Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

2012 has been a whirlwind of adventure. I left the safety of college and home behind as I moved across the country to a city I'd never been to. I have worked over five jobs this year. I've been cast in nine shows. I've made amazing new friends and family that I hope to have for a very long time. I've watched my close friends find success in their lives and have been there to celebrate with them. I've found my own successes and made new goals and I'm so excited to achieve them.

First on the list: I got the call today that I've been cast in my first webseries! What a way to start 2013! I've been wanting more film on my resume, and I had such a blast at the audition. I was given some strange sides to read, but the CD had me trying really fun things with them. They laughed, they whispered, and I had a good feeling but you just never know. I was very excited to get the call because this project will hopefully be including some fighting for me, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed on getting more techniques on the resume!

Next up I'll be taking new headshots with the talented Danielle Barnum. Last year I got new shots that got me quite a bit of work, but I've heard from many lately that I need an update. I'm looking forward to sending these out to some agencies.

Agency submissions are at the top of my list for 2013. Submitting is as important as receiving representation, because it's about getting my name and image out there in the ether of Seattle. I'd love to start booking work in the commercial/film industry out here, and this is the first step to doing so.

I have an audition coming up on Sunday for a local theatre company that's been producing some exciting new works. I can't wait to meet new people and work with new companies this year.

I've been so lucky this year to work with such a broad network of artists. I've made so many new friends, and looking back to this time last year I've not only grown as an artist but I've grown so much as a person. I'm more confident, more willing to take a risk, and more excited than ever to see what the future has in store. I'd like to thank everyone that helped make 2012 one of the most exhilarating journeys of my life so far. I even had the joy of visiting family this Thanksgiving and Christmas, which I missed out on last year. I'm more inspired now to continue on this crazy life of working to make ends meet financially just for the thrill of the chase in my art. Normally I'd say I dare 2013 to be better than the year before. But this year, I've learned I don't dare. I do. I'm going to do everything I can to help 2013 surprise me!

Happy New Year all!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Acting journal update

I've been doing a lot of new monologues recently for my Adler acting lessons, and for my own memory I need to write some things down.

A couple weeks ago we worked on the actions: To reveal, to declare, and to dream. In other words, exposing intimacy. Acting coach C reminded me that every action we choose to perform must further the conflict of the plot. There is always a forward motion. In so doing, I must be careful not to 'act the past'. I performed Kitty Duval from The Time of Your Life, which I hadn't read before. It's a very whimsical and yet truthful piece about life after the Great Depression, and how people survived. In this monologue Kitty recounts her past in a dreamlike state. I was given the note to not act the past, because in terms of 'dreaming', Kitty is dreaming her past like it's happening now. If I were to put my current opinion of past events into the monologue, it is no longer dreaming.

Acting coach C and I also talked a lot about how people go to the theatre to see conflict resolved. They want to watch people fight the battles and demons they don't necessarily allow themselves to confront. It's a good reminder that all theatre is action, and that without this action we are not telling a story.

This past week I learned about Big Ideas.  Big ideas are such things as: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, hypocrisy vs. integrity.  These are universal battles that everyone can relate to in some facet. Some scenes are not just about the people and situation they find them self in. They are about ideas, universal ideas that audiences everywhere can connect with. If we, as actors, never reach the big ideas in a scene and focus instead on the personal battle a character is going through (playing the emotion, as they say) then often an audience has not understood and we have not done our job. Big ideas, in my case this week, were used to remove emotion and stop me from making a scene too personal. The scene was no longer about how my character felt about her mother, but instead about how she felt about her values and the way they clashed with her mother's. I've definitely used similar tactics, but I'd never had it explained in quite this way. I found it very useful.

In other news, I bought my acting instructor's book: The Actor's Script, and I'm loving it so far. It's a good breakdown of the way to approach a script, with some Stella Adler thrown in.

The way of the world

After the terrible events in Connecticut on Friday December 14, 2012, I read this article by an actor about why we do theatre. It's really very inspiring, and I wanted to share it:

In it the author talks about how his acting instructor taught him that theatre is done to save people in times of tragedy. It helps them cope, breathe, and find a direction to move forward in. I was taught the same things by my acting instructors.

Some times it's easy to forget the larger reasons why I do theatre. Of course it's fun, a form of self expression, and an unbeatable outlet. But I also do it because of the impact it has on others. I do it to help, to teach, to serve a greater community in ways they can't serve themselves.

