Category Archives: acting

The Bachelor Effect

After fourteen years on television, The Bachelor managed to snag my attention for a full episode. Yes, I’m a “late adopter.” But that had nothing to do with my lack of exposure to the reality romance show. It was the evening of the Iowa Caucus, and there was nothing left upon which I could focus my political frustrations. Zeroing in on a TV program about a harem of women competing for the affections of one average Joe was the distraction I needed.

According to The Bachelor’s viewer ratings, women (and men) everywhere await each weekly episode, to find out which of the dozen or so remaining prospective lays, oops, I mean brides, with whom the male cast member–the bachelor–has passionately gone mouth-to-mouth, will receive a single long stem rose. This begs a few questions. Are flowers that difficult to obtain now? Or is there a global shortage of unwed heterosexual men?

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Deedee Divine on Sacramento & Co., News 10

Happy to be home today! Deedee Divine made a trip to Sacramento to appear on a morning news program. See her in action here:

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My first screenplay

I’ve been away from my blog for several weeks, so I thought I might owe my readers an explanation–both of them. Both readers, that is, not both explanations.

The truth is, I’ve been writing a screenplay for several months. At one point, I simply became so involved with my screenplay that I didn’t wish to write anything else. I’ve become obsessed, in fact, with the story, and now I’ve finally surfaced for air.  

Last Friday, I sent the script (the 10th draft of it) off to a professional script reader in L. A.  Simultaneously, I sent it to a local college professor.  Within a few weeks, I should hear from them just how brilliant the script is . . . or isn’t. I’m braced for the worst (This sucked!) and hoping for the best (Wow! I’m going to personally contact a studio executive I know!). 

So that’s my explanation for where I’ve been, in case some of you feared I’d fallen off my meds. Not that I actually require medication. I don’t take anything stronger than chocolate. I do, however, wash that down with a little red wine now and again.

 

 

 

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Bad Duck Audition

Admittedly, I hadn’t done my homework before naively waltzing into my first stage audition. I’d rehearsed my lines for an entire afternoon. Well, most of the afternoon. Okay, for at least a few hours in between checking my e-mail messages, watching Oprah and cooking dinner. Anyway, the point wasn’t so much to land a part as it was to experience the full humiliation of the process. And to that end, I’d have to say that I brilliantly succeeded. 

Having skipped (or been wrongly permitted to advance past) Acting I, I didn’t know the first cardinal rule of auditions: Never look right at the auditors. So I stared straight into the director’s face and began delivering my lines. She, in return, offered her best imitation of Mona Lisa. And this rattled me so much that I COMPLETELY lost all memory and had to start over—at which point I was advised to “look at the empty theater seats.”  

What a relief! The vacant chairs seemed so much friendlier. 

My monologue had been lifted right out of a book I’d ordered online and had received only the day before. Set sometime in the early 1900s, this British play’s dialogue seemed awkward. In particular, one part appeared to make no sense at all. However, I didn’t question the word choice. Having imagined these sentences contained foreign idioms, I simply delivered the lines as written. 

At the end of my audition the director said, “Did you know you said, ‘We were dogged by bad duck from beginning to end?’”  

I shook my head yes. Perhaps I’d mispronounced the work “dogged” and had left off the second syllable. “Did I say ‘dog-ged?” I asked. 

“Yes, you said ‘dogged’ correctly.” Biting her lips, she paused before continuing her inquisition. “But did you realize you said you were dogged by bad DUCK?” The heretofore expressionless director snickered, showing her first sign of personality. 

“Well, yes,” I explained. “That’s what it said in my book . . . and you know, now that you mention it, I wondered about that. Please tell me my book doesn’t contain a typo. Was the word supposed to be “luck?” 

Now laughing shamelessly in my face, the woman said, “Yes, the word is LUCK.” When she’d regained her composure, she added, “I had this image of you being chased all over Europe by vicious ducks . . . and little crosswalk signs that said ‘Beware: Mean ducks.’”  

I may not get the part, but at least I proved I can still make ‘em laugh.

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Acting Classes: Humped on Phonics

I’ve let you down by falling behind on my acting class posts. Please forgive me. It’s just that I’m struggling so hard to learn a new alphabet that I haven’t had time to write.  

Yes, a new alphabet. Apparently, somebody feels the original one isn’t sufficient. So now I’m in the process of UNLEARNING the phonics I was taught to be hooked on in elementary school and relearning English based on some convoluted system called the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). 

How can there be two alphabets for one language? The answer is this: one is for normal communication, and the other is for those who suffer a pathological need to know what are all those crazy-looking symbols that can be accessed when you click on “insert” from your Word toolbar. (I’m talking about dohickies that look like this: ǽ and ə, even when you’re not drunk.)  

In IPA, the “r” is written exactly as we know it in the standard alphabet, only the consonant is UPSIDE DOWN. “Why was it necessary to turn the letter upside down?”  I asked my teacher.  

He said, in a perfectly serious tone that suggested this was a logical response, “Because the right-side-up R indicates a trill in IPA.” 

