Monday, August 31, 2009

Callback Audition - After

What a fun day!! The callback audition was everything I hoped it could be. Fun, entertaining, good people, and learned more about the overall project. It sounds intriguing and could get a lot of viewers. And from a personal stand point could get me more readers on my blog. We worked on 3 different scenes. We needed to be close to off book. I was, along with the other actors/actresses. We had fun, shot the scenes, improved a little, made jokes, were fed the best finger food in the world and watched what could be the final product. (with the new cast of course) I hope I get this gig. It sounds like a great opportunity. The only problem is the director has a day job. He works as a commercial director and works mon-fri. I however work mainly on the weekends. Which lies with my dilemma...We will be only shooting on weekends. Not every weekend of the month but at least half of them. And as my friend said on her blog, it's "Sucky September." So my day to day living looks to be taking a lot of hits and I told my mom that I feel like I'm back in LA. Just like in LA my overall goal or career is really picking up right now and I've been getting cast, having auditions, getting callbacks and all is great! But I am making zero money at my day job and with needing time off to shoot these films for little or no hurts my wallet. I just wish I could start making a living doing what I love to do, or have money to where taking a few months off to do a passion project doesn't hurt me. I guess I can't have both. Again in the end this is what i want to do with my life and it will become my career, so I have to say yes to any opportunity that comes my way. I'm a big believer in karma and karma works in a lot of different ways. Not only if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you, or if you do good things, good things will happen to you. It also works in the sense of if you go after your dreams and work for them, in the end it pays off. I truly believe that. I guess that's not really karma, just hard work and determination. As Russell Crowe said when he won his Oscar for Gladiator,

"When you grow up in the suburbs of Sydney or the suburbs of anywhere a dream like this seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unobtainable; and for anybody who’s on the downside of advantage and relying purely on courage…It’s possible." -Russell Crowe

That's one of my favorite quotes of all time and when I meet him I will be sure to tell him that his quote helped me out, especially during the rough times. I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas and I believe it's possible...Anything is possible and I will not give up or give in no matter how bad it may look.

"Something comes from nothing if you're willing to believe." -Pillar, Everything

Jonathan Baca

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Callback Audition - Before

Believe it or not this is my first callback audition. Every audition I've ever been on you either get the part or you don' need for a callback. Not really sure what to expect, but it sounds like it's gonna be just like any other audition. Memorizing full scenes instead of just one. Memorizing is kind of annoying I must say. I work so much better and can memorize so much easier with my scene partner, because once you're in the scene and the setting I can get the lines down quickly, but laying here in my room reading them over and over again doesn't do much for me. Yes it will get me familiar with the scene, but it doesn't truly help me memorize. I know I won't have them memorized until I get to the audition. Then my scene partner and I will get to go over it a few times and within those few times I'll be off book ready to go. I'm excited! This is from my audition a few weeks ago for the web series. Still not doing scenes from the script. Does he have a script written yet? I figured we would be working from the script by now since it's a callback audition. We'll see. Maybe he'll give us a scene when we get there. Either way should be fun. I still get a little nervous before every audition. I think that's a good thing. Johnny Depp said in an interview that the day you don't get nervous or excited or you feel you have tapped out/reached your peak/are satisfied...quit whatever it is you are doing. I feel I will never reach that point which is a good thing. I will always be striving to do better, and challenge myself.

Jonathan Baca

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Being Cast

Sometimes the moon and stars align and you for some reason are blessed enough to have a great audition (the moon) and the casting director likes you (the stars). That has happened to me, but not for anything I auditioned for. Let me explain...

My audition this past weekend in Austin went apparently great! I got a call from the casting director and I was told that the director loved me and thought I did a great job. GREAT! Is what I was thinking. She continues... "The director was wondering if you would be interested in being in a horror film he's filming here in the next few weeks." I was thinking, 'WHAT?! That's great! NICE!' then I thought, 'will this help me get into the film I auditioned for as well.' I hope so.

So anyway, I'll be filming a new film here in the next few weeks! So happy things are picking up for me. I started wondering if the move home to get back on track was the right decision but now I was.

I'm still working on the script for my callback audition for the web series as well. Hopefully I'll be busy busy busy to finish up 2009.

Jonathan Baca

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Austin, TX

"God I love this mother fucking town!" -Johnny Drama, Entourage

Drama may have been talking about the greatness of New York City when he said this, but for me...that's Austin. I had an audition down south and it went very well. We'll see what happens.

