Sunday, April 13, 2014

More on Authenticity

Sunday musings...

What is this thing called authenticity?

Why is it so elusive?

How do we get so confused?

You cannot claim what you do not yet own.  Being authentic, means getting real.  It means choices,  it means decisions,  and it means clarity.

You cannot be authentic in your audition if you don't know what that means to YOU.

Yes, to YOU.

You don't know what anybody else knows.  You only have to the opportunity to get to know YOU.

Authenticity it about choices.  It is about how you reveal what you reveal.  It is not becoming a type,  or a fach,  or a micro-fach.  

It is not about you "fitting" into anything.  It is about revealing what makes you unique.  You choose how to reveal,  what you reveal.

I defy the notion of "if you are going to work in this business,  you must make yourself into xyz."

Is that authentic?  Is that real?  Or is that just desperation?

Where has "trying to fit in"  helped anybody,  in any field?

Authenticity isn't just "I am what I am."  (Unless you claim that song!)

Authenticity is about finding what you are,  who you are,  why you are,  and how to evolve within that.   How to make it real,  inside and out.  How to live and breath it in process,  in audition,  in life.  It is an ongoing reveal.

How you choose to reveal it,  how much of it,  what specifically you allow others to see - is up to you.  These are the choices we make every day,  but certainly in the audition room.  If you are wondering what "they" think,  what "they" want,  what "they" are looking for: let it be the truth of YOU.  Just thinking those thoughts take you out of YOU.   It reveals nothing about YOU.  You are no longer in the equation,  but your desperation reads loud and clear.

Your process of discovery and development and realization has to happen from the inside out.  This in itself has more authenticity just because of how you approach it.

It allows you to stay grounded and rooted to the truth,  the possibility and the potential of  a situation.

You are not a puppy wagging your tail hoping for a treat and doing whatever you think they want so you can get it.  At least I hope not.

You are a developing/emerging/polished artist who has something to SAY.  So, say it.  With conviction.  With honesty.  With your authenticity.

Here is your question for the week "What do I want to reveal about ME in that room today?"

That, my dearest snowflakes,  is truly in your hands.  Trust it,  nurture it,  and don't make excuses for it.  Make it count!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What NOT to do

Sunday musings...

So often we are caught up in what we have to DO to progress, to develop,  to build the career,  to grow in our craft.  If you are like me,  you even run lists in your head while trying to fall asleep!

There are lists on stickie notes,  on your smartphone;  lots of ways of keeping track what needs done:  activities, deadlines,  appointments,  auditions,  classes and on and on.  

If you are like me,  I am AMAZINGLY GREAT at making lists.  I am also great about adding to those lists;  making more lists; 

I am not always good about changing those lists - and often I find them later - half done,  sorta done,  not done.

I get down on myself for not always following through with what I feel is necessary to get done. 

I've wondered if perhaps we sometimes should go at things from a different angle.

There are no tricks in developing craft.  Wanting to be able to "do" something isn't going to happen instantly.  However,  recognizing not just what you must do is only half of it;  recognizing what you do NOT need to do is also CRUCIAL.

So,  if you are a list person,  try creating a "I WILL NOT..." list.

What is getting in your way?   Keep it simple,  keep it clear.  Don't try to cross everything off the list immediately.  Maybe begin with several things,  and work for changing ONE THING A WEEK.

Sometimes WANTING something just isn't enough.  Sometimes DOING is confusing.  Sometimes,  recognizing what NOT TO DO/NOT TO WANT allows for more clarity.

Work it backwards.  Here is an example:

I want a job -  I need to audition.  Are you auditioning?

I know it's a schlep,  and it means often an early morning.  So,  don't decide to get up at 5 a.m. every day next week!  Make a decision to NOT hit your snooze for ONE morning next week and get your butt down to that audition.  ONE morning.

See where I am going?

Again, the "don't"s  can be as daunting as the "do"s.  So,  take it easy on yourself.

Instead of saying "Don't be so hard on myself",  specify it one step at a time:  "Don't let a negative thought enter my mind while I practice today".

