Friday, December 29, 2006

Time Passages

While a participant in corporate America, I didn't think I had enough Time to do everything I wanted, from hanging out with friends to writing to dating to reading all the books on my To Be Read shelf or catching up on movies. But even then I believed that, in most cases, people choose how they use their Time.

Often, we get so caught up in the self-perpetuating swirl of busy-ness we forget we have some control over our schedules. We run around, overbook ourselves and our families and relinquish our powers of choice. How many times a day does someone you encounter complain about lack of Time or being too busy?

Almost everyone should be able to find 15 minutes a day to do something she/he has been meaning to do, such as 1) call a friend or relative and stay in touch 2) work out 3) pursue a favorite hobby/activity 4) any other thing she/he has wanted to do but has put off.

It's ironic that because I'm waiting to hear from so many people--literary and acting agents, editors, whether or not I'll get this or that audition or part, etc...some days Time seems to pass too slowly. Because I don't have a day job or kids to fill my days, I'm no longer sure how to prioritize projects. Lately I've been spending more Time than I'd like considering all of my options instead of simply doing. Instead of moving forward.

How well do you use Time? Here's to a New Year's resolution to improve, whatever that means to you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Out of Control

Why are my closets so organized? Why is my condo so tidy? One reason is because the state of my belongings is one of the few things I can control in my life as a Gainfully Unemployed. In my world where a large chunk of my success is determined by others approving of my work.

I can remind my various agents of my existence, but I can't ensure that they'll submit me for any auditions. I can send mailings to casting directors, but I can't make them choose me for an audition after the agent submits my headshot. And, no matter how well I say the copy, I certainly can't make the client choose me from the videotaped auditions...especially if they had a tall blonde in mind.
Nor can I control:
1) scheduling. Shooting on the independent feature film I was originally asked to save two days this week for...has now been postponed until early next year.
2) timing. I can write award winning manuscripts, but I can't make the editors who've requested them respond. I will sell, but when?

As you might imagine, all this can be extremely frustrating. Last night I attended a Winter Solstice yoga class. We were asked to write down something we wanted to let go of and throw the piece of paper into the fire. I chose to rid myself of frustration. As my second effort caught fire (the first fell to the bottom of the fireplace. Hmmm. I needed to see the thing burn.), I did feel calmer.

Can I control how long the feeling lasts?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Princess and the Bean

Newsflash: I got not one, but TWO parts in an independent feature film. I found out less than 24 hours before I had to report to set, and was told only that I'd be a bitchy passenger with a date in one of the lead's taxi and another day, a pharmacist.

My 'date' informed me that we'll have to make out. Hmmm. 1) The only time I've ever had to kiss a fellow actor was in high school while attending Northwestern's Cherub program doing the love scene from Romeo & Juliet. 2) This guy, though nice and interesting, is a smoker. With smoker's breath. Note to self: bring Altoids.

Last night we shot the end of the taxi scene, where I pay and we get out of the cab. To get what they wanted: Me and my date were crammed into the right half of the back seat. On the floor at our feet: the sound guy and his fuzzy microphone. Later, for a different angle, we had to maintain our positions as best we could despite the addition of a hot, bright, spotlight on the seat next to my date...

Because I'm so short, I sat on two sandbags, filled not with sand but lumpy beans. Beans are not comfortable.

The shoot went from 7PM to 1:50AM.

Also, copy and paste this address
for a review and picture of the recently completed 2006 Chicago Bar Association musical revue.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Defining "just right"

How do you know when you've prepared for something, as the littlest bear would say, "just right?" When are you exerting too much effort, or not enough?

I had to play piano for an audition last week. For the past couple of years, the only piano playing I've done is to pound out my notes for various singing performances. I hadn't played any of the pieces I used to play semi-well.

The day I found out about the audition, I decided to work on a Brahms waltz. I practiced. Then the script arrived, and it looked like I'd have to play and talk at the same time. I practiced. And practiced.

The audition coincided with the worst December snowstorm here in years. That morning, I watched the weather reports. I practiced. And practiced. I left an hour and a half early for the suburban studio. Fortunately, hardly anyone was on the roads which had just been cleared, and I got there in record time.

Upon arrival, I learned:
1) Playing and talking were separate.
2) I only needed to play a few chords, not a whole piece.
3) Tho I'd pretty much memorized all 3 paragraphs of copy, they only wanted me to do the first two (the last was the longest, and rather technical).
4) Many people had cancelled their auditions and were rescheduling for another day.

Could I have allocated my time more effectively? Do you think it's better to be too prepared?

Will I get the part? Stay tuned...