Naaaaailed It.

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And it feels so damn good.

Had a very successful acting class today. I’d been a little worried that I might’ve emotionally worn myself out in the process of figuring out my character and wouldn’t be able to “go there” when the time came. On top of that, I was exhausted. Didn’t get much sleep the night before so I felt like a zombie. I would’ve way much rather have crawled into my bed than go to class. On top of THAT, it was a scene from a movie that I’d watched the shit out in the past, which makes it harder for me to make it my own rather than mimicking how it was done in the film.

((I am really tired though, so not everything I write may make sense! Formulating sentences is quite the task right now, but I know I have to get this out tonight cause it just won’t be the same tomorrow.))

Knowing all the above, I told myself on my way to acting class to relax and not to psych myself out with a bunch of expectation. Expectations of getting the scene ‘right’, expectations of it playing out a certain way. Expectation kills creativity, after all. And I’d done my homework so I knew the emotions were there, it was just a matter of whether they’d surface or not when I needed them- and sometimes they just don’t! Sometimes the elements just don’t line up. You can’t be too hard on yourself if you know you’ve truly done the work.

Before my scene went up, I did a quick meditation- if you could even call it that. It was more like a deep breathing exercise (eyes open) to ground myself and find where I’d left my character. To find her sadness from within. I still wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go there, but at least I had the tools. One of those tools, by the way, having a good listening ear. Really listening to what the other actor is saying to you. How can you react to something honestly if you’re not even giving yourself anything to react to??

So before you know it, I’m starting my scene and everything falls perfectly in place. My voice is strong, the emotions (betrayal, sadness, desperation) surface in all the right places, tears are falling freely, and I’m really listening, connecting with the other actor. Eyes were glued. Compliments were showered.

I’m not really one to toot my own horn about these kinds of things. Something within me just doesn’t allow that or feel comfortable with it. But the point is, I nailed it. 100%, no regrets. And that feels freaking good, especially when I didn’t think I’d be able to get there at all. I surprised myself and that’s awesome.

Just goes to show how far grounding yourself, really listening to the other actor and doing your homework goes. Homework to me is:

1. Knowing your lines to a tee. At the very least, the essence of the lines. What is your character trying to say? So that even if you forget your lines and don’t get it word for word, you still get across the same meaning. Plus knowing your lines means you aren’t scrambling for them, thus freeing you up in your body and performance.

 2. Really analyzing and embodying who your character is as a person- who are they at their core? What drives them? What makes them who they are that makes them say the lines that are written?

3. Understanding what their role is in the scene. What was the story the writer wanted to tell in this scene, and what part does your character play in that?

I’m sure there are many other things as well, but that’s the majority of it. And I’m pretty sleepy, so if I think of anything else that’s important I’ll write about it in a new post. But seriously guys, if you’re doing all those things and whatever else you consider ‘homework’, then you’ve got the magic formula. All you have to do is trust that everything you need is already set up there for you.

You’ve just gotta open yourself up to it.

Sweet dreams, all you lovely people. xox. I’m going to pass out now.

The Aspiring Actress.

Say No to the Americano.

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I’m sure most of you already know this, but for those of you who don’t, this is one worth remembering.

DO NOT CONSUME CAFFEINE BEFORE AN AUDITION.

Not even 4 hours prior. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

And this is coming from a girl who can fall asleep after a strong cup of Joe. I know it smells so good and it’s so tempting in the morning, especially if you’ve had a long night or week. But to be honest when it comes time to it, the adrenaline from auditioning will be enough to energize you through your audition without the additional help.

See I’ve found that this miraculous thing happens before an audition..where any trace of caffeine in your system will somehow find its way to make merry friends with your nerves. The end result? Disastrous. And no amount of meditation in the world is going to save you from that situation.

The immediate energy you give off when you walk into the audition room will be: crazy, jittery, nervous, all over the place. Whereas, of course, you want to go in calm, collected with high but steady energy.

You end up tripping over lines because your lips can’t catch up with your brain, or vice versa.

OR nailing your lines…at the speed of lightening.

The only time I would recommend it is if you’re going in for a sitcom-y role. Then have it all you like. I personally still wouldn’t do it though. But that’s just me.

And there you have it.

Do you have any funny over-caffeinated/over-excited audition stories to tell?

I’d love to hear them.

The Aspiring Actress.

