Entering the Year of the Horse

A happy belated 2014 to all of you, my dear readers!  I hope you have all been having an exciting year so far, although I know much of the US is suffering through one of the most terrible winters in decades, and definitely in my lifetime.  I am thankful every day that I moved to LA before this winter, as I really hate being cold.


Anyway, I’m still on the hunt for a theatrical agent or manager in Los Angeles, which is proving difficult.  I’d prefer not sending out thousands of postcards, and am reaching out to people I know who may be able to put me in touch with their connections.  I know I can do the work, but it’s a matter of finding people who believe in me.

Recently I did a great agent showcase with Actor’s Advantage, run and organized by Shane Russeck.  It was an interesting experience.  All the actors checked in and got their time slots, and then the five agents were in the room, and when it was your turn, you went in, performed, and walked out and you were done.  I haven’t heard anything but I know that sometimes these lead to work for some actors.  Here’s the website if you want to check out an event.  If you go, tell them I sent you!
Actor’s Advantage Showcase

In other acting news, there’s a great new trailer out for Those Who Kill, in which I played Nancy Yuan for the premiere episode.  You can click through to the really scary trailer here.  My friends Kate Boyer and Jordan Trovillion, both actresses I’ve written about before, can be seen in the creepy trailer.  Kate is the one running away from the serial killer and tied up in a chair, and Jordan is dead in a dumpster in a quick flash.  The show will premiere on A&E on March 3!

My shoulder was featured (body doubling) for a split second on the premiere episode of Rake, starring Greg Kinnear.  When I went in for doubling, they had me working some lines with the actors and Sam Raimi, who directed that episode, very kindly upgraded me to cast for my work.  I wish I could have auditioned for the actual role, but my turn will come.  Anyway, I am incredibly thankful to Mr. Raimi for his kindness.  That is the second time I’ve worked in a “background” role and been upgraded, which is very lucky indeed!  When I worked on Red Dawn, I agreed to go in as background with a very high likelihood of being upgraded, and it went through so I became that police station screamer.  (BTW, you can view Red Dawn on Netflix!)  🙂

I’m still very much enjoying my classes at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica, and we are moving from emotional prep to scenes with emotional prep, which we will be performing as our one year graduation showcase.


I was recently googling myself as I am wont to do now and then, (purely for career reasons!!!) and saw a photo of mine that was posted on the Bar Method blog by none other than Burr Leonard, the creator of The Bar Method!  That was pretty neat and also made me feel more inspired to go to my Bar classes to get even more results.

Burr Leonard, bar method

Burr Leonard demonstrating moves at the bar

Cindy Chu Actress/Blogger

Since the holidays have come and gone, I had also gotten really into rock climbing to the detriment of my Bar routine, but it was still exercise!

Cindy Chu, climbing

Cleaning up leads and anchor, then rappelling in Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas, NV

But then, I used the holidays as an excuse to eat a lot more than I normally do, and after the new year, I wanted to rededicate myself to my health and fitness, and so not only did I restart my habit of going to Bar a few times a week at minimum, along with walking and cycling, and other activities like paddle ball or hiking, but I also signed up for a 30 Day Challenge through DailyHiit! They have a lot of great routines you can do at home with just a few simple exercise tools, and the workouts are High Intensity Interval Training (hence the HIIT) so are more efficient than spending an hour at the gym doing random exercises, meaning the workout videos they’ve been sending have been just 12 minutes!  Here’s a photo of my halfway point progress:

day15, cindy chu

Day 15 progress photo of 30 Day Challenge from Daily Hiit

As you can see, the differences are very subtle.  What I notice the most is a more defined linea alba  which is that center line down the stomach, a tendinous stretch on the abdomen splitting the two sides of muscles.  I hope there will be even more change come Day 30!

I know I posted about my hair care awhile back, too, and the Shiseido Tsubaki shampoo/conditioner is still working wonders and my hair is so much softer than before, which is helped also by the Aquasana carbon shower head filter I installed.  Since I often do need to style my hair for auditions, I’ve got some great recommendations on styling tools, too.  I received an amazing blow dryer for Christmas and it dries my hair so quickly, and keeps it very smooth, and I can adjust it to no-heat, as well.  It’s the Elchim Ionic and is a pro level tool.

Elchim ionic hair dryer

Elchim Ionic

I also am extremely satisfied with the Hot Tools curling iron I bought last year.  The 1″ size is perfect for creating beachy and classic waves, although, the 1″1/2 might be nice for softer waves.  I got the 1″.  I usually spray some of the Bumble and Bumble Does It All styling spray in for heat protection.

