Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter Everyone! New blog coming soon! Keep an eye out for it! :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

"One Year More..."

January 14, 2013

One year ago today I moved to NYC. I know that probably doesn’t mean much to most people but it means a lot to me. It was a full year of firsts and a year full of hardships. You have to realize that this year represents me taking one step closer to following my dreams. Dreams that until this year were so far off that I didn’t really ever think that they could possibly come true. Dreams that could come to life and fulfill that deep part inside of me that longs to perform or dreams that could absolutely fall apart and shatter all over the floor in front of me. Success or Failure? Both are possible and becoming more real each and every day.

I’m at the point in my life that most people forget to talk about. I’m no longer in college but I’m not quite an adult. I’m in between homework and having a legit job. I don’t know if this is normal or if it is due to being an actor or this crazy economy, but I’m stuck in the middle. I’m not really moving forward and not really moving backwards. I’m just here trying to make the best out of life.

Don’t get me wrong…I love living in NYC! I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I’m exactly where I am suppose to be. I have been auditioning and started to make some really good contacts. I live in a city that has so much to offer and I am doing my best to soak up as much of the culture here as possible. But just living in the city is not enough…I need more or I need to move on to something else.

I feel like sometimes I’m in a catch 22. Auditioning for theatre takes a lot of time and money. You need to take audition classes, dance classes, voice lessons, and acting classes. You need to buy audition clothes and shoes, current headshots and resumes, sheet music, and pay your union dues. (A union that continues to let too many touring shows to go out nonunion.) You have to sell yourself to agents and managers just hoping that they might take you on, placing a little more hope in your career with someone else in your corner. All of these things take money and while you so very much wish to be doing all of these things, you can barely pay for NYC rent as it is. But I hang in there, hoping that one day my luck will change and I can afford a class or two and maybe find representation. I stay committed to staying in NYC so that when the chance finally presents itself, hopefully I can grab it and hold on to it.

As I look forward to my second year in NYC, I stay positive in thinking that I will take another step towards making my dreams a reality. Success or Failure? No one really knows. Maybe that’s what keeps us on this crazy rollercoaster…

Monday, 31 December 2012

"2012: A Year of Personal Growth and Reflection"

January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

Ok…so once again I fell behind on the whole blog thing. One of my resolutions for 2013 is to at least blog once a month. Even if it is only a sentence or two for that month I want to make sure I stay committed to keeping family and friends updated with something other than Facebook.

So lets play catch up:

Stacey M and I on the Subway!
January: I moved to NYC with 2 suitcases and no money.
February: I found a job with NY Kid Club. I also started my first time through “audition season” and learned some of the do’s and don’ts of the process.
NYC Cast of Guess Who's Coming to Seder
March: I moved into my first sublet with my friends Jessica Howell and David Brown in Astoria and love it! I also booked my first theatre gig. I was cast in Guess Who’s Coming to Seder, a reading of a new musical that was at the York Theatre.
Moving on the Subway!
April: I subletted my sublet and went to Tulsa to put the first production of Guess Who’s Coming to Seder up on its feet with Tulsa Project Theatre.
May: Finished up with Seder and came back to NYC.
June: I had my first “final callback” for Jersey Boys.
Gatlinburg, TN

July: I joined my family for vacation in Gatlinburg, TN.
August: I had my second “final callback” for the Les Miserables tour. I was promoted at work (NY Kids Club). I made plans to move into a new place in Astoria with some of my best friends from college. I flew to Dallas, rented a Budget Truck, and drove all of our stuff to NYC.
September: I moved into my new home in Astoria!!! There was a lot of moving things around and getting settled into the apartment. With a bittersweet goodbye, my grandmother went to be with the Lord & Papa and I flew back home to attend the service and celebrate her life.
October: First Halloween in the city and I celebrated it by going out in Manhattan dressed as a Power Ranger with Natalie. A visit from Hurricane Sandy made for an interesting lock in for my roommates and I. We are so very thankful to have stayed out of Sandy’s destructive path.
November: Unfortunately my parents had to cancel their trip to the city due to the destruction of Sandy. Had my first Thanksgiving in NYC with the roommates. GOT MY FIRST NYC CHRISTMAS TREE!!! J I also used some of this month to look through my audition material to clean out and prep new material in anticipation for Audition Season (January through April). 
December: I my first Christmas season in NYC! I went to the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and saw all of the beautiful window displays in the city. I visit family and friends in Nashville and Memphis and enjoyed so much southern food and Christmas cheer…I will be working for the next 6 months to loose the weight I gained in 7 days… 

