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TV Co-Star: MURDER IN THE FIRST

8 Jul Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

I shot my second TV co-star back in March for the new TNT show “Murder In The First”, and it aired last night (look for a rerun on Sunday!), episode 5, “Pants On Fire”.

Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

I auditioned on a Saturday in March. Yes, you heard me right, I auditioned on a Saturday. It was the day before the Oscars when it was pouring in Los Angeles. My dad was in town to help with my Oscar party and he came along and waited in the car while I went in for my audition. (He brought along a book and even took a short nap!) And while we waited for about an hour, it was a fun hour because all of us waiting on the porch had a good time. We laughed about auditioning on a Saturday and how crazy Angelenos get when it rains. By the time I went into the audition room I was pretty relaxed and was able to just have fun in the room.

I enjoyed the rest of the weekend and then on Monday night I got the news that I was the producers’ choice for the role of Tara and was pinned with the official offer to come on Tuesday afternoon. I was completely stoked and my roommate even said that she figured that either I had been asked out by a really cute guy or I had booked a job. I told her I booked a job 🙂 Until the official offer came through the next afternoon though I didn’t tell anyone else.

The big thing that came out of this job though, was that I joined SAG-AFTRA, the actors union. I had set aside money in a savings account back in 2009 after I moved to Los Angeles so that I would be able to join when the time was right. I had been anxious to become a union member for awhile. I told myself that with the next TV or film booking, no matter what, I would join the union. So on that Monday night I paid off my credit card, printed out all the forms and signed on the dotted line. On Tuesday afternoon I drove down to the Los Angeles headquarters on Wilshire Blvd and turned everything in. For some reason I was expecting it to take a while but it was the simplest thing I’d ever done and I left there with a big smile on my face.

SAG-AFTRA headquarters on Wilshire Blvd

SAG-AFTRA headquarters on Wilshire Blvd

The following Monday afternoon I drove to the set in Glendale and had my wardrobe fitting. They had pulled a number of items for me to try on. Dresses, skirts and blouses, and various cardigans and shoes. The first dress I put on was my favorite and was hoping I would find it hanging in my trailer the next morning.

Murder In The First wardrobe

The dress I was hoping to wear! Yay!

Murder In The First wardrobe

My shoes. Super comfy!

My alarm went off at just after 4:30am Tuesday morning. I had a 5:30am call time and lucky for me the studio was about a 12 minute drive away. I’m glad I didn’t have to do my hair or make-up, as I was barely awake when I left my apartment just after 5am. I arrived on set and after some wrong directions by a security guard, I called the AD and he directed me back to where I was supposed to park. (Always make sure you have your AD’s cell phone with you on your way to set!) A couple of lovely PAs (who I have great empathy for since they had to be there at 5am) showed me to my trailer and there hanging inside was the dress I was so hoping for! Yay!

Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

That’s me!

Murder In The First wardrobe

It’s the little details that matter. I loved my broach!

I asked where I could get a cup of coffee and some breakfast and they pointed me in the direction of the catering truck, however they said I had to go directly to hair and make-up, but they would bring me whatever I wanted. I must admit, I felt a little silly having someone bring me breakfast, but I was very excited when they handed me a large cup of coffee and a delicious omelette as I sat getting my hair done.

murder in the first

Getting my hair done and feeling like a star

I’ve never been good at doing my own hair, as it never seems to listen to me, but the pros have always made it look so effortless. I loved my hair with all the curls and they stayed until I woke up the next morning! I loved my make-up too! I felt like I needed to go out for the night after I wrapped, lol.

Sarah Allyn Bauer

My hair is all done and I’m ready for my make-up!

The sky was just starting to turn a light grey when I walked back to my trailer to change and get a second cup of coffee. At about 7am, me and the three other actors in the scene (including Richard Schiff from “The West Wing”!) were loaded into a van and driven to the restaurant that we were shooting at. We met the director, Allison Anders, who was absolutely lovely and great to work with. We ran through the blocking of the scene and then they started shooting. They shot from multiple angles, and one of my lines was cut to help the scene move smoothly.

Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

I’m ready for my close-up!

On location in Glendale shooting "Murder In The First".

On location in Glendale shooting “Murder In The First”.

Allison was really kind after we wrapped and came up to me and wanted to make sure I knew that we didn’t cut the line because of me, but because of how the scene was now flowing with the way the restaurant was set up. I thought that was very sweet of her and it made me feel very much a part of the show, even for just the 30 seconds you’ll see me.

Murder In The First Co-Stars

Me and my co-stars waiting for the next take!

Sarah Allyn Bauer as TaraSarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First

I’m all wrapped on “Murder In The First”!

I was wrapped and leaving the set at about 9:30am, just four short hours after I had arrived. Everyone I worked with that day were absolute pros and lovely to work with. The prop guys even said I could take the food with me if I wanted to, LOL! (I didn’t.) All in all it was a fabulous morning, and I slept so well that night. As I write this I just hope I didn’t get cut! hahaha! Hope you enjoyed the episode nonetheless! Until next time!

Sarah Allyn Bauer as Tara on Murder In The First selfie

A post shoot selfie and ready for a night on the town!

We’re No Heroes Monologue Show

17 Jan We're No Heroes, Eclectic Company Theatre

Eclectic Company TheatreI love starting my year off acting. Like last year I did the One-Day Play extravaganza once again! (See the photo below of me in action.) And it was a blast! This year, I was asked to be a part of Eclectic Company Theatre’s writers group in their monologue show at the end of January. I quickly said yes since I love the director Taylor Ashbrook, and I would be performing a monologue by one of my favorite writers from ECT, Chelsea Sutton. There are 9 monologues total, all written by members of the writers group: Taylor Ashbrook, Laura Lee Bahr, Mark Bate, Niki Blumberg, Jeff Folschinsky, Sean M. Kozma, Ken Patton and Tyler Tanner. The actors (who include a couple of the writers) include: Taylor Ashbrook, Paul Duffy, Fuz Edwards, Sean Kozma, Ann Simmons, Tyler Tanner, Jonathon Trent, Carolyn Wilson. Some of the monologues are from plays they had written and some written especially for the show. There are funny ones, sentimental ones, and a couple that really make you reflect on life.

Eclectic Company Theatre One Day Play

I played Veronica Mars in the first half and then Josephine the Camel in the second half.

It was a fast rehearsal process. We had about 10 days to memorize and work through some blocking and minor tech with only 3 actual rehearsals. The monologues range from less than a page to almost three pages. Mine landed at just over two pages. And while I cursed Chelsea’s name the first few days of memorization (sorry Chelsea, you know I really do love you), I knew it would come because I memorize a play in 12 hours every year on New Year’s Eve, and for this I had 10 days, so no problem!

Actors have to stay active. We can’t rely on getting a TV or film gig every other week to keep us going. So while we wait for those opportunities to come in we “stay in shape” by doing theatre, taking classes, and just getting together with friends and working out our acting muscles. Doing this monologue show has been a lot of fun and it’s exciting to do a whole story in a mere 8 minutes. I really like Marley (my character). She’s my age and is experiencing what most 20-somethings go through as they near the dreaded age of 30: a slight panic of “what the f*&@ am I doing with my life?!”. And while I feel lucky that I don’t work in a fast food joint, I feel her pain (and panic). Chelsea captured that without making it a sad and depressing. It’s a very funny piece and I’m lucky that I’m the girl who gets to bring her to life for the first time.

If you’re in Los Angeles I hope you can join us. There are only 4 performances: Friday and Saturday January 17, 18,  24 and 25 at 9pm at Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91607. It’s Pay What You Can so come by and enjoy a fun night of theatre that you’ll never have the chance to see again! Running time is approximately 65 minutes. And be sure to follow my Instagram account to see photos posted from the event!

