Spending My Summer With Ryan Murphy et al

Hello gang! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

On June 15th, I met with a mentor of mine for coffee in the Hollywood Hills. As countless luxury cars pulled in and out of the parking lot, I told him that I needed some help and direction in the TV literary world. He’s a literary manager and also a fellow Vassar graduate. I’ve known him (and his wife) for several years now. I’ve been to a few events they’ve hosted from Christmas gift-wrapping parties for needy families to casserole parties to a writers retreat at the Sturtevant Camp in Sierra Madre, CA.

I told him that I needed to navigate the TV literary world with more focus and clarity because I was a little bit all over the place. I also asked him about how to obtain a literary manager. We spoke for a while and he gave me a lot of homework to execute that would help me get more focused in this area, more focused on which literary managers would be best for my writing voice and to discover opportunities for minority writers such as myself.

After taking pages of notes, I was excited to tackle the homework he gave me. One of the homework assignments was to identify 25 TV shows/movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer. He told me to create a spreadsheet and to include different columns of information for this homework assignment.

Side note: At the time of our meeting, I could only identify two TV shows that I would have killed to work on as a writer LOL.

After our meeting, I immediately got to work. I started watching lots of TV shows and movies to find my voice in them. Does this TV show or movie sound like my voice? Does this TV show or movie sound like what I’m interested in writing? I would watch at least two episodes of each TV show to see if I would add it to the list or not. I typed in specific genres that I was interested in. I looked at recommendations from Netflix, Hulu and IMDB (i.e. if you liked “Black Mirror”, then check out….) Next thing I knew, my list of shows started to grow.

When my list grew to 15 shows, I hit a wall. I was like, “There is no way I’m going to find 25 TV shows/movies.” I emailed my mentor and asked, “Is 25 a hard number? Or can I have less than that?” I asked him this question knowing fully well what his answer would be. I knew that 25 was a hard number. And that he gave me 25 TV shows/movies to push myself, to explore and to think outside of the box. He emailed me back and he confirmed everything I already knew. So, I recommitted to hitting the magic number of 25. And I’m glad I did because I didn’t want to take any shortcuts. I wanted to fully comply.

On July 27th, I hit the magic number! When I found my 25th show, I cheered! I was so happy and ecstatic. It took me almost a month and a half, but I got to spend my summer with Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Steven Canals, Tanya Saracho, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ryan O’Connell and so many other amazing creators!

I discovered/reconfirmed a few things in this assignment:

*I am interested in the following areas for TV: urban dramedies; stand alone sci-fi episodes; comedies where the lead character is truly an outcast.

*My writing heart resonates with half hour TV shows.

*When it came to identifying movies, urban dramas made the list. Although, I also love comedic apocalyptic films like Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End (both written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg)

*ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! When I saw the amount of creativity in each show, the storylines, the kind of different/dynamic leading characters, etc., I realized that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! There is an audience out there for any show and storyline. There is no way that my own TV series can’t be picked up. All of the shows I watched (whether they made the list or not) reconfirmed that my series has a place on TV. No one can ever tell me that there isn’t an audience for my work after seeing all of the TV shows and movies I’ve seen.

So, ladies and gentleman, here are the 25 TV shows and movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer because they resonate with my writing voice. In no particular order:

  1. Pose
  2. Black Mirror
  3. Pen15
  4. Room 104
  5. Electric Dreams
  6. Weird City
  7. The Twilight Zone (the reboot)
  8. Special
  9. Bonding
  10. Shrill
  11. Difficult People
  12. Schitt’s Creek
  13. Ramy
  14. Barry
  15. Atlanta
  16. Fleabag
  17. Vida
  18. When They See Us
  19. Tales of the City (the reboot)
  20. Looking
  21. Moonlight
  22. Gun Hill Road
  23. Quinceanera
  24. Roxanne, Roxanne
  25. Culture Shock (part of the Into The Dark series on Hulu)
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Where You At?!

