Sunday, November 24, 2013

Patience, Grasshopper...

Sunday Musings...

As we prepare for American Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season,  I am reminded of patience and preparedness.

In our instant society, where we can sit at our keyboard or ipad and with a click "BUY NOW" - acquiring "stuff" is beyond easy.

However,  the pursuit of craft and physical behavior of technique,  knowledge and claiming that knowledge into a working, living, breathing entity still has to be done the old-fashioned way:  time, patience, practice,  tenacity,  focus.

I love the opposition of our craft versus the world.  It begins to separate the truth from the fakers.  Those that want it NOW and try to accumulate their craft "stuff" like buying a product on the internet,  or calling their technique "tricks",  might make a momentary splash, and then quickly disappear.

If you want "it" - you gotta find it the same way we have been doing it forever:  knowing what you are pursuing,  knowing how to achieve it,  knowing how to find it in YOUR voice.

Let go of the "instant fix" or "trick".  It isn't real. 

Let go of the "fame" and "celebrity".  It only looks exciting from the outside.  Anyone who has it will tell you it is not what it appears to be.

Get real with what you want.  Get real with what you got.  Get real with how those two come together and what you can discover when they join forces!!!

You will never discover your TRUE authenticity until you pursue YOUR voice and YOUR craft.

Tricks,  mimicking,  wishing, hoping...never work.

WORK works.  You cannot evaluate what you do not know.  This is why it is crucial that you work with someone or several someones (teacher, coaches...) that will help you discover WHAT, HOW, WHY and simply, YOU.

Yes, I know it would be great to have it NOW.

But would it? 

We never appreciate it fully if it comes too easily.

Your voice is too unique and too precious to be loaded with tricks and quick-fixes that never are reliable.  You need to WANT to develop it.  WANT to study.  WANT to discover.

Patience.  Practice.  Perseverance.  Tenacity.  Determination.  Absolute PIG HEADED-NESS!

Do not let ANYBODY tell you they have the "fix".  As bright and as shiny as it may look,  you have to see it for what it is.

Behavior takes time.  Diligence.  PRACTICE.  DISCOVERY.

Craft and technique is a path worth exploring.  What you discover and uncover will be real.  Sometimes frustrating yes,  but real nonetheless.

Patience, Grasshopper.  One step at a time.

The more you claim that journey,  the more real it becomes.

Leave the tricks and the one-size-fits-all to those that simply do not know,  and choose not to.

You want real?  BE it. Every step of the way.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's Your Tag Line? Control Your Audition!

Friday evening musings...

We are in the thick of auditions, be it opera or music theatre.

Auditions.  Does the word give you hives????

Yeah, me too.  Not my favorite thing to do.

We have to navigate a mine field of uncertainty,  uncontrollable and elusive.

Or do we?

Yes, there is type or fach.  These are creations of the business.  If you fall for the box,  you impose the box on yourself.

So, let me suggest something different:
Create your TAG LINE.

This allows you to change a tag depending on the audition.  YOU decide what you reveal in the room.  YOU decide what you walk into the room with.  "They" have nothing to do with it.

What is your tag line?  Have some fun with it.  Create a box of them.  You don't need to show everything each and every time.  You can decide that.  Claim the tag,  physically, vocally,  emotionally, energetically.

You then discover you have much more control in the room and OF the room than you first thought.  You are not walking in HOPING they LIKE you;  desperate for a job;  with jazz hands;

You do not know what they are buying.  Bah,  have the time THEY don't know what they want.

Your authenticity is crucial in the audition room.  Your type or your fach is not. 

Did you here me?????

YOUR AUTHENTICITY IS CRUCIAL!!!  You are NOT a type nor a fach.  This is a business tool for "that" side of the table to organize with.  That is all.

So begin your tag ideas by going through an exercise:

Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your voice
Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your body
Make a list of 5 things you LOVE about your personality
Make a list of 5 things you know people LOVE about being with you

Okay - now see how they overlap.

In the audition room,  YOU are YOUR business.  Every business has a tag.  The ones that stick out, are the ones that are simple and find a center immediately:

Nike - tag -  Just DO it
Allstate - tag - Are You in Good Hands?
American Airlines - Something Special in the Air
Capital One - what's in YOUR wallet?

got the idea?

You don't have to have ONE tag.  That's the beauty of this as a performer.  You can change the tag as you move from audition to audition.

Use your lists to help you.  Write a few down.  It should create a strong reaction.  Don't try to get too complicated,  or too fussy.

