Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why Online Dating is like Auditioning… or Sorority Recruitment

Equity has Wi-fi!  This has already improved my life immensely.  Obviously I brought my computer to do work and therefore am going to write a blog post instead.

I thought about writing something about why being here at all is a bit ridiculous to begin with.  Yesterday I left the house to go to an EPA and had to turn around after walking a block and a half to change my shoes because it was SO SLIPPERY out because HI it snowed on Monday while I was working a 13 hour shift outdoors.  I then took an $11  cab to the E train at 53rd street (thinking this struck a good balance between cost-effectiveness and making up for lost time) to arrive at 8:10 or so for 9am sign up for a 10am call to be the 15th EMC on a list that by 5pm they hadn’t event gotten to.  At least I wasn’t there all day; I was dashing around town carrying an excessive amount of stuff, including extra shoes which I never changed into because then I would have had to carry my snow boots.  In almost two years I have yet to find the patience for a full day of waiting.  Not worth it dude, not worth it.  But we’re not going to talk about that… obviously.  (For those of you who thought I slipped into a foreign tongue for a second there: don’t worry about it. We’ll talk NYC actor acronyms another time.)

Instead, I want to talk about online dating, because as busy as my schedule has gotten over the past few weeks, it has remained a prominent fixture in my life, and you know what?  It’s really a lot like auditioning.  You go online, maybe you use a number of websites, maybe you use just one, and you “submit” yourself to various roles (or people) you might be right for.  (...And if you can’t spell or use proper grammar I probably won’t submit for you…) Sometimes, you go weeks without getting called in for anything and then all of a sudden you’ve got more auditions than you can possibly prepare for!  You might have to turn some down.  Sometimes you have two in one day!  You probably go on a lot of them, and every now and then you get a callback.  Though actually getting the part, well, those opportunities are few and far between.

By the way, Lena Dunham had this thought (wah wah I swear I had it first) but girl, let me tell you, you don’t even know.

Ugh OkCupid is the worst.
The other analogy I’ve made (somewhat to my chagrin perhaps) is that once you’ve gotten to the first date step, online dating is a lot like sorority rush.  Now, this may not be an analogy that too many people identify with as I don’t know if seeking males online provides the same effect, but I mean, I almost feel like I should be taking notes on who I want to come back for second round.  It’s too bad I can’t get all of my potential first dates in one room and have 30 of my closest friends talk to them in rotation for 5 minutes each and let them decide who they think should make it to house tours.  We'll give you free hot cocoa and cider while you wait!

Really, we're all lesbians.
I have accidentally become a serial first dater.  It’s like, the super innocent version of a slutty phase.  And of course, all of the auditions and all of the dates feel like they’re happening at once.  And I’m almost always wearing the same outfit.  It’s clean, I promise!

But with all this being said I would like to make a note to my past/present/future online date.  For all I know, you’re out there googling me right now.  So,  I want you to know that I am not any less interested in going out with you just because I'm dating a lot.  Please don’t take it personally.  Just like with auditions, it’s important to cast a wide net.  You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.  If I said I wanted to see you for a callback, I meant it.  Besides, both parties have to think they’ll work well together before a casting decision can be made. 

Also, I think I may be developing a rush crush, and whether you know what that means or not, trust me, it’s a good thing.  Rush doesn’t last forever.  Bid night may be here before we know it.  Auditions, well, I suppose those do just keep on coming.

(For more casting call and audition antics, check out my new tumblr: Awkward Casting Calls.)

(*Photo credits to: words of warthe atlantichercampus)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Public Eye

So, the other day I was chatting with my therapist about my new blogging endeavor (why do I still live at home guys? ‘cause in NYC, therapy is cheaper than rent.  Bu-dum-ching.  Also my parents are still willing to pay for therapy.  I guess they figure they screwed me up, so now it’s their job to pay someone to fix me? They will not pay for my rent.  Though really guys my parents are great, pretty sure I managed to do most of the screwing up on my own, BUT ANYWAY I DIGRESS).

