Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Film "Learnings" from an Amateur

Yes, I’m aware that “learnings” is not even a word.  But if teachings can be, then why not learnings? 

Anyway…even though I’ve done quite a few commercials and industrials, you won’t find many film credits on my resume yet.  I’m working on that and actually just wrapped on my first real production of any note just two weeks ago. 
Needless to say, although I’m going to say it, film is a completely different animal.  Being on other sets prepares you a bit but there were quite a few surprises in store for me on my first real film shoot. 

Here are a few of the “learnings” that I picked up:
You will get no rehearsal and even if you do, it’s for the camera people and director, not necessarily for your performance.  -  If you want a rehearsal beforehand, don’t be afraid to ask your cast mates.  Most of them will be happy to run through it with you. 

Your scenes may or may not be shot with a real live human. – In several scenes, the other actor wasn’t there.  I had to really create in my mind what was going on in the scene, hear his voice, see his reactions and deliver my lines.  This was probably my biggest struggle of the entire shoot.    

What looks best on camera may not look or feel at all natural in real life. – At one point I had a choke hold on my co-star while my (clothed) boob was squished awkwardly by a chair for take after take of a close up shot.  At first I was a little rattled by the discomfort but had to push it out of my mind in order to do exactly what the director wanted.    I’m sure the shot will be beautiful, even if it did hurt and look weird at the time. 

Be prepared for ANYTHING - The way you rehearsed it in your mind, and what the director asked for in your audition and callback, may end up being shot completely differently.  I had an intense fight scene in this film, which I got cast mostly because I conjured the emotion for it.  When it came time to shoot the actual scene, the director did a 180 and asked us to make it an intimate moment.  Wow, that was a curve ball.  I was able to adjust on the fly but it felt awkward. 

Just because your call time is at a certain time doesn’t mean you’ll be acting anytime near it. – In commercials, I’m usually on set and ready to start within 1.5 to two hours of my call time.  In film, it’s much different, there’s a lot of hurry up and wait.  One of our cast members had a call time at 8:00 p.m., his scene didn’t start shooting until 3:00 a.m.  Commercials and smaller productions work on tight schedules and budgets, the sooner they can get it in the can, the better.  Films don’t operate this way.  Be prepared to wait, a lot. 

Now that I’ve got this one under my belt, I’ll definitely be more prepared next time around.  Here’s to more film bookings!

Well, Hello Nerves!

The curse has ended, I FINALLY had an audition today.  It was my first in, uh, 47 days.  Which is officially one of my longest dry spells ever. 

Up to this point, I've been auditioning consistently around three times a week with very few breaks.  Which naturally kept my bookings pretty consistent too.  Thankfully the dry spell hasn't completely wrecked havoc on my bookings as I've gotten quite a few jobs on my own.  But it has apparently rattled my auditioning skills a bit!

I started getting butterflies the minute I pulled into the parking lot.  This is a casting director that I don't get in front of often and casts a lot of the bigger jobs in town.  After signing in I found out that I would be reading with one of the girls from my agency.  She is a very sweet girl and one that I count among my friends in this business.  We often go up against each other for the same parts but have never actually read together for anything. 

Many people would be comforted to work with someone they already know, but not me.  I'd prefer to audition with a stranger any day over someone that I know.  I'm not quite sure why but it's always made me a little self-conscious to audition with the other girls from my agency. 

Well, long story short, the above factors, combined with the fact that the client was in the room, conspired against me and the butterflies carried over into the audition.  I think I did a pretty good job of controlling it and managed to give a decent performance.  Nothing spectacular.  I forced myself to breathe deeply and slow down when we were in the scene and that helped a lot. 

I wonder if I'll ever be immune to nerves.  It seems like they've been sneaking up on me a lot the past six months.  Just when I think I have them licked, BAM!  There they are again.  Well, hello nerves! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If you like my blog, then...

You'll love these two that I just found.  Both are written by very smart, funny and talented actresses!

The Struggling Actress

The Smiling Actress

Both are really darn good.  Check them out. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Booking Work Without Even Trying

Whine, whine, no auditions.  Boo hoo.  OK, so I've complained a lot lately about my lack of auditions.  But you want to know what's better than auditioning?  Booking two jobs without even trying. 