We're No Heroes, Eclectic Company Theatre

We’re No Heroes

The Audition

1 Nov

Every actor anxiously awaits the email/call from our representation telling us we have an audition. We print the sides, go watch an episode (or 3), then study the lines till our eyes hurt. If we’re lucky we get 2 days to prepare. More often than not we get a day, well, more like a night…and maybe a morning if we don’t have work. And every now and then you get the same-day audition notice. (Those are the ones that you hope you have a flexible job.)

waiting by the phone

As I stated in my recent post about my first TV co-star, there are six different roles you can be cast in for TV: series regular, recurring guest star, guest star, recurring co-star, co-star, or extra. (There is also a term called Under 5, which means the role has less than 5 lines.) For film you can be lead/principal, supporting, featured or an extra. Depending on what role you’re going out for depends on how many pages you are given as sides. I’ve had everything from just reactions (which I was cast in for “Masters of Sex”), to one or two lines to three pages of dialogue. I’ve had anywhere from five hours of prep to five days!

audition sides

What typical audition sides look like.

After we’ve done all the prep work we can, including picking out just the right outfit, and figuring out where the casting office is (especially when it’s our first time there), we fight traffic (and yes, there is always traffic in Los Angeles so don’t use it as an excuse), then spend another 10 minutes (or more) trying to park so we don’t get a ticket if it’s on the street. If we’re lucky we get to park in a designated lot. Hopefully the office itself isn’t too hard to find, but it’s one reason you give yourself a little extra time. I went to an audition just the other day and the security guard gave me directions, but they ended up being wrong. Fortunately I was only lost for about 2 minutes, lol.

actor sign in sheetWe sign in to the audition, then wait patiently for our name to be called. We look around the room of other actors that look eerily like ourselves and try to concentrate on our own prep work. Or it’s a room of people who look 180 degrees different from us and we fight back the voice in our head saying, “You’re not going to get this, you’re not what they’re looking for obviously.” Even if you’re the only skinny, short blonde in a room full of tall brunettes, you still go in and do your best work because casting called you in and wants to see YOU. You were chosen out of over 1000 actors (depending on the role, it could be many, many more) to read, so take advantage of the opportunity to ACT and be seen by casting.

Once the audition is done, we leave, going through every second of the audition in our head. Wondering if we did a good job, thinking we should have said something a different way, or kicking ourselves for flubbing a line. Then we have to do the hardest thing ever: forget all about the audition. Dwelling on auditions will only make actors go more crazy than we already are. We can’t go back and change anything we did, nor will thinking about it all day magically make us get the part. So we allow ourselves a few minutes to think about it and then have to forget all about it. We go running, go back to our day jobs, work on other projects, anything to get our minds away from the audition. If we book it-great! If not, oh well, we got to act for a few minutes out of the day and we should be excited for that.

Actor Audition Sign

So if your actor friends don’t want to talk about their auditions, don’t take it personally, they’re just trying to get ready for the next one. And now you know a little bit of what an actor goes through for a first audition.

My First TV Co-Star Part 2

18 Oct Sarah Allyn Bauer, Masters of Sex

Continued from Part 1

This first day of shooting also happened to be the same day that another client of my manager was shooting another new Showtime show “Ray Donovan”. Stacy Arnell arrived just before my lunch break and stopped by to say hello. So after I ate I wandered over to her set and found her in make-up and hair and we chatted for a bit. I did some more wandering around the Sony lot before making my way back to the MOS set. She came back to visit me while she was waiting to shoot and we took a quick photo to send to our manager.

Stacy Arnell and Sarah Allyn Bauer

Stacy Arnell and I after she finished hair and make-up for “Ray Donovan”

Sarah Allyn Bauer, Masters of Sex

All dressed and ready to go to set!