     2012 was a great year. It wasn’t a year full of much theatre work but it was a year full of personal growth and reflection. From the excitement of moving to my dream city to the death of my grandmother, this year was full of ups and downs. I have realized through all of this that the best way for me to handle this roller coaster of life is to just be true to myself. There were times this year that I felt so lost and alone and there were times I felt so surrounded and supported by friends. I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for me but I look to God to lead me through it one day at a time.

     “Despite being the outsider for as long as I can remember, I look back fondly at my early and involuntary declaration of independence and realize God often seems to know what he is doing…preparing us perfectly for our tailor-made journeys that lie ahead. If we can only make it through the madness, endure the hate, the hurt, the shame and sadness…if we can tolerate and survive the neglect, the rejection or abuse…we often find that even the most painful of experiences can prove to be of use. They prepare us, season us, soften us and make us more compassionate…”  -James Alexander Langteaux- 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

“Life in New York: An Awakening of my own that is a SMASH!”

January 16, 2012 to January 26, 2012

Just two days after moving to the city, I went on my first EPA (Aka: Equity Principal Audition.) Walking into the audition, which was at Ripley Grier Studios, I felt like I was walking into a slaughterhouse. There were so many people (both Equity and the non-equity people hoping to be seen) and with this being my first Equity audition, I felt to stupid and like everyone who watched me walking in knew just how dump I was to all of this. I put my name on the list and sat down. I didn’t get to the audition super early so I was placed on the alternate list at #28. I started talking with an extremely sweet girl named Kristen and she spent some time explaining to me how everything with Equity worked. She was alternate #18… meaning she was totally going to make it into the audition during the EPA. At first they thought that they would get to me before the time was up for the EPAs but they ended up only getting to #24. Right after the EPA was the ECC (Aka: Equity Chorus Call) so I was bumped to the back of the line that was forming for the ECC… #398. For the ECC, you can sign up one week in advance at the Equity building, which basically starts placing you in line. All those on the list are at the front and all those people that just showed up the day of the audition go to the back of the line…everyone still being Equity that is. Luckily, not everyone that had signed up was there so I was bumped up to #70. I spent most of my waiting time playing games on my phone but soon became bored. I went over my music, talked to some people who also were waiting in the ECC with me, and finally back to the phone. After the phone died, I did some people watching. It is extremely funny to me how bitchy and catty the waiting room can be. I mean, aren’t we all here trying to do the same thing? Shouldn’t we want to be encouraging to each other instead of judgmental and rude? I mean…we all have to start somewhere, right? And with the theatre world being so small, why start being a little bitch now? (…anyway…done with my venting for a little while.)

Once I finally got into the room, I had already been waiting for almost seven hours. I was ready to sing, that was for certain. I walked in, sang my 32 bars, had a short conversation with the casting director about my time in Dallas with Spring Awakening, and left. I find it funny that it was a seven-hour wait for a two-minute audition. While ultimately I didn’t get the job, I was happy just to have my first audition out of the way. It was nice to be able to just audition and officially start my journey of auditioning in NYC! J

As my auditions went on…I found that the waiting rooms never seem to get any better. I find two or three people that I seem to be able to carry on a nice conversation with while others continue to bitch and act like they are more important than they really are. I have also found that I sort of enjoy auditioning. Even when I don’t get cast, I still enjoy the fact that I sort of have a performance opportunity with each audition. My nerves spike just a little, by hands start to sweat, but then I walk into that room, I start singing and just enjoy being able to belt the shit out of my song. Unlike at home or college where I could just sing wherever and whenever, I don’t really have a place here that I can belt. I don’t have my car, I have roommates and neighbors I shouldn’t disturb, and I don’t want to just belt it out right there on the street…awkward. So I’m doing my best to just enjoy audition. Lord knows that if I stay in this career I’ll be auditioning more than actually working. Lol.

