Friday, April 11, 2014

Fundraising, teaching, acting, and how to be a woman

I've done quite a few things in the last few weeks. One of the most important is I got a job! I'm no longer unemployed after my last acting contract. I had a big push from my agent and friends to go on unemployment. I learned a little about taking unemployment as an actor through my Nuts and Bolts class in college. While I recognize it can be a necessary if an actor is wanting to survive mostly on acting, and could quite possibly find a new acting job soon that will put them under a paying contract, it just didn't seem right to me in my situation.

When I think of unemployment, I think of the people who need it. I didn't need it. I'm fully capable of finding myself another job (which I have now) and I certainly don't need anymore time to sit on my couch to collect a paycheck. I'm very happy being up on my feet again!

I attended a TPS meet'n'greet the last week of March to discuss how the generals went, and how the organization Theatre Puget Sound can aide us as actors. It wasn't a very informative meeting for me because they spent a lot of time telling us about the organization, which most every actor in this region already knows plenty about. TPS gives the Seattle theatre community rehearsal spaces, audition spaces, an organized team to set up appointments, an annual general audition, and a website to find and post audition notices, open forums, and personal theatre artist pages with credentials. It's a beautiful thing.  In the small time I stayed for the meeting though, we did discuss the market here and the advantages and disadvantages of having so much theatre in a small place, and we discussed the general consensus between paid and unpaid theatre work. The opinion wasn't decided when I left, but I hope to bring it up again in another forum.

Here is the auditor survey from this year's TPS general audition. There's a lot of great advice from those watching the auditions about what pieces to pick or not pick, how to walk into a room, and how to be prepared overall. Personally, it sounds like they were underwhelmed and it makes me a little frustrated with the theatre community here. If people aren't trained to audition well in school, then there has to be more audition prep availability in the city (as there would be in larger markets with theatre studios and private classes) to help improve an auditioner's audition. Personally, I've taken private classes and studio classes here. But there aren't many to take and I think it shows here that it's hurting the actors in the end. Many actors I know just don't think they need to be ongoing students of the art, and I think that attitude is another factor in poor auditions. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Theatre22's Party went off without a hitch! We had a wonderful time sharing our first fundraiser with our stellar donors, company members, and other interested folk. I ran my first professional silent auction, and I know so much about what not to do next time. Not that it didn't go really well--it did! But I now know a more flawless design and layout, as well as what questions need to be asked in advance. It's always about asking the right questions. I also feel great having some fundraising experience under my belt. I had know idea that it would be something I enjoyed so much. I really loved being the point person, obtaining all the information, and getting to do things exactly how I wanted them. Control freak? Me? It was also wonderful to be publicly announced as a staff member and artistic associate, and I can't wait for what's coming up next for this fantastic company. We're getting a space this next year, and the new season will be coming out soon!

In other news, I attended a teaching artist forum last night at Freehold Theatre (a local theatre that holds studio classes for further education). It was stunningly uninformative for a teaching artist, but I'm sure was very informative for those who are not yet teaching artists. I wish they would have polled their audience to ask how many of each kind they had, because in the end I didn't learn much. What I did learn was that there are many valuable and passionate teaching artists in this city that truly believe in the work they do. This work is not just about performing plays, but about instilling literacy, confidence, an understanding of vulnerability, and the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. I learned a lot about what should be part of a teaching artist's curriculum.

I've bought tickets to see a new show tonight about women in our society. How are women viewed? Why is beauty so intermingled with what it means to be a woman? How can we ensure that the women of the future are valued for more than an ideal of what a woman should be?

If you are so inclined, and have the time, I've linked three incredibly insightful articles about these subjects. The last is about the project I'm seeing tonight, and I listed it last because, while the subject matter is pertinent to this discussion, the article itself is not incredibly in depth and speaks more towards the show itself. Give yourself a break and take a look at these pieces by women about body image and how to move forward in this ridiculous society we've built. You'll have to copy and paste the link because blogger doesn't like to link things itself.