2015 Buzz

Bookings, Auditions, Inspirations, Stories of the Month and more!

June 2015 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

BOOKINGS!  So, I was ahead of myself when I wrote my updates for April and May and actually included three bookings that were offered in April/May but actually were worked in June. So, I didn’t book anything I auditioned for in June – yet.  And for review, here’s what I actually worked in June:

Starr Films Ltd, with director Angelique Letizia and screenwriter Joe Capozzi, offered me the role of Shrink in their Indie short Confession, a stirring narrative about the effects of childhood sexual abuse on the adults who experienced it.  What a script, what an outfit.  I can’t imagine a circumstance that would interfere with my gleefully accepting another role in a Starr Films Ltd project.  Each person on set was extraordinary in how they did their job, and extraordinary in their humanity.  Each person.  Extraordinary.  They worked me hard and took care of me well.  Note to actors: I saw this breakdown on Actors Access, submitted my headshot and video clip and resume, was invited to audition, was invited to return for a callback, and was offered the role the next day.   And I got paid.  Money.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens. 

The second job was for a screenplay reading at The Bric of Niall McKay’s delightful and moving The Ferry, sharing the SRO evening amongst filthy-with-talent Irish artists Penny O’Brien, Clodagh Bowyer, Rachel Rath and Kevin Marron, the full event offering music, along with films/webseries snippets and a talk back after.  This is not news, but I must write that I find the Irish to be amongst the best storytellers and listeners whose company I’ve enjoyed my whole life.  How did I get this job?  Niall asked a mutual actress friend whom she might know for the role, and my name was mentioned.  Next day he asked another mutual actress friend whom she might know for the role, and again my name was mentioned.  Niall and I then met in a Starbucks over tea, chatted up a storm, spoke about the script and the character, he mentioned a rehearsal the next week, and I guessed that meant I had the part.  And I am so happy to officially become a part of the performing Irish arts community in NYC.  So happy.  Looking forward to more.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens. 

My third booking was accepting Doug DaVita’s offer to read stage directions for a public reading of his play The Gruesomely Merry Adventures of NELL DASH, An Irrepressibly Sensible Capitalist With A Vengeance.  Brian O’Neil (author Acting As A Business) counsels to accept anything that feels right, whether it be working with Jonathan Demme in a film or Andre Gregory in a theatre project or reading stage directions for a public reading.  And I do.  As it turned out, the stage directions were for me vast and somewhat complicated, I decided to have fun and approached the reading with both a high British accent and high drama appropro of the piece.  It really turned out to be a wonderful acting exercise and felt as satisfying as a “real” performance.  How did I get this job?  I saw a play reading of Doug’s at Abingdon Theatre Company some months ago (a suggestion of Brian O’Neil’s for how to meet people and see what’s out there is to connect with theatre companies that offer play readings and go when you can), and introduced myself to him before the reading.  Often I attend play readings and neither the play nor the direction moves me.  Small price to pay for a little time spent.  But Doug’s play The Fierce Urgency of Now moved me, which is why I sent an email after the reading thanking Doug for a rich time and letting him know I’m available for whatever way he might need me.  He sent me an email some months later inviting me to read these stage directions, I said yes, he sent me the play, and that’s that.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens. 

AUDITIONS! Lots.  Four for film, three for web, three for theatre and one for commercial.  I got a callback for one of the web auditions.  Some of the characters I created for the auditions were as diverse as an Irish housekeeper to an Outward Bound course leader to a daft trouble-making funny old lady to a Midwest mom to a powerful casting director.  And I was especially pleased to have a commercial audition for a national spot plus a theatre audition for a venerable regional theatre. 

KEEPING ME JUICY!  Seven Yoga classes and two voice lessons.

INSPIRATION!  I attended a SAG Foundation screening of Madame Secretary with a talkback with Tea Leoni, who seems like someone we’d all like to work with. And I saw lots of produced projects, which is how it goes when I’m not in a project of long-ish duration.  For theatre, I saw At The Table by Fault Line Theatre (I love those guys; always superb work Adam Suritz, Michael Perlman, Craig Wesley Divino and Aaron Rossini), a reading of Charlene Donaghy’s new play The Quadroon and The Dove (production-ready; hope to be paying to see it soon), a reading of A. Rey Pamatmat’s new The Rules at The Lark (loved it), Afghanistan Zimbabwe America Kuwait by Daniel Talbott at one of my favorite stages The Gym at Judson (completely transfixing; forgot I was at the theatre it gripped me so), Clubbed Thumb’s Card and Gift with the most enjoyable Ella Dershowitz, and The Tempest at The Delacorte (which I included in my last update by mistake – I really was delightfully time challenged when I wrote April-May updates!). And for film and TV viewing, SAG Foundation gave me two: Tangerine (shot completely on an iPhone 5) with a director/cast talkback as well as Mad Women; Love and Mercy, Mr Robot (new episodic), SAG Film Society gave me Jurassic World and I’ve tuned into the new Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

NUTS AND BOLTS!  I received copies of two films I did last year, Roman Citizen and Getting In, and they’re in the hands of Videographer Vixen Cayce Crown, who will pull and edit clips for me.  And we had a production meeting for a project that’s been talked about for way long and I realize I’d rather be friends with these folks than produce a project with them. A wise woman knows her limitations.  So, I have room now for something else to move in. And I continue to meet regularly with my ace assistant Rachel Joyce, who expands me like an ace assistant should.

