Come on! It’s Hamilton. Musical Theatre geeks across America have either already made the trek to New York, the theatre homeland, and spent their life savings on tickets, or they’ve waited impatiently for it to arrive at the major metropolitan city closest to them. The fine folks in Chicago and San Francisco have had their turn and, well, it’s finally time for Los Angeles. And we are EXCITED.read more
I don’t know whether it’s being a September baby, someone who doesn’t tolerate heat well, or just a plain old nerd, but my favorite season has always been fall, a.k.a. Back-to-School season. Just like the new chronological year, a new school year speaks of possibilities, potential, and other great, clean-slate things.
Even though we don’t live with academic years as adults, we can borrow the best of those good old school days to rejuvenate our acting lives. Because doing the same thing with no variation can lead to a lackluster approach, and acting hardly thrives on that. Here are a few ways to add some new-year newness, starting now.read more
It’s so easy to get caught up in the c-word. Oh, ya know, comparison. Even when we achieve impressively high goals, we don’t stay in that feeling of accomplishment as long as we should. It takes one measly scroll through Facebook to instill feelings of inadequacy and maybe even anger. Or is that just me? Lol. Then we wonder, “Does he/she ever feel this crappy emotion too? Maybe they’ve just got it all figured out?” Unfortunately, since we are all human, these emotions come and go. But, it’s about letting them go fast and minimizing how often they come.
I don’t know who the heck originally said this phrase, but they are spot on. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Makes total sense, right? You book a guest star on your favorite comedy and could not be happier. That is, until you read the #blessed #actorlife post of your fellow classmate who snagged the lead in a short film. This comparison literally robs the joy from our own life and radiates negative energy out. This can be applied to all areas of life, not just entertainment. Why do we think the grass is greener when we’ve all got weeds the neighbors can’t see? Believe me, I suffer from this thinking too! The forward movement comes from focusing on our own growth, accomplishments, the small things that make us really happy and practicing gratitude. These healthy habits shift our vibe and mindset.
You might be familiar with the idea of “being impeccable with your word”. It comes from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. Or perhaps Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Parents and the “circle of trust” talk with his future son-in-law played by Ben Stiller may be more familiar to you. Surely one, if not both rings a bell and strikes a chord. Trust, and your impeccable word plays a huge part in your reputation as a commercial actor. You gotta keep your word. Period.
Commercial actors should never break trust.
THE UNINVITED CRITIC THAT LIVES IN YOUR MIND!
The battle is never between you and your fellow actors
It’s between you and the uninvited critic that lives in your mind.
QUESTIONS: Every time I leave an audition, I tend to criticize my performance and my fellow actors all the way home! I am not this mean to my worse enemy! How can I make auditioning not such a battle?
ACTORS: I don’t know of any actor that has left an audition room and not driven home with the uninvited critic buckled into their passenger seat!
I could have done better, I cried at home, why couldn’t I cry in that room? I knew I would forget that line! I can’t believe I asked if I could start over and over and over the critic in your mind torments your driving record all the way home!
I don’t know about you, but these days, the mere thought of adding one more thing to my plate makes me feel like my head will explode. And yes, decluttering is great, as are quick things you can do to improve your life/health/career, but during the dog days of summer, sometimes the best thing you can do is the old switcheroo. Here are a few ways I’ve found to switch one thing for another that helped me; hopefully, one or two will spark an idea for you, too.
1. Leave five minutes early instead of five minutes late.
There is a huge trust factor that the commercial business is run on. If talent does not come through on their end of the trust factor, the casting process would end in failure. Here are ten factors of trust casting directors depend on from actors.
You Look Like Your Photo
If we (casting directors) do not have a reel of yours to look at, we only depend on your photo. A physical look in commercials is very important because the entire message is a “quick read”. It is devastating and maddening when you come in for your appointment and look different than your photo. Some ways you can look different are looking much younger or older, or your hair is a different style or color. Perhaps your photographer made you look prettier/more handsome or not as pretty/handsome as you really are. If you are a professional, you will want your photo to look like you, not different. Looking different than your photo has caused a casting director to give an appointment to someone who is not right for the part.
I’m going to tread on some slightly new review ground this month. It’s all for you, the theatre enthusiast, that I enter this experiment. I’ve wanted to review the Independent Shakespeare Co. Griffith Park FREE Shakespeare Festival since I’ve been attending, which is pretty much forever now. But, the dates have never been quite right to review one of their individual shows, so, instead I will highlight the festival as a whole. And if I get you there with picnic basket (or Trader Joe’s bag) in hand, it will be worth it.
For the past 3+ months, I’ve been enjoying my first time back among the ranks of the fully-employed in 25 years. And I’m not kidding when I say “enjoy”—far from finding the 9-to-5 (or in my case, 8-to-4) burdensome, I’ve found it quite freeing, and in ways I wasn’t really expecting.
Since many, if not most, actors need some kind of day job to survive, I thought it might be worth enumerating what I’m learning from my new gig, how it’s shaping the rest of my life (including my creative outlook—and output!), and other reasons why that thing you may be regarding as a set of shackles could be the very thing that frees you.
“Successes are a bonus, but life is made of the process of following your passion.”
October last year, I was sitting on my couch on a rainy Sunday night, throwing myself a pity party. The party involved me sitting in sweats, eating Postmates, and watching murder mysteries. I hadn’t left the house for the entire day. I was ignoring text messages and just generally feeling really sorry for myself. I had been to countless auditions that month and hadn’t booked a single job. I felt lost. To top it all off, and I had acute bronchitis. I mean oh my god, how long do you have?