MEGA MAY/JUNE/JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2014

LA Sshots#4 Disney Concert Hall, Downtown LA

LEGAL ALIEN:                                              FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK 

With the Summer in full swing here in LA, days reaching  96F,  you’d be forgiven for thinking I might be taking full advantage of it by spending at least 4 days a week on Santa Monica beach lolling on the sand & taking frequent dips in the cool blue ocean…..maybe dreaming of a close encounter with a spunky Life-Saver or enjoying a fabulous cocktail at Shutters on the Beach. 

IMG_20140216_171601_725 A hot Santa Monica at dusk.

I love that whole scenario, every bit of it, but none of its true. I’m not lamenting because as well as auditioning non-stop, learning scripts, monologues & studying with Howard Fine, attending screenings & play readings, I’ve been working in a play, The Trial of Dali, playing ‘Gala Dali‘ with a bunch of actors from the US & England…truly an international cast. 

Dali #1  Dali#2  Dali#6  Dali#13copy

It was part of the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival which had a massive amount of theatre going on all through June at a myriad of small Indy theatre spaces that populate Hollywood/West Hollywood/North Hollywood & environs.

cropped-Dali_4-16-2014-11 (1)   safe_image Fringe frenzy of performing arts

Please please please don’t say to me there is no theatre going on in Los Angeles! Maybe that was true 10/12/15 years ago but certainly not now. Of course, LA remains a committed film & TV city for sure, where 1000′s of deals are made everyday/night.

$$$ & Box Office bragging rights are the prizes driving the obsession & the mania for Corporate & street cred in a city that loves its cinema & is historically deeply rooted in the myth & magic of movie-making.

MV5BMTM4NjY1MDQwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTI3Njg3NA@@__V1__SY317_CR0,0,214,317_  Cleopatra@DendyQueys  MV5BMTQzNzczMDUyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjM2ODEzOA@@__V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_  ZERO DARK THIRTY

 As I’m getting to & from various casting offices, rehearsals venues, theatre & cinema gatherings for a variety of reasons I am also getting to know LA ‘on the ground’ so to speak – I don’t have a car as yet so I’m becoming a public transport die-hard & I’ve found myself in some far-flung corners of the LA map. Thank God for Google Maps because I think I’d still be trying to get back from some places I’ve gone to for a casting!

But the upside to that is I’ve developed a keener sense of what makes LA the mad crazy sprawling dirty beautiful star-spangled metropolis that it is. Palm-tree skylines fringe the streets, visually binding the various local communities into one defining vista.

From Beverly Hills to Compton Heights you are never too far away from the ever-present impossibly tall thin palm trees cutting a well-defined silhouette against an impossibly blue sky. Like the Hollywood sign, this image has become synonymous with LA.

IMG_20140309_103335  LA shots#2  Striking Hollywood beauties

Another image not beautiful but striking in a profoundly emotive way is the homeless people I see day after day as I walk around my local environment to Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, the dry cleaners, Sunset/Hollywood/Santa Monica/Melrose Ave’s & Blvd’s. When I first came to LA in 1996 I noticed the homeless men here & there, sleeping under cardboard or under blankets which they’d either been given by Good Will or found on the street. I don’t remember seeing any women or really young men either.

Now, today, there are 4 young men sleeping ‘rough’ just up from where I live very close to Sunset Blvd. just behind the bus stop. And this scenario is repeated all along the major thoroughfares. As I walk to the local Library I see a number of homeless women sitting against the shop fronts with their shopping carts packed full of their belongings, everything they own I imagine. There is one man who sleeps on the nature strip with his shoes taken off and put neatly beside him. His belonging are stacked up against the shop wall for when he wakes up & moves on.

I am confronted by this & it is a very salient reminder of 3 very important personal guidelines I try to practice every day:

1. There by the grace of God/Universe go I.

2. Don’t be judgmental.

3. Be grateful:Practice gratitude

I saw some graffiti the other day written on the side of a Traffic light electrical box down at Sunset & La Brea….“the homeless are human too”.

Yes, yes they are. And that keeps me very grounded in a city where it is very possible to lose yourself, get so pulled out of yourself, so far into the vortex of other peoples opinion of how ‘to be‘ you lose touch with being who you are… instead of becoming more of who you already are.

And on that note do keep reading & pass it on to like-minded peeps, colleagues & friends……..

Spread the VIVA VOCE from LA.

