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Motivation

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Motivation

Where does motivation come from? More importantly, what motivates you? Is it quotes, inspiring stories, religion, a drive to be better than the other guy? Whatever it may be, it’s going to be different than everyone else, and we have to learn how to achieve it for ourselves.

Finding motivation is so difficult sometimes, there are days where I wake up and just KNOW that I am not capable of achieving all that I should for the day, I know that the bare minimum will be the only thing achieved and that’s just going to have to work. Then I’ll have other days where I am pumped, I am ready to get shit done, and other people’s work too for that matter.

I think that the idea of being motivated and driven are so blown out of proportion these days. We live in a world where we constantly hear “get shit done” “be better than the next”, “Hustle harder”, which can put a fire under your ass, but how long does it last? In my experience, a day tops. How can we train ourselves to obtain the formula to motivation and how to channel it when needed?

I know we all know the expression, “Just Do It”, and 9 times out of 10, when we need to get something done, we just have to do it, as minute or small, or tedious as it may be, there is no other way to accomplish this, then to just do it. For example, me right now writing this post; I have very little motivation, I am tired, I’m trying to find a new apartment in this crazy expensive city, my grandmother is extremely sick, and I’m involved in way too many projects, my head is about to explode, POOR ME! But, I am just doing it, because I set a goal for myself to post every other Monday, so here I am, just doing it.

I personally get a lot of my motivation from feedback, I love putting something out there in the social media world, and when I get feedback (bad and good), I am motivated that whatever it is I am putting out there, is heard, needed and/or wanted. I am motivated by self-help books, seeing other people’s facebook posts about successes that they have accomplished (weather it’s jealousy or being proud, it motivates me). I am motivated by my devotional I read every morning, I am motivated by my family, and I am motivated by my past accomplishments. So often we forget how much we have done and achieved, sometimes looking back on ALL that we have accomplished can reignite our passion, and remind us, we can do this.

My challenge for you this week, think about what motivates you the most, and share it with others, either here or in your own world, because you never know, you may help someone else find their motivation.

 

Books I recommend:

The Lazy Guru

Crushing It

You’re a Badass

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Let's take a... Self Tape

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Let's take a... Self Tape

Often times in the audition process (for TV/Film and sometimes Theater), casting will ask for a self tape audition. This is a video recording of the actor reading sides, provided by casting for the show they are working on. In this self tape, you will often have a reader (who is off camera) read the scene with you, and record your best take at this audition. What is so great about self tapes, is that you can watch and re record your audition 700 times until you are confident with it, whereas in the  audition room, you only get the 1 take.

Tips and tricks of the trade:

  1. ALWAYS MEMORIZE THE SIDES!
    1. I can't say it enough, nothing looks more tacky and unprofessional then an actor sending in a video that they had time to prepare for with sides in hand.
  2. Have a blank/solid background
    1. When I get self tapes submitted and I can see people's' living rooms or house, all I can focus on is "oh that's a nice couch" or "how can they afford to live there!"
    2. I alway advise to film against a wall or hang a blank sheet up
  3. Shoot Horizontally 
    1. If you're shooting on your Iphone, make sure it isn't vertical. This ain't no insta story, this is your one chance at this job opportunity. Put in the effort
    2. Don't cut off the top of your head, frame it nicely.
  4. Lighting 
    1.  If you are going to continue this profession for a long time, I would invest in some basic lighting equipment. (my recommendation) these ring lights are perfect and used by so many Youtubers, they light your face, highlight your eyes and make your video look that much better!
  5. Sound Quality 
    1. Make sure you sound clear and that you are speaking loud enough
      1. Often times actor's will rush and casting won't even look at your video because they had to spend the first 15 seconds figuring out the volume.
  6. Slate
    1. Slate before you read your sides (unless otherwise instructed)
      1. Most of the time your slate should be a seperate take than the actual reading of sides.
      2. Casting usually gives instructions on what to say, but generally you say your name, location, age/height and your representation if you have any. 

My rrecommendations

  • Lucas Van Engen  is a very talented actor who has mastered the art of the self tape. Lucas has been in the business for awhile now and has learned a thing or two about taping! He charges $40 to shoot your audition, coach you and will edit your video. (What a deal!)
  • Sky Town Entertainment is another great company I have sent clients to before, great prices and a good solid team who knows what casting is looking for!

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 The Power of Connections

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The Power of Connections

I'm sure you've heard the expression "It's all who you know" a million times. As trite and cliché as it is.... I am a FIRM believer in it. Living by this principle, I haven't applied for a job in a traditional sense, since 2016. I've been very fortunate and have made connections throughout this incredible city and established myself enough to get work by word of mouth. These connections are great because eventually, they provide gigs and opportunities that pop up all over. I don't know about you, but I can't stay put in an office job, let alone a stationary job for too long, hence why I love this field of work. 

I have found that many managers/agents who have been in the industry for a long time, will say that this isn't true, you either have the talent or you don't... but I struggle with believing that. I have found, that especially in the arts industry, a lot of it is who you know, and the talent is expected. 