FILM FESTIVALS!  Rattlefly, by filmmaker Min Ding and produced by Layla Ji, was accepted into two more festivals – Maine International and Asian American Film Festivals.  The latter is in NYC in July, and I look forward to seeing cast and crew.  Congratulations, Rattlefly

 

Story of The Month

Almost exactly five years ago, I was signed with an agency run by a woman admired and well respected in the industry.  I was really proud and the hope this instilled in me for a successful future doing what I want to do was and continues to be profound.  It was my first contact with an agent after my return to acting, I didn’t even have an updated headshot, I hadn’t even had an audition for a job, and I was signed!  And for five years together we’ve built an amazing list of industry folks who know me and my work, with whom I’ve worked and share mutual respect.  Some of those contacts were made through the agency from getting auditions from the agency’s submissions, but most of them were made through my own reaching out.  Because that’s what this agent told me to do ...  “It’s a small community, Sheilagh - make friends.”  In five years, I’ve booked twenty one films and fifteen theatre projects and … well … let’s say I found out how to make friends. Not one of those jobs was booked through the agency, although I always paid the agency 10% of my earnings, whether they negotiated the contract or not (discuss amongst yourselves) and they made a few thousand dollars from these commissions.  Sure, I got callbacks and holds from agency submission auditions, I had casting directors call the agency after an audition with praise for me (Agent to me: “Sheilagh, we don’t gets calls from CDs like we do from your auditions”), but not one booking. OK … this is what building my body of work and my good reputation looks like. And I try to acknowledge what’s so today while looking ahead at the success to come … Always acknowledging the success of the day while mindful of the success ahead.

In May, I had sent an invitation out to the show I was doing, and this agent wrote back asking if they should come, they’re all busy but if I’m doing something they haven’t seen me do before, they would come.  I replied not unless they were enamoured of the play; that I didn’t need them to show they are fans; I know they are; no, I was not on a trapeze or singing opera ... at least not in this one! Then just a few weeks later one Friday in early June while meeting with my acting assistant, in response to an email I had recently sent to my industry contacts announcing yet another new project, I received an email reply from the agent who signed me to please call her that afternoon.  I did, and she released me from our contract.  “This is a really hard conversation, Sheilagh.” “We know we’ll see you on stage and screen any day now, Sheilagh.” “We’re reconsidering our business model and may go into management; a lot of agencies are doing this re-eval; we’re not making money and have to focus on clients who are.” The money part makes sense, but the rest of it doesn’t.  How much time is spent with an electronic submission?  How much time has the agency invested in me already?  What’s the downside to keeping me as a client from the agency’s perspective? You signed me for two years last year and we have a year left with our contract, right?  I could only believe what was being told to me as being truth and logically asked those questions. Direct questions asked, nothing but indirect answers given.

Look, I wouldn’t have been signed if I didn’t have talent.  We all have talent.  That’s a given.  But you couldn’t find a more professional, more prepared, more responsible, more easy-going non-Diva, more responsive, more amenable, never-say-no to an audition yes-l-can-make-that-work actress than I.  And each year of the five finds me growing my list of accomplishments in ever-widening circles.  But they didn’t want to work with me anymore. And purportedly from a manager-source, they didn’t want to work with 40% of their client list anymore either.

So, I was numb deer-in-the-headlight for three days (that’s a long time for that kinda living, believe me), then hurt, then angry, then incredulous and now fully accept that this is a new world for me and what am I going to do about that?  Well, I’m personally at loss by not having that agent in my life anymore.  My experience of her was always that she was honest, heartfelt, thoughtful and caring.  To lose someone like her in my life is a blow.  But, this is not only a personal loss.  Of course it is a business loss as well, and the business must continue, must grow and expand, must move beyond my reach today.  Where I want to go as an actress requires access to casting people who aren’t always so accessible to non-repped actors.  I have big ideas and focused goals and lotsa motivation and an expansive vision.  So, I need a new rep.  And, believe me when I write, what I learned from working with this agent and the four other agents she had in her office over the five years I was with her has prepared me well for my new partnership. 

So what now?  Well, as you can see from above, the auditions keep coming.  I’m submitting myself for jobs and I’m submitting myself to well-researched new reps – which personalization actually feels great after getting the hang of it.  I’ve reached out to and have had meetings and phone calls with industry folks whom I admire who have helped me sort through this.  And I’ve run into the inevitable yukky people who forget about our making a lunch date, a casting director who completely blew me off (this guy actually cast me in a high-profile project and in spite of praise from the project’s artistic team, I’ve been dead meat to him since), and two actresses not returning my emails inquiring about their confidential experiences with their managers (the actresses are in no way the same types as I and are in no way in competition with me, believe me – they’re just yukkies).

