Did you ever wonder what is like to be an actress? No, not a Hollywood movie star, just one of the remaining 90% of the players... Here, you're gonna find the answer! Welcome to my life, Umberta, actress not (yet) a star!


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Meeting Paolo Sorrentino

A couple of months ago, my Italian agent called me for a very important casting. It was the kind of call one doesn’t receive everyday
So one cold morning, without telling anyone, to avoid bad luck (yup sometimes my Italian origin re-emerges), I woke up before dawn, headed to the airport in the dark and secretly jumped on a plane to Rome…

airplane dawn sky

Before you get too excited, it’s better I tell you right away this is not a happy ending story… I’m not jumping all around, yelling « Yayyyyy I got it ! I goooooot iiiiiit ! ». Nope. But it’s an interesting story. Cause honestly, one doesn’t get to meet an oscar winning director everyday, right ? 
Plus it’s a story that really conforted me about my acting skills :)

I arrived in Rome early morning, took the train to go to the city centre and use the time in the train to refresh my face - I woke up at 4 am so I needed some make up.

I was so prepared, I worked so hard for that audition, that I didn't even need to rehearse in the train... Honestly, I think I've never been so prepared!

I was just super happy and over excited, this is probably why, without thinking, I automatically put on some coloured lip balm, which turned out to be a big mistake: as soon as I arrived at the audition, the casting director started yelling at me because my lips were slightly pink, and what the hell I was thinking as I was auditioning for a nun role (which I didn't know because apparently the plot and the project was so secret that I couldn't have any information before the casting...).

The stupid lip balm didn't want to go away so eventually the casting director obliged me to wash my mouth with soap...

I think it's fair to say the audition didn't start well...

It went even worse - or that's what I thought: the first scene I had to prepare was a crazy girl who thought she saw Virgin Mary. 
I did my stuff, and I must admit I was quite proud of myself... Except that the casting director told me to do it again and to tell the text with no emotion at all... ok I did it, but honestly... which is the point on working on a crazy character then?

After that, I played the second text, a woman going through the loss of his loved one, again with zero emotion.

And that was it.

"The Young Pope" Paolo Sorrentino audition

As soon as I was out from the casting director office I started to cry. I thought I did a bad audition and that the casting director obviously hated me and I wasted my big occasion to be in - drumroll please - "The Young Pope" an upcoming tv series by Academy Award winner director Paolo Sorrentino, starring Jude Law as the young Pope.

Jude Law The Young Pope

Still crying I had lunch with one of my besties (I lied before, I did tell someone I went to Rome and why, but only to my hubby and 2 girlfriends of mine), she more or less arrived to cheer me up a bit and in the afternoon I took the plane back to Paris.

So imagine my surprise when my agent called me to tell me that Paolo Sorrenting himself wanted to meet me!

I jumped on a plane, went back to Rome - did not put any lip balm in the train this time - went to the production company and ready I was to meet Sorrentino!

I didn't have to prepare anything for this audition so I thought maybe Sorrentino wanted actors to improvise or maybe he just wanted to talk with them to see if they can relate to the character (apparently Elia Kazan, Martin Scorsese and other great directors do that).

Anyway, Paolo Sorrentino arrived one hour late, and while me and the other actors were waiting, what really shocked me it was how the casting director and the other people were talking about him, almost with fear... Like if he was a powerful king and all of them the poor subjects... When he finally rang the interphone everyone was running around like "Paolo is here!", "Paolo is in the elevator!"... Have you seen what happens in "The devil wears Prada" the seconds before Miranda's arrival? You have the idea.

"The devil wears Prada" Miranda arrives gif

Paolo Sorrentino took a camera, put it at two inches from my nose, told me not to move and not to smile and started snapping pictures of me because he wanted to see if "I really was like I was in the video audition". He barely talked to me, but he acted surprised when I told him I came from Paris. He was like: "But you have other things to do in Rome right? You didn't come just to meet me?" Honestly. Does he even know what the job of an actress is?

After 2 minutes he told me "Do you know why actors love me?", I said "non" and he replied "Because I'm fast". And the audition was finished.

He honestly seemed to me a bit strange and haughty...

When I called my agent just after that, even the girl who answerd the phone seemed to talk to me differently because I just met Sorrentino and my agent was like "you saw how impressive is it to meet him?". I said yes to be polite, but honestly found everyone was a bit overreacting...
But I'm generally not impressed by famous people, I mean they're just other human beings, exactly like you and me, they just have much more experience and, sometimes, more luck...
I think that I could also play with Leonardo DiCaprio without being impressed... What I like about meeting or working with such people is that one can learn so much...

