Susan White

I met Susan White on the Queen Mary. It was a strange place to meet the white gloved very proper English Lady. The whole ship was intermingled with Metaphysical Speakers, and Harley Davidson riders. In the midst of this mishmash of unusual suspects, walked this very formal, tall lady and she caught my attention. “ Hello, I said” “So nice to meet you” she replied” I am here to meet my brother who has just flown in from London. I was fascinated and to my delight found that she and her brother were eating lunch where I was. I could observe her and I became fascinated that during the entire meal with her brother, she never took off her white gloves and never got them even soiled. So, I decided to write about Susan White for the column. She made the motorcyclists seem like…normal.

Susan survived the World War II Blitz and started entertaining back in 1945. As Susan puts it she had nine lives. Lots of near death experiences but she kept dancing her way through Europe entertaining the troops. Keeping the fighting boy’s minds off the isolating and lonely feelings, men away from home feel while fighting for something they may not politically understand, but bravely go to battle for the sake of their country and safety of their loved ones. Politics and War is all beyond me but Susan went out there and danced for them

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Dear Toni,

I am a late-blooming writer with three published books to my credit. I have been much less successful with a screenplay I wrote called The Killing Ground. It is based on the life of the first white woman who traveled to the Pribiloff Islands (Alaska) in the late 1800’s. It is a story that would inspire women and I believe it is commercially viable. Do you have any ideas for getting it into the hands of someone who would actually read it?
Thank you in advance for helping me with this problem.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author

Carrie Landsgaar

Dear Toni,

I am enjoying your column. Thank you. I am an actress and vocalist. My CD, “Is This Desire?” is being released to jazz radio stations in the U.S. and Canada this January. I have just returned from performing in Hong Kong and China where I sang for Rolls Royce’s 100th Anniversary party. I performed a concert and also some jazz dates.
I have some film and television credits and would like to incorporate these two things more. I have some original tunes on my C.D. My question for you is: How do I get my songs and me into films?

Thanks,
Carrie Landsgaar

Hector L. Chaidez

Dear Toni,

My name is Hector L. Chaidez, and I am a bilingual, twenty-two year old Latino. I have a busy schedule complete with a job, homework and auditions. What can I do to handle stress and anxiety? What are some techniques to prepare for an audition? What shows would you suggest I’d be right for as a young Latino male?

Johnny Lewis

Dear Toni,

I never wanted to be an actor. If you had told me 5 years ago I would become one I would have laughed and said, “No, thanks!”

After spending my whole life in the 3-stoplight town of Chelsea, Michigan, I moved to New York City hoping to further my career in book publishing. One day I met a guy on a train who invited me to come to an audition just to watch. I thought it would be interesting to see behind the scenes, so I took him up on it—still with no interest in acting. After auditioning people for 3 hours they still couldn’t fill one role, so the director turned to me and said, “Jonny, why don’t you try it?” Startled, I replied, “You’re joking right, I’m not an actor!” But he insisted, so I tried, and I got the part, which was for a play reading. I had fun with it, did some more auditions, and about a month later I was cast in the male lead in an original production at the 13th Street Repertory in Manhattan. Right after our 3-month run ended I did my first film, again the lead role, for which I won “Best Actor in a Short Film” at the Denver Film Festival [when the film was screened there in 2004]. In the 4 years since then I’ve had leads or supporting roles in more than 20 Indie films and 30 student films, some in New York but most here in Los Angeles.

I enjoy the process of working with the director, cast, and crew toward the common goal of producing the best film possible. Often it becomes like family. I even went to the wedding of a husband and wife director/producer team in December.

I love becoming another person for my roles, playing everything from a compassionate priest or therapist to a psychotic killer. I also enjoy comedy, and would love to do more of it. In my off time I enjoy keeping fit and browsing the Iliad bookstore for all types of books, but especially those about various types of spiritual pursuits.

My question to you: The legend is that Al Pacino did 50 student films before he got noticed. I have done more then that in just four. What’s a guy gotta do to get to the big time?

Johnny

Mara Chapel

Dear Toni,

I produce a very successful revue called, “Broadway Tonight,” that performs all over the world. The show consists of four to twelve performers and is a potpourri of all the Broadway Showstoppers and is a smash wherever they perform.

My dilemma is that there are so many venues that I have yet to reach such as Theatres, Conventions and many other venues. My time is so limited being that I also manage a couple of other acts, as well. Just the phone calls, mailings of promo material are more than a full time job for one person. I need an assistant desperately.

My vision is so great and getting this vision to where I want it to be is very difficult. I cannot afford to hire help. I did try hiring someone on a commission basis, but that did not work out. I need a very strong, knowledgeable salesperson that knows this end of the industry, knows how to pitch a show and get the account!

Any advice would be welcomed.
Mara Chapel

Drew Jones

Dear Toni,

My son, Drew, is 10 years old and has been starting to get work in commercials and TV. He has an excellent agent that seems to take care of everything he needs and is sending him out on auditions often. Our experience on sets so far has been wonderful. The directors and assistants have been attentive, caring and kept me informed at all stages. I am always concerned about Drew’s welfare and best interests but don’t want to be demanding and obnoxious. I’m concerned about the stories I hear about “stage moms” and certainly don’t want to be in that group. What tips or suggestions do you have for parents of child actors?

Cheryl Jones

Ilana Martin

Dear Toni,

My name is Ilana Martin and I am a singer. I have been singing my entire; I have a five-range octave and I sing from my heart. I also write my own music and am setting up my own publishing company. Currently, I am working on a film about a struggling singer trying to make it in the music business. My life is going well and I am experiencing considerable amounts of success in my singing career. I am a strong, motivated woman who has followed her dreams. My problem is that because I ask so much of myself, I have a level of perfection that somehow bleeds into what I want for a mate. How do I find a mate who isn’t intimidated by my success and can support me in the way I need?

Ilana Martin

Jenn Shagrin

Dear Toni,

I would love to attend one of your workshops. Just let me know when you have them. After a four-year hiatus from the Los Angeles acting scene, I’ve returned and am seeking new representation. Unfortunately, I’ve run into a dilemma; I am 19 years old but look about 16. Should I look for an agency that primarily represents children, or one that focuses on adults?

Thank you and look forward to meeting you,
Jenn Shagrin

Christina Edland

Dear Toni,

I am an American actress, originally from Virginia and have just moved to Los Angeles from London where I went to drama school. While there I received the Peter Howitt Scholarship Award, and in the last year, worked in London doing classical and modern plays. I am now living in Los Angeles and have booked Passions The Television Soap Opera.

My question to you is: How do I go about getting the best manager and agent for myself, taking into consideration what I have to offer? I am an American, but I speak fluent Spanish (my mother is from Spain) and I have perfected a charming British accent as well!”

Thank you Toni!
Christina Edland

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