In The Pursuit of Happiness…

Memorial-Day-Flag-Website-Banner_edited-1Hello Dear Reader,

Every year at this time, I think of a fellow I did a show with many years ago. I think I may have mentioned Cesar Flores before. His Vietnam stories always made me so sad because I could see the hurt in his face and hear it in his voice. He spoke with such passion about everything.  I really loved that about him. I know he is somewhere in California, but I don’t know where anymore.

I thank him and all the soldiers this Memorial Day for all the sacrifice that they have made so that America can have the freedoms that have become a way of life. Freedoms that seem to be used to protest for justice and tear us apart for elitism and racism. Just because I don’t agree with some of the propaganda that is going around doesn’t mean it is isn’t an expression, as much as I am loathe to point out.

According to our Declaration of Independence, we all have the right to pursue happiness.  What happens when that happiness is in jeopardy? I have been paying much more attention to the empty seats, content, quality and types of advertising in the theaters I have been attending as of late. The worry of being a company owner is making sure that you can sustain great shows that bring in a full audience to keep on putting up more great shows and round and round the circle goes.

Can I just say, I don’t understand that when money gets tight the first thing that seems to be cut is live theater. I mean, I sort of get it.  Tickets are expensive and if you know a lot of people in different shows it can get REALLY pricey. Yet, there is so much intrinsic value in it for a well rounded life. These creative expressions offer us a chance as a society to step back and look at ourselves. Sometimes theatre points the finger and sometimes it doesn’t. Since I want to open my own company in the future, this has really made me shift my thoughts on what the state of theatre in this area will be like in a few months.

My Gentle Reader, I don’t have any worries of the the talent on either side of the table. And when I say “either side of the table,” for those that don’t know, I am referring to the cast/talent and staff/production. We have some great people that are on both sides.  I worry about the people that we do this for. While it may be fun and a necessity (sometimes) for us, theatre is a mirror of sorts to life. Even if the attendees aren’t going through the particular situation that is on stage, we can still relate to it on an emotional level. You may not agree with some of the things that the play is about, but the hope is that it makes you willing to think about the subject and maybe it will change your heart or strengthen your resolve but hopefully it will make you feel and/or think.

I’ve looked into strategies (and that ain’t even my strong suit! Ask anyone who has played board games with me) in marketing and awareness and community involvement. I see opportunities there, but getting those seats sold is where I feel a bit lost. What if those strategies are great but the seats don’t sell?

Do any of you amazing friends have any thoughts on the state of theatre in the future? What have you seen in regards to attendance? Do you see any way to shrink the number of empty seats?

Dear Reader, I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and that you took a moment to reflect on the things that allow us to try to attain the American Dream that our grandparents had before things got so crazy expensive.

And Cesar, where ever you are and whatever show you are working on now, my friend, I salute you and say “Welcome Home!”

Until next time, Gentle Reader…

 

 

Even If A Door Closes And Another Isn’t Around…

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Always check the windows!!😃😃

Dearest Reader,

Today, I got that dreaded email that no actor likes to get: the good old “Thanks, but no thanks.” 😟

I promised myself the year off. So really, for me nothing has changed. However, as I have been really unmotivated to work on learning new monologues or audition songs, I have spent most of my time doing research, hanging out with friends and seeing shows. On top of that, I have become a professional napper. 😴 Yes, yes. A NAPPER! Me, the guy who can’t sleep at night because of fears and wants and a whole lot of whatnot.  This has put me in a mindset of “I’ll get to it later.” I am beginning to wonder if this time off thing was a bad idea.

So while I may have been given a “T/NT” letter, I still get my year off AND I soon get to announce what my kick off project for 2019 is going to be. 👏👏👏(That reminds me, I gotta look into some swing dance classes…)

I also think I lost a bit of my magic at the end of March that involved a high stress situation that we came across. Don’t worry, Good Reader, everything is ok now, but for a hot minute we were a little panicked.

