By Michael Sullivan
Welcome to another edition of “Headliners”. This is EV’s interview series with various people involved in the Entertainment business. While some names might not ring a bell…we here in the EV offices think in the not far future,they’ll be indeed household names.
Just recently I interviewed Matt Iseman,who is a stand -up comic and a co-host of the Style Network’s biggest hit, “Clean House”. While maybe not a “huge” name, it has still taken Matt 8 years to get where he is now. Hollywood is rugged that way…
Jaime McCall is also in Hollywood, chasing that dream. Being a actress/actor is a lot harder then being a comic in a lot of ways. You have to have faith in your talent,take classes, be told “We’ll be in touch” and yet the phone stays quiet. Many struggling artists actually work real jobs (waitressing, bartender, nanny, etc…)as well doing a lot of weird dinner theater, all in hope of getting that big break. Hollywood is rugged that way.
I added Jamie as a friend on MySpace.com after reading one of her blogs. Then I started noticing that she ran a LOT of bulletins letting folks know about any small “thing” she was doing. Now anyone knowing me at all,knows I love artists who promote the hell outta themselves, I mean…I think Tila Tequila is ugly as sin and has the IQ of a gnat BUT she does know how to promote herself,to stand out.
And Jamie does that as well only she has the talent to back her play….she has served her country,is a creative writer and works extremely hard at becoming a better actress.
My old boss in my nightclub days always told me “You always seem to know who is going to break next” when it came to booking bands…its why I think Tey Punsalan and Mermaid Kiss will strike gold and in the world of film…I think, no…I KNOW Jamie McCall will also be a huge star!
And now, Headliners with……….actress Jamie McCall
1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Oh wow, there are so many. Overall I had a wonderful childhood. Sure, there was some trauma, divorce, abandonment issues, molestation – you know – the average things little girls must grow through. But overall I am very grateful I had a wonderful family, traveled a lot and was encouraged to do anything I dreamed. My favorite memory? My biological Father taking my little sister & I to the Enchanted Forest in Oregon on one of our yearly visits (after the divorce). We went round & round through the Rabbit Hole in Alice in Wonderland while our Father chased us. I remember feeling so proud that we thought we’d lost him. We still have pictures. Then there was the family trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming which is amazing! You truly see God in action there. I had my first encounter with a wild Buffalo – up close & personal. Most of my good memories are with my family. But I have wonderful memories when I went off by myself each summer to Girl Scout Camp in McCall, Idaho. One of the most beautiful, pure, clean, untouched places on earth. That’s where my name comes from. And I just recently found out (after I adopted the name, because the place means so much to me…) that my paternal family heritage were some of the first original homesteaders of this majestic mountain town! Talk about Serendipity…
2. You served in the US Navy, why that direction and what did you get there that has helped you the most?
I have a lot of family history in the Navy. My Uncle was a Top Gun Fighter Pilot, F-14 Tomcats, lived the storybook exciting life traveling the world – he was my Mentor – that’s what I wanted to do. I was the first female in my family to become an Officer. Honor, Courage, Commitment is the official Navy code…and that’s what I got. Discipline is crucial to character and hence to success. Especially in this, such an unstructered, unstable business. Plus you’ve gotta have balls. I’m pretty fearless.
3. When did you decide to head to Hollywood?
Several years ago while I was living in Puerto Rico, which was my last duty station with the Navy. I did my first professional acting job there, a film called “Back in the Day” with Ja Rule and my former showbiz mentor Ving Rhames. I packed up & moved here within months after that, having caught “the bug” again. I came here not knowing a soul! I’ve got no family in Cali & had no friends in LA. It was a ballsy move. I just went with my gut. But I’ve been a performer all my life – mainly thru dance production and stage performance. I started when I was a little girl. So this was just a return to roots for me, not a jump into something completely new…
4. What is a SAG card and how does the process work into getting one?
The Screen Actors Guild is the Union for Professional Actors. There are a couple of ways to get the card, but it involves working professionally as an actor and paying a nice chunk of money! It’s a big investment and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I became eligible for mine from my role as a young mother in the Civil War South in a feature film called “Ascension Day”. I did NOT get any eligibility vouchers from working as an Extra, doing background work! I want to make that clear – it’s a big misconception. And I did that full time for about six months! Don’t get caught up in it. Take it for what it’s worth & move on. Although there are a few who become eligible that way, it is rare.
