Life Goals

I study acting and live in Los Angeles because it is the west coast center of the entertainment world. It is the place to encounter opportunities and I also love being around others seeking acting parts. We form an unspoken group—and a rather large one—that embraces movies and the theater of any kind. This doesn’t mean that this is the only place on earth for would-be actors. You can life in London or New York. There is a colony of us in all these metropolitan places. You hope to be exposed to talent scouts or the right people who will spread the word. You have your hopes and dreams that keep you moving on. I am young and have time to develop my skills. I will get as much out of Los Angeles (aka Hollywood) before moving on to see what other locations bring. I have the biggest fantasy about appearing on Broadway, even the smallest acting part. Newbies have been known to succeed so you can’t give up.

The energy and excitement of New York is incomparable. It is like no other city on earth. The climate and life style are different and if you are from Los Angeles, it takes some adaptation, which is not my strong suit. I often find that change brings problems and assorted issues, so I have to learn to cope. If I think about New York this far in advance, perhaps it will be easier when the time comes. I will have thought it through and imagined the best and the worst. I am a little reticent about public transportation, for example, and finding myself in a crowded subway or bus. I almost feel I can’t breathe when this happens. I would have to avoid both during peak rush hours. I can do that most of the time. I would miss my car and the independence it brings me in Los Angeles.

Because the city is so expensive, you don’t get much for your rental money. You usually can only afford a studio apartment or if you want to have more space, you can share with another fellow traveler in the acting field. I have heard that three or four people sometimes live in a one bedroom space. I am told that Brooklyn is cheaper even though it is farther than I want to be from Broadway. I want to live and breathe the theatrical air. I want to walk the streets and absorb the local culture. But I am also told that Brooklyn can offer you homes with a nice wood stove and a little yard for the same money for a Manhattan studio apartment.

That would add charm to the abode and encourage me to reside across the bridge. If I do get to move to New York, this will be a big consideration. I love the idea of a roaring fire in winter. It adds warmth and atmosphere to your home.

I Got a Part!

I dream of the perfect part, one that is challenging and shows all my acting strengths. I will be a major role and not a mere cameo. It will require hours of rehearsals and eat up all my free time. But no matter. It will be a wonderful part in a well-written play. I am not yet expecting to appear in any film. I love the theater and welcome an opportunity to tread the boards. I fantasize all the time about the ideal audition at which I excel. I come for the first call and compete with many actresses, but then I get a call back and audition once more. This is the normal process and I go through it with gusto. I finally get the part. Such is my on-going dream. It keeps me pumped up emotionally and gets me going. I know that someday I will prevail. I work hard in acting class, go to a lot of performances, and try to hone my craft. I love my life and its future-oriented perspective.

This dream, oddly enough, became a reality, but in a really different way. I got a part, but not in a movie or a stage production. Believe it or not, it was for an infomercial. Imagine that. I would be seen multiple times on TV for many months; plus I would have an addition to my rather sparse resume. I welcomed the role. Infomercials are generally low budget and this one was no exception. It was being produced to sell a new kind of electric pressure washer. A what? I never even touched one before. I had to do my research to find out what it can do. Now I understand. It is an everyday item that anyone would have. The infomercial would no doubt bring in inquiries and eventual sales. I was paid actor’s scale which is not a lot, but in six months if the infomercial were successful, I would get a bonus.

After my research I became a pressure washer expert and knew all the various models and types. I now know that you can clean the oily garage floor or dirt off the exterior of your house. You can get that caked on mud stuck to your car’s wheels when you drove for a few miles in the rain. You can clean debris off your sidewalk with a simple adjustment of the hose. Yes, it has different levels of pressure to tackle any residential or commercial job. If you get professional quality, it will be useful and last for years. No doubt I would be demonstrating this in the infomercial and I had to sound convincing and sure. With this knowledge behind me and my newfound respect for the product, I was ready to be filmed. It only took a day and we wrapped up on time. I was so excited to have been part of anything that would be public. Even better, I was given a complementary pressure washer to take home.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Sometimes I have major tales to tell, although my life is not always exciting. In fact, I try to stay calm most of the time and keep my emotions on an even keel. There are other times when I will recount mundane occurrences that nevertheless affect me to the core. You understand. Most of us go plodding through life one foot at a time. We just keep moving forward no matter what happens. In the midst of all the goings on that are simple or complex, I have to try to exercise, eat well, and get my required sleep. If I don’t, I know there is a price to pay. If I get less than six hours of rest, I am agitated the next morning. No one wants to wake up like that so I protect my time in slumberland as best I can.

One night this was not really possible because there was a nasty and lengthy thunderstorm. After a rough beginning, the menace knocked out the power and with it, my ceiling fan. I turn it on every night and if it is not operating, I miss it and start to toss and turn. It is not just to create circulating air, although it does that, or a night light. It functions as white noise, a term referring to a type of constant sound such as ocean waves or the whistling of a breeze. Everyone has their preference, but when you sleep to white noise, you rest more fully and for a longer period of time.

