Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I find myself to be a perpetual student. A student of life, a student of knowledge, a student of puzzles. It is difficult to come to grips with the fact that there really is no "right" answer all the time, in acting. However: Casting Directors, Theatre Directors, Producers, fellow Actors, Writers will constantly use this term when they are talking about one thing: the acting BUSINESS.
"There is a 'right' way to send in a submission"
"There is a 'right' way to act when entering an audition room
"There is a 'right' way to approach an auditor at a party or on the street"
The business side of acting:
It's ugly, we don't like it, but most of us have learned over time that there is more than just 'nailing the monologue'.
So, like a good student who wants to learn the most she can, I study. I read all the books/articles/blogs I can get a hold of. I ask former teachers, collegues, friends, etc. to help me be a contender in this business.
Here are some things present in almost every tip I've gotten and every book/article/blog I've read:
WRITE THANK YOU NOTES
Something I do very well is write thank you notes. Mom ingrained that notion when I was a little girl and for every present I am sent, a thank you note goes out. The same thing goes for acting. I send them to theatre companies, casting directors, directors, or whomever I know the name of that took the time to audition me. In my opinion, it's a NICE gesture.
I will note here, that I've only ever received 7, yes SEVEN responses from companies that have THANKED ME for coming into their auditions/callbacks. That's all. In the day and age of the internet where everyone has an email address, it's astounding that the other side doesn't think that it would feel good to give a thank you. I gotta say, I don't even mind when they are FORM email thank you's! They are so far and few between I'm pleased as punch to GET one.
BE PLEASANT TO EVERYONE
This one also seems like common sense, but you never know. I am pleasant to EVERYONE at an audition. Having BEEN a casting director, producer, writer, assistant director, monitor, I've learned that you have NO IDEA who is actually giving you the "sheet to fill out" or your "on-deck".
So, it also helps when the monitor is pleasant to us. I've had MANY an experience of feeling "afraid" to ask a question of the monitor for fear she/he will be "annoyed" with my "stupid" question. I've seen monitors roll their eyes and act just as unprofessionally as can be while actors are trying to get centered and work on their "moment before". Also, keep us updated on a situation. If things are running behind, just alert us. Keep us informed and you'll meet with a much more patient group of people. We know it's not your fault things are behind. It helps when you apologize about it. We're less likely to lose focus and have a crappy audition. So, yeah, rule of thumb for monitors, treat it like it's a job-job. Think of it this way: you've GOT a job, we're interviewing FOR a job.
MAKE SURE YOU PROOF READ YOUR COVER LETTERS/EMAILS
I have decent writing skills. I proofread my emails before I respond, I proofread my thank you notes before sealing the envelopes. Again? Common practice.
Let's get into this. I realize we are all busy people. But as I stand up for actors everywhere, you have to know we are JUST AS BUSY AS THE CASTING DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, CASTING ASSISTANT, ETC! Sometimes, moreso. Actors struggle with every word of an email. Rereading it twice, three times, four times to make sure the "tone" is correct. We've been told over and over again to 'be nice'. 'Casting directors, and directors, and producers, are people too'.
But so are actors.
And, honestly, no offense to ANYONE on the "other side of the table" (trust me, I've been there) but our feelings are just as fragile (more than we'd ever like you to know). So, please extend the same courtesy in your email-responses that we do for you.
Here's an example of what I mean:
I received an email from a theatre company I'd heard of but had not actually seen any of their productions. Truth be told, I'm not certain how they'd heard of me since I never submitted my materials to them. Anyhow, the email was a "form" style, inviting a select few to audition for the upcoming show in their season. They specifically named this particular show and invited those on the email list to find the sides on their website. As always, I was flattered to get "chosen" to audition. (That feeling really never gets old, right?). I looked over the two dates of the email and realized I was not available for either audition date. Furthermore, as I surfed to their website, I realized the dates of the show conflicted with a few major things planned, including a family wedding I had already responded "yes" to.
But, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to audition for them. Afterall, they'd sought me out. I wanted to let them know I was appreciative and hoped to work with them in the future.
