Category Archives: Call-back

Bullet: The Back Story

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Last night, our agent, Larry Corsa, posted this announcement, which captures the significance of the last few weeks in its simplest form:

Bex Taylor-Klaus, an 18-year-old newcomer from Atlanta has come to LA and landed the very edgy role of Bullet on the new season of The Killing, the AMC hit that is returning for its third go-round.  To characterize the role as quirky is an understatement, and it will be an instant attention grabber.  Bex is repped by Thomas Richards at the Corsa Agency and Susan Curtis of Curtis Talent Management.

That’s right, folk, Bex got a gig! A really good gig! But let me back up.

The_Killing-imbd_coverIt’s definitely hard to capture, in words, the intensity of the last few weeks. I’ve always said that Bex lives fully on the edges of life – the highs are high and the lows are low. The last couple of weeks resemble that remark. Here’s how the drama played out.

A couple of weeks ago, things were a mixed bag in LA land. Life was rocky at school, the dastardly sinus infections had returned…but the auditions in 2013 were consistent, and Bex was doing great — with about 75% of her auditions leading to call-backs.

Two weeks ago, I surprised Bex on a Friday afternoon. Sometimes, David and I realized, a kid just needs her mama on the ground. I was in her apartment when she returned from her call-back audition at “The Killing.” She was pretty excited. After the first scene, someone had said, audibly, “whoa!” After the second scene, she heard it again, “Whoa!” Apparently, that’s not very common in LA casting rooms.

In less than an hour, the phone rang. Our manager, Susan, called so say, “they loved you.” Nice way to start the weekend, for sure.

The next day went as a typical LA Saturday might—Acting Class on Sat. morning with Loren Chadima, a Beach Party for Bex in Santa Monica on Sat. Night.

But Sunday morning, Jan. 27th, was the start of something special – it was the official start of Bex’s professional career as a working actor. Her first paying LA job was a table read of Larry Carpenter and Shane Alexander’s The Freedom Machine. And she absolutely LOVED it. She was comfortable, in her element, and attentive to her craft.

While it was purely coincidental that I was in town for her first gig, it was a treat to be able to be there to celebrate the milestone. Who knew that it would just be the icing on the cake that was my trip!

On Monday, things started to hop, and they’ve been jumping ever since! First, we learn that Bex is the top pick for the part of Bullet. Somewhere between medical appointments and a commercial call-back audition, Thomas and Susan tried to explain what was happening – and what the process would be from that point forward. Apparently, the studio had approved Bex for the role, and now it needed to go to the network. It wasn’t a sure thing, but she’d never gotten this close, before… and it was possible that she was the only real choice for the role. If she got the role, she’d have to live in Vancouver for the filming.  WOW!

Meanwhile, I have a meeting with the Head of School at Bridges, Carl Sabatino, to try to figure out how to help Bex finish High School successfully. With this new possibility of Vancouver on the horizon – and no permission to talk about it freely, much less count on it – it definitely required some creativity to figure out how to academically play to Bex’s strengths (Bridges’ mission)! Carl was incredibly helpful and receptive, and we set a plan for him to meet with the Academic Dean and Bex’s guidance counselor to figure out what it would take to help Bex finish school. Just 3 ½ credits shy of a diploma, its amazing what a distance that can be! But they figured it out, and Bex is excited about doing an Independent Study of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” Now THAT’s what I call setting her up for success and making her learning applicable to her career!

Anyway, the week continued with news coming in fits and spurts. It turns out that, though the role is a series regular, she would only be guaranteed 7 of the episodes. And she’d have to find a place to live in Vancouver. And, and…

The week was spent with negotiations, and waiting, with occasional calls and check-ins along the way as Thomas and Susan busily negotiated a contract with the network. I wanted her to have a tutor so she could finish High School – not guaranteed, because she’s 18 – but we can try to work it out when she got there. What about attending her High School graduation? Will depend on filming schedule. Back and forth all week — constant state of heightened anxiety. Auditions continued.

Friday night we got a call saying the negotiations were complete. WOW. Contract arrived, but we were told to wait until Monday – there could be a few more improvements.

The contract and its addendum covers all sorts of things, like specifying her “first-class” dressing room (and its appointments), and airline tickets, and use of her image, and how her name will appear on the screen, etc. Lots of nuance.

We are Incredibly GRATEFUL for Thomas and Susan! Not only did they negotiate a great arrangement for Bex, but they did it with a clear understanding of where she is in her career (she’s new at this and needs to pay union dues and join the union!), and where she’s going (what happens now will influence what happens on the next contract).