I’m fairly certain that learning the International Phonetic Alphabet is going to serve me about as well as has those algebra classes I took in high school. All I ever needed to know was that 10 – X + b(X + 4) = a waste of time.  

As to the yoga aspect of this voice class, I’m still forcing myself into “the gynecological pose” and feeling dangerously vulnerable.  And I’ve learned to hum and say phrases like, “Zoo-zoo-zoo, ze-ze-ze, za-za-za, zay,” in positions that no one I know has ever assumed while speaking.  

When I demonstrated one of these embarrassing postures to my husband, he immediately dropped to his knees and playfully attacked me in a way that made me think he should be neutered.

Apparently, Hubby knows an international sign or two, too!

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New and Improved Body Image

During a recent acting class, I had a revelation. My body doesn’t have to look sexy or cover-girl perfect or fit to run a marathon. It doesn’t have to meet anyone else’s approval or conform to current trends or some arbitrary ideal dress size. The physical image I project needs only to agree with my beliefs and priorities.

Here’s how my “ah-ha moment” happened. My classmates and I were told to imagine a mirror before us. In this mirror we were to see ourselves, first, and then to visualize that image morphing into the role character we were about to perform. Being of a certain age, mirrors have not been my friend for years. I’ve struggled with the loss of my youthful figure, the gain of an extra 30 pounds, and a what-the-hell-happened-to-me mentality.  At thirty-five, I was a size 4. Today, however, I’m pushing the limits of my size 12 “mature fit” jeans.

Walking us through this exercise, our instructor said, “How is your character perceived by others? What are his or her physical attributes? Does she have big breasts? Does he have . . . ? It’s your character. What do you see?”

My character was a mother and a wife, the center and pillar of her family and neighborhood, a friend to all, a kind and respectable woman in her mid-fifties. What I envisioned was an ample-bodied, fleshy, average-looking female (as opposed to a Desperate Housewives waif). She had wide hips, a round tummy, billowy breasts, and a soft expression. And that’s when it hit me! All of the personality traits that I admire are somehow rooted in my subconscious to a visual image—one that isn’t a Victoria Secret model!

So thinking about this further, I asked myself what I want to project to others and, perhaps more importantly, why. Commercials and magazine covers and television programs have been shouting their beliefs at me for so long that it’s easy to think these ideas align with my own. But do they really?

How sexy do I need to be?

I’m a contented married woman and a grandmother of four. My spouse has loved me through all sizes and shapes. He’s attracted to the whole me—not just my figure. And he still thinks I’m pretty great. I’m not in the market for anyone else. So why should it matter if I’ve lost my sex appeal to someone I’m not sexually interested in?

How perfect do I need to look?

I’m not trying to get a Hollywood leading role or my photo on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Even Angelina Jolie had to have her picture airbrushed for People. Horrors! The veins in her arms were showing. Real veins, the kind that pump honest-to-God human blood through her clinically average (though atypically beautiful) body.

How physically toned must I be?

The Olympics are likely out of question for me. I’ve no desire to ever climb Mt. Everest or even to win a marathon. I’d like to remain healthy and maintain bone density. But I don’t need to subsist on yogurt and “protein power bars” or spend 10+ hours a week at the gym to do that. I can find my way to the sidewalk without a personal trainer.

Why should I care about my BMI?

BMI is based on height, with no regard to age or bone structure or the fact that my thyroid gland has been destroyed (due to an autoimmune disease). Who can tell me what that magic number should be? My grandmother lived to be 96 without ever once knowing her BMI. She ate unlimited servings of real sugar, never cooked meat without a skillet, and drank Dr Pepper well into her nineties.  She remained active and healthy until long after all her friends and siblings (who were all skinnier than her) had died.

What I’m saying is simply this: Let your body reflect your life values. That’s a goal worthy of pursuit. And when you know you’ve achieved this, be happy with how you look. That’s my new mantra. 

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Free Muse to Good Home

Nobody, other than medical professionals, wants to hear about it when you feel bad. And even doctors wouldn’t care to listen if they weren’t getting paid. I know that. But I need someone to commiserate with. Surely there’s another allergy or flu sufferer out there somewhere who’ll humor me. 

I’m drowning in my own body fluids, throat hurts, and I’m blowing bubbles out of my nose. I’ve got three-day-old gel in my hair. All I want to do is go back to bed, but some nasty internal voice that insists I’m being a slug anytime I’m napping during daylight hours prevents me from this.  

“No,” my subconscious insists. “You’re supposed to be working on your screenplay, today! You promised yourself another 10 pages.” Probably not going to happen, unless I want ten pages of, She sneezes, then coughs and reaches for a tissue. The judge shifts his posture, canting his body farther from the witness 

Yeah, I’m supposed to be writing a court scene. The way I’m feeling, right now, I’d probably write in some goofball with an automatic weapon. 

“Discipline!” yells my obnoxious guide. “Quit being a slacker. Stop blogging and get to it!”  Man, I hate this nag. 

WRITER CLASSIFIEDS 

Free muse to good home. Air delivery.  Excellent voice, pushy condition. Owner no longer willing to forego sleep.

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