Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My 31st Year

I have been procrastinating on this post... trying to find the right words to voice what I am thinking and experiencing...

I turned 31 two weeks ago. It was a tough one because, although I dreaded my 30th birthday, 30 ended up being the best year of my life. It's hard to let a year go when it was so good, especially when the next year is unknown. I was comfortable with the successes of my 30th year. Comfortable with the rhythm of the life we have built here in Florida.

A new year inevitably means changes in some way. It's easy to hide in the comfort of what I know, but I have decided that its time to "go big or go home". My 31st year cannot be a repeat of my 30th year, because if it is I have not grown as a person or an artist.

I have long felt that my "new year" of resolutions begins on my birthday and not on January 1st as is more common.

So now that I have turned 31, it's time to lay out my goals for this next year, and start to plan my steps for achieving them! I have two professional goals to roll over from last year, and a few new ones that I have started to roll out plans for....

Professional Goals:
-Book my first co-star and guest-star on an episodic shooting in the South (as such, I am upgrading and updating my marketing materials and developing a specific plan of attack to make this happen)
-Book a nationally airing commercial (I booked several local spots last year, but I am on the hunt for one or more spots that will air across the United States. I was very, very close to booking one last week, so I believe that it will happen soon!)
-Start a "mastermind" group of like minded actors working in this market for support, encouragement and fresh ideas. (Done! We got started last week, and it was so inspiring!)
-Develop relationships with casting directors and casting offices that I want to work with. (That's what the new, targeted marketing materials are for)
-Find representation in New Orleans (a growing market) and for theatrical work in Los Angeles. I am hoping to do this through my current representation so I am building a more interconnected team.
-Find a manager? I think it's time to bring someone onto my team that is more highly invested in me - who can give better feedback on styling, and type. I want to make sure that my appearance matches what I am "selling". As an actor, I am a product that I have to sell. The more my image lines up with my type, the more I book.

Still working on my personal growth goals for my 31st year. I will share those as I come up with them!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Confident vs. Cocky

When I transferred to the University of Michigan (read THIS POST for more), I thought I was the s%#t.  When I landed at Michigan, I was handed the realization that I was now in an environment where everyone had their "thing" and they were better at it than I.  They were funnier.  They could sing circles around me.  They had a better body.  They were better technical dancers than I was.... The list went on and on.  I took a huge hit to my ego (which was needed at the time, I'll be honest), and got back to work, trying to find what I did best and what made me special.  I'm not sure I ever found it.  I hid in directing and choreography for a long time - afraid to put myself out there again because I wasn't sure I was good enough.

And then we moved to Florida, and I started working again.  I began to realize that there was a market for ME - that just because I don't look like Jessica Alba doesn't mean I can't work.  That just because I'm not Melissa McCarthy funny that I can't make people laugh.

2013 has been a time of rediscovering what I CAN do, instead of beating myself down for not being "good enough".

So - when we closed NUNSENSE last weekend, I sat down and started to evaluate what I had learned from revisiting Sister Mary Amnesia.

Before I go into this list, though, please know that I am not being cocky.  I am confidently stating the things that I remembered that I do well. And God knows that there is a difference between confident and cocky.

I learned from a singer friend of mine (whom I really respect) that I have a much better voice than I give myself credit for.  I am never going to be able to scream it out like Idina Menzel - that is not the voice I was given - but my voice is MINE and it's a good one. I should be proud of it and have confidence in it!

I re-learned that I am funny, and that I have a gift for physical comedy.  That if I relax, and have fun, and don't try to work so hard that people will laugh.  And they will laugh hard.  I had comments from audience members (who continued to come back) that I reminded them of Kristen Wiig (of Bridesmaids) and Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory. Such compliments, and a reminder that just because I don't do stand up doesn't mean I'm not funny.  I will be pursuing more comedic work, or just creating my own.

And I re-learned that I LOVE to entertain.  I remembered how powerful it is to have an audience in the palm of your hand - to know that they are taking your journey with you, and are so in tune with what you are doing that you can make them laugh hard with just a grin.  How incredible it is to know that you have brought so much joy to their lives for two hours - that no matter what they are going home to, they had two hours of solid laughter with some tears mixed in.  Laughter truly is the best medicine, you know.

So - I'm aggressively re-evaluating my plan and figuring out where it takes me next.  My new mantra: Confidence is not cockiness.  Be confident in your skills, and go use them, just don't be an a-hole. ;)

I can't wait to see what happens!

Hamming it up with the audience as Sister Mary Amnesia.
Production Photo courtesy of TheatreWorks Florida.