Get Up and Go

My audition outfit: dress provided by Target, shoes by Jessica Simpson, and earrings bought from a lovely sorority sister who knew of my obsession with all things sparkly and dangly.

One of the greatest life lessons that the acting world has given me is very simple: Show Up.  Basically, this means that stuff can only happen if you take the opportunities that you’re given.  You will never get cast in a show if you don’t show up to audition.  Likewise, you will never get the help you need at work if you don’t ask for it.  You won’t be able to reach the cereal at the back of the shelf of the grocery if you don’t ask the hunky shopper next to you for some help.

See? Multi-situational applicability.  That’s what I aim for.

I had a true test of this theory this morning. I stayed up too late last night, and when my alarm went of at 7 sharp, I cursed whatever minion that had possessed me to sign up for a 10 am opera audition slot.  The excuses started pouring in: it’s pointless because I won’t get cast, my voice doesn’t feel up to snuff, it’s been a long week, I’ve done enough…I could write a book with the things that actors come up with.  But after about ten minutes of wrestling with myself, I got up.  And I drank two sips of coffee (because caffeine is bad for your voice.  The world is a cruel, cruel place sometimes).  And showered, got dressed, prepped my music, walked out the door and auditioned my butt off.

I showed up! And got a nice little boost of confidence.  A good start to my Saturday.

Now excuse me while I go chug coffee like it’s my job.


The Elements of Filming an Audition

This is the face of a happy and relieved blogger. Also: the shirt and the earrings are new. Sorry, I had to.

Well.  This has been an experience.  It turns out that filming an audition is much, much harder than just going in and doing one. I was of the mindset that this would be great: take as many shots as you need, redo a few times, do a little editing, and blam! Instant glory.

Not so, my friends. Not so.

First of all, the camera: I borrowed a fancy high tech option from our music library. Picture me in heels and a dress, a sweet coat on my shivering frame, as I trudge across campus, carrying a thirty pound, unweildy silved case on my arm. It was not pretty.  A curse word or two might have been uttered. I had planned to attach the camera directly to my teacher’s laptop and record onto there. But this was, apparently, the one laptop Apple makes that didn’t have a connector.  Scratch that plan.  We then decided to record onto a cassette, and transfer that onto a laptop movie program. No worries.

Now, the recording: I am a perferctionist, I should tell you that right away.  A perfectionist who does not like seeing or hearing herself on video. I mean…it’s death. I could sing like Renee Fleming, and I’d still want to fix or redo something. So this was a little bit miserable for me.  My allergies were acting up at the beginning, and I felt like there was something wrong with every single take I did.  By the end of singing, I was tired, I was frustrated, and I just needed to go home and not think about it. And that’s how I wound up watching three episodes of New Girl and eating half a carton of Hagen Daaz coffee ice cream on Wednesday night.  Je ne regrette rien.

On to the transferring: This really freaks me out. I am not technology-smart, at all, which I’ve mentioned. It usually just takes me two hours of mucking about till I stumble on the correct thing. So the whole process of transferring the video from camera to computer, editing on the computer, and then getting that onto a flashdrive scared the crap out of me. Visions of deleting my entire edition flashed before my eyes every time I clicked a button.  I worked on it for an hour, clicking, undoing, clicking, undoing, until it finally loaded on my drive.  And when I clicked open, it said…”CANNOT BE LOADED WITH QUICKTIME.”

Kill. Me. Now. And then I ran to class, scribbled a note to the computer dude begging for his help, and decided it was out of my hands.

Finally, the uploading: I went in this morning, and the computed dude had miraculously solved my problem, and told me it would work (thank God for the technology savvy in this world.  Computer dude, you’re my savior.) I began to edit on my laptop. This was also a gruelling process, and I had to do a lot of try and fail before I finally got two cuts I liked.

And now, the worst part: which one do I pick? I agonized over this. It might seem funny to some, that performers can micromanage this stuff down to the nearest head tilt or hand gesture…but I wanted it to be perfect.

Newsflash to Lauren: No one is perfect. When I finished my editing and uploading to youtube, I had a nice little cut that I think shows off my voice to its full advantage.  Now I can just send it on its way and hope for wonderful things.

In the meantime, I’m going to chill, congratulate myself on getting through all of this, and drink coffee. (Note: I don’t want to post the video on here until after auditions, just to make sure there are no issues with the theatre company.  Thanks for being patient with me!)

You Are Enough.

I had a bad voice lesson yesterday.  We’ve all had those days: you’re sick or just getting over it; you’re exhausted; you have too many other things on the brain; you’re stressed…and so on.  Most of the time, I just work through all the crap and come out feeling happier with my sounds, and the work that I did.

Not yesterday.

Yesterday, songs that sounded good before sounded like crap.  Persnickety vowels that I thought I had perfected made a comeback.  No matter how hard I worked, the sounds just were not happening the way I wanted them to.  And making all of that worse was the lingering, terrifying thought: I have an audition tomorrow.

So, I cried.  Obviously.  My first time crying in a voice lesson here at school (which is actually terribly surprising, considering I am usually a veritable fountain when I become stressed).

My voice teacher was, I think, a little perplexed. She apologized if she was pushing me too hard, and I said no, that wasn’t it.  I was crying because I knew how it was supposed to sound, where it was supposed to be…and I. Could. Not. Do. It

After being in a bad mood for a couple of hours, I came to a realization that I’m going to keep in my brain for the rest of my performing career:

Be easier on yourself. You’re enough.

This sounds so simple on paper, but I think it’s the hardest thing for my mind to understand about performing. I don’t want it to be GOOD.  I want it to be the most spectacular thing I’ve ever performed in my life.  I want every audition to be perfect, and when I feel like that isn’t happening/isn’t going to happen, I panic.  Like, fluttery stomach, shaky hands, no-way-out panic. Not conducive to a good audition in itself, right?

So when I go to the practice rooms today, I’m going to hope that whatever was wrong has magically gone away due to the gallons of water I’ve been drinking and a good night’s sleep.  But if it doesn’t? Okay. I am presenting these people with the best “me” that I can give.  I will act the hell out of my piece, and I will NOT apologize or agonize if I didn’t make my “o” vowel as “oo” as I wanted it. 

I’m enough.

Hopefully this gives you a little inspiration to keep going today.