Courtney Chilton, a friend that graduated with me from TU, has been in the city and audition for musicals, tv, and film for a few months now. Upon my arrival, we met up for drinks and starting talking about life. The audition process, if chartered by yourself, can be a very lonely one. Now that I was in the city, she started giving me some advice on TV extra work and the in’s and out’s of finding them. With a helpful lead from her, I booked my first extra work for a new show on NBC, Smash.

The morning of my first extra work was an extremely early one. While I technically didn’t have to be there until 9AM, I wanted to make sure I was early. You see there is a little rule that we go by in the theatre: “Being 15 minutes early is being on time. Showing up at the start time means you’re late.” Since I was already leaving at 7AM and I wasn’t sure of where I was going, I had to be up at 5:45 to get prepped and ready for the shoot. I arrived about thirty minutes early, checked in with appropriate people, and had a seat to wait for further instructions. The first thing they had me do was check in with wardrobe. They had asked us to bring several options so I had two different outfits for them to choose from. They said that they didn’t have a lot of the guys in much color so they placed me in a purple, polo button down and a yellow tie that Jeffrey let me borrow.

As I waited, I started up a conversation with a guy who just moved into town as well and who looked just as lost and confused as me. David went to Michigan and moved to the city for musical theatre. He moved from Vegas where he just finished a run with the hit musical Jersey Boys. We talked for a good thirty minutes or so about life and how we were both adjusting to the city.

The lady in charge came out to welcome us and give us a few “Golden Rules” about being an extra as well as some explanations of some filming lingo. Thank God she was helping us out a little! I mean, most of them are common since but you take help from wherever and whoever seems to be giving it freely.

The 5 Golden Rules of Extra Work:
1.     No talking on the set.
2.     Cell Phones must be off or on silent. No cell phone should be pulled out and/or seen on set.
3.     Do NOT fall asleep on the set.
4.     In case of an emergency, talk only to the person in charge of the extras. Do not go to anyone else!
5.     Do not ask when the wrap will be. You will be told when the wrap happens and not a minute before.

Filming Vocabulary 101:
1.     Rolling: They Start Filming
2.     Background: When the extras should start their business/action.
3.     Action: When the principals start their business/action.
4.     Cut: Filming Stops, Actors stop, you don’t say anything, and wait for the next direction.
5.     Reset: Go back to the start of the section you are filming.

After our little session on rules and vocab, we were walked to the set. Located only a few blocks from our location, we where in Vinegar Hill (in Brooklyn) at a very nice bar. While David and I were trying to stay together so we could keep talking and actually sort of know someone else during the process, we were separated during the placement process as they placed us on set. The bar had two levels and while he was on the first, I was on the second. This business can be so lonely. I felt sort of like how I felt while at the Spring Awakening audition. None of my friends are here to share this with. Nobody to sit in the waiting rooms with me and “shoot the shit with.” But I guess that is just all part of it. I knew moving here that I was one of the first from my year heading this direction and parts of this journey would be lonely. I guess I just need to find better ways of passing my time. Being on the second level also meant that more than likely I wouldn’t really been seen that much. UGH! First exciting extra work and I would either not make the shoot or be thrown on the cutting room floor.

Once on the set, they announced that today I would be on set with Katharine Mcphee and Uma Thurman! Uma Thurman? Now, I’m sure that those of you who have been keeping up with the show are a little confused. How could Uma be on here and what was her character? I guess that’s just one of the plot twists yet to come in the show! Our time on set was just a lot of hurrying up and waiting. You just find ways to pass the time…without your cell phone (Don’t forget out the 2nd golden rule!).

