Tales from Frozen, plus How to Get Up at 6am for your Audition..

NYC has some exciting EPAs on the horizon and today was super cool cause we had the development lab EPA for FROZEN. Aka, the Broadway was looking for a Disney princess…

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The lab is happening in May, but they are also doing an out of town tryout in Denver next year, so there are audishes to come. In any case, it was a good excuse to watch Frozen (for the first time!) with Momma King, and put my reddish hair to good use.

Got to Ripley round 7:30am, and there was already a line of ladies- but only because the building wasn’t open yet. When we finally got to the holding room, it actually wasn’t as many people as I assumed there would be! While we waited for the monitor to do sign up, we all had time to beat our faces, curl the hair, and play with the baby that showed up (for realz. This boss of a mama came with her 2 month old in tow, because, as she said, “It’s Frozen. I had to come.”).

Got my time, vocalized at cap/monologued to the students about my casting theories for the show, hustled back uptown to Ripley (bless you, unlimited metro card), sang my 32, exercised, scarfed a bunch of brussels sprouts at City Bakery, and clocked in at work.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how exhausting the “high stakes” aspect of auditioning can be. It is like going on several job interviews a week… But auditioning is much more vulnerable. You are presenting your voice, and emotional life, and physical self over and over again, and the lack of professional affirming feedback (or what some may call, the excess of “rejection”) can get debilitating. And no one is harsher than your own inner critic. If you are not perfect (which is always:)), if you mess up, or didn’t do what you knew you were capable of, it can ruin a day. But it is essential to remember that it is just one audish, and it doesn’t set you back. There are always opportunities. And you are still worthy of being seen, no matter what.

To keep up the good fight with these open call auditions when you are exhausted by them or drained by their perceived negativity, it is imperative that you find the “Exhilarating Moments” of the audition process. Finding the Exhilarating Moments is another way of saying, find the positive. It is always sooooooo easy to lean into the negative. Anyone can do that. But it takes much more work to find the positive. If you hate auditioning, find what you love about it. Landing on the exhilarating moments of this process is what will feed your purpose and will keep getting you up at 6am to take your giant-ass backpack to sign up and get SEEN. Turn the positives into affirmations that you can repeat to yourself when you find yourself steeped in negative self-talk and worn down by the seeming lack of forward momentum.

Here are my own affirmations when it comes to the audition:

– The people behind the table are rooting for me. They want me to be the answer!

– I am meant to do this. I am meant to share my gifts, my voice and my story with the world and I have the chance to do that today.

– This is what I dreamed about as a 14 year old lying awake at night in little Pasadena, Maryland.

– I will meet a casting director today that will help me onto the next step of living the life of my dreams.

– This is my job. It’s my dream job!

– I choose to be inspired by all those around me. We are all a part of this beautiful community.

– Auditioning is fun! I get to act and sing material I love today!

 

For real tho, auditioning is super fun! I allow myself to be that highschooler auditioning for my school plays. I LOVED the excitement of it. It was always so thrilling. And how cool that this life we chose allows us all these moments of exhilaration.

Keep doing what you love!!

Ctina

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Moleskines and Theatre

I often spend time gazing lovingly on my moleskine calendar. I highlight my auditions and appointments in pink and my work shifts in yellow. On the left side I have my schedule and on the right side I have all the of the reagonal theatre’s seasons of that week written out, plus random lists, quotes, etc. Basically, my planner is a mess of pink, yellow and pencil doodles, with lots of things boxed, circled, checked, and starred. It looks insane, but I think it is beautiful and I love laying it open and just staring at it. Scheduling out each day is veeery satisfying to me. I really commend everyone who uses their phone which I’m sure is a lot neater and cleaner. But I definitely prefer a big, bulky book that I have to cart around and open to see all the madness laid out in front of me. For the curious, I use this extra large moleskine. I get next year’s as soon as it comes out bc they get sold out like whoa.

I just said goodbye to the parents who were in town visiting me for a few days. It was so fun having them here. While they stayed with me, I went to three auditions, and they LOVED tagging along with me to see the goings-on. They’ve gone to plenty of auditions with me in Baltimore and D.C., but only one in NYC (a very busy ECC a few months ago). They were a super fun posse to have around amidst the audition madness. My mom was a sneaky paparazzi and took some pics of me doing some serious prep:

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And also when I was on line waiting to go in:

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^I’m laughing because I saw her sneaking the pic! lol.