5. Take us through a normal audition day in Hollywood..
It starts the night before. Make sure you’re well-rested (beauty sleep). Carefully choose wardrobe according to the role & specifications. Mapquest your way there before leaving. Arrive right on time if not 10-15 min. early…never late. (Even though they’re usually running late). Make sure you’re well-rehearsed and in the right mental state for the role/character. The process varies so much depending on what you’re going for. I’ve had auditions which took ten minutes and those in which they’ve kept me for two hours! Sometimes they’ll put you on camera and sometimes not. I never do the “cattle call” auditions – where they send out an open invitation and hundreds of people show up. It’s not dignified and it’s not worth it to me. It just seems too desperate. And I always say, desperation doesn’t look good in Hollywood. Confidence is key! I am unique! I am special! There’s only one of me. That’s my reply to people who say “what about all the competition?” Especially being a blonde, blue-eyed attractive young female. But I just don’t look at it that way. You can’t. There IS no competition in my eyes. My only competition is with myself! I know my value. So I wait to be called in specifically for my looks, personality and talent – they saw something they liked in me and requested me. Otherwise, I don’t bother.
6. How did you get into martial arts and what styles do you practice?
I trained some self defense with the military, but I’ve wanted to study formal martial arts all my life. A good friend of mine got her Black Belt from Billy Blanks. She brought me with her to his World Training Center, a staple of Sherman Oaks for over 15 years, and we instantly clicked! He’s a very spiritual, charismatic man. We understood each other from the get-go & became fast friends as well as Master-Disciple. For the first time since moving to LA, I found a place that felt like home. It felt like family there. I immediately dove in, training twice a day up to 4-5 hours a day. I loved it! It was like I’d opened the flood gates. I progressed very quickly. Most people know him as the “Tae-Bo” guy, but he is a 6th Degree Master of Korean Tae Kwon Do. We trained also in Karate and in weapons; I began practicing Escrima (Filipino Fighting Sticks) and the Staff. Then he shut down. I was devastated. Now I train kickboxing with fighter friends freelance here & there as well as some stunt fighting & sparring – I’m still searching for the next Dojo to get back into formal training in my Gi. I want to move into Chinese styles next like Kung Fu.
7. You are now a published author,what did you write and where can we get a copy of it?
I have self-published the first volume of my poetry in a book called “Renaissance Girl – Love.Hate.Sex.Romance.” You can find it on Cafepress.com. There’s a link on my website. Some may not know but I’m also a professional Spoken Word Artist. I’ve been the Featured Poet in gigs in Atlanta, North Carolina and LA. I’m still working on my book “Living the High Life without Drinking the Champagne”. I’m soliciting a publisher for this very dramatic, important piece and am in talks with a couple right now – one here and one in England.
8. What are your 3 favorite movies?
Oh, that’s a hard one! I’m a movie fanatic – there are so many that are my favorite. Story-telling is truly an art, but is also important spirtually, because it brings people together. The Native Americans revered the Elder Storytellers who held (and hold) very high positions in the tribe. I think unfortunately we’ve lost some of that value in Hollywood. Too much of it is about making quick, easy money. Which is why you see so many sequels and so much “reality” tv crap. Anyway, I digress. Ok, so I’ll just list 3 that come to mind that I can watch over & over again & never tire of:
9. You are one of the best self-promoting artists I have seen here on MySpace, how important are your fans in relation to your success?
They are everything. From the business side of it, showbiz is 100% based on their reaction. There’s no “supply & demand” like in other businesses where a product is supplied that people need to survive or to live comfortable daily lives. They create the “demand” for the “product” which is Jamie McCall. They’re the ones that say “We wanna see more of her!” On the personal side of it, they are also crucial. There’ve been plenty of days where I’ve felt down & out, tired & ready to give it up…when I get a message, a phone call or a note encouraging me to keep going, thanking me for inspiring, telling me how much of an impact I’m having…and it keeps me going. I really feel like they’re on the journey with me, that my successes are theirs, and that’s why I share so much, every step of the way, all the good and the bad, so that they do feel like an important & integral part of the movement. Because they are. As a sidenote, I’ve never really liked the word “fan”, which comes from “fanatic” because that’s not what I have. I have Friends and Supporters. All real, true people, cheering me on, providing guidance and support while receiving inspiration and hopefully entertainment from me. Most all are interested in me as a person and not just my image. It’s a true give-and-take relationship. I am so grateful!