Friday, July 26, 2013

Sometimes you shoot yourself in the foot...

Not literally - you don't shoot yourself in the foot LITERALLY (although Plaxico Burress would disagree since he accidentally shot himself in the leg) - but you get in your own way of something you really want.

Since returning from my visit home to LA three weeks ago, I have been out on thirteen auditions.  Thirteen auditions in what is locally considered to be the SLOW season in a smaller market.  The best part of that kind of volume is that you don't have the energy to expend on just one audition being your "shot", so you tend to stay out of your own way.  I firmly believe that actors do their best work in the audition room when they know that this job isn't the ONLY one, that their career doesn't hinge on this one particular audition, because HECK - I've got another one tomorrow (or this afternoon!).

The reality is that we all have to work on developing a thicker skin.  One where the constant rejection (and yes - there is constant rejection when you are an actor) doesn't impact our own sense of self worth.  That our self worth depends not on what we do, but on who we are as human beings.  Because, let's face it - acting is subjective.  Everyone has an opinion.  You will always be too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, too young, too old, looks like that girl that picked on me in school, has the same name as the girl I hated in school, too plain, too pretty, too.... everything.

It's that occasional job - the one where you really are what they thought of in their minds before casting -  that you walk in the door and BAM, you're it!  And as long as you can act, you'll book that job.

So with that in mind, it makes it easier to face the constant rejection and celebrate the occasional bookings.  Because you cannot truly change who you are when you walk into the room.  You can augment with makeup, hair and wardrobe, but you are being judged on the essence of who you are and you are either RIGHT or you're NOT.

I've been doing really well rolling with those punches lately.  Doing the best work that I'm capable of in the moment, and walking out without my self value hanging on that one audition.

Until you go in for that one job that you REALLLLLLLY want.  That you've been waiting for for more than a year.  And you get the callback, and at that callback you can just TASTE it - that feeling of getting the call that you booked the job.  You are IN, and your professional career is going to change.

And then the nerves start.  Those nerves you thought you got the best of back in college.  And the self doubt kicks in.  And you realize how flipping talented all the other people in the waiting room are.  And you realize that you can never measure up.  That you are going to screw this up and not get this dream job and your career will never recover and you are wasting your time and their time.  And... And... And... Conveniently forgetting that they liked you enough to call you back.  That there was something about you that was absolutely right for the job.  That in some way they thought they could hire you for it.

And you walk in the room and you shoot yourself in the foot (FIGURATIVELY), and you make a mess of things and put your fragile ego back through the wringer.

But somehow, if your career is truly worth it, you will salvage your self respect, learn from the experience, brush yourself off and move on.

And you may just book the very next job you have a callback for, the one you also really want.  The one you have the very next day.  Because you have realized that you cannot allow yourself to get in your own way.

And next time.... maybe you'll be able to put those nerves to rest.

You are back in the game.  Back in the swing. Back to being comfortable in your own skin. Back to work.

By the way, I booked that very next job.  And I really wanted it, too. ;)

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It's gotta be close to ten years ago that a friend gave me a copy of the best book I have ever read - THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho. I held on to it for a while, never really sitting down to read it (which is ridiculous since I've always been addicted to the written word, especially books). When I finally cracked it open, I read it cover to cover in one sitting. I devoured it. Maybe I waited until I was in the right mental place to read it - I don't know. To this day, I still consider it the best book I have ever read. My copy is long gone - loaned to someone who loved it and loaned it to someone else, and so on and so on.

It's a short read - an allegorical tale about finding your personal legend and the way we are changed along the journey. The book was originally written in Portuguese, and the English translation is beautiful. It's been translated into languages worldwide. A few years back, I was traveling in the French countryside and my friend took me to this tiny restaurant perched on the side of a hill in, I believe, Angouleme, though it could well have been Saintes - my memory is fuzzy on the specifics. The restaurant, L'Alchemist, was tiny - only a few tables. The chef/owner had read The Alchemist (or L'Alchemist in French), and been inspired to leave a job he hated to chase his dream - opening his own restaurant. It was always packed in those days (I hope it still is), and it remains the best meal I have ever eaten.

I think of them often - the book and the restaurant - and I wonder if I'm doing well at chasing my personal legend. If I've even truly discovered my personal legend - that one thing that I was born to do. Sometimes I experience that feeling of "rightness" when performing. Other times, it's when teaching. Always, it's when I'm experiencing a new part of the world - some place that I've never been. I get that feeling of wonder, and absolute contentment in the moment - the discovery and the adventure of it all.

Those are the moments I remember - the glimpses of my journey. Those spectacularly beautiful places - so different from my day to day - when I feel absolute wonderment at the joy of being alive and in this time and place.

I'm still searching for my personal legend - wonder what I'll find?

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Smyrna Beach

I ended up with a surprise day off on Friday (I missed the memo that we weren't working on July 5th!) and felt very strongly that Jason and I should take the day and go up to Jacksonville. He had been wanting to look at some dive gear up there, and we thought we would stop somewhere on the Coast for dinner before heading home to Orlando.

Jason decided that he would love to take me to New Smyrna Beach for seafood, where he'd spent so much time as a kid. As we drove along the coast on our way to dinner, Jason was sharing stories with me - from his youth through his college days - of what had happened here or there...

As we passed a certain beach house - Jason says, "Hey, the garage is open. I wonder if Chad is here this weekend?"

Chad is Jason's best friend from college and was the best man in our wedding. He and Jason have had a lot of fun (and trouble) together over the years, and Chad famously broke his collarbone on Jason's Bachelor trip, then spent a few days on our couch, vicodined up with his arm in a sling, snuggling with Indy. You see, Chad is a walking party - always up for a good time. And we haven't seen him since our wedding day - almost three years!

So back to the story. Jason texts Chad and Chad calls him right back. He's in New Smyrna Beach! So we invite him to join us for dinner. Dinner turns to sunset drinks on the patio at his parents beach house which turns to meeting friends of his at a restaurant, and then dancing at a bar with a live band and finally us staying the night at the beach house with nothing but the clothes on our backs. In the morning we bought cheap bathing suits (Jason's has a dragon and roses on it - see the photo below) and we spent the day in the ocean and their infinity pool - enjoying the sun and the company.

It was awesome! We had so much fun, and returned home Saturday night sunburned and wearing our dirty clothes from the day before.

I'm really trying to seize the moment and every opportunity that presents itself - this was the perfect opportunity to do so! I haven't had this much surprise fun since I got stranded at the airport in Salt Lake City and found myself sledding down ski slopes (which I will not name here) in the middle of the night.

Thanks, Chad, for hosting us so unexpectedly! It was GREAT to see you!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Just a short and sweet blog post to say I hope you have a happy, safe and - wait for it - legendary 4th of July!

My husband, Jason, has committed to a photo a day on Instagram (@jasonspeerphoto) and he has so inspired me, that I'm stewing on a blog commitment of my own. More on that to come.

Anyhow, thank you for continuing to check in on this little blog of mine, and happy Independence Day!