At lunchtime, there was a feast!! Is this for real? Is this normal? If so, I want to do more extra work! Mom and Dad don’t worry!! Smash is feeding me extremely well. Lol. From salad to steak, there were a lot of options and a lot to go around. While of course I, along with the rest of those that weren’t union with a TV or Film union like SAG or AFTRA, had to wait and go last in the line, there was still plenty of food to go around. 

After lunch we sat around for several hours waiting on the crew to get back and get ready for us to be back on set. During this time, I realized that everyone should be prepared for situations like this. In general you should have some sort of audition bag that includes a good book, gum, audition material, headshot and resume, a writing pad, a black or blue pen and a pencil, chapstick, a water bottle, a power bar, and possibly a magazine to go back and forth with between the book.

Once we got back on set, we recorded a few more shots that they missed the first time around. They moved on to another space over by the bar and pulled a few people over for specific action while the rest of us just sat by doing nothing. Once I had finally given up on actually having a chance to be seen in the episode and became satisfied enough with just getting a paycheck, they moved to the dance floor in the bar where I was chosen to help. Unless they completely cut this shot, I should totally make it into the episode. I am standing right behind Katherine Mcphee and Uma is within my arm reach. It was so weird to be that close to these people. I mean, I knew that I would see people on set but never would I have imagined that I would be this close. This ten-minute shoot was totally worth the other 9 hours of sitting around, shooting, and waiting.

In the end, it was a great day and a wonderful experience. I hope to do more in the future! While they are extremely long days, the pay isn’t too terrible.

***Please tune in with me to see if I actually make it into the episode! J It will be Episode 12 and should run sometime in May. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know exactly what date as soon as I know!

After working for the casting company that hired me for Smash, they also hired me for extra work on Person of Interest. I have never seen this show in my life and apparently it is my father’s new favorite show of the season. I find that sort of funny that I ended up working on the set of it while not knowing it and my father loving it.

One really interesting thing about working this gig was meeting a guy there who was also from Tennessee. While we were pulling out our Drivers Licenses for paper work, he noticed that I was from Tennessee and explained that he was from Nashville. We sat talking about how he just moved here as well, life in the city, and of course the south.

Overall, it was a very chill day that was very organized. I only spent five hours on set and was paid for ten…that’s always a good thing!

My episode of Person of Interest has already run. It was Episode 16: Risk. I only found out that it ran because I had a friend’s mother from Memphis actually message me to tell me that she saw me. It is very quick and during the fight scene, but you can see me for a hot second. 

“…If I Can Make It Here…”

January 14, 2012 to February 14, 2012

WOW! I can’t believe that I have already been here for a month! It seems like just last week I arrived in the city. But looking back over this past month, I’ve already had a lot of amazing opportunities and I wanted to share a few with you now.

On my arrival to the city, I moved in with Jeffrey and his wonderful roommates Liz and Avery in Brooklyn. They live by the Parkside stop on the Q train. They have generously allowed me to stay on the couch for the past few weeks while auditioning, job hunting, and apartment searching.

Audition wise, I’ve only hit up a couple of auditions here and there. While I of course want to audition and work towards something I actually have a degree in, I also needed something at the moment that is stable and allow me to pay the rent in order for me to stay in New York. While here, I’ve auditioned for several shows for all over the country including Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, and Book of Mormon. Also in the performance realm and as many of you know, I’ve also had the opportunities to do some extra work on Smash, Person of Interest, and a couple of audience pieces. (More to come on these experiences in my next blog)

Concerning a job, it has taken me a while to find something…really anything. I applied at over forty places, walking up and down the streets of NYC and stopping in whatever stores that were hiring…that is a retail store. I decided that since I really wanted to enjoy my time in the city, I didn’t really want to wait tables. So at first, I was looking for anything besides the food industry. Unfortunately for me, most stores weren’t hiring until late February or March since most where currently still letting go of their new holiday hires. Finally, after two weeks of searching, I finally heard back from NY Kids Club, a premier children enrichment center renowned for creative and innovative kids classes, day camps, birthday celebrations, and special events. I went through training with the company and have become a part of their Special Events Team. It means that I am only really working Fridays at 3pm to Sunday at 6am. This is a great job where I get to work with children, only work on the weekends, and allows me time to still audition during the week. The NY Kids Club also guarantees me work when I come back to the city if I get a theatre job that needs me to leave the city for a few weeks/months. It is a great job! Now I just need to work my up in the ranks so that I can become a more permanent part of the team and get more hours.