Now, I get to be panicked about other things! Yay and Boo all at the same time. 😂🤯🤪 Just like getting that letter, but not really having it make a difference. There needs to be a hashtag for that… So while I am disappointed, I need to keep my mind focused on what I set out to do at the very start of all this and get back to it.

I now need to find a way to draw out what I had in me before March happened so I can finish that script! Maybe I need to go back to the source material and play with it. Like make it a game for now. I can record the different characters and listen to it for inspiration? That actually may be what I might do.

Thank you, Dear Reader! I knew you could help!

Until our paths cross again…

Every Moment is A Moment…

Just be glad for the moments that we had…

Dear Gentle Reader,

My weekend high came to a crashing low Monday morning when I heard that a friend had died in a car accident.

Keith had an easy going way about him that made him approachable. He played so many instruments that I was never certain of what he was playing in the orchestra pit whenever our paths crossed. I joked with him during our run of “Boy From Oz” that I was going to start calling him the artist formerly known as Keith. The guy was a crazy talented musician and smart to boot.

When I first heard this news,  I was stunned. Then I tried to find pictures from the 6 or 7 shows we did and I could only find one.  One lone picture, Dear Reader, of a kind soul whose path I was lucky enough to cross several times.

As I looked through my past, I can see the documentation of my journey, but not enough moments with the people that have created such joy in my life, like Keith.

This knowledge itself brings a sadness because I know I will forget people and experiences. Gentle Reader, as you know I have mentioned a few times that I don’t have the best of memories. I am not really a photogenic person despite my love for being on the stage. I can’t even act like I like being in pictures. That’s how much I don’t care for them.

However, I have to say Thank You to my BFF, Sarah, as well as friends like Tawni, Nique, and Monica for gently pushing me to be in pics just as Keith had. For this lone shot.

Me & Keith

Dear Reader, thank you for taking a moment to read these ramblings of a random fella that has only now realized that stopping to smell the flowers is nice and all, but if you dont recall doing it, have you actually stopped to smell them? Being on the go and working hard is not any fun if you can’t remember it all.

Remember to stop and collect those moments, Gentle Reader. Try to never forget them and have the best time you can during them. And to Keith, my friend, I will see you after the final curtain call… Rest peacefully.

 

Nothing But Death and Taxes, Friends. Death and Taxes… and Hope

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Dear Gentle Reader,

Last week was the most dreaded of the US “holidays,” even more so than Valentine’s Day. Yes, sadly friends, I feel that Valentine’s Day is on par with National Grilled Cheese Day. But I digress… That’s right we got to “celebrate” Tax Day, April 15th.  Oh joy.

As usual, I had to pay a pretty penny even though my survival job was supposed to be really good at paying into the tax pool. It wasn’t nearly enough, I guess. It is so frustrating to constantly have to pay for taxes when the job should be handling it.

I, like many people that know they will end up paying, waited until the last minute. I don’t know why. Maybe I am hoping that something will change and I will magically not have to pay. So from the time I get my paperwork until the week of the deadline, this cloud of dread hangs over me.

Yet, I still plan and dream. I still have hope, Dear Reader. I still have hope that someday I will have my own theatre company. I have already picked out the first season and have my ideas what I would like each production to achieve.

What I am having trouble with is the whole non-profit thing. The benefits are great but I dont really want a board of directors. I know they would be a massive help in nearly everything, but I would feel like I have bosses.  I don’t want to have that feeling in something that I create.

Would it be beneficial to just create a “production company?”

Oh, Gentle Reader, so many things to think about and so many shows to see and so many ideas to bring to life. WHY?? WHY?? Maybe I should go and knit something in the corner to calm my brain down.

Who knows, I may find a zen moment and get a solution.

But for now, taxes are done, theater rentals checked out, rights pricing checked out, looking to have the logo designed and so on…

Oh, and the company won’t be up and running for a while, but the ball has begun to roll. I have to start it now. I mean, I am no spring chicken (not a word, Kevin! Not a word.) so I need to begin.  Especially if I want it to be like what I see in my crazy brain.

