Monday, September 15, 2014

How I Let Go of Each Audition

I think it takes a lot of practice and experience to learn how to and be able to truly let your auditions go. Especially if it's a role that you really wanted or felt connected to. And even more especially if things are slow. It becomes easier and easier with time as you realize there will eventually be another one if you stick with it. For me, understanding that what's meant to be mine will be mine helps. I also have certain things I do right after an audition to help me put it out of mind. I wanted to share a few of those, which is particularly appropriate because I just got out of an audition for a film that had a script and concept that I loved.

1) Focus whole-heartedly on my very next task whether it be going to work, cooking dinner, cleaning the litter box, or finding my way way back home. 

2) As soon as I catch myself analyzing any part of the audition I stop. I just stop. It's pointless. This is something else that takes time and practice. That being said, in the moments right after the audition is over I do think it's neccessary to note anything of importance. Like significant notes about the production team in case you are called in again or things that you learned worked or didn't work. But after that initial evaluation everything else can drive you mad and bring you down. 

3) Make sure that once I have saved any contact information from the production team I delete any emails or voicemails pertaining to that audition. The heart doesn't feel what the eyes don't see. (Or something like that.) I won't throw away any physical sides or scripts yet, but I do tuck them away in one of my acting folders. 

4) Look for more auditions of course!

5) Focus whole-heartedly on any acting related thing coming up including auditions, classes, screenings, events, rehearsals, and shoots. 

6) Write in my blog or do something creative. 

7) Remind myself that getting the audition in the first place is a big deal and means I'm doing something right. 

8) It also helps to literally sing the words "let it go" while imitating Frozen's Elsa. Yes, you have to mimick her movement from that scene as well. Trust me, you will feel much better.

Update 05/13/2016

I wanted to add something else that has been helping me to let go of each audition; I now keep a handwritten audition log. I write down every detail I can think of about the audition. Those include what the project is, names of all involved, location, and pay, I even include what I wore and which headshot I submitted. After I write all the details, I am sure to add how I felt about my performance overall and things I could do better next time. And then of course, whether or not I ended up booking the job Many industry pros suggest doing this and I have to say it has helped me a lot, not only with letting go of each audition, but also with my confidence. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How I Chose Acting as My Career; and When Things Really Clicked for Me

I thought it would be fun to do a post about how I got started in acting and when I finally understood what being an actor means. 

The Beginning:

If you have by any chance read my bio on IMDB you know that I actually began by doing a few church plays when I was a kid. I didn't yet know that I would one day want to pursue acting as a career, but I always had so much fun; especially when I discovered the magic of being myself. After one particular performance, when I was a pre-teen, I received several compliments about being such a "natural." This prompted me to take theater classes at school the first year they were offered as an elective. (I think it was seventh grade.) It was when I started these classes that I made the firm decision to be an actress when I "grew up." And no matter how nervous those classes made me I pushed through and always tried to do my best work. I believe I was also kinda influenced by one of my favorite literary characters; Jessica Wakefield in the Sweet Valley High series. Lol but it's true. She was everything I wasn't. She was thin, blonde, popular; and she wanted to be an actress. I always thought that was "so cool." So when I discovered how much I loved acting too and how special and happy it made me feel, my mind was made up; there was nothing else--and still is nothing else--that I wanted to do. Of course, when I was that young I thought for sure I would be famous by the age of 24. I also thought that I would be a size double-zero, living in a Hollywood mansion, and engaged to Jonathan Taylor Thomas. (Or maybe by that time I had moved on to one of the Backstreet Boys. I can't remember but it was definitely post my love affair with Zack Morris. Yes, I'm totally aging myself. The beautiful thing is that I DON'T CARE!)

So, I took drama classes in junior high and all through high school. Acting class always made me nervous, no matter how much I loved it. I knew I had talent, but I was extremely shy and found it difficult to shine. It wasn't until the year that I graduated from high school that I began doing community theater. I'm not sure why. I wish I would have begun sooner. I just don't think I really knew much about it or how to approach it, so I just stuck with school plays. Also, it took me years to understand the work that really goes into pursuing an acting career. In many ways, I consider myself a late bloomer. 

I worked in several plays while living in Virginia. Each one meant something very special to me and even though I've come to realize that I enjoy acting on-camera much more than on-stage, I know that my background in theater is priceless. It's something that I will always be proud of and grateful for. (My preference for acting on-camera doesn't mean that I don't submit for play castings if a role is suitable for me!) Quickly too, I decided not to go to college or a fancy acting school. I made the decision to rely on my experience; to start at the bottom and work my way up; and to take classes at studios when needed. (Please note that this is not the right decision for everyone!)

NYC vs. LA:

Eventually, working in plays became not enough for me. I wanted more opportunities. I wanted more accessibility when it came to pursuing my passions and that meant that I would have to make a move to a bigger market. At the time that I moved the only obvious choices were New York City and Los Angeles. Even though when I was 13(ish) I imagined living in Hollywood, when it came to the time, I was completely obsessed with Manhattan. I went for the first time on a school trip when I was 17 years old and fell madly in love. I knew I would love it though. In fact I chose that trip to New York over my class ring. (My parents couldn't afford both.) It made sense completely that I would love the energy of the city and all the tall buildings. I was always bored in VA. Even as little girl I was fascinated with the downtown area of Roanoke, the city in which I lived. Roanoke had one "skyscraper." Now known as the Wachovia Tower, it stands 21 stories tall over downtown Roanoke. We lived on a hill and riding the bus home after school there was this one spot where I could see that tower. Everyday when the bus got to that spot I would stretch myself a little higher to make sure I got my daily glimpse of the building. I was in elementary school at the time. 

Also, being an impatient night-owl who highly desired convenience, NYC seemed perfect.  

The Revelation: 

Once I moved up here though it still took years for me to pursue acting hard core. I still didn't see the amount of work and hustling that needed to go into it. I thought it was good enough to work in a project here and there and to take break afterwards before starting the next. Like, when I booked something, I wouldn't even look for auditions until the production was completely over. Even when I did look for castings, I didn't get many auditions. I couldn't even get auditions for student films. Then, when I got married I barely even thought about acting. I didn't audition for a whole year and a half. I still wanted to do it. At least, I still told people I wanted to do it. But I had kind of given up.

Thankfully, I eventually felt the urge to get back to into it. My husband was one-hundred percent supportive and gave me all the encouragement I needed. This time around things were different. I started getting more auditions and bookings than before and one project seemed to lead to the next. Which in turn motivated me to start hustling more and to work as hard I needed to. I don't know why it was different this time. It didn't seem like I had changed. I had the same experience. I was using the same headshot. I was using the same casting sites. Maybe it's because I truly realized my deep love for acting in it's absence; I let myself be naturally drawn back into it without even thinking about it. Maybe it's because persistence really is the key. That, I can say now without a doubt. When people ask me when did I get started in acting, I tell them when I was a child, but I didn't truly start pursuing it until a few years ago. 

Sometimes I wonder if it is unhealthy how much I love acting because I feel like I'm utterly obsessed with it! But love is the reason I pursue it now and whole heartedly. Not only because of how much I love the craft, but also because I want to be a blessing to others. And I want to glorify God with everything He has given me. 

   (A picture says a thousand words, and 
   this one says I'm happy doing what I