Apartment wise, my findings were similar to that of my job hunt. Looking for an apartment that met what I wanted out of a place was difficult to find. Not only was I looking for a place for myself, I was also looking for a place that I could share with Cynthia, a friend from TU that is moving here in March. In looking for a place, I just wanted something that had a good and safe location, that had enough space for the two of us, and that wouldn’t break my bank account each month. I realized very quickly into my search that I could only have two of the three!! My ideal situation would be something that I could sublet for 6 to 10 months, wouldn’t be more than $800 a month (including all utilities), and enough space for Cynthia and I not to kill each other. Lol. After about 3 weeks of searching, sending about a hundred emails to different sublets, and actually going to see 4 or 5 potential places, my friend Jessica called telling me that she had a room opening up at her place March 1st. You may remember me talking about Jessica during my Seussical blog. She went to TU but graduated before I got there. She and her fiancĂ©, David, were looking for someone to start renting one bedroom in their three bedroom apartment starting March 1st. And, to add to this already amazing opportunity, they need someone else to start renting in April since their other roommate will be leaving then. That extra room is perfect for Cythia!!! Why Cynthia’s original plan was to move here in March, the new opportunity sort of forced her to wait until April instead. That just gives her more time to allow herself time to prep for the big apple.

Job: Check. Housing: Check. Now I just have to wait for March 1st to move in and continue to audition…

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The One with the Big Move

January 11, 2012


Is this real life? Have I finally gone crazy? Am I seriously moving to the city? Yep! I’ve lost it. Moving to the city with no money, no job, and no place to stay.

I have made arrangements for the next few weeks to couch surf with some friends. I will officially be in the city as of Saturday, January 14. My plan at the moment is to get to the city, find a day job, determine how much rent I can afford, and find a place! My goal really isn’t to go up and there and land a Broadway show. While of course that would be nice, my goal is just to make a living in the city.

Here’s the deal: I’m at a crossroad. I don’t have another theatre job on the horizon so its time to find a day job. I can’t move back to Memphis since there aren’t really many theatre jobs that I can do. I don’t want to move back to Dallas since I would just go back to my waiting job at the country club job and I can wait tables just as well in the city as I can in Dallas. So ready or not, here I go. Taking that big step. I am finally leaving the south and my sweet tea behind and trading it in for the big city.

A very close friend shared a wonderful quote with me the other day that I loved. George Bernard Shaw said “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” I’m ready to ask that question. “Why not?”

“Oh the places you’ll go…”

The One With “The One With…”

Dec 29 to Jan 2

Finally it was time to head to Chicago!!!! For the past few weeks, my friends and I had been planning this reunion of friends in Chicago for New Years and the time had finally come! Lynden and I started our trip at 1am on the 29! We drove through the night to meet up with Emily, Alixe, and Sean in St. Louis. With the help of Red Bull and our Chicago belting mix, we made it into St. Louis all hyped up and ready to go Chicago! With a change of cars and adding a few people to our mix, we were on the way to CHICAGO for NEW YEARS!!! In Chicago we met up with Helen and Daniel at one of Emily’s favorite bars that she had found while working there over the past summer. After lunch we spent a little time shopping and then were off to Helen’s for dinner and to meet up with Natalie! Dinner was wonderful! Helen’s mom is a wonderful cook and an amazing host! After dinner and drinks, Lynden and I headed into the city by train for a good night at the clubs…

New Years Eve we spent in the city. With Helen as our host I knew we were going to get the inside scoop on the city! With sights like the Chicago Bean and seeing the view from the top of the John Hancock building, we were doing Chicago the right way!