I have also found - and continue to find - that a balance of "do/don't"  is crucial.

DO something for your business every day.
DO NOT ignore your gut about a possible submission.

DO practice today.
DO NOT practice longer than X number of minutes.

DO get out and work on your physical strength.
DO NOT stay up too late so you are not fatigued.

DO practice today.
DO NOT multi-task while trying to practice today.


One thing at a time.  One day at a time.  One decision at a time.

For everything you DO,  give yourself a DO NOT. 

This will allow you to focus and give yourself permission on more specificity  in your world.

Nothing worth having happens immediately.  Wanting it isn't enough.  Doing isn't enough.  Not doing isn't enough. 

Clarity of focus,  focus of action,  action without self-sabotage.

One thing at a time.  One day at a time. 

DO NOT overwhelm yourself.
DO keep breathing.

Remember what Miles Davis said  "I always listen to what I can leave out.”




Sunday, March 23, 2014

Google is your Friend...

Sunday musings...

Perhaps it is being of a pre-computer generation,  where "pounding the pavement" literally meant getting up,  and taking materials into casting offices;  where searching meant going to the library,  knowing the Dewy Decimal System and finding books with information;  when you sent inquiries via hand written letter with a stamp on it and waited for the response;

What I am finding lately,  is that the computer generation - information literally at your fingertips - is separated not by your talent per se,  but by your ability to type in your question to a search engine or not.

What has not changed,  and will not change,  is the human aspect of this:  curiosity,  and the willingness to do the work to find the answers.

Whether it is literally pounding the pavement,  or whether it is discovering the right questions to ask and where,  THIS is what often separates the wheat from the chaff.

Nobody can hand you a career.

Nobody has all the answers.

Nobody can do your work for you.

YOU have to do it.

So how do you start?

Sit on your bum,  in your pjs with your coffee beside you and begin a list of questions of things you want to know.  Let that list develop as things occur to you.

So often,  I see this "list" posted on facebook pages,  or forum message boards.  This my gentle snowflakes,  is your INSIDE list.  Nobody sees it but you.  Don't share your inside list.  You need to absorb that list and let it gestate internally with a pen and paper or on your hard drive.

As the list develops,  then start asking the questions by typing them into that search engine called Google.  Yes,  Google is your friend.  Google isn't going to say "that was a really stupid question";  Google isn't going to laugh at you;  make fun of you;  chastise you;  Google is simply going to provide you with some valuable sites it feels may answer those questions.

Then,  YOU pour over the "answers" and see if what you are reading helps your query.  Maybe it leads you to another question.  Maybe it fulfills the question.  Maybe you gain information that can allow you ask an even more specific question.

The questions you pose via anonymous forums or message boards reveal much about you.  First,  nothing is that anonymous.  Second,  the world is small.  Six degrees of Kevin Bacon remember?

How do you want to be seen?  Does your question reveal that or does it reveal something else?

If a question you ask of someone or a place is something that the more knowledgeable see as an easy "Google" question,  you are marked as lazy,  clueless,  and a whole bunch of not particularly nice words. 

People in our business are more than happy to help each other,  if they see the person asking is doing their work and finding their answers!  We are the first to smack you upside the head if we see you asking questions that are easy to Google and show your unwillingness, inability, or pure laziness, to simply type and hit send.

No question is stupid when it comes from common sense,  your ability to reach out and find answers, and truly want to know. 

Even though things have changed in how quickly we can access information,  some things have not.  It still comes down to your ability to research,  to discover,  to know how to ask the right questions,  to recognize and follow the breadcrumbs.

Don't give up.  Keep asking the questions.  Ask those questions in the right places, and absorb the answers.  Don't make excuses for the answers if you asked the question.

So pour another cup of coffee,  take a big breath,  and begin the "inside" list.  Then open that browser,  and type in that question and hit send.  You will be amazed at what you find!

Ever try to exhaust Google?  I dare you!  It will then lead you to the human beings that can specifically answer your SPECIFIC questions based not on your lack of knowledge, naivete, or laziness,  but rather, based on your research and your discoveries.