The adventure however was insane. I needed to get down there but I noticed my tires weren't in great shape. So the night before the audition I asked my mom if I could use her car. As luck would have it, or maybe I just have the best mother in the world, she said yes. So I took her car. It's a great car with cold a/c. That's important here in Texas. I left with about 4 hours before my audition. The only this is my audition was cross town during rush hour and I was projected to get into Austin around 5pm on a Friday, the Friday before classes start at UT. Not the smartest thing I've ever done. Well, I show up in Austin around 4pm and yes... there was traffic...a lot of traffic. I did, however, get to my audition not only on time, but early! It was fun and a very relaxed audition. Then after the audition I went over to my aunts house. She nor my cousin were there cause they left town for the weekend. I got to hang with my uncle Roy, basically the coolest guy in Austin. He's a musician and all in all is completely a bad ass! I showed up and we were just hanging and he says, "You haven't seen my studio!" So he takes me out to check out the studio and it's bad ass. Turning the garage into a kick ass studio for musicians to come in and record an album. He asks, "you got any new songs?" I tell him, "sure do." "How bout we record one. Got time?" Of course I said yes and he set up a mic and the guitar. I'm not even nervous which is rare. I don't like singing in front of people. So he hits record and I whip out the song! I forgot a few lyrics during the second verse but other than that it went smooth sailing! He loved the song and said I should come back someday and we'll really spend sometime on it. The recording was done and before I knew it I had a new cd to jam out to! Only it was my voice I would be hearing.

The day couldn't have been going any better. I just had a great audition, then I recorded my newest tune and now I was going to hang with one of my best friends who I haven't seen in months. Actually since my last audition in Austin. hit.

"ring, ring. ring, ring" my phone rings.
"Jon...your car broke down on me."

It was my mom. Unfortunately there was more problems with my car than just bad tires. It started over heating on her. Luckily it wasn't anything serious but it's still costing me over $300! Being a broke actor...this is what you dread. To be car less in a city you need a car. Well, I need to figure out a way to pay for my car and all my bills this month. It seems like its LA all over again. The career is doing good and I'm getting a lot of calls, but the day to day living just keeps taking hit after hit after hit. Luckily this time I'm at home and not out West.

All in all it was a great trip and I love AUSTIN! Now I got to get ready for my call back from the audition last week.

Jonathan Baca

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pay vs. Passion

I was thinking recently about the life style I am trying to embark on. There's 2 extremes to this career when it comes to lifestyles and no other job or business is like that. On one hand I could end up rich and successful. Where everyone knows my name and everyone recognizes my face, but with that comes a lack of privacy. Even little things like pumping gas in my car becomes a worldly event. Then you have the opposite where you have to have many day jobs to help pay the bills because acting just isn't cutting it. You take projects just because you love to do it regardless of if you get paid or not. This brings me to my point... Pay vs. Passion. Since the last time I posted I've gotten a call back on my audition from last week (WOO HOO) and a new audition for an independent feature length film. The call back explained the whole process, since it's a web series, and the commitment that will come with being cast. However there was nothing in the email about pay. I've done a lot of passion projects...actually I've only been paid once to do an acting gig and it was $50 (other than the 2 extra jobs I got which I'll post about someday). So my dilemma is do I email back and ask about pay? They are asking me if I can commit to this sort of project and are awaiting my reply. Do I say, "I would love to, but I will have to take time off from 'day job,' what is the pay going to be like?" or do I just say "Yes." or do I just say "No."

On top of that my audition this week is out in Austin on a weekend. I've given up 2 premiere money making shifts at the day job for a chance at being in a feature length film that is only paying "deferred payment." Which means, from what I understand anyways, that I will get paid eventually if the movie sells to a distributing company and/or is picked up in the festival circuit. I've already made the decision to go to the audition and give it my all because it does sound like a great opportunity. But once again at this stage in my career its Pay vs. Passion. Recently I've stopped submitting to lower things that I've been doing the past 2 years because I feel it's time to take the next step in my career and attack the big boys. I know my potentional and believe in karma. So maybe doing all these projects for just passion with no pay will eventually pay off. I don't know, but what I do know is Passion is out weighing the pay for me and always will. That's why Johnny Depp is my favorite actor. Throughout his career he always seemed to do these weird characters in these weird movies that were not going to be big money making films but he didn't care. It was about the passion.

I'm going to make my decision later tonight but I already know what I'm going to do...just trying to make an educated decision.

Jonathan Baca

Friday, August 14, 2009

Creative Stimulus

Every now and then a burst of energy comes from the unknown and gets you more motivated than you've ever been. This has happened to me of late. I like to think of it as "getting out of a funk" but I'm not going to give all the credit to this funk I've been in recently. I believe it's having good people around, good support and a natural drive to do well in life and live out your dreams. Along with this new found motivation for my career came a surprise...I got excited about music for the first time in a long, long time. For those of you who don't know me I've always been a musician...since I was about 13 years old. I was the lead guitarist of a band called "Confined." I loved it. Then I took an acting course and it changed my whole world around. Applied for an acting school in LA, got in, and the rest, as they say, is history. But last night hanging out with friends I was thrown back into my love of music. It's going to be something new, fun and exciting to do on the side. Plus it's different than any other style of music I've done before. Electronica music is a whole new world to me. I really got into it during my adventure to Europe. We'll see what comes of this new Creative Stimulus but I know this is one stimulus check I am definitely cashing in.