My agent just called, I'm on hold for a job this Wednesday and for another one in two weeks.  Woot!

Thanks for the encouraging words, lovely readers.  I'll *try* to refrain from b!tching now. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Dry Spell Goes On

OK, it's been 40 days since my last audition, FORTY DAYS!!!  WTH?

So, what's a girl to do?  I can complain about it and get frustrated by it, but really none of that will do any good.  For the most part, it's out of my control.  I've been getting as much work on the side as I can and taking care of the business end of things.  But ultimately most of my real auditions come through my agent and this is one of the longer dry spells I've had.

There are a few things I've learned that have helped me through dry spells in the past. It's time to pull them out again. 

1.  Realize that it happens.  There are slow times of the year.  There are also times when your "type" may not be in demand. 

2.  Call or e-mail your agent.  Let them know you're still around and ready to work.  Sometimes you just have to let them know that you're getting anxious and it will jar things loose a bit.

3.  Dry spells are a great time to collect your thoughts, take a breather, read a book, update your expenses and do all of the things you don't have time for when you're auditioning regularly. 

4.  Make your own auditions. The last thing you want to happen during a dry spell is to lose your acting chops.  Pull out old material that you've auditioned with in the past, learn a new monologue, turn on your video camera and give it your best.  Watch your playback and learn. 

5.  Network with other actors.  Set up some lunch dates.  Maybe they are going through dry spells too.  Networking is such an important thing that often gets overlooked in busy times. 

Good luck with your dry spell.  I'm hoping mine comes to an end VERY SOON.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why I Love Murder Mysteries

This weekend I performed with my actors' company in my bazillionth murder mystery.  I memorized a 40 page script in one week, had one rehearsal and got paid a whopping $75 which barely covered my gas.  But guess what?  I enjoy them more than anything else I do. They're outrageously fun and have taught me more about acting than anything else I've done.

Sometimes I get judgmental looks from other actors when I tell them I perform in murder mysteries.  I mean isn't dinner theater really about the lowest gig there is?  Now that I'm a "professional" actor (whatever that means), it's been even harder to get others to appreciate my reasons for continuing with these shows. 

But I act for the love of performing.  The things I do for free and cheap are often the hardest work and the greatest reward.  They are my guilty pleasure and my dirty little secret.  I'm going to let you in on it though.  Nothing has sharpened me as a performer quite like performing in these silly, raucous, fly by the seat of your pants shows. 

Never, never make the mistake of thinking you're too good for taking gigs like this.  They are a privilege to work in and a great proving ground for any actor.  You will learn to think on your feet, get out of your comfort zone, react to what's going on around you in the moment, be as big as you want, develop characters and memorize scripts quickly. 

Here are just a few of the invaluable skills that I've learned in my years of being in murder mysteries:

  • Terrific improvisation skills which have served me well in audition after audition.  Interacting with and being interrogated by an audience will sharpen your ability to improv like nothing else. 
  • The ability to adjust on the fly and jump in and out of the script.  Because the shows are so interactive, we have all developed the ability to find where we are in the script and keep the show going.  You learn your lines and everyone else's so well that you can always save your castmates and keep the story line progressing.  This is a great skill to have in live theater, you must be able to save your castmates if they forget a line. 
  • You get paid to make a total and complete fool out of yourself.  This one is my favorite.  The audience enjoys it more that way.  You get to be as dramatic as possible, go completely outside of your comfort zone and look ridiculous.  I can't think of many things more fun than that. 
My parting quote for today has to do with letting yourself go.  If murder mysteries have taught me nothing else, they have driven this point home.  Go ahead, act a fool!

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself.  There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on Earth.  So, what the hell, leap! - Cynthia Heimel

Keep on keeping on. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Should I Take a Casting Director Workshop?

I get asked this question A LOT.  Since I've taken many CD workshops, I consider myself kind of an expert on this subject and am always happy to offer advice.  Exposure and on-going training are important but as struggling performers our funds are limited.  How do you decide which workshop to take or if it's even worth it?

Here are a few questions to ask before you sign up.

#1 - What is this casting director currently working on? 