OK! Now that I got that out, Dear Reader, I need to try and get some sleep. I will keep you posted, of course, on the upcoming issues I will be facing. LOL!

Big hugs to you all.

Until next time, friends…

 

 

It may be April Fool’s but this book is no joke!

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Dear Gentle Reader,

I was super excited when Rare Bird Books gave me the green light to review one of their recent release books, so big Thank you’s to them for this opportunity! 👏

Seven Pillars Acting is not your typical acting book. Yes, it is incredibly informative, and relatable but what sets it apart from the others is the focus is on today’s actor. Tweaking the classics just a little so that it makes acting even less intimidating.

Sonya Cooke has taken all the major acting concepts from great teachers and directors (Meisner, Stanislavski, Donnellan and Brestoff to name a few) and distilled them down to seven concise key steps that take actors from first day of rehearsal to performance. High praise for taking this task and creating something so clear from so many different places.

The seven pillars listed in the book are as follows:

  1. Contact
  2. Circumstance
  3. Meaning
  4. Emotional Life
  5. Objective
  6. Action
  7. Physical Life

Released in January 2018, this little book of 305 pages is one of the best brush up books to keep on your shelf. When I say “brush up book,” I mean absolutely no disrespect.  This is worthy of curriculum status, and may well be, but I don’t know if it is too new for that at this time.

Dear Reader, it is a well known truth that actors are constantly returning to classes just like dancers. If, like me, it is a bit too hard to juggle in a class with current life situations, this book is something I can easily turn to. Each pillar has numerous exercises and some can be done without a partner. For the other activities, grab a fellow actor one day and have a fun informal session on a random agreed upon scene just to keep “in-shape.”

There are times when I can’t recall which of my theatre textbooks had a bit of advice that I wanted to refer to so I would dig them all out and skim through several books to find what I was thinking of.  Now, I feel that I could simply pick this gem off the shelf and refer to it rather than hunting through a full shelf of books. (What? You didn’t keep the textbooks of your favorite classes?)😄 (Is that weird?) 😳

Quick note: I honestly feel that acting is such an individual process because we are all  different and don’t learn the same way. It is helpful to take what you can from all the different styles and form your own “way.” That being said, in my personal process, I have found that I can delve even further into my character building from this book. Typically, while I work on the circumstances I try to find every variation of how it could be interpreted. I write down the likely ones and work on those but keep the others in the back of my mind. What I don’t do is to find all the variations on how the various circumstances would make me feel. I figure that would be too much writing and there isn’t enough space on some of these pages to fill in all that info. Although to be fair, she writes to focus on one. I do like this idea though and will begin including it because it offers the chance to present an even clearer picture to the audience.  Basically, I figure it should take me from regular image to High-Def.

There are some quotes and passages that I loved and here are a few of my faves:

“Once a circumstance is known to be imaginary, its potency is gone – much like being spooked by a shadow in a dark corner. Once it is revealed to not be a real threat, the fear subsides. Therefore, because of the degree of belief, the circumstances of our lives seem more real than the circumstances of our characters.” 

“…acting is all about seeing.” 

“Not only does your family push your buttons, but they were the ones who installed them in the first place.”  – Jo Spiller

“Neutral is not inactive.” 

“The nature of emotion is state-less; it is in flow e-motion, and must not be rigidly fixed.” 

“E-motion is ungraspable like water.” 

Dear Reader, I am absolutely certain that the more times I go through this book, the more info I will glean from it. I don’t know if I mentioned this at any point, but when I am in productions, I read my script everyday. I look for new insights and sometimes I see something I didn’t catch before, sometimes I don’t, but I feel like I will have new ideas the next time I pick up this book. This is a fresh streamlined process that feels accessible to anyone from the beginning actor to the experienced.  Hat’s off to the author!

Be sure to grab your copy.

