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Time Away From the Business Is Exactly How Talia Jackson Booked a Netflix Gig



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Photo Source: Bonnie Nicholds

The following Career Dispatches essay was written by Talia Jackson, who stars on the Netflix comedy series “Family Reunion.”

After 10 years of auditioning, without booking anything other than one indie film that didn’t get off the ground and one ABC pilot that didn’t get picked up, I almost dropped out of acting. 

In 2018, after not ever getting a role that actually aired somewhere—and I mean not even a co-star role, for 10 years—I was just about done. The pilot season of 2018 was devastating to me and I really thought I would just never book a role. The previous year I had booked Diablo Cody’s pilot “Raised By Wolves” in a series regular role, but it didn’t get picked up and that took a toll on me. Then, eight months later, I had three pilots fall through. One was an NBC comedy that gave me a straight offer without having to test, but just after we were getting ready to sign the contract, they had to drop my role because the table read of the pilot went over by 10 minutes. 

During that same time, I had turned down another ABC pilot test deal, again with Diablo Cody, in order to take the NBC straight offer. Now we needed to go back to ABC, which we did, but in the end, they couldn’t convince the studio that I was dark enough in my skin color to play the daughter, which hurt a lot because that had been the story of my life the last 10 years in this industry. I was never dark enough to play the child of African American parents and of course, those were the only roles I could go out for since there weren’t any Black and white [interracial] parents being represented in film and TV at that time.

The third pilot in 2018 was an ABC musical that I had trained really hard for. I was pinned to play the series regular daughter. They ended up having to drop the musical because the contracts were taking too long for the lead role. The worst was when I lost two pilots in one day. I cried and cried for hours that night and talked to many friends who tried to help me through it. The next day, my mom, brother, and I got in a car and took off on a driving trip and I took a 10-day break from acting. It was still hard when I got back. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I had lost my passion and just didn’t think it would ever happen for me. So a month later, I went to Wisconsin, where I grew up and where I visit every summer, and took a six-week break without any auditions, not even taped ones. 

Netflix’s “Family Reunion” was auditioning girls that summer for my role, and even giving offers, but I wasn’t aware because I had told my agent I needed a break. But my mom had me get on a plane and come back, and told me not to give up; that I had been so close and it was going to happen any minute. Within 10 days of being back in L.A., I was asked to do a last minute taped audition for “Family Reunion.” I turned the tape in on Monday, went to producers on Tuesday, tested on Friday and five minutes after the test, was offered the role of Jade. 

I couldn’t believe it when I got that call. It was a day I never thought I would see. Then, two weeks after that, I booked a recurring spot on ABC’s “Station 19.” I learned that taking a break is what I needed to come back stronger, and that if you are getting close on booking, that is not the time to give up. It’s only a matter of time.

READ: Think You Know How to Act in Comedy? Think Again

Working on Netflix’s “Family Reunion” is obviously a dream come true for me. I love that we have an all-Black writers’ room and most of our crew are POC and I am thankful that our creator Meg DeLoatch and Netflix accepted me as a cast member with the lighter skin that I have. Meg wanted the show to represent Black families of all colors and she has brought these issues into a few episodes, which is important. I’ve received so many DMs from around the world from parents, children, and other adults, thankful that the show has a character like Jade, because they always felt like they didn’t fit in anywhere and they could really relate to her. It’s so important that they feel represented in the TV industry.

We also have the most amazing cast. They are so supportive and inspiring to work alongside, which makes my job so much easier. Tia Mowry, who plays my mom on the show, is always sharing helpful tips from all of her years working in the industry in comedy. Since she was acting at my age as well, she always has great advice to offer. 

My advice to anyone working on a multi-camera show for the first time would be to not let the multiple cameras scare you into being too stiff or uncomfortable in your acting; to still be free with your physical expressions, while still being mindful about where your camera is.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

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NCIS: New Orleans season 7 episode 7 video: Rita’s new gig




Pride and RitaNCIS: New Orleans season 7 episode 7 is poised to arrive on CBS this Sunday, and it’s feeling more and more like Rita is settled in the city. Based on the sneak peek below, she’s busier than she’s ever been, even if she doesn’t have a full-time position with a law firm as of yet.