I was especially hard hit by this tragedy because not only are my parents teachers, but I'm one as well. The children I teach daily are the same ages as so many of the victims. I don't have many words to describe this experience, but I know that it will serve as a reminder to many that life is priceless and these are times of change.

It is the duty of theatre to help in times of change. I urge everyone to help in whatever way they can. Do a good deed, compliment someone, express yourself and help others. Share your love of something with someone else. Hug a child. Hug a teacher. Most importantly, open yourself to something new and do it for all of the children and teachers that will never have the chance.  Love.

Here is one artist that is helping in his way:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seattle Year One Recap, a little early

In the last month I've been reading more plays, performing more monologues and perfecting my audition technique, catching up on some good books and movies, and just generally taking a step back and getting my head on straight.

I've made some life changes, reevaluated some goals, and started my next phase. If you're interested in some of the articles that have been helping me out lately, here are some links:

The Wal-Marting of American Theatre

The Empty Spaces of American Theatre

I've become a TCG member, renewed my Theatre Puget Sound membership, looked into some big regional auditions and theatre companies, and chosen my next headshot photographer! I have some auditions on the horizon and honestly after the last month of my life I can't wait to get back to it. I even signed on for some winter classes at Freehold Theatre!

I'll be taking a break from so much teaching  to start working on myself again. I've decided that I'm not ready right now to be devoting so much of my time to others instead of my own goals, so after some hard choices I've finally put myself on the track to getting more of what I want. Whew.

Who knew so much could happen in one month? Not this girl.

Also, I've received the link to the website for the film I filmed last May. If you want to see some of the production photos with the talented cast and crew here it is:

They hope it will be completed by October 2013! I'll be helping to promote it coming up soon, and I can't wait to film another.

Here's a recap of the acting experiences I've had since moving to the city a year ago:

Dis and Dat with Underkulture Theatre, a two person absurdist piece that really stretched my physicality and imagination.

Murder Mystery plays with Murder Mystery Players. I've done two now, and will hopefully continue to work with this fun national company. There's always a quick and dirty rehearsal, a sold out crowd, and an exciting fight scene to be had.

Hoodies Up! with BrownBox Theatre, a company that prides itself on producing working by, for, and about African Americans in a city that doesn't tend to do work that allows them many roles. All the proceeds went to the Trayvon Martin foundation. Theatre for a cause is the best kind of theatre there is.

Techno Lust the movie. It started out as test shots in February, then again in April, and then I was cast for the full movie in May. Out of all my experiences this year, this was by far my most exciting. For 5 days I knew what it was like to really do what I want to do, and it only inspired me to continue to work towards the goal of having that as many times as I can.

The Taming of the Shrew with Greenstage. Outdoor theatre for 3 months with one of the best casts I've had the opportunity to work with. Greenstage reminded me why I do theatre and what it means to be a family with the people you work with. I couldn't have had a better summer.

Connecticut with the Seattle Fringe Festival. I had the opportunity to work side by side with a new playwright at the return of the Seattle Fringe Festival. It was so amazing to be a part of the history of Seattle in that way.

Dead Man's Cell Phone with Burien Little Theatre. I took a chance on hoping to get cast in this production, and I couldn't have been luckier to be a part of it and meet so many talented members of the theatre community.

This list is not including the countless auditions I went on weekly that allowed me to continue to perform again and again. It does not include the numerous callbacks I received only to have to move on to the next show. It doesn't include the shows I was cast in or offered that I had to say thank you, but no thank you to. And it doesn't include the films I began filming that were cancelled part way through. As a point of reference, it also doesn't include the shows I stage managed, helped to direct or teach, write, or worked on in any technical sense.

Overall my first year in Seattle offered me so many amazing opportunities. No, it hasn't been everything I expected. Sometimes budgets aren't large enough to accomplish all the hopes and dreams of a production team, sometimes schedules conflict and rehearsals aren't always timely and efficient, and sometimes you don't have time or know all the right people to do the things you want to do. But what Seattle has taught me this year is that I'm doing the right thing.

This city is so encouraging to its artists. There are so many people here waiting for the next show to come out, and so many people hoping you'll be the one they see in it. Directors can't wait to meet you, actors can't wait to work with you, and companies are stretching their creativity and ingenuity by producing new works that are bubbling over with relevant and stimulating themes that make you laugh and cry and stomp your feet with frustration.

I literally cannot wait for year two.