Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Many so called actor problems aren't problems at all. Yes - there are some serious actor problems: paying bills, making enough to eat, healthcare issues if you don't have a union to protect you, having your fragile self esteem bashed regularly... Those are serious problems.

What aren't real problems are these - having to juggle your day job to accommodate auditions and bookings, getting too many emails from your agent(s), having to quickly (like within hours) put a role on tape for a TV series audition your agent got you...

It always cracks me up when actors complain about the second set of problems. You chose this life - did you really think you were going to immediately become a star and never have to work a survival job?

Are you really going to complain about, or God forbid, skip out on an opportunity to audition for a role on a major network TV series because you have to stay up late to get it in under the wire?  Are you going to complain about going through the schedule shuffle when your agent calls to tell you you booked a commercial that shoots tomorrow morning? God forbid they like you so much they bring you back the next week to add extra audio!

How bad do you want it? Are you willing to do what it takes?

I was fortunate enough to have both of those actor problems in the last week. I had to juggle my Wednesday schedule to drive back to Tampa and record extra audio for my commercial that starts airing all over Florida in about another week.

And the very next day, one of my agents called with an audition for a MAJOR network show that I had to shoot and turn around for her by midnight. I came home from Nunsense performance, did my hair, touched up my makeup and got that video in on TIME because its important. Because its the price you pay to be a working actor. Because those kind of  #actorproblems  are not really problems at all. 

And I asked for them. When they become a nuisance and a chore, it's time to get out of the business.

I wish I had those problems every week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Having Amnesia at 20 and 30

I've been harping on story lines a lot lately, but it seems that every time I turn around someone is talking about the importance of celebrating and really living your personal story.

So here's my storyline for this week:

We opened Nunsense last Friday, and it has been such a joy to live in the skin of Sister Mary Amnesia again.

The last time I played her was ten years ago. I was 20 years old, about to transfer to the University of Michigan and felt that the world was my oyster.

At a certain age, you feel invincible. The world hasn't beaten you down yet and every possibility feels like it is open to you. I hadn't yet fully realized how talented everyone else was, and had a strong belief in my own abilities and potential. Basically, I thought I was the s*%t (excuse my French). I wasn't conceited so much as supremely confident that everything was going to work out just as I had planned.

I was going to get my BFA at Michigan and move to New York and become a Broadway star, transition to Film and TV and have my own series. Believing in yourself that much can be magical.

So I marched my little butt down to a professional theatre in Orange County, and had the audacity to decide that I was going to play Sister Mary Amnesia. And my self belief sold itself to the director and music director and at 20 I landed the most challenging role of my life.

In retrospect, I was nowhere near prepared to tackle the challenges of Amnesia - the comedy, the several octaves of vocal range, the emotional arc. But I had no idea at the time. I worked harder than I ever have in my life - even learning ventriloquism - and I did it. Somehow, I did it. I was so proud. I grew so much. And it was one of those shining moments where I set my mind to wanting something and achieved it. It glimmers in my memory as a time I really pushed myself beyond my limits. To be honest, I really felt like superwoman.

At the time, I was carrying 20 college credits, teaching acting and dance classes two days a week, co directing and choreographing a production of Bye, Bye Birdie, and working a part time retail job. All on top of making that one hour each way drive (without traffic - I don't even want to talk about what it was like with traffic) to Orange County five days a week for rehearsals.

Just the thought of what my life was like then gives me a border line panic attack. I think I must have been crazy. Now, I can barely manage my weekly teaching schedule, regular auditions and this production of Nunsense.

That time in my life shaped a lot of who I am today, and I am so grateful for it. I am also grateful for the opportunity to revisit such a special role with a lot more training and some serious humility. The experience has been very different. I would hope that I am doing better work at 30 than I was at 20, but it would be nice to have back a little bit of the confidence and audacity I had at that age.

We could all use a little more confidence and self belief, right? Shouldn't we all remember what it is to dream big?

And who knows, maybe I will get a chance to benchmark with Amnesia again at 40!

Sister Mary Amnesia with Sister Mary Annette,  2013

Sister Mary Amnesia with Sister Mary Annette, 2003

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Put on Your Big Girl Pants

I teach kids - a lot of them - and many of them are preschoolers. Every now and then I have to remind one of them to act like a big boy or big girl. Nobody, not even preschoolers, wants to be thought of as a baby. So when you tell them to look like a big boy/girl it gets their attention. They almost always snap back into great kids!

It's been a wild week around here. I am now teaching 20 dance classes a week, am in tech for NUNSENSE, which opens tomorrow and runs for four weeks, and have had a steady number of auditions and bookings through all of that. It's enough to make the biggest girl a baby at some point.

On my way to this morning's acting gig, my car said that one of my tires was low. Immediate response? Panic. Frustration. A desperate need for my husband to come and fix everything for me.

So I took a deep breath, reminded myself to put on my big girl pants and handled it.

I made it to the booking early (that's why you always leave extra time, folks!) and was able to get on with my day.

Cause I'm a big girl. And I wear big girl pants!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Grit and Pearls

I have continued to stew on storyline and living the best story I can, every day.

That can become difficult when I start to compare my dreams (and progress toward them) with others I know. You see, I have been blessed over the years to work with some exceptional talents, and many of them are really succeeding in their careers right now. Some are huge, some will be huge shortly. I am so proud to know them and have had some small part in their journey. The trouble comes when I start to compare myself to these actors I know. My career trajectory has been totally different, and doesn't deserve to be compared. And I can't start thinking "It's too late", just because I haven't yet achieved the success I had hoped to by this age. It just means that success looks different than I planned!

Jen Louden has a beautiful post on this topic today, about how all of our struggles and failures are the grit that we can ultimately choose to turn into pearls. Read it here: http://jenniferlouden.com/too-late-by-whos-clock/

So Today I will choose to work on my pearl. To be overjoyed for my successful friends, and to continue plugging along on this path I'm on.

To celebrate where I am today, I finally posted my demo reel - that all important actor tool in our Internet based world. Check it out!:

And be kind to yourself today. You deserve it!