This sneak preview features Pride and Rita together in the morning, and it’s clear that the latter isn’t exactly running on a ton of sleep. She went to bed late, she got up early, and she is actively working alongside the ACLU. It’s clearly time-consuming, and Pride does wonder why in the world she isn’t getting enough official offers yet. We do think that this is coming, but there is something intriguing about the position Rita has at present. She has a real opportunity here to dive head-first into some important, timely cases featuring clients that wouldn’t be able to find help in any other way. She loves it, and that is perhaps the most important thing.

While we know that Pride would love to spend as much time as possible with Rita within this episode, we know that he is going to have his hands full. Over the course of this hour, we’ll be seeing him work with his team to determine what happened to a Navy therapist, someone who was murdered under strange circumstances. She was also someone who was “working around the system” in order to get justice for victims of sexual assault. Will NCIS learn about this case through Rita? Because of the exploration of the justice system, we wouldn’t be surprised if this storyline links what she’s doing with Pride and the rest of the team.

Oh, and here’s a reminder that this episode is going to be a two-parter. No matter what happens, it’s going to carry over to whenever the show returns with new episodes.

Related News Be sure to get some more news on NCIS: New Orleans and what’s ahead tomorrow

What do you want to see on NCIS: New Orleans season 7 episode 7?

Be sure to let us know right now in the attached comments! Meanwhile, remember to stick around in the event you want some other news when it comes to the series. (Photo: CBS.)

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How to Build a Photo Scanning and Digitizing Side Gig | Pennyhoarder




As simple as it sounds — and actually is — most people are overwhelmed by the thought of taking hundreds or even thousands of photos and organizing them into searchable, digital files.

Then there are the videos filmed on various versions of clunky cameras over the decades.

Perhaps the most daunting version of unorganized photographic memories are slides. Once the butt of so many jokes about boring dinner parties, now they are covered in dust with no hope of ever seeing the light of a projector again.

Well, anyone armed with a $229 scanner and a computer can make searchable digital files of photos and slides. To turn videos into digital files, it takes the original camera they were filmed with or a VCR, an $87 adapter and a computer.

Here’s how to make photo scanning and digitizing your new side hustle.

Five years ago, professional photo curator Sabrina Hughes decided she could make a business out of helping people organize their photos, videos and slides. Her company, PhotoXO, has a compelling slogan: “Show your photos the love they deserve.”

Her years as a photographer, plus a graduate degree in art history and experience as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla., combine to make her an astute photo archivist. But all of this expertise and experience is not required.

“There’s a certain point when I’m not doing anything you can’t figure out on your own,” she said. “A college student or really anyone could do this to make extra money.”

Hughes offers a self-paced online class called Disaster to Done for $297, which includes lifetime access to course materials. But she’s also sharing her tips with The Penny Hoarder.

Get the Right Equipment

  • Scanner. There are hundreds of scanners out there, but she prefers the Epson v600, which sells for $229.
  • Video adapter. Hughes uses the Elgato Video Capture for digitizing VHS tapes. It can be bought online for $87.
  • Storage. “When I first started out, I was giving everything back on hard drives,” Hughes said. “I was trying to get away from DVDs, since most computers don’t even play those anymore.” She then offered flash drives filled with the photos. Though they are also becoming less common, this is still probably the best tool for beginners. Hughes now uploads everything to her website, which offers permanent storage.
  • Software. Hughes uses Adobe Lightroom ($119), which enables her to label photos so they can be searched and has photo editing functions. Software isn’t required to organize unlabeled photos into folders, however.

Develop and Perfect Your Process

The first step to starting your photo scanning business is setting aside a space in your home. It can be as small as a corner of your bedroom or a desktop if an actual office or spare room isn’t possible.

Next, create a storage system for clients’ photos and video tapes while your work is in progress. Of course clear boxes that stack are great, but they come with a cost. Cardboard shipping boxes work just as well. Place white adhesive labels on the ends with the name of the client and the date the work started. You can place new labels over these when one project is done and the next client’s photos go into the boxes.

To digitize photos and slides, scan each one with the scanner to upload it to your computer. Make files for certain years or topics such as “1970s beach trips” or “kids’ birthday parties.” Drag and drop the photos into the appropriate file.