Look, if the agency is struggling with finances, and I’m told many are, making a choice to keep only those actors who consistently and significantly bring in the money is a viable choice. How close am I to that?  Ahhhh, the crystal ball is broken.  But given the history of my last five years, I’m way closer than ever.  And to be honest, the one thing about this that gets a bit stuck in my craw, is the mechanics of how it was done.  I don’t need champagne and roses, fgs, but if you’re going to can me after 5 years of what was (at least for me) a highly-valued business relationship, call me and set up a meeting in person.  This agent knows I’m an adult, and while I’d have been completely surprised, I’m not going to cry and scream and threaten, I’m not going to drag the conversation out.  But, when odd stuff like this has happened to me over the years, it always smells of higher purpose.  What I mean by that is on a few rare occasions when I haven’t caught the reality of a situation, the situation was suddenly gone, as if it were “poufed” from my life, as if I had nothing to do with it … and you know, I’m a strong believer that I ALWAYS have the responsibility and have EVERYTHING to do with what goes down in my life.  If you the reader are going to give me advice and suggestions, I’ll welcome that and earnestly listen, but don’t tell me I have to keep this a secret or lie and say I’m the one who canned the agency (you know who you are).  I didn’t do anything wrong here and I’m not ashamed for one New York Minute. If you the reader are amongst the many many many folks from whom I’ve had the pleasure of receiving your support and warm helping responses, I thank you again.  And if you’d like to be a member of that group, be in touch.  I’d be thrilled to have you.  

April and May 2015 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

BOOKINGS!  Five for these months, with two offers declined.  The two declines: one wasn’t the right project for me and the other had a schedule conflict.  But the acceptances are projects of which I am proud. 

Starr Films Ltd, with director Angelique Letizia and screenwriter Joe Capozzi, offered me the role of Shrink in their Indie short Confession, a stirring narrative about the effects of childhood sexual abuse on the adults who experienced it.  What a script, what an outfit.  I can’t imagine a circumstance that would interfere with my gleefully accepting another role in a Starr Films Ltd project.  Each person on set was extraordinary in how they did their job, and extraordinary in their humanity.  Each person.  Extraordinary.  They worked me hard and took care of me well.  Note to actors: I saw this breakdown on Actors Access, submitted my headshot and video clip and resume, was invited to audition, was invited to return for a callback, and was offered the role the next day.   And I got paid.  Money.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens.

The second booking was for a screenplay reading at The Bric of Niall McKay’s delightful and moving The Ferry, sharing the evening with gushing-with-talent Irish artists Penny O’Brien, Clodagh Bowyer, Rachel Rath and Kevin Marron, the full event offering music, along with films/webseries snippets and a talk back after.  This is not news, but I must write that I find the Irish to be amongst the best storytellers and listeners whose company I’ve enjoyed my whole life.  How did I get this job?  Niall asked a mutual actress friend who she might know for the role, and my name was mentioned.  Next day he asked another mutual actress friend who she might know for the role, and again my name was mentioned.  Niall and I then met in a Starbucks over tea, chatted up a storm, spoke about the script and the character, he mentioned a rehearsal the next week, and I guessed that meant I had the part.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens.  And I am so happy to officially become a part of the performing Irish arts community in NYC.  So happy.  Looking forward to more.

And my third booking was working two NYC Sound Design classes … for money. Thank you, NYU, for honoring the time and expertise it takes an actor to do this work by doing the unexpected and paying me. The job was attending two three-hour classes wherein I repeatedly read a part in a short play with two other actors whilst each student in the class first designed his’/her own sound for the piece then subsequently presented the piece.  It was fascinating how each student was inspired by both the play and the actors to create very unique sound designs.  The professors were also interesting to watch as they tempered their approaches with each student’s abilities while never letting the students off the hook of professionalism.  And I feel very good about helping sound students learn their craft, not to mention working with a very funny and broad character piece.  How did this booking come about?  Actress Chelsea LeSage, with whom I’ve worked, suggested me for the job, and the agreement was made between me and the professors.  I look forward to more of these jobs at NYU.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens.

My fourth booking was accepting Doug DaVita’s offer to read stage directions for a public reading of his play The Gruesomely Merry Adventures of NELL DASH, An Irrepressibly Sensible Capitalist With A Vengeance.  Brian O’Neil (author Acting As A Business) counsels to accept anything that feels right, whether it be working with Jonathan Demme in a film or Andre Gregory in a theatre project or reading stage directions for a public reading.  And I do.  As it turned out, the stage directions were for me vast and somewhat complicated, I decided to have fun and approached them with both a high British accent as well as affecting the drama of the piece, and it really turned out to be a wonderful acting exercise and felt as satisfying as a “real” performance.  How did I get this job?  I saw a play reading of Doug’s at Abingdon Theatre Company some months ago (a suggestion of Brian O’Neil’s for how to meet people and see what’s out there is to connect with theatre companies that offer play readings and go when you can), and introduced myself to him before the reading.  Often I attend play readings and neither the play nor the direction moves me.  Small price to pay for a little time spent.  But Doug’s play The Fierce Urgency of Now moved me, which is why I sent an email after the reading thanking Doug for a rich time and letting him know I’m available for whatever way he might need me.  He sent me an email some months later inviting me to read these stage directions, I said yes, he sent me the play, and that’s that.  Does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens. 

