Updated: May 5, 2019
I'm really excited to announce all the new developments in the works!
Is there anything more difficult than moving out of your plateau into a deeper level of your work? Not only do you have to maintain your stamina and stay stable, but you need to dig deeper into your reserves of energy to drive forward. It can be exhausting, but ultimately we get stronger as performers when we are pushing ourselves through discomfort and into new territory.
It seems like an old saying to me now, but it's important to remember: saying 'no' will often allow for more abundance in the future. Actors never want to turn down work; we always want to keep booking-- but it's when we say no and carve out space for ourselves more room appears for better opportunities. It's hard, but necessary.
After a solid year of booking theatre work-- and among the most challenging and exciting work I've done to date-- I feel a shift in the momentum. Fewer auditions feel right. The work is slowing down. In these moments it's vital to keep the right mindset. These times are crucial because the brain starts to play games. It's easy to see a good year move behind you and it becomes hard to face uncertainty of the future. Even though it's important to be honest with yourself and take stock regularly, it's even more important to move forward with confidence, regardless of the amount of work on the horizon.
The actors that handle it the best are those who see acting as a workout, a marathon to keep training for and pushing through. You have to keep your muscles working, keep them from being too comfortable, keep them working. Pushing through the discomfort, when all your stamina seems lost has got to be the hardest part of any workout-- let alone in the context of a career like acting. But we never achieve our best unless we force ourselves to work through the fatigue and need for comfort.
With what looks to be an incredible sabbatical before me, some part of me aches to take a rest, to allow myself some comfort. "I've earned it!"is an easy, regular mantra. Rest is important, to be sure. We cannot drive ourselves into the ground. We have to take care of ourselves at all times. But we cannot allow ourselves to be too easy on ourselves. So instead of taking a break, I've made an artistic shift into more uncomfortable work. I've got a lot on my plate and I'm very excited for all the sweat that's coming my way.
I'm currently working with the incredible Courtney Rioux on marketing and developing the instruments that support the acting that I love so much. Courtney is a regular on Chicago Med and provides life and career coaching for actors. I took an acting for film class at Green Room Studio with Courtney some time back and loved all her insights, advice, and her approach to the work.
We had a really great conversation a few weeks ago about my goals, work, and resources. Trying to take everything good and make it great. There's so much to develop and I'm exhausted nearly all the time, but I know working further into all her homework will be worth it in the end.
I've also been lucky enough to be accepted into Birch House Immersive's 6 week artist residency. Artists of any background are encouraged to come in and to develop a project of their choosing. Artistic directors Lauren Fields and Janie Killips will set goals, give assignments, edit work, give feedback, and give motivation each Monday. Every week the artists show their homework and determine an effective plan with Lauren and Janie about how best to move forward. At the end of the 6 weeks the artists will showcase their work, having something to show for all the work they've accomplished.
When I signed on to the residency, I knew immediately what I wanted to work on. Having something to show for the work I do.
Acting is arguably the most ephemeral of the arts. The audience must be present with you as you create it. An actor speaks, moves, changes every moment, and once it's done it's done for good. You have to be there to take in the art. And if you're not there, you miss out. While I love how transient theatre can be and how big the acting can be, I often wish there were more to share with my friends and family whose busy lives don't always allow them to see my shows.
One of my purposes with this website and with this blog in particular is to curate a journal of the body of work that I create. I'm hoping to generate a log of all the work that I do, more so than just a body of work on a resume. I love my resume and all that I've accomplished, but I feel it doesn't always do justice to the work and time of every show. Actors put so much of themselves into the work, and there is so much that goes on outside of the show that contributes to an actor's process. It's moments like mine now-- where there aren't rehearsals to rush off to, or pages of dialogue to memorize, or character homework to break down-- that need to go into document this work and fighting for my accomplishments. Because moments of 'not working' are such rich opportunities for the real hard work to get done.
I've also signed on to take more acting for film classes at Green Room Studio. I've always known that film is such a vulnerable medium. In theatre, you're encouraged to take big risks and not look back, which is a vulnerability in itself; but film is vulnerable in that your work is more visible, and arguably there is more you can be critical of. Once you get past the initial, uncanny discomfort of watching yourself on film and seeing your mistakes, however, there's a great opportunity for more deep work to begin. I'm really excited to dive in and discover more. Hopefully an audition reel will make its way onto the site soon!
I also finally received the equipment for my voice over home studio and I have the special privilege of soundproofing my noisy, creaky apartment so that I can record. I'm especially excited to start recording voice overs and leaning into audio book narration. I've got several books that I hope to make time to record. I will nerd out about those projects on another blog in the future, so keep your eyes peeled there.
Stay tuned for all the assignments and developments with Courtney and Birch House homework, as well as new submissions on voice overs and film class!
I will be posting my work here and hope that it gives everyone an exciting insight into all the work that goes into building strength while not being on stage.