Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unified General Auditions

Today was the big day.

I didn't over rehearse or stress out or stay up all night the night before not being able to sleep. I was really excited to wake up today, and I got ready, arrived on time, met some nice people, and then did my thing.

It was a fun audition and it was nice to be in front of so many theatre companies at once instead of auditioning for them individually. Since they're all local companies instead of touring/universities/outside regional theatres they can have callbacks as soon as this week--or as late as 5 or 6 months from now when they're searching for people that fit a certain profile.

I picked the 'loud' warm up room, which was for people that wanted to rehearse before going on instead of sitting in silence. It was kind of cool to hear other people's auditions. I haven't had the opportunity to hear many auditions outside of Missouri. I have to say, it was exciting. Everyone was very good.

Kaitie and I talked recently about how perhaps, especially in a market like this, the directors don't care about the monologue that you're performing. They don't necessarily care to hear the words. They're much more interested to see the emotions you play, how you play them, and do you look like someone that fits into their season. There's really no use stressing over what pieces you're doing, because the chances are they don't care.

I got up on the stage and performed my two pieces in that moment. I got some good laughs, and felt a good energy during my more dramatic piece.

Honestly, I don't remember much of it. As it should be, I say. Now I sit around and wait to see if anyone is interested in my resume or my look or my ability.

Of course, I'm awful at sitting around and waiting. So I'm not. I'm moving onward and upward. I have some summer auditions lined up if I can find the time to do them. I don't want to wait and hope for something to happen.

I want to feel like I'm actively pursuing what I love, and I never want to let my day job or the time between auditions get the best of me. I've done a lot of reevaluating this past week, and I have some big plans that don't include me sitting around to wait for an opportunity to come my way!

I saw Oklahoma last night at The 5th Avenue and it was just fabulous. I loved every second of it. I'd never seen it before, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity. The set changes were on par with Broadway, and I had no idea that the theatre even had that capability. The acting and the singing and the dancing were amazing, and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face after the show was finished. Of course, there was a standing O.


Things I learned in my last acting class:

In a scene your objective is incredibly important, but what you need to work for most in a scene is to overcome your obstacle. By doing this you will be actively reaching for your objective and using your actions.

We read a scene from Cyrano, and Katie and I struggled a little to find the right words we wanted to use for our obstacles. However difficult it may be, it's an incredibly useful tool.

I've been using it on all my subsequent work so far and it's been very helpful.

I had an audition on Sunday that went really well. I did not receive a callback, but the audition itself was a lot of fun, and a great opportunity for me to apply what I've been learning in my classes. I also applied this past lesson in my audition today, though I'm not sure it was to great effect.

But if there's one thing I've learned in the last three years it's that there are only so many things in your control. Your preparation, your presentation, and how you let that affect you. The outcome of an audition is never in your control. I had a great time today and I'll have to see what comes of it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Last Friday's acting class was a lot of fun. Katie and I each performed different halves of Stage Manager's opening monologue from Our Town. I took the second half.

It was an exercise in creating personal relationships with the people mentioned in the monologue. Acting Coach said I did very well having an opinion on everyone I spoke about, but that I needed to spend more time 'seeing' some of the scenarios I touched on--such as the death of Doc Gibbs and his wife.

Our next exercise with these monologues is to prepare them as a one on one conversation. Instead of speaking to an audience, we're to speak as we do to each other. In other words, just be natural.

This past week was a crazy blur.

My Comedy Class is chugging along and we did some great brainstorming for our scenes we're writing. I had the kids sketch out their ideas and then we put some into motion so they could better understand the things we're truly capable of accomplishing with our limited means and time. They have some amazing nuggets of hilarity and wisdom inside those tiny bodies.

I've been moved into lead rotations at the preschool now which means--wait for it--I'm teaching theatre classes to 2-5 year olds weekly now as well. This past week we practiced embodying recognizable emotions.

I had my pre-screen audition for TPS this past weekend.

Notes I received:
1. My ring can be distracting, and I shouldn't run the risk of doing anything that will take the auditors' attentions away from my audition.
2. I should change my resume to show that I am a local.
3. Add my singing and dancing credentials to my resume even if it's not something I have a large interest in.
4. The auditors want to hear the character I'm playing and the name of the piece. They have no interest in hearing the author.
5. Think about putting locations for some of the theatres I've worked with.

All in all, I had a lovely audition and the auditors passed me straight through. It was nice to hear feedback before heading into the big room, and they were interested in helping me put my best foot forwards. I didn't necessarily agree with all of their comments, but I definitely know now more of the west coast sentimentality and can plan accordingly.

It was also really fun!

I finished up my rehearsals for the murder mystery and we performed it last night for a sold out audience in a casino barely 50 miles from the border of Canada. I played the mousy(but actually sexy) secretary to the diva author of a trashy romance series. The man I'm supposed to marry is murdered. Last night, the murderer turned out to be my not so secret admirer/ book tour photographer.

These are two of the union actors I was able to work with. They're absolutely fantastic, and it was really interesting to pick their brains about the union vs. non-union market here. Also promising that they can continue to do the work they love here while being union actors. Score!

I had so much fun it was ridiculous. The play was great, and the audience interaction was so different from how I expected. We had to go around to the tables in character and be interrogated by the audience after the play so they could vote on who 'did it'. They asked outrageous questions, and most of them were very serious about choosing the right murderer. It was great to have an audience that was so invested in the outcome, and it felt fantastic to make a difference in a way I normally don't get to with my 'art'.

I can't wait to get back into doing meaningful and thought provoking pieces, but doing this murder mystery taught me a lot about the kind of work that audiences love, will pay to see, and a lot about how to give back to that specific community that is so willing to support theatre artists. Also, it reminded me of why I love theatre. Because it's SO FUN. My cast embraced me right from the beginning and they put so much trust into me. I met some amazing people who I sincerely hope to work with again. I had such a grand adventure last night, and I hope it's the first of many.

