Keys To The Animal Room

My next project is a staged reading of Peta Murray’s Keys to the Animal Room at The Beacon Theatre. Directed by Christine Vittorini, it takes a hard look at domestic violence and how the signs of abuse so often go ignored. I play the role of the battered wife, Julie. After our first read thru last night, we talked about how interesting it was that there are so few scripted works by American writers that tackle this delicate subject. As an actor, it is my job to delve wholly into the character and the circumstances surrounding her. It was so hard to let myself go there because the subject matter is so dark, so scary…having no personal experience in physical abuse, I feel like I have a responsibility to those who have suffered and are still suffering.

Performances are scheduled for one weekend only. For more information, go HERE.

Behind the Scenes of The Pawffice!


Pet360 Free Shipping The web series I worked on earlier this summer with Pet360 went LIVE today! Check out ALL the episodes of “The Pawffice” HERE! Here is one of our blooper reels! The other actors Joie and Brett were great to work with, but the most professional actor of all was little Noodle. He walked into the office and sat down in front of our director Tim as if to say “I’m ready for my closeup!” Louis (the dog eating the lunch) was a hoot! He patrols the office of Pet360, making sure everyone is where they should be. I asked him to fetch me a coffee on his next round, but he said he couldn’t run personal errands while he was on duty. Busy busy!

Watch all episodes of The Pawffice now!

Throwback Thursday : The Secret Garden


A few days ago, an old friend and colleague of mine Gregory Cooke posted this video! I found it about a month or so ago while writing reflections on past blog entries. Being in rehearsals for The Secret Garden concert (a one-night performance this coming Saturday!) have brought back so many happy memories! These voices, this music…ahhh!! Glorious.

With The Secret Garden director Michael Osburn
With The Secret Garden director Michael Osburn. This was before I learned how to put on stage makeup, yikes!!

Coming down the home stretch with this show! I’m looking forward to a little bit of normalcy for awhile afterwards. My husband goes to bed before I get home and he’s gone to work before I wake up. It’s definitely hard, but he understands and supports me in my career.

In non-theatrical news, I’m writing a couple of articles, working on a giveaway with a friend of mine which should go up in a few weeks, new jewelry will be added to my shop, and this blog will get a facelift. My professional site got a revamp yesterday, so now it’s the blog’s turn!

One day, I will sleep again.

How To Be A True Professional Actor

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]

How To Be a True Professional Actor

I’m always on the lookout for articles that offer helpful advice. While this article by Alan Norton mainly talks about careers in the technological field, ALL of these points can be applied to a career in the performing arts. I’ve adapted his advice accordingly.

 

1. Norton’s article says “Put customer satisfaction first.”

For actors, this means “Put audience satisfaction first.” This doesn’t always mean play TO the audience. Dear God, we’ve all shared the stage with an actor who mugs the audience for a reaction rather than forward the story. Sometimes the audience reacts, sometimes it doesn’t. Deal with it. Your job is to tell the story. If you do that with all of your artistic ability, then “audience satisfaction” will come naturally.

 

2. “Make Expertise Your Specialty”

Make it your mission to be an expert in your field. You are never done training or evolving as a performer. I used to tell my former students “All of the really good actors are either old or dead.” I mean no disrespect to the young and gifted, of course! But older actors have had more time to get better in their craft. Remember, you are only as good as your last performance.

 

3. “Do More Than Expected”

Rehearsal is like school. You are there to learn your show. The real work happens at home. Sure, you can spend your time just memorizing your lines, get to rehearsal and let the director do all of your work for you (that’s a great way to never to get cast again), OR you can use your time outside of rehearsal to develop a character and relationships within the parameters of the script with the other characters in the story. Spend some time outside of rehearsal going over lines with your fellow cast members and get off book ahead of schedule. Schedule time with the music director to go over your music so that it’s solid. Try different ways to approach your character. The more you bring to the table at rehearsal, the more your director has to work with.

 

4. Do what you say and say what you can do.

Don’t lie on your resume. Don’t say you can do accents when you can’t. Don’t claim to be a dancer when you are at best a mover. Be realistic with yourself and list only what you do well because when they ask for it, they are going to want you to deliver.

 

5. Communicate effectively.

Go through the proper communications channels. Never give another actor a note. NEVER. That is the NUMBER ONE sin among actors. If you have a problem with another actor, go to your stage manager or company manager and let them handle it. Years ago, I had a problem with a company member saying offensive things to me offstage. Instead of going through the proper channels to solve the problem, I took matters into my own hands. This person received no reprimand for their behavior, and I looked like a huge b*tch. It took a long time for me to repair the damage to my image caused by this incident.

 

6. Follow exceptional guiding principles.

Treat your cast well. Respect your director. Respect the crew. Respect yourself. You are on the same team. Be kind to your fans and those who admire your work. Practice humility, have strong integrity, keep your dignity, and most importantly, treat others the way you would like to be treated.

 

7. Praise your peers, not yourself.

Being an extremely competitive person, this is probably the most difficult one for me to do. I will directly quote Alan Norton here. He says it best: “Respect and acknowledge the talents of your peers. There is nothing more unprofessional and self-serving than telling others how wonderful you are. Professionals are humble and generous in their praise of others.”