For videos, they have to be played the whole way through on the camera that originally filmed them and the adapter will transport the movies to a computer. If you don’t have the camera, you can play them on a VCR connected to the computer with the adapter.

Warn your clients that digitized videos won’t look so great on a TV, especially if it’s high definition, because the videos were filmed with lower resolution. They look best viewed on a phone or a computer screen.

You may have to limit the number of photos to digitize if the client wants to save on time and your fee. If the photos are organized in albums, ask the client to mark which ones to exclude with sticky-notes. If they are loose in boxes, suggest you select which ones to use.

“Sometimes it’s easier for a third party to make the decisions in narrowing things down,” Hughes said. You can pick what you think is the best of the three or four repetitive photos.

To organize and select from loose photos overflowing shoe boxes or laundry baskets, Hughes hand sorts them into piles based on the clothes people are wearing, the backgrounds and the time of year.

You can offer photo editing if it’s something you can handle. Hughes uses a very simple process in Adobe Photoshop. “You can also do it as you are scanning them,” she said. Adding, that many scanners have color correction options.

Deciding What to Charge

It’s smart to charge by the hour when you start out, and give an estimate of how long the project will take.

Determine ahead of time how many photos you can scan in an hour. If you are sorting and scanning, that may be harder to estimate, but it probably adds another 30 minutes onto each hour of scanning. Say you can scan 40 photos an hour, then it would take you five hours to digitize 200 photos that don’t require sorting.

A high schooler or college student might charge $30 to $50 an hour, or approximately $150 to $250 for 200 photos. Allow an extra hour for computer glitches, labeling files and calling the client with questions.

Hughes started out charging by the hour, but found clients were spending so much time “pre-organizing” their photos themselves to save money, it would take them six months or more before they were finally ready for her to start archiving. So she switched to a flat fee of $2,222 for unlimited archiving of slides, photos or videos. To do all three formats, she charges $7,777. She also offers small projects a-la-carte based on the amount of work.

How to Attract Clients

You might have to offer to digitize photos for one or two friends at no cost first to get an idea of how long the process takes and what you will charge.

Then spread the word on social media. Give an estimated price of how many photos you can do for a certain price. Ask your early clients to share something about how wonderful it feels to finally have photos organized and saved forever.

Digitized photos make a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas gift. Promote your business online and in emails during these times and throughout the year.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.

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The Rundown: Cubs Fans Left With Many Questions in Absence of Annual Convention, Epstein Accepts Gig With Commissioner’s Office, Mickey Mantle Baseball Card Breaks Sale Record




Though there is no Cubs Convention this year, I think it’s appropriate to celebrate the beginning of the new baseball season, something the annual fan fest has always represented. Like the entire world, the North Siders are in a temporary state of flux, playing a more reactionary role than in years past. Though they’re not trying to keep up with any of their MLB contemporaries as far as offseason additions, the organization is trying to navigate through the murky waters of what will hopefully be a post-pandemic season at some point.

Will fans be allowed into Wrigley Field this year? That’s still debatable and my news feed offers conflicting reports regarding any potential immunity to the novel coronavirus or re-opening of the city.

So the answer is still that nobody really knows. We can’t deny the political aspects at play, nor can we pretend that the easily-spread infection is something that can be taken lightly. Reopening bars and restaurants does offer a glimmer of hope that fans will be able to attend Cubs games at Wrigley, but when is still anybody’s guess. Some stadiums are planning on having fans as soon as Opening Day, including the Reds and Twins, and MLB is hoping to allow fans to attend Cactus and Grapefruit League games in March.

All we know for sure as of today is that the league intends to play a full schedule this season, proof of vaccination will not be required for fans to attend games once ballparks reopen. What’s more, the Cubs still need a left fielder, some infield help, a couple of starters, a backup catcher, and a bullpen piece or two. What’s disappointing about a convention-less winter is that fans won’t get the answers, believable or not, to any of those outstanding questions heading into spring training.

The front office panel is generally the most anticipated forum of the weekend and it would have been nice to hear Jed Hoyer and his team talk about the international free agent signings they made today. Surely fans would have wanted to know how the president of baseball operations and his executive entourage plan to fill the holes in the roster. If the season started right now, David Ross would probably have to give a full-time gig to David Bote at second base and Nico Hoerner might be spending a lot of time in the outfield.