Jonathan Baca

Thursday, August 13, 2009


When you're an independent actor, like myself, you have tons of jobs you have to do for yourself. You are your own agent, manager, publicist, and accountant. Although being an accountant isn't too tough right now with the lack of funds. You have to be able to sell yourself to get the audition or the role. Hustle like you're an agent, care like you're a manager and promote like you're a publicist. Create websites, pages, and put yourself out there. When it comes to submitting for roles you have to know which headshot to submit. Whether it's a serious role, a funny role, a hero or a villain. Everyday I look over tons of casting calls for myself in hopes I'll find a role I can submit for. There's not as many out in Texas as there were in LA but I do find them just about everyday and I do submit. As for submitting to agents and management companies...there's a different challenge. You need to have the perfect cover letter selling yourself to the agent that you're the meal ticket for him/her. Agents like money, period. If they don't feel they can sell you, they won't waste their time. Then after you have a perfect cover letter a collection of different looks (pictures) will be best to show the agency. Show them your versatility in your look. I can pull off long hair, short hair, no hair, facial hair, mean, sweet, sexy, gross, nerdy, stoned...anything and everything. Lastly a good actor's reel could be the icing on the cake. After the agent reads your cover letter, checks out your pictures and is still willing to move forward with watching your actors reel, they have the intent of signing you; but remember it's ultimately your call. I've submitted a lot over the past year to many different agents and I've gotten an offer before, but I turned it down. I was offered representation out in LA but after doing my research and learning about the agency and the agent himself I felt they wouldn't be able to take my career to the next level and it would be a waste of my time and their client space to sign me. So I respectfully turned them down. A lot of my friends thought I was nuts, but you know the end of the day I'm hiring them, and I need to trust that they will take me and my career to the next level. Other wise, why am I even trying to do this.

I'll soon be submitting again to a whole list of new and old agencies with my new headshots, actors reel, composite sheet of different looks and updated resume. It's exciting and also nerve racking. We'll see how it goes! Got an email today for an audition next week for an independent feature length film with hopes of getting in the festival circuit. Should be a fun one, like always.

Jonathan Baca

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The 3rd Coast

I've been asked a lot lately what I know about "The 3rd Coast?" Honestly I didn't know what to say, so I did my research and actually learned about it at an audition I had a few months ago. I recently moved back home to Texas from Los Angeles in an attempt to get back on track with my career and goals. I was doing very well out in LA but ran into financial problems, lost my day job and then stopped being motivated. Well, I moved home and got my life straightened out and back on track. I started auditioning quickly after I moved back home and ended up having one of the biggest auditions to date out here. While I was in the audition room they noticed my area code on my phone, which is a local LA number. They asked, "You live here locally?" and I said, "Yes. Just moved here." They then responded, "Good choice. A lots going on out here now." I was confused knowing what everybody else in the industry know...LA and NY is where you need to be. So i asked, "What do you mean?" That's when I heard about "The 3rd Coast." Basically it dates back to the '20s and the Great Depression. With the Great Depression came people fleeing the East coast in search of new jobs and what not. This was the boom that created Hollywood, California. Quickly after the Depression, as you all know, films started hitting theaters everywhere and the golden age of Hollywood quickly followed. Well, with the recession happening in modern times apparently it started again. Big time studios began searching out America for the next town they can build studios in. Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta...all good cities, all already built up with very little space. This is the creation of "The 3rd Coast" ie Shreveport, LA. I know, Shreveport?! I was flabbergasted too but then I thought about it. Shreveport is the opposite of all those cities I just listed. Its still a fairly small town with a lot of open space and tons of room to grow. It's a great central city for talent from Austin, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans...etc. They call it the 3rd Coast because you have New York (1st Coast) Los Angeles (2nd Coast) and now Shreveport. If you watch Conan or Letterman and they interview and ask actors where they filmed they talk about Shreveport being the new place to go. I recall Jack Black talking about it for "Year One." The recession is doing much better which may have hurt Shreveport's chances but they have built and have shot films there. Only the future can tell if Shreveport, LA becomes the next glamour city.

Jonathan Baca

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Audition - Just one of those days

What a day today was. WOW!

I had a rough morning to say the least but I needed to brush it off and head home to get ready for my audition tonight. It's for a film noir web series. I've had the sides for about a week now and been looking over them from time to time. This audition, however, was for 6 different roles! I read for all of the roles. Even the fat guy role and young 15yo kid! But anyways, before my audition I needed to make sure I had my headshot and resume ready to go. I go to grab a headshot when it dawns on me, "I have new headshots I get to use!" The only problem is I haven't printed them out yet. No worries, I'll just run up to Kinkos and get a quick print out. In and out the door. That's where the problems started...