 

 

 

 

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MEGA MAY/JUNE/JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2014

A FEW PROJECTS THAT CAME TO FRUITION

Since receiving my Immigrant Visa last September which allowed me to travel to the US & initiate my Permanent Residency status which I gained in March this year, I have been completely dedicated to establishing my personal & professional life in America. That’s why I haven’t been blogging & why this edition is a mega one! I have auditioned for dozens of gigs & here are a few that I landed which got made….almost!

NOW WAS WHEN – a Masters Thesis film by Massiel Cordero who graduated a month ago from the New York Film Academy Los Angeles.

untitled (2)   DOP, director & 1st AD   Cast&Crew, NOW WAS WHEN   Marth from NOW WAS WHEN April 2014 Online poster…..DOP, Director, 1st AD…Cast’crew wrap shot…’Martha’

Massiel wrote a very original story-line, mature & political, with a feminist viewpoint that didn’t bash the audience with bias & self-importance. When I auditioned for her we just clicked. She is a very clever film maker who also writes very well too, a potent combination in today’s international film market where it is so important to own your work on as many levels as you can. She ran a very good set & her ability to communicate with actors in a supportive & creative way will see her sought after as an ‘actor’s director’ who knows the technical aspect as if she’s been at it for years. I’d love to work with her again.

THE TRIAL OF DALI – A surrealist farce written by Andrew Jacob about Salvador Dali set against the trial he was embroiled in by the Spanish establishment in the late 1940′s. It was part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival & played during June at the Lounge Theatre. I loved working with the actors & Lisa our SM, Emilee one of the producers & Trace the director. They pulled off a minor miracle to get the script wrangled down to 65 minutes to fit into the requirements of the Festival & the Theatre.

cropped-Dali_4-16-2014-11 (1)  Dali#6  Dali#13copy  1907394_10152153785076923_6269635124770787572_n        Prod. postcard…… Cassy, me, Miriam & Patrick.  Larry & me…….Cast & Prod. team

THE GREAT TRUMBALD – An Indy film destined for the film festival circuit both here & internationally. And if Brennan & Sebastian ( director & producer) stick to their vision & get excellent post-production values, the guys will have a very nice little film indeed that just might get picked up for distribution. I get to play ‘Patty’, the owner of a run down Theatre & the source of our protagonists’ woes. She smokes like a chimney & shamelessly antagonizes the people around her. I love ‘Patty’ even though no else does. The script is exceptionally well written, especially from a dialogue standpoint – believable, articulate & drafted to within an inch of it’s life. All my inspiration for Patty came from the script, which is always a great sign that the nuts’n'bolts of the story & the relationships will hang together when the actors get their hands on it. YEAH!!!. I wish the guys all the success in the world, they are 2 film makers to watch out for.

IMG_20140801_140334   IMG_20140801_140254 ’Patty’ ….& lovin’ it!

THE MEMORY OF WATER – A beautiful play which was scheduled to go up at The Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica this August for a 6 weeks run. We were 4 weeks into rehearsals & plagued by directorial problems & Rights’ issues the production has been re-scheduled for JAN/FEB 2015. As we know, ‘stuff’ happens & we just have to roll with it. Most of the lovely cast are still attached to the production & we all hope it moves forward without a hitch next year. I love the play without reservation & my role,Vi, is a gift.

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While working at the business of the business I did the Alexander Technique 6 week course at Howard Fine Studio with Jean-Louis Rodrigue & Kristof Konrad which I absolutely loved – these 2 men are superb teachers & great human beings. And I joined Howard’s Wednesday master class & became a member of the studio, a studio I have much affection & respect for.

 

 

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MEGA MAY/JUNE/JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2014

FROM LAS PALMAS TO LaBREA: NEW DIGS FOR HOWARD FINE ACTING STUDIO, Los Angeles

Howard Fine Reception Reception @ 317 Nth. LaBrea 

We all know what moving house is like…add to that the transformation of a new space into a vibrant thriving successful acting studio & you know you’re in for some serious work, sweat & tears. Here are a few images of the big move from the old to the new.

IMG_20140729_212837  IMG_20140729_145546  IMG_20140729_212742 IMG_20140729_212956   What are you 2 scamps up to?… All hands on deck… Pitching in…..   So much work.

 IMG_20140729_120314_692    IMG_20140729_120739_955    IMG_20140729_120747_941                                                                 Exit Stage Right…….   Movin’ on up……..        Movin’ on out…..