How to do this:

First off, I just want to make it clear, that I in no way have all the answers, this is just what has worked for me and in other's lives I've been able to interact with.

  • Just be present. This is such an important thing to keep in mind. Be ready to talk to people, meet people, go out, remember names, and always look for opportunities to make them remember you. I can't tell you how many times me and my friends have been out and we have met someone that we admire or is known in our field. My good friend Wesley Barnes is famous for making these types of connections. Wes could get a tree to be his friend, he's ballsy, bold and approaches these situations with a unapologetic gravitas that people can't refuse (we've see so many Broadway shows for free because of this gift of his). He is a success story in the making, but more on him later. 
  • The Power of Social Media: As Gary Vaynerchuk wrote, in his amazing book (that motivated me to start this blog) Crushing It, Social Media is our now, it is a free gateway into the lives of our heroes, and icons lives. It is a way we can create a brand for ourselves, just like them. Keep your social media updated, interesting and relevant to who you are.
    • Social Media can be a blessing but also such a struggle, it can become another job that you end up pouring hours into. I know I personally struggle with just remembering to keep my social media presence active. I want people to know I am out there, working hard, and give a subtle but constant reminder that I am hustling, so that when they need someone for a job, I'm the first that pops into their minds. (I know, easier said than done. You have to find that balance of posting just enough and not over doing it so people aren’t sick of you or become numb and just scroll past you.)
      • Side note: If you don’t think casting directors look at your social media when deciding if they should hire you or not, you’re wrong. So, make sure it’s a perfect representation of you!
        • Side Side Note: I've been discovering the amazing art of hashtaging more and more (I know I'm super late to the party here) what a great portal into the media worlds of people you never thought you could meet! #hashtagingisgreat

 

  • Be on the lookout:
    • People in our industry are EVERYWHERE, I've met people that I work with at clubs, on airplanes, intermissions of shows, catering gigs and even Tinder (most luck I ever had on there). I have found that while I am talking to these possible connections, I am constantly looking for ways to have said person talk about their career (people love talking about themselves). This opens up a way for you to plug yourself in, showing them how you can fit in their world.
      • "Oh wow that's great, we both work in the same industry, what's your Instagram? Would love to see what you're working on?" A compliment that allows you to have a way into their media platform which grants access to their business life, and DM's! (DM's = Direct Messages). 

 

There are SO many ways to get connected, especially those of us that live in NYC. Take a risk, be brave, make the connections. You never know in our field, be ready to talk, and more importantly be ready to listen, your big break can be from the women you let have your seat on the train. 

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What is your "Why"

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What is your "Why"

A good friend of mine, Angela Razzano (Artistic Director of InViolet Theater Company) once asked me when I first moved to the city "what is your why?". I had no idea how to answer this question. My Why?, why what? Her question sat with me for some time and continues to challenge me as I discover new outlets of work in this industry. I think it's extremely important for artist (everyone really) to ask themselves this and to focus/ground themselves on it, as we can so easily get discouraged and distracted.

The narrative for this "why" can go some many ways. Why are you here? Why do I do what I do? More specifically, why do I care, why do I get up every morning, why do I create? and most importantly... why am I choosing to be poor a vast majority of my life?

My "why" for this blog is to share insights, tricks, do's, don'ts, stories, advice, etc. but the question of "what is my why" in life, is ever changing. When I first moved to New York City in 2015, I was selling discounted tickets to Broadway shows for some scam company in TimeSquare amongst the (ever so famous) Naked CowGranny (you enjoy that link), and the many ever so  lovable off brand Disney characters that roamed the streets for tips.  My "why" was to become a big successful Director, then it evolved into running a theater company to impact marginalized lives, and then, to become a Broadway Producer and make lots of money. Then my "why" shifted and I said "forget this industry, I just want to be able afford name brand peanut butter and not this target generic "Up" brand crap (which there's is absolutely nothing wrong with), but in doing so, I found myself aching to be back in the thick of it all with my other starving artist friends. 

Ask yourself this, write it out and see what comes out of it. It doesn't matter if you're answer is as simple as " I just want to be a star damnit" or as vast as "to shine a light on cultural injustice" we all have a why. We may even have multiple, but it's so important as an artist to know what it is in your current state, as it grounds you and give you the confidence to audition better, write better, and carry yourself with a purpose. 

You may already be living your "why", AMAZING! Don't stop checking in with yourself. It's so easy to settle and get comfortable.

You've moved to the big city, you've got your apartment, your friends to have brunch with, and your awesome temp job at Blue Apron... don't. get. too. comfortable. That isn't your "why", it's part of it, but not it. It's a spring board, to get yourself established, to be able to eat and get to know the city, but remember what that big expensive move was for. You have to hustle and work your ass off in whatever job you have to make connections, network, get to be known as "that theater kid" to your boss, because I guarantee, that boss has a connection of some sort for you, you better be good to them! 

Focus on your "why" this week, remember it every day, and see what comes of it!

 

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