You Don't Remember Me Do You?

Bloggers Note: May I just say, first off, I do apologize if I have bored you at all with my latest "acting" blog posts. I shall call it, my "Acting Period", you know, like Picasso's Blue Period. I've been boring myself to be honest. So unless, something insanely funny or interesting happens at an audition or on the set, I'm going to write about silly, frivolous matter that I think you will all enjoy. Thank you.

My last fortune cookie...I don't know either.
On Friday night, I had the pleasure of going to see Harvard Sailing Team (http://www.harvardsailingteam.com/), an extremely talented sketch comedy group, perform at the PIT (Peoples Improv Theater...http://www.thepit-nyc.com/). While watching them, I had one of those moments, which I get from time to time, where, as if being slapped in the face by John Cleese, I realize that this is the type of work I want to be doing. Very Oprah, 'ah ha' moment. So after the show I was feeling a variety of emotions, the most prominent being that I could have cried because I wanted this so bad. Hold here for a minute.
On a side note, I've really be trying to make more friends in the improv/comedy community; Really get to know them, learn from them, find out how they've gotten to where they are now, and hopefully have some of their wit rub off on me.
Okay, and we're back. So, I'm in this emotional state and I know about a hand full of people at the PIT (Aside from the improv celebs that I know, but they don't know me. That's always a bit awkward because I can think we're friends, and I actually have to stop and remind myself that we're not and that they are NOT following me back on Twitter.), and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but SOMEONE I KNOW, and eight tiny reindeer. Okay, no reindeer, but I was thinkin' ooh, I'm feeling all cool knowing somebody, gonna say hi, etc. etc. So I go up to him and say, "Hey, Bob! How are you?!" Bob proceeds to give me a blank stare...actually there was some fear in his eyes. Like if I had threatened him with a knife. I don't even know if he said anything. So I said, "You don't remember me do you?" And I went on to tell him how we met. But obviously I felt like an idiot, and a lot like Ann, George Michael's girlfriend in Arrested Development. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, this will give you a snippet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spfGSbZTDbM) Then fast forward to Sunday night. I go back to the PIT for my internship, and walk in and the guy at the bar is all like, "Can I help you?" and I'm all like, "I intern here." Just call me Ann. But truthfully, think about how many times you might ask somebody their name and then just blackout. And you walk away from the conversation having no clue what the person's name is, or maybe even what they look like. Its sick, really.
Continuing the story, maybe 10 minutes pass. I'm spastically trying to carry some chairs down these breakneck stairs and this lovely girl asks me if I need some help. And get this, she says to me, "Oh, we've met before. I'm Michelle!" I did not get to the bottom of the flight when another guy says, "Hey Laura! How's it going?" Let me tell you...I have zero recollection of meeting these people. I thought this whole situation was hilarious, nevertheless I felt like a total jerk that I had pulled a blackout on these folks. But I found out the guy's name and apologized for my rudeness. Later that night, with everyone I met, I repeated their names to myself and concentrated hard as to not fall into the abyss.

The moral of the story is: Don't take it personally when people forget who you are, because you'll forget people too. But try not to.


It Was a Snowy Day Today. A Poem.

I awoke to a plush duvet of snow outside my window, and I was bewildered
That I had not realized the severity of this approaching blizzard. You see, I had not
Watched the news in a couple of days, nor had I peeked 
At weather.com for their up-to-the-minute weather forecast.
Slowly, I coerced myself out of my slumber to set about seizing the day.
Alas! In no time at all I had locked myself out of my apartment as I mindlessly
Slunk out the door. "NO! My keys! Oh, my keys!" I had left them inside, and still it was
Not even yet seven. But with fate on my side a magical fairy re-
Opened the gate, and with a fistful of metal, I now continued on my 
Way. As I pushed at the entry I could hardly get through, for
You would hardly believe how much snow blocked my passage. I gathered my strength and I
Dug in my heels and pried my way out to the open-air. The fluff was up to my knees 
And I took great big steps like an ostrich might, sinking in quicksand. I 
Yearned to be elf-like, so I could flit atop the snow, but I suppose I would be forced
To start dieting. I walked on the road, dodging cars as they came, exchanging glances to
Others passing by. Some manage the trudge well, while others fall
Down on their faces, but not without determination to get to their
Aspired destinations. I had conquered a feat when I arrived at the train and I
Yelled a "halloo!" that perhaps I would see Sam Mendes this day.