Okay, maybe just ignore this one…

It’s always a strange experience being on set. Each set is like a completely different animal. Some are cuddly, fuzzy, and you never want to leave. Others you can’t wait to get out of. All of this comes down to the actor-actor and/or actor-crew chemistry. It’s something I’ve always struggled mastering. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total people person! But in an industry that’s fuelled by egos and arrogance at its worst, it’s not always the easiest task. It can often times feel isolating. For myself anyway.

Since I mostly do indies, I’m just going to say I feel that I’m just not an artist’s actor. And what I mean by that is I’m not “cool” in the sense of being eclectic and obscure. I don’t have a naturally grunge-y, edgy look without the help of make up and leather jackets. But the thing is, I’m a total closet quirk. I’m just not the kind of person who wears it on my sleeve. I don’t walk around brooding or being weird in a “cool” way- it all just happens…IN MY HEAD and trust me when I say I can brood with the best of them.

But mostly I’m just me. I’m an actor. Sometimes I’m bubbly, sometimes I’m melancholy. Sometimes I say weird shit. But I’m more or less just a normal person. This does not appeal to the masses of hipsters and artists I meet on the indie film scene. I know, I know. I shouldn’t care. As long as I can do the work, right? But I’m just saying…it’s not fun feeling like the outsider on set.

On the a positive note, some of them LOVE me! Maybe it’s not so much an actor-crew thing but just a people thing. Not everybody gets along and you’re not exactly on set to make friends, are you? I should probably get my head out of the clouds on that one.

But enough of that. I also find it hard to connect with certain actors. On one hand, I have no problem speaking to a room of 300 people and make fast friends at parties. On the other hand, I clam up and lose the ability to come up with or say anything remotely interesting or witty when I feel intimidated.

Why I even feel intimidated beats me. It’s not like I work with celebrities or even half-recognizable people (oh god, I can’t even imagine what that day will be like if it ever happens). Without sounding arrogant, I would say I am on par with my peers talent-wise. So what is it about *certain* other actors that turns me into an awkward, bumbling twat? Hmmm. Their unwavering confidence.

I realize I’m still at a stage in my career where I haven’t gained enough confidence as an actor. Despite having worked on more indie projects than most of the actors I meet, getting endless compliments (grain of salt) and having roles written for me, I still feel like the new kid. The stuttering kid who is eager to please, eager to learn. I am STILL eager to learn but the former is such a far cry from who I really am as a person.

In my personal life I’m opinionated! I’m bold! I’m funny (sometimes…maybe unintentionally). So what is this phenomena that happens when I’m around other actors my age?! It’s frustrating! How can the difference be so vast!

I often wonder WHEN I’m ever going to get to a point where I can tell myself, “Okay. You officially have a voice that matters. You are no longer an amateur. You’re an equal. Who cares what these people think.”

I’ve never been the type of person to need approval from those around me. Not since middle school anyway.. but seriously. Is this the needy actor side of me that NEEDS the verbal reassurance??? No. Can’t be. That’s terrible. …ugh.

Maybe it’ll take getting onto a nationally televised show? A big budget movie production? Adding another 21 credits to my resume?! Going to a prestige film festival?? Signing onto a major agency???? Perhaps I’m just doomed to forever be an insecure actor. Not insecure in my work (no, no, no) but who I am as an actor, err, person. I mean the only time I feel consistently confident is when I’m actually ACTING and in character. Because..well it’s not me.

What I wonder is, how are all these people so confident? Where does it come from? Why can’t I be like that?

Maybe I needed to be hugged more as a child. Maybe people are more open and warm on big budget productions…I know, don’t laugh. A girl can dream. I’ll wait to have those dreams crushed another day.

To be honest, I’m probably making it sound a lot worse than it actually is. There are plenty of sets and plenty of days where I feel completely comfortable and part of a mini-family. It’s just the neurotic moments/days/nights/weeks that turn me into this neurotic mess. No wonder I stopped journalling.

God. I’m such an obnoxious actor, aren’t I? I apologize, guys. And thank you to anyone who put up with and read the entirety this silly neurotic actor rant. If no one ever reads this, then at least I got to get it off my chest. Maybe it’ll take some of the crazy with it. There’s nothing like a good vent after all.

Sigh. Just another thing for me to add to the list of things I need to work on I suppose: STOP being so neurotic.