BB does it all styling spray

Hot Tools Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron

Cindy Chu

Styled using the Hot Tools 1″ Ceramic Marcel Curling Iron

I had a lot of fun last night self-taping myself for some roles, and did a quick change in between, and I’ll leave you with this funny image of me.  Signing off until next time!  And please make sure to watch Those Who Kill when it comes out March 3!!!!

Cindy Chu

Double duty



Happy Holidays, now what?

Cindy Chu and Santa Claws Jinxie Cat

A holiday greeting from Jinxie and I to you and yours this beautiful holiday season! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Pittsburgh was wonderful!  I got back home last week from filming on Those Who Kill, and it was great hanging out with my fellow cast mates James D’Arcy (Master and Commander with Russell Crowe), James Morrison (TV show 24, Jarhead, Catch Me If You Can), Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), Omid Abtahi, Ryan O’Nan, and Kate Boyer, along with getting to chat with my director Joe Carnahan (The Grey) about growing up in Michigan and his next project Undying Love, and rehashing scenes from Willard (starring the great Crispin Glover) and What Is It? with Glen Morgan.  I ran into a couple production people I’d met in Michigan, too.  My costumer Tony also worked on Red Dawn, and one of our craft services peeps was on LOL (starring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore).  Small world getting smaller.

While having the weekend off, the actors got together and watched some work from a couple of us, including Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, nominated multiple times for Best Original Song in the Oscars (listen to the soundtrack), and Showing Up, an interview style documentary about auditions that can be a very meaningful watch for more than just actors, really, but anyone who has dreams he/she wants to pursue and is afraid to try.  It was all very inspiring for me to be amongst these working actors and film professionals who are doing what they love, and making a living at it.  A few conversations with them about the perks of moving to LA got my internal clock ticking again.  It’s something I’ve been talking about for as long as I remember but I keep holding off, citing money as a reason.  Another reason is to get myself a little bit more into the niche market here in the Midwest and East Coast as THE young Asian actress to hire, but it’s still a matter of do I want to hit the big time, because if I do, I will need to make the move at some point.  When we Skyped last night, my sister said if I didn’t do by June 2013 she’d be very disappointed in me.  So, maybe LA this next year?  So many things to think about as we enter the post-Mayan calendar.  Looks like I’ve got to make some huge New Year’s resolutions…

For now, I will have to wait and see if Those Who Kill’s pilot gets approval once it’s edited, and then we’d all get to watch it on A&E.  If not, it was a grand experience working with the team.  Still waiting to hear back on an audition time for a big project I really want to land but all in good time.

Happy Holidays to you all!  Remember to enjoy life and follow your dreams!



PS: Our family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, but my second brother Mike and I are home enjoying family time with the parents.  Mike has been shooting on a Canon 5D for awhile, which is a full-sensor camera, while I’ve been shooting on a Nikon D7000 which is awesome, but a cropped sensor, and everyone in the film/commercial world I know uses Canons…  I was checking out Canons yesterday and IF I COULD, I’d love to upgrade to the Canon 5d Mark II one day, with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens one day…Maybe next Christmas, a gift for myself if I can kick ass at the whole acting career this year!  It’s okay to get yourself Christmas presents, right?  😛  (All my siblings and I invested in a new 40 inch flat screen for our parents this year.  A huge upgrade from their little 20 inch old-school big box TV…which my mama wants to keep for some reason…)

Cindy Chu Enjoying a mug of coffee at Zenith Antiques in Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Cindy Chu Enjoying a mug of coffee at Zenith Antiques in Shadyside, Pittsburgh


The First Presbytarian Church near my hotel, the Omni William Penn

The First Presbytarian Church near my hotel, the Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh

The first coconut I ever cracked

The first coconut I ever cracked

Our honey wagon for Those Who Kill

Our honey wagon for Those Who Kill

One of the dining rooms at Zenith Antiques, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

One of the dining rooms at Zenith Antiques, Shadyside, Pittsburgh

Those Who Kill basecamp Pittsburgh

Those Who Kill basecamp Pittsburgh

Cindy Chu's little dressing room

My little dressing room on Those Who Kill!

Little theater in Pittsburgh, the Harris

Little theater in Pittsburgh, the Harris, where I watched Holy Motors

Red Dawn: At Long Last!!!

Viva Red Dawn!!!  It’s been a long journey, but Red Dawn is finally being released as a holiday blockbuster this Thanksgiving!  I’m so excited to see it finally premiering, and I’ll definitely be taking my family to see it on Thanksgiving Day!  I already had confirmation from friends that my name was in the credits and that they saw my scenes!  WHooooooowheeee!!!!!

