Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Existentialist Canine

Often when I am procrastinating or in a less than delightful mood or just wasting time on the internet, I go to Buzzfeed and look at the latest adorably witty animal photos/memes posted on the site. The latest one was of 25 Existential Animals: Yes, I’d say that my one cliché “girly” downfall is my love for furry, wide-eyed creatures. Anywhoo, while giggline at the thoughtful dog staring at a stuffed animal version of himself, I was reminded of the great George Bernard Shaw quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”

Strangely enough, Buzzfeed reminded of my most recent revelation as a performer/artist extraordinaire being: That I have to make my own journey, create my own work and to not let others tell me who I am or what I should be doing. As actors, I feel like we are constantly throwing things against a wall, hoping something will stick. We submit to every part we feel is right for us, whether or not we actually feel passionate about the part. Sometimes we think way too far ahead as in, “This will lead to this, will lead to this, will lead to this and then I’ll be able to this and then I’ll be FAMOUS!” These thoughts are damaging and counterintuitive to what it means to be an artist.

As Shaw (and the cute dog says), create yourself. Don’t let others, i.e. casting directors, producers, directors, tell you who you are, don’t search through film/theater history to type yourself and compare yourself to somebody else. Be somebody new. As I enter into my quarter life crisis, I’m finding that myself to be a bit braver. I’m embarking on creating my own work, and through that work, I’m learning about myself and what my self actually is. I see my career as constantly evolving, but my focus is narrowing now. Choosing a career in the arts certainly isn’t easy, but I feel so lucky to be pursuing a vocation that pushes me outside of myself so that I can continue to grow. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To tape an audition or not...

Last night I put my first audition on tape in quite some time. I always frustrated when I see the posts requesting an “open call” for actors, feeling as if my hard work will get skipped or deleted or even overlooked, but I feel like at the very least it’s worth my time to practice a monologue, get myself on camera and just work on the basics regardless of the outcome.

This audition was a particular challenge because the casting director also requested a song—the character is a talented singer/songwriter. After reading the script in its entirety a few times, I decided the best fit for the character was “Make Me Feel Your Love” by Bob Dylan. I’m a pianist, however playing the piano and singing at the same time is something I rarely do. It's a completely different skill and uses a different part of the musical brain than I'm used to. It's musical multitasking. Normally it’s just my fingers making the magic, not the voice, so I spent about a month working on the song determined to make it better than blah.

Over the past few weeks, I’d set my little Flip cam on my music stand and play, sing and belt for hours. I’m sure my neighbors hate me by now and are sick to death of my audition song (I know my boyfriend pretends not to be), but luckily I got better every time I practiced – hah! I put a lot of work into this audition, and whether or not I hear something from the casting, I think it’s worth it every time to put yourself on tape. I learned even the littlest things about what kind of makeup looks good, and also how to critique myself and choose a favorite take. Maybe I’ll hear something in a few weeks. If not, I not only learned some valuable acting skills, but I’m ready for any triple threat singing/instrumentation audition that comes my way!