If the CD hasn't cast anything current and isn't involved in casting anything that you would interested in, then pass.  You want to work with a CD who is seeing actors on an almost daily basis, working on a current series or casting feature films (or even commercials) that you might be a good fit for.  These CD's  know the trends in acting, the feel of the shows and films and what the decisions makers want.  They see who is getting cast and why and can share that knowledge with you.

#2 - Am I ready?

This is where you really need to be honest with yourself.  Are you ready to show a prominent casting director what you have to offer?  Yes, you are there to learn but if your chops aren't quite up to par then you risk showing them that you aren't up to the task.  Casting director workshops are something you should do after you have some classes and credits under your belt.  Think of it as a master class with exposure. 

#3 - Will exposure with this CD benefit me? 

Let's face it, a big part of taking workshops with CD's is for the exposure.  They are, after all, the ones getting you through the door for auditions.  This may be your (paid for) opportunity to get in front of a particular CD that otherwise might not see you.  These workshops absolutely, positively help with exposure. I've seen actors plucked from obscurity and cast into feature films due to a casting director workshop. It simply works.    

A word on preparation, this may seem like a no-brainer but if you have a scene to prepare beforehand, PREPARE IT!  I can't tell you how many workshops I've attended where actors show up totally unprepared when they've had the sides in advance.  That's a surefire way to show that you aren't professional. 

#4 - What are they teaching?

Besides the obvious benefit of exposure, you're there to learn too.  So, what should you expect a casting director to teach you?  Due to the fact that they are seeing hundreds of actors each month, you should expect to learn a thing or two about auditioning techniques and what makes you stand out in a sea of actors.  There are many subtleties in audition technique that can separate you from the competition and CD's are full of little gems that work.  A writer/director/producer teaching a workshop that I attended recently told the class that he only watches 10 seconds of each audition before skipping to the next.  You don't have the luxury to "warm-up" in your audition.  You MUST get their attention at the top and keep it.   They know how you can do that and are there to share it with you.  Be sure to ask lots of questions too, make the most of the experience and make sure you get what you want out of it. 

Because of asking those questions in advance, I've never regretted one workshop I've taken.  They have all more than paid for themselves in the amount of networking contacts and jobs I've booked from either the CD that held the workshop or others that I met while there.  Next time you get a paid booking, budget some of that money for a future workshop.  It's an investment that very well could lead to more work.

Friday, June 17, 2011

One Acting Action Every Day - Week in Review

TGIF!  It's that day of the week where I hold myself accountable for daily actions toward reaching my goal of being a full-time actress.  So, how was your week?  What steps, big or small, did you take this week toward reaching one of your goals?  Go ahead, pat yourself on the back, let me know how you did.

Sunday:  I normally start with Monday but Sunday was a big acting day for me.  Two great performances in church services were followed by filming the final scene of the baseball film trailer. 
Monday:  Lots of script work for the show this weekend.  Continued working on lines and character development.
Tuesday:  Sent a follow-up e-mail to an agent I submitted with a few weeks back.  More script work.
Wednesday:  Read a few chapters of Michael Caine's "Acting in Film".  I'll be sharing some of the insights I'm learning from the book soon!  Went to rehearsal for the show this weekend. 
Thursday: After realizing at the rehearsal that I am NOT at all prepared, worked through my script several more times.
Friday:  More script work today and finalize costume for tomorrow night's show!

Also, I got some pretty exciting news yesterday, I was contacted to write articles for an actor's casting service!  More details to come on that later. 

The blog continues to grow too, we have 90 Facebook fans now!  Keep them coming. 

Have a great weekend and keep on keeping on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

100 FB Fan Give-Away!

If you haven't liked me on Facebook yet, now is the perfect time.  We're at 90 fans now and as soon as we hit 100, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

All you have to do is share the Undiscovered Alison Facebook fan page with your FB friends and/or fans, then let me know!

Post on my page and let me know...or leave a comment below.  Good luck!  I'll be choosing one winner at random as soon as we hit 100!

Busyness, Jealousy, Unpreparedness...

It's been an interesting week so far.  I'm feeling pretty crazy right now.  My husband has been out of town on an extended business trip so I have all of the house responsibilities, all of the kid responsibilities, my full-time job and preparation for a new show this weekend on my plate. ARGHHH!!! 