Anyway, in the end apparently I'm not like in the video audition as Sorrentino didn't take me for "The Young Pope".

No seriously I don't know why I hadn't been chosen. There may be so many reasons... But what i'm happy about is that after watching my audition, Paolo Sorrentino wanted to meet me, as if I was a bad actress he wouldn't have wanted.
And all in all it was a good experience :) And that means that my big occasion is yet to come... I just hope it won't get lost on the way ;)


Concours Classe Libre Cours Florent - Audition n. 1

acting drama school paris

As you know, I'm participating in the Classe Libre competition at Cours Florent. I had the first audition last week and then, if I pass this first step, I'll still have two more auditions to undertake.

I still don't have the results from the first audition, but I've already started to prepare the monologues for the second one, just in case. Otherwise, I'm afraid that if I'm admitted to the second step, I won't have enough time to prepare everything. I just didn't begin to work on the dialogue scene as I don't want my partner to work for nothing, if I'm not admitted.

Anyway, as there is really no information about this competition on internet (I searched for it prior to register) I thought I would tell you what to expect in case you're thinking to participate as well. 
And if I'm admitted to the second or the third round, I then will tell you what to expect too.

Firstly, everyone can register, you don't need to have previous acting experience. I already tried the Classe Libre audition a couple of years ago and there was no age limit. As of today, the age limit is 35 years old.

There's a fee to pay to register to the audition of 78 €. This probably is used to cover the audition's organization costs, but as well to finance the training of the actors that will be admitted.
I think this is also a first barrier to select people that are really interested in this training, otherwise there would probably be much more applicants, which would register just to try and see.

For the first step of the competition you have to prepare a monologue from whatever you want: it can be a text from theatre, from a movie, a novel... 

Plus this year candidates have to prepare another performance such as a dancing or music or singing... (last time, we had to prepare a newspaper article).

For the second step, on the other side, you have to choose a text from specific periods theatre, plus on the last step there's an imposed monologue for all candidates. 

If you're not French, you also have to prepare something in your mother tongue, which is a chance, if you ask me, as you have an additional opportunity to show what you can do.

Try to choose texts that fit your age and appearance. And for the dialogue scenes try to find a good partner, otherwise instead of helping you, he'll have the opposite effect (and I know what I'm talking about).
I also just suggest you to prepare contrasting texts, where you can show different kind of emotions.

I prepared a monologue from "L'Etat de siège" by Camus - something really dark - a monologue from "When Harry meets Sally" - something bubbling and lighter - and a dance in which my character was kind of crazy.

When you arrive the ambiance is really nice and everyone is super kind, so that you feel good.
You have a separate room where you can change or prepare yourself.
Otherwise you can wait in the corridor in front of the audition room.

Acting Drama school Paris

You are called at a certain time for your audition, but actually there are 4 other people at the same time, so if you're not the first one you may wait a little. But it's ok as you cannot wait more than 45 minutes anyway, as the next hour there will be other people called.
I was the third one and waited about 20 minutes (yep, the audition only last 10ish minutes).

Also, I think that at the first step of the competition, they really look at candidates' physical appearance. I'm saying that, because last time they asked to girls to come wearing a short, little black dress, high heels and natural make-up.
This year, there is no dress code, but I think it's better to be dressed with something that makes you look good.

I wore a lbd, as anyway I wanted to be dressed in black for the first scene, and little make-up.

Also consider, that if you need to change - I had to change for dancing - you cannot go out the audition room and come back, you have to change in the room, so choose something easy to wear.

Finally regarding the jury,  at the first audition, there is only one person in the jury. He's a kind man who puts candidates at ease. It was the same person when I passed the audition last time.
But I remember from last time, that at the second audition there were 3 or 4 people in the jury and they were not really welcoming, it was not the same atmosphere.

Anyway, the man in the jury times your performances and stops you when you reach the time limit. So be aware of the length of your texts.
I've actually been stopped before the end of my first monologue. I timed myself at home and I thought it was 3 minutes (maximum time authorized), but it actually must have been like 3 minutes and 15 seconds so I couldn't finish and that was really frustrating.

Also, what was frustrating is that the jury watched more his iPhone (I think he was taking the time on the phone) than me.
And I was like "hey you, I'm performing for you, look at me!!".
It really irritated me, and at a certain point I really raise my voice (anyway I was playing a dictator so it was ok with the character). 
And during the dancing, there was a moment where I was supposed to laugh and as I saw he was not watching me, I laughed rally loud, but he didn't raise his head...

