thi.nguyen

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god i suck at auditions!

ok, today was “work on my craft day”.  i was motivated after a mediocre audition. ugh.  i know i can do better but when you’re encircled by critical eyes, bright light shining on you and the camera is rolling, everything i learned about cold reads went out the window.  out the window.  i’m stumbling over the lines, i’m not reacting when the reader is reading his lines.  i moved too much, i tried too hard, and kept my eyes down on the page.  why?  cuz i was nervous! as much as i want to be an actress and i strive for it, i still get nervous.  i get stage fright.  and to think, i thought i was better than these guys.  the thing was, i’ve been to this exact audition before, with the same people at the same place for the same role.  but the last time, i didn’t audition.  i walked out because i knew that they had no idea what they were doing.
i walk in the audition, and basically it’s one big room.  a bunch of girls are waiting in these fold out chairs.  there’s fruit, snacks, and water bottles spread out on a table.  and the people running the show are stalling.  no camera is set up, no light is set up, not enough copies of the script are out either.  there were about 30 girls auditioning at the same time.  there were no time slots but first come first serve.  and since it’s all one big room, we get to watch each other’s audition.  ugh.  here’s another thing, i was up for a spunky asian lesbian girl role.  there were 3 other people in that room up for this role.  and the rest, 25 something other white girls up for the white lesbian role.  but the guy running the show said that they were going to see the girls for the other role first because there was more of them.  really?  why not see my role first since there’s less of us??!!  not only that but it was supposed to start at 1:30pm, but the guy says, “oh we’re giving you girls more time, so we’re going to start at 2:30pm.” really?? so i come in at 1:30pm and am expected to wait until god knows when for my 5 minute audition?? really?  i left by 1:50pm.  NOT WORTH IT. i remember thinking to myself, if they were to do this shit in los angeles, they would get eaten alive!

so i walked out and didn’t think i would hear from them ever again.  but i did.  a few weeks later, i get another request to audition.  but this time they put on the audition note, that each audition were to take 5 minutes and that we were expected to come in for our given time.  WOW! they knew they were dumb and improved a full 180.  i walked into my audition today and was satisfied with the set up.  yes it was the same big room, but they had a divider to section off the waiting room and the actual audition room.  the camera was on, the lights were set, and it was as professional as i would expect it to be.  the only thing that was off was that they didn’t ask me to slate.  instead they asked me what i liked about the character i was up for.  i said i liked how she was spunky and asian (ugh could i be any more racist?) and that i could relate to her because i’m asian.

alright, so it was a humbling experience today because here i was thinking i was better than them.  i’ve been to so many auditions that i knew how to set up one when they didn’t.  but when they fixed their error, they leveled the playing field.  and then it was my turn to show them what i had.  so much pressure!  first off, no where in the character’s description said that she was asian.  i only assumed because i only saw asian girls up for the role.  nevertheless, to highlight such a thing totally contradicts what i’ve said and thought about asian roles in the media (my views on asian roles will be in the next post).  second, i didn’t know the lines very well and kept reading off the page.  when i didn’t read off the script, i was stumbling over the lines.  when i was reacting, i reacted too much and went off my mark.  blegh.

with such a bad audition, i came home to record myself auditioning.  i recorded myself reading monologues and doing speeches to just see what other people see.  it was hard to watch because i’m my biggest critic and i cringe to see my face on the screen.  i have fat cheeks.  normally i would immediately delete the videos but i’m keeping them to keep track of my progress.  these in a sense are the before shots.  i’m going to practice and record myself for each practice so that i can see what i need to work on (such as stillness, enunciation, reaction, cold reads) and to actually see if i improve on them or not.  i must and will work on my craft.  i have big dreams but it’s nothing without the work ethic.  and no more sucky auditions!


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antsy.

so i was talking to my friend about how me A is tired of me B, etc etc, and i posed the question: “how do i get space from myself?” to her. she said a couple of things: #1 that i sounded schizo and #2 that she just didn’t have time to think of these things. she was busy with work and her bf, that the thought never really came up. with point #1 she put me on the defense and i explained myself through ethan hawke’s character in before sunset. in the movie, he says:

I know what you mean about wishing somebody else wasn’t there. It’s just, usually, it’s myself that I wish I could get away from. Seriously, think about this. I have never been anywhere that I haven’t been. I’ve never had a kiss when I wasn’t one of the kissers. You know, I’ve never gone to the movies when I wasn’t there in the audience. I’ve never been out bowling if I wasn’t there making some stupid joke. 