And my fifth booking was for a private play reading of Sarah Charlee Harrison’s Southern Pines, produced by YiYi Han.  Sarah asked for casting recommendations and I was doubly proud to both be a part of the reading and part of connecting most of the actors reading with each other as well as with a producer and a screen/playwright.  How did I book this job?  A couple of years ago I submitted myself on Actors Access for a student film written by Sarah and produced by YiYi.  I was invited to audition and never heard a word … for six months, when I was offered the role.  I kinda declined the offer as I wasn’t needing to do student films anymore because by then I had enough clips for my reel that I didn’t need to go through what we sometimes go through when working with early filmmakers.  I write “kinda declined” because I liked the script and the character, so I wrote what would need to happen for me to accept the role.  Surprisingly, Sarah wrote back that indeed this was no longer a student film, that it was now a SAG short and all my needs were to be met.  So, Sarah knows me, my personality, my work, and felt comfortable offering me the role in Southern Pines.  No pay for this but Sarah took the time, expense and trouble to have dinner for us before the reading.  That’s a nice thank you.  Again, does this happen every month?  No.  But it happens.

AUDITIONS!  In spite of being in rehearsals and performances April 1 through May 17 with Charles Mee’s Summertime, directed by Jenn Haltman, produced by and starring Becca Schneider – an ambitious and personally demanding project – I managed to accept all but one audition invitation, declining the one only due to scheduling conflicts.  I had five theatre auditions and was put on the short list for one, one TV audition and one film audition (called back and booked).  These characters were as diverse as a singing reclusive lesbian photographer looking back over her life to re-enacting Bea Arthur on Golden Girls (dodged a bullet on that one – it’s just not my scene) to someone-TBD in an all-femme Julius Caesar.  I always love to be invited to audition, I love to prep for an audition, I love to audition and I love to be shortlisted, called back and book.

FILM FESTIVALS!   Artistically Challenged, was accepted into another festival, Melbourne WebFest.  This project sounded doomed from the start … and I was completely wrong.  But give me a break, when the project is the first Instagram webseries, which would be limited to 15 second episodes … I mean, really, where is the possibility of success in that?  But while Artistically Challenged has a huge amount of fans, I’m not sure there’s a bigger fan than I of this funny and clever series, so check it out.  I’m eager to watch the careers of the trio of creators Aleks Arcabascio/Michael Samuel Deigh/Jeremy Boros in the coming years, not to mention working with them all again.

KEEPING ME JUICY!  Five Yoga classes and eight voice lessons plus a meeting with Jesse Ruuttila on his new film project as well as two meetings with the principals of the unnamed film project that keeps being put aside because one or two or all of us keep booking paying gigs.  After our last show of Summertime, I skedaddled to the beach for three days for lobster dinners and sea and sand and salt and sunsets over lighthouses and a skeeter here and there and long long beach walks along the surf with dolphins mere feet from the breakwater. And let’s face it, meeting with a loyal assistant who sends post cards, submissions, researches theatre company seasons, finds unpublished plays for me to prep for auditions, keeps a data base of who knows my work, who calls me in, calls me back, books me, yadda yadda yadda – Rachel B Joyce keeps me juicy by taking care of all the stuff that saps me dry!

INSPIRATION!  Ah, I was a busy actress as well as a busy audience these two months.  I saw one film thanks to SAG Film Society, Effie Gray.  And I started to watch a new TV series because a friend whose work I greatly admire is in it, but in spite of his talents after watching four episodes I found it unwatchable … and it has been canceled. Thanks to SAG Foundation I attended a panel with three of the principals with the Broadway show Wolf Hall.  Theatre gave me The Wooster Group at St Ann’s Warehouse Cry, Trojans; two shows at Signature - What I Did Last Summer as well as Mr Fugard’s latest The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek (thanks for the $25 tickets, Signature!); thanks to TDF I saw Miss Chita Rivera on Broadway in The Visit, David Hyde Pierce directed It Shoulda Been You (why didn’t this receive any Tony nominations?), as well as Steppenwolf’s Airline Highway; had a field trip with cast and crew of Summertime to La Mama to see Mr Mee’s most recent Daily Life Everlasting by A Witness Relocation Project; and two readings of new plays – the first at Manhattan Theatre Club’s In Bloom by Gabriel Jason Dean and the second at Glucksman Ireland House’s Lisa Tierney-Keogh’s Star of the Sea, with favorite actors Gina Costigan, Laoisa Sexton and that scoundrel Johnny Hopkins.  My absolutely two top highlights of theatre for April and May:  seeing my friend John Augustine, sing and strut and act and pump and grind at the Bucks County Playhouse’s Company and my number one all-time favorite twice yearly New York City event of attending Shakespeare In The Park at The Delacorte, for its first summer offering of The Tempest.   Thank you Virtual Lottery!  There is nothing, nothing at all for me, nothing ever ever more New York City to me than sitting open air with gobs of strangers of all types and sizes and whatevers with the evening’s nature bringing what it will, Belvedere Castle overlooking us all and the whatever pond it is sneaking peeks behind the stage – all for the price of a round-trip subway fare.  And if I’m really fortunate, I get to sit with a like-minded New Yorker, and this show fortune graced me with Sean Patrick Monahan. 