THAT is what we want to see.  Performers and artists that are willing to DISCOVER for THEMSELVES.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pregnancy, Performance & Career

Can I still have a career and have a family?

This question comes up regularly.

The answer is:  whatever you choose to make work,  you can do.

Is it easy?
Will everybody "approve"?
Will you have to make some hard decisions?

No, no, and yes.

Anybody who says you cannot have a career and a family hasn't done it.  Consider the source.


Developing a career in the business of show is difficult at best.  If you are pursuing that career, you know this. 

Why have a child?

If you want a family,  that is NO ONE'S BUSINESS BUT YOURS!!!

If you don't want a family,  or choose to not have one,  that is NO ONE'S BUSINESS BUT YOURS!!!

You make a decision based on your life and your choices.   Nobody outside of your partner and family and you has a say in that. 

So,  should you decide to have a baby,  remember that the business doesn't need to be aware of it. 

When you find out you are pregnant,  you are excited.  You will want to share.  You do.  Don't be surprised if you don't get the same excitement from people in the business that you are either working with or for, or auditioning for.  They are looking at you for a job,  not as a mother. 

So,  it's not a lie to keep the truth to yourself.

Being a mother does not have to be an issue to you auditioning or performing - as in DOING YOUR JOB.

Can you audition while you are pregnant?  Can you perform while you are pregnant?

All these questions have to be answered individually. 

Some of us are healthy and well enough to do that.  Some of us are not.  Your health and your baby's health is most important,  so health comes first.

Many of us have performed, auditioned,  been in shows, throughout our pregnancy.  It all depends on the individual.  How are you feeling?  How are you singing?  How are you showing?

Will your career be "the same" after you have the baby?

Again, that depends on what you are pursuing or what you have already established. 

Each career is unique,  and how you develop it is unique, with or without a family.

Obviously, having a child brings another dimension into your life in a very big way - and that will be something you have a full time responsibility for.  This will add another major consideration into your decision-making about what you choose to do in your career.

Yes,  you have to make some tough decisions sometimes.
Yes, you may have to stream line what you pursue, or how you pursue it.

You will not have the same "freedom"  with a family.   You will need to consider more options.  

That doesn't mean baby out with the bathwater!!!!!!

Decide what is important to you.  See where compromises are.   Decide what you want for your life.

It is your life.

It is your career.

Follow your choices,  commitment to them.   Pursuit of a career,  and a choice of having a family will only ENHANCE each not deter from either.

If you are pregnant and feeling good,  audition as you would,  but recognize time lines.  Don't put yourself or a company in compromise by auditioning for something that would open close to your due date!  That's just not smart.

Don't lead with your pregnancy in the audition room.  That's not why you are there.  Keep the boundaries clear.

Don't lead with your parenthood in rehearsal.  You are there to do a job,  and that isn't being momma in that space.

When you are mapping out your career world,  you simply have to insert the ongoing priority of family and how the two will affect each other.  Yes, you will have to make clearer choices. Yes, you will not have the freedom to choose anything that comes your way.  Yes, you will sometimes have to turn down possibilities because you are a responsible for another life.

This does not mean you cannot have a career,  and cannot perform and cannot pursue your life path.

Embrace all aspects of your life.

Remember not everybody is going to agree.

It doesn't matter.  It is your life.  YOU make it work.

People in the business may not "like" you are having a baby.

People in your personal world may not "like" you still want to pursue a career.

Last time I checked,  they aren't you.

So,  make up your mind,  wear the hats,  and remember which one you are wearing,  and when.  Don't confuse it for yourself.  Be clear about your priorities.  Focus and commit!

Is it easy?  No.  When is it easy?  Having a career isn't easy,  without a child or with a child.  Being a parent isn't easy either.

So,  when does a little work  scare you?

Make decisions for YOU and your life.   The path you create has never been walked,  so pioneer forward and live your life as you choose. 

If you want it,  you can develop the courage to make it work for you in whatever way makes sense for you and your family.

Whatever you decide to pursue,  be it career only, or family only,  or a career with a family,  simply commit to it,  don't make excuses for it,  and live your life! YOUR life.