WISH ME LUCK.

The Aspiring Actress.

Here’s a cute little comic strip to make up for it all:

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Quotespiration # 6: Geoffrey Rush

“I was never a leading man. I’ve always been in the outer concentric circles in the company, being a character actor, which is a good place to be. It gives you that diversity.”

– Geoffrey Rush (Award-winning Actor; Achiever of the ‘Triple Crown of Acting’- winning an Academy, Tony & Emmy Award)

Being the lead isn’t always everything. A lot of the time, it is the quirky and outspoken character actor whom we remember the most.

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Quotespiration # 5: Harrison Ford

“All I would tell people is to hold onto what was individual about themselves, not to allow their ambition for success to cause them to try to imitate the success of others. You’ve got to find it on your own terms.”

– Harrison Ford (Award-winning Actor; Best known for his portrayal of Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise and Indiana Jones)

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Raaaaaaaaging Jealous Bitch.

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That would be me.

I recently read via the The Struggling Actress that when you feel jealous, usually that means there’s something else going on with yourself and that jealousy is a good indicator that perhaps you should be doing something more or differently than you already are. Apparently it makes a heck of a good motivational tool, too.

I can see how that could be.

So right now I’m working on this project that’s fairly cool. It’s an indie. The writing is decent! It really is. It could be CONSIDERABLY worse knowing the load of crap that’s out there..but the real selling points are the idea, characters and the whole premise of the story in general.

Anyway, on every project, there are always the more experienced and less experienced actors. Luckily, all of the actors attached to this project are very talented and I’m not just saying that. This blog is anonymous, after all. And on this particular project, I happen to float right in between experience-wise. Talent-wise, I’m obviously not one to be able to judge.

There is however a girl (there’s always a girl) who is a couple leagues ahead of me in relation to where she’s at in her career. For one, she’s represented by a pretty decent agency in the city. She’s got projects on the go, she writes her own material to star in, she’s extremely confident in who she is as a person and actor.

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Plus, I used to be the centre of the producer’s attention and now I’ve been cast aside! Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration…but I’m a needy actress and sometimes that’s how it feels. Whether it’s actually true or not, which it probably isn’t. It’s just what my envy-fogged brain interprets. Especially when I’m now always tagged last in twitter mentions!!

I KNOW. I’m clearly insane. It’s TWITTER, for God’s sakes. WHO CARES! Right? I mean I highly doubt the producers seriously put into consideration who they tag first. These are just the kind of crazy thoughts that pop into my head when I’m feeling extra insecure. Ugh. Gross.

The result?

Raging, irrational jealousy that makes me hate myself and sometimes want to kick things and cry. Over-dramatic, you say? I’m an actress, I say.

Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with her as a person. It’s not like she’s arrogant or stuck up, which would give me the perfect reason to hate her. Nope. She’s perfectly nice, albeit a bit awkward in a Kristen Stewart sort of way. It’s part of her charm, really.

Sigh. Girl just really has her shit together (as opposed to myself, obviously).

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On top of that she’s acted opposite of a couple B-list actors in bit roles- yes, I realize it’s a little sad that bit roles get me this worked up but that’s the reality of it at this point in my career. And soon, she will be making her big television debut in a co-star role with (rumour has it) slight promise of becoming a recurring. An episode that she is pretty much the focus of for the entire hour. GAH. This is a very internationally popular series, by the way…some people around the world are already tweeting her about it. Sigh.

She is undoubtedly talented. It’s not that I’m NOT happy for her. I am! I’m also really proud of the fact that this is someone I also get to call a co-star. I whole-heartedly believe everyone in the acting community should be supportive of each other because if not us, who else? Who else gets it besides those of us who live it every day? We need all the support we can get! I truly do believe that.

And I have been supportive. Very. Extremely. Vocally. I’ve even recorded the episode ahead of time to show my support! …and critique for comparison…possibly. Look, deep down, my heart is in the right place! It’s just not always easy, but I’m working on it.

So those comments on The Struggling Actress got me thinking that I maybe..no, that I definitely need to step my game up. Jealousy stagnates you. It stagnates your spirit, all motivation and progress. You get stuck in this perpetual spiral of negativity and jealousy. Really, instead of asking myself, “Why can’t that be me?” I should be asking myself, “Why ISN’T that me?” and do something about it.