The rotation looks like Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, and a gaggle of reclamation projects and prospects. Craig Kimbrel and Rowan Wick, if healthy and dependable, will anchor the bullpen. It hasn’t been talked about much, but Ross will probably miss the reliability of Jeremy Jeffress and Ryan Tepera. What the Cubs are really lacking, and it’s something that their rosters have been built on in recent years, is length and versatility. I’m sure all of this would have been covered during the convention, but for now, fans are just going to have to trust Hoyer will field the competitive team he promised us all last month.

Cubs News & Notes

  • Theo Epstein has been hired by Rob Manfred to work as a consultant in the commissioner’s office with a primary focus on field matters.
  • Epstein will be working with baseball analytics experts to determine the effects of potential rule changes to help the sport overall.
  • The former president of baseball operations could be the game’s savior. It is my opinion that Epstein was hired because Manfred and the owners legitimately believe a mass exodus of fans could be more of a reality than they’d previously thought. Look for immediate changes to defensive shifts.
  • Reliever Danny Hultzen announced his retirement and will be joining Chicago’s front office as a pitching development assistant.
  • Even though Cubs fans won’t be gathering this weekend, the Sheraton Hotel found a way to celebrate the tradition of the convention, flying the W via illuminated rooms.
  • IFA shortstop Cristian Hernandez received some high praise from veteran baseball writer Peter Gammons. Hernandez officially signed with the Cubs today for $3 million.
  • While there’s not much of anything to report today, the Cubs’ IFA signings do shine a bright light on the team’s future, and Hernandez could be the real deal. I’ll leave you with this:

Apropos of Nothing

The annual fan convention would have served as a fantastic introduction for new play-by-play announcer Jon “Boog” Sciambi. I wonder if the Cubs will release a hype video today and I’m curious whether they’ll somehow incorporate Sciambi if they do.

Odds & Sods

Remember when we used to think that a big free agent signing like DJ LeMahieu would thaw the hot stove and cascade into a bunch of signings and trades? The free agent second baseman is expected to ink his deal with the Yankees today.

Sliding Into Home

I did not get to speak with Scott yesterday because he was heavily medicated with painkillers. I did speak briefly via text with his wife Peg, who thanked me for our friendship with her husband and indicated that our Cubs family “means the world to him.” Though he has yet to be moved to a hospice facility, things are obviously moving a little quicker than all of us have feared and I will keep everybody updated.

Friday Stove

Nationals fans are going to love Schwarber.

The Phillies have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with right-handed relief pitcher Archie Bradley. Philadelphia had the worst bullpen in baseball last season.

Former Dodgers All-Star Alex Wood signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Giants, the club announced yesterday evening. Wood can make an additional $3 million in performance bonuses.

The Rockies announced a one-year deal with reliever Mychal Givens on Thursday. The two sides avoided arbitration, though financial terms were not revealed.

Players eligible for salary arbitration and their teams must either settle on a contract for 2021 (or agree to a multiyear deal) by noon CT today, or exchange salary figures for the upcoming season.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has floated the idea he will retire if teams refuse to meet his contract demands. It sounds like a veiled shot at the St. Louis front office.

A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card from Topps sold for $5.2 million to become the most expensive sports card of all time, PWCC Marketplace announced yesterday.

Padres left-hander Blake Snell said that Kevin Cash basically “handed the [championship] to the Dodgers” when the Rays’ manager removed Snell in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series.

Extra Innings

I think we all deserve a Friday funny. The first two weeks of 2021 have certainly left us a little jaded that this year might be better than last. This was always my favorite SNL bit.

They Said It

  • “As the game evolves, we all have an interest in ensuring the changes we see on the field make the game as entertaining and action-packed as possible for the fans, while preserving all that makes baseball so special. I look forward to working with interested parties throughout the industry to help us collectively navigate toward the very best version of our game.” – Theo Epstein
  • “If God wants me to come back, then I’ll come back. And if not I will retire happy with my head held high.” – Yadier Molina

Friday Walk Up Song

Good Day by Greg Street feat. Nappy Roots – I love the positive message of this hip-hop treasure, and it’s official, the traditional start of the Cubs’ 2021 season has arrived.

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