Story of The Months

As you can imagine, as these were busy two months, I have so many stories to tell and some of them bled into the reportage above.  But the one that stands out is the simple story … that of these updates.  People have started commenting on my “Blog.” Well, I didn’t know I had a Blog.  I don’t have very good experiences of Blogs. I usually read them and wonder why I’ve read them.  I wonder why the Blogger thought any of what they wrote would interest me.  I wonder who is actually interested in what the Blogger wrote.  I’ve read Blogs of boldfaced names whose work I adore and fell horribly into despair about what inane people they are off the stage or screen.  I’ve read Blogs highly recommended to me and I ask the recommender why would I be interested and the answers are almost always vague.  So it makes me a bit unsettled to know I am writing a Blog, especially since I don’t realize that I write a Blog, that I’m a Blogger, and when I’m unsettled and in my right mind, I take a look at what’s up and what do I need to change.  After examination, I realized I don’t have to change anything but my perspective.  I love people and I love to have conversations and find out what you’re all about and what you’re not, but this is mine.  Because no matter what you call this, whether you do or don’t read this, do or don’t enjoy this, do or don’t identify … I write this stuff for me.  Waking up every day wondering what’s up, who’s gonna call, who’s gonna want me, what project will I be the right fit for, wonder why I didn’t book that part they seemed to love me read for, who can I be in touch with, when do I have time in the day to do my vocalise or Yoga or research new works or meet with my assistant or have a break to think and dream or will I see my Sweetheart before bedtime today or update my website … er … I mean write my Blog … and so often, so most often, so the overwhelming majority of the time spending more time doing everything but actually working as an actress in a project, it’s enormously buoying for me to reflect on the facts of what exactly happened around the journey in the last month or two.  And if I took the time to look back over the … Blog … since its inception, it could be even more buoying.  I think this … Blog … may be what people who have a diary or journal or even a Blog-sans-ellipses get out of the writing.  I think our lives matter, at the least they matter to us.  And to take a short bit of time and a small bit of effort and memorialize where I’ve been – just for me – is damn good medicine.  For me.

March 2015 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

BOOKINGS!  Three this month:  theatre projects included a 29 Hour Workshop for Howard Meyer’s Radiance, directed by John Michael DiResta and a public reading of Call Me She with Purple Threads Ensemble.  The latter gave me the task of playing Moon; not a woman named Moon, but The Moon.  In case you’re interested, Moon has a sense of humor, is serenely powerful and wise, and can flirt when needed, especially with The Sun.  Maggie of Radiance, also a powerful force, travels space and time to transport herself to places she wouldn’t want to go to physically.  Both characters were fun and fascinating, and Moon actually gave me less trouble to find than Maggie.  But with the help of the playwright and director and the three other actors of Radiance, I believe Maggie was at least starting to be found for this public reading at The Drama League.  Call Me She was performed to a focused audience in a quirky little church in a Tribeca basement.  Thanks to Jenn Haltman for casting me in Radiance and to Danielle Foklev for inviting me to join Call Me She.  I also had the pleasure of completing the February offer to play “Old Woman” on Talibah L. Newman’s First Dates.  It was exciting to watch Talibah seamlessly work against the clock to shoot quite a number of really funny scenes, and I look forward to working with her again, not to mention the finished product. 

AUDITIONS!  Thanks to NYCAP, I met another real-deal casting director (doing a scene cold with my fave unrehearsed scene partner Nick Plakias; this is not the first casting director event where we’ve been paired), and a relationship is started!  Thanks NYCAP!  I attended the generals for Bucks County Playhouse and Greater Philadelphia Area Auditions, singing and monologuing at both, and also attended an EPA for a Roundabout Theatre project.  Not one audition through the agencies in spite of gobs of submissions, and of course you can see I had no time to thumb-twiddle nonetheless.  O the up and down of it. 

FILM FESTIVALS!  Rattlefly, the short wherein I gleefully spit soup into my daughter’s face, is still going strong on the festival circuit.  I wrote that it was accepted into Cinequest and am pleased to report that it won Best College Short!  Rattlefly also was a participant at Florida Film Festival.   And American Gladiators was a participant at POW Film Festival.  Both of these Columbia University thesis films are being widely recognized by national festivals.  Finally (I get to work with amazingly feted artists, no?) the first Instagram Web Series consisting of thirty-two 15 second episodes, Artistically Challenged, was accepted into Miami WebFest.  I’m eager to watch the careers of filmmakers Min Ding (Rattlefly), Lara Gallagher (American Gladiators) and the trio of Aleks Arcabascio/Michael Samuel Deigh/Jeremy Boros (Artistically Challenged) in the coming years, not to mention working with them all again.   

READINGS!  I attended my first Lark Play Development new play reading … and left at intermission.  This play didn’t seem quite ready for presenting to the public, even a discerning yet forgiving public eager for a new work. And I look forward to when I can get to another at Lark, hoping for a more audience-worthy presentation.

KEEPING ME JUICY!  Six Yoga classes and four voice lessons including my first recording session ever.  Take a look at My Story Of The Month below for more on that.

NUTS AND BOLTS!  Ahhhh, the fab assistant, Rachel B. Joyce, continues efforts to get my acting contacts and encounters tracked with follow-ups when called for.  O damn she is good.