You'd think I would want to scale back, and I do.  Yet, there's a part of me that's kind of pissed because I haven't been auditioning.  My agent hasn't called me with an audition in over a month!  This dry spell has gone way beyond what I thought it would, although I've been staying busy with acting jobs I've gotten on my own.  I'd blame it on the summer lull yet all of my "friends" seem to be pretty busy.  And yes, I'm jealous.  Every morning I log onto Facebook just to see all of them posting about their latest auditions and bookings.  Some days I just want to hide them all from my feed.  Grr...

Back to the busyness though.  Last night I had a rehearsal for my actors' company's new murder mystery show this weekend.  I'm normally the one that has all my lines down and knows the show inside and out by the time we have our final rehearsal.  Well, guess who didn't?  ME.  It was a disasterous rehearsal.  I'll be spending the next few days memorizing the heck out of that script until we perform on Saturday night. 

OK, enough complaining.  Time for solving.  First off, it IS time to scale back.  I'm actual thankful for the auditioning dry spell because I don't think I could handle another thing on my plate right now.  And although I'm jeaous of my friends' bookings, I have my times of posting all of my wonderful auditions and gigs on Facebook where they probably want to hide me.  It's very cyclical and right now is just not my time.  I'm going to bust my butt getting ready for this weekend's show and then take some well-deserved REST and back off from anything outside of my homelife for at least a week (that's the plan).  Then, when I'm back on track and have the bandwidth (telecom term, other life), I can dive back in again. 

Alright, that sounds like a plan!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why Do I Do This?

This morning I got really honest and asked myself why I do this.  Blog, that is.  I know why I act, it's always been in my heart, but this blogging thing is new to me.

Why be this vulnerable?  Why put my rejections, disappointments, challenges, frustrations, lessons and accomplishments out for the whole world to see?  Why put everything on display that I try so hard to hide at times?

It all boiled down to these three things. 

#1 - It's therapy.  Talking it out through writing is one way that I can evaluate situations and get clarity.  It's a means of venting and resolving.  When I go through my greatest challenges and disappointments, just coming here every day to post about it helps me process it.  It's my own personal journal, except the whole world can see it.

# 2 - I need cheerleaders.  That's where my readers come in.  I desperately need support to keep at this.  It's really hard to chase a dream like this when all of the odds are stacked against you.  I don't have a lot of real-life supporters other than my husband and kids.  Your comments and encouragement are priceless to me.  You'll never know who much it means to have people rooting for me in the wings.  Give me an A, L, I, S, O, N!  :)

#3 - I want to support others.  I'm not the only one out there chasing a seemingly impossible dream.  Whether you're a mom pursuing your passion of having your own successful blog or online business, or another performer out there in the trenches every day, I want to be an encourager to every one of you.  I'll share everything I pick up along the way, maybe you will find it helpful too. 

YOU are a big part of this process and I appreciate that you're along for the ride.

Keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hideous

Tonight as my six year-old daughter and I were relaxing on the porch swing, she was chirping along in a continuous stream of thought about what she wanted to be like when she grew up.  She said "I hope I don't grow up to be ugly."  I assured her that she didn't have to worry about that and told her that she's beautiful now and always will be.  She then added that she wants to grow up to look just like LaLa.  LaLa (or Lauren) is her 25 year-old cousin, my niece, and is drop-dead gorgeous, by the way.  See for yourself!


   
My feelings were slightly hurt, I really wished that she would've said she wanted to grow up to look like me.  So I baited the hook and asked if she did.  She said "No, mommy, that is not possible because I have blonde hair and would look hideous with brown hair like yours."  I started laughing and asked her if she thought I looked hideous.  Thankfully she didn't hesitate to say no but then added in her sassiest tone "but that mole on your forehead between your eyes looks hideous.  Can't you pop it or something?  That thing GOTS TO GO!".

OUCH. Maybe I should go ahead and get that taken care of? I've actually been contemplating calling the dermatologist for the past month to get it removed.  He told me a few months ago that he wanted to take it off but I had a print shoot coming up and couldn't do it then.  He said that it could wait and was nothing sinister.  Just unsightly.  Apparently hideously so, according to a six year-old who doesn't want to grow up to look like her mom. 

Call me vain, shallow, fragile, whatever.  Kids are brutally honest.  Out of the mouths of babes! It can't hurt to listen.  :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Was Almost a TV Star

video

A year ago this week, I submitted an audition video for My OWN Show:  Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star.  Read on to see what happened and watch the video to see how it's effected my life since then. 

Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Not in becoming Oprah’s next big TV star. But out of 10,000 online contestants and 10 national casting calls, I made it really far in the competition. And that feels pretty darn good!

Last year in mid-June , I submitted my audition for Oprah’s OWN show competition. The idea I pitched was for a show that followed moms, like me, pursuing their passion later in life.   I found out about the contest just two weeks before submissions were closed so my husband and I worked feverishly to get my audition tape together. I wrote the script and performed and he filmed, edited and uploaded it. The end product was pretty good, not exactly professional, but not too shabby for a quick turn-around.

On June 17th, 2010, the day before our family vacation, I was contacted by a casting director from Mark Burnett Productions. He told me that “a handful” of people had been selected to have a pitch package put together to go in front of the decision makers…and I was one of them. Well, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather – I totally didn’t expect to hear anything at all (eternal pessimist that I can be). Said casting director went on to tell me that I would hear back in the next 2 to 3 weeks if I made it through to the next round.

Fast forward a week and a half. Lo and behold, another shocking phone call, I made it through to the second round! This stage was a bit more involved. I had to fill out an extensive background history and sign a contract agreeing to be sued for $5 million in damages if I interfered with the making of the show in any way. Sweet. This was serious. This time I was told that if I made it through to the top 35, I would be flown to L.A. the week of July 12th for the finals.

Well, I didn’t get the call to go to L.A. that week. Bummer. But I did “almost” make it to the finals which means someone either liked my show idea, liked me or both of the above. Whatever it was, I’ll take it.

It was my closest brush with fame to date and an enormous confidence boost too.  Just further motivation to keep on keeping on.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pretty Much Perfect

It's been pretty much the perfect day.  Both of our performances at this morning's church services were flawless!  The audience really enjoyed it and we got lots of laughs, it felt GREAT!

Afterward, I headed straight to shoot my last scene for the baseball film trailer.  I'm the only female in the project, which is kind of cool.  The rest of the cast is comprised of Dallas' finest actors.  I've been pretty intimidated while working with them (see the performance anxiety label if you missed just how intimidated).  Well despite my last (awful) day of acting on the project, today went perfectly.  It was an extremely tight outdoor shot, the "magic shot", and it couldn't have gone any better.  I felt very connected and calm.  Not a smidge of anxiety.  Sweet redemption.

I'm sad to see it end.  Despite some bumps in the road, overall it was a great experience.  I learned a lot and became keenly aware of how much more I need to learn. Sometimes we have to become acutely and painfully aware of our limitations to discover what our next learning experience should be.   Those who think they are done growing and learning are, well, done growing and learning.

So it's been pretty much the perfect day.  Now I'm relaxing on my couch, watching the NBA finals and reading a script.  Life is good.

 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When Another Actor Blows the Scene

What do you do when another actor blows your scene?  Well, I had to figure that out for myself last night. 

Our first performance of the church scene in front of a live audience was last night.  We'll be peforming it for close to 10,000 people this weekend, so it's a pretty big deal!  We got a chance to do two full rehearsals before the actual performance and I was feeling really good about it.  It's a three-person scene with my character having the majority of the lines and a really funny monologue right in the middle. 

Right before we went on-stage for the real deal, I felt relaxed and good about it.  The scene started and my main partner and I were really clicking.  The audience was having a blast and laughing at every joke, which fed the energy really well. 

But about two minutes in, something went terribly wrong and my partner skipped ahead to a line at the end of the scene, completely cutting out my monologue and a big chunk of the rest of the scene.  I tried to insert a line to get us back to that spot in the script, but she didn't take the bait.  She hadn't even realized what she did and kept pressing forward.  I went along with it and we finished out the scene, shortening it significantly. 

Afterward, our director came up and told her what had happened.  I guess what surprised me most was that she never even realized it!  Worst of all, the crew and other members of the worship team came up to ME when it was over and offered their condolences, thinking that I had somehow forgotten my monologue.  UGH...  I just kept my mouth shut, realizing that my ego was the only thing making me want to point the finger of blame, and it would do NO good to do that. 

