Saturday, August 25

True Life: I survived a week of interviews in Los Angeles (barely)

So ends the week of interviewing hell.

Well, to be exact, it has been two weeks of verifying that Assumption College is actually an accredited place of higher education and that Halifax, MA is really so small that we don't even have our own High School. 

After flying home for uncle John's funeral I was exhausted and empty.  I spent days shooting my resume off to everything from bikini photo shoots to travel jobs to fundraise for non profits.  All in all, I set up a week of speed interviewing that left little time to digest or relax.   

I couldn't have asked for a better feel good kick off to my week as working for a Lamborghini event for Kids that have terminal illnesses or are severely handicapped.  While roasting in 90 degree heat on Hollywood Blvd on a Sunday afternoon, kids who were imprisoned to their wheelchairs, breathing apparatuses and even feeding tubes were afforded the adventure of a lifetime; taking a spin in a Lambo in Hollywood.  I felt guilty being paid considering the picture taking and pep talking was rewarding enough, but the $75 for an hour and a half of my time fueled my gas tank for the week to come. 

Monday morning started with an info session at the Beverly Hills Playhouse to see if I'd like to register for classes followed by a radio hosting audition in Hollywood.  The playhouse was a fabulous experience, the radio audition.. hmm well perhaps if I could booty drop and had Tupacs naht dead tattooed across my chest it might have gone a smidge better. 

Which brings us to Tuesday.   Interview at ICM, where I got my first taste of corporate crazies, an audition for representation by two Jewish guys working out of a closet in Beverly Hills (and they STILL didn't take me!), and auditing one of Anthony Meindl's master acting classes with 30 other hopeful starlets. 

Lovely Wednesday left me with a rejection from a Gilt fashion show gig where all I would be doing is measuring men for suits (really, why didn't they chose me?) followed by a rejection from a fitness company in Manhattan beach mumbling something about needing more defined calves. 

Before my morning coffee on Thursday, I was at William Morris for a reality check, then off to Katalyst for a casting associate position interview, and lastly a role in a student film at USC that I got 15 minutes away from only for my co-star to call in with some dire excuse that enabled her from making the shoot.

Thank God it's Friday because I get to meet Ted Chervin's two assistants for the best and most relaxed interview of my life... well except they alluded to how painful working as a bitch to someone as powerful as Ted really is.  

A few glasses (bottles of wine) later and it is finally Saturday, but no resting here.  An interview with a talent management company only for them to offer me a commission only position and then a hosting audition where I read like I was doling out death sentences.. not light hearted shorts on traffic back ups and celeb news. 


Lessons learned:

1. If you're interviewing to be the assistant to the head of TV at ICM, you probably should have your favorite television shows.. and why.. on hand. 

2. Your lint roller should be your best friend.

3.  Wine cures even the most embarrassing auditions.

4. If you have to shuffle in your heels to take forward strides.. chances are your heels are too high.

5.  If you're going in for a fitness audition, maybe do a sit up or two beforehand.  Oh, and maybe put down the bagel, just saying.

6. It's literary department, not literacy.  You moron!  (still feeling the sting from this one)

7. Spit your gum out before you go to your interview.

8. Don't compliment the elevator simply because your hideously nervous of silence. 

9. If you say your fluent in Spanish on your resume, you should probably be able to answer a pregunta or two mid interview.

10. Smile smile smile.  Take a big deep breath, check your teeth and realign your posture; you've got this.  You are an asset to any company lucky enough to hire a gem like you to their payroll.. own it. :)

Thursday, August 23

My interview at William Morris Endeavor

At exactly 10:25 AM, I waltzed past the Equinox desk that I've become so familiar with these past three years, gave a little wave, and proudly pressed the digital keypad for the elevators labeled WME, floor 3.  I am finally going up!

My interview lasted roughly 10 minutes, but I'd like to recount it... mostly for my own self reflection, but also for anyone who is curious about what really goes down at the coveted William Morris Entertainment.

The building is absolutely gorgeous.  The elevators are so fancy that there aren't even buttons to press inside, the receptionist has already programmed it to elevate you to the desired floor.  Clean, modern and chic, I couldn't picture a better headquarters for the worlds biggest and oldest global agency.

I met with Carol Kutz.  Her gorgeous bombshell of an assistant whisked me into Carol's corner office overlooking Beverly Hills.  With all the confidence I could muster, I strode into the space, only to have her eyes swiftly sweep over me  with a slight flicker of disdain. She was pleasant, but to the point; pretty, but plain. The room smelt vaguely like cookies, which she attributed to her perfume when I complimented the inviting smell.  The office was busy but organized and I was instructed to rest on a small white love seat against the wall.

Her shpeal was more than rehearsed.  It was a monotonous rundown that she clearly has said thousands of times before and will most likely say thousands of times in the future. Its funny to think of how many great agents have sat in a similar couch, getting the same well planned speech. I wonder what crossed their minds as they absorbed what sounds more like their sentencing for the next four to five years than the glamorous job they had envisioned.

