In less than a year after Sonya Karels headed to Los Angeles to attend school, she ends up appearing on highly-acclaimed television series.
Karels, a 2010 Minneota High School graduate, will be on "Glee" this Tuesday. The popular show is on the FOX network.
Karels is attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, Calif. She had learned about an open call for the episode while searching for auditions online.
"I sent my headshot and resume in and a casting director called me that night and told me the information about when the shoot was and everything," Karels said.
And when she got the call learning that she was going to be in the episode, Karels said she didn't believe it at first.
"One, because it happened within like three or four hours of me submitting my stuff, and two because I didn't think I'd actually get a call," Karels said. "Right when I got off the phone, I just looked at my roommate and I was like I'm gonna be on 'Glee.' I was pretty much freaking out the rest of the night."
Then came the first day of call, which was at 5 a.m., Karels said.
"When I got there, they had me go through wardrobe first, and then they sent me to hair and make up," Karels said. "After I was done with all of that, I pretty much just had to sit around for like an hour and a half during which time I took full advantage of the massive amounts of food they had for us."
The shoot took three days, Karels said, with long hours. For example, the first day of shooting, she said, was from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
"I would say that each scene we shot probably took about three to four hours to get done," Karels said. "They shot every scene from five or six different angles and they did a lot of pick up shots."
Karels said the part she got was fairly small.
"I was a featured background, and I was a dancer," she said. "I had two lines, but they aren't really necessary to the story or anything so there is no guarantee that the editor will keep them in or not. I was a dancer for one of the songs and I had to dance in a big dinosaur head which was rather challenging and really weird."
Other than that, Karels said, she was in a lot of shots as just background, as a prom goer.
"Depending on the camera angles that they use, you should be able to find me, I was in the front for a lot of the shots and I walked through the background for most of the scenes," she said.
When her friends back home learned about her upcoming appearance, Karels said they were excited as she was.
"My friend Aubree (VanKeulen) freaked out," Karels said. "She absolutely loves 'Glee,' and pretty much went crazy when I told her. My mom was really proud of me, and she's really excited to watch the show. Most of my friends when I told them were like 'wait, what? You're gonna be on 'Glee.' I think a lot of people thought it was a joke at first."
Working on the set of "Glee" was so much different than she expected, Karels said.
"I didn't realize how many times you had to shoot each shot, and the actors are given their lines right before they shoot the scene, they don't have to be memorized at all," she said. "It's just really different than I expected. But it was so much fun. For awhile it actually felt like I was at prom with my friends."
One thing about having to do the shots over and over is continuity, she said.
"In one of the shots I had a cookie that I was eating and I finished it during the scene," she said. "So when we did the scene again, I had to eat another cookie. We did that scene 17 timesI felt like I was going to die. So my advice to anyone is if you're going to eat something on camera, eat it slowly."
Karels did get the chance to see all of the stars on "Glee," and she got to do a dance scene with Heather Morris, who portrays Brittany.
Karels said school has been going alright for her and this semester she "re-auditioned" to be in the musical theater program at the Academy and got in.
"So this semester I'm in the Musical Theatre Conservatory program, which is a four-semester program instead of an eight-semester one," she said.
She's also thinking about not returning to the school next semester because she wants to get started on her career.
"I've been searching a ton, like three or four times a day for auditions, and I've submitted my head shots and resumes to a whole bunch of agents and casting directors," she said. "My plan is to go to as many auditions as I possibly can and try and get any and all jobs that are available to me."
Mainly, Karels said she just likes to perform and there is nothing that she's ever done that is like it.
"The rush you get when you're on stage or in front of the camera is like nothing else I've ever felt," she said. "This is the only thing that I've ever been really good at, and I love it so much that I can't just not do it. Even if I'm not famous, if I'm getting jobs and making a living doing what I love to do, then I'll be happy. I know that breaking into this business is ridiculously hard, but I'm determined, and I know that this is what I'm supposed to do with my life."