I walk into Kinkos and the lady at the desk was very nice.

"How may I help you today?" she asked. "Just need my headshot and resume printed out please." I replied.
"Ohhhh an actor. That's awesome. Sure thing."

I get that response a lot here in Dallas. Back in LA when you would say that the guy/girl working the counter would look at you like, "no shit. Just like every other Joe Blow that walks through those doors." I hand over my flash drive and she asks, "What file is it?" and I showed her. She opens it up and says, "That's a great shot!" Again, another difference between Dallas and LA. In LA they would've said, "That's a Great shot! Who's your photographer? How much did it cost? What are you auditioning for? Do you know where I can get headshots like that? Do you have an agent? Can I suck you off to get any information off of you?" You never know if they're being genuine or not. The nice lady comes back with a great print out of my headshot. I look at it...

Then I ask if she could print my resume on the back for me. "Not a problem." She starts having some trouble with the computer and is trying to figure out how to print my word document. She figures it out and prints it on the back. What comes out is very little. It just has my name and my stats. (ie: height, weight, eye color, etc.) She looks confused. "What's wrong?" She calls over a girl who looks like she hasn't slept in days and is putting on a front so people don't think she's a bitch. She walks over and says, "It's 2 pages long." I start thinking, 'there's no way! I checked it before I left to make sure it's only 1 page.' I lean over and look at the computer screen and explain..."It was only 1 page when I put it on my drive. Just hit backspace and it'll be 1 page and we're good to go." The mean lady looks up at me with fire in her eyes and says, "I can do that but I'll have to charge you $10." $10?!?! Just to hit backspace and make my day a little better. I was thinking, 'You heartless bitch!' But some people won't budge.
I said, "Well, how bout I come back there and hit backspace for you. Then it's fixed and you won't have to charge me anything."
"No. You can't come back here. But you can use our computers out there which are $.30 a minute. Much better than $10."

Are you kidding me? Are you really saying what I think you're saying. I have an audition to get to lady! So furious, from how the day was playing out to begin with, I just paid for the headshot itself and left. I raced home angry as can be but then my phone rings. It's one of my best friends and she always knows how to put a smile on my face. I got to vent to her and she listened. She's a great listener. Then after my venting she responds, and whether she agreed with my behavior or not, she says, "What a winch!" She's the best. Then we talked for a while and it completely calmed me down and put me at ease. I get home and start thinking straight, 'You have resumes printed out for this very reason.' Sure enough I do! This isn't the first time this type of thing has happened to me so I learned from the past and prepared myself for the future. I wonder if other actors go through this sort of thing.

It's time for my audition. By this time I'm pretty much calm and back to a normal state other than the normal jitters you get before an audition/performance. I'm following the directions to the audition site when I notice it's taking me out into the country. BFE Texas. I didn't mind, it was kind of cool. I then pull into a neighborhood and the address is a house. A really nice big house. My mind starts running wild thinking, "Great. I'm about to get murdered!" Cause auditions held at houses always make me uneasy. I've only done it a couple times but it's just not very professional. But this one, however, was extremely professional (for a house audition). It was held in his home studio which was a separate guest house sort of thing. He had me read with a girl. She was really good I thought too! A bit older, but she was very good. The directors daughter was there running the camera and then his wife walked in. Its a little uneasy when there are more people watching your audition. I already feel like an idiot! ha. Auditioning is a part of the game though. Sometimes I can't wait to get to the point where I am offered roles and don't have to audition. That's happened to me a few times from past directors I've worked with and I love it! Because I know I can pull off the role, that's why I submitted for it, but at the audition maybe I was having an off day (like today) or maybe I just kill it but don't get the role and I'm left scratching my head wondering, "what happened?" To explain it for non actors, it's basically like going on a job interview only at the end of the interview you have to put on a show for your potential boss.

All in all it was a very eventful day with ups and downs. I continue to get better at auditions though and sometimes when I think I sucked, I end up getting the part. Tonight wasn't bad so I look forward to seeing what happens. Plus it's my brothers birthday. I showed up late, but made the birthday dinner.

Happy Birthday Bro.

Jonathan Baca

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Beginning

Hello World,

This is my first ever blog post so I figure I would just run down what this blog is going to be about. My name is Jonathan Baca and I am a young, inspiring actor. I've been acting now for about 4 years, or that's the first time I took an acting course. I've been working hard at achieving my goals but along the way I run into some of the funniest, weirdest stories that I wish I could share with an audience instead of just the person to my left. So I decided I should start a blog and share my experiences with the you all. Between gigs and auditions I'll share past stories from school to auditions to working on the job. I hope this is informative and very entertaining to you all. Please always feel free to leave feedback and comments and I'll see you all on set!

Jonathan Baca