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January 2009 Archives

Actor's Purgatory

I am waiting. Patiently waiting. Anxiety comes and goes, waves of excitement wash over me followed shortly by a sinking pessimism and a nervous reality check, a cycle that continues day to day as a wait to hear about the results of an audition. This may sound rather extreme for someone whose career revolves around the process of auditions, but when something means a lot and could have a large impact over the foreseeable and maybe long term future, somehow it becomes incredibly difficult to keep those churning feelings in check. Unfortunately I am blessed with an overactive imagination that can create a multitude of reasons why I haven't heard anything yet, how my life could change if I'm successful and how it could be even more depressing if I'm not. It also isn't helping that I have the most tedious temp job at the moment where I don't use a single brain cell, and so my recurring thoughts are about the audition. I also went through a long period of dissecting every moment of the audition itself, reading into anything that was said, glances exchanged between the panel or audible reactions to my performance, this of course only heightened my anxiety and was no help at all.

I always remember my voice teacher at drama school advising us never to give an audition a 'post mortem', and to purely reflect on your own performance assessing what you felt went well and where you can improve for next time - not to spend time second guessing the panel, as once the door has closed there is no more you can do so there is no point worrying about it. That is easier said than done.


Naked ambition

For as long as I've been a member, my Casting Call Pro account has stated that I would be willing to perform nude professionally. If the truth be known, whilst creating my profile I only really ticked 'yes' to baring all because I hadn't really thought it through properly. When this week I had to consider three different projects that would require nudity, I realised this wasn't a decision that could be taken lightly.

After recently seeing The Reader and watching Winslet with her kit off more than it was on, I have found new admiration for actors who are prepared to go all out for a role. I feel this especially so when what you see is what you get and there is no use of body double or make-up and camera magic. The budgets of the projects I had to consider might stretch to a bacon sandwich before a shoot, body doubles or special effects would not be an issue.

One of the films also contained a sex scene. I actually decided that I wanted to be seen for this project in the end but couldn't help thinking that it was a shame I couldn't send a copy home to one of my biggest fans. I'm not sure my Nan would appreciate this as much as the production stills of me dressed as a variety of cute woodland animals performing in Wind in the Willows...

Do Actors Get Sick Leave?

A few weeks ago I asked the question, "Do actors get holidays?" Now I am taking my holiday, and pondering the question "Do actors get sick leave?"
Lying on a hospital bed this week, I found myself recalling a story a tutor had once told me about an actor who had taken ill one day. As there was no understudy for his part, he was forced to go on stage with a hidden bucket so he could pop round to regurgitate his insides whenever necessary. It is at times like this, when my body seems to want to turn itself literally inside out, that I am vastly relieved not to have to go onstage tonight (although I would consider it to be crossing a line somewhat if I were expected to go onstage while attached to an intravenous drip).

Pantomime pandemonium

I probably should have finished (or at least started) writing this blog amid pantomime hysteria, since, as a good friend recently pointed out, I may now look back at the experience with somewhat rose-tinted glasses and that against temping almost any memory of any experience whatsoever would seem wonderful. However even taking this into account, I can honestly say that I have just returned to London (and blogging!) having had one of the best festive seasons I have ever had. 

Graft-Tales of an Actor

This week I managed to lose my student card; my passport to discount and savior since moving to London. Despite graduating in May, it didn't expire for quite a while and I have been enjoying pretending I'm still at drama school in theatres, cinemas, shops, bars and clubs for the last six months. Although losing it was annoying, it got me thinking that perhaps I should start trying to live less like a student. It's been tough so far. At the theatre yesterday the box office assistant assumed immediately I was a student and asked for my card. Perhaps it was the hole in my trainer that gave me away? Or could she really tell I'd had beans on toast for dinner and had to shower over the sink because there's a hole in my bath..? I would love to think it was neither and simply that my youthful vitality had dazzled her. If only.

I'm beginning to realise that my lifestyle at present isn't about living like a student; I've simply made the seamless transition to penniless out of work actor and the fundamentals are pretty much the same. What then possessed me to re-read Steven Berkoff's 'Graft. Tales of an Actor' this week I'll never know.

Broadway Blues

As every financial crisis in America is bound to affect the UK, it follows that the impact on the arts translates over the waters too.  Since I am blogging from Ohio this week, it seems fitting that I comment on the happenings in theatre in the US.  The state of Broadway mirrors that of the West End, in that while many shows are closing, older shows are set to experience a revival.  Surprisingly, Spamalot, Spring Awakening and Hairspray  - all Tony Award winning musicals - have closed this month.  But the closure of shows on Broadway and the West End does not spell disaster for actors, so long as new shows continue to be produced to replace them.

Feeling the Crunch

This week I have been hunting for jobs, not only acting jobs but jobs that will actually guarantee a pay cheque every month. My casual job waitressing events has become rather too casual, and I need more regular hours if I'm ever going to save any money. However there is still that need for flexibility to go off and do auditions/workshops/singing lessons at short notice without causing serious repercussions. And so far I'm not having much luck.