Hey artistic warriors! How the hell are ya?! I’ve been gone for a few weeks and I’ve missed you all so much. So, where you at?! We are halfway through the year (can you EFFING believe it?!?! “She’s a woman!” Thank you Miz Cracker)

That being said, I thought this was a good time to check in and assess the artistic journey so far. What goals have you accomplished that you set for yourself back in January? What goals did you set for yourself back in January that you flinched on? “Flinch” meaning to pull back, back away, shy away, draw back. What goals started off with a bang, but for this reason and that, they/you lost steam and momentum?

What have you accomplished and celebrated? Do you have a list of your wins since January 1st and have you been celebrating along the way? I have five recent wins that I need to celebrate. I’m telling you this so that I am held accountable as well (To celebrate, I really want to buy a record player and some Madonna albums in LP form released from the year 2000 and beyond: Music, American Life, Confessions on a Dance Floor, Hard Candy, MDNA, Rebel Heart, and of course, the new album coming out on June 14th, Madame X…shameless plug and devotion to the Queen of Everything)

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

For me, on the actor side, I need to schedule a new commercial headshot session. I’ve already picked out my wardrobe and will take pictures of myself in them and send to my agent for feedback. Once I solidify the looks, I will book a headshot session. For me, on the actor side, I need to buy a white ascot for a SAG web series pilot shoot that’s coming up. I had an impulse that my character would wear that. I shared my idea with the creator and they loved it. Also, looking at what scene to do in class from my new casting list. And more things to do…

For me, on the writer side, my focus has been on my new half-hour TV series. So far, I have 1) Three episodes written; 2) I have created a spreadsheet for season one that contains the main characters, their A&B storylines, the episode titles and descriptions, etc.; 3) I’ve written a series bible. My goal is to finish all tweaks by the end of June 2019. For me on the writer side, I want to utilize my relationship map for help and guidance. I’ve already begun reaching out to people (Two of whom I flinched on reaching out to for a while and they offered to meet with me!) For me, as a writer, I want to submit the pilot episode to various writing competitions. For me, as a writer, I want to secure literary representation and pitch meetings.

For me, on the writer side, I will continue submitting my film, The Doppelganger, to more film festivals. Good news coming soon in this area. Stay tuned.

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, I just joined an amazing career administration group that will kick my ass and hold me accountable. I already shared my enthusiasm with the leader of the group and that I’m coming into this group not knowing anything (meaning that I’m willing to listen and learn…that I don’t have to know everything. It’s actually freeing to know that I don’t have to have all the answers. Ask the next question. Then ask the next question.)

For me, on the 360 degrees of my career, making sure I make noise in order to be considered. To show up more in the rooms I am in. To demand of myself that I be considered. To be uncomfortable. To look at where my energy is going because where I place my energy defines me. Thank you Keili Lefkovitz for this paragraph of advice.

Part of my artistic journey, which I call Chasing The George, is that I’m not perfect. That I make mistakes, but I learn from them. That I don’t know everything and that’s okay. That I don’t know everything, but what I DO know, I know it fucking WELL.

So, where you at my fellow artistic warriors?! Let me know in the comments section below.

Another Day, Another Pilot Written

Hello Artists!

I just finished writing a new half hour pilot! I shared it in my Professional Development Program 3.0 class at the Richard Lawson Studios to hear it out loud and get feedback on the characters and the storyline. I’m excited for this new series!

And to reiterate the point of my blog, Chasing The George, it’s to include people on the journey I’m on to carve out the career that I want (and to provide industry advice along the way)

So here’s a few of the things I have planned to Chase The Ambulance, to Chase The George, with urgency and intention:

**Write the second episode (Which I started doing on March 2nd!)

**Write the third episode

**Carve out an 8-episode bible for season one

**Submit the pilot episode to writing competitions to use as leverage and attention

**Secure a new literary agent

And there’s more administration planned around my new series. And remember that all of my career administration is directly pulled from my Declaration of Independence (aka business plan)

With all of the streaming platforms that are currently out there and that are coming out in the near future, I will get a development deal.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, HBO, etc…………………

Your Mother-Effing Wins!