She asked me where I was from, what my parents did for work and where I went to college, making a bitter jab that I am still quite young.  I interrupted to elaborate on my success at Model Club, but to no avail.  No matter the prior experience, everyone at WME starts in the same place.  The mailroom.

If I email Carol back saying I would like to be employed, this is how the next four long years would look.

I'd wake at 7am to be pushing around a mailcart from 8 to 5.  After a few months of slave labor for 10 dollars an hour and health care, I would be eligible to fill in for assistants who are on vacation.

Another few grueling months and I've been at WME, pushing mail and answering phones at foreign desks, for nearly a year.  Ready to quit, HR decides I'm ready to start interviewing for a real desk.

At any other company in the world, I would be horrified to be on the cusp of my 26th birthday and only being considered for a bottom feeding assistant's desk.

A year of getting coffee and scheduling dog grooming appointments (Carol's exact words) with an occasional contract to look over and I finally gain entrance into the coveted agent training program. Alas, I am still making 10 measly dollars an hour, and now I am on the cusp of 27.

Over the next year or so I'd bounce from department to department absorbing as much as I can, networking my toosh off, and reading more scripts then humanly possible on my "time off".  I'm still making peanuts, but at least my goal of being a WME agent finally feels attainable.

After the training, I am asked whether I would like to be promoted to agent when a position becomes available or if I would like them to help me find employment elsewhere.  I mean with a WME graduate degree, the sky is the limit.

I really liked Carol, she is quick witted and doesn't sugar coat.  And I had done my research, so I knew what to expect.   But laying it out like that made me shiver as I fumbled with the elevator keypad to take me back down to reality.  Yes, I loved working at Model Club, and I flourish in the fast paced environment of the entertainment industry, but this feels much more like selling my soul to a corporate life of misery than landing my dream job.  I would love to see the inner workings of my most esteemed company, but at the price of my life? I'm not quite sure.  Especially considering I would have to officially give up my dream of stardom, something that I cant quite fathom parting with just yet (no matter how many rejections I face..).   So that's that.  This is a big fork in my road, and one I'm not 100% confident I'm thinking clearly about, but what I do know with certainty is that enjoying this part of my life is much more important than any job.. and the paycheck that will eventually come with it.

To the employees of William Morris, I have a new founded respect for each and every one of you.  Perhaps someday I'll make it big enough to grace your talent list.  Or who knows maybe I'll be the 1 in a million that gets poached from another agency to come work with you.  But the mailroom isn't something I can commit to a month or so away from my 25th birthday.

Thursday, August 2

Warning Signs that you've gone Hollywood

So you're from the mid-west and vowed never to turn into "fake hollywood".  Maybe you've been here for only a few weeks.. maybe you're coming up on a year.. but if you can relate to the following statements, then I hate to break it to you - but you've gone Hollywood.

1.  You don't feel like carrying your water bottle on your hike at Runyon Canyon, but you wouldn't dream of not bringing your lip gloss.

2. You publicly declare you're going vegan and organic over drinks with the girls ...then get a double double from In n Out on the way home. 

3. You have an unfounded racism towards Persians. 

4. You name drop so much that you can't even bear listening to your own stories. 

5. You secretly wish you were Jewish so you could have thrown a lavish bat mitzvah for you and your 500 closest school friends. 

6. Pitching in for your own meal and drinks when there's guys sitting at the table makes you scowl. 

7. You'd give up your family dog before you gave up instagram. 

8. Going to a club where you have to wait in line.. even for 2 minutes.. or gasp, not have a table.. is an absolutely ludicrous idea. 

9. When you go out you spend more time texting than socializing. Actually, you're kind of over socializing and you spend all of your time texting. 

10. You go out for taco tuesdays but get vodka sodas because margaritas make you fat. 

11. You spend more money at Sephora than on groceries.

12. You scoff at aspiring actors but secretly submit yourself for auditions.

13. When you see a woman with nice hair you get the urge to poke through it like a monkey to prove that they're extensions.

14. You have picked up a call on the elliptical at the gym ...and been able to carry on a conversation.  Lets get real, you're not going to over exert yourself at the gym.  Sweat?  Ew.

15. You've accepted that you will inevitably become addicted to botox.  

16. You've already stopped reading this twice to check your texts.

17. There's no such thing as too blonde.  Or too skinny. 

18. When you go over your friends for the bachelorette you put on full make up and do your hair.  You know those bitches are going to instagram the second you walk in the door. 

19. Your fear of missing out (which you only refer to as FOMO) is so bad that you feel guilty when you stay in.

20. 9 to 5 jobs seem excruciatingly tedious. 

21. You're only having children if you're rich enough to hire a nanny. 

22. Getting a new follower on twitter is better than sex.

23. Fro-yo is a part of your daily diet. But you justify it as healthy calcium and nutritious fruit... even if you're getting reeces, toffee hot fudge and a banana slice or two.

24.  You've driven to Vegas more times than you've gone to downtown LA

25. Your morning alarm is Avicci. 

26. Your ripped up grungy tank top cost more than you spent on your boyfriend for Christmas.

27.  Your averaging $300/month in unpaid parking tickets -- thank god your cars still in your dad's name.

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