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.

Rejuvenating my Spirit

(Source: Yuri!!! On Ice, MAPPA)

Don’t get it twisted, I’m still having the roughest time in this country, but something happened while riding on the train heading to class:

One of the passengers was watching Gotham.

Not just any old season in Gotham. It’s the season I’m in, and he was a few episodes away from watching the one I worked on! It took everything I had not to grab this man by the shoulders with a wild look in my eyes and say “I WORKED ON THIS SHOW. YOU’LL SEE ME IN EPISODE 8!!!!!” But that would not be appropriate.

However it made me feel so much better. I know background work is not taken seriously, but it should. It still involves acting and long hours of work. My face can still be seen and that is heartwarming.

I’m Drinking on a School Night

(Source: Facebook.)

Actually I’m drinking Gin & Tonic. I’ll save the whiskey for a celebratory evening. Today I found out that my schedule is wrong AGAIN. Apparently I’m missing a class in the music (I have a ton of music classes for some reason) module of my program and if I don’t take this class, then I’m basically failing school…..

I want to scream.

I literally had an appointment this past Friday to fix my schedule and to make sure I’m taking the right courses and NO ONE told me this. But now I find out today when I can’t meet the head of my program again until Friday which will put me practically a month behind in that specific class. Not to mention I’ve already been added to two new classes this week, totaling my course schedule to 10 classes.

I wouldn’t have bothered adding an elective in order to take that required class but the heads of the program pushed us to take it. Then come to find out that I also might not be officially registered for the elective I’m taking even though EVERYONE is aware that I’m taking it!

(Source: Memegenerator.net.)

I’m busting out the conspiracy meme, because I think they want me to fail out of this program. I’m the only person in my school with a full ride in this school, which came by way of the previous school president who is now retired. They make no money off of me being there, so I feel they’re doing the absolute most to push me out. At this point: I’m currently homeless (even though I have shelter) and unemployed (though I do have money and payments coming in from previous gigs); failing school is just the icing on the fucking cake.

I was so angry today that I went to the other theatre school I’ve previously mentioned on here where Olivia Wilde, Colin Farrell, and Aidan Turner trained. I signed up for a free class audit this Friday. If I switch schools I wouldn’t be able to start until next year because the new application cycle starts in October. However I just want to see if this will be a better place for me. Worse comes to worse, I go back home and apply for one of the acting programs in New York or go to Temple University in Philadelphia like many of my theatre peers did. I’m going to graduate from a theatre school come hell or high water.

Entering into Week 3…Update

(Source: Facebook)

I have thoughts…

•Things are still insanely hectic at this school and I’m trying to get some semblance of a schedule in order entering into Week 3. I’m hoping and praying for a better week.

•Housing is absolutely abysmal here and a staggering number of homelessness and protests to get the landlords not to jack up rent so high. I don’t blame the locals. It doesn’t seem sustainable and they will probably have another economic crash if it continues on this track. So I’m still in a hostel situation until I can find a place. IF I can.

•The maturity level of the first year students some of my classmates is left to be desired and learning time is often disrupted. I and the other American transfer students in my group are desperately trying to maintain our patience, but it’s slipping for sure.

I didn’t mention this before but I’m currently enrolled as a Third Year student, which means this may be my only year at this school! It was on the basis of my age and my current resume which was accepted as provisional learning credit. That means my education will be expedited and I will earn a Bachelors Degree in a much shorter time. This will allow me to return home quickly and continue to work as I have previously, with more preparation under my belt and a few more training credits on my resume. Plus an actual degree so I can make $15 an hour instead of $11 at a survival job (yay 🙄).

It’s a lovely city and I usually don’t get homesick but I kind of am, and I don’t like being in a situation where I don’t have a steady job or a place to live. We’ll see if this works otherwise I may have to ship off back home (due to immigration laws not because of the school).