New Year, New Post

(Filter courtesy of Snapchat.)

If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a story that many of my friends and family responded to me as depressing. While it may be, it was the truth.

2018, even with the good things that happened, was absolute garbage. Many of the goals I set for myself did not come into fruition. As a result I chose not to set new goals or resolutions for 2019. This way I have no expectations or disappointment when recapping 2019 on December 31st. It just is.

I also said there’s work to do, which is absolutely true. I have a workshop this weekend and an audition next Tuesday. I’m still without a home in Dublin (though I’m searching frantically) so I messaged the head of the department about what my options are if I can’t find a place before the 14th when the new semester starts.

As far as the school is concerned, I managed to get a shared lead role in a heavily abridged version of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ as Prospero. If I’m completely screwed to come back, the show will go on with the other actor fully taking on the mantle of Prospero which gives me comfort. I hate having to drop out of projects with no coverage.

I think this new year will be ok. There were definitely opportunities that presented themselves that I felt I should take. The main thing I need to do is stop thinking there’s only one way to have a successful acting career. That will open up things a bit.

The Short Film Recap

(Source: Facebook.)

Actually I think I’m just a trash actor regardless.

Ok maybe that’s a little harsh. However, I just saw the short film I worked on in school and needless to say: I’m not a fan of my performance.

My acting through screen coach says it’s not great to watch yourself on screen as it dashes your confidence. I’m inclined to agree. Film is a different beast from live theatre. It requires smaller movement due to the fact that the camera picks up every little detail on your face. For me, it’s not just my reactions that annoyed me, but my vocal inflection as well. It just sounded like I was reading the lines as opposed to breathing life into the character I was playing. It’s going to take a significant amount of more training for me to be comfortable with putting myself out to potential projects. Aside from the upcoming film I’m working on in the summer, I’m definitely not auditioning for any other projects in the meantime.

This is so disappointing.

The Semester is Nearly Over 😱

(Source: Student Problems Facebook.)

One. More. Class.

Then I fly out on Tuesday morning back to the United States, and not a moment too soon. To say this semester kicked my ass is an understatement. Yes, it did improve, and so did I. However, the steps it took to get here were super treacherous. This trip back home will be a bit of a reprieve.

There are some updates I wanted to include in this post that I talked about in recent days:

• I’m no longer in the professor’s course that disrespected me in front of the entire class. I had to take the case up with the head of my major’s department and the academic dean to move me out of his class. I was moved to a different professor’s course where I’m ACTUALLY LEARNING my craft and it’s not being treated like a contestant for the teacher’s favorite student. The original professor still infuriates me. Not only in how he treated me, but the rumblings I’m hearing from how he is treating the other students. It also doesn’t help that he’s industry (working actor) too. If I ever have to work with him in a professional setting and he is disrespectful to me again, I hope I will be in a position of power by that point in time to call him out on his bullying instead of taking myself out of the situation like I did in class; which made me feel powerless. I suspect that is what he wanted all along. To make me feel powerless. He is a bully after all.

• The classmate finally came around and contributed the bare minimum to the group project and no need to “correct” my paper. Between my friend who also worked on the project calling them out their lack of effort and my email, it seems that kicked them in the pants enough to do some work. I hope to never have to work on another project with them ever again.

• The short film I worked on is coming together fast! We only shot it this past Wednesday and there is already a rough cut that was sent to the directors and the producer/writer of the production. Soon I hope to use some of the footage for my own show reel. Finally a friggin reel. It’s all coming together.

Aside from the updates, I managed to book another fit modeling gig back home and apply for some mini gigs. I’m also teaching at the dance studio this month starting next Thursday. My reprieve will be a bit busy, a bit profitable, and most of all it will be at home. I can’t wait!

Memorization

(Source: Facebook.)

I just had a long talk with my friend and classmate about memorization. Namely, we’re memorizing too many different texts. Since we have 10 classes, each class offers something different:

•A scene from an Irish play for Monday’s class.

•A piece of text from “The Tell Tale Heart” for the Tuesday morning class.

•A Shakespeare monologue for the Tuesday afternoon class.

•A scene from an Irish television show for Wednesday’s class.

•2 songs off book for vocal rep.

And that’s only this week.

Memorization is incredibly helpful, and over time, with enough training, I can memorize quickly. However, with stress, a varied schedule, and too many texts to learn, I’m far too scattered. With the way my brain works, I need to dedicate more time to learn a show or a piece of text than maybe the average person.

