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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Casting, Comedy and Postcards from the Edge

by admin

The Scoop has been sorely neglected. Apologies to my faithful readers. 🙁

The good news is that it’s because we’ve been casting a lot.

On Monday the 8th, I met with a producer and director from LA who are shooting a feature in town in the upcoming weeks. Then we headed into casting for several national healthcare spots. I still managed to get out on the 11th to see a fine production of anonymous playwright Jane Martin‘s “Talking With.” It’s a fantastic play and it was great to see such a solid cast and tight direction. (To hear an NPR interview on the mysterious Jane Martin, click here for the Real Audio file.).

On the 12th, I went to dinner with one of our local politicians, where we discussed everything from film legislation to plays we’d acted in in high school. Ah yes, it turns out our illustrious policy maker has a bit of thespian blood in him! Too fun!

Over the weekend of the 13th, I attended the citywide theatre auditions here in town. Lower turn-out this time around than in February, but we saw a few new people. Got to meet with a former Broadway actor over lunch while I was there. He is the artistic director of a new theatre company in town and politically active like myself. I’ve accepted to be on the advisory board of his company and am helping round up auction items for his fundraiser next Thursday. He’s producing Urinetown in the fall, which should be awesome! Can’t wait!

This past week, we had casting sessions every day and had to prep new sessions at the same time: Finished up on the healthcare spots, did a new one for some kind of new cookware product and started on Lottery casting.

I had evening events every night, too, so sleep was a rare occurance. Monday and Wednesday, we had the directing class at the studio. Tuesday, I met with an actress/dancer friend of mine for drinkies. 😉

Thursday, I hosted yet another fundraiser at my studio; this one put on by a filmmaker friend of mine for the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo who are suffering from the effects of genocide, gang rape and high infant mortality. It will provide food, education, psychological counseling, business training and micro-loans to Congolese women through Women for Women International, a fantastic organization. Read up on what is happening in the Congo!!! It is beyond belief and it is happening RIGHT NOW. These women and their families have no hope. We should do whatever we can to help these desperate people. I plan to sponsor a few women myself and encourage you to do the same. This is a cause that makes all other causes seem petty.

Now, to change gears completely, my week ended with a night of sketch comedy last night. I saw four troupes: Ten West from Los Angeles (brilliant!), the all-female Meat from New York (too fun!), the very original Elephant Larry, also from NYC (and whom I met in Chicago in January), and the über-talented Hoskins and Breen from Portland. Afterwards, I followed the comedians over to the local karaoke joint for a few more laughs.

I’ve got three shows I really should see this weekend, as they are all closing, but I’m not sure how much time I will have to go to the theatre. I’m leaving for France in a week and a half and there’s so much to get done first! Ack!

More to follow….

Friday, August 5, 2005

To Volunteer is to Empower

by admin

Me again.

Since my last post, things have been sailing rather smoothly. We interviewed several audio-visual interns that we met through the Art Institute and have had a few come by to help us run casting sessions and figure out other technical stuff for us. It was getting so that you needed four hands to run all the equipment in the casting room, so this is a big help.

A bunch of free time has opened up, as the fundraiser I was working on recently came to a screeching halt. Several major issues arose that made it impossible to continue, but we hope to bring the project back sometime in the not-too-distant future. [Watch this space]

I was glad it hasn’t been too crazy lately, because we’ve been juggling several projects…including a voice-over casting for a cable TV company and some videos for a major sportswear firm, plus booking the talent on that British series we cast a week or so ago. We’re also in the process of locating an alternagirl host for a late-night TV program. Good fun all around!

On Thursday, I snuck out early and hopped on a plane for San Francisco, where I spent the weekend with my friends Allyson and Rosalie, whom I met in Dharamsala, India several years ago. They were volunteering for the Tibetan Women’s Association at the time and I ended up doing some fascinating work while I was there, too (thanks to them): I got to interview 25 Tibetan Buddhist nuns who had escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet about their experiences. It was heartbreaking, but fascinating work.

Rosalie is living in Calcutta now and has started a non-profit for poor children called Empower the Children there, which is doing great. She is feeding and educating 1300 kids from the slums every day!! Incredible. I may have to make a trip over sometime and see what I can do to help. Hmm…maybe arrange a fundraiser here and then deliver some humanitarian aid? See, I get myself into these things, don’t I? But I can’t help it.

This week has been more about meetings and networking than casting, per se. Yesterday, I met with an acting coach for whom we are going to do an open house in the next month or so. Afterwards, I went with a member of the drama critics committee to see a production of “Omnium Gatherum,” a play that debuted at the prestigious Humana Festival in 2003. An energetic cast and a successful production overall, despite the troubles they apparently had in getting the show up and running. Good job, Willie!

Tonight, more networking at a happy hour for progressives; tomorrow is a garden party at the home of an actress I know; Sunday is a board meeting to discuss the abovementioned cancelled fundraiser, followed by dinner with a few more of my Indophile friends. Monday, I’m hosting a directing workshop at our studios. After that, maybe I’ll find a few minutes to come back and post.

Until then, adieu!