Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Role-Playing: Salesman and Product

I have had numerous agents and casting directors instruct me that if I want to be a successful actor, I have to really market myself as a product. This means: clearly decide what - not who, but what - I am, and make sure I really do fit that; that way, everyone else can see Product Zelda and say "ooh, I want that" and know immediately the entirety of what they're getting, and if they use their Visa Check Card, everyone's happy [editor's note: Visa did not pay for this mention, and has no relationship with this blog. However, if they're looking for their next adorable spokeswoman, look no further! ahem].

Even ignoring my inherent RagingObjections issues with this declaration, which I'll get to in a moment, I think it's in all honesty only half of what a successful actor (or a successful anyone) needs to be. He also needs to be a damn good salesman.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fan Shorthand

Full disclosure: I'm a geek. I've been a geek for longer than I knew the word, probably.

My geekness, for a long time, had a very specific grounding: I grew up on musicals. That was pretty much all I listened to (such that, through high school, I still turned my nose up at most pop music, since it didn't have a good story like musical theater songs do), and we can blame/thank both parents for this (mostly thank).

Later other geekdoms were visited and I acquired dual citizenship (or multi-citizenship, whatever). I discovered the works of Joss Whedon, which led to various other related geek and/or cult culture.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Hamlet can beat up your Hamlet

I go to a weekly workshop in downtown Manhattan called The Shakespeare Forum. It's a group that formed about two years ago, as an open arena for actors or Shakespeare-nerds of all shapes and sizes to come and play. Every Tuesday night actors stand up in front of their peers and show work - a scene or a monologue - and receive feedback - mediated by its creators, Tyler Moss and Sybille Bruun, as well as resident artists - from everyone watching. Afterwards everyone goes out to a bar.

It's an incredibly generous, supportive atmosphere, frankly more so than my very expensive undergrad conservatory training (not to rain on that parade, oh parents-who-paid-for-this-education-and-also-read-my-blog - I don't regret that training and I learned a lot, but we all know I spent a lot of time being unhappy). These are genuinely good smart people.

More importantly, they're good smart teachers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Plains Trains and Autobuses

Since I was about seven, I've been flying back and forth across the country at least twice a year. It used to be lots more fun - heck, I remember when they served not only honey roasted peanuts, but also little cups of ice cream with wooden spoons!

In middle and high school, in addition to the still-continuing cross-country commuting, I also did my fair share of Greyhound Bus travel throughout the state of Virginia (ugh. ugh ugh ugh. Filthy and crowded and cramped and surrounded by what feels like the dregs of humanity. Thank goodness MegaBus came along).

Sometime during college I also discovered the magic of Amtrak and its ability to let me visit friends and relations in nearish lands.

I travel. A lot (ish). In a hilarious twist of ironic irony, I have never learned to drive.

That aside.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Temporary Tattoos

My to-do list currently has over twenty items on it. This is not counting my OTHER to-do list on my phone, which has had exciting items like "install printer" and "legally AKA Zelda" for at least fourteen months now. We don't really pay attention to that list anymore, which is why I have the paper handwritten list with "current" items in front of me. Most of them have to get done by Monday - Tuesday at the latest. I've done about seven of them so far, and am optimistic I can get to at least five others today.

But it's okay. I come from a family of List Makers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Role-Playing: Receptionist

I have been a receptionist since May 7, 2007. Prior to that my only real employment experience was work-study Office Assistant in my college dorm - basically just sorting mail and doing my homework (or reading trashy magazines. Don't judge me. There's no judgement here.)

My first reception gig was at a firm that, prior to May 7, 2007, did not have a receptionist for that department. Which meant there was no strict outline of what I should be doing, or much training beyond "here's how the phone works, here's how the mail works, call back if you have a question."

I had. NO IDEA. How to be a receptionist.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Contract Audience

Last week I was walking through the labyrinthine (SAT word!) Times Square subway station with friendLauren and we passed that large open space near 7th that almost always has some musician or break-dancer performing.

This time it was a group of about five musicians, drummer, guitars, etc., called The Beetles, playing (of course) Beatles songs, and they were playing one of my favorites, "Here Comes the Sun", and they sounded gooood.  So we stopped to listen, along with the sizable crowd already gathered.

A little girl of about ten - who, let's face it, was way too happy to be an actual Native New Yorker, so we shall call her Touristette - was ecstatic to be there. "There" being either New York, Times Square, a subway station, or in front of a group of live performers. Or all of the above, because she's ten and capable of that kind of EVERYTHING-ecstasy. This ecstasy manifested in a sort of free-for-all dance explosion. She spun, she hopped, she threw her arms out, she laughed, she bobbed and weaved, and she soaked in the happy. This dance occurred in that dead-man's-land empty space that always bubbles between gypsy performers and the watching crowds, so she was in effect part of the show.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Climb Too High

One of my favorite stories about my brother is one I actually don't remember at all, though I was sort of present at the time.

Dashiell was around two and safely ensconced in his room, probably for the intended purpose of a nap (hah!). He was still a crib-sleeper at the time, and his crib was near a bookcase. We did not yet know this was a Bad Idea.

My mom, who was out in the living room, heard his little voice crying out "Mommy down! Mommy down!" She assumed he wanted out of his crib and went to retrieve him.

I think you can figure out where this story is going.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Did you know it's National Poetry Month?

I didn't. But now I do. And so do you. And do you know what that means?

yep. You get a poem from me today.

"7 AM Love"

You approach the platform slowly,
you will not make this train.
I stand
at the door, my hand on the bar.
I could have held the door for you –
I didn’t.
  Our eyes meet and we smile,
half forgetting we don’t know each other yet,
          our eyes slide away in apology –
    water on paper.
The smiles linger, forgotten, on our faces.

I will not see you again
– if you ride the train for a year –
this is not my usual hour.

But for three seconds, you had a perfect smile.