Monday, December 31, 2012

the new year

I hope your 2012 was great. I hope, regardless, your 2013 is even better and that every year after is better than the last. What a big dream that is!

So, I obviously haven't written in a long time (I realized many moons ago that I really blog/journal the most when I am sad or angry... which I'm not) but I am going to try to write a little more this coming year so that I have a record of what I am doing and why. I guess I'm going to have to get really mad really soon!

After joining equity, it may seem like I have done a whole lot of nothing with my equity card. Which is partially true. However, I have spent the latter part of the year changing the non-performance aspects of my life to be able to accommodate what I ACTUALLY want to be doing in NYC. I got a new job where I will be able to work less, but make the same amount of money as before, so that I am not so tired all the time and will have the freedom and flexibility to go to auditions. That was the #1 Big Move of 2012. It was scary and I kept questioning the decision, but it is going to be sooooooooo much better, it already IS soooo much better, and it was the right choice, hands down. Plus, not that I have made any friends yet, but I have a lot more in common with the people I work with now, and I can learn things that are actually useful and some that could even help me in marketing myself better.

I did a showcase via Seth Bisen-Hersh that I am extremely proud of. You can view the video on the Media page of my website. I wanted/needed performance video for my website and I couldn't have asked for a better one. I was in the middle of the worst cold I had all year, I sounded like Ke$ha the entire week before and the next day I lost my voice, but somehow the clouds parted for 5 hours during one day, and gave me the ability to sing. Thank you, body, for coming through for me on 10/23.

Chris and I recorded a couple tracks for an incomplete EP of Christmas cover songs. Those are also available on the Media page to listen to. We'll probably finish it by next Christmas. And maybe we'll put some non-Christmas songs on there, too, so that we don't sound so She and Him-y. I would rather sound like HEART!

This year Chris and I went to a lot of concerts and actually saw a lot of theatre, also (compared to other years, at least). We saw Death Cab for Cutie, Radiohead, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, and The Monkees. As for theatre, Chris was in a production of Hamlet and we also saw Ghost the musical, Uncle Vanya (at Soho Rep), Slow Girl (at Lincoln Center), Twelfth Night (ASC on tour) and Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Lion in Winter and King John (ASC in Staunton). At the Monkees concert, which was our last concert of the year, I told Chris that the only reason we were able to go to so many shows this year is because we didn't perform in as many shows ourselves. For example, I have wanted to see Radiohead since I was 16 years old. Literally every single time they toured anywhere near me, I couldn't go because I was in a show and had a performance that night. Clearly, if given the choice, I would always rather be performing (and, just to put it into the universe, I would also like to be the weird, female back-up singer for Radiohead) but it was really nice to see so many acts that I've wanted to see for a very long time.

The best movies we saw together in 2012 were Wreck it Ralph and Bernie (we have not seen Lincoln or the Hobbit, yet) and the best TV shows on right now are Parks and Rec, New Girl and Cougar Town, in that order. They have made me laugh, cry and inspired me to be funnier all year long.

In 2013 I am going to start taking classes at UCB (I start on January 2nd!), I have more Rock-a-Baby classes than ever before, my choir, Chameleonic, will be performing its spring concert in April, I will be getting new headshots taken, I will start planning our 5th anniversary trip to Disney World (which won't be until 2014, but when it comes to Disney World, the planning is almost exciting as the trip itself) and we MIGHT be moving (that might depend on the Fiscal Cliff) to a new apartment. I am also going to finally get an iphone, and hopefully an ipad and desktop computer (because, obviously, I plan on being a secret millionaire in 2013). I would also like new glasses. This blog is my Christmas List.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, though, I want/need to start going to auditions, again. I want to take more classes (maybe more at UCB or perhaps a commercial/TV class) and I want to rid myself of irrational fears and learn to be good at auditioning so that I actually know what I'm doing the night before. I have taken steps in 2012 to start this process. 2013 should be about following through.

So, this year should be nerve wracking, busy and hopefully fun. Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

why i joined aea

On Monday, August 20th, I finally did what I said I would do after January 30th, 2010: I joined the actor's equity association.

Equity (or AEA) is the professional actor's union, in case you didn't know. They are the ones responsible for making the lives of actors bearable. There are a lot of people who want to be actors but not a lot of theatres or roles for actors (and even less for female actors, which is funny since there are WAY MORE female actors.... but that's a different post). When situations like this occur, it could be easy for producers to cut corners and take advantage of the actors. AEA provides fair pay, rehearsal breaks, respects the safety and time of actors as well as a ton of other stuff.

You have to earn your way in to Equity though...either by receiving an equity contract (which is hard), being a member of another acting union or working at a non-equity theatre for at least 50 weeks (one point per week is earned). Then you have to pay a lot of money and ta-da! You're a member.

