, they happen when you don't care." - Elizabeth Matthews

"We're not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts." - John Ruskin

"The five happiest people I have ever met had this strange little quirk of referring to their jobs as a 'calling.' " - Eric Sevareid

"If it doesn't absorb you, if you don't love it, don't do it." - D.H. Lawrence

"Do not fear mistakes. There are none." - Miles Davis

"I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

"Never mistake a clear view for a short distance." - Mark Spain

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." - Beverly Sills

"No calling on earth is insignificant if it is accomplished with pride and artistry." - Gil Atkinson

"We are not here merely to make a living. We are here to enrich the world with a finer spirit of hope and achievement--and we impoverish ourselves if we forget the errand." - Woodrow Wilson

"Believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you may be that light for someone else." - Kobi Yamada

"We relish the news of our heroes, forgetting that we are special to someone, too." - Marva Collins

"If you don't look out for others, who will look out for you?" - Whoopi Goldberg

"To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten." - Thomas Chandler

"Treasure the one who is thinking of you when all others are thinking of themselves." - James Gunn

"We are the ones we've been waiting for." - June Gordon

"Everyone has an opportunity to be great because everyone has an opportunity to serve." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We are here to add what we can to, not to get what we can, from life." - Sir William Osler

"Realize how good you really are." - Og Mandino

"Assume that people are good until you actually and specifically learn differently. And even then, know that they have potential for change and that you can help them out." - Leo Buscaglia

"We can't move ahead if we're trying to get even." - Frank Tyger

"The most powerful agent of change is a change of heart." - B.J. Marshal

"Let no one come to you without leaving better." - Mother Teresa

"The whole idea of living is to believe the best is yet to come." - Peter Ustinov

"If you're going through hell, keep going." - Rob Estes

"In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope." - Bernie Siegel

"In times of difficulty, you may feel that your problems will go on and on, but they won't. Every mountain has a top. Every problem has a life span. The question is, who is going to give in first, the frustration, or you?" - Dr. Robert H. Schuller

"Don't ever lose hope. It works." - Jewel

"You are never powerless." - Jane Seymour

"Most people don't know how brave they really are." - R.E. Chambers

"A bad attitude is the only true handicap." - Scott Hamilton

"There is no such thing as no chance." - Henry Ford

"The bible says, 'All things are possible.' I believe that." - Dolly Parton

"Never give up. This may be your moment of miracle." - Greg Anderson

"If you're going to doubt something, doubt your limits." - Don Ward

"It gets dark sometimes, but morning comes... keep hope alive." - Jesse Jackson

"Still I am learning." - Michelangelo

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are." - Mary Jean Irion

"By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before." - Edwin Elliot

"At the end of life, our questions are very simple. Did I live fully? Did I love well?" - Jack Kornfield

"Each day silently affirm that you are the type of person with whom you would want to spend the rest of your life." - Bob Moawad

Life is too short... yet it’s too long...

Originally posted on MYSPACE (July 18, 2008)

I get reflective whenever folks leave. I'm talking about leaving the world, not just my life... though I get reflective when folks leave my life too, but I digress... Death, and the finality of it, gets me to thinkin' about life. How short it is. And yet, how long it can feel. All that thinkin' led me to this insomnia fueled blog. (Durn, Insomnia!)

Sidebar: what's with all the "thinkin's" and "gets me to's". Am I a Southern Belle all of a sudden? Jeez! I blame the insomnia.

Allow me to present to you two simple top 10 lists about the "too shorts" and the "too longs" of it all...

Life is too short to:

1) prioritize those who don't prioritize you.

2) hold on to grudges.

3) hold back on saying "I love you" to those you do.

4) put up with bad treatment, even from "friends".

5) not follow every dream you have... as long as it's legal. ;)

6) not honor your "truth".

7) hold on to those who've let you go... literally and figuratively.

8) lie to yourself about what your heart is telling you... the good and the bad.

9) not count your blessings.

10) not know God for yourself.


Life is too long to:

1) not floss... I'm talking teeth. The other "flossing" you SHOULD let go of.

2) stay in a job that doesn't feed your spirit.

3) stay in a relationship that steals your joy.

4) not eat right and exercise.

5) not be safe... I mean this in EVERY way.

6) choose a mate solely based on looks, weight, age or one of the other "shallows".

7) walk away from someone you "click" with.

8) not fight for what you believe in.

9) cast a vote without being completely informed.

10) give up on love... and the possibility of it "finding" you.

Your thoughts? Your lists? Your remedies for insomnia? I'm open to whatever you got! Let's dialogue! :)