So, we were talking about the blog and the responses I got from people between posts one and two (ok I know there are more posts on this blog before the one I'm calling post one, but we're going with this as post one) and she cautioned me to think about how public I actually want this blog to be.  Yes, the point is for me to be all raw and exposed all over the internet, but maybe (probably) sometimes I want to talk about SEX or DRINKING or whatever and while these things are perfectly normal parts of most peoples’ lives, does my grandmother/aunt/former boss/future boss really need to hear about these things from me?  Probs not.  Do I expect them to click and read if they see a link pop up on their newsfeed?  Grandma yes, old boss probably no.  But then there's the whole issue of what you put on the internet staying there forever, and while I'd like to think the things I say as a 23 year old won't come back to haunt me in the future, who's to say?  I particularly like to think that we are all evolved enough that I will never be judged on my personal life in a way that will affect me professionally, but isn't that a rosy and optimistic view of the world?  And also a hypocritical view 'cause c'mon, I'm a master of self-judgement!

They're watching.
C (my therapist) posited that I consider blocking all family and professional contacts, but I protested that there is no real way to do that, especially considering how closely intertwined some of my friends and professional contacts are in this industry.  I do think it is important to navigate a split; I get why people have different facebook pages for personal and professional purposes, but it's really such a fine line.  Some of the things I have to say here are about my art and the industry and these things might be relevant or maybe even interesting to some of my more "professional" acquaintances, even if they don't also need to hear about the OkCupid date I went on the other night.  (Though knowing a lot of them, they might be amused by that too.)

Anyway, I really haven't come to a verdict on this issue, but I do think I will try to make sure links to my blog posts aren't popping up on my Grandmother's newsfeed.  I mean, don't make me tell you the penis cake story (we'll save that one for another day).  Also, I make her sound way more facebook savvy than she is.  She really doesn't know how that shit works, it's pretty entertaining.
I spent way too long on this hamster I don't even want to talk about it.
(Look you guys this is turning into a blog about blogging and I haven't really even blogged anything yet.  How boring meta!  Don't worry, the hamster wheel inside my head is turning and formulating posts about clothes and food and online dating so I promise you’ll get to see me discuss other frivolous topics soon.  Also maybe I'll actually post some pictures other than my awkward hand drawn doodles.  Are you excited?  Oh I bet you are.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?

After my post the other day, I got a few responses, and I think I was a little surprised. Which is quite silly of course, because if you post something on the internet in a very public way, well, someone is bound to read it. I don’t know that I thought anyone would. My gut reaction was to jump to defend myself, but then I realized, there’s nothing to defend, and having my thoughts on public display here is entirely the point. And if it makes me a little scared, that’s entirely the point too.

Writing in a private journal doesn’t have the same effect; that’s not putting anything on the line or anything at risk. That’s not opening up. If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? I have spent too much of my life trying to be perfect and right and I am here to be open and honest and vulnerable and flawed. We are all human beings, we are all deeply imperfect. I am here to embrace that and to start being me.

And while yes, this is a whole lot of talk about ME and MY FEELINGS, I want this blog to be about you (all four of you) too. I don’t want what I write to read like an angsty twenty-something’s emotional ramblings.  (We won’t talk about how while drunk-drafting part of this post last night I just realized that emo is short for emotional.)  I want to create in a way that makes people think and respond. That’s why I act too. I won’t deny the enjoyment of being in the spotlight, but I act because I want to affect people, to reach them. If I ask you what you thought of a performance I’m not looking for praise or validation – ok, maybe a little – but what I really want to know is how that performance affected you, changed you. Granted, not everything is quite so profound or serious (and I don’t plan for this blog to always be quite so serious either) but even if something was light and silly, well, I’m hoping it made you laugh or smile.

