She’s back!

Well well! It’s been so long since I’ve written in this blog that I’m surprised I remember the password. I’ve always liked writing and blogging, but this blog fell by the wayside when I sort of lost the vision for it. I wanted it to be solely about the entertainment industry, but I guess I lost my way: I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in what I had to say.

I started this blog when I was in a unique position for an actor, a job that gave me some rare insights into life on the other side of the table in the casting room. I thought I’d write about my experiences there, maybe bundled with a little advice for young actors. That was another thing I wanted to cover: there are fantastic advice books and guides available to young actors, but I thought that there may be room for a perspective from someone who’s new in the industry and still trying to create a career. But between those two things lies a conflict: I had fantastic insight into the entertainment industry, and yet, I was still so new (and really, a year later, I still am) and young that, while I’ve done some good work, I certainly haven’t yet made a name for myself. I wondered if anyone could take me seriously, advising about an industry that I haven’t yet conquered.

But the thing is, I’m not sure I care about who takes me seriously and who doesn’t. A blog isn’t compulsory reading, and I trust that anyone who reads this regularly will be doing so because they want to! I ultimately came back to this blog because, hey–if something else like this were out there, I’d read it! Until then–I’ll write it!

I’m not sure that this blog will be quite as clearly defined as what I had originally planned, though. It’ll be observations and insights, triumphs and trials, and a whole lot of who knows what else. I hope you’ll join me for the ride!

 

 

 

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Things I Love Thursday: Stories!

Fantastic stories of good ideas gone wrong.

A fantastic story about childhood and cultural identification.  Far funnier than you would think!

A fantastic story about careers and loyalty. A must-read for actors!

Othello. What a great play  Cinderella. What a great fable  Cloud Atlas. Have I mentioned this book before? Well, if I have, then I’m unashamed to mention it again, because this book goes beyond a good story–rather, it’s six of them. And yet it’s one story. But it’s six. Wow. The best 30 Rock storyline this season! Love.

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Things I Love Thursday, (mostly) Theatre Edition

I love Richard III and I love the bridge project, so this is quite exciting!

Finally got to visit Brooklyn Charm after having walked by it on the way to the train for months–very nice! Nice shop, nice concept. When I wasn’t at theatre camp during summers as a child, I was usually in a jewelry-making class. Strange but true! I’m sure I’ll pay many visits to Brooklyn Charm.

Self-taped auditions. This is a controversial one, I know. They are a lot of work, and it puts the impetus on the actor to have a camera, lights, etc. But, as they’ve become more and more common, I find I’m getting more and more opportunities. And I can’t turn my nose up at something that gets me seen! So today, I love self-taping.

Such excellent news! I haven’t seen War Horse, but it looks amazing, and I love me some puppetry. Don’t judge. And now I’ve got a little longer in which to try and see it!

New shoes! I love them a lot Gossipy brunches Sundress weather New sundresses cool auditions callbacks seeing family Chinese food best friends Spring y cocktails Theatre tix

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New York Hip

Fantasy Fashion

This is how I’d dress if I had an unlimited budget for clothes!

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On Nerves

The other night, I had the worst stage fright of my life. It was sort of a new feeling for me: I don’t usually have much anxiety before I go on stage. Occasionally I feel jittery, but I still feel more excited than anything else. Like most people who perform live, I really rather enjoy the adrenaline rush. Usually.

Not so with the other night. I was fucking terrified. And here’s why: I was singing in a cabaret show, which I rarely do, and the day before, I had lost my voice. I woke up the day of the show marginally better, and since friends had already purchased tickets, I was determined to give it my all.

I pretty much spent the day of the show with my head in the shower, huffing as much steam as possible. I also gargled, nose-douched, repeatedly sucked down a mildly unpleasant mix of honey and lemon juice and, of course, avoided caffeine and other edibles that can dry out your voice. I warmed my voice up slowly and consistently, for five minutes at a time with hour-long breaks for vocal rest until I was getting some vocal strength back. I did everything and anything I could think of to clear and moisturize my vocal chords and improve my sound.

And. . . it worked! I went. I sang. I wasn’t 100%–I didn’t have my normal full range of belt, and I didn’t flip between my head and chest registers as easily as usual–but I was a pretty solid 85%, and having been so sick directly prior to the show, I’m pretty pleased.  None of my friends could tell I was fighting phlegm and sinus pain, and even a few strangers complimented my performance. While I certainly feel that a few aspects of my performance would have been better had I been healthier, I think I worked well within the limits of my situation, and in the end, I put on a good show.

