Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking A Step...

So here's the thing-- I'm thinking about auditioning for the Big Time Theatah's Professional Program, despite feeling rather ancient and incompetent. Because (a) they had several folks in their thirties (and even one pretty damn close to his forties) this year. And (b)I'll never know if I don't try.

It's one of those gigs where you apply to audition and then they let you know if they're interested in auditioning you a fairly short time before the actual auditions. Which are about a month away.

I would have to sing. A "short song" it says, and I suspect more to determine if I have any musical ability, and whether I am pleasant or awful to listen to.

But still, I would have to sing.

And let's not forget the acting-- I mean yes, I've obviously auditioned for things before, but there's something daunting about auditioning for what could be a whole table of people I know, and who have a pre-existing notion of me and my abilities. And it's scary.

Here's my thought process:

"Self, I think we should audition. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

"But I'm SCARED! What if I suck? What if they openly mock me? What if I have to see them at future events knowing that they know I'm a huge, untalented fraud?"

"Well, it's not like the world will end. You'll be what they're looking for or not. It's simple! It's 10 minutes out of your life!"

"But what if I don't suck and I get in and I have to go spend 12 weeks with a bunch of strangers, all the time worrying that I'm a huge, untalented fraud?"

"Sigh. Self, you're impossible."

Annnnd scene. I'm not sure if I'm afraid of failing or succeeding. Or both. But it might be a nice way to shake up the status quo and actually take some of the risks I keep wishing I would.

Of course, it's entirely possible that they won't want to see me at all, and this whole anxiety tornado will have been for naught. But I think I'll feel better for at least trying. It's cheesy, but somehow true.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Above the Belt and Come Forth, Motivation Unicorns!

Still not tackling that rewrite-- I'm saving that for MAY, which is rapidly becoming some mysterious and magical time period when I will suddenly feel motivated to do a major overhaul of the play. I'm assuming the motivation unicorns (or whatever mythical creatures control motivation) will find me before next Sunday. Hey, they know where I live.

I realized that in this business, there is pretty much no way anyone could treat you so badly that your friends would not accept a job from said person. Money will always win out. And I can't say I blame them.

My agent almost gave me a heart attack yesterday-- once again I was following up about getting cash money for those commercials, and she said "Oh, you know, I never heard back from her. And her website is disabled. Do you know how to get in touch with her?"

Okay. There are a couple of issues with that communication. Firstly, was she ever planning on telling me she couldn't get in touch? Secondly, I was able to get in touch through the phone number I'd given my agent THREE TIMES. In fact, it was pretty easy to get in touch and follow up.
So I'm not getting ripped off (I think), the cheque (the most important thing) is in the mail.

Also: singing breakthrough! I can belt! (My old singing teacher would be horrified at the thought of me (or anyone) using the "vulgar" chest voice for anything, so if she's reading this, I'd like to assure her that I'm using a good, healthy mix). Apparently all my work on the upper register is paying off in the lower register. And it seems like some of the psychological turmoil has been resolved, to be replaced by Things I Can Work On Through Technique.

This is good news, people.

Very good news, indeed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Day, Another Day Job

Last week I met someone who, at the ripe old age of 25, has never had a day job. He's an actor and writer-- I know he works a fair bit, but I never thought he worked that much. So it's possible that he lives in a cardboard box down by the railroad tracks, or with his parents, or breaks into apartments to take showers, or hasn't eaten anything but ramen noodles for the last four years.

But I digress. Of course I feel a tinge of envy for those who don't have to work, but I wonder too how much life experience they might be missing out on by only hanging out with theatre types.

I've never waited tables, but I have had some pretty stellar day jobs:
* video store clerk
* call centre agent
* case manager for employment services company
* payroll clerk
* photocopy jockey
* impersonated various secretaries
* data entry operator
* customer service clerk

That's off the top of my head. And I suppose it probably seems like I'm either really old, or I'm constantly getting fired. I actually just get bored really easily. And really, most of my jobs seem to use either (a) my excellent typing skills, or (b) my ability to simulate the impression that I really, really care. That's me, transcriptionbot/sounding board for the disgruntled.

So have I been wasting my creative energies trying to pay rent? Or is this all rich, rich fodder for the acting/writing mill?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Behold, I Have Returned, or First Draft Blues

Howdy, friends and neighbours!

I was hoping to keep you up to date on my progress through the second session of the Big Time Theat-ah Play Development Unit. But my plans were thwarted by said unit, as we spent roughly 8 hours a day discussing our plays, and then I went home every night to desperately try and do some rewrites.

It was intense. I had fun, but I'm glad it's over. I'm not so glad to return to my "real life" job dealing with customers and staff, but I suppose that's a reason to work that much harder, right? So I can exit the world of service into the world of the artiste.

Or something like that.

So. My play. Well, it started out as a solo, then morphed into a two-hander with one speaking actor, one silent actor. Two monologues, one after the other. After this latest reading the general feeling of the rest of the unitards seems to be that this would do much better as a standard two-hander. I realize that's hard to envision without knowing the play, but the overall note was "does your form serve the idea of the play?" and the resounding answer is "no".

I don't know how to feel about that. I don't know if I'm reluctant to let go of my oh-so-clever initial idea. Or if I really wanted to write a solo, and I've somehow failed in that. I mean, I really do want to write a solo, largely so I can have something to perform myself (we won't get into my current acting insecurities). It just might not be this play.