The first thing I realized is how good I have it with my actors' company that I've performed with for the past five years.  We have gotten so adept at saving each other other in our scenes.  If someone blows a line and we jump to another place in the script, we always recover it pretty well.  We somehow manage to insert the part that we forgot so that the audience doesn't miss out on important details and the actor doesn't miss out on a great part of their performance. 

But you don't always get to work with performers that have that ability.  So, if it ever happens to you, these are the things that have helped me get past it:

Accept the disappointment.  You prepared for hours, rehearsed over and over, the audience was LOVING it and you didn't get to shine in your best part.  Accept how you're feeling.  It's ok to be disappointed.  BUT, it's not ok or professional to take it out on your scene partner.  (Plus, mine felt so bad already that she was on the verge of tears).  Next time it could just as easily be you doing the forgetting. 

Ask yourself if it really mattered.  Performing is (mostly) about the audience's experience.  Did they enjoy it anyway?  Did they even realize that something was missing?  In this case, they absolutely loved the scene as it was.  We got great feedback afterward.  And no, they had no clue that they missed a thing.

Take comfort in knowing that you'll get to perform again.  We have two more performances on Sunday morning, which is when our biggest audiences will be there anyway.  We've got the bugs worked out now and I'm pretty certain that the same thing won't happen again.

So, while I am disappointed because there were several people there that I knew last night and had never seen me perform, I'm still ok.  There will be other opportunities and it was fun anyway.

Keep on keeping on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

One Acting Action Every Day - Week in Review

TGIF, ya'll!  It's Friday morning and that means it's time for the One Acting Action week in review!  Hope it's nice in your neck of the woods.  I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and some cool morning air on the front porch before the Texas heat kicks in. 

It wasn't a particularly proactive week, as I'm sure you gathered from my other posts this week.  But it was really nice to take a mini-break in the action.  There are seasons for striving and working and seasons for resting and waiting.  I'm enjoying the latter right now.  Regardless, it still ended up being a pretty busy week.

Monday:  Rehearsal for this weekend's church performance.  We will be performing once on Friday night and twice on Sunday morning. 
Tuesday:  Highlighted and read-through the script for this month's murder mystery show that my actor's company will performing on June 18th.
Wednesday:  Another rehearsal with sound check and video for the weekend's church performance.
Thursday:  Memorized four pages of script for the murder mystery.  Rehearsed church script on my own.  Read-through the film trailer script for this Sunday's parade scene that will be shot in downtown Arlington (our final scene!). 
Friday:  Goal for today - memorize half of the murder mystery script.  Then, performance at the church tonight! 

It's going to be a weekend FULL of acting.  My favorite kind!  I just love to peform, especially for live audiences.  The parade on Sunday should be a blast.  We're going to have lots of extras lining the streets of downtown Arlington, dressed in their finest 60's attire.  My parade scene wardrobe is to die for.  Totally Jackie Kennedy!  I will post pics next week.

Until then, be sure to check out Justina Vail's Actor's Life Coaching.  I made her testimonials page, woo hoo!  The best investment you can make as an actor, is in your SELF.  Actor's life coaching may be just what you need to get to the next level in your career.

Have a fabulous weekend and keep on keeping on!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Double-Booking Dilemma

Too much acting for one weekend.  Is that possible?  Yes, when you double book yourself, ugh...

Yesterday I had to face a unique double-booking dilemma with no good solution.  Sometimes I hate being an adult and making decisions.

About a month ago, I auditioned to do a live scene for our church's three services this weekend.  I booked the main role, yippee!  In case you're wondering why that's a big deal, we go to one of those mega-churches in the south with a 5,000 member congregation, three satellite churches and a weekly webcast.  So, I consider it kind of a big deal when I get to perform there. 

Well, that's all well and good, but...

I also had a scene rescheduled to be shot this weekend on the film trailer I'm working on.  It's a parade scene that was supposed to shoot last month but got canceled due to bad weather.  The director approached me a few weeks back about scheduling for this Sunday.  I told him I would be available but not until after 11:30 a.m. because of the church commitment.  I also sent the A.D. an e-mail letting her know the same.  They both said it shouldn't be an issue. 

Lo and behold, call times came out yesterday for both bookings and I'm supposed to be at the parade shoot from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and the church from 7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  Hmm, slight issue here people.