As 2018 comes to a close, I hope all of you have a chance to reflect on the numerous wins you’ve had this year. A win is anything that is an accomplishment. Something that moved your life or career forward in some way, no matter how big or small.

This being my last blog entry of 2018, I want to continue the tradition of letting the last entry be a listing and celebration of some of the wins I’ve had this past year.

Arrogant (definition means “claiming for oneself” and “pride”) So have some arrogance as you generate your list of 2018 wins. You’ll be shocked at how many wins you DO have!

Below is my list. Check it out. Let it inspire you to remember your own wins. Let it inspire you to see the different types of wins that exist.

See you in 2019!

A sample of my 2018 wins:

January 1st: Made it to another year

January 13th: Celebrated another birthday

January 20th: Drove down to Tijuana to do research on a scene I was doing from Weeds

January 21st: Attended the SAG Awards screening at the Alex Theater

February 1st: Put up a scene from Weeds

February 9th-12th: Went to San Diego for a mini-trip

February 15th: Put up a scene from Best In Show. Richard Lawson opened up my work to the class

February 17th: Acted in a table read for the feature film, Support

March 3rd: Met with the playwright, the director and the executive producer of the play, The Blade Of Jealousy, because they were interested in casting me in one of the leading roles

March 4th: Attended Oscars viewing party at the WACO Theater Center and delivered a kick-ass Best Actor Oscar speech to everyone in attendance. An once again, I predicted the Best Picture winner: The Shape of Water

March 5th: Auditioned for a leading role in the feature film, Moon Made

March 14th: Paid off my Wells Fargo credit card debt

March 23rd: Received a residual check from SAG-Aftra for a feature film I was in, Balls To The Wall

March 31st: Saw my favorite drag queen in the world, Bianca Del Rio, on her sold-out world tour, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio

April 3rd: Auditioned for the feature film, A Kiss On Candy Cane Lane

April 21st: The Haeggstrom Office submitted me for a series regular role (they don’t even represent me!) but I am friends with someone who is represented by them

April 22nd: Acted in the Homeward LA production at the WACO Theater Center

April 26th: Submitted myself for a series regular role in Tales Of The City

May 3rd: Did a scene from Black Mirror. Richard opened it up to the class

May 3rd: Received an offer for commercial representation from Green & Green Talent Group

May 8th: Officially signed commercially with Green & Green Talent Group

May 10th: Commercial audition for Fox Sports

May 11th & 12: Attended Drag Con!

May 14th: Commercial audition for Fed Ex

May 19th: Shot the scene from Black Mirror for my theatrical reel

May 22nd: Met with the LoveStone Agency for theatrical representation

May 23rd: Commercial audition for Honda Pilot

May 24th: Applied for the NHMC Television Writers Program

May 29th: Did a kick-ass prepared audition and a kick-ass cold reading for TV episodic director, Lily Mariye

May 31st: Acted in two scenes for scene study class: Girls Trip & Elaine Earnest

June 1st: Commercial audition for WALLY

June 4th: Got a callback for WALLY

June 6th Commercial audition for Universal Studios

June 7th Put up a repeat of Weeds in scene study class

June 8th Audition for Amex

June 11th Audition for Thermador

July 9th Audition for Google Chrome app

July 10th My weekly blog, Chasing The George, celebrated its 3rd anniversary

July 26th Finished paying off my Citicard credit card

July 31st Finished post production on The Doppelganger, a film I wrote, executive produced and starred in

August 3rd Submitted The Doppelganger to the Santa Barbara international film Festival and to Sundance

August 7th My blog qualified for the Word Ads program on WordPress

August 11th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Atlanta Film Festival

August 13th Audition for Toyota

August 15th Meeting with MZA for theatrical representation

August 16th Got a callback for Toyota

August 18th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Maryland Film Festival

August 26th Celebrated 16 years in LA!