I emailed them back.
"Thank you so much for your invitation to audition for [insert show name here] I am, unfortunately, not available for this project.
I do appreciate the opportunity and hope you will, please, keep me in mind for future projects, though.
All the best,
In the email I specifically sited the show they were doing but, as you can see, it's a fairly standard RESPECTFULLY WRITTEN email.
The response I get is one line, saying that "these are the general auditions for the all projects coming up this year."
Yup. That's it. No "Dear Alexandra" no "We're sorry you're unable to make it. These are, unfortunately our generals for the whole season. We will keep you on file, but encourage you to resubmit to us later in the season."
I felt like a jackass for "missing" their opportunity. And a "too bad, so sad" attitude from THEM.
I mean, wow. It made me NEVER want to audition for them again. Seriously, they'd have to be doing my favorite play with a role I just HAD TO PLAY for me to consider it.
Rudeness goes BOTH WAYS.
So should courtesy.
Even though I was taken aback, I did respond to that "terse" email with this:
"I'm definitely sorry to have to miss it.
Thank you, again, for thinking of me.
All the best,
Raise your hand if you think I got a response to that one? Anyone?
The problem, again, is there are so many of us. So we allow these auditors to treat us like this and we TAKE it because we need the work. We want the work. We're desperate to perform. We tell ourselves, " eh, it's not a big deal". But it is.
Actors! Our self-esteem and self-worth is so in the toilet that we have to remember we don't need this kind of aggravation in our lives. If we don't treat ourselves well, no one will treat us well.
PLEASE realize there are dozens and dozens of directors, producers, casting directors, agents, writers, who WILL treat you with respect. The point is to recognize THEM.
I guarantee you I WANT to work for any of the 7 companies that sent me a thank you note. Truly. I'd go out of my way to be available. A little bit of respect goes a long way.
Honestly, I've had some AMAZING experiences with auditions where I know I bombed, but they treated me so decently I didn't actually WANT to go home and down a pint of Ben and Jerry's. And THESE are the companies you should want to work for. Not the ones that make it seem like you should be HONORED to just GET an AUDITION with them.
We have to remember something. Most people say, "crap I gotta go to work today." Or "Ugh! I don't WANNA go to work today". It's rare you'll hear an actor say, "I don't WANNA do a show today". Artists in general are born workhorses. We WANT to work. We CRAVE the work. How many managers can say that about their employees?
If we start respecting ourselves, Actors, I just know we can beat this trend of rudeness, anxiety, and self-doubt. We deserve more. Let's expect it from now on.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
3. Sell the beanies
4. Sell the Magic the Gathering cards
5. Sell the wackies
7. Finish Stop...Look...Listen scrap book
8. Go to 10 shows I'm not directly involved in
- My Left Breast/Back Story
- A Christmas Carol
- Little Foxes
- Parlour Song
- The Fugget Show
- Avenue Q
- Bronx Tale
11. Finally scan all my photos
12. Organize all my photos
13. Read 3 classic books
14. Semi-supine every day for 1 month
16. Write 10 actual letters
17. Finish any/all 1/2 done cross-stitch projects
- Finished the lighthouse for Dad
19. Go Vote
20. Refile/organize monologue
- Finally started to tackle that...
22. Take a tap class
23. Take a jazz class
24. Take a modern class
25. Take a circus class
26. Finish the Ender series
- Ender's Game
- Speaker For the Dead
- Children of the Mind
- Ender's Shadow
- Shadow of the Hegemon
27. Take a "day job" that gives 2 days off in a row
28. Visit K. in
29. Visit Raina in
30. Do film, as much as possible
- Been submitting for student films and indie features
- booked on The Defiled directed by Julian Grant (filming summer 2009)
- booked on a promo for Project Runway (shot 6/9/2009)
- Been submitting to them - now re-promoting all my new stuff!
- Season 1 = complete!