This particular night I was particularly restless having had a challenging day. I was attending an acting class and was asked to perform a difficult part in front of the other students. It was rather impromptu as requests go, typical of how the teacher operates. He wants you to think on your feet and not over prepare. I had ten minutes to review the material before I was up for criticism. It went pretty well, but nonetheless I was exhausted after finishing and couldn’t wait to get home. The afternoon hours passed and I was more than ready for bed at ten. But it was a dark and stormy night and you know what happened. I really was fidgety as I waited for hours for the power to come back on and activate my ceiling fan. I resorted to reading with a flashlight as my electricity didn’t work. I was at the mercy of Mother Nature. Only in the wee hours of the morning did the power return and thus the white noise of my fan. But it was too late and only a few hours remained before I had to get up and dress for work. It was a tough night, and the only benefit was that read a new play. It would be something we would be working on in acting class so I was a step ahead of the students. And now I could relax as I knew that this night, the fan would be on, making its soothing noise, to allow me to sleep.

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

I have a long list of favorite Broadway plays and musicals of which Sweeny Todd is one. I see Angela Lansbury recreating one of her best roles for which she won more than one Tony. Imagine my excitement when I heard that there were auditions for this stellar work of art. It is a small role to be sure but who cares. I would be part of history. There are only so many classics in the theater which is why they are reviving so many old hits.

I put the audition date on my calendar and reread the play to prepare for my turn. I got to the rehearsal hall early to make sure I wouldn’t be late and miss my call. There were dozens of people waiting in line as I expected, but I didn’t let it get me down. Everyone has a chance so one day I will prevail. I so badly want to get my acting career off to a roaring start. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd would be ideal. It would be pure fun. I am gathering my wits about me and revving up my energy as I read for a part. They ask me if I could sing and dance and I quickly execute a few steps. I am in my element and hope to be recalled. They said they would post the finalists the next day on the rehearsal hall bulletin board. I could barely sleep that night. I had dreams about the play’s unique set. It has a creepy, but cool, barbershop chute and a really mean-looking meat grinder. It was scary enough to keep me awake for hours. The meat grinder in particular makes me cringe and gives me chills right down deep in my bones.

Sweeney Todd as a character is part and parcel of old Victorian melodrama which makes the modern version all the more interesting. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler have executed a miraculous show that has stood the test of time. Now I have a shot at it myself. I could be part of resurrecting a macabre classic that revolves around—imagine this—meat pies. I have seen the piece a few times and each performance is different. This has helped me make my audition unique but in keeping with tradition. If you have not seen the play, by all means take advantage of it if it comes with a touring company to your town. You won’t get Angela, but you will get a great cast. You will see the weird set and experience the freakish oddness of the hit. It sure took imagination to put this drama together for the modern world. It is akin to stories like Lizzie Borden which was also made into a musical.

Wish me luck with my audition and soon I will reveal the results. I need every hand of support I can muster up. I need people rooting for me to prevail. Thanks for your time.

Kick Butt!

I am a real novice about some sports and form of exercise, not doing much in the way of a gym workout. However, now I have to sit up and take notice of boxing as I am trying out for a small part in a play that takes place in a boxing setting. I would be a boxer as part of the overall background, but I would have a few lines to say. More than the lines, I had to look the part and execute the right moves. Wearing the right clothing including those big gloves would help set the right tone. What fun. I have auditioned for so many jobs and each has its challenges. Some are more exciting than others and I crave parts which require me to learn new skills. Now it was time to add boxing to my normal fitness regime.

My gym has a couple of those large boxing bags but you can also work out with a sparring partner, but not in a ring. You work with a trainer who throws different punches at you to which you must quickly respond as you dance around each other. It can be tiring and it is a great way to stay in shape. The play had to do with a character who was about to go the distance and be a contender for the heavyweight title. There are many plays about boxers, but this one had a modern twist. The leading role was played by a woman. Think Laila Ali. Boy can she kick butt. She also was a finalist on Dancing with the Stars so I admire her no end. She is one of my idols for her versatile talents. When you are trying to establish a career in acting, you also have to be flexible and open to new things.

As I worked out and prepared for the role, I imagined Laila next to me egging me on. Go for it, she would scream. After weeks of enjoyment, I felt in shape and ready to try out for the part. I had to look like I, too, could kick butt. I think I was convincing at the audition and knew my way around a punching bag for sure. I knew how to put on gloves, lace up the proper shoes, and more. I was a boxer incarnate. Don’t be surprised, therefore, that I got a call back and eventually the part. Okay, its small, but I loved the role. I continued to stay in shape as I learned to express physical emotions. I had to convey them for people in the audience at a distance. I was sublimely on stage charged with energy and zeal.

The play got a good review and I was sorry when its short run was over. It was just a local production and not destined for Broadway. But it is an example of how surprising the acting field can be and how open-ended. Now on to the next audition and exciting role.