The audition room is enough big that you can perform whatever you want. I was a bit concerned about dancing, but I actually had enough space. 
But it's not that big and lights are not that blinding, so you can really see the jury very well.

Also, I didn't know what to expect on the floor (always worried for dancing). It was parquet and I could dance barefoot, it was not slippery. 
It's really like a little stage, only it's not an elevated one.

Well I really have a good time at this audition. As I was not stressed at all, I could really enjoy performing!

And in the end, I think I did something good, as juryman seemed interested and asked me if I could play in English as well, who my agent is, where I was playing...

I'll let you know how it goes, for the time being, fingers crossed ;)

And if you need more information, don't hesitate to ask :)

Acting Drama School Paris
Am I gonna fit in ?! ;)


5 different ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I'm not really into the whole commercial thing, but I think it's nice to take the occasion to do something special and to celebrate with your loved one(s) - with your Valentine of course, but, if you don't have one, also with your friends or family.

If you, like me, don't feel like ending up in a crowded restaurant where you won't even able to choose your own food, because especially for the night, they will have an overpriced set menu... Here's some ideas to celebrate this special day in a different way :)
  • Seafood platter. Hubby and I don't always like to go out to celebrate special occasions. Sometimes we just like to celebrate at home. Obviously not like if it was any other night. We nicely decorate the living room, creating a cozy and romantic atmosphere with candles, we dress up and we choose a special food. One of our favorite thing is a seafood platter. We love seafood, still it's not something we eat everyday, it's more a special occasion food... We usually order the seafood platter from The Brasserie Flo in Paris. Their seafood platter is huge, very well presented even when it's for take away and there's everything you may want - lobsters, oysters, prawns, clams, crabs, shellfish... Add some white wine and you're sure to have a wonderful soirée!
  • And by the way, seafood is also supposed to be aphrodisiac... ;)

  • A fingers food dinner. I find it particularly cute and cheery to have a table full of different, yummy little food to taste and share. You can  mix things you love and things you never tasted before, salty and sweety... You can take different things from specialized grocery stores like Italian, Greek, Asian ones... Or you can do as I do (lazy me) and go to Picard, a French store specialized in frozen food, where you can find, well, almost everything from all over the world. Some bubbles to drink and everything's gonna be perfect.

  •  Explore a new place together. What is better then discover a new place with your loved one? As this year Valentine's day is a Sunday, why don't go somewhere nearby and explore that little town you've never been before or spend the day in the countryside, maybe having a picnic lunch in the nature, walking around and at the end of the day watching the sunset? 

  • Try a new activity together. To spend time together is obviously a very important thing, but what I find equally important is to actually do something together. Why don't to try a new activity on Valentine's day? It can be a dance class or a cooking one. A photography course or a golf introduction... Maybe it'll then become your next hobby to share... Or maybe you won't really like it, but you'll have funny memories that will last long ;)

  • Check if there's something special and different organized near you. In Paris this year there's a special run called "Love Run", where you're supposed to run bound by a bracelet to your loved one... And this is where we'll be on Valentine's day :) Apparently there will be music, gifts and a giant brunch as well. I think it'll be fun. Apart from the fact that I never run a race in my entire life... And ok it's only 8 km that apparently is not that much... But I usually go to the gym, run around 4 km and 30 minutes and then stop because I'm tired lol! Well, anyway we'll see, i think it's a nice challenge to take up together and we should have a nice day! :)

What are your plans for Valentine's Day ?


Cours Florent - Concours Classe Libre

^ Here when my living room becomes a rehearsal room... ;)

I've been practiced for the Classe Libre audition at Cours Florent. I'll have my first audition in a couple of hours *fingers crossed* !

Cours Florent is a very well known acting school in Paris. They have a special program called "Classe Libre", that is a 2 years program, completely free for the 20 (over the around 2.000 applicants) lucky actors who will be admitted.

Many working French actors came out from the Classe Libre (and attention: they came out from the Classe Libre and NOT from the Cours Florent normal classes).

Anyway, I'm not really stressed. As I'm quite close to the limit age to be admitted, I don't really think I have a real chance to get in. As a result, I'm going to the audition really relaxed, that eventually is the best thing. I'm gonna do my stuff, have fun and then we'll see what happens next! ;)

Ok I'm gonna take a shower, get dressed and I'm gonna go! :D

Have a good day everyone! :)



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