I paid my last respects, prayed for her spirit and said goodbye to my agent, Nancy Chaidez tonight at the Media City Church in Burbank, California. She passed away on April 14 to pancreatic cancer after two years (despite doctors telling her only six months).
It was a full house inside. Her family contributed to her memorial with song, poetry, reflection and prayer. Not to mention laughter, tears and one startling audio mic glitch. The large gathering at tonight's memorial service showed to me an outpouring of love and respect for a little spunky woman I met almost ten years ago.
Joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1998. And, did a showcase in 2004 in front of potential agents for representation. I didn't think I'd get any interest (since I was a bit older than the other actors in the showcase) but, three agencies were interested and one of them was NCA. Nancy was one of a handful of people in this industry who truly believed in me. I am honored to have worked with her this past decade. My condolences to her family and NCA.
Rest in peace, Nancy. I'm going to miss you!
This is Edwin's story of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake (January 17th - 20 years ago today); the aftermath of the 6.7 earthquake that hit a quiet San Fernando Valley town... Using never-before-seen video footage of 1/31/94 he recorded; never released to the public until today - its 20th Anniversary.
Two of the most casual notes actors receive are (1) Focus, and (2) Stop Comparing Yourself To Others.
Easier said than done -- considering that it may have been easier back in the day when social media did not exist and/or it was not so rampant.
So, as much as we all support each other as actors (or creative-types), I think it is best not to look at smart phone videos and Instagram photos of theatrical & commercial sets our friends & colleagues are at -- when they are the same theatrical & commercial projects we auditioned for weeks earlier. We're all human so we shouldn't be faulted to think, feel and react this way.
We're with you all by supporting you in spirit but, for me, I'd like to keep a clear & positive mindset -- knowing you're opening doors for the rest of us.
Jennifer Lawrence's career is one example. Ever since she won for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook" at the 85th Annual Academy Awards and Best Actress for the same role at the Independent Spirit Awards, not just people took notice, her peers -- the actors -- took great notice which is a natural thing to do. Seeing her real and genuine reactions from beginning to end. She climbed that natural ladder from background actor to TV costar to TV guest star to TV series regular to independent films to blockbusters and onto to awards & accolades -- in such a very short time but, not overnight.
But, with that, I see my peers starting to compare themselves to her. Don't do that. It's toxic to do so. You're only going to create more obstacles in your journey. Every actors' journey is different so, just enjoy the path you're on (no matter how long it takes). Follow your own yellow brick road. Just note it and move on. That's what we actors have to do in order to enjoy the process.
Okay, I'm done with the cliches but, you get my point. Good, because I have an audition to go to.
- Edwin A. Santos, Beyond The 4th Wall, Blog 003, 3/5/13
"Sometimes I have to cut off the people that don't matter in my Life in order to move forward -- in a healthy, positive and creative synergy. There is always someone that wants something from you. Some people think it is owed to them. Guess what? It isn't. It goes both ways, people! Not just your way..."
Everyone -- not just in the entertainment industry, but in every working industry -- will go through what I've gone through both as an actor and as a producer. Obviously as an actor, you really have no control of the project unless you become one of the projects' producers.
Producing in the indie film arena, it's almost dog-eat-dog, at least, that is what I experienced in my later years as an indie film producer. But, it is the model of the business especially when a project is looking for money. The more money and resources you bring in as a producer, the more influence you have on the project.
It's unfortunate though that in its earlier beginnings, the core folks I worked with, we had a good synergy going because we had common backgrounds, experience and upbringings. When new people are brought in, sometimes one person's $$$ and ego get in the way of what is true and expected -- good work and healthy positive working relationships.