Since we were trying to save as much money as possible, we all stayed in one hotel room. There were two double beds, one fold out couch, and my air mattress that I had brought from home. I figured this would be a good test for my mattress since it was more than likely going to be my bed in NYC for several weeks! Lol. Getting ready was actually a lot of fun. So many friends in such a small space calls for only one thing: Lots of alcohol! The club we went to that night was called Excalibur and was only a few blocks from hotel. And so the night began…

We decided that our Chicago trip was like a Vegas Trip: What happened in Chicago stays in Chicago. I will only share a couple of stories that I feel like I can share in good humor with no harm meant to anyone. More than likely they won’t be that funny except to a select few…

* “Hey, remember the time that Natalie fell asleep before New Years?” lol

* “Hey, remember the time that Katie threw up in McDonalds?” BAHAHA! Good times! J

The only other part that I will share is after some drama went down, drinks were finished, McDonald’s trip was completed, Natalie was sleeping, and Katie was asleep on the floor in the bathroom, Alixe walked into the room and told us that we had to name this trip. We had to start it with “The One with…” like all of the titles from Friends. You see, we have decided that our group of friends (like I’m sure half of the rest of the world has as well) will be like the TV show. We’ve given everyone their character type and have even started naming some of our episodes. This one would of course be a season finale with a cliffhanger. Good times! J It would also be in two parts: “The One With the RedBull” and “The One with the Domestic Abuse”.

The next morning we pack up our bags, said our goodbyes, and those in our van headed back St. Louis. That night we had some amazing St. Louis pizza and did a power hour to season one of Modern Family. We have also decided that we need more power hours in our lives but it is a bit difficult since we all live all over the place now. We now will be doing power hours with each other over SKYPE! J This is what I love about my friends. That it really doesn’t take that much to enjoy each other. We don’t have to do something big, we don’t have to go do something special, we just enjoy being with each other. While yes we fight sometimes, you fight with family. And that’s exactly what we are: family.

Lynden and I headed back to Memphis and that concluded our crazy Chicago trip!

After this trip and this blog, I’ve decided that all my blogs this year will start with “The One With…” My life hopefully will be a bit like Friends…lol

From Angsty Teen to Dr. Seuss!

Nov 11 to Dec 28

Seussical the Musical was a huge change of pace! From dead sons and people walking out of a show due to the gays kissing to Dr. Seuss and children, it was a completely different world I was now living in. It was fun to play an over the top character where I could finally put my extremely large eyebrows to good use with all the different facial expressions. Lol.

It was nice to come back to Tulsa towards the end of the school semester. I was able to spend some time with the Pikes as well as the theatre kids! I was able to do my Christmas tradition with Sean and Alixe of decorating the Christmas tree and sleeping beneath it (And of course we missed the bestie!). Overall, it was very nice to come back to Tulsa. Best of all, I got to meet some amazing new people! Jenny Guy and Jessica Lauren-Howell, two alumni from Tulsa who graduated before I got to TU, we just of few of the amazing new people I got to spend time with. Jessica, who I spend a little time with in Rocky, and I had an amazing time and spent our days searching for the best Margarita in Tulsa. We decided after several weeks of testing, El Tequila won! We celebrated this discovery by going back on night with some friends and each having a pitcher of the amazing drink! SO GOOD! SO DRUNK! Haha! We spent days painting, watching Lord of the Rings, and just had an overall good time in Tulsa.

With the show running so close to Christmas, it was sort of sad to not be at home with the family doing all the normal Christmas traditions. I realized though that this was probably a new way of life for me. With me planning to move to NYC soon, each Christmas would be different based on work or money. I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time at home for the holidays as I had in the past years. Now that my breaks weren’t scheduled around school breaks, I had to work around work. At least I had work!

December 24, 2011 12:01 AM: First day since graduation without a theatre job… Officially Unemployed. Lol.

On Christmas Eve I woke up early to drive home. Over the next few days I spent relaxing time with family. With all the time spent away from home this year, it was nice to not have anything planned and just enjoy the time at home. Plus, with a 10 month old crawling all over the floor at Christmas, there was never a dull moment! As I said earlier, while this wasn’t a traditional Christmas, it was still a great one!