Monday, June 29, 2009

A plug for CAPTAIN STARGOOD

I am really excited to talk about one of the latest creative projects that I have had the privilege to be a part of. While I have not had the opportunity to do a TON of voice over work (or in this case, character creation voice work), whenever I have had the chance, I have always had a ball. I suppose part of it is the atmosphere and the way in which you work when you are doing voice over recording work. You can be in any clothes you want, there are always chances to do it over, there are always LOTS of laughs and it is an amazingly collaborative experience.

Working on CAPTAIN STARGOOD was no different. It has been great fun and the first two episodes are now up as webisodes on YouTube and the website http://www.captainstargood.com/

I think there is real potential in this little project. I am the voices of Dr. Einkopf and Jimmy the Cabin Boy. It's a hoot!

We launched the site last night and now it's being shared with the world! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The waiting is the hardest part...

Preparing for auditions and call-backs takes work. But ultimately, if the auditions go well, or you at least feel you've done good work, there is joy in those moments. If you don't go to auditions, you certainly aren't waiting for a call. But when you have done good work and get good feedback and then don't hear anything...it can take a toll...especially if you get even closer with a call-back or two. And unlike other arenas, you won't get a call, an email or letter saying that they went with someone else. Now if you have an agent, they will often inquire for you, but if you don't, and a lot of us don't, you just won't know until the cast list shows up on Playbill or you know rehearsals have started without you.

It's during those times that you have to focus extra hard on what makes you glad to be in the biz. Keep going to auditions, keep sending things out, keep taking classes and meeting people. It's too easy to start feeling sorry for yourself, wondering why they didn't choose you when you know you knocked it out of the park and they even said so! We have to keep reminding ourselves that it is about the work that we create and part of that is just enjoying the auditions and call back as that creation even if it doesn't lead to THE JOB.

I've been waiting over a week now to hear about the First National Tour of Mel Brook's YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN after my call-back for Igor last week. I had to learn a song and two scenes from the show and I thought I did a great job and the Musical Director seemed to really like my work in both the audition and the call-back. But now...nada. So today, I dropped thank-you notes off at the casting office for the assistant who sent me the sides, the casting director, the reader and the musical director. And I have to stop "waiting" and let it go. That doesn't mean i won't pay attention to what is going on with the show - on the contrary - any time they have replacement or understudy or any sort of call for Igor, I will try to be there. But I have to stop waiting for another call or it impedes me from doing other things and moving forward.

I hope I can practice what I preach in this case. I've had some other great auditions in the past few weeks and haven't even gotten a call-back for those projects. We used to say you have to do 100 auditions to get 10 call-backs and 1 show. Here's hoping my show is comin' up.

I do have SOME good news to report...I have been cast in a reading of a new musical and the webisodes of CAPTAIN STARGOOD that I have created two voices for launches this week.

So let's not wait for something to happen or for a phone call that may never come. Let's just keep goin' after it on multiple fronts and believe that when the call comes; when the contract is ready for our signature, that we will be ready and grateful and deserving!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

When the stakes are REALLY high

So I am sure this is the same in most professions - there are levels of achievement or moments that are "larger" than others (for lack of a better term). Maybe they are larger because they bring more money or prestige or as I often say, they are "career changing moments." How can we do our best in those moments when indeed, so much is at stake? We really want the job...we really need the money...we've been working for it for SO long without a break that this seems like the one thing that will turn it around!

The best we can do is just that: our best. For actors, that means knowing as much as you can about a show, a part, the creative team the politics the realities of the budget...all of it. It means preparing our material like no tomorrow as if we already have been given the contract and are in rehearsals for the show. It means believing that it IS our chance, our moment and going in and with all the nerves that will find us there, all the heart pounding adrenalin of the moment, that we still find a way to present ourselves professionally without passing out or crapping our pants. And when we walk out of the room, no matter what has happened, believing in ourselves that it was just a moment and the results are out of our control.

And as my dear friend and Broadway actress Michele Ragusa recently said to me, "You have no idea what the people on the other side of the table are thinking. They can be scouring and you get the part."

So when faced with the really "high stakes" moments, we must prepare, pray (hey it never hurts) present professionally, pridefully exit and then poop (just kidding, I wanted to keep using P words). But seriously, that idea of "letting it go" is probably as important as the prep work. If you don't let it go and it hasn't gone your way, or you don't get the next call or the offer, it can rip you up inside. It can keep you from eating or sleeping and it can make you question your passion and your drive. Don't let it - after all it is one moment in front of a few people. If you believe they have your life in their hands, maybe you need to re-examine your life. YOU have your life in your hands and while fate and these few people may not bring you, in that moment, what you want, don't let them, or anything control your destiny.

In the acting business, more than any other, we rely on the opinions and views of others to get work - these "others" in any given moment, are evaluating our talent - and talent is subjective so one person on the panel can absolutely LOVE us and another can HATE us. We are not Internet Tech folks who either have the skills or don't. We are actors, with our own craft, our own skill set, our own way of performing and selling it - we are ARTISTS. And if we are artists can we really ever abandon our art? I suppose we can, but at what price?

I have said, throughout my career, on several occasions, that if it doesn't happen here, or now, or with this show, or this part, I am walking away. And as many of you know, I have walked away, a couple times. BUT...I am an actor. It is who I am. It is what I do. And now...at this "moment," I choose NOT to walk away. I choose to stay in the mix, to keep auditioning, to understand, that at any level of this business I will continue to be rejected. But I will continue to be hard-working, focused, professional and try to always bring my A-game to the table.

"Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride...nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I've got to keep on movin'.

I trust that you will do the same.