Give compliments honestly while being generous. This doesn’t mean just hand out compliments like candy at Halloween. Don’t give a compliment if you don’t mean it, but when you do, give with your whole heart.

 

8. Share your knowledge.

This one is hard to do because we actors are prideful, vain and insecure creatures deep down. We are competitive. We think if we share what we know, it might give our competition a leg up. If someone else books a job because of your help, then that speaks volumes for the kind of person you are. It might suck if you were up for the same job and didn’t get it, but you have to remember that there are no guarantees in this business regardless of how much or who you know. Hopefully your good deed will not be forgotten. Just keep learning, training, preparing, and listening.

 

9. Say thank you.

Be grateful for every opportunity given to you. Give and say thanks to those who help you on your journey, whether it’s your dresser, your agent, your parents, your teachers…the cab driver who drives just a few miles over the speed limit to make sure you get to your audition in time…everyone deserves genuine and meaningful gratitude.

 

10. Keep a smile on your face and the right attitude in your heart.

Sometimes you have a bad day and all you want to do is complain, sulk and lash out. If you’re feeling like crap, someone else has to suffer along with you, right? After all, misery loves company.

However, true professionals don’t take others down with them when they are having a hard time. Yes, it is difficult to be keep a good attitude when it seems the whole world is against you, but don’t feel like you are being “fake” by pretending to be happy when you are not. Instead, be mindful that your attitude directly affects those around you. Try not to allow your bad day to ruin that of someone else.

 

Lastly…

Never let anyone tell you that you are only a professional when you attain your Equity card. There are plenty of Equity actors who act a fool on and off the stage. There are professional actors who have chosen not to take their card for many reasons. Remember, professionalism in any setting is not only defined by your skill set, but also your reputation and attitude. All professional actors, Equity or not, practice humility, integrity and accountability onstage and off. They treat their fellow company members with respect, regardless of role, position, or Union status.

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

I Got A Rocking Chair

As you get older, it's important to have good seating.
As you get older, it’s important to have good seating.

I bought myself a rocking chair a few days ago. For my porch.

Here’s to completing one more trip around the sun! Considering how close I was to not completing the first one, I am thankful for every year. It’s funny how the trip just gets faster and faster and faster and it seems like I’ll wake up one day surrounded by all of my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Oh yes, I plan on sticking around for that long. I want to be that crazy old lady that just says what she wants whenever she wants. I do that already but I keep my filter in check. It seems the older you are the crazier you’re allowed to be.

According to Facebook, I share my birthday with 5 other people and a cat! Coincidentally, my friend Jesica and I have the exact same birthday, and her brother and my brother share the same birthday. I never thought I’d meet anyone sharing my birthday, but to know someone with a sibling that shares the same birthday as mine does? Looney tunes, man.

A few nights ago, I started what is already proving to be a daunting task! I am consolidating all of my blogs from across cyberspace into this one. I have blogs that trace all the way back to 2003! Reading through some of those entries brought back so many memories! I’m going to try to keep them as true to the original as I can, but if you think my potty mouth is bad now, back then it was far far worse.

I considered leaving the entries as they are, and for the most part they will be. The curse words will be edited out (mostly), photos and links will be updated (for the sake of making them enjoyable and relevant), and I will be posting a commentary underneath each post. I’ll also be including the e-mail newsletters I sent out while on tour back in 2004-2005. This project is going to be an interesting way to relive the past 10+ years, and it’s a little scary! There was one attempt to bring these back a few years ago, but I scrapped the idea because I was embarrassed at how immature I was back then. Then I look around at some of the goons walking around the earth today and think “Screw it, I wasn’t THAT bad.”

Here’s to many many more trips around the sun!

An Actor’s Job

What is an actor's job, exactly?

This post is inspired by a actress friend of mine. She is beautiful, talented and one of the sweetest people I know. Like all actors, all she wants is to perform good, provocative and artistically satisfying work in the industry she’s chosen. Over lunch one day, she expressed her biggest fear was not being liked. “I’m an actor. It’s my job to make everybody like me.”

Whoa, hold up.

“No,” I said. “That’s not your problem.” It should NEVER be your problem.

And that is true for anyone in any industry. Whether or not someone likes you shouldn’t be your problem. It’s theirs. All you can do is be the best and most honest self. It’s taken me years to really put this into practice in my day to day life, and even now it’s still difficult. I just have to keep reminding myself.

In addition to taking care of your physical and mental health (because this should be your number one priority), an actor’s job is to:

Study
Prepare
Create
Audition
Perform

There will always be people who like you and people who don’t. Let them decide based on your true self. And if they don’t like you, it’s not your problem. It really isn’t.

Repeat after me. “Whether or not someone likes me is NOT my problem, it’s theirs.”

You are beautiful, and you are enough. Just the way you are.

Music Monday – “The Way You Are”

Here’s an oldie but goodie that I wrote several years ago. One day I’ll have the music fleshed out and marvelous instead of just basic chords. I am but no means a trained musician, but I’m quite proud of this rough draft of little ditty.

Every broken heart I’ve ever had is in here. And if any of them are listening, don’t flatter yourself. This song is about me, not you.