The Battle of the Actors’ Fund: The Intake Attack

It’s Passover, so today’s breakfast is matzo and egg salad. The havoc that will befall my stomach is something I won’t force upon your eyes with a collection of sentences strung together. 


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^ A screen shot of The Actors’ Fund website ^

I was ready to start foraging for resources, “So please, give all you can. Now, we appreciate the kind that jingles, but we’d rather get the kind that folds.”

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When you go to the Actors’ Fund website to receive financial assistance, you’ll find yourself here Then you will see an email address, should you meet the qualifications to receive assistance which are:

  • A minimum of five years of industry employment with earnings of at least $6,500 for three out of the last five years
  • Financial need

To apply for financial assistance, an application with supporting documentation and an interview is required. 

I wrote the following email to the address listed for New York City.

To whom it may concern:

My name is Lauren Ashley Carter. I am a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and would like to set up a meeting to speak with someone about financial aid, housing, and sideline work. I have made between $8k -$12k from my acting for the last 8 years and have my tax statements for proof.
I have found myself out of sideline work, without an apartment as my employers have moved (I am a dog sitter on the side). I am interested in temp work and I am also applying to colleges as higher education is increasingly important to me.
I am couch hopping on my 30th birthday although my face is plastered on bus shelters, subways,  and the New York Times (indie low budget films don’t pay any bills, it turns out).  I would like to remedy this issue once and for all. I don’t wish to find myself homeless for a third time.  I have never asked for help from the Actors’ Fund in my life, but I feel I have no place else to turn.

Best regards,

Lauren Ashley Carter

Okay, I don’t have the best tone, or attitude, but I had a point to make! And I guess I no longer have the koyech to put on my commercial audition face. images-1

Yes, that’s the more accurate reaction.

This was the email I received in response:

Hello Lauren,

Thank you for contacting The Actors Fund.  So we can help you more efficiently please call the intake line at 917-281-5919

Please know in advance that eligibility for The Actors Fund emergency assistance program is 5 years minimum in the performing arts/entertainment industry, with 3 of the last 5 years having industry earnings of at least $6,500 for each of those 3 years.  A second level of eligibility is 20 years in the industry with 10 of those years having earnings of at least $5000 a year.  Although earning proof is only needed for the 10 years, there needs to be documentation of industry involvement for all 20 years.

Thank you,

Intake Department – Eastern Region

And because I take direction so well, I called the number!

The number went directly to an automated recording that informed me to leave and spell my name, say my phone number twice, explain my reason for calling, and bang my head against a concrete surface while exclaiming my favorite curse word. And again- I do as I am told.

While walking through the tranquil streets of New York City, my phone began to ring in my purse. A New York number! This is it!

I missed the call.


No voicemail.


I’m going to call, but wait! WHAT LUCK! They were calling back! I answer.



Shit. I call the number, 212-221-7300, and a very kind voice answers.

Kind Lady Voice: “This is the Actors’ Fund.” 

LAC: “Hi! Sorry, I just missed a call from you.” 

KLV: “With whom were you speaking?” 

LAC: “No, I didn’t actually speak to anyone. I missed the call, so I’m calling back.” 

KLV: “Do you know who called you?” 

LAC: “Um, someone from intake? They didn’t leave a voicemail.” 

KLV: “Oh, I’m sorry. I need to know who called you in order to put you in touch.”

LAC: “Could you, maybe, connect me with intake? Anyone in intake? I left a message with my information, so I’m sure I can talk with anyone.” 

KLV: “Well, oh, gosh. There are so many people there, I couldn’t- I wouldn’t even know, really. I need to have a name.”

LAC: “Right, but they didn’t leave a voicemail. Is that usual? Do they not leave a voicemail?”

KLV: “Oh, no. That’s not usual at all. They’re supposed to leave a voicemail! I don’t know…maybe…maybe it’s for privacy? reasons? or? something? Do they have your contact information?”

LAC stares into the bakery squinting at the display of black and white cookies, the loaves of spelt bread, and the old woman hunched over a tray of chocolate covered rugelach.

LAC: “Yes. They do. I imagine that’s how they contacted me.” 

KLV: “Well then! I’m sure they’ll call you back.” 

I call the original number again, 917-281-5919. Hit the asterisk, because I already know what to say, and wait for the beep.


LAC: Hello. My name is Lauren Ashley Carter. L-A-U-R-E-N-A-S-H-L-E-Y-C-A-R-T-E-R. I missed your call and did not receive a voicemail so I was unable to contact anyone to make an appointment for financial aid, housing, and sideline work. Could you please call me back at 917-BANGINGMYHEADAGAINSTCONCRETE. Again, that’s 917-BANGBANGBANGBANG. Thank you. 

Will Lauren Ashley Carter finally make contact with Intake? Or will she have to consult her congressmen, Occupy Wall Street, and a völva to finally achieve the upper hand? Find out the riveting conclusion of the Intake Attack tomorrow!



Author: Lauren Ashley Carter

Lauren Ashley Carter is an actress, producer, writer, director, mystique, bagel-eater, lover of all things red. You've seen her in The Woman, Jug Face, Pod, Darling, The Mind's Eye, Law and Order SVU. You will see her in Imitation Girl.

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