I think that’s why so many people hate themselves. Seriously. It’s just they are sick to death of being around themselves. Let’s say that you and I were together all the time. You’d start to hate a lot of my mannerisms. The way, the way every time that we would have people over I’d be insecure, and I’d get a little too drunk. Or the way I tell the same stupid, pseudo-intellectual story again and again. You see I’ve heard all those stories so of course I’m sick of myself. 
But being with you it’s made me feel like I was somebody else. I mean the only other way to lose yourself like that is, you know, dancing or alcohol or drugs, or stuff like that.

with point #2, i acknowledged that she was right, and really her point reiterated the last part of the monologue. her distraction is work and her bf. i have neither, thus i was feeling this way. so i’ve decided to find my own distractions. work and bf will come when they come, but in the mean time, i’ve made up my mind to make working out a routine, to read everyday, and to do things that will hone my craft: writing this blog, looking for monologues, looking for auditions, watching inside the actor’s studio, studying great actors in their most dramatic or comedic roles, etc. i have many long term goals, but without the daily tasks and commitment towards those goals, i’ll never achieve superstardom.

so i was looking over past emails, and found an email to myself 3 years ago. i haven’t changed. here’s the email:

Goals:
1. to be proud of wanting to be an actor (to stop being in denial of my ambition)
2. to work on my craft through a dramatic and comedic monologue
3. to work on a cover letter, resume, and head shots

Progess:
1. I have been admitting my ambition to people without regret or shame (read journal).
2. I have been looking for some monologues through the Arts Library, but still haven’t found one that I like enough yet.
3. I have done a rough draft of a cover letter and resume. I have also found a photographer and will be taking pictures at the end of May.

Journal:
Coming to the end of my college career, I realize that I am at the same spot I was 4 years ago. I still don’t know what I want to do with life. Actually, I do know, I always knew. I just never wanted to admit it. However, the realization that my ambition of being an actor still haunts my mind tells me that I can’t deny it any longer. There’s still a part of me that thinks it’s a pipe dream, so unrealisitic and childish. Part of me wants to grow out of it. That part of me took over for a long time, spurring me to find other ambitions, other venues to make a career for myself. Instead of taking drama or trying out for the school plays in high school, I did water polo and swimming, sports that didn’t require tryouts and looked good for college. Maybe I didn’t have the self-esteem to tryout for anything because I was always afraid of rejection, of failure. I did everything but acting in high school, clubs, honor courses, and sports. I did well at whatever I did, but I never felt a passion for any of it. My only motivation was to get into a good college. I wanted to get into UCLA. Why? In my mind, LA was where I could pursue my acting dream while hiding behind the good name it had. I didn’t have to tell people what I wanted to do with my life … yet, so I told everyone that I didn’t know and that UCLA would help me. Too bad it didn’t. I was a mass communication’s major because it was the most eclectic major there, picking and choosing, trying out different classes, trying to find something (other than acting) that would strike my fancy. It only did the opposite because the jobs in that field (public relations, publicist, manager, etc) catored to actors and entertainers. I didn’t want to plan the scene, I wanted to be the scene!! I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR DAMNIT! Without any motivation to go further academically and without the passion for anything else, I can finally admit to myself that I want to be an actor. Now to admit it to everyone else and to let them know that I’m serious about it.



One of my best friends made me realize that because I never took acting seriously, he doesn’t take me serious about being an actor. I was stressing over my dismal financial situation when my friend was trying to comfort me. He said, “it’s easy to find a job,” in which I replied, “but I don’t want any of those jobs, you know what I want to do.” He then said, “but thi, you have to grow up and take responsibility. you’re not special, so just get a serious job, be responsible, pay off your debts and then do the acting thing when are serious about it.” What he said not only hurt but offended me. It lowered my self-esteem (you’re not special) and it pose a question in my head, “why can’t acting be the thing that pays my debts? why can’t acting be the serious job?” This ultimately led me to realize that he didn’t think I was serious about acting, but this wasn’t his fault. It was mine, all those years of brushing it aside, it was hard to admit that I wanted to be serious about it. I just shut my mouth and said he was right.

Today I was trying too hard. I threw away all the things I had learned in the past. It was just a cold read, but because I was so nervous, I kept letting other people perform ahead of me. And then when I realized I was one of the last to go on, I thought to myself, because I had waited this long, I should memorize the script. Because I rushed myself to do so, I was not confident when it was my turn and I fell apart. This experience made me realize that I have to be calm, keep going, never break character, and apply what I have learned (glancing at the script, you don’t have to memorize, stay still if it’s a close-up, no hand motions). I had learned all this with my other acting class, and it had all gone out the window when I made myself memorize something I didn’t have to. My focus was off and I studied the wrong things. However, with this out of the way, I can only improve right? 

to be fair, i have made more progress than 3 years ago. i do have my headshots and i am on my way to get a set of new ones with a different photographer (jazzing it up, the past photographer was great, just want to explore different styles). i have some copy of student projects for my reel. i have photos from past productions and pritns to build my website before i go to la. i’m planning to go to la. i’m telling more people that i want to be an actor and i’m not as ashamed of it as i once was 4 years ago. i’ve gotten an agent. i’m not scared anymore. i’m just antsy! i need to get this shit started!