So I agonized over it for a few hours, got on the treadmill and mulled over all of the possiblities in my head, called my husband at work to talk it through and finally prayed (which should've been first) and let it go. 

Because there was no one else that could fill in for the church scene, and I committed to doing it first, I sent an e-mail to the director and reminded him that I had a prior commitment.  He apologized and told me not to worry about it.  They are going to write me out of some of the parade scenes on Sunday and keep me in what I can do when I get there. 

I was so relieved, yet incredibly guilt-ridden all at once.  The problem is, I'm getting paid for the film trailer.  My decision really boiled down to this, it was a rescheduled shoot and I had a commitment somewhere else, which they were aware of in advance.  There was no way we could re-cast the church performance and have it ready in just a few days, so I had to do what I had to do. 

I feel good about it today.  Some may argue that from a purely professional standpoint, maybe I should've left the church in a lurch.  But I don't doubt that I did the right thing.  Part of being a grown-up is making hard decisions.  Sometimes that's based on what feels the most right.  And this did.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Contentment

At first I thought I was in a funk.  But I'm not.  When I'm in a funk,I don't know which step to take next, and quite frankly, have no desire to take it anyway.  But I'm not in a funk, no, this is different...I'm content. 

For once in my life, I feel really satisfied and content.  I don't feel like spending any energy on anything that I don't already have right in front of me. 

I've worked really hard so far this year.  At this time, I have no desire to put anymore of myself "out there".  I'm still working in theater and on a film but I'm not actively pursuing anything else right now.  I'm perfectly happy to just sit back and wait.  To see if anything that I've put out into the universe comes back to me.  If it does, it's meant to be. 

It's time for restoration, rejuvenation and just enjoying the moment that I'm in right now.  Which, by the way, is really, really good.  I already have everything that I need.

I'm satisfied with my life. If there's a step that I need to take, I feel confident that I will be shown to take it.  But for today, I'm perfectly happy right where I am.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Letting Things Happen

Today I'm feeling a real need to back off and just let things happen.  No need to force or strive or pour out more energy - but trust that I've done enough, for now, and let the next step come to me. 

Today's acting meditation is about relaxing into the flow of life. 

If you relax, it comes.  Don't seek, don't search, don't ask, don't knock, don't demand - relax.  If you relax it is there.  If you relax, God shows you the way.

Enjoy your day. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

One Acting Action Every Day - Week in Review

As you've heard me say before, I try my best to do one thing every day for my acting career.  I call it my One Acting Action Every Day plan.  You can't reach a goal this big if you aren't constantly accomplishing smaller goals to get there. 

Each week, I'll be reporting on how I fared.  Accountability is good after all, right?  :) 

Here are my highlights from this week:
  • Monday:  Enjoyed a true day off.  Yes, that counts. 
  • Tuesday:  Re-evaluated my options for getting back in class.  Researched a few different classes and made some calls to see what I need to do to register.   
  • Wednesday:  Attended a read-through with my actors' company of the script for this month's murder mystery show.
  • Thursday:  Had a rehearsal for an upcoming church drama team performance.  
  • Friday:  Line learning day!  Working on scripts for the murder mystery and church performance. 
  • Bonus:  Got to 41 Facebook fans after just one week.  Even more impressive, had 800 Facebook fan page views and 720 blog page views!
Now I'm going to kick all of you in the butt and issue the challenge to join me in performing One Acting Action Every Day.  Then I won't be the only one bragging and you can let everyone know how you did too. 

So, what are the highlights from your week?  Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fun in Dysfunctional

Time to get a little bit personal.  Like some other actors, I was raised in a pretty messed-up home.  My father was a raging alcoholic and my mother was the ultimate codependent who sat by allowing the horrors to happen.  There was little focus on my two older sisters and me, except to expect us to make the family look good and keep up the illusion that everything was fine at home.  The only problem with that is that everything was far from fine. 

As expected, this manifested itself in my life in many negative ways.  By my mid-twenties, I was fed up and dove into fixing myself with everything I had.  Years of therapy, lots of books and the grace of God have gotten me to a really good place in my life today. My parents are different people now too.  My dad has been in recovery for a few years and we've all done a lot of healing.  I've even come to a place where I appreciate a few things about my upbringing which I'd like to share with you.