For now, enjoy this wonderful trailer:



Cindy Chu in Red Dawn

Look how tall I am! In my Red Dawn costume with some of the other ladies.


I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and goes to see Red Dawn!  Let me know what you think!  And sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated.  I’ve got a few more things to post about soon so look for more in the coming weeks.


Shine your inner light,


Red Dawn, New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wonderful news today!  My scene co-star, Dwight Sora, from Red Dawn sent me a message today with a link to an article about the release of Red Dawn in 2011.  It seemed late last year that this film could be in limbo forever, but apparently MGM has gained a $500 million dollar credit line to go towards making the next James Bond film and also continue with The Hobbit project.  This also means that they now have the money to market and release Red Dawn!  This was my first acting role in a major feature film, and its release in 2011 means that I will have at least 2 major theatrical releases this year, Red Dawn AND Salvation Boulevard.  Let’s up the ante for 2011, eh?  I’d like it to grow harmonically this year.  😀   Click the photo to link to the article!  (I had a very small role in the film and was not part of the central cast, just FYI.)

Red Dawn remake cast photo

Red Dawn remake cast photo

I also had my first audition of the new year today.  My fingers are crossed for some more good news this month!

I always like to share any useful acting tidbits, and here’s a useful one if you’re a paid-up-to-date SAG member in SE Michigan.  You can go view any SAG-nominated films that are currently screening at the Phoenix or Emagine Theaters for FREE if you show your current SAG card.  It’s the gold one.

Here’s the list from my SAG email:

Thanks to the generosity of two of our local theatres, Phoenix Theatres and Emagine Entertainment, Screen Actors Guild members in Michigan can attend showings of SAGAward nominated films free of charge. A great member perk, this is a valuable opportunity for you, the member, to view the nominees before you cast your vote!

Here are the rules:

  • You must present your SAG card (paid-thru April 30, 2011) and photo ID.
  • The free ticket is for SAG members only, not accompanying friends or family.
  • This offer is valid between December 27–January 25, 2011 for Phoenix Theatres and January 3–25, 2011 for Emagine Theatres.
  • This offer is valid Monday thru Thursdays only; not valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

This offer is valid for the following films with nominations:

“127 Hours”

“Black Swan”


“The Fighter”

“Get Low”

”Green Zone”


“The Kids are All Right”

“The King’s Speech”

“Rabbit Hole”

“Robin Hood”

“The Social Network”

“The Town”

“True Grit”

“Winter’s Bone”

Here are the participating locations:

Phoenix Theatre: The Mall of Monroe in Monroe

Phoenix Theatre: Laurel Park Place in Livonia

Emagine Theatre: Novi

Emagine Theatre: Canton

Emagine Theatre: Woodhaven

Cinema Hollywood: Birch Run

We thank both Emagine Entertainment and Phoenix Theatres for their continued support of Screen Actors Guild members.

Have fun, vote and return your ballot to arrive by January 28!

Don’t forget to watch the 17th Annual SAG Awards live on TBS and TNT at 8 p.m., Sunday, January 30, 2011.

And one last little tidbit for any fellow outrageous hat lovers!  I became the recent proud parent to a beautiful SpiritHood!


Image from the SpiritHoods.com site

Click on the image to get to their site and order your own, and join the tribe!  They have different animals, and some of them are Product Blue, which means they donate a portion to a conservancy group that helps that particular animal species.  I ordered the Snow Leopard, which is among the Product Blue offerings.  =^_^=


Meow--Cindy Chu

Meow--Cindy Chu

Paws--Cindy Chu

Paws--Cindy Chu

That’s it for now.  Hope to have more good news very soon!

Happy 2011!


It’s All About the Rs and Ds!

Hello all, hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did. It was lovely spending time with my family, although my sister-in-law and sister were both gone abroad this year.

Anyway, I’ve got a few exciting updates for you.

1) We had another mini-screening for QLN at the December Mitten Movie Project, organized by Connie Mangilin and Jeff White. QLN was shown with many other wonderful Michigan-made shorts, all audience choice winners from previous months, and I got to see some amazing pieces with my friend Grace Anne Rowan starring. The only award given out that night that I know of was for best short film, and that went to Chuck Grady’s The Point. Congratulations! It will air on Comcast’s Channel 52 Wow in the Troy area of Michigan for the next month.

2) My friend, Treasure Groh, a brilliant writer for Real Detroit, had decided to start a new series with her editor about, you guessed it, the film industry in Michigan!