I have had my points for 4 years. Since 2008. You have to join within 5 years of earning your last point or you forfeit your membership. Every time I've started a conversation with another actor they always ask if I'm equity. I have always said, "I have all my points, but I haven't joined yet." They are always, ALWAYS flabbergasted by this. "WHY NOT???" they scream (actors are dramatic).

Well, here was why:
A. I didn't have enough money to join until recently
B. I didn't feel I was "ready" to join
C. I kept thinking I would get more work as a non-equity actor

Well, here's the problem with C: I hardly ever went to any auditions. And WHY did I not go to many auditions? Because the non-equity (or OPEN) calls are insane and horrible.

On January 30th, 2010 Chris and I left our apartment at 3am to get in line to audition for the Broadway production of Hair, which was having an open call. Chris wasn't auditioning, he was just keeping me company because it was 3am on January 30th. It was freezing. The audition site was the Public Theatre... which is far away from where we live and not exactly in the best neighborhood on earth. Plus, I was going to have to sit on the street until 10am. I was still new to NYC. I had only been there for 3 months but I knew we had no choice but to get there no later than 4am. Because non-equity calls are insane and horrible.

We were 200th in line. At 4am. On January 30th. By the time the auditions started there were more than one thousand people in line.

It was the longest 6 hours of my life. It was like 20 degrees outside. And all the kids in line started singing and dancing and drawing peace signs and flowers on the sidewalk in chalk. Because obviously they're all real hippies. Because hippies still, obviously, exist in the exact same form they existed in 45 years ago. And, OF COURSE, the casting director would see their dedication and cast them immediately, from the line, at 5am, without an audition.

Whatever. I got a spot, I actually had an amazing audition under the circumstances (sitting on the street in 20 degree weather for 6 hours with no sleep are not exactly the ideal conditions for a great vocal performance) and then I went home and went to bed. I believe I heard one person was cast from that audition and it was, of course, a guy. Probably a regular guy, too, who showed up at the last minute.

But it was THAT DAY that convinced me I HAD to join equity. I have requested specific work shifts because I wanted to go to an audition... and then I didn't go. Because I always flash back to that day. I know it was an extreme circumstance. It was a Broadway show! But I've been to many non-equity auditions.... and unless they are AT a regional theatre, or they are booked by appointments, they are all insane and horrible.

I had to save my money for more than a year to raise the $400 needed to join. I still don't know if I'm "ready" to join. I realize that by joining Equity there is no chance I'll ever work at some of the theatres I've worked at ever again. Some of these theatres followed equity rules (which ALL theatres should) even for non-equity employees. However, some did not. Some of them paid me like $100 a week and made me clean bathrooms or cook food. Or both in one day. Some of them gave their equity actors a 2 hour dinner break and gave the non-equity actors a 20 minute break when they had been there the entire day and the closest food was a 10 minute drive. I am thankful for every single theatre I've ever worked at. If it wasn't an amazing experience, it taught me what was NOT an amazing experience and made me look forward to future amazing experiences. And, at the very least, I was getting to perform... and let's face it, that's the only thing I'm really good at.  (Besides writing this blog post.)

I didn't join right away because I was scared. Scared I wasn't good enough, I guess. But there's tons of people who aren't good enough and they still joined. I haven't met anyone at an non-equity audition who was my age in YEARS. People who are nearly 30 have all left the business or already joined equity because they realized non-equity auditions are insane and horrible.

When I told my parents I joined they were like, "YAY! Now you can get on that TV show that films in new york...." So. You know. I have that to look forward to. But mainly what I look forward to is auditioning for something in a civilized manner (unless it's one of those crazy Agent Access Auditions which I hear are pretty popular) and maybe, hopefully, getting another acting job someday. And the best part is that I KNOW I will never have to clean a bathroom as part of my acting job responsibilities. Because that is INSANE and HORRIBLE.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

tips for waiting in line for tickets

Oh, hi. So, the other day Chris and I performed for kids on a boat, went home, I performed in a cabret at the Duplex and then we went home, changed our clothes, and headed to Central Park to get in line for tickets for Into the Woods. We were successful: so successful that not only did we see the show, we were 8th and 9th in line and actually had a GOOD time. I started thinking of some tips for others who are thinking about heading out.

Get there as early as possible
I would say "duh" but I want you to really think about this. Is two hours of sleep in your bed better than not seeing the show? Is the show WORTH IT TO YOU to sleep on Central Park West, right next to the scalpers??? We got there at 2:30am. It was a preview performance on a Monday. The people who got there at 6am were probably too late, or very close to being too late.

Check the weather forecast
Will it rain that night? Plan accordingly. Is it supposed to rain during the performance? If it does, the show might be cancelled. You might waste your entire day for nothing.

Bring a friend
Not just for company, but for security.

Don't talk to anyone on the street
I don't see the crazy drunk people of NYC that often. Apparently they are all out from 2:30am-6am on the west side of the park, trying to engage theatre fans in crazy conversation. Don't respond AT ALL, don't even look at them. They're all drunk and crazy.

