Today I filmed a 4-scene mock demo reel at CreateYourReel Studios in North Hollywood. CreateYourReel writes, shoots, and edits professional looking footage for actor demo reels. A great company to work with, they pioneered the popular “Minilogue” format and have shot over 800 clients with more than 5,000 scenes. They were voted #1 “Best Demo Reel Producer” in 2011 in the Backstage Readers Poll and are the top rated demo reel producer on ActorRated.com. So they were obviously amazing to work with!
For this project I had to cast my own extras and my own stand-in, just in case. Thanks to the wonders of www.LAcasting.com, I received about 500 submissions. I wanted to book people that I would want to work with in the future and LAcasting definitely delivered.
First, I weeded out the people with poor headshots, then the people with no demo reels or resumes, and the people who didn't do family-friendly work. As I continued narrowing down my search, I ended up with a list of about 10 people that stuck out to me with their amazing resumes, headshots, and demo reels. I could tell these people were self-booked, well-marketed, and definitely people I'd want to work with in the future. I knew I found great people to work with and could easily recommend to others.
Along with casting the actors, I also needed to hire people for the basics: hair, makeup, wardrobe, and BTS photography. Unfortunately, they were much harder to book last minute. I ended up not getting a wardrobe stylist in time. Most of the hair and makeup people were already booked or not responding quick enough, but luckily Danielle was available, and she was a pretty awesome chick. Be sure to check out her website at www.DanielleRotella.com
I was going to fly my sister, Justina, down to LA with me to help assist today. However, the plane I booked had already filled up, and it was just becoming a major hassle and expense. I learned my lesson the hard way and hopefully you can avoid that. It was hard to keep up with all the people and focus on acting, which was the MAIN PART, as well. My actors were all scheduled in 2 to 4 hour time slots. I had to check them in and out, give them the rundown, feed them, and make sure everyone got paid!
Anyways, the night before, I booked a room on www.AirBnB.com to be closer to the location of the shoot in the morning. If you’ve never tried AirBnB before, I would definitely suggest you give it a spin. Its a great site where you can rent out or book someone’s house for however long you need it. Compared to a hotel, this has way better amenities for the price, provides more convenient locations to match your needs, and offers a lot more comforts which are really important if you travel as much as I do.
The only problem was that it was so hot that night in Hollywood that I couldn't sleep! Luckily, I have awesome friends nearby and one said I could stay with them for the night. It was located about 20 minutes away from CreateYourReel, so I left an hour before call time, which was the time I set for everyone on the team.
My Uber driver picked me up, and I let him know that I need to finish some work during the drive and make calls. Everyone whom I was working with today either texted or called me first thing in the morning and I had also received calls from clients during the drive. I was a hot mess! Using my shoulder to hold my phone to my ear, writing notes with one hand, then searching for papers with the other hand. A lot of the time, I use Uber time as work time since sometimes it’s the only free time I have.
When we were supposed to be getting close to the studios I looked up to see where we were, and realized that my driver had been going in circles. I kindly asked, "What are you doing?" And he said he didn't want to be rude and interrupt my work, but he pointed to the signs and said, "I can't read those!" I felt bad for this guy. A gentleman who couldn’t read English signs working for Uber! A cloud of frustration filled my head because I needed to get to the studio to start hair and makeup. Luckily, as an actress, I'm a pro at acting like everything's okay. I helped direct him amidst my many texts and phone calls. I even encouraged him, and tried to make him laugh and smile along the way to hopefully make his day a little better.
I am so glad everything turned out great even with the headache of the day. As you can see in the pictures below I even had some fun! You can contact CreateYourReel at (323) 806-4020 Monday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm. Be sure to tell them Breanna Baker referred you!
Director / DP: Steve Hosford
AD: Paul Duraso
Editor: Kevin King
BTS Photographer: Jeesue Kim
Hair / MUA: Danielle Rotella
Principal Talent: Breanna Baker
Stand-In: Hannah Doty