The first night they were here, we went to see Beautiful: The Carol King Musical.

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So. GOOD!!!! Super feel good, really well put together, great design and I think mom and I were smiling the whooooole time. I could tell the performers were have the BEST TIME.

This week I’m planning on seeing Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility. It’s supposed to be a really high energy, modern version of Jane Austen’s novel. I’m heading to D.C. next week to audish for the Folger Theatre’s production- stoked!

Keep on doing what you love.

Ctina

 

 

Dropped in NYC

Countrywo/men!

I am freshly returned from Sarasota, Florida where I played Pauline in FST’s One Man Two Guvnors. It was a wonderful, fulfilling experience (more on that later, plus… Harry Potter World pilgrimage! ah!), but my head is so full right now with settling back into the city and back to getting after some auditions, picking up shifts at CAP21, and gazing lovingly on all those beautiful faces I haven’t seen in 2 and a halfish months.

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Actor’s Equity Building

Right when I got back to the city, I was given a big project for my first week: my first real deal agent appt for a Broadway show. Getting these types of appts was a specific goal of mine for the new year, so getting it was very fangirl-squeal inducing. This audish was what is called a “pre-screen” for future replacements for a pop/rock show currently running, and I was only asked to prep a song and a scene from the show. The week leading up to it involved me working and memorizing the sides, a session with my acting coach, and some late night youtube research. I went in the most prepared I could be and the audish went well! The best thing you can say is that you went into the room and did exactly what you wanted to do. The only thing you can control in this business is how prepared you are (wise words from my mentor, Mana Allen), so knowing and doing THAT makes auditions so much less about “not being good enough” and infinitely more a matter of “here I am, this is what I love, nice to meet you/see you again. See you soon”.

Something to also keep in mind with auditions is that you may hear the next day if you got a call back, and you may hear next YEAR. It’s important to remember that an audition is not a “no.” It’s a “not now.” What is important is being “seen” by the person behind the table, because you never know what they may be writing on your resume for later, the other things they are currently casting/working on, or the things that will come up from that audition in a few months’ time. The important thing is just to always be ready for the opportunity. To be consistent and professional, and to take every opportunity you can to express your talent in the room (read: go to all the auditions you can and practice all you can and take class all you can). One my vocal coaches, when asked about success in this industry, said, “You just have to be ready for when the opportunity comes.”

Here in New York, we are currently in what we call “Audition Season,” meaning that a bunch of regional theatres from all over the country are coming to NYC over the next few weeks and casting for their 2016-2017 seasons. So I am filling my mornings, pretty much Monday-Friday, now through March, traipsing in EPA/ECC land. Just so this doesn’t get all “inside baseball-y,” here’s what that means:

EPA (Equity Principle Audition)

Equity regional theatres and Broadway shows are required by Equity rules to have these open calls for Equity actors, so even if the show is already cast, they are still required to hold these auditions. These are where you go in the morning an hour before the call starts (earlier if you want to be towards the front of the line) and sign up for an appt time that day. It is really nice to have a guarenteed slot that you can plan your day around. You never really know who will be in the room and whether or not they are looking, but if you are right for the show, it’s always good to go. You just never know. Some people think if you have an agent who is submitting you for things, don’t waste your time going to these. But, people do get call backs and appts from these. AND, agent appts don’t go out until after the required EPA, so if casting sees you at the EPA, they may decide to give you the agent appt.

 

ECC (Equity Chorus Call)

This is specifically for the ensemble parts in musicals. The list starts a week before the call. Broken up into female singers, male singers, female dancers, male dancers. I always go to the singer call, and to the dance call if they invite me after singing. For this one, you sign up a week before. The list is called a half hour before the start time. If you are not there when they call your name, you are at the end of the line. Depending on who shows up, your number may change from 200 to 30. At these, everyone who has a number before they close the call will get seen. If it is crazy busy and they are forced to “type” (that is, decide who gets to audition based on your look/type), you at least get to walk into the room and be seen. You stay until your number, so it is more like an open call situation. What is beneficial with an ECC is someone from the music team is required to be behind the table, so no matter what, you are seen by a member of the creative team. (With an EPA, only someone from casting has to be there.

