You're a Tweener, Zandi Carlson. 

 I'm a WHAT? Photo by Danophoto

I'm a WHAT?
Photo by Danophoto

I was 20, or 21 when I got my first owl post notifying me that I was a "Tweener." 

Okay, it wasn't owl post, but it was a conversation with the Artistic Director of a local professional theatre company, which my college, Oklahoma City University, had a partnership with. 

For co-productions, the young roles were played by college students and the older adult roles by professional actors. There also would also be a complete understudy cast made up of college students. 

I was lucky enough to get to understudy AMAZING actresses who would commute from Dallas to do these productions. I got to understudy Mrs. Webb in Our Town, and Judith Bliss in Hay Fever. The women I was understudying were in their late 40's/early 50's. 

 

Have You figured out what a "tweener" is yet?


(Hint: It's not that awkward age before you turn 13.)

 What I wore to my most recent audition. Photo by Danophoto

What I wore to my most recent audition.
Photo by Danophoto

This Artistic Director says to me one day, "You're a tweener, Zandi. You're not really an ingénue, but you're not old enough for the mom roles." 

Today, at the ripe age of 32, I had a casting director use that same word, "Tweener."

To be honest, it was used a really lovely, and personal note letting me know I had not gotten a role. I knew I was too old for it--the young, virginal side interest of the leading man.

"You are maturing beautifully into a true leading lady." She said--what a compliment!

This casting director went on to say I was way too young for the mother of the role I was up for.

Tweener. (P.S. I was not up for the actual leading lady role...that had been cast the week before, I think).

Back in college, I had a professor tell me I would play a lot of maids, sisters, and a lot of best friends until I was ready for the leading lady roles. Too bad there wasn't a sister or best friend in this show. Maybe next time. 

But dammit, in 15 to 20 years, I'm gonna be the BEST mom-of-an-ingenue. I'm coming for you again Judith Bliss. And Kate Keller, and Gertrude, and Mrs Bracknell, and....

Audition Prep Camp Love

I can honestly say I love nothing more than audition coaching. 

  • I love helping students select and work monologues
  • I love formatting resumes
  • I love discussing branding for headshots
    • (And I love being in front of the camera myself...see below)
 John Ulman photographing my audition prep student at Seattle Center.  

John Ulman photographing my audition prep student at Seattle Center.  

This past week, I taught an audition prep camp with high school students. It was the first time Seattle Shakespeare Company had done a camp like this. I had told my boss I wanted to teach it, because it was something I loved teach when I worked at Bainbridge Performing Arts. We had 5 enthusiastic students, who were a joy to work with. 

These students got such a sweet deal because in addition to the monologue selection and acting coaching work, the camp included headshots with the fabulous John Ulman. Remember him from my most recent headshots? He is so lovely to work with, and all the students raved about how at ease he made them feel. 

Audition Prep Group Photo.jpg

We also took a group shot, and I think these teenagers look like they're graduating from an MFA program and are ready to conquer the world. I certainly wasn't as poised and confident when I was a sophomore or junior in high school! Every time I teach high school students, I think about how wish I could have gotten the information I'm giving them when I was their age. It all worked out in the end, but I was so clueless auditioning at their age.  

After all the students were done getting their photos taken, I jumped in front of the camera and asked the student to direct me. The results were pretty funny, and possibly more true to who I am that my actual headshots, but I don't know how much work I'd book from these. 

 

And now, for my silly NON-headshots.
(Any guesses what they directed me to do?)

If you have someone you know looking for help with audition prep, please contact me, and I would be happy to discuss private coaching! I love working with teens on audition prep for school productions and college auditions, and also work with adults! 

Shooting on Location; or 4 days away from my toddler

 I woke up early the first morning, and got to walk on the moody gray beach. The solitude was so lovely. 

I woke up early the first morning, and got to walk on the moody gray beach. The solitude was so lovely. 

A few weeks ago my husband took the week off work to be home with our daughter. He'd told his co-workers he was being a solo parent for the week because his wife was shooting a movie on the beach. That made it sound so much more glamorous than it was, but technically it was true. Our childcare provider was on vacation that week, so he stayed home, and I was in Seaside, OR filming.

Last year I was in a senior project film up at Western Washington University in Bellingham called BAILEY. It was co-directed by Penelope Kipps and Tristan Olson. Earlier this year, Penelope emailed me to offer me a role in her first post-college film--KELP. This would be unpaid, but she would reimburse me for gas, and there was an Airbnb for out of town cast and crew members to share, so we didn't have to pay for a hotel. 

I've been focusing on on-camera work only for the last year or so and decided to accept this unpaid opportunity. Penelope (and Tristan) were enjoyable to work with and gave me good footage in a timely manner. For CCM (Copy, Credit, Meals) tier work, getting the copy of your work, which looks good, and arrives soon(ish) after filming is unfortunately rare. 

 We shot in a John L. Scott real estate office for the mayor's office scenes. 

We shot in a John L. Scott real estate office for the mayor's office scenes. 

This was the longest I'd ever been away from my daughter. We'd done a night apart before, but this was 4 nights away! I thought I would be aching with longing for her, but I was surprised to feel...free. 

Of course, I absolutely loved getting to FaceTime with her and wished I was there to hug and kiss her, but the rest of the day, while I was working, I was pretty focused on what I was doing, and it felt good. There's part of me that feels like I should have felt bad about being away. Why was I so okay with not seeing her? Is it because she's 2 and in full tantrum mode? Is it because she's developed a habit of smearing her poop on the floor of her bedroom? Is it because being away from loved ones once in a while is OKAY? 

 On the beach with two or my cast mates. Can you see how windy it is!?

On the beach with two or my cast mates. Can you see how windy it is!?

The filming went pretty quickly. On the first day, we shot three scenes in the morning, then I was free the rest of the day. I had gotten an audition for a TV show that shoots in WA, scheduled for Tuesday, but wouldn't be in town for the audition. While I was bummed not to be able to go in person, they did accept self-tapes, and Penelope offered to film it, and one of the cast members offered to be my reader! 

On Tuesday, we shot a beach scene, which I was NOT prepared for how cold it would be down there! It was June and pretty nice up in town. One of the extras offered me a thin sweater, which was lovely, but I still was pretty chilly. The wind was out of control too, so it's possible my hair will just be whipping in my face for that whole scene. 

 Spent a good deal of time in the drama/theatre section of Powells in Portland, OR. 

Spent a good deal of time in the drama/theatre section of Powells in Portland, OR. 

Wednesday I was off, so after my shots were done on Tuesday, I drove to Portland to stay with some family friends. It was nice to explore Portland by myself, and spend hours in Powells! Thursday we had one more scene (indoors this time!) and while it was a big group scene, it all went smoothly and I was able to hit the road. 

Getting home was a rush of excitement and warmth--getting to see my husband and daughter flooded me with joy. I'm so grateful to have a supportive family, who allow me to take opportunities like this, which I hope will benefit my career. Though, it may be a while before I'm away from them for that long--hopefully, I can book some local on-camera work soon!