Front page of Real Detroit--Cindy Chu

Front page of Real Detroit--Cindy Chu

Knowing that I’m an aspiring actress, she interviewed me for the first piece. You can read it here, and if that’s stopped working, here’s the text of it:

Michigan’s Film Industry
By Treasure Groh
Dec 1, 2009, 12:55

Michigan’s Film Industry
A 101 Guide To Getting Started

Michigan may be the last place anyone expected to go Hollywood, but we have (minus the pretense). Now, studios, film classes and acting workshops are sprouting up all over metro-Detroit for people hoping to land film gigs. This ongoing series is designed to help you break into the business. We will examine the classes, the news, the politics, the tax incentive controversy and the films slated to be made right here in Michigan … and maybe, just maybe, help you get a job in the field.

Let’s start with the basics. Jobs are coming, slowly. The chances of nailing a big movie role by being discovered at a café are slim (even if you do nail the producer). You need to start with bit roles — roles as an extra.

But if your talent isn’t as “talent,” there are schools to help you gain knowledge as a grip or colorist — but we’ll tackle that topic in another issue.

What’s the cause of the newfound film enterprise of opportunity in our own backyards? It may be that 42 percent tax incentive that Governor Granholm granted the film institutions for producing product here (money is always the bottom line in Hollywood). Still, the very things that Detroit society has come to hate have also lured filmmakers in: burnt out and abandoned buildings with glorious architecture.

With so many movies being filmed here — some of which have included Whip It, Gran Torino and the HBO original TV series Hung — how does one break into this newly adapted form of employment? There are many different avenues to take, from Craigslist ads to agencies and everything in between. So if you find yourself itching to take a crack at the newly bustling Michigan film industry, read on.

Where to Start
If you haven’t had any previous acting or production experience, it’s best that you get out there and flash those pearly whites. And if they ain’t white, get them lasered. We’re serious. Get yourself out there and keep your name and image relevant. School productions aside, there’s an unending supply of acting seminars and workshops geared to meet your specific needs.

You can think unconventionally or follow the lead of others like you: “I took a one day seminar with Steve Blackwood (he was on Days of Our Lives) and an audition seminar with Marnie Saitta, who is the casting director with Days of Our Lives,” says Cindy Chu, an aspiring actress.

This seminar was brought to the public by the Michigan Actors Studio (michiganactorsstudio.com), which plays a big part in providing workshops to aspiring, as well as seasoned, actors. Though the seminars are not free, keep in mind that they often run weeks at a time, giving you more experience for a cheaper price than, say, Juilliard would.

While Chu admits that not all seminars are created equal, you should do what you can with what you have. Remember to check the site often, as classes are bound to fill up quickly.

Earning Your Chops
Now that you’ve learned a thing or two about the business, you’re ready for some roles, right? Wrong. Before you bother a casting director with your whimsical dreams of stardom, it’s best to get a few headshots. At this point, portfolios aren’t necessary because you don’t have any experience (yet). But once you have that pretty little card with your face on it, you can finally start looking for casting calls.

It can be a daunting task searching through all the pages that Craigslist has to offer, but it’s not in vain. “Any time it says ‘extras wanted’ or ‘actresses wanted’ and then it’ll talk about the Internet and partial nudity, I never pursue any of those,” Chu says with a laugh. The Michigan Film Office (michiganfilmoffice.org) is another great resource when looking for jobs, workshops, college class listings and other news about productions coming this way.

Though it shows drive and ambition to find your own jobs, you may also opt for an extras casting site. “You go in and give them your stats, so whenever a film is coming in and they’re looking for extras they’ll look and see if you fit the descriptions for background work and stuff,” Chu advises.

A good extras casting site is Real Style (realstyleonline.com). For a small, one-time $15 fee, Real Style will hook you up with a profile — you’ll go in and take a picture; and they’ll keep you in their database when casting directors are on the prowl for fresh talent.

Another road you may take is a talent agency. When you have enough material for your reel, you can start submitting to such agencies in the hopes of being signed and getting an agent. Doubly exciting, being signed to an agency means that you are good enough to have an agent and you’ll also get help from said agent in booking auditions.

Don’t just take the high road and expect to be cast in a movie right away. Take some time and scour local theaters for stage productions as well. “If someone wants to get into it I would say audition for your local theater groups and participate in Student films,” says Chu.

Working on a student film, as Chu did for the film Qing Lou Nu, may be tricky, but the experience will pay off in the end. As for stage productions, even if you don’t get the part don’t get discouraged — you now have an audition under your belt and may be better able to spot your strengths and weaknesses.

