This is a re-post of my Backstage Take 5 column from June 2008
June 1, 2008
by Nicole Kristal
In May, our actors geared up for union membership, read around in this year’s unusual pilot season, stealth-networked at parties, and learned some ‘Idol’ lessons.
I’ve Got a Golden Ticket — Two, Actually: June is already here, which means the year is halfway over and it’s time to look back at the goals I set for myself in January. One was to become SAG-eligible. This happened last month when I was hired to work two days as background, securing the last two vouchers I needed. It was also my first time working on a sound stage in L.A. There I was, working on a dead body, surrounded by three well-known actors on one of the top-rated procedurals of all time. I was totally playing it cool on the outside but inside was as giddy as a schoolgirl. At one point one of the series regulars said, “Do we have a show on tonight? How cool is that: We’re on TV and we’re making TV at the same time.” Now I won’t give away names, but it was awesome to see someone who has been in the business for almost 30 years and still has that kind of love for what he’s doing. I have waited a long time to join the fraternity of SAG actors and am thrilled to now have that opportunity.
Beefing up my demo reel is also a goal for this year. I was asked to help a friend screen-test for a feature for which she is being considered. We shot a fully produced scene with an amazing professional crew. Our work is still with the editor, but I am confident it will be a nice addition to what I have. Also as part of this shoot, I worked with and was directed by a top acting coach who has many students currently working in television and film. It was quite surreal.
I volunteer at the SAG Foundation. It recently hosted a panel — featuring Margie Haber, Gary Zuckerbrod, Marc Bass, and others. In response to the question “What is one characteristic that you look for in potential clients?” Bass, president of Marc Bass Agency, answered, without hesitation, “Training.” He added that as professional actors in Los Angeles, we are “Olympic athletes in this profession” and therefore must approach our training as such. To go to a class once a week or once a month is not going to cut it. Hearing this was confirmation that I am doing the right thing by getting back into scene work on a daily basis. It’s exhausting, but I’m sure Michael Phelps gets tired too.
This month I was brought in to read for a sitcom pilot, did some chemistry reads for a lead in a short film, and was cast in an original play called Refuge From the Storm. The play opens June 27 at the Actors Group theatre in North Hollywood. It’s a great script, and I am looking forward to creating this role and working with each person in our cast.
Run Baby, Run
As if my schedule is not packed enough, my wife and I began training for the Disneyland half-marathon, which is Aug. 31. We joined the Train to End Stroke program sponsored through the American Stroke Association. In September 2006 my grandfather passed away from complications related to several strokes. This race is for Paw Paw.