I ended up sitting in my trailer until about 7pm (I finished my book that I had brought and played enough Angry Birds that I had to charge my cell phone) when I was finally called to set. Julie and Norma were on set and gave me a touch up while I waited. We also were given dinner. When I took my place, the director talked me through the scene: they were shooting me from behind first while the series leads, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, did their speech. They did this with two other actors, then released Michael and Lizzy, reset the cameras and I got ready for my close-up. We did three different takes and then I was released. Super easy and super fun. It was almost 10pm by the time I was changed and leaving set. I was given my call time for the next day (12:30pm-yay!) and I drove home exhausted, but very happy.

Dinner is served for day 2!

Dinner is served for day 2!

In order to save time for day 2, Norma asked me to sleep in my hair. Before I left on Wednesday evening she pinned it up and told me to sleep with it covered. So when I got to set Thursday she removed her pins and freshened up my hair and it was as good as day 1. She’s amazing. Julie did my make-up again, which was fabulous once again.

1950s hair

Loved how my hair came out!

Sarah Allyn Bauer, Masters of Sex

My character was married so they even gave me a ring.

While they had initially thought they would shoot me before lunch, they ended up breaking for lunch before my scene. I had brought a new book with me and hung out in my trailer after lunch and went to set around 5pm. Day 2 happened to be Valentine’s Day, so the hair and make-up department had got the Coolhaus ice cream truck to come to the set. Wahoo! So while I was waiting to shoot my scene, one of the PAs went and got me a bowl of ice cream so I wouldn’t miss anything (best PA ever!!!). Everyone on that set was so wonderful.

Coolhaus ice cream

Coolhaus ice cream for Valentine’s Day

My final scene was shot a few different ways. The scene contained some nudity so they used what is called a closed set. And I can’t commend everyone there more for their professionalism. I knew what I was getting into when I auditioned, but when the boom operator (the guy who holds the mike) even turns away during shooting I felt very well taken care of.

A lot of my friends were shocked that I chose to be topless and some said I was brave to do it. I have always been of the mind that there are two kinds of nudity: the kind that furthers the story so you don’t even realize it’s happening, and the kind that has a young girl running through a forest naked from an axe murderer just so we can see a young girl naked. (There’s also the Lena Dunham nudity, but that’s a whole other post.) I’m okay with the first, but not the latter. And I know that every actor has their own feelings toward doing nudity, it’s a personal choice and one that no actor should ever be pressured into. For a show like “Masters of Sex” though, it just felt right. Americans tend to be prudish about sex, and watching the first few episodes of MOS I can’t believe that those studies actually happened, and in the 1950s no less! No similar studies have happened since and I don’t know if there would be any decade since then that they could have happened.

The set for the secretary pool on "Masters of Sex"

The set for the secretary pool on “Masters of Sex”

I was wrapped and back in my own clothes by 7pm. I left the Sony lot feeling like a million bucks. The entire process, from the casting session with Risa, to the on set PAs like Mona, the hair and make-up crew, the boom operator, the director Jennifer Getzinger, everyone had a great attitude, was professional, and a lot of fun to spend my time with. I look forward to the next job I book, but it will be hard to beat the 2 days I spent at Stage 27 on the Sony Lot.

Stage 27, where MOS shoots

Stage 27, where MOS shoots

Sony Pictures Studio

Heading home after 2 wonderful days of shooting.

Sarah Allyn Bauer, Masters of Sex

On set of “Masters of Sex”!

*Please note that “Masters of Sex” is rated TVMA and is for mature audiences only.*

My First TV Co-Star Part 1

16 Oct

Last February I was cast in my first TV role. (Yes I screamed my head off.) The show was “Masters of Sex” for Showtime and was slated to premiere in the fall. It was a small role, what’s called a co-star. (My episode is slated to show this Sunday, October 20th at 10pm, following Homeland.)