Have you ever had an instructional book that you found refreshing or insightful?  What was it? I’d love to learn what others are checking out in the world. 🌏🌎

Until next time Gentle Reader…

The Play’s… Umm… TO Play is the Thing…

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Hello Dear Reader,

Well, February has come and gone and I am not anywhere near finishing my writing project. The power of frustration is palpable.  I was stewing in it. I feel all tender and a little sad. SO, I am just going to extend the time for this project.

Here’s the thing though.

I was putting way to much pressure on myself to complete this ASAP. What I have learned is when you’re creating something pressure like this is such a bad move. It isn’t helpful, Gentle Reader, and not conducive to the act of creating. If anything, it stifles creativity, I feel.

This will get done when it gets done. I mean, I do have the whole year off, after all.

Yesterday, as I was at my #survivaljob watching the rain fall, slamming onto the tiles that lead to the main lobby, I realized I haven’t been my normal self these last few years.

You know, Dear Reader, as an actor, I have to use every sense that is available to me as well as imagination and memories.  I watch people all the time.  Almost like I am studying them. I have memories, but I am certain that I don’t have enough memories. So I would create them my playing.  Not games, but playing with life.

But I stopped playing.  I stopped jumping in puddles and walking in the rain. I focused on going home and trying to be responsible so that I could get to that survival job day in and day out rather than going out and enjoying my friends. I stopped “going all in” at life. I put in just enough to get by.

But with this realization that what I am trying create isn’t meant to be done in the 5 weeks that I planned means that I can breathe.

Breathe.

And to jump in puddles.

And see my friends and their shows.

So, Sweet Reader, I AM going to continue to work on this show but I am not going to place that kind of pressure on it. I apologize that I don’t feel like any of the pages are worth sharing yet, but I will keep working on it.

Until then *inhale* more playing!

Dear Reader, have you ever had a realization that had kept you from enjoying your time? How did you break through that haze?  Leave me a comment or follow me on the social medias! Also, just pop in and say ‘Hi!’

http://www.Facebook.com/Jery.Theactorvist                                                                                                                       http://www.Instagram.com/theactorvista                                                                                                                     http://www.Twitter.com/Theactorvista                                                                                                                         Vero: Jery Theactorvist

Until next time…

Why Am I Not Done Yet?…

The Future Is What You MakeHello Dear Reader!

As I write this, I have another tab open of my other writing project that I keep finding myself rewriting over and over. It is eternally frustrating.😞

I do believe that I have mentioned this project in passing but here it is.  I am trying to write a show based on a wonderful book that I read a few years ago. I hesitate to name the book because I haven’t got permission yet. The author lives in Oakland, so I think I may be able to send the script once it is done.  I think the phrase that comes to mind is: It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.  One of the main reasons that I loved the book so much was because it honors strong women.  The main character is a woman embarking on a new life and it has a great cast of strong women and a small handful of supporting men. 👍 The beauty with which these places and scenes is described is so poetic and clear that I can easily see this on a stage.👀

My problem, Gentle Reader, is that I can’t seem to create dialogue that fills in some of the spaces of back story in a clear concise way so I can move on with the main story, as the book is in three parts that interweave past and present.😥

I know, I should just write it and set it aside and come back to it later for editing. I should do that. But since this type of writing isn’t quite my discipline I am having on hell of a time “letting go.”

My aim was to have a rough draft completed by the end of the month, which was part of the reason that I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year. I am, sadly, only about 20-odd pages in and believe that this script could easily hit over 100. The book itself is about 300 pages and there is a lot of story that I need to leave out. Unless I can easily tie it all in quickly which is where I am at now. Not to mention, I have rewritten the second scene four times and am still not happy with it. 

Now that I am sitting here and thinking this out with all of you, I think I may have to change up my tactic and try writing this scene by scene and out of order. Just for now until I get through the story then put it all together. Doing it this way, I may still hit my goal of having a rough draft completed!

Oh, Dear Reader!  Thank you.  😜That was incredibly helpful.  If I get some more progress done, I may possibly post a page for your perusal as thanks.

Well, with this newfound inspiration, I am back to my untitled project!😌

Until next time…