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reflection

who is that girl i see staring back right at me? hahaha.  a good friend of mine sung that to me after i got a big makeover from my friends. omg so after vegas (went to vegas and had a good time btw) with the makeovers and the michelle phan makeup videos, i started experiencing with the limited make up i had.  i also i have an empty apartment so i was more inclined to paint myself into a clown.  i’m really interested in replicating the smokey come hither look.  the makeup that mila kunis had on during the sag awards.  or misa’s makeup for her westfield prints.  i love the black eyeshadow, mascara, and liner.  but alas, i didn’t have any black/gray eyeshadow nor did i learn how to apply from those damn phan videos, couldn’t sit through them.  blegh, i tried my best with what i had and got an ok look.  but after comparing to the looks i saw online and then looking at myself via my webcam, i found myself looking very foolish, almost like a kid trying on her mom’s slutty make up.  gross right?

i don’t know what it is lately, perhaps i’ve been having too much time on my hands where it just leads me to over-think and over-criticize myself, but damn, i can’t stand myself right now.  how i look, how i act, how i am! with the restaurant being extremely slow and my friends being so busy with deadlines, i find myself hanging out with myself a lot.  A LOT.  too much of anything is not good and i’m with myself 24 hours every fucking day.  bleeeghh.  the more i look at myself, i find more imperfections:  my cheeks are too fat, my hair is too flat, my tummy fat sticking out, etc etc.  i dont necessarily feel depressed or insecure, but it’s more like me A is tired of hanging out with me B. consequently me B is trying way too hard to be in me A’s good graces again, by working out and trying to minimize that muffin top.  that shit doesn’t go in a day and A is still annoyed.

what does this have to do with my budding career?  yesterday i was recalling some of my past auditions, especially the bad ones and one of them stuck out in my mind because i realized that i had TRIED TOO HARD.  it’s kind of like that kid in high school that really wants to be cool and is super duper overly accommodating to the cool kids that it’s sad and pathetic.  i was that kid at that audition! it ruined my nerves and it made me lose a call back.  what happened? so it was a callback for a karaoke video game. me and 4 other girls were auditioning at the same time.  after we each slated we also had to show our hands (hands that use the controllers you know).  that kinda weirded me out because it was my first time slating my hands.  i wasn’t prepared for it and needless to say neither were my hands (i’ve never had a manicure).  alright then they set up the scene.  i’m holding a water bottle and staring at a blank tv screen.  the girls are cheering me on and i’m singing them a song.  the only song i know is “can’t take my eyes off of you”.  i sang it for my first audition and got a call back, so since it worked, i sang it again with this audition.  buuut, i was sooo strung out wanting so much to impress the director, i sang the song grossly wrong.    the line was supposed to be: “can’t take my EYES off of you” (seriously it’s in the title) but i said, “can’t take my HANDS off of you.”  i’m singing acapella, at the top of my lungs, and you could seriously hear a pin drop after i sang that line.  there was such an awkward millisecond silence, where the girls and i locked eyes and we knew i fucked up.  ugh.  what’s more, we had to do a pseudo interview with the director.  he asks, so i hear you beat your bf on call of duty last night?  all the girls answered, “yea, no problem, it was so easy.”  where i got super awkward and said, “yea, i don’t know how it happened, i just pointed my gun and shot him.  i mean call of duty isn’t even my favorite game, sing star (the name of the game) is my favorite!”  so not only did i sound morbid and weird, but i was constantly plugging in the game which = TRYING TOO HARD.  so fortunately me A recognizes that me B is being stupid and should just be cool.  be cool in the sense of calming down, lightening up and just be free to go left or right.  j/k be free to be me, the typical ending to any after school special.  but that’s what it is! the cool kids in middle school, and high school were cool because they were comfortable being themselves.  they were confident.  i didn’t get this epiphany until sophomore year of hs where i got rid of my glasses and got contacts.  and i guess recently i’ve forgotten this lesson.

but as superficial as it may sound, i did gain confidence after i felt i looked better.  now that i’ve had contacts for so long and i’ve been looking at myself in the mirror so often these days, i feel like i’m ugly again.  so i put on makeup.  it’s an improvement but comparatively to the looks online and in the media, i’m still not marketable.  bleeeeghh, what to do?  how do i get space from myself??