The negotiating process is fascinating, for sure.  This was an exceptional situation – Bex is always the exception, not the rule – because it was pretty apparent that Bex was really the person they wanted for the role. But since she’s got no credits, it made for an interesting dance!

Monday we were all atwitter – should we sign what we’ve got? Should we wait?

We finally got a contract for Bex to sign (remember, she’s 18, so it’s hers to sign, not ours!), and she got it scanned and sent in on Monday night (which, for those of you superstitious Eastern European Jews out there, we decided would be acceptable because it was already Tuesday in Israel! If this makes no sense to you, just ignore our strange cultural idiosyncrasies and read on.)  🙂

THEN, we find out that the next step is NOT to announce it to the world and dance on the roof-tops (much to our surprise!). Now, we have to wait for the network to accept the contract.

Meanwhile, Bex started to get upset that they skipped the screen test. She was having a hard time believing that they would skip that process, so she didn’t think it was really real.

I sent Thomas an email for explanation, and this was his reply:

YES! She was “the one” the minute she was done reading for the part. There was no more to be said.   If it was questionable, they would have had her test against others. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE it happens like this, usually when one sets themselves sooo far apart, and they are spot on for what they are looking for.

Behind all the hard work that she did on the scene, it was also, simply put, a blessing and some luck !!!! this was “OUR BREAK” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND THEN, he sent this email:

PLEASE GET HER TO FOCUS ON OTHER AUDITIONS!

We got the call on Thursday evening that said, simply, “It’s Official!!

The rest you’ve probably seen on facebook (here, herehere, & here), and so its time to bring this part of the story to a close. There’s only one thing left to say:

If you know anyone in Vancouver, PLEASE let us know!

Bex is going to need a (Canadian) village, as the filming starts Feb. 25!

<elaine>

Pilot Season #2 Off to a Great Start

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The truth is, there’s been lots to report from audition land, it’s just that its been too busy to create the time to write about it. Forgive us for the delay — we’ve been trying to keep up!

As you probably know by now, Bex moved to LA on the weekend of her 18th birthday in August, 2012. Getting a driver’s license and registering to vote in CA made it official — she’s a Cali Girl, now! (you might want to read my blog on MY experience of her moving — it was HARD, let me tell you!) The TK family surprised Bex for her birthday, and Syd spent the week assembling 30 some odd pieces of IKEA furniture! It was fun to set up the new residence — part dorm room, part apartment. Thank goodness it comes with a resident Mom!

So Bex is living at the Oakwood Apartments with the fabulous Mills family, enjoying the best room-mate/best friend a girl could ever hope for, a playful younger “brother” to torment, a Cuban Mama to keep her well fed, and mostly loving her new life. School continues to be her Achilles heel. We really hoped we’d found a magic solution to her struggles, but there is no magic wand. So while we’re trying to figure out what to do next on that front, Pilot Season has hit in full force, and Bex is busier than ever before.

It’s amazing how much happier and healthier she is, here. And that’s not even including the incredible friendships she’s making, and the true joy she’s getting from auditions, and acting class, and working! Truly, everyone should love what they do in the world as much as Bex loves preparing a script and walking into an audition room. Better than that, today, was walking into a job — THAT was fun! (It was a reading for a futuristic dystopian Rock Musical — love the creativity this town inspires).

In December, we added a “Commercial” agent to the mix of representation, so now Bex is going out on auditions for commercials in addition to the theatrical ones. Commercial auditions are different because there is no script to prepare — it’s all about looks — at least, so far that has been our experience. But Bex is batting 1000 on that front — 2 commercial auditions, and 2 call-backs! She’s no slouch on the theatrical side, of course, with probably a half dozen auditions so far this year, and quite a few call backs. A couple have been what are called “producer” auditions, and she’s been “sent” to producers or directors, as well. All in all, things have gotten off to a great start in 2013.

So that’s the story up until now. We’ll keep you posted if anything fabulous hits. Until then, follow Bex on twitter and keep those fingers crossed! She’s got the talent part handled — but the luck is one area where she could use all the help she can get!

All for now!