Whew.

And it got me thinking: if that degree of preparation and focus got me on stage when I was sick as a dog, what would that same prep work do for me when I’m healthy? I’ve always thought of myself as a well-prepared performer, but before this particular show sheer terr0r motivated me to go above and beyond my normal prep practices. It sure as hell paid off. Now, I don’t think I need nerves to lay the groundwork for a great show, but it was awfully good for me the once: it forced me to reexamine my typical habits and try something new and ultimately better. I won’t go into what my old preparations entailed here, but I will confess: vocal hygiene wasn’t a big part of it. Last night made me realize that while it’s great to make a habit of practices that serve you as a performer, it’s also necessary to examine your habits every so often to make sure that they’re still useful, and that good old habits don’t cause you to neglect a potentially better new one.

And that’s what I learned from stage fright.

And now that it’s a lesson learned, I seriously hope that I’m never so terrified again’!

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Things I Love Thursday – Pretty Things!

A neato (albeit older) travel article from Chris Guillebeau. I really enjoyed his book, The Art of Nonconformity: full of wise points and excellent travel stories.

For what it’s worth, I loved Clybourne Park.

Via The Communicatrix, this photo project is so cool!

I want this lipstick. Such a pretty pinky nude!

While I’m on the subject of beauty products I want, Lust by Gorilla Perfume makes me swoon. I’m really interested in trying Vanillary, too. That said, nothing will ever replace Kiehl’s vegan musk oil for me.

Last one in the ‘pretty’ category: Essie’s ‘Lapis of Luxury’ is my new favorite. Worn it for a week so far. I normally don’t do bright nail polish, but it miraculously matches all my clothes! In fact, I love it so much it deserves a picture:

Moving on! If you need a dose of cute. . .

And things I love off the internet?

Working with kids. Quote of the week: ‘They had legos way back when you were little?’ Rediscovering old clothes. Love it when old is new again!  A long, lovely, languid shopping day with some dear friends Waking up early enough to do yoga Sleeping in late Chai. Still. Espresso. Black. Having the time to cook for myself Having the money to go out to eat Craft projects Spring!

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On Actors and Advice

Before I start commenting on the difficulties of a career in the entertainment industry, let me just say: I love being an actor. I love auditions, I love leaving for a job on a moment’s notice, I love working long days, I love being in front of the camera, I love being on stage, I love getting paid to explore a character. I do honestly think that there’s no better job on the planet. It’s almost become a mantra amongst actors: ‘This business sucks.’ But I don’t believe it for one hot second. This business is awesome.

But it’s hard. The hours are long, rejection is inevitable, the pay starts pretty low (and all too often stays there), the business side is hard to navigate, and getting your foot in the door can feel next to impossible. So, knowing that it’s hard, I’m going to use this blog to occasionally throw out my $.02 on how to make it a bit easier.

Contrarily, my first piece of advice is to take all advice with a grain of salt, and mine is no exception. My perspective is informed by my own experience in this crazy business, which includes a stint working at a New York City talent agency, and the input of a few friends in casting, too. My experience on the other side of the table was incredibly enlightening, but one thing it taught me is that this is nothing if not a subjective industry. Agents like and look for different things. Casting directors do the same. Two people can watch the same performance, and come away with polar opposite opinions. By that same token, some industry professionals will find it gutsy and bold when you reach out to them, and others will find it an annoying imposition in their workday. My advice can, at best, inform your choices, and hopefully give you some insight into what happens behind the table.

That said, if my advice subjective and not failsafe, neither is it bad. In fact, what made me want to provide business advice for actors is that there is a lot of bad advice out there. For example: you can Google just about any casting director’s address now. What Google doesn’t tell you, though, is that many casting directors work from home–if they haven’t published an address in Henderson’s or The Call Sheet, they probably don’t want you to track theirs down and mail your head shot to their home. Another example, one that I hope is self-explanatory: unless you want to be the sort of actor that primarily works naked, when you mail your photo to talent agencies, please make sure to send a photo in which you’re clothed. Intuitive advice, you say? I hope so. But unfortunately, I know from experience that it’s not intuitive to everyone.

So, if my perspective interests you, stay posted for more to come. Remember that my take on this industry is subjective, and as with all advice, it falls on the listener (or reader, as it may be) to use his or her discretion. But hey–if I can discourage one person from sending nudie pic to a talent agency, I’ll consider it a job well done.

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