If you find that booking films is a little harder than anticipated, try another avenue. Working on a local crew does wonders for your networking capabilities and allows you to work closely with the people of production so that they will better recognize your face the next time they’re in need.

“When you work with someone and have good chemistry with them on the set and you’re a team player, they’ll definitely remember that in the future and wanna help you out,” says Chu, who was a wardrobe intern for the film Whip It.

Where to Go From Here
After you’ve soaked up all the skills needed to begin a career in film, it’s important to realize that you won’t always get paid. While Chu states that you should get paid, she admits that, oftentimes, it does not happen.

“A lot of people are upset because some of the films haven’t followed through but have asked for free extras or say that they’ll do a raffle for a prize and then they don’t end up dong the raffle,” Chu says. If you’re booked through a site such as Real Style, you will get paid for all of the work you do. If you approach a project on your own, be prepared for the unfortunate situation of potentially leaving with empty pockets.

From here, continue to use the knowledge and experience you’ve acquired. Even if you’re not working, take seminars and workshops during your dry spell so you don’t get rusty. Take advantage of every opportunity the blossoming Michigan film industry is offering you. Continue to hone your craft and be the best among your peers.

Who knows … some day you might just find yourself acting in an airport with George Clooney.  | RDW

And the best update of all for the year, I think:

3) Last Thursday I received a call from Pound & Mooney Casting about a gig with Red Dawn, directed by Dan Bradley. They needed a Chinese female actress for an extra role with a “99.9% chance of being upgraded”. I immediately said I would do it, at which Cathy Mooney told me that the extras casting from the film would be in contact with me about going in for a fitting. I ended up getting a phone call from Ryan Hill, the head of the RD extras department, and we made an appointment for me to go in to their production offices that evening for a fitting and to sign some initial paperwork. Later on, I got my call time for the next day. Friday morning, Janet Pound called me to tell me she had seen my short film at the Mitten Movie Project and loved it, so when the call went out for this potential role, she made sure I was resubmitted from my earlier audition with them for the part of “Checkpoint Soldier”. That felt great, to know that the one huge role I’ve had so far was quite instrumental in this turnaround of events. I had given up hope of ever being in Red Dawn after hearing they were almost wrapped and there hadn’t been many roles for Asian women in it. Well, eventually on Friday, I was called to set with my co-star, Dwight Sora, an Asian actor from Chicago, and I figured I was at best a featured extra. I don’t want to say what I did in the scene here, since I don’t know how much I’m allowed to elaborate, but when we wrapped that night, I was told I’d probably be needed back Monday and they would let us know. Sunday I got notice that I probably wouldn’t be needed but they wanted me on hold in case things changed. Monday, I got a call saying I’d been upgraded to a supporting role and would have to fill out some contracts when I went back to set. Tuesday I was on hold again. Finally, Wednesday, I went back for my second scene, and was excited to see that there was a trailer on the honeywagon with my name on it! It was shared, but still! My first trailer! And inside my trailer, my paperwork awaited. I signed my first Taft-Hartley, and I believe that it means I’m now SAG-eligible. Yay! It was a great day on set, lots of “fire in the hole”, tons of action, and it was much warmer in the buildings than it had been on Friday. My first SAG feature film role…and in the biggest action flick shot of the year, I do believe!

Cindy Chu & Red Dawn trailer

Cindy Chu and Red Dawn trailer

All in all, 2009 has been a great year for me, and I think I’ve made some very satisfactory progress in my goal of becoming a professional actress/ film professional. Not bad for under a year and a half of actually actively pursuing this career. This last role has afforded me the financial capability to take some classes in 2010, and that will include a film acting class, and perhaps also some sort of martial arts course. After speaking with one of the professional stunt men on Red Dawn, I think it only makes sense to at least learn the basics, being a Chinese-American actress and all. At best, it will be the deciding factor in me getting some role over another actress, and it’s a great skill to have in terms of self-defense and also my constant pursuit of learning new things.

Currently, I am also doing the P90X workout program. I’m just starting week 2 and already feel some physical changes inside. I feel that I’ve been making better choices in my diet, and like I have more energy. The first week, though, wow! I was sore every day! The workouts can be pretty challenging, but I’ve already improved my endurance and coordination in the past 9 days, and can’t wait to see what kind of changes it’ll bring for me physically. I’d like to drop a size by my birthday in February! For the most part, though, I just want to know that I’m well-conditioned, and to be healthier and have better stamina overall. No hibernating for me this winter, I’ve got roles to land and a lot of work ahead of me.

I look forward to 2010 with nothing but hope.

Thank you for reading,