MASTERS OF SEX

In television there are six different roles you could be cast in: series regular, recurring guest star, guest star, recurring co-star, co-star, or extra. (There is also a term called Under 5, which means the role has less than 5 lines.) While every actor dreams of having a series regular role, we all start at the bottom with co-star roles. These are the small roles that are usually a few lines that are only needed for one or two days of shooting. You’re lucky if you get a name, usually it’s “Nurse” or “Skater Boy”. For me I would be “Young Woman” in Episode 4, and it was some of the best 2 days of my Los Angeles acting life.

That's me!

That’s me!

I auditioned on a Thursday afternoon for Risa Bramon Garcia (the casting director), received a call the next afternoon from my manager that I was booked and was scheduled to shoot the following week on Wednesday and Thursday. I also had a Monday morning appointment with wardrobe. I arrived on the Sony lot and followed the directions the security person had given me and ended up in the basement of one of the buildings. The room was filled with so many period pieces my eyes widened and all I thought about while I waited my turn was that my friend Mary would have a field day in there!

Sony Lot

Welcome to Sony!

Everyone was really nice and I was ushered into the dressing room where they had pulled a dress (and period undergarments-way cool!) for me to try on. She came back with shoes, a purse, and a pink ribbon to serve as a sash. She made a few adjustments and I was done. They were excited that I fit in the dress they had dubbed the “pink saucer dress”. It was a favorite of theirs and they had been looking forward to the day they could finally use it. I was happy to oblige!

1950s wardrobe

A close-up of my dress.

On Tuesday morning I received a call from the AD with an estimated call time the next morning of 6:00am. He told me it would probably change as the day progressed. Change it did. A little after 8:30pm I received the final call sheet and my new call time was 9:30am. I was looking forward to not getting up at 4am.

The Sony lot is located in Culver City, and on a good day (ie. no traffic) it takes about 30 minutes to get there from Glendale. During morning rush hour I left just before 8am to be on the safe side. I arrived on set and found a PA (production assistant) to check in with. Mona showed me to my dressing room, which was one-third of a trailer, or honeywagon, as they are called. My dress was hanging on the door and my shoes, purse and nylons were sitting on the counter. It was my own space, and for a quick minute I felt a little like a movie star.

My dressing room.

My dressing room.

1950s wardrobe

The Pink Saucer Dress was waiting for me in my dressing room

After dropping my stuff I found my way over to the make-up and hair trailer. One of the things that I was looking forward to was getting my hair and make-up done not only by professionals, but it would be period, ie. 1950s. I sat in the chair and a lovely woman came over and introduced herself as Norma Lee and started working on my hair. Before she could finish putting my hair in curlers however, Mona came into the trailer to let me know that my scene had  been pushed to later in the afternoon so there was no rush to get me done.

Hair and Make-Up

While my curls were setting Julie did my make-up.

It was nice to just relax while someone did my hair and then later my make-up. And my make-up artist was fabulous! Her name is Julie Hewett and she’s so good she even has her own line of make-up. One of the tidbits I learned while there was that on some of the movies she worked on she created a specific color for the lead actress and then named it after them. (Way cool!) She was an amazing artist and was great to talk with while waiting (which turned out to be quite a while) throughout the shoot days.

Julie Hewett Make-Up

After getting hair and make-up done I relaxed for a bit and then changed into my pink saucer dress, expecting to be called to set before lunch. I wandered over to the set and checked out craft services and also got to see what everything looked liked. By the time lunch was called though I still hadn’t shot my scene. Mona knocked on my trailer (man that sounds so Hollywood, LOL) and said we had an hour for lunch and my scene would be shot after. So I grabbed lunch and talked with some of the other actors on set. I think this was the first time in my life I wasn’t going crazy not doing anything. For once I was able to relax and just be there. Plus it was a gorgeous day in Los Angeles!

To be continued…

*Please note that “Masters of Sex” is rated TVMA and is for mature audiences only.*

Craft Services

Craft services, a place actors love but hate too. The food just calls to us…

Lunch by craft services!

Lunch by craft services!

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