- Season 2 = still in the middle
33. Watch 10 classic (oscar winning movies) I've never seen (preferably before 1980)
35. Submit my play to 3 theatres
- XIII Pocket
37. Get Sparky's teeth cleaned (with Vet approval)
38. Go to (at least) one Cubs game a year
39. Finish playing Kingdom Hearts
40. Knit 5 scarves for others
- Jon's was done in January 2009 :)
- we bought a cart and are filling it and bringing it down to recycling once/twice a week on average
- we are keeping containers (jars and such) and reusing them as much as possible
- we are continuing to check labels and reuse any paper products we can
42. Try to use organic/green non-chemical products
43. Go to 4 movies - IN THE MOVIE THEATRE -
- The Hangover
- Star Trek
- MSNBC is now the default channel on our TV
46. Trade in Dad's guitar to get one that fits me
47. Keep up on my blog www.ali-land.blogspot.com at least once a week- even if it's just an update
48. Scan and organize MOM's pictures
49. Read more of and try to incorporate Alexander Technique into my life
- Working through reading a book called Anxious to Please which has opened my eyes to many things - specifically - it uses the process of The Alexander Technique in many of the practices. Cool.
50. Finish putting together the crossword jigsaw puzzle
51. Don't let the file basket get to the top without filing it.
- This is a constant struggle but I finally attacked it today!
52. Take a combat class
53. Take a ballet class - even though it scares me-
54. Run a 10K (6.2 miles)
55. Do 3 Stuart's sun salutes a day for a week
56. Play my keyboard, once a month, for fun
- December - :) Played for 3 hours!!!
- January - played for an hour
- February - mmm, didn't play really busy at school
- March - played for about 2 hours
- Bought mom an orange rose and surprised her when she was sick
- Got Lisa some Ginger Ale and lip balm when she was sick
58. Get an ivy (English?) plant
- Danni is giving me a plant!
60. Ride my bike as often as possible (seasonal)
61. Drink 64 oz of water every day for 2 weeks
62. Finish all seasons of the Venture Brothers (for Jon)
- Season 1 = Complete!
- Special Christmas episode = Complete!
63. Watch 5 movies Jon wants (only 1 will be MST3K)
- Let The Right One In
- Iron Man
- Sin City
65. Hang out with Dante 2x a week for at least an hour
66. Go to the Shedd Aquarium
67. Go to the
68. Go to
69. Go to the Art Institute
70. Read 8 plays I've never read before
- Who Made Robert DeNiro King of America? - Jason Katim
- A Dead Man's Apartment - Edward Allen Baker
72. Help Jon get on the path to Bio-medical visualization
73. Have a "date night" once a month
- Went to Sushi for November's date! Mmmm!
- Went to Sushi for December's date!
- Went to Uncle Julio's for January
- February - we were broke :)
- March - we were broke :)
- April - Delilah's and Sushi and a proposal!!!
74. Say something kind to someone once a day for a month -even if it's "I LOVE YOU"
75. Do my taxes by March (instead of waiting until the last minute) for
2009 and 2010
76. Get my credit score
77. Find out how much I'd be approved for, for a mortgage
78. Make a realistic budget
79. Get a new computer (mmm...MAC)
80. Do my 2 affirmations out loud for 2 months
81. Graduate from ACT ONE! 82. Get out of my contract for ******
83. Transfer my VHS tapes to DVD
84. Get my compass tattoo
85. Vinegar the carpet!
86. Go on 5 auditions I have no chance of getting or don't even want - blog about the experiences -
87. Keep an audition journal
88. Get back to my "limber self" and do full splits on both legs!
89. Play my Dance! Dance! Revolution once a week for 3 months
90. Floss every day for 3 months
91. Spend at least one night (with Jon) at a B&B
92. Make the "butterfly" tray
93. Listen to 3 recommended rap albums
94. Learn basic sign language
95. Write a letter (not to be sent) to those whom I feel still "hold me back" emotionally
96. Experiment with "freezing a goal" and wait 3 months to see the progress
97. Be adamant about making 3 hours of "down-time" for myself a week and STICKING TO IT
98. Re-establish my donations to Sierra Club for the Polar Bears.
99. Keep practicing "drawing on the right-side of the brain"
100. Get new glasses
101. Accomplish at least 50 on this list by