 

Appointments

These. are. the BEST. This is where casting calls you in from an agent submission or self-submission (or EPA/ECC). They give you sides (songs and scenes from the show) to audition with (EPAs and ECCs, you sing from your book-as in, your personal repertoire of songs). Appointments are great because they are so much more chill, you don’t have to get up crazy early in the morning, you have something specific to prepare, you know they are definitely looking and think you are already right for the part cause you were called in from a submission. I personally love preparing sides much more than singing from my book  because it’s fun to be working on new material and to have that mini-chance of actually performing the role you are in for.

Okay my friends, hope you all are living happy and staying warm. Love.
Xtina

Friday Quote Love

There is a quote I’ve keep on my wall for years. It’s from Mark Bittman, a food journalist for the NYTimes. The context of the quote surrounded a picture that surfaced of his home kitchen in NYC. It was the size of a shoebox. A SHOEBOX.

It’s a tiny kitchen, even by New York standards. But he’s been working in that kitchen for years, cooking for himself and yes, entertaining dinner guests. This man does food for a living. And yet, his “work station” was about as ordinary as any other human.

Needless to say, the internet was shocked. In response, he said:

Runners run and writers write, cooks cook. Under pretty much any circumstance.

Upon reading, I immediately issued forth that involuntary exhale which told me my mind was just blown.

I fell in love with this idea and for the simplicity in how it was communicated.

The Circumstance is secondary. The Drive is everything.

Sure, the right equipment and environment are sometimes super necessary.

But if I’m at an airport, and I don’t have a yoga mat, and I feel like I need yoga, I’m not gonna say, ohhhh I don’t have my matt, there are too many people around, it would look weird, I can’t.

A yogi yogas. Pretty much under any circumstance.

A writing class, for SURE would help me get my writing in gear and would make me accountable to write MORE. But should that stop me from writing right now? Like the man says:

A writer writes. Under any circumstance.

A mac book and a rad microphone would certainly help me make my media page kick ass. But should not having those things stop me from putting my voice out there anyway? Because a singer sings. Pretty much under any circumstance.

An actor goes to the audition. Under any circumstance.

The health conscious food nerd packs a lunch. Pretty much under any circumstance.

The Trader Joe’s devotee goes to Trader Joe’s. Under any circumstance (read: even if it’s Sunday).

The frugal person keeps a budget, under any circumstance.

The walker walks.

The optimist smiles.

The traveler travels.

Under any circumstance.
The drive to do something is paramount and has the power to cut through any “less than ideal” environment. Because it’s always the person who does the doing. And the person is always stronger than any old circumstance. The mind is a powerful thing, and perhaps changing your thoughts, will actually change the circumstance.

while at work

Sifting through the Internets during downtime at work, I came across an excerpt from Garson Kanin’s book, Tracy and Hepburn. She writes:

“All careers in the arts resemble life on roller coasters. First, the painstakingly slow and steady climb: next, reaching a peak; now a sickening plummet from grace. Up again, up, up and down! Again and again. Observe, however, the interesting laws of physics in action as the downward thrust gives flowing motion to the climb up to the next leg of the journey. Without the downs, there would be little self-generated energy for the ups.

There are some who are so shook up by the ride that they stop riding; others hang on grimly, without enjoyment; a number drop out or jump off… but a rare few.. enjoy it all the way, the heady ups and the screaming downs. These are the born roller coaster riders.”

Alright, Garson. Alright.

Xoxo

After Bedtime

You know those nights when you come home dead tired and hungry, so you stay up just to eat and, you know, watch 30 Rock and read Vulture, and then like, you’re done eating dinner, but you’re ready for just one more 30 Rock cause your on that Tina Fey high, and then your like, whoa it is TIME for sleep, but then somehow you’ve pushed past tired into, MAN, I don’t want to sleep, I just want it to be morning so I can have coffee and read Vulture updates. It’s actually a periodic cycle that a piece of me watches with horror while my other peices rejoice in the comedic revelry that instant Netflix gives me. Curse you, 30 Rock, butreallyiloveyouwithallmyheart.

This week has definitely been on the chiller side audition wise (minus the North shore EPA I tried to crash to no avail), which is good because I injured my knee while running last week and its still being extremely pesky even after I bought it new sneakers. The gull of that joint! The good thing about the cold front that seized our city is that now whenever I’m outside, my knee just sort of grows numb with the cold and I feel nothing but the freezing slap of death against my  exposed cheeks. Yay!