So that's disappointing, in a weird way. I haven't looked at it since we finished a couple of days ago. I know what the rewrite will look like, I'm pretty confident that I can give myself some breathing room before returning to it before the public readings in June.

In other news: I am somewhat annoyed with my agent. I'm not sure if she's just not that interested in me (I know she is extremely interested in the more commercial pretty blonde friend of mine who's also signed with her), or if there's just no film work here (which there isn't), but I rarely hear from her. It's a little tough to get a hold of her sometimes, as evidenced when I booked those commercials last month and tried to get her to negotiate the rate, because, isn't that what she does? And that means yes, she does get paid for work she wasn't involved in getting me. But she definitely got me a better rate than I would have gotten myself.

The problem is getting paid. She was supposed to invoice this woman, and after an appropriate amount of time had gone by, I contacted her to say "Hey, any word on that cheque from Employer X? I sure could use the money." And her response was "Oh, I never heard from her, I guess I could email her to invoice her, what's her contact information?" And then I gave that to her. And now I'm chasing her down again.

Not good, I know. I probably need to switch to someone else. And a friend of mine had some rather interesting problems with a writing agent that he never officially severed his relationship with, so lesson learned, I need to be assertive in this situation.

And I've been away from voice lessons for a month due to scheduling, so looking forward to getting back on Tuesday.

And that's the news.
What's new with you?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I sent in my (mostly) completed script tonight-- there are a couple of small bits in the middle that are missing. Hopefully those will get written before my reading on Monday, but I'm not going to be heartbroken if I can't figure them out.
There is a beginning. A middle. And an end.

It's a play! A weird, weird, play!


Lately I've been thinking a lot about the ridiculous aspects of this business. The ass-kissing, and the politics of being invited to certain things, or who's talking to you and who's snubbing you. It's so easy to get caught up in worrying about:

What does everyone think of me?

That you can lose track of what you're supposed to be focusing on. At least, I do. Why is it so easy to get obsessed with things you can't control? Now I'm not an Oprah person, but I've watched a few episodes in my day. And one of my favourite Oprah-isms is this:

It's none of my business what other people think of me.

Which, being an Oprah-ism, means she actually probably co-opted it from one of her guests, but I don't remember the guest, so sorry, guest! But I think it's a great mantra to try and remember. Hard to practice, though.

But I was thinking about it, specifically about how I've lived in this prairie city for just over a decade now, and there are still people who can't be bothered to remember my name, or who think I'm a stage manager (a gig I stopped doing years ago), or who see me as just the wife/girlfriend of a better-known actor/writer. Or the people who probably don't ever think of me at all, because frankly, most people think mostly of themselves, especially in the biz, where it is encouraged and admired for some reason.

And I got to thinking about it, and I was feeling slightly embittered about the state of my career in town, and how I was going to focus on out-of-town places, (probably a better market for my work, anyhoo), and how I was just going to do awesome indie stuff, and everyone else could suck it, and I suddenly realized:

Exactly who are these people? Who the fuck are these people that I'm spending so much time agonizing that they don't know my work, or think I'm talented, or whatever I'm accusing them of thinking or not thinking about me, when in reality they're probably not thinking about me at all?

And then I started thinking how great it would be to be free of that. To be free of a lot of worrying about what people have said or thought of me, artistically in particular. My parents, past teachers, past directors, current AD's, and so on and so forth. And imagined being free of feeling like I had to please those people, like I had to live up to some strange standard or negate some thoughtless, offhand comment from 10 years ago.

Wouldn't it be great to let go of that and just feel good about doing what I want to do? Not to worry if random people who can't remember my name think I'm good or talented or worthwhile?

To be free of seeking validation from others?

To be free to make decisions without going through a bunch of hypothetical opinions?

To be FREE?

And I guess I was having some kind of Artist's Way moment, because I started thinking about people in two groups: people who are supportive, and people who aren't. And I'm thinking I'm going to surround myself with those supporters, the awesome people who make me feel good. Haters, I'm sorry, you're moving out of a position of power in my life.

Because, seriously... when I, stubborn, independent, opinionated modern gal that I am think about all the ways I give up my own power...

That's got to change.

Anyone out there ever reclaim their power in that sense?
Should I go watch more Oprah?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Five To Go...

I think I'm down to about the last five pages for the Big Time Theat-ah Development Script, which is good news, because I have to submit it to the program facilitator in whatever state it's in tomorrow morning. Fortunately, I still get a week to revise it a little, and perhaps finish those last five pages. And, you know, make it make sense.

It's always a little daunting sharing something for the first time-- you live with it long enough that it becomes tiresome or boring or stupid, or whatever displeasurable adjective you can think of at the time. Experiencing other people hearing it can often bring it back to life. But a first draft... yikes. First drafts are tough. And this first draft is fresh out of my head and onto the page, so hopefully I'll at least catch the times I reworded and repeated the same paragraph three times, and all that other great stuff you do when you're trying to express an idea.

I'm assuming that everyone in the group feels squirrelly and nervous about hearing their first drafts read as well. Like me, they will just be covering it up.

I'm excited to go back into the forum, excited to hear where everyone's plays have gone, to discuss the plays we were assigned to read. I'm afraid that mine will be the worst, even in a situation where there really aren't any best and worst.

Going to try and read the whole thing through today before sending it tomorrow.