The new studio is a beautiful evolution from Las Palmas. Not only does it have new acting spaces to work on, it also has the new David Coury voice/singing studio which is stunning.

The acting spaces themselves are very different in size, ambiance, logistics & ‘feel’. The intimacy of the work is now on par with what an audience in a small 50 seat Indy theatre experiences. This is going to be a very exciting benefit for all actors doing class at Howard’s new studio.

Not only will it pull all the work, learning curves, feedback, notes & adjustments much closer to all those in class: it will elevate the actors sensibilities more accurately towards working in a small intimate space, which is the reality for most actors out there auditioning for stage jobs & film/TV casting in this town. Or in Australia or England for that matter.

So when you’re in LA next time do drop in to the new studio & check it out. Say hello to Lisa, the Administrator, have a look around, book in to audit a Monday night Master class. And if you’re an Aussie, you’ll be able to follow up back home by applying to do either the Sydney or Melbourne Master class that Howard teaches once a year in June/July. Or, contact the Melbourne studio for information relating to classes/courses on a more regular basis.

 

 

 

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MEGA MAY/JUNE/JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2014

IMG_20140713_152700

DOWNTOWN FILM FESTIVAL LA & THE AUSSIE CONNECTION

I’m happy to write that as I was sitting in the darkened cinema watching a session of films from all over the world, Australian actor/producer Jacinta Marasco who I met at Margie Haber’s studio in 2009 doing the ISP program for international actors was sitting beside me, sitting just behind me was Australian actor Tom O’Sullivan, who I worked with in Megan Finlay’s CUT Theatre production of ‘Queen Lere’ in 2005. Both of them were there to see their respective films receive their world premieres at this very popular film festival.

Jane&Jacinta#2    Jane & Jacinta Jacinta & Jane E.

Being there with Jac was planned but bumping into Tom was a delightful coincidence & took us both by surprise in the happiest of ways. I am also happy to say that Australia was exceptionally well represented that afternoon.

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MEGA MAY/JUNE/JULY/AUGUST EDITION 2014

ONLY IN AMERICA……

…..does a cat have it’s own Talent Agent, 20+ merchandise items, a 2 book deal with a major publisher, national TVC running right now & so many marketing deals that the owner is rejecting the small offers & regional deals in favor of the big money offers. Yes dear readers, Grumpy Cat is now big business. Gotta love it. She’s the Kim Kardashian of the kitty world, the super model of the furry cuddly ones we cat people love to snuggle with. I take comfort & solace in the knowledge that just up from me is a man with 2 moggies he rescued from the mean streets of LA & that they are mixed up crazy kittys with not a pure blood line in sight.

GO THE MOGGIES!

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MARCH/APRIL 2014 EDITION

Snapshot 3 (3-17-2014 10-47 PM) (2) Legal Alien: from The Editor’s Desk

“You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy” is what I said to myself as I attempted to cross Sunset Blvd. the other day. Even though I was at the pedestrian crossing & it was my right of way. Many drivers here have selective vision – that is to say, they have no vision at all when it comes to people on foot crossing the road at designated pedestrian crossings. I’ve always known this, it was one of the first things I noticed when I first came here in 1996. Nothing has changed. But I find comradeship with fellow pedestrians who smile & clump near me when I verbalize my horror at yet another near miss by an idiot LA driver. I’ve had some fabulous passing conversations with other pedestrians who feel as I do. We then share a knowing smile, wish each other a good & safe day & go our separate ways’ into the day.

So it was with a quiet sense of glee (no, not the TV musical show but similar) that I went out one Sunday morning to get the paper up on Sunset only to be met by 1000′s of people running in the LA marathon & Sunset Blvd. had been turned over to foot power.

IMG_20140309_104342

Not a car/bus/truck/van/SVU in sight. It was quite a sight to see all these people making their way along this iconic thoroughfare in various states of fitness & attire very well supported by volunteers working at refreshment posts along the way.

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Plates of oranges & cups of water awaited runners as did First Aide kiosks which were very well patronized. Of course there was the ubiquitous Port-a-Potty’s lined up against curb-side with queues of runners (& the odd homeless gent) needing a wee. God love them for getting up at sparrow’s to join in this people-driven (see what I did there :-) ) event.