August 27th My blog entry, How I Wrote A Script In One Hour, got published in Medium and Thrive Global

August 30th Signed with MZA for theatrical representation

September 7th Commercial audition for a national PSA for Teachers/PTA members

September 22nd Submitted The Doppelganger to the D.C. International Film Festival and the Florida Film Festival

October 3rd Got a series regular audition for a new TV series titled, People Just Do Nothing

October 8th Had successful eye surgery

October 21st Leased a new car

October 30th Voice over audition for a Slender Tone fitness product

November 3rd Did a kick-ass cold read audition in front of a packed room at the Actors Expo in Hollywood

November 14th Had a successful glaucoma surgery

November 15th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Phoenix Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival

December 1st Commercial audition for LA Tourism

December 4th Commercial audition for Diet Coke

December 5th Did an audition from All American in class

December 12th Re-introduced a new half hour pilot I wrote

December 12th Commercial audition for Facebook

Overall 2018 wins:

Taught many classes at the Richard Lawson Studios

Did numerous prepared auditions and cold read auditions in my PDP 3.0 class (Professional Development Program)

Increased my financial abundance

Quality time with my partner and friends

Made new friends

Supported many friends in their personal and professional endeavors

Happy Anniversary Times Two!

Happy AnniversaryHello fellow artists! I’m celebrating two special anniversaries! Actually, I’m a little later on both anniversaries, but I’m acknowledging them now!!

One is that I have been living in LA for 16 years! I landed in LA on August 26th, 2002 and it has been a wonderful journey of discovery, of failing forward, of finding my personal voice, of finding my artistic voice, of building quality friendships, of changing my life, to changing other lives, to inspiring myself, to inspiring others, to leading myself, to leading others.

And the second anniversary that I’m celebrating is that Chasing The George is three years old! Wow! Wow! Wow! I launched my first blog entry on July 10th, 2015 and now my blog is being read all over the world: the United States, Canada, Spain, Ireland, France, Germany, the U.K., the Philippines, etc. It’s truly been a blessing to share Hollywood industry advice and the personal journey I am on to create and carve out the career I want for myself on a weekly basis.

And here is how my blog started (Taken from the “About” section of my blog)

Hey everyone! I created this weekly blog on July 10th, 2015 upon the recommendation of one of my mentors, Richard Lawson. I am a working professional actor and writer who works hard and understands the concept of what it means to have a career. So he advised me to create a blog where I would share my advice, my journey, my stories and interests with other artists. A “Hollywood 101” if you will that reveals and shares the sustained effort, work and fun it takes to have a career in this industry.

“Chasing The George” is a play on the phrase “Chasing The Ambulance”. When an ambulance is in emergency mode, they cut through traffic with intention. Nothing gets in their way. Some people will illegally chase after that ambulance because they too can get to their destination faster. While I don’t condone illegal activity, I do love the concept of chasing a career with that same intention and focus. I am the ambulance. Chasing The George is a reflection of my intention and focus to carve out the career I want in Hollywood.

I hope that my advice, my personal stories, my enthusiasm and my sometimes funny and direct approach will inspire you to carve out your own fabulous and exciting career in Hollywood.

So pull up a seat and welcome to Chasing The George.

ONWARD AND FORWARD!!!!!!!

 

 

How I Wrote A Script In One Hour

I am so proud to announce that a film I wrote, executive produced and co-starred in, “The Doppelganger”, is done with post production! My director and I have a solid game plan in place to submit this film to a specific list of film festivals over the course of one year. We just submitted the film to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Sundance on August 3rd! In addition to the film festival circuit, we will look at distribution platforms for the film.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is nothing like creating your own evidence. It’s exciting and it truly takes a village of people to come together and bring your vision to life! I am truly grateful.

