Saturday, March 31, 2012

First Audition part 5

I got a callback! I’m pretty excited about it. I originally went in for a singing part, but now they want me to read for an acting part. So either they liked my singing so much they want to do more or I was so terrible they want to see if I can do anything else. I’m guessing that if I was really bad they wouldn’t want anything to do with me. I don’t know if they’ll have sides, but I prepared a monologue anyway.

I never thought I’d be in a Hong Kong movie when I came here, but you never know what’s going to happen. It would be really weird if I got the part and was actually in this movie and then when I watch it I can’t understand anything because it’s all in Chinese.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ryan's China Visa part 3

We got Ryan’s visa for China. Picking it up was a lot easier and faster than dropping it off. We just went to the pick-up line – which moved quickly – gave the clerk the receipt and got back his passport with a big Chinese visa inside.

We applied for a multiple entry 1 year visa, but they gave him a double entry 6 month visa. Oh well. He’s only planning on going once anyway. If we want to take a trip into China together someday I’m going to have to get my own visa.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ryan's China Visa part 2

The China visa office has 10 drop-off counters and 1 pick-up counter, but only 4 of the drop-off counters were open when we were there. The pick-up counter line was very long, but moving quickly. I think you go there once your visa is ready. It shouldn’t take too long to give them your receipt and pick up your passport.

Unfortunately, we were dropping off, so we had to wait for the drop-off lines. What I liked about the set-up was that no one was actually waiting in line. You take a number and wait in one of the hundreds of seats – most of the room is just a giant floor with chairs. I would hate to stand in a line all that time – especially in Hong Kong. People in Hong Kong aren’t known for the patience when standing in line. If there’s only one person in front of you somebody will cut ahead of you. I can’t imagine what it would be like with hundreds of people in front of you.

We had #2806. When we got it the current numbers were 2674 and 302. They were using 2 different number systems. I don’t know why. It looked like the lower numbers were only going to 1 counter, so the bigger numbers were moving faster. That still only gave us 3 counters with 132 people ahead of us. After 10 minutes they were only up to #2690. We had more than enough time to figure out that at that rate it would be about 2 hours until our turn.

Ryan wanted to leave and come back, but I knew that if we did we’d miss our turn and have to start all over. While he waited impatiently I made a game of trying to figure out which counter would call the next number. I was right about half the time since some people were at the counter for a long time and it seemed like some were only there a few seconds. I’m not big on math, but I had lots of time to figure out that each counter took an average of 3 minutes for each person.

We finally made it up to the counter after about 2 hours. The clerk seemed to think that everything was in order, took our money and told us to come back Thursday to pick it up. It costs HK$1,100 if you have an American passport weather you want a single entry, multiple entry, 6 month or 1 year visa. So we checked the multiple entry, 1 year box. People from other countries pay different prices. If you’re British it’s less than half for a single entry, but twice as much for the full year multiple.

What impressed me was how efficient everything was. Chinese bureaucracy is usually overcomplicated and illogical. Once we were at the visa office everything was pretty simple. It takes a long time because it’s so crowded, but it’s easy if you’ve done all your homework and got everything together before you go. That’s the hard part – figuring out what you need to bring and how to fill out the forms.

Now we just have to go back on Thursday and hopefully they don’t say no. As long as we get to go in that quick pick-up line it shouldn’t take too long. At least now we know where the front door is.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ryan's China Visa part 1

I went with Ryan to the visa office to get his visa. You’d think it would be easy to get a visa to China if you live in Hong Kong, but you’d be wrong.

The official website says the address of the visa office is 26 Harbor Rd. on the 7th floor of the China Resources Building, so that’s where we went. The funny thing is, there’s nothing there. The building’s there and it looks like the kind of building that would have a government office, but if you go up to the 7th floor it’s all under construction. That wasn’t a good sign.

Fortunately there was a good sign – in English – saying that the visa office moved around the corner. The sign is set up so you see it as you’re leaving the main entrance. You can’t see it on the way in. I think it would be better to have the sign where you can see it before you go indoors. The new entrance is around the corner on Fleming Rd. It’s in the same building, and once you see the new entrance it’s obvious that you’re at the right place, but you’ll never see it if you go to the front door.

When we found the right entrance we were surprised that there wasn’t any line. We thought it would be crowded, but there was no one there except 2 security guards and they weren’t too interested in doing anything. They just waved us through without checking our bags. You’re not even allowed to take up a bottle of water – there’s a sign saying so and even a trash can to throw it away – but the security guards never said anything, so I kept the water I had with me.

While we waited for the elevator another girl passed through the security checkpoint. There were only 3 of us in the elevator.

When the elevator doors opened we realized why there was no one downstairs – all of Hong Kong was in the visa office. It was very crowded! I’ve been in Hong Kong for over a year, so I’m used to crowded by now, but this was beyond Hong Kong crowded.

When you’re in the office if you go left there’s a large counter full of forms to fill out. We were smart enough to fill them out before we got there. You can get everything online and lots of instructions – which is a good thing since it’s all more complicated than it should be. If you don’t check what you need before you go you probably won’t have everything you need and you’ll just have to make another trip.

To get Ryan’s visa he needed to bring his passport, a copy of his passport, a passport picture, his Hong Kong ID, a copy of his Hong Kong ID, an invitation letter from the owner of the club, the club’s business card, a copy of the club’s business license and two different application forms. We also brought along information showing that he works at Disney, just in case. If we hadn’t checked online we never would have brought all the club information. I’m glad we made copies beforehand because the visa office only had coin operated copy machines in a tiny corner just outside the office. There were almost as many people pushing and shoving to make copies as there were in the visa office!