The Wise Words of Helen Keller.

This makes me think of Helen Keller. She's hardcore.
"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse."        -Helen Keller
My long time, dear friend has a 'Helen Keller Quotes' app on her iPhone (Yes.) and yesterday I was in desperate need of some wise words. She quickly sent me this quote and it couldn't have been more appropriate. Miss Keller was a wise woman and it always humbles me to think of what she overcame in her lifetime. Let us reflect on one of her shining moments in history.

She was a born fighter.
Oh Helen. What a trooper.
Well, that's enough of those shenanigans. I'm going to get serious again for a bit. You were warned.

I didn't really feel like writing much last week. Being an actor can be tough. I was feeling discouraged and angry, and silly for wanting to pursue such an insane career path. At times I can get self-conscious about my life and how I'm not where I would like to be in the entertainment world right now. But then there's always perspective...with which my patient friends enlighten me, and remind me that I haven't been doing this all that long and the fact that I haven't gotten a gig yet doesn't mean anything about me as a person or my talent. It doesn't always feel like this is the case, but its true. And as Helen Keller astutely says, the victory is going to be all the more sweet after pushing through the trials.

On Wednesday night I went to a really interesting and helpful career class called, "Clearing a Path to Your Career" put on by Capes Coaching (http://www.capesco.com/). Betsy Capes described the four traps an actor can fall into while building an acting career and the solutions to combat them. She went on to discuss the importance of setting goals and how they need to be SMARTE! (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Sensitive, and EXCITING!!) The "E" is their own personal touch and I think its much needed. If we aren't excited about our goals, we're definitely not going to work towards making them happen! It was also good to be in a room of other artists (actors, dancers, writers, directors, etc.) who were just as confused and overwhelmed as I am! Ha...misery loves company. Sometimes it seems as though everyone in the industry has it all together,but that is just NOT so. Phew! So this was an encouraging evening and I felt more focused afterward. Oh and I have a new friend to keep me accountable for the exciting goal that I set in the class. (deadpan) I can hardly contain myself. (beat) I might need to revamp it.
Well, a new week has begun, with a sunny attitude and another audition! A holocaust play! I had a good time in the waiting room today. Met up with some old friends, and made some new friends. There are so many interesting people at these auditions! I was happy with how my monologue went, though I was given a "thank you very much" instead of, "take a look at the sides and come back in." I believe that means I'm cut. OR I was so fabulous that they knew at once they needed desperately to have me in their production. Well, I found out later that the roles I was auditioning for were supposed to be 13 year old girls...so maybe that was it. It could have been a plethora of things, but I left feeling pretty good anyhow. There was a feeling of growth...I'm getting better! Uh oh world.
The rest of the week I plan on working a great deal on my monologues, overhauling my resume and maybe start thinking about mailing out to some agents. Also to really consider what kind of work I want to be doing, and making some plans for the coming months. And set some SMARTE goals and stick to them!

Stay warm everyone!

Note: At this time you may find it useful to review my earlier post titled, "Tips for Surviving a Canadian Winter."


Windows Phone spot - "Commit"

I saw this commercial while I was watching the Golden Globes and I thought it was pretty cool. To the Golden Globe winners of tomorrow! Come on!

Laura Eavesdrops at EPAs

Things I've learned since I wrote last:
GOOD IDEA: Win a Golden Globe.
BAD IDEA: Watch The Green Hornet.