INSPIRATION!  Thanks to TDF I got to see Christian Coulson (who helped me create a shape-shifting puma while directing me last year) perform with obvious relish and delightful expertise the starring role in Everything You Touch, preceded with dinner and biz gab with Crawford Collins; TDF also had me see Broadway’s  Hand To God and St Ann’s Warehouse’ Let The Right One In; Signature Theater’s $25 tix got me a seat to Charles Mee’s Big Love, my number one all-time favorite evening at the theatre (I didn’t write funniest or most tragic and I didn’t write best, I wrote favorite).  A trip uptown to the United Palace Theatre got me a period fashion show followed by a big screen filming of Rear Window – for free!; and thanks to SAG Film society I saw Focus and Run All Night.  Also in the inspiration department I include pre-production meetings with Cayce Crown and John Augustine (over burgers and fries) for our film project, lunch with Laurel Casillo catching her up to the shenanigans of post-production in the most recent film we did together Roman Citizen, and fab gab lunch with playwright Penny Jackson – what an easy artist to hang with!

Story of The Month

I’ve written about singing before.  One of my most very favorite quotes ever is attributed to Bob Dylan: “If something’s worth thinking about, it’s worth singing about.” And while I’ve always been musical and always try to find somewhere for each of my created character performances to sing or at least hum, for various reasons (my Yoga teacher says, with eyes rolled “there’s always a story”) I’ve only sung up to a middle G, and that was an effing reach. That’s a helluva limited range, and as I age I reach more and more beyond my limits – beyond my Gs - best I can.  So, for a little over four years, I’ve worked for four to eight times a month with the most honored Jeff Halpern on singing technique and style, boasting now to a high E belt.  May I write that again?  A HIGH E BELT.  Let me tell you that I join you with having had more than a few challenges in my life, but learning how to sing (or unlearning how to not sing) has been in my top five.  This is a complicated physical, mental, emotional and spiritual journey for me (but, really … are there any other types of journeys?) and has been one of the most terrifying and gratifying and agonizing and joyous and extraordinarily ordinary disciplines encountered … so far.  So, when I gave my agents a little three-tune songfest a few months ago, Judy Boals asked me if I had a pop tune.  And, yes, I did but hadn’t prepared it.  So, Jeff said we’d record it and send it to her.  Well, this month we started recording.  And let me tell you, it was kind of like fairy tale land for me, where dreams come true, except I didn’t even know I had this dream awaiting.   I had absolutely no pre-conceived images of what recording a tune would be like, so when Jeff set up the mike with a huge screen thing between it and my face, when he started pushing buttons and moving levers and punching doodads whilst in front of a large computer screen with things bopping all over the place, when he gave me headphones (what am I to do with these?), I just succumbed to the process.  Everything was foreign, even though I’ve done looping and ADR work.  THIS WAS SINGING with a soundtrack.  Or at least it was supposed to be.  And you know what?  I did it. It was kind of surreal because I discovered there was a part of me that had seemingly watched with eagle eye many films and TV scenes showing singers in a sound booth so this mysterious little part of me thought it knew what to do.  And what’s to do but just follow that?  Mimicry can be something fabulous.  Watch for my cover of Pink’s The Great Escape coming to my website soon.  If they could see me now … or hear me now … or both.  HA!

February 2015 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

BOOKINGS!  Two this month:  I sent an EcoCast self-tape in reply to an audition invitation for the webseries First Dates and booked the role “Old Lady.” This is not my first character called “Old Lady,” and let me say my first “Old Lady” was for a very auspicious project which led to more projects, so I welcome this “Old Lady” with gusto!  Yet I do giggle some when I think of myself as “Old Lady.” Try to keep up with me, youngsters!  My second booking is very exciting:  Jenn Haltman has cast me in her upcoming direction of Charles Mee’s Summertime, set for May performances at the Gowanus Loft.  I was so intrigued with the script and in love with the character Maria and had so much fun preparing for the audition, that when Jenn called to invite me to join the project I was and continue to be so excited.  Rehearsals start in March!

PREMIERES!  Luca Elmi’s Roman Citizen, in which I have the lead, and Cayce Crown’s documentary Making Roman Citizen both had their first big screen showings in Louisville, KY this month.  Mother Nature canceled the original screening date – including our flights - and a couple hundred people – including Cayce and me - arrived at the rescheduled show in spite of it conflicting with The Oscars telecast.  Because of technical difficulties, the evening’s main event - Roman Citizen - came up second to Cayce’s perfectly executed, engaging and crowd pleasing documentary.  Shame Shame Shame on the Louisville producers for falling short on Roman Citizen and kudos galore to Cayce Crown for her success! All of us are eager to see Roman Citizen in its final glorious form. 

READINGS!  I read stage directions for MT Works’ staged reading of Fengar Gael’s The Last Lot.  This is a rich and fun play with magical realism as its roots, so the “reading” of the stage directions was infused with dramatics, not to mention multiple wild dog howls, which were executed – if I do say so myself - with great gusto.  Thank you, David Stallings, for inviting me to join the project.  And I finally was able to work my schedule out to attend my first Abingdon Theatre’s Thursday afternoon weekly new play readings and was delighted to discover Doug DeVita was the featured playwright with his The Fierce Urgency Of Now.  So pleased to meet Doug and watch his wonderful play.  I look forward to seeing where both Ms Gael’s and Mr DeVita’s plays head next.