The idea for this story came to me while I was scanning shoes at a department store’s bi-annual inventory extravaganza. No joke. I saw the entire story play out in my mind while I scanned various pumps. I saw how the hero of the film travelled from the orphan phase to the wanderer phase to the warrior phase to the martyr phase (Please check out the amazing screenwriting book, “My Story Can Beat Up Your Story”, by Jeffrey Schechter.) I knew what compelling thing the hero wanted. I knew what compelling counter-argument the hero would receive. I knew that Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone would influence the style and context of my film. I knew who I wanted to cast and the people I wanted to work with behind the camera. I knew that I wanted to star in it.

The next day, I outlined the script in 30 minutes. Four days later, I sat down at my computer and completed the first draft in 1 hour. Shortly after, I presented the first draft of my script in class and it went great. My classmates had positive responses and reactions to my script. I made a couple of tweaks afterwards, but I kept everything else I had written intact.

We shot the film on December 10th, 2017 and wrapped post production on July 31st, 2018.

Going back to the script, it came to me so quickly because I was on go. I didn’t question my ideas. I didn’t question my impulses. I didn’t fall into any agreements that this story wouldn’t work or that it would be unbelievable. I allowed myself to be on go with the story that was unfolding in my mind.

Writing can be such a confronting process. I know. I totally understand. I’ve been there where I would rather paint my entire house than to write a script. Where I would rather find the cure for cancer than to write a script. However, I also know that when you have a compelling story burning inside of you, you have to write it. You HAVE to write it. It won’t leave you alone until you do. It will keep bothering you until you sit down in front of a computer and start typing.

THIS story was compelling. The story felt instinctual and visceral. I could not wait to stop scanning those shoes so that I could go home and start working on this story right away.

So if you have a compelling story or idea, make the time to write it. Sit down and write it. Whether it takes you one hour to complete it or one year to complete it, do yourself a favor and get that sucka done!

Thanks to all the people who helped bring my story and vision to life: Lindsay Hopper, Javier Lezama, Hitoshi Inoue, Beth Berlin, Sayaka Miyatani, Jessica Sade Ward, Lauren Elle Christie, Taylor Babb, Courtney Nichole, Craig Taggart, Richard Lawson Studios PDP 3.0 class (What! What!)

You can check out The Doppelganger and my other credits at:

https://www.imdb.me/jorgeortiz

James Franco Said No To Me

James Franco said no to me. Okay, okay, insert endless jokes here:

e.g. He said no to me because I’m not a woman. He said no to me because I’m not an underage girl.

I started developing and writing a feature film back in November 2014 and I knew I wanted James Franco to play the antagonist. I tailored this part for him. I was so excited about my feature film script and had a blast writing it. I held a successful table read in August 2016 with working actors and created a clever social media campaign in the summer of 2017 that involved celebrities endorsing my script to James Franco.

In July 2017, my friend and I dropped off a hard copy of my script to his production company, and that same day, we emailed a PDF version of my script to his production company as well.

In November 2017, a fierce and courageous friend and colleague of mine asked me what was the latest news with my script. I told her what was going on and she offered to help me connect the dots and take it to the next level. After Thanksgiving break, I went to her house and we spent three hours connecting the dots. The meeting culminated with her calling James Franco’s manager and emailing my script to them.

I had an audition for a feature film in mid-December that Noah Baumbach was directing and when I got back from my audition, my friend’s assistant told me that James Franco passed on my film. Well actually, his first line of defense at his production company passed on my film. So James never received my script. I just like to say James Franco passed on my film because it will bring in more viewers to my blog 🙂

And I have to say that when I received the news, I felt great! I didn’t take a loss on it. I wasn’t upset or angry. I had nothing on it because I received an answer. I received an answer for this journey I had been on since November 2014. There is no loss. I still have a fun and great script on my hands.

Besides, there’s Dave Franco who could step in and play the antagonist. Or Samuel L. Jackson. Or Finn Wittrock. There are possibilities!

So, this chapter closes on James Franco (for now!)