For When Your Heart is Willing but Your Brain is Dead

I swore that when I found a 3-day-a-week nanny job, I would bust my butt writing EVERY SINGLE DAY that I had off.

I had fanciful ideas of waking up the morning after my 72 hour shift (some of those sleeping hours, I should mention) hitting the shower, getting dressed, grabbing the laptop, and typing away until my fingers were cramping and bruised.

Sadly, that’s not been the reality these last few months.

Once upon a time, about a year ago, I was able to punch out the first draft of a feature length script in a week. This is while I was working 50+ hours a week with a 2 hour round-trip commute. I literally had “little to no time” but I knew what story I wanted to tell, I identified so deeply with the characters that the dialogue just spilled out onto the paper, and I felt no pressure to get it done.

Now that I have 4 solid days of the week that could be almost entirely dedicated to writing, I should be producing more.

I have a handful of excuses I’ve bandied out to justify my lack of creativity, some are as follows:

  • By the time I get off of work on Monday evening, my brain is so fried and frazzled that it takes several days to recover. Not only is nannying physically exhausting, it’s mentally and emotionally tiresome as well. So many tantrums, so much whining, so many emotions and angry words are hurled at you in that profession. I’m not sure how nannies keep their sanity. Mothers HAVE to love their kids, but us, we’re a rare [read: insane] breed of people that are capable of loving someone else’s spawn, even when they launch insults at us.
  • I’m switching my focus between writing and acting and this is prime time when it comes to finding an acting agent for the unrepresented.
  • I’m tired. Like, REALLY TIRED.
  • No one’s going to read this shit, why am I even writing it??

Some excuses are more justifiable than the others, but HEY, I’m being honest, here.

I need to find a way to work through all of these roadblocks. A smart idea would be to set up a writing schedule with concrete goals and deadlines. Holding myself accountable is the dark-side to that new moon (I tried really hard to make that analogy work, right there. Did it?).

I could try to organize writing groups to motivate me and my writing pals.

Or I could just drive to Santa Monica, saunter into Dunkin’ Doughnuts, get a double chocolate doughnut and a strawberry glazed doughnut, drive back home, sit on the couch, turn on Netflix, watch as many episodes of Parks and Rec as my attention span will allow, cry because that show is done and gone forever, and wallow in self-pity.

I love having options.

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“PUT ME IN, COACH, I SWEAR I’M AWESOME! or “Finding a Hollywood Agent Post-Pilot Season”

It’s officially post-pilot season in Los Angeles which means some actors are celebrating the auditions/callbacks/and bookings that that particular season brings. Other actors are crying into their vanilla lattes because their agencies may have given them the boot for not getting the results they wanted them to (which can be entirely unfair as a lot of those decisions are out of the actor’s hands).

And some actors, like yours truly, are in the throes of “mail out season”. This is often seen as the bottom of the barrel as far as courting representation is concerned, because everyone has dreams of being approached by the best-of-the-best and being swooped up. Guys, that just doesn’t really happen, much.

In order to get an agent, I mean a really good one, you have one of the following:

  1. You can get something called an “industry referral”. That means someone you know in the industry (director, producer, etc) or another actor friend has to put their faith in you and submit your name to an agency for their consideration. This isn’t likely to happen because many of your friends in LA who are actors are friends with dozens of other actors–they may feel guilty referring you and not all of their other pals.
  2. If you have successfully booked work on ACTUAL TV shows or features or ACTUAL national commercials, without the help of an agent, you’re a freaking wizard please show me your ways. That means you have a lot of leverage in finding a really awesome agent.
  3. An even less likely way to get an agent is to get discovered. This means that someone that’s looking for new talent sees your work, goes to one of your performances, or something as random as “seeing you walking past the food court in a mall and thinking you have a good look” approaches you and asks for a meeting. This probably happens more than I realize, but it hasn’t happened to anyone I’m close to, so I think it’s pretty rare.

If none of these have panned out for you, “Mailing Out” is your best option and it’s exactly what it sounds like. You get your best headshots and attach your resume to the back of it. You write a brief cover letter explaining who you are and why you’re awesome and why they should meet with you in person. DO NOT INCLUDE ANYTHING ELSE. No gimmicks, no cheesey props, and DEFINITELY NO GLITTER–Tobias Fünke learned the hard way:

Spell things correctly! Make sure you put the right letter in the correspondingly addressed envelope! You take both of those bad boys, put them in a big old envelope (no folding!), and mail them to agencies that allow for “unsolicited submissions”. peter-parker-crying-meme-sends-agent-query-misspells-agents-name

If you mail them to agencies that DON’T accept unsolicited submissions, I can assure you they will be trashed (I know a Junior Agent that works at one of the Big 5 and he assured me he spent a lot of time in the mail room just tossing headshots and resumes into the “circular file” aka the garbage).

Now that technology is superseding the the good ‘ole days, a lot of agencies allow for submissions to be e-mailed, as well. This usually brings the fastest results for actors because there’s no lag time between you sending it and them reading it. They can also just quickly tap the “reply” button and ask you to come in without exerting much effort. Again, check to see that the agency accepts emailed submissions.

Last Thursday I emailed out to about 15 SAG Franchised agents (that means they’re “legit”). By Friday morning, I had two solid meetings scheduled and 2 tentative meetings–that’s a lot, even though it might not seem like it! On Friday morning, I mailed out to all of the agencies that didn’t accept emails and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Agents are one of those special breeds that will only respond if they want to see you–if you never hear from them, you assume the answer is a “no”.

I’m crossing the heck out of my fingers that by June 1st, I’ll have representation.