Monday, February 8, 2010

Playing to my Strengths

Over the last two days, I auditioned for a new play in Philly. I will start working with this company in a week on a workshop of a new play, and this audition was for the final show of their 2010 season. The first audition was on Sunday, and I went in with a very clear intention: to have fun and play around. I had read the provided audition script when it was sent to me, looked it over, and then let it sit on my desk for a while. That morning, I went over the scene again and made some notes to myself. But I intentionally avoided making any big choices ahead-of-time, instead relying on my instincts and impulses when I was actually in the room. Hand-in-hand with this idea, however, comes the commitment to fully honor those impulses, and to really go nuts with any idea that hits, even if it's not 100% appropriate. And so, armed with that game plan, I faced my audition, read the role, and then left with my head held high and a spring in my step that wasn't only because of the ice on the sidewalk.

Then, halfway through the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, I got the call that I had earned a callback for the role, which were to occur on Monday night. This time, they sent the complete script in addition to the sides we were to prepare. I sat down in the afternoon, and I literally devoured the script. It was a quick read, and it had some plot twists that I certainly did not see coming. By the time I was done, I had dedicated myself to getting this part, so I went into the callback fully prepared.

I got there and met Katie, the actress that I was going to read with for the parts. I've met her before at auditions and such, but I'd never had the chance to work with her before. We had the chance to go over one of our scenes, and then we were called in to perform for the director. At first, I had a few too many "ideas" coming into the scene, but by the end of the audition I felt myself shifting back to just playing on instincts. Katie and I worked very well with each other, and I was feeling myself in a nice groove. I got good reactions, I felt great, and I was proud of the work that I did.

If I get the part, I will be very excited to know I gave a great audition to win the role. If I don't get the part, I know that I did everything that I possibly could have, and the decision came down to some other "intangible" that is out of my control. Ideally, that's what I'd like to say about every audition and every potential job. I'm not quite at that level yet, but it does give me something to always be aspiring toward.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Day of Wild Self-Promotion

In a very busy day for me, I did a lot of self-promoting. I answered email to confirm three different auditions over the next two weeks. (Three!) Two of them are for companies that I know, but one was an invitation from a director based on a reference from another filmmaker. I always know that auditioning for every student film I can find will come in handy, so I just keep trying to get my face out there. This will all work like gangbusters, until I get a certain number and a certain card that signifies my entry into the S-A-G. Then all bets are off, but at least the money (might) roll in.

The biggest push of the self-marketing day was a long-overdue update to the website. Two new project pages were added completely, and the page for E.D.E.N. was improved and updated. I encourage everyone to surf over and check it out. And not just because it will improve my site statistics, but because I spent a whole lot of time making it pretty frickin' cool. Seriously, it took me way too long to figure out how to embed those videos in the site, but now that they are there, it looks pretty neat. I also updated my facebook presence and made a fan page for that, and I'm trying to push my company in this new year. So go to my site:

I still need to generate a page for myself as an individual actor, but that is coming too. I certainly need new headshots and a website, but my auditions are going well at the moment. Now it might be time to move into that new market I've been thinking about.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reading in Restaurants

Last night, I went into Philly to a reading of a new play. I know and adore the director and several of the actors, so I went down to support them and also be a part of the process of developing the play. The reading was a lot of fun, and I got to see some friends that I haven't seen in a while. The play was a light comedy about a woman who is trying to find a place in the digital world. The show was very entertaining, and the actors did a great job of bringing characters to life even though they were standing in a restaurant holding the script in their hands.

A brief Q-and-A went on after the show, and I'd like to think that I provided some good feedback on the play that was presented. In these situations, the playwright is looking for comments that are based on the script as written. It is easy and all-too-common for people to answer the questions by giving ideas for a different play, or by responding to the play they "wanted to see." These comments are never very useful, and often just a waste of time. The best comments come from the people who have heard the show for the first time, and then they comment on what they thought of it. Not what they wish it was, but what it is.

That's a confusing paragraph, and I'm sure my editor is having a field day with it. [I decided to leave it alone. It's a personal blog, after all. --Ed.] But it's a complicated line to walk as a participant in a talkback, but I feel strongly that it's an important one. As I alluded to last entry, part of the challenge of being creative is finding people whom you trust to work with. And once we find people we work well with, that's a big step in the right direction.