AUDITIONS!  Five for theatre (two musical), one for a webseries (booked it), and one for a commercial. I’m happy to report that the commercial audition came through the agent I met at David Cady’s closing commercial class who ended our meeting with “I’ll see what I can do for you,” which is sometimes a rather nice was to say “I’m not interested.” But he meant it, and I look forward to more!

FILM FESTIVALS!  Rattlefly, the short wherein I gleefully spit soup into my daughter’s face, is still going strong on the festival circuit.  Cinequest is its next stop.  You go filmmaker Ming Din, producer Layla Ji and Rattlefly

KEEPING ME JUICY!  OneYoga class, five voice lessons, and a lovely meal with actress Kimberly Wong, to talk about how we walk the path. 

NUTS AND BOLTS!  My fab assistant, Rachel B. Joyce, has created the most awesome database which tracks who knows my work, my bookings, my auditions, my callbacks and holds, my follow ups, yadda yadda.  We’ve dubbed this document DaBa, in honor of abbadabbadoo, which keeps the preciousness and seriousness of it all to a minimum.  It’s a game, it’s all a game. 

INSPIRATION!  Thanks to SAG Film Society I saw Black Sea, Project Almanac and Mommy; thanks to Bucks County Playhouse I was comped for Late Nite Catechism and thanks to TDF I relished in You Can’t Take It With You; I was transfixed by Gina Costigan’s solo turn and awarded semifinalist performance of The Rules at the Strawberry Festival; and TV and TV-ish treated me to The Grammys (Annie Effing Lennox!) and The Oscars (what fun to see Alex Dinelaris accept his Oscar for Best Original Screenplay of Birdman) plus Better Call Saul’s premiere as well as season three premiere of House of Cards.

Story of The Month

Focus on where you’re headed.  No, focus on the now.  No, focus on where you’ve come from.  Plan.  Achieve.  Set goals.  Fear is your downfall.  Have your fear. Welcome your fear.  You’re a star.  Be humble.  Study with me!  No, not him, study with me. I have the answer for you.  It only costs blah blah blah.  Yadda Yadda Yadda.  

OY!  BASTA! SHADDUP ALREADY! NOW!  I SAID SHADDUP!

It can be a madhouse “out there” for me at times.  I’ve reached a point where I realize I’ll focus on whatever the eff I want to, I’ll plan if and when I wish, achievement is relative, fear is as important and as unimportant as moving my bowels, I am no more a star than you, sometimes I’m humble, stop yelling at me, you don’t have the answer, and your cost is way more than your benefit.  O, and it all is a buncha yadda yadda yadda.

Here’s what I know:  Not quite five years ago I decided to return to acting.  This past month in just its last week I attended a premiere of a film in which I had the lead; I auditioned for a damn fine regional theatre with a lovely real-person casting director – which audition I set up myself for myself because I was going to be in town for the film premiere anyway; I was cast in a webseries that I self-taped for; and I auditioned for my first national tour of a Broadway show – given two scenes each with a different accent and character plus one minute of a song from the show at 7pm Tuesday to audition 1020am Thursday with Wednesday booked almost solid with pre-arranged important stuff yet managed to squeeze in an hour with my genius and generous voice teacher Jeff Halpern to help me prep – and though I was sleepless from 230am and for a few hours before I left for the audition was gagging from feeling so ill-prepared yet as prepared as I could possibly be, I made it and am damn happy with the results.  Damn happy.  Really damn happy.  Let me be perfectly clear about that last event:  I was not sleepless and gagging from fear of the audition itself; fgs, it’s an audition.  I was sleepless and gagging that I had been given so little time to prep for a great part in a great show and a great opportunity when I take great pains and great pride in prepping for any and all auditions yet was not given the opportunity to do my very best and – if I wanted to take the opportunity - had to go and do it anyway on “their” terms.  Why a CD wouldn’t give an actress the very best leg up to show her very best is beyond me and don’t give me that crap that “they” didn’t have any more time because the damn rehearsals start in six months.  But that’s how it went down. That’s what I know. 

I know I don’t give a damn if you’re a Columbia student directing her first film or an Academy Award filmmaker that I’m working for.  I know I don’t give a damn if I’m auditioning for a showcase or for a national tour.  I know I don’t give a damn if you call me Old Lady or Princess Maripova for your project. I know I don’t give a damn if I’m starring in your project or I’m reading your stage directions.  I know I don’t give a damn if I’m too pretty or not pretty enough, too fat or too thin, too tall or too short, too old or too young, too aggressive (it’s assertive, not aggressive, you ass) or not enough of a presence.  I know in spite of not giving a damn about any of that that I indeed give more than a damn to do my finest work for me and for you and for them.  And I know I love it.  But mostly, and most importantly for me, I know I just wake up each day and wonder what it holds and then do my best - which is sometimes good, sometimes OK, sometimes not so hot – and remember that my point is to enjoy life, which leads me to the final scene of my last week of February snuggled with my Sweetheart in front of the fire at our little cabin in the woods of Bucks County wondering how we got so damn lucky.  THAT I give a damn about.