The last film I co-executive produced in 2010 burned me out. Not because of the creative work on the film but, the one new person brought in -- especially when he thinks he knows how to produce by just throwing money around -- like Ivan Pavlov and his dog. This sneaky-sneak guy getting to the piece of a very, very...very small pie. He has no idea. It gets worse when the creative vs. executive producer start bullying each other behind friendly smiles of who's really in control of the project. Usually I would intervene like a referee but, by that time, I was totally burned out. Because the influence became toxic and I was affected thus turning me into him -- egotistical and power-hungry. It wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't even about business anymore. The atmosphere this guy brought in was more of feeding his own ego, drunk with its own power and believing its own hype. Maybe it was a generation gap thing from the old country; he was a lot older than me. He had a different set of expectations of how a film should be handled which, btw, the film has done poorly since its release. I ended my ten years of producing -- with "Violent Blue."
"Always be reminded to not let people take advantage of you, nor take you for granted. Stay away from toxic people and stay one step ahead of everyone else. Learn to say NO and STOP trying to please everyone. It sucks to be surrounded by leeches and fake personalities. Hang around people who inspire you, who are TRUE, and remember to put your trust solely on God."
It's good to work with folks with the same commonalities and goals. That sense benefits everyone! Leave your ego at the door.
- Edwin A. Santos, Beyond The 4th Wall, Blog 002, 6/16/12
My work as a producer on "Mad Cowgirl" has been a joy to work on with professional and committed talent & crew. And, I am very proud of what we have!
The two awards (Best Narrative Film Award and Best Performance Award to Sarah Lassez) at the 2006 Silverlake Film Festival in Hollywood back in March, audience demand that resulted to a third screening on the week of my 39th birthday back in February at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and getting written up on Variety, the entertainment industry's premier magazine for film professionals ~ although, cool as there were, they are just footnotes representing our best efforts making this film!
Of all the projects I worked on, "Mad Cowgirl" is my most proudest moment! And, it was such an experience to work with Sarah, Jimmy, Walter, Devon, Vic, Jaason, Christo, Linton, Ron, among others! It has been an education in the world of professional acting for me to witness and take note. Hope to work with each and everyone of you again in the future.
Also the tireless crew: Dawn, James, Marvin, Jeff, McKay, Kym & the Stuntpeople, Kiyomi, Luke, Max, Tony, Dan, among others, who've put their best foot forward and provided suggestion and feedback to make the look and feel of the film authentic. These folks are the best crew I have ever assembled and is honored to have worked with.
I would like to thank Greg for giving me the opportunity to produce his film and in trusting me to do the very best job I can as well as being resourceful whenever I was challenged.
Oh, and thanks to the caterer, of course!
Personally, I discovered and learned more about myself ~ my strengths and my weaknesses, and how to go above and beyond ~ as a working feature film producer.
But, most importantly, I wish to thank you all for your support of my endeavors as well as your continuing support of independent filmmaking.
Something happened to me two days ago. And, it's all good!!! I got a call from a director who wanted me to come in and audition for the role of "Alejandro" which is the Leading Role in a short film.
I went to the audition and it was all improv. The first scene, I already knew that I wasn't making the greatest impression. But, the second scene, my riveting performance impressed both the director and the assistant director; they were all smiles and they believed the performance. But, they would give me a call back that same night to audition more people and make a decision whether or not I got the part.
At 10:15pm Tuesday night, I got the call and... I got the part!!! I am so excited! Although, I played it cool and calm while talking to him over the phone (being the professional that I am).
Anyway, this is the first time I will be acting in a Lead Role. Not only that, this audition was the first time that I was very comfortable in allowing myself to surrender and really cry. I wasn't fake crying; I literally went up in tears. I was ballin'. It was heart-wrenching. And, I also learned how to get out of that stage of emotion fairly quickly. This has always been an obstacle for me in the past. But, I did it because it came out naturally because I already understood the character's dilemma of his stagnant life.
There are other things this character goes through in the film; things that I wouldn't do in my normal life but because I'm an actor, I already informed the director that I am open to them.
We will start shooting this film later this month. So, I'll keep you all up to date as things progress. I am happy and proud of myself for giving a good audition and very humble by the experience and the opportunity that has been presented to me.