But seriously now, I am currently getting around via Metro & subway & let me tell you it’s not always smooth sailing. One day I had a rehearsal in Burbank at 10am then a casting in a part of Santa Monica that I’ve never been to before in the afternoon. 5 buses later & my day was done covering enough mileage to rival that Marathon I mentioned aabove. I absolutely understand why a car is needed in LA when I have days like that.

However, one of the things I do kind’a like about public transport is the people watching. LA is a hot pot of kooky weird dudes & dudettes many of whom have invisible friends coming along for the ride. A woman sat next to me the other day on the 222 Sun Valley bus & had the most amazing conversation the whole way to Barham Blvd. hardy drawing breath. The thing is though that conversation was not with me!.  I just kept my head down & read my Alexander Technique book.

Something that I can not keep my head down about: a sizable amount of LA femmes, especially Mom’s have a disease…an over-sharing disease whether on the phone or not!…bonding with besties in Ralphs, coffee time at the local Coffee Bean, shopping in Trader Joe’s…..THE WHOLE TIME TALKING AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICE ABOUT THEIR LIVES & HOW IMPORTANT IT IS & THEREFORE TO EVERYBODY ELSE IN EAR-SHOT or CALLING OUT TO LITTLE JOHNNY or JEAN “JOHNNY/JEAN, GET THE KETCHUP WILL YOU?, WHERE ARE YOU?”…..one word: AWFUL!

….Sorry, I just had to get that out….I’m good now :-). But to be fair, I know a lot of LA women who are hot, clever, talented, funny, smart, thoughtful & damn good girls.

So on that note I’ll finish my blurb with a big kiss’n'hug to you all for a lovely Easter & do read on because there’s some cool networking I’ve been up to lately that I want to share with you all.

 

 

 

 

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MARCH/APRIL 2014 EDITION

SWANDAY

A Gathering of Like Minds @ Samuel French on Sunset

I’ve had people say to me that there is no theatre in LA-that’s wrong. Not only is there theatre in LA operating on a number of levels – Co-Op/non-union/union/expenses only/ $100 per show/SAG scale per week + travel/commercial theatre & so it goes; but there is a thriving playwrights community & Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative is at the forefront of development & promoting distinction & good performance writing.

Along with LITTLE BLACK DRESS INK they organized & hosted a truly wonderful Festival of new playwriting on Saturday 29th of March at Samuel French Performing Arts Bookshop…the perfect house for such a wonderful day of readings, networking, discussion & happy mingling between writers, actors, directors, producers & lovers of theatre from the ground up.

It was so well organized & ran very smoothly, with plenty of breaks for chats & networking, refreshments & browsing the bookshelves of Sam French before the next session kicked in.

Check out the day at http://vimeo.com/91755815 ….it was a great day, enjoy.

FPI logo

 

 

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MARCH/APRIL 2014 EDITION

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION BIT

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Written & directed by Massiel Cordero, NOW WAS WHEN is a gem of a short film I’m currently working in for which I’m so very grateful & delighted to be attached to. Massiel’s script is lean & tightly woven with 3 fabulous women roles for 40′s, 50′s & 70 something actresses played by San Diego actor Karen Schuback, LA actor Rhoda Pell & Aussie gal yours truly.

DOP, director & 1st AD  DOP, Director & 1st AD.

We start filming 21st of April with a DOP from Mexico, 1st AD from China, Wardrobe designer from South Africa & Massiel is from the Dominican Republic.

Do check out the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/NOWWASWHEN .

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FEB/MARCH 2014 EDITION

Low Res 2013 HeadShot#3

Legal Alien: Editor’s Viewpoint

It’s raining in Los Angeles – it still is. It has been bone-dry here for many months – something we in Australia know a lot about. So far LA has had more rain in 2 days than it’s had in 13 months.

The nature strips are bouncing back to life and turning green again. The Jasmine  is blooming; the small white ‘Iceberg’ roses so very popular in lots of gardens in LA are already in full bloom and the rain has made them go all droopy and water-logged. But the ground is so rock-hard & dry all this rain is creating flash flooding & mud slides up in the Hills & the more elevated urban areas all around the city.

March marks the onset of Spring & while the middle of the day is quite beautiful, the evenings get down to 10F & its a Desert cold that bites like ice, especially if you get caught outside after 4pm. Walking home along Sunset Blvd. from Master class at Howard Fine Studio last night around 6.15pm I was glad of my hand-knitted vest, long sleeved T-shirt, denim jacket, slacks & boots.