On the right side in the visa office was a line of people waiting for some officials to look at their applications. We didn’t know what that was about, but we waited in that line anyway because there were people uniforms there and if nothing else, they could at least tell us which line we’re supposed to wait in.

It turned out that was the right line. The officials checked to make sure the applications were filled out correctly. They way it was all set up they seem to assume that most people won’t fill out the right forms correctly. People probably don’t because none of it is straightforward.

The official guy told us that our forms were filled out correctly and had us go to a machine to get a number, kind of like every other government office in Hong Kong. At the end of the office was a big board telling you which number was next. Ours wasn’t even close.

Friday, March 23, 2012

First Audition part 4

It’s been a week since my audition and I haven’t heard anything yet. I should assume they’re not interested, but I prefer to stay optimistic. A week really isn’t a long time when you’re casting a movie. I don’t know when they start shooting and I don’t know how many parts there are, so there’s really no way to know how long they’re auditioning.

There’s really nothing I can do now anyway. I’ll just wait and see what happens and hope for the best.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ryan in China part 1

One of Ryan’s bands got a gig in mainland China. Now they need to get visas. Even though we live in Hong Kong we need visas to go into mainland China. The club where they’re going to play is paying for the visas, transportation and hotels, with more than enough left over – that’s why they’re going – but Ryan and the rest of the band still need to go through all the hassle of getting visas. Their drummer has been to China before and he said it can be a royal pain to get one.

They’re going to Fuzhou. It’s about an hour’s flight from Hong Kong, but they’ll be there for a week, so they need a hotel. They would need visas even if they weren’t going to spend the night.

This will be the first time one of us has taken a trip out of the country – in this case not our country – without the other.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First Audition part 3

The audition has come and gone and I still haven’t heard back from them. That’s either bad or they simply haven’t made any decisions yet. It was only yesterday and today is Saturday – but it’s not like this is a Monday to Friday business.

I don’t know how many other girls tried out for the same part, but I’m also pretty sure they’re not going to spend too much time worrying about it. They have so many more important parts to cast.

I sang “We Kiss in a Shadow” from “The King and I”. I was trying to think of something that works for Hong Kong, but this was the closest I came up with. I know it’s about the King of Siam, but I really can’t think of anything about Hong Kong. I didn’t want to do anything modern because I don’t have any idea what’s popular in Hong Kong right now. Most of the songs I hear around town are Korean or J-pop. I guess Korean is K-pop. Either way I can only sing in English. Is there any E-pop?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Audition part 2

I found at that I need to audition a song on Friday. So now I have to prepare something. I haven’t done an audition since Disney over a year ago. I’m a little rusty, but it’s not very hard to do a song. They said they might want me to read something, but maybe not. Nobody said anything about doing a monologue, but I think I should prepare one anyway. You never know. I’m pretty sure it’s just a singing part, but it’s always best to show up prepared.

I also found out a little more about Jeffrey Lau. He usually directs, writes and produces his movies and sometimes he even acts in them. He’s got a long list of credits at imdb so he seems pretty well established.

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Audition part 1

People keep asking me how I expect working at Disneyland to help my career. Even working at an American Disneyland isn’t going to make anyone a star – and I’m in Hong Kong. It’s not like Steven Spielberg wanders around Hong Kong looking for Disney dancers.

I don’t expect it to work that way. Working at Disney is like being able to rehearse all the time with professional caliber singers & dancers – and I get paid to do it. I’m not expecting to get discovered at Disney. I’m expecting to develop & grow and be that much better whenever I go back home. The next time I’m at an American audition I’ll have something on my resume that makes me stand out from everyone else.

So I was completely surprised when I was asked to audition for Jeffrey Lau’s newest movie. He’s a famous producer/director in Hong Kong, but I have to admit that I’d never heard of him before now. I’ve never been interested in Hong Kong movies – but that’s not going to stop me from trying to get a part in one!

I guess someone who works for him saw me perform and suggested me for some part in his movie. I really don’t know much about it. I know it’s a small part – which is ok since I barely speak any Chinese. I assume it’s a singing & dancing part, but I don’t even know that. I’d like to do my homework and get this audition right, but right now I don’t even know what kind of audition it is! It’s on Friday, so I’ve got some time to figure out who this guy is and hopefully find out what I’m auditioning for. I have the phone number for the guy who first approached me, so I’ll call him tomorrow. For now I’m going to see what the internet can tell me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cold & Flu Season

I’ve been sick as a dog lately, but I’m starting to feel better.

It started out as a simple cold – I was coughing a little and had a runny nose. When it wouldn’t go away I went to the hospital. They gave me some pills that I didn’t want to take because I didn’t know what they were. It seems like every time you go to any Hong Kong doctor they want to give you pills. I don’t want to take any pills unless I know exactly what they are and I need to know they’re absolutely necessary. I don’t mind taking pills for a cold or flu, but I want to know what they are.

They also gave me some cough syrup. I took that. It tastes terrible, but it keeps the cough away for a few hours. I don’t know what’s in it either, but I take it anyway. I’ve heard they used to use things like opium and codeine, but they don’t anymore. It might not make sense to avoid mysterious pills while taking mysterious liquids, but I figure a pill can be completely bad while bad liquid is at least watered down a bit. There’s a huge flaw in my theory, but that’s the way it is.