January 2015 (check out my Story of The Month at the End)

READINGS!  Well, 2015 has started out with its best foot forward.  I had such a rich time preparing and performing three plays for The Bucks County Playhouse new playwrights’ class with John Augustine at the helm.  Such disparate roles, such interesting characters – much fun was had.  Thank you, John.  And I had another rich time preparing for and reading the screenplay of WINGWOMAN for writers, producers and other interested folks wherein I read six characters, three of whom were outrageous and hysterical and nobody but nobody had more fun than I.  Thank you, RJ Lucci.  I consider both projects delicious auspicious beginnings for 2015.

AUDITIONS!  Five for theatre (one musical), one for film, one for a commercial, one for TV and one go-see.  Geez, I like it when I’m busy, and these nine kept me moving at a damn good clip. 

KEEPING ME JUICY!  Six Yoga classes, four voice lessons, and the final of David Cady’s commercial class where I got to meet a busy well-respected commercial agent who “will see what I can do for you.”  

NUTS AND BOLTS!  I had three meetings with strategizers.  Brian O’Neil has set me on an exciting and doable game plan for increasing my success with the biz part of the biz.  And Rachel Joyce has accepted my offer to be my assistant to help me with all that.  I’ve always been highly motivated to take the ball and run with it, meet people, audition audition audition, network, yadda yadda and I can’t tell you how much more agency I feel with Brian’s direction and Rachel’s assistance.  Lastly, a meeting with a manager could lead to something more – a few more months and we’ll see about that. 

INSPIRATION!  Thanks to SAG Film Society I saw Black Hat; thanks to SAG Foundation I saw Birdman followed by a talkback with Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone as well as Appropriate Behavior followed by a talkback with filmmaker Desiree Akhavan; of course I watched the Golden Globes and SAG Awards; I checked into two new streaming series – Transparent and Mozart In The Jungle; I treated myself to streaming Midnight Cowboy, a film I loved in 1969 and a film I discovered I love even more in 2015; I was thrilled my favorite TV show restarted, The Americans; and boy did I see some inspiring theatre: Taylor Mac’s selected songs of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ’50 backed up by uber hot Viva DeConcini with costumes by Machine Dazzle Flower was to die for; and thanks to TDF, I saw Broadway’s On The Town and Off Broadway’s Between Riverside And Crazy, assistant directed by Adrian Wattenmaker.  D’ya think I slept at all in January? I mostly loved every single moment spent.

SCREENINGS!  Switch, a film I did in 2013 was selected by New Filmmakers New York Film Festival and was screened this month for the first time in front of the public at Anthology Film Archives.  I’m thrilled with the audience reaction and had some nice conversations in the lobby afterwards.  Congratulations to our director, filmmaker Sarah Charlee Harrison, who was also thrilled.  I met the screenwriter Eljon Wardally and her director Randy Wilkins, whose film Docket 32357 (gave me goosebumps) was also screened.  American Gladiators, a film I did in 2013, is still running the festivals circuit, having just been admitted into Portland International Film Festival for February. 

CONNECTIONS!  With regularity, I am asked to recommend talent for projects, and with regularity I am thanked for my thoughts. I also have been known to recommend without being asked – with superb results for my cheek. I love making connections.  And I’m pretty damn good at it.  Recently, four of three recommended actors have snagged the jobs, with the fourth being highly praised yet not cast (not because of his lack of talent).  Three of these people, including the one not cast, were so gracious with their thanks for my thinking of them.  It was my pleasure, believe me.  They should all be cast as much as they would like.  I hang with talent.  I also hang with generosity. The fourth, whose casting I found out through Facebook, has said nary a word.  No thank you for recommending me, no thank you I got cast, no thank you the show was a success.  Look, we all have talent.  But from where I sit, it seems that it’s our simple honest humanity that most often results in our being wanted. I will say no more. Except that I have one last hang.  Stingy be gone!

Story of The Month

I had decided over the year-end break that 2015 was to be the year of the “NO.”  I had been cast in two projects in each of the last two months of 2014 that I withdrew from because they turned out to be not a good way for me to spend my time.  For the last four years, I’ve pretty much said yes to any audition or casting I’ve been offered.  This is the conscious plan I had for getting re-established in the business.  Just say YES.  And it’s paid off, paid off mightily. For some time now, I can’t fit all my projects on my resume. A whole lotta people know my work, which my assistant can attest to as she makes the spreadsheet to track contacts. But for 2015 and beyond, I wanted to keep a focus on projects that really matter to me, that really excite me, that are fun AND are of a certain level of professionalism and profile.  I thought with that intention that I would proceed to have a less busy 2015, which was a result I was a little scared but quite willing to have; a year of less projects, but the projects I had would be ones I was excited about.  I got fooled.  This January there’s been no lack of activity at all.  I’ve been invited to audition for some really terrific projects, to actually be a part of some terrific projects, and I’ve been having such terrific fun keeping up with the demands – get it?  Terrific’s the word.  The time management thing is a scramble, but a worthy one.  I’m a preparer; I can spend hours and hours preparing for what sometimes turns out to be a ten minute audition, and not being cast can be a disappointment.  But learning what I learned from the prep is forever, and this month’s quality of projects have given me a whole lot of learning.  Plus, as you’ll find out with my February updates, I have a terrifically meaty new project. So it seems as if saying NO has given me more yesses than I bargained for.  And O, do I like yesses.

Read More

back to 2016 OR go to 2014