Not too much to report since last post. Jealous to hear that my friend in Miami was walking around in shorts and flip flops while I was slipping around in sleet.
But on an acting note, I feel like I'm getting into a rhythm audition-wise.
1. Look for auditions everyday.
2. If there's an audition, go to it.
3. Rehearse monologues (should be everyday).
4. Read helpful books. (Right now I'm reading Audition by Michael Shurtleff)
And really, that sums it up. It is getting easier in a way, more of a habit, and sometimes I actually look forward to an audition. Sometimes not. It also helps a ton to either go with a friend, or to run into someone you know there by chance. It alleviates the wait and puts you at ease. I went to two EPAs on Monday and Tuesday and though non-equity was sent home on both occasions, they were still good experiences. It is so valuable to be in the presence of other actors and to eavesdrop on their conversations...and to chime in from time to time. Honestly, I hear about other auditions going on that week, about steps they took to get where they are, and helpful tips to move forward. 
I also finally got a response to an a submission for a play I emailed in. Even that is a...YES!!! First step: Casting person emailing you back. Check. The play is part of a winter play festival and I had my audition last night. Its nice to actually have an appointment where I am guaranteed to be seen! I did a contemporary monologue and then read from two sets of sides. It was my first time out with that monologue so it was still a bit rusty, but it was okay, and I think the sides went well. Overall I am happy with how it went and I feel as though I did what I could. So, success! I'm not going to hold my breath, but they said they would let us know by the weekend. Onwards and upwards!

Another thing I need to get back to is the CRAFT of acting. It is so easy to get caught up in the business of it and forget that its an art. We bring characters to life who have emotions, relationships and depth. Anyone can read a play at home, but people come to the theater to really feel the play. Experience it. As actors, we need to tell their story.


Does No One in Your Social Circle Have a Job?

An Excerpt from "THE FOOD CHAIN" A play by Nicky Silver 
(who I recently discovered is a man and not a woman. So much for girl power.):
Bea: Does no one in your social circle have a job?
Amanda: We have jobs!! We write!! We're artists! We make art. That's our job. People think if you don't make a shoe, or, a desk or something tangible that you're not worth anything. We make something for the soul, something, for the spirit. Is that not tangible enough for you? Your attitude is just symbolic of everything that's wrong with people today.
Bea: I asked a question.
Amanda: A question heavy with the Sisyphean burden of judgement.
Bea: Excuse me.
Amanda: Where was I?
Bea: In bed. 
A piece of my splatter paint cut and paste art. 
Its really cold in New York now. I got cocky. "My jacket is so warm that I keep waiting for it to get cold," I would say. To myself. In my inner monologue. There's really only a month or two on either end of the year that are comfortable in the city. (May, June, September, October) Even in winter, I go from freezing cold to sweating in my giant North Face jacket as I sit on the steamy subway. I'm happy to be inside at a comfortable temperature right now. This all really has nothing to do with anything, I just thought I would share. Its winter. Winter is actually really short here though and soon enough the crocuses will be blooming and the tourists flocking.

I had an audition for a classical theatre company on Wednesday. They perform outside in parks, so the monitor was telling us that we needed to be LOUD, as if we were performing for 2000 people. So mostly all I thought about while I was monologuing was, "BE LOUDER!" "SUPPORT YOUR VOICE!" and things like this. I feel as though I was able to be more grounded and able to use my voice better than the last audition. I just need to be able to do that without consciously thinking about it. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice practice practice!!
Thursday there was another audition, but they sent us Non-Equity folks home. This happens. But I was proud that I dragged myself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and went even when I didn't feel like it. That too is an accomplishment.
Friday, nada. So I can finally do my laundry.

Its been a good week. Exhausting though. This lifestyle is certainly one that needs to be broken-in. Looking forward to hopefully a tad of relaxation this weekend, but also some much needed monologue practice to prepare for next week!

Happy Weekend!