What we DO NOT want is "SUSIE CREAMCHEESE, soprano with belt"

That says nothing but beige.  How do you "do" beige?!

However, you do not need to SHARE your tag with anybody else.  You have to simply claim it in how you walk in that room.  Focus on the tag.  Sell the tag.

And if you are a Mercedes and they are only buying Toyotas that day - well no, you won't get a callback,  however,  if you are committed to your work and your tag,  you will create an authenticity in the room that will make you memorable and make them WISH they were buying a Mercedes.

The next best thing to booking a job is being told "I really was taken with your talent and your audition, and I just wish I could have hired you".

That is truth to the authenticity of you.

Want some ideas?  Here are some of my favorites that I have used, or have been shared with me: (no names, and no stealing!)

Bitch with a Smile on My Face
I Eat Babies for Lunch
A Klutz in a Show Girl's Body
Sequins Down My Back
Weeping with High Notes
Dripping with Sarcastic Chocolate

Get as creative as you want!!!!
In fact, tag every aria, every cut - as it pertains to YOU!

Bring that tag into the room with you.  Breathe with it.  Walk with it.  REVEAL IT.

Don't look to what they may want.

Claim what you HAVE.  Reveal what you CHOOSE.

Then you begin to discover that your authenticity is truly what they want to SEE.

You are not in control of whether or not you get a callback or a job - but you are in control of everything you do and everything you reveal in that room.


Imagine it huh?

So, change that audition to make it yours.  Don't chase what you cannot control.  Reveal what is truly YOU.  No jazz hands.  No desperation.

Just you.

It's enough.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking a step back...

Sorry I have been in MIA...

Life gets in the way and sometimes a step or two back creates perspective.  Or it reveals you need to take FOUR steps back and sit down for awhile!!

There is a fine line between focus and not seeing the forest for the trees.

As artists,  and as performers forging ahead to create a career,  we are all balancing this constantly.

Sometimes,  you eat the bear.

Sometimes, the bear chews your feet!!

(my twist on that little saying...sorry, couldn't help it)

How do you find your perspective?  What tools do you have that allow you to create perspective?
When do you know it is time to take a step back? 

As artists, we have to be aware of self.  Often, we are harder on ourselves than any can be.  We beat ourselves up if we aren't doing "enough".  We get frustrated when things are moving to slowly, moving to quickly,  not moving at all.

I am guilty of it too.  And then guilty of feeling guilty for trying to do too much;  not doing enough;  feeling lazy;  feeling exhausted...

Ah, the ongoing journey.

I have people in my world that are like barometers for me.  They are people I trust and know they will be honest with me no matter what.  This is part of my perspective. 

When I feel like "I've been here before..."  I realize I am no longer "journeying" but rather on the hamster wheel/treadmill - going hard but going nowhere.

This is my big red flag to STOP.  Breathe.  Find the moment.  FEEL the moment,  not the emotion associated with it: frustration, anger, guilt...all self-imploding emotions.

The moment needs to be dealt with.  It needs to be absorbed.  It allows us that moment of clarity, should we truly want it.

Our journey can be complex AND complicated.  When it becomes overwhelming, however, that journey has stopped and we are working against ourselves.  We have all done it. 

Often these are moments of huge frustration, but if we give ourselves PERMISSION to stand still that annoyance, fatigue, sense of being lost (and we are! we aren't on the path at that moment), will allow us to see where we are,  discover the clarity, seek out the help,  and break through into a clearing that reveals the path once again.

Pollyanna?  Me?!?!? 

I remember when my daughter was little and I lost her in a department store.  My heart left my body. A mother's worst nightmare.  I stopped.  I breathed.  I prayed. 

What did my daughter do?  She SAT DOWN where she was.  And she YELLED "MOMMA!!!!!!!!!!"

And we found each other and moved forward.

A great perspective.  Had I started frantically searching, and had she started running, we could have continued to miss each other.  Had she hidden,  and not called out for help,  we wouldn't have found her and the panic would have built.


In the moment.

So, as you keep your focus,  pursue your studies,  develop your craft and technique,  pound the pavement finding auditions,  don't let your "nose to the grindstone" mentality become so focused you lose sense of where you are,  and where you should be.  It's okay to look up and see what's around you!  It's okay to acknowledge fatigue, discouragement, frustration;  it's okay to laugh at yourself;  it's okay to just sit down and rest for a minute. Or two.  It's okay to ask for help.  It's okay to CALL for help. 

Permission granted.  For me too.