Monday, June 6, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Things I learned at the HOLApanels event GO WEST, YOUNG ACTOR

I attended the HOLApanels event titled GO WEST, YOUNG ACTOR: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Being a West Coast or Bicoastal Actor. The event was held in conjunction with the East Harlem International Film Festival and took place at the East Harlem Café in Manhattan. The panelists consisted of actors Luis Antonio Ramos; Selenis Leyva; Jorge Montenegro; and José Roldán, Jr. The event was quite informative. Some of the things I learned are listed below (photos by ARuiz Photography).

• In order to become a successful actor, among other things, you need a foundation. That foundation is theater. You have to learn technique. You have to train somewhere, be it a school, a conservatory, an academy, but you have to train.
• All the panelists agreed that you should not go to Los Angeles without an invitation or without any representation. And that you shouldn't go during pilot season. At that time, casting directors tend to hire the actors they already know and trust. Instead go during downtime. When Selenis Leyva went to Los Angeles the first time, she had been invited to audition for a show and was successful. She said she was lucky and things worked out very easy. She recently went back, without an invitation, and things were definitely harder. She also talked about the importance of training and added that a casting director will not remember how fabulous you were, but they will remember if you sucked.
Jorge Montenegro grew up in California but realized most of the work he wanted to do was going to New York, and so he moved to the East Coast. Luis Antonio Ramos also follows "the work." He has been to Los Angeles and has worked there but is now here, working too.
José Roldán, Jr. moved to Los Angeles originally to study and then, like Luis Antonio Ramos, moved back to New York because he felt he had more opportunities to work here. He says he is working here way more than in Los Angeles.
• On the theater scene in Los Angeles, they all agreed that it is bad (when compared to the New York scene). It is poorly attended and as an actor, sometimes you have to pay to be in a show.
• One's career is a journey and one should not take every audition too seriously. Be honest with yourself. Also, be realistic. Don't move to Los Angeles until you know you are prepared and have everything ready.
José Roldán, Jr. remarked that "luck is when opportunity meets preparation."
• Finally, be aware that in Los Angeles, Latino equals Mexican.

...Mónica Delgado
HOLA Member since 2005

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