I pray to survive the semester with all of my texts in place. But I wish I could dedicate myself to one piece of text at a time.

A Scam that Built a Community

(Source: Image Orca Pinterest.)

Is it possible for a scam to bring people together? In my case and many others, yes it did.

A “recruiter” messaged me a few weeks ago to tell of a a beauty campaign featuring diverse faces and body types for a campaign. I was wary of it at first, but I was also wary of a strange email sent to me about a film (MUDA) that turned out to be very real. So I asked for more information and they sent me an email regarding what the campaign is and what the contract looks like.

Before I agree to anything, I typically do research to find out more about the companies involved as well as the campaign. Shockingly these scammers did an incredible job at crossing their “T’s” and dotting their “I’s”. They provided real companies, real discount codes for their products, a genuine conference call with everyone that would be working on the shoot, as well as a real location as to where we would be staying. Unfortunately, but fortunately, the veil lifted for everyone soon after and it was revealed to be a scam.

The silver lining in all of it was that everyone scammed was on a group email and we all corresponded with each other after the big reveal to figure out how we can fight the scam and stay in touch. Now we are a community that follows each other on Instagram with the hopes that we will collaborate on projects in the future. It’s definitely possible: many of us are models, actors, recording artists, bloggers, and brand ambassadors. Movers and shakers in this industry that are making big things happen.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not be pulled into an elaborate scam that affects my safety or my finances. Those people are out there and it’s concerning that they would go to such lengths. Take this as a warning: do all of your research, ask questions, ask others that are involved, and if something doesn’t feel right in your gut, walk away.

Taking a Hiatus

(Source: Someecards.com)

My anxiety is at the same heightened state it was when I had that bad audition last December.

I’m not saying I’m an amazing actor, but I was better and calmer in 2016 and early 2017. After September 2017, my confidence was completely wrecked by the fact that I started having horrible panic attacks. I’m having trouble remembering my lines. My ability to listen and react is pretty much gone. It’s a whole mess. Now, I have stage fright…

I never had stage fright.

Even if my best wasn’t good enough, I would try to go with gusto and power through. I just can’t do it right now. I have one more month before I come back to the U.S. and I’m counting the days. I think one of the first things I will do is see if there is an affordable therapist to help me with this. I’m long overdue for a check up at the doctor, since sometimes my panic attacks are triggered after I consume food. I want to fix this for good.

A break from performing may be in order as I don’t see the situation or my ability improving. I still have a film and a show in the summer, so that will give me time to get the assistance I need.

Reading Week and Some News

(Source: Student Problems, Facebook.)

It’s officially day 1 of my week break with the school…it was needed.

An incident happened with the professor I was beginning to have conflict with that left me angry, in tears, and pretty much left the classroom never to return. I reported the incident to the head of the department and we are trying to find a way for me to still earn the credit without returning to that class. I will share more about what happened on Thursday and Friday after the break because it’s an ongoing issue that keeps spiraling.

For now, I have a ton of assignments to complete before the week is over:

•Reciting a monologue in Standard British

•Completing an essay for music theatre history class.

•Do research for event management class

•Practice my comedic Shakespeare monologues for one of my acting classes and read the two books that professor required us to read over the break.

•Learn a scene from an Irish play for my other acting professor.

•Last, but not least, watch a handful of movies and submit a side I created for acting on screen class.

It’s a lot and somehow I’m supposed to fit a social life in this week as well. Time to get to work.

Workshops

(Source: Facebook)

I use this meme because it’s a process of appointments to get approval to work here. Especially with so many educational offerings from other theatre schools that my school does not offer in the slightest. Like:

•Casting and Auditions

•Stage Combat (primarily Rapier and Dagger work)

•Showreel Preparation

The Casting and Audition course is particularly interesting to me because that last audition I had back in December, I bombed completely. While my professors talk about auditions, they are not really touching on how difficult the process actually is. In fact many working actors in the thick of the industry say that auditioning is a skill of its own. Once you get a booking, doing the job is super easy.

The next beast to tame is the showreel. As I mentioned on a previous post, the hardest part of booking work has been a lack of a reel to present to potential casting agencies. Mainly due to not being cast in low budget or student films who are not paying me, but will compensate me with reel footage, but in order to be considered for a part, I must have a reel first…..

(Source: Twitter. Same, cute little dog, same.)