After the show, part of our contract allowed the actors to order anything they wanted from the restaurant menu. So I ordered a $40 meal of Grilled Wild Salmon in a honey dill sauce with fresh baked Alaskan Crab over seared asparagus, served with too many tasty side dishes, and a huge piece of red velvet cake for desert. Also, I got to take home some of the leftover audience gifts that didn't get used. Hello bubble bath!

Life just doesn't get any better than that.

I have an audition lined up for Sunday, and my TPS General Audition is scheduled for Wednesday. All in all, I'm trucking along on the 'career' front, though I'm hesitant to refer to it as such until I can quit my day job. Luckily for me, I happen to like my day jobs.

Other shenanigans I got up to this past week: My roommate's 22nd birthday bash!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Acting class

Last acting class:

Katie and I ran our scene keeping more distance between us and it was much improved. Then Acting Coach had us create our environment.

We placed where the kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and stairs were. He had us talk about what was outside the windows, what kind of curtains they had, where were are family pictures and what order were they in?

These are all things I learned to do in my acting one class in college. Do I often use this exercise as specifically as I should? Not normally. Did I learn my lesson on Friday in class? Yes. I've become complacent in regards to a lot of my teachings, and that doesn't serve me or my career well. From now on, I'm going to make sure I'm doing everything to the best of my ability. It was an especially nice wake up call since my pre-screening audition for the general auditions is this next Sunday.

We practiced our scene as if we were sitting in an airplane instead of standing in a dining room, which was also helpful because it made us change our tactics and become more aware of our surroundings.

Acting Coach said something worth remembering:
2 things make us move-- 1. The nature of our action. 2. Where we are.

He's right, of course.

Now we're moving onto working on a monologue that is going to help us be more aware of our surroundings.  I'm excited to have a new script in my hand!

My rehearsals for the murder mystery I've been cast in have been going well. We've had 2 so far, and we've blocked Act 1, so they're moving along nicely. It's a fun cast, silly play, and a good job. I'm excited for the opportunity!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How I Live Now

My film shoot last Sunday was a blast.

The film itself will be an animated (VFX) sci-fi romance. It takes place in a futuristic world where women build battle bots to fight space wars. One girl starts to lust after a certain robot and a chase ensues.

What I did on Sunday was a test shoot. This means I spent the day hanging out with a green screen doing most of the fast paced action shots so that the directors and producers could get down the right camera angles, speeds, frames, and marks for the real movie. This way, when they go into production they won't have to take up time figuring all of this out, and can instead get right down to filming.

We filmed my first scene in an underground parking garage at the Microsoft building. We figured out the best way for a 'robot' to chase me, I was giving some marks along 35 yards of the parking garage and then told I had to run it in under 15 seconds. I ran it in 7. I was surprised I could still run that fast since running isn't a huge part of my exercise regimen. We ended up doing this take for a little over an hour. It was a lot of sprinting, but that was great because it was so cold down there and I was the only person on set who could stay warm!

The second shot was a chase scene. They loaded a camera into the back of a truck, and rigged it up. This time I was sprinting a good 60 yards, and was told to race the truck as fast as I could. The first take I ended up beating the truck, and the director fell out of the back. Needless to say, this was a difficult shot to do, because the driver had to try and keep their pace even with me, but I had to try to go faster than the truck.. There were some shots we blew because I started too much in frame, or couldn't make it into frame where they wanted. I ended up sprinting this take about 10 times. By that time, I was finally getting tired.

We wrapped the running scenes, and I got to take a break by driving to the next location. We ended up in our producer's basement with another huge greenscreen. The coolest thing about the day was that every time I tried to help carry something or move something, I would get told, "Stop that! You're the talent. Talent gets to sit and prepare for the scene." I suppose that would have made more sense to me if I had had anything to prepare--like lines. None the less, it was fun to sit and watch the magic happen, and I was lucky to not have to wait for long periods of time. Plus, I got free food all day--yum.

The next scene I finally got to pantomime actions. They put colored dots all over the greenscreen to help them create the robot later, and to give me markers to look at. I did some over the shoulder (OTS) shots, and some wider frame shots. I spent this portion of the day up on a ladder, which will later be turned into some metal rigging of some sort. The robot is supposed to be 11 feet tall. I played with some tech devices in the scene, and then we spent a good portion of the afternoon with me jumping off a ladder onto a mark. I got to try a bunch of different ways to land, and learned a lot about walking out of frame all the way. My last shot was just me walking towards the green screen to effectively go off into the distance.

It was a lot of fun to spend the day using my imagination. I was able to give the greenscreen many different properties and forms in my mind, and got in a wonderful workout for the day.

The best parts? I got paid, and I got an offer to audition for the role! All in all, it was definitely a success. The crew were very nice people who were all really passionate about their work. I'm so lucky to have had the good experiences I've been given here.

Two nights ago, I got an impromptu call from a director I had applied to audition for. Apparently, I fit the bill and they were desperate. I went to rehearsal that night, signed a contract, received a script, threw in a crazy accent, and now will be performing in a murder mystery for Valentine's Day! It's my first paid theatre gig, and it's working with some very talented and experienced people. I'm excited to the max. I'll get to interact with audiences and improv situations. I love that I'm being given the opportunity to do so many different forms of theatre. Dinner/Mystery theatre is one I was never particularly interested in, but now that I've been given the chance, I'm so stoked to be able to try so many different things!

It's a full length script, and a quick turn around. Luckily for me I'm experienced in this art, and know that I'll be able to do it just fine.

Today, I'll be picking up my headshots! I can't wait to see them.