Breaking the Ice


"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
Samuel Beckett
Part 1:

Day #1 back auditioning after a brief hiatus. A warm-up, if you will. 
Its for a Broadway show, to play a 16 year old girl...from Wiltshire, England. I didn't really come across the note that, "using a regional accent would be an advantage," until last night at about 12 midnight. And to clarify, "would be an advantage" means, do it. "That's okay," I thought to myself, "I'll just wing it." Because you know that we all try to sound like Harry Potter from time to time.
So I get there and wait in line for a while until I can sign my name up on the list. By the time I'm able to make my first of 12 bathroom trips that morning, I'm so flustered that I hit my head on the toilet paper dispenser (which is in front on the toilet). I half hope that I'm bleeding everywhere so then I'd ge- have to leave. But no. And they also announce that they will indeed have time to see Non-Equity performers today. Oh goodie. Time to put that English accent to use. Wingardium Leviosa! I might add, that some actresses beside me discuss their extensive research on the Wiltshire English dialect. Perfect.
Finally time to line up to go into the audition room. This audition used 'sides' (a dialogue from the script) so I would be reading with another person. Out in the hall I go over my lines and try to boost my confidence with positive thoughts. Time to go in the room...
Nice people, the casting person and the reader. We start the scene, and my first thoughts as this guy is speaking to me is, "Wow! His accent is good!" And I don't even know what a Wiltshire dialect should sound like. Maybe he was from England. I don't know, but it threw me off a bit. It was too good. I made it through the scene without doing anything terribly idiotic, but shaking like a leaf. That's the worst. And walked out consciously trying to hold my chin up.
People have said to me, every time an audition goes terribly, that its one step closer to being great. So, phew! One down. I'm just glad its over.

Part 2:
The evening holds another audition. Hamlet. Well a sort of adaptation of Hamlet, I later discover. Ophelia beckons so I trek out to Brooklyn with my friend, lets call her, Nell. Thank goodness she was there. This was an experience that needed to be shared.
It was surreal to say the least...as though I was in my show, "Laura in the City," with the viewers laughing with me. It was far too bizarre to be real life. (Hence the notion behind "Laura in the City.") The director kind of looked like Bob Ross (pictured left), but with a modern flair. Like if Bob Ross had spent some time with Jenny on the block. After some prep time, we perform our monologues in a kids classroom while Bob sits in a miniature chair eating hummus. I didn't do that great anyway, not that I was nervous at all. My biggest concern was, "Oh shoot. What will I say if he calls with an offer?!" Ha. Never know. He still might. That will be another tale...

I have a feeling there will be a few weeks of "warming up".


A New Year!

I think this is my first blog of 2011! A new year. A fresh start. Its great, but can be overwhelming also. I think I started the year with a tad of excitement, and then my anxiety kicked in and I started freaking out about the expectation of a new year. Time to make things happen!
Haha...and this was meant to be a blog focused on acting, but that seemed to fizzle out pretty quickly, to be replaced by pie making and roller skating. I came upon this woman's blog which is also acting focused (http://www.actressconfessions.com/), but the difference was that it is actually focused on acting. Her motto is to take a step each day toward her goals as an actress. I think thats great!
Well, this year I'm getting over my need to be perfect and being afraid to mess up and going forward one step at a time. Although I'm sure I'll still write about a variety of things, I hope to have a great deal more acting updates to share with you. 

So this week I've set goals and deadlines for myself. Today I need to have my contemporary monologues chosen. I have my dramatic, but still in search for a comedic. Its hard to find really funny writing!! But considering I've been looking for a great comedic monologue for about a year...its time to let go of perfection and just settle for something. This is not life or death. I had a voice and speech teacher who would say, "No one's going to die. This is only theater!" Takes the pressure off. It will be a good challenge as an actor to make any piece interesting and fresh! (See how positive I am!!!!) Yes, so I'm off to the performance library at Lincoln Center today to flip through some plays and see what I can find. Deadline 2: Monologues memorized by Wednesday. I've also sent out emails in response to a ton of postings today also. Its been a productive morning! Lots of auditions to prepare for this week too. I haven't uttered a phrase of Shakespeare in at least a month, so I have some rehearsing to do! (rhyme)
I am also back at the PIT (People's Improv Theater), interning and will be on to my Level 2 class soon. Yes, I know...back at improv. So we'll see how painfully fun that will be. : )

That's the update as of now. Maybe this is a bit boring, but I think its a time of gearing up for great things to come. Just one foot in front of the other.

Happy New Year!