Elaine 😉

Wednesday, April 4 a 101 mile day

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Today was a VERY busy day, and Mama Jett got us everywhere we needed to go — which was apparently everywhere! With auditions at both Disney and Warner Brothers, and a call-back at Disney, there was not a lot of down-time. But it was fun for all of us to get a sense of Bex’s schedule when things are busy. AND, it was a good thing it was only one day while we were all there. This is what the day looked like, starting at about 7:30 a.m. and concluding at about 9:30 p.m.:

101 Miles +

1 coaching on 2 scripts

1 visit to prospective school

2 auditions and 1 callback

1 shlock shop at The Alley

1 Sunset at The Observatory

1 dinner with cousin Marley

<posted by David>

Monday, Goth Call-Back Day

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Changing of the guard finds David and Elaine back in Atlanta, and Sierra and her mom and brother taking up residence for a few days. This morning was about getting Bex all -gothed- up and ready to “tick tock.”

She returned to Disney for an 11 am audition, where she recognized some of the kids there, and made some new friends. Gotta love a kid who makes friends out of competitors at an audition!

<posted by Elaine>

Saturday, can you be more Goth?

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A family day. While Bex was in an appointment, and David was grocery shopping, I tried to get a lay of the land from our manager. Her responses were mixed. Pilot season is winding down. On the one hand, plenty of kids go back home. Bex can do that — “we’ll put her on tape, she’s good enough.” On the other hand, it’s definitely harder to get a job from a tape than it is in person. Clearly, she’d like for Bex to stay in LA, and said she’d check in with Alyson’s mother and get back to me (Alyson Stoner.) Not sure what she’s checking in with her about, but it’s always fun to hear them referred to in the same category  😉

The three of us headed to Griffith Park for an afternoon hike in the general neighborhood of the Hollywood sign (which we saw, but didn’t actually get to — long story, that ended with the three of us running off-road, nearly bush-wacking, once we realized that she had an audition in 3 hours and we were still up on a mountain somewhere with an unclear path to return to the car!).

Readying for a 7:00 p.m. Saturday night audition (very rare) at Disney Animation studios, Bex’s friend Sierra came over to help her get dressed for this role as a “believable goth.” We had some deliberation about how much costume she should put on — we encouraged her to stick with the eye-liner and the clothing, but avoid the heavy eye make-up. Back to the make-up counter. It’s definitely the strangest script she’s gotten — which is saying something — as it includes a goth 16 year old being lusted after by Abraham Lincoln. I don’t make this stuff up — it’s a Disney Feature Film!

Anyway, we get to Walt Disney Studios and follow the guard’s directions past the medical center to the Animation building, directed by people on the ground around a ‘happening scene’ and into a far entrance to the building. We find the audition waiting room, and Bex signs in.

“Gotham” City?

There are girls with spiky mohawks and white faces. It’s so stereotypical, I had to get a photograph. So I called Bex over and went into the waiting room, an over-bearing mother taking pictures — so that I could take a picture of the entire scene. It was hysterical.

While we waited for Bex we talked to another mom who had moved out there from Pennsylvania with her 16 year old daughter – and she told us her entire story.

Then we wandered the halls checking out the art in the hallways (original animation drawings from Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and others). The artwork was absolutely fabulous and just casually hanging out in the hallway. I spent some time with Syd on the phone, working on her history research paper.

John Carter Screening

David went outside the building and made friends with the PR people setting up the event outside, a private screening of “John Carter” celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs — Disney Studios, Main Theater.

Of course, David smooth-talked our way into an invitation, so when Bex finished her audition, the PR manager (her name was Elaine, and the woman working the table was Janet) — let us check our phones — no technology allowed inside — and we went into Disney’s main theater for a 3D screening of a movie that doesn’t open until this weekend!

We grabbed water and a bucket of popcorn, and the coolest 3D glasses I’ve ever seen — and walked down to the front. As Mario would say, “If you want to sit in the back, you have to get here early!”

3 TKs in front of 2 White “Apes”

The movie was exciting — unfortunately we missed the first 10 minutes or so — and it was a pleasure to enjoy it in such a reverent way. Incredibly respectful audience, carpeted floors, fabulous seats, and the LONGEST credits we’ve ever seen … ever. I’m not sure about this, but I think there may be a separate version of movie credits than what we usually see. It was cool — when the credits came, not a soul in the audience moved. It was silent, respectful, and everyone stayed seated until it was completely over.

Elaine gave us some fun swag to take home, and Bex was sure to get enough for her sibs and the neighborhood kids 😉  We left on a high, had a quick GF pizza at Z Pizza in Burbank, and headed home to … pack 😦

Final night in LA for David and me, for a while.

All in all, a great adventure.

<posted by Elaine> <photos posted by David>