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Always Listen To Your Gut

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JessicaSonneborn2We are actresses, filmmakers, and professional make- believers. Part of our job is imagining the impossible and creating kingdoms in our head, unfortunately sometimes we are also faced with things that are too good to be true.

A few weeks ago I was asked to have a meeting with several ” high profile” producers, after I had submitted myself for a casting (on a reputable casting site).  The email came from one of the producers’ assistants. She explained how high profile here bosses were, and that I would be having a pre-meeting, along with several actresses, before they started official casting.  She also explained how lucky I was to be meeting with these producers, and that I should wait patiently for them to meet me (not at a casting or production office, but at a Starbucks) and if I had any other appointment or audition around the same time, not to mention it to the producers… oh, and to dress to impress… The email dragged on and on with eye raising instructions, and although my immediate gut reaction was, ” this is ridiculous, and these people can politely go… Play in traffic.” there was that actress, dreamer, anything wonderful can happen in this industry, in me saying: “maybe I should go?”

I read the email to several of my trusted friends and they agreed that the situation was fishy, most of them actually laughed at the brazen, pretentious email.  We all came to the assumption it was a ploy for these guys to pre-cast their Friday night dates.  I’m not saying attending this meeting would have been dangerous, it was going to be in a public place, I just felt the email was strange, and I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time, including my own.  If someone wants to have a meeting or a casting, the invitation shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable.

I think many of us find ourselves in situations like this where we know deep down the situation is not what it’s being presented as, but we still consider moving forward because there is a tiny spec of possibility that it’s legit. People are occasionally plucked off the sidewalk, discovered in a pizza parlor, and I actually book a lot of great projects through self-submission. In reality, it is most likely these guys were just looking for a date.

There has been a lot of media attention lately on a particular celebrity who was at the top of his game in the 70s-90s, and many actresses and models are coming forward with their stories of alleged abuses by him… many of which occurred after he promised to help their careers. There are a lot of strange and dangerous situations we can get ourselves in, in our industry, because so many of us are so excitedly hopeful, and wanting to work on set, as much as possible.

We want it, we live it, we dream it…and we need to remember to listen to our inner voice, to keep ourselves grounded and safe.  Anything can happen; dreams do come true… and also, the feeling in your gut rarely lies.  If you feel it, you should run the situation by people you trust, and be cautious, because most likely your gut is right. Missing out on one meeting or “audition”, because of your gut is telling you something isn’t right, is okay. You may be saving yourself a lot of wasted time or even saving yourself from a dangerous situation. Trust yourself, let yourself be the wisest version of yourself and be safe out there.

Jessica Sonneborn

About Jessica Sonneborn

Jessica Sonneborn grew up in Connecticut and earned a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and a graduate teaching degree from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. After teaching in Boston for a couple of years she turned her attention to acting in Independent movies, eventually deciding to make a serious try in the film industry by moving to Los Angeles in 2005. Jessica has had leads in a variety of genres from thrillers: "Lure", which she also wrote and produced, Sci-Fi: "The Witches of Oz" (Christopher Lloyd, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin), comedy: Kevin Smith’s Movie Club presents: "Money Shot" (Jason Mewes), which she also wrote and produced, Horror: "Alice D." (Kane Hodder, Al Snow), which she also wrote and directed, "Bloody Bloody Bible Camp" (Reggie Bannister and Tim Sullivan) and just released: Leigh Scott's, "Piranha Sharks" (Kevin Sorbo). She is in numerous other independent productions including: "American Girls" (Bai Ling), "Rabid Love", "Alpha House", "Never Open the Door", "Red Sleep", "Love Squared" and also had guest stars on Stephen Merchants', "Hello Ladies", Diablo Cody's, "United States of Tara", and Charles Shyers, "Him and Us" (pilot). Most recently she plays the lead in dramatic thrillers, "Silence", written and directed by Nelson Reis and produced by Carlyne Fournier, and "The House Across the Street", surrounded by Eric Roberts, Alex Rocco, Ethan Embry, and Courtney Gains, directed by Arthur Luhn and in the up coming Leigh Scott comedy, "Extra Curricular Activities". Jessica has several movies lined up for 2014 and early 2015, including the horror remake: Psycho a Go Go, mutant horror, Contaminated, and was just cast in the military drama, based on a true story: "Light Wounds" and horror: "One Night of Fear".