There’s always going to be someone better looking than you and more talented (sadly) but if you choose to focus on that, you’ve already taken your eye off the ball. You’ve lost the plot and set yourself back, while the person you are jealous of just keeps moving up and ahead in life. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to this. But at least i’m aware of it.

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So now I’m here promising myself that I will consciously channel all of this raging jealousy and negative energy towards doing the things that are going to get me to where she is now (and beyond). Because god knows she probably worked her ass off to get there and deserves it.

Sometimes things are easier said then done…I’ll probably have a lapse in attitude when I watch said debut episode, but I’m determined to snap myself out of it and use it towards something positive. To quote a fellow actress/blogger (thank you):

“Don’t get jealous! Get awesomer.”

And even though the photo above talks about ‘good friends’, what it should say is “Actors don’t let jealousy get in the way of celebrating each other’s successes”.

Perfect.

The Aspiring Actress.

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Quotespiration # 2: Albert Einstein

“I’m thankful of all who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.”

Albert Einstein (Theoretical Physicist and renowned genius; Nobel Prize winner, founder of the Theory of Relativity)

To hell with the nay-sayers, I always say.

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Namaste.

I previously wrote about how important it is to ground yourself into your body in order to do good work. So I’d like to share with you a little trick I’ve picked up that has really helped me open my channels up as an actor.

One of those things is yoga.

Yoga, more specifically the meditation portion of yoga, has helped me recognize how it feels to be in that place of openness that is vital to any actor. Luckily, there are other ways you can also achieve this without having to contort your body into weird, foreign positions- in a room heated to 40 degrees if you are a fan of the HOT variety like I am.

Simply give yourself 5 or 10 or how ever many minutes you need to close your eyes and centre yourself into your body. It’s something everyone of all races, ages and religious beliefs (or non-religious beliefs) can do, and if this is something you already do, then good for you! Go make yourself a tea and plop yourself down for a good ol’ session.

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As for the rest of ya…

There’s no need to get cheesy about it. There are no prayers, chants or ohms necessary. All you need is a comfortable space to sit, wherever that may be (I personally prefer to do this on the floor) and get into a comfortable position. I like to sit cross legged. Easy enough, right?

Slowly try to clear your mind but it’s okay if you can’t in the beginning or if you’re having a particularly hectic day. Eventually you will be able to. Draw all attention to your breathing. Take your time as you breathe in deeply, feeling your lungs expand and your body fill up with all this energizing oxygen goodness. Then exhale, and with that let all of your troubles, doubts and judgements follow.

Don’t think, don’t judge, just do! I’m doing you a favour, trust me.

Clear yourself of all the negativity in your life. Always be aware of your body, how you’re positioned, how you feel (not how you think you should feel). Try to sense all of the life and positive energy that is surrounding you, just waiting to be tapped into and drawn from. Bring it in and feel this newfound energy course through your body. Continue to breathe in and out consciously.

Eventually the point is to reach a place of peace and heightened awareness, away from your troubles. A place where ego doesn’t exist. Remember to always stay conscious, you’re not supposed to be falling asleep here.

Keep doing this until you feel you’ve like you’ve gotten what you needed out of it or until you’re so bored (that’s okay too) that you can’t possibly sit a second longer. Open your eyes and feel your body float back down to its core and firmly plant itself onto the ground. Sometimes this is even better than a cup of coffee after a long night (BEEN there).

It’s also remarkable how rejuvenated and open you feel afterwards, even if it felt like the whole time you were so in your head. Chances are, you were probably less in your head than you think. It might take a couple of tries, but when done right, you’ll be ready to do some of your best work from this place. Your body is open, grounded, your mind clear and empty of worries and self-sabatoging thoughts, all you have left is to simply be. You are your own blank canvas. Recognize this place. Remember how it feels. You’ll find yourself returning to it easily without having to sit and meditate for 10 minutes, which is handy when you’re on set and meditating in the middle of the room might garner some looks.

Even if you feel this doesn’t quite help ground your work, it’s certainly a good way (and what I do) to recharge the batteries and relieve some stress in your personal life- and when your instrument is tuned up, so is your work.

And hey, if you enjoy this practice and feel comfortable with it, go ahead and throw in some candles and meditation music. HAVE AT IT. Whatever it takes to make you feel awesome afterward.

Hope this helps in some small way.

Love & Light,

The Aspiring Actress.