You no longer need fake boobs to get a part
LACAROLINE GRACE-CASSIDY, ACTRESS AND AUTHOR, is happy to see the return of 'real' PEOPLE as she auditions in HOLLYWOOD
When I was in LA last year I auditioned for Victoria Burrows for The Hobbit plus some more HBO pilots. I found that Pilot Season in Los Angeles wasn't what it used to be.
I came away feeling the days of 'Silcone Breasts Need Only Apply' and 'Facelifts To The Top Of The Queue' at casting calls are finally gone.
Instead Pilot Season -- the time each year when pilot series are tested out and actors auditioned -- was crammed with real actors. Real people with their own God-given faces were auditioning in their droves to get back onto our screens.
It's why I'm so enthusiastic as I get ready to head to LA for this year's Pilot Season. I feel so proud of my industry once again. I feel that the Desperate Housewives days of television are well and truly behind us.
It's down to Sky Atlantic and HBO that there are alot of great shows these days, such as Boardwalk Empire, Game Of Thrones, Mad Men and House -- and this means there are lots of roles to be cast. It means there are roles for women who weigh more than six stone, something which has come about as a gradual process. We salute shows such as Mad Men, and gorgeous actresses like Christina Hendricks.
The auditioning process in LA is more honest, I feel, than in Ireland. The second you walk into the holding room, you know if you stand a chance.
I have found that the more you audition in a day the better you are at it. Auditioning is a craft in itself. You have five minutes to make your mark in that room. There are no second chances.
It's tough to hold the momentum of the auditioning process here as you may only have one audition a week. You put all your eggs in one basket. You over-prepare, I feel. You all want the job.
Everyone in LA wants the job, too, but usually they are dashing to the next audition so they leave that one at the door. It's so much more encouraging for actors.
I fell in love with this new LA last year. I fell in love with how people look more real, and with how a person's day starts after work.
That's when you change out of your work clothes and open a beer and head down to the beach.
Families, singletons, and just about everyone else have some life after work. There's an attitude that there are many more hours left in the day when you finish work.
I always find that here after work it's shut all the doors, and get ready for the next day. I think we miss the help of sunlight in winter. We hibernate as a result.
I feel so much more awake in the evenings in LA, the warm air that rises into the Hills is mixed with scents from the restaurants below. Crucially, the 'Have A Nice Day' attitude suits me.
I am in a race against time at the moment to get to Pilot Season next month. I have an April deadline for my second novel. Yet, I now have a US-based manager and she has set up some auditions, so I'm pushing myself really hard on my book word count to make it out to LA.
I'm becoming a pro at juggling -- being a wife, a mammy of two wonderful daughters, Grace and Maggie, an actress and now an author.
My debut novel When Love Takes Over has just been released and I have novel number two on the boil. I have been cast in Graham Cantwell's feature film Bere Island, shooting in Galway in late summer.
Like most actresses, I suddenly become crazy busy after long lulls of being forced to watch Jeremy Kyle during the afternoon because I have seen all the Oprah re-runs.
No doubt about it, it's hard keeping all the balls in the air. But I think it's important to be open to new opportunities, and it's why it's important to go to Los Angeles once a year and give it a try.
Everyone is struggling here and actors are no different. I find it wonderful to have this new career as a writer, as I am finally able to make my own work. It's so empowering to be able to sit down and start work without having to wait for the phone to ring.
It's extra tough trying to afford childcare when you're sitting around waiting for an Irish audition. There are times when it can be tough to feel good about your career choice.
So it's head down at the laptop now to get my second novel up and running and try to make Pilot Season 2012.
Especially as a revamped Los Angeles is somewhere we'd consider a move to for a couple of years. Ideally, we would love to do it before the children start school.
I may even have a little house hunt in LA this year.
When Love Takes Over, by Caroline Grace-Cassidy, published by Poolbeg, price €13.99.