The workshop that is offering this is also teaching advanced techniques in working in film along with production of reel footage for me to use.

Of course, to cap it all off, there is another Stage Combat workshop that I want to take. Clearly I can’t get enough of this art, especially since I would be training in a brand new weapons category.

Two of the three courses are being paid for from my previous modeling jobs. The third I will need to find a job to pay for that course. Wish me luck!

The Bane of My Existence

(Source: Chappelle Show, Comedy Central.)

For me, singing is unquestionably painful and I’m beginning to butt heads with one of my professors. Yesterday’s class was the worst. I didn’t want to go up to sing, my voice broke down, and I was bored with my song.

It’s not a self-consciousness thing (which is something they talk about in class), it’s the fact that I don’t care. Yes, more professional actors need to be able to sing now. However, like I said in my previous post, it’s not my passion or priority. The reason why I performed in the musicals I’ve been in is that they allow me to be ensemble with minimal singing and I like that.

The biggest problem that I’m having with the program in general is the fact that they are not really listening when I previously said that my priority is acting and not song. I’d rather play to my strengths and not my weaknesses. I can project my voice loudly for a piece of text. Give me Tennessee Williams, give me Shakespeare, I got you covered. Give me a solo song in a musical and watch me bomb horribly.

So now all of this vocal coaching is becoming drudgery because I’m getting admonished by my professor for not singing well; when I didn’t want to be in the class in the first place. I’m only here to complete the credits. If you want beautiful singing, look to one of your Star Students who actually give a damn.

10/10 Update

(Source: Facebook)

Let me start with the positives before venting:

•I managed to find a room for rent and my roommate is a really nice lady.

•Out of the 10 classes I’m taking, the 3 main acting ones are quite informative. I’m getting some education out of them.

•The director of a film that reached out to me over the summer, messaged me this morning and wants me to audition for the main supporting role. I will perform a video audition in a couple of weeks.

•I do have a friend here at school and get along better with my classmates.

Now for the not-so-good parts:

•I also found out this morning that working on acting gigs while in school is frowned upon and may actually get me dismissed from school. While I understand that the school wants you to focus on your training and not on work yet, it really doesn’t hurt to have some real world experience. My perspective is probably a little different since I’m in my mid thirties, I came to school as an already working (paid) actress, I’ve never been to drama school before (my previous degree was in Interactive Media Design and my school did not prevent me from taking a job in my related field), the acting classes I have taken previously had working actors in regular attendance. As long as it doesn’t disrupt my attendance, hinder my learning, or prevent me from turning in my coursework on time then it really should not be a problem. Plus my career is important to me. If an opportunity falls in my lap while I’m in school that I couldn’t possibly turn down, sorry not sorry, I’m taking it.

•Apparently I was registered for the class that I thought I had missed out on and could fail since the beginning of the semester. Of course no one in the school’s office bothered to tell me, even though we had a meeting to make sure we were on the same page about my schedule. Missing those weeks have put me into a serious bind as this is one of those classes that builds upon itself each week and I should have been there on day one to understand what the hell is going on. My semi-saving grace is that it is based on reading sheet music and I used to play the Alto and Baritone Saxophone. The downside is, that was over twenty years ago so my memory is incredibly fuzzy. Some things I remember, some things I don’t. Plus the course is taught in the European style of reading sheet music which is miles away from how I learned as an American. The descriptions of all of the symbols (aside from the ones written in Italian, which are universal) are completely different. So I still might fail the course which will be seriously upsetting since I did absolutely nothing wrong. But I’m just going to study really hard and hope for the best.

•Speaking of music: this particular school places higher priority on its music theatre program than they do their basic theatre program; which is what I’m in. A large portion of my classes are more devoted to music theatre which is not what I signed up for. The original course outline offered more business classes than music classes since being an actress is me running my own business. I have to market myself, manage my money, be able manage events relating to my industry, all in addition to acting. This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t learn some music (it would make me more well rounded) but it’s not my passion. Yes, I do perform in musicals, yes I will perform in them in the future, but singing isn’t my strong suit. My voice is built to fill a theatre with spoken word (hence why I was a cheerleader).

I feel deep down in my gut, I was blocked from this last year for a reason. Now I feel like I’m in a bigger rut than I was at home. It’s becoming questionable whether this is all worth it in the end or am I just wasting my time and energy. I’m really struggling to make sense of it all right now.