Anyway, these ramblings need to stop if I want my dream of coffee and Vulture to happen in the morn. But I’ll leave by leaving some of my winter missions on here so that WordPress holds me accountable for them:

– more videos of me singing will be released into the ether..
-more play going and movie going will occur…. … .
– and coffee with friends will be planned….. …

Goodnight!

Deep into Sunday Evening..

A no work Sunday means “day off,” but really, is that a real thing in this city?

Well, today was a lovely day off. Slept in til 9a, ample time for Bfast/coffee/and nymag/vulture updates. Then off to YttP for the 12noon 90 min vinyasa (wherein I got the most beautiful, miraculous seated forward fold adjustment from yoga goddess chae chae), then it was a mad dash to Chinatown for my acting class with acting goddess Josie. It was chill class on my end- my scene wasn’t going up, so I just read/talked through my new scene with the class and my partner and then did a bitzy bit of monologue work. But then after class, at this point it being 5pm, I had a little dilemma (side note: I am the most indecisive person I have ever, and will ever meet. Making daily decisions and is daily struggle for me). Anyway, dilemma being…I was tired, hungry and already downtown (i.e. close to Brooklyn where I live), SO, I did NOT want to rush on UPtown to crazy, tourist laden MIDtown and take a Contemporary dance class at BDC that I said I would take, but at that moment seemed like the least thing I wanted to do. Not to mention “spending the money.” But, as one learns from 200 hours of yoga teacher training, the thing you don’t want to do, is the thing you most certainly must do. SO I trekked up to BDC and took my class, WHICH I almost walked straight out of at least 3 honest times because it was one of the hardest dance classes I’ve ever done. I thought, why the heck am I forcing myself to be here?? I’m out of my league, I’m barely getting these steps, and I’m hungry. But I stayed in the room and did the best I could, and there was this switch in the middle of class when the seemingly impossible choreo seemed possible. Not finessed, or perfect, on my part, BUT I got the steps and I was able to work on something. And I left feeling good. So when I got home, and after eating a hardwon dinner of eggs on toast, I watched this cuhRazy intense documentary , called First Position, about young ballet dancers competing in the world’s most prestigious ballet competition, the Youth American Grand Prix. I was blown away by these kids who’s drive, and ambition, and work ethic, and passion were so inspiring. There really is something to hard work and love of the craft.

 

Above was Monday in union square. After a rehearsal at CAP I had time to enjoy lunch in the park. It was the loveliest warm fall day yesterday. Too bad I had the insight to wear my winter coat.

Monday was also Celebrate Michon day! Which I guess is just a CAP21 holiday. But we celebrated it HARD Monday night, as we honored CAP’s and theatre’s living legend Michon Peacock. Don’t know her? Oh, well, here’s a few pics….:

 

 

Yup.

That’s right. That’s Michon dancing with Shirley Maclaine. Nbd.

Michon, is leaving CAP, where she was the conservatory director for I believe 13 years (she was also my adviser!), so Monday night was our chance to celebrate her with videos, stories, performances by faculty and alum, AND Michon did a song and dance number, which was just incredible to experience.

The next day saw an early morning, and two audition day, the first was my theatreworks appt for Click Clack Moo, then I rushed uptown to the Theatre Under the Stars open call- they’re doing Man of la Mancha and Camelot so of COURSE I sang I Could Have Danced all Night. How could I not when Julie Andrews is involved in any capacity. But really, any chance to be Eliza for even 30 seconds, I take it.

Where do you go from there when your two auditions are over by midday? Why you walk from 36th st to Union Square to meet one of your greatest friends, Jacob, for lunch, a biscotti and a cookie, and…..

It was phenomenal  Like really. I loved it. Buuuuut I do have some qualms, like the fact that they dropped two characters together into suuuuuuch an interesting  new and unexpected situation  and it was fun, but not fun enough towards the end. I wanted a little more from the last quarter of the movie. We got a lot, but I wanted more. because I’m very greedy.

Also, Daniel Craig is sexy.

Anyway, after salivating over our modern James Bond, I headed to BK yttp for a vinyasa double, taught by my good friend Scotty, and thennnnnn I taught the 9! Ahhh! Fist time teaching in months. I have to say I was quite nervous, but I couldn’t have been happier, after MONTHS, to say the familiar “child pose, please.” It felt good.

 

Anyway, I’m counting the days until Thanksgiving. I’m ready for a real vacation, not a pseudo hurricane holiday, but an actual family ridden, good food, old neighborhood type holiday…yummmmmmmm.