Thursday, October 31, 2013

I don't care

Some days your (or friends or family member's) first world problems could get you down, especially when it rains and they pour. Instead of getting frustrated and worrying, I'm going to be a duck and let the literal and virtual rain roll off.

Say something breaks and you need to stop everything to get repairs in the works.  Don't bemoan the issue. Take steps to get it repaired and move on.  When your work calendar is filled with tedious administrative tasks and follow up rather than creative and entertaining projects, don't procrastinate. Make yourself do those pesky items so you can feel good about checking all of them off your list. Remind yourself that auditions, opportunities and/or jobs can and will come at any time.  Dwelling on the negative, as they say, doesn't empty tomorrow of troubles but drains today of strength.

Continue to put irons in the fire. Reward yourself with a short break to do something you enjoy. Vent (briefly) to a supportive friend, if needed. Look forward to things that make your day, such as fun social activities, catching up with TiVo, and/or reading.  If you can, schedule a massage or facial to help you relax while doing something good for yourself.

As I write this, the sky is clearing and brightening.  Really!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ebb and flow

Feelancers control how many outgoing self-marketing things they do in a given week, but they can't control the number and timing of incoming opportunities. Some weeks I may have only one audition via a talent agent, no clients offering work, no work already scheduled. My head may know that's just part of the ebb and flow of the Gainfully Unemployed (aka self-employed), but occasionally my heart still stresses out when the phone's not ringing and the inbox is empty.

Last week was super slow....only one incoming audition, no jobs. Although I always submit at least a few auditions to pay-to-play sites, Actors Access, Casting Networks and/or Craigslist, I don't keep close track of those because they can be like throwing spaghetti at a wall.

Slower weeks yield time to catch up on administrative tasks, such as following up on a couple of unpaid invoices, and, of course, more self-marketing. And to attend networking events and/or learn more about the industry. Last week, I went to a recording studio's party, a reception for and the actual all day film summit.

This week, I've had 8 auditions so far, a VO job from a pay-to-play site (and the client didn't ask for any revisions), and another from a new, possibly ongoing, client.

There can be benefits even when I don't get the outcome I'd like. One on-camera audition was cancelled (fortunately I hadn't prepared for it), but there was communication with a talent buyer, so I know there was interest in seeing me. I was on hold for two radio spots I didn't even audition for, showing interest on the part of the producer who submitted me and the potential client.

Most actors I know also work for free on occasion, to expand their repertoire and/or hope for an addition to their demo reel, have fun, make new contacts, help a friend and/or increase exposure.  I pick and choose such projects carefully, because they can take a lot of time and/or end up conflicting with paying projects. I fit in a short filming session for an Internet video project and three rehearsals for two upcoming stage shows.

Since I have to finish editing two of this week's auditions, back to work!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My kind of town...

...Chicago is. There are just so many things to do and see, from theatre to events, and so many great restaurants in this beautiful city that some weekends burst at the seams. 

Friday was an art show at Intuit (which managed to snag the great domain,, followed by a tasty Italian dinner. Saturday began with Draw Like Darger, part of Big Draw Chicago. I wish I could have made it to some of the other BDC events, but this one was wonderful and so well-organized. We selected squares with images of Darger's drawings and were encouraged to combine elements rather than copying each square.  Using tracing paper, we outlined people, butterflies, flowers, etc., to create our drawings, then brought them to life with colored pencils.

Open House Chicago, offering access to and tours of many buildings and homes, was also this weekend. After I whisked off to a student film audition, we went to two near DLD, then saw a friend in a short play produced by another friend. After that was the VIP Reception for the Film + Media Summit, which was at the vast Cinespace Studios.

Sunday I went to the Summit, and enjoyed seeing friends, panels with industry experts and networking opportunities. My favorite was a talk by Lance Weiler on transmedia. He's involved in so many amazing projects, it's mind boggling. I had to leave early to go to a rehearsal in the suburbs for a play next week. This was our first staging with the entire cast and musicians. Then a delicious dinner at a bar/restaurant near me I'd never been to before.

Next weekend's calendar is already filling up...


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The cost(s) of health and other insurance

One thing I miss about gainful employment is company provided health insurance.  Not only was it reasonably priced at the time, decisions were easier.  Now the GU and GE have so many more decisions to make.  And for some of us, more to pay?

So much is being written about Obamacare/The Affordable Healthcare Act and how it may or may not benefit the insured.  I’ve gotten several letters from my current insurance company, but have been waiting to pay attention to them until some of the hoopla dies down and the new ACA websites work better.  We may get more or less coverage than we had, but at what costs?

Premium costs may be clear.  But because the prices of treatments are not, even with my and some friends’ current insurance, who knows how much we’ll actually have to pay out of pocket, if, say, we need minor surgery?  How can we prevent those unpleasant surprises when bills arrive?

The time, energy and often frustration individual consumers spend to figure all of this out are also costs.  There are costs to businesses to implement new laws --from employers to all of the exchanges and companies providing insurance. 

I recently switched my condo and auto insurance after finally getting one of those quotes purporting to save me money.  Lo and behold, it did.  But it took me some time to be sure I was getting the same coverage.  The change seemed to go smoothly.  Until my former insurer didn’t respond to my cancellation request.  (When I followed up, they didn’t even ask why I was cancelling.)  Then the new insurer sent follow up papers I found confusing, with not much time to respond upon threat of the new policies being cancelled.

We are at the mercy of insurance companies and their policies.  I’d like to feel like a valued customer vs. a number.  With so many changes, so many deadlines, can that happen? 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.

Hard to believe, but this is my 25th year performing in The Bar Show, The Chicago Bar Association's original parody musical revue written and performed by talented lawyers. And I'm the chair of the 90th annual production, THE MERRY OLD LAND OF LAWz, which runs December 4-8th.

The Bar Show’s not just for lawyers. It's for anyone who is interested in the news, current events, celebrities and life in general.  Who wouldn't want to see Governor Quinn opine about same sex marriage to the tune of “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead?” Hear Lisa Madigan and Deb Mell sing “A Dad Like That” to “A Boy Like That” from West Side Story

What will The Bar Show’s creative team do with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Macklemore and Lewis’s “Thrift Shop?” Plus we'll have parodies of songs from popular musicals such as Wicked and The Sound of Music. Casting is underway, and rehearsals start soon.

More than 60 attorneys will dance and sing under the direction of Jeff Award-winning Marla Lampert. My favorite roles include the difficult chair dance in "Rahm Emanuel, the Favorite Son," My favorite number that I wasn't in is "Pay Miserables."

To buy tickets and see highlights of previous shows, visit The Bar Show at