Stand Up to be seen

You can't believe every review you read. If I took every review as golden and followed all recommendations I'd have been arrested years ago for being encouraged to read The Vagina Monologues aloud on the Central Line and telling the authorities that The Metro told me to do so. I am, however, often lured in by reviews and testimonials from actors who have supposedly had wondrous, enlightening experiences with companies who hold acting classes and workshops.

Table for one, please!

Hello World!

Well we are two weeks into the year and everyone has given up Weight Watchers, given up giving up smoking, and the Kerry Katona Christmas Keep Fat DVD is collecting dust! But you may be pleased to know my long list of resolutions are going well, I have been to gym and eating actual real pieces of fruit, not even Starburst and Muller Fruit Corners (although I still believe they count as 2 of your 5 a day), and I think it is paying off, there is the slightest sign of muscle on my body...I am a god!
Anyways I shall stop creating this saucy imagery as I know it may get you hot under the collar... or maybe not!

My topic of conversation this week is the dreaded networking, meet and greet, basically talking to people who have no idea who you are.

Wow-ed by War Horse

Getting my hands on a ticket for the National's War Horse was not an easy task - But WOW, was it worth it! The production has been sold out for months, and not knowing what I may be doing a few months down the line (perhaps thinking optimistically that I may be employed with some sort of acting work that rendered me unable to get an evening off to spend in London!), I was unable to book a ticket in advance. Luckily for people like me, the National holds a limited number of day tickets for each performance (restricted to two per person), and by queuing outside the theatre from around 6.45 am on Tuesday, I was able to nab myself a ticket (I had been advised by others who had queued previously for day tickets to arrive between 6.30 - 7 am. When I arrived at 6.45 am, I was by no means the first person there and joined a small queue that was already forming). For anyone planning to follow suit, I would advise bringing plenty of layers, a book and a pillow, or something else to sit on, for the stone-cold floor.

New Beginnings

So a new year is upon us once more, and like my fellow bloggers my thoughts have been focussed on my resolutions for the next 12 months. I can't say that I have ever placed much emphasis on resolutions in the past, but that was when I was still in the bubble of education and had somewhere to be everyday with people telling me what I should be doing all the time. So I believe I have picked some achievable goals that will aid both my personal and professional life. 1. Learn to drive and pass my test before my birthday in May. 2. Take advantage of my gym membership more often. 3. Save money. So far this week I have had a driving lesson, been to the gym twice and haven't spent a penny where it wasn't needed. Things are going well! I may give an update in a couple of months to see if this dedication has continued.

As for my career prospects for this year... well at the moment it is all hinging on one audition.

Caution! Do not anger the actor

Trying to remain a happy-go-lucky and cheerful resting actor has had its ups and downs (as I've documented pretty much on a weekly basis since beginning my Grads' Club blogging.) This week, despite seeing a couple of magnificent and uplifting shows and kick-starting my job hunt for 09 with a course enabling me to be seen by some important casting directors, I feel more frustrated than ever.

Bonne Annee

Hello World!

First of all I would like to say a big Bonne Annee to everyone, as I am writing from Paris! Yes living it up in the capital of romance, fashion and mugging. But that is another story in itself!
I feel I haven't jotted down my thoughts for everyone to read for a good while, so here it goes. I feel as though it is a new year that I am not alone in thinking that everyone feels this is time for a fresh start, turning over a new leaf and purchasing Davina's Keep Fit DVD! I take the new year as a new opportunity to change things which I did wrong in the previous year and do things I didn't even bother with, so my New Year's resolution list is as long as the queue to go up the Eiffel Tower.

Playing With Puppets... And Other Activities

It was extremely disappointing to arrive in London this week just one day too late to catch Spamalot before it closed. Having waited (and waited, and waited) before seeing the show, it was eventually too late. My disappointment increased as I travelled on the tube escalators to be inundated by posters announcing the closure of both The Sound of Music and Avenue Q.  I nearly fell down the escalator (again!) when the Avenue Q poster announced it was saying its final "furwell" (or something like that!) in March. Perhaps the British public simply have not been made aware of the hilarity that awaits them in the Noel Coward Theatre. Or perhaps too many of us were frightened by The Muppets as children.

I wonder how aware Britain has been made of Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest Eurovision project. I was completely unaware the programme had begun until I received messages from some Eurovision fanatics excitedly informing me they had seen me on the show (for those who missed the relevant blog, I drank far too much coffee before auditioning with my best rendition of a pop song... And let's just say that pop is not my forte!).

New Hope vs. False Hope

The week before Christmas is famously insanely busy and eventful but I didn't expect it to be in terms of acting. In fact, I was almost looking forward to a week in which I knew I wouldn't be receiving any life changing 'you got the job' phone calls (so I wouldn't need to be checking my phone constantly.) I wouldn't immediately reach for a pen to write another 'please employ me' letter the minute I woke up everyday either. I could basically give myself a break. To then get a job offer, some positive feedback from an audition I'd lost hope on and a confirmed opportunity to meet some influential people I have wanted to be seen by was very surprising and wonderful. Especially all in my week of estimated industry related rest and repose.

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