No matter how hot you think it is, wear pants, a long t-shirt, a hoodie, SOCKS and bring a blanket
There are a million mosquitoes everywhere. They will bite you. After you have sat there for a while, no matter how warm it is, you will be cold. You need the blanket, trust me. Chris is always hot.... but he was freezing that night.

Wear bug spray
I'm not kidding, man. Wear a ton of bug spray. Better yet, bring one of those OFF portable bug repellents with the little fan in it. I did, and, for comparison, I got three mosquito bites before I turned it on and ZERO after.

Bring a chair
Chris brought a camping chair, I brought a beach chaise lounge that extended all the way: it was basically a cot. Chris was comfortable but didn't sleep much.... I slept like a freaking baby. I had a small pillow that I didn't care about, my "cot" and a huge beach blanket that completely covered me from head to toe. I was unbelievably comfortable under the circumstances.

Don't bring any valuables 
Bring a book, some magazines and your phone... but I urge you not to bring an ipad or laptop. Or a lot of cash/credit cards. A small amount of cash, an ID and one credit card are all you need. Keep them close to your body when you sleep. We had no problems with shady people approaching us but not everyone is so lucky

Bring some snacks!
The food stand at the Delacorte opens at 10am but you might want something before then. We brought fiber bars, string cheese and pretzel crisps.

Do you have to pee all the time? I do. And I knew that from the time I left my house until we were escorted into the park at 6am I would not be able to go to the bathroom. Sure, you could risk going in the bushes somewhere, but, first of all, that's gross, and second, what if you got arrested? Then you couldn't see the show. Just keep going to the bathroom before you leave home. I barely made it to 6am when we got inside the park, and I was asleep most of the time.

Be nice to the tourists
Once inside the park, Chris and I basically became the Into the Woods Ticket Line Information Desk. People would come up to us every 10 minutes or so to ask what all of us were waiting for, if it was really "that good", when we got in line ("We got in line at 2:30" - us "In the morning??" - them "No, 2:30 later today." - us in our minds), how to get to Strawberry Fields, how to get to the Sheep Meadow.... everything you could imagine. Just be nice. They don't know anything.

In case you didn't know....
The line starts on the north side of 81st st and Central Park West. Only the A train is running (local) after, like, 11pm, so take that there. A little before 6am a representative from the box office will come out, review the line and then at 6am, escort everyone into the park. Do not try to pass people: they will kill you. The first 10 people get to spend the remaining 7 hours in what I considered the "priority zone": right next to the theatre, the water fountains, the concessions stand and the bathrooms. The people from 11 - 700 wind back through the woods as long as they need to. At 1pm they start handing out the tickets.... to the seniors and disabled people first. I am pretty sure the senior line has no cut off... so if like 300 senior citizens show up, they all get priority tickets. So, always, the earlier you get there, the better.

PS - the show is perfect. I had the highest expectations possible: it disappointed in no way. I cried almost the entire time. I would wait in line every night if I could.

Monday, July 16, 2012

be a kid when you're a kid

This is gonna make people hate me, but I don't care:

I am so glad I am thin NOW as opposed to being really thin in high school/college.

Listen, man, I was never fat and I was never more than a size 8, so it's not like I went through some kind of struggle to get here. My life has been EASY. However, what's the POINT when you're younger?? You don't have enough common sense to use your thinness for good, rather than evil.

I was looking through old photos last night, and I realized I have never felt prettier in my life than I have the last couple of years. Some of it has to do with the fact that I only break out now at certain points in my menstrual cycle, some of it has to do with being a size 2, some of it has to do with being married to the best guy ever and some of it has to do with eating habits and KNOWLEDGE.

So, kids, stay kids. Eat right, but don't worry about being thin when you're a teenager. If you're thin THEN and gain weight later, you'll just be filled with regret. Most of your life is spent being an adult and that's the only time it really matters. Just enjoy not paying rent when you're a kid. And, also, learn how to speak, because I am sick of hearing/seeing things like "Doorbell don't work" and "I seen it at [such and such a place]."

Monday, June 18, 2012

celebrities i hope live forever

Since I never have time to update this with real information, perhaps I should focus on shorter, less diary-like posts. Like this!

Today Paul McCartney turned 70 and it made me think about how we couldn't have that much more time with our beloved Paul. Whenever his time comes, I hope whoever breaks the news to me is very gentle. Here is a list of other celebrities whose death is going to upset me greatly:

Dolly Parton
Betty White (obviously)
Tina Fey
Amy Poehler
Dave Grohl
Anyone from Radiohead
The Edge
David Letterman
Bernadette Peters
Joanna Gleason
Lisa Kudrow
Jennifer Aniston
Courtney Cox
Elton John
Micky Dolenz

Hopefully they just never die.