Just up the road is Hollywood Blvd. which in a few days will become the location for the biggest show on earth – the Academy Awards. It is a massive event in the business world of US filmmaking because so many deals are made/formed/re-formed/germinated/pushed/knocked over/re-imagined. Deals are made although no one wants to admit that!, but who are they kidding?.

I do love to watch the show though, the fabulousness of all the actors playing ‘dress-ups’ to the max. with awesome gowns & lavish jewelry; & the men in dinner suits worth thousands’ of dollars. Some of them pull it off, some don’t…who really cares except the trashy magazines & gossip mongers all falling over themselves to get the best most sharpest pics’n'critique into their column & onto News stands ASAP.

Every bit of the awards is a showcase, a Cirque du LaLaLand done with a serious side – honoring excellence in our craft at the highest levels of practice – & a shameless tilt to the glitz’n'glamour that is the very definition of shallow. It is a potent seductive juxtaposition best served if you just give in to it &, like a Disney spinning Tea Cup, sit back & enjoy the ride…preferably in my Dior ball frock from the back of my Limo, with Christal or Dom in hand on the way to the Ceremony & Red Carpet entrance with Tom Selleck on my arm.

However, Life’s hard-core reality checks are never far away here in LA. The plethora of homeless people – young & otherwise – is ever-present if you open your eyes to it. Making ends’ meet is wholly evident in Ralph’s as families squeeze every penny out of their tight budgets & the amount of  TV advertising devoted to Life Insurance/Income Protection/Employment security is very telling about the state of jobs & financial security still hanging like a noose around the neck of working class America. Politically, the battle for raising the minimum wage is raging but it’s a worthy battle that I hope is won because people here just don’t earn a living wage. The economic environment that once supported $6/$7/$8 bucks an hour has gone. Even with 3 jobs, many working people (more so if you have a family) can not afford to live, pay bills & have a decent life. That is the reality.

Don’t get me started on National Health! But I digress. :-)

I went down to Santa Monica for a meeting the other day & it was great to get a dose of sea air. & if it is possible to avoid 3rd Street & go straight to the ocean’s edge do so first. Better still, get your business done first then go for a long walk along the Promenade that extends right up to Venice & beyond if you want it to. But

IMG_20140216_171601_725  Early sunset, Santa Monica Feb 2014

 unless you want to experience the madness & crazy crowds & vendors of that pedestrian strip, don’t go there on the weekends…just sayin’.

As I’m getting more settled now I’ll be out & about seeing Indy theatre productions & some commercial gigs as well.  & yes, there is a theatre scene here in LA although you do have to look for it & have a car to travel at night to areas like North Hollywood, Pasadena, Downtown to the Mark Taper, Santa Monica arts precinct & various other spots on the map that trying to get to at night on a bus or train is a valiant goal but ultimately a fantasy of potentially nightmare proportions.

I’ll also be writing about the professional development & the business of the Business I’m doing here.

So until next Viva Voce Blog, cheers & chookas for any gigs/classes/auditions/jobs you’re doing.

Jane E. xx

 

 

 

 

 

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FEB/MARCH 2014 EDITION

Aust in Film Logo

I attended a screening & discussion of SECRETS & LIES organized by Australians in Film with the Executive Producer Tracey Robertson & director Kate Dennis on the discussion panel. The 40 minute pilot was very well received by a nice turn-out of Aussie actors, writers, directors, & fellow US creatives – I went with Jacinta Marasco, a Melbourne actor I met at Margie Haber Studio in 2009.

I did enjoy the pilot & I can understand why the production has been picked up for a 13 week season being shot in the US with 2 very high profile US actor heading the cast list.

The editing was top-notch, beautifully controlled with a razor sharp ‘eye’ & touch for splicing at the precise moment to keep the narrative moving along without any disengagement from the plot or character arc. Thus contributing in preserving the murder-mystery tension well & truly alive. Bravo.

The setting – Queensland, dripping with humidity, light, sunshine, rainforest greens giving a perfect frame for the parochial domestic landscape & neighborhood where a terrible crime (?) has been committed. Fabulous use of this environment to put us all there, in the moment. Bravo.

That’s just 2 of the elements that have contributed to the success of this project. The evening was moderated by Screen Producers Australia Executive Director Matt Deaner.

Do keep an eye on this production.

 

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