And isn’t that why all artists create? It’s about expressing ourselves, sure, but it’s about striving to connect with other human beings through that expression. To show people, and to show ourselves, that we are not alone. That’s all we’re really doing as human beings, aren’t we? Constantly striving to connect. And here we are, I think we’re already succeeding. I had some thoughts, then you had some thoughts, and now I am having some more. We’re connecting. A dialogue is forming.

 I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this came up on my newsfeed while I was writing this post. 

A dam has opened within me, and I am so happy to share whatever flows forth with anyone who might come across this page.  Even if it means my computer savvy grandmother thinks I need help getting out of a funk (hi grandma!) Even if I do need to navigate the line of what really belongs in this space.  I am finding my voice and you, however many or few, are helping me do it.

Yesterday’s post inspired one of my best friends to reach out to me. He wanted to connect and to tell me that I made him think. My initial response was a little defensive towards his desire to see if I was ok, but I realize, wasn’t this a success? I reached someone and affected them, and if part of that effect was that another person wanted to reach back out to me to let me know that he is there for me, well, aren’t I lucky to have a friend like that?  And he left me with a beautiful quote, and left me to think some more.

“There is no distance too far between friends, 
For friendship gives wings to the heart.”

(I also got to think really hard about my affects vs. effects while writing this post.  So there's a bonus grammar lesson in there too.)

(P.S. I just started watching Bomb Girls and it is the BOMB.  And by just I mean I apparently managed to watch the entire first season in one day.  Hey, it was only 6 episodes.  I don't need to defend myself.)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

On opening up

Sometimes I feel that since graduation I have been living only as an extension of other people.  I was M’s girlfriend and I am A’s friend or S’s friend or J and O’s friend but there are so few people with whom I am simply me.  I continue to find myself in situations where I am the new girl and I’m afraid I don’t stay in any one situation long enough to allow anyone to know me. 

When there is no one in a group that I am an extension of, when I have to just be me, I close up.  I make myself small, try to hide in my own skin, become nobody, inconspicuously invisible.  Like I am afraid if people see what’s really there, they will want to walk away.  Have I always been so guarded, so paralyzingly shy, so incapable of opening up? Did I simply used to be better at denying it?  A false extrovert, putting up a front?

I think I was always drawn to the theater, to acting, because of the mask, because it’s about creating an illusion, and to my dismay I realize that in order to succeed you must break down those walls and be open and honest and oops well now what am I to do?  I have no practice at openness and only practice at masks.  My whole life has been about masks.  I spent at least four years hiding my sexuality and another four hiding an eating disorder.  And I am still, intentionally or not, hiding these things every day.  Just by walking down the street as a pretty, feminine female of average size, I feel like I am hiding.  I am my own mask; an impenetrable layer that cannot be seen through.  And in order to pursue my passion, in order to get a job, I must stand up in front of strangers and be open, be honest, be me?  Impossible.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t pursue science, or something to that effect.  I was good at it.  I was good at a lot of things.  Maybe I could be discovering universes.  I always dreamed of outer space.  But the theater was romantic and it seemed so much better, so much cooler, to be an artsy outcast than a nerdy one.  And theater was where I found my friends.  Theater was where I found a place to fit in.  Well where do I fit now?

Not that I can think of anything else I want to be doing.  And there’s the rub.  Is this something I ever had a natural capacity for, or something I forced myself to do because it was a challenge, because people told me no?  I have always been good at taking the path of most resistance. 

I feel the same way about writing.  At least it’s a creative outlet not reliant on another’s willingness to cast me in a role.  But I have the same problem.  My thoughts are a big jumble all tied in knots and I can’t get them out, so instead they swirl around inside me and the knots just get tighter and tighter and tighter.  I can’t be open.  And the knots just make more knots which makes the blockage worse.  Like arterial plaque.  The blood can’t get through.

So here we are, at a cross roads, it’s time for open heart surgery.  It’s not easy performing this kind of work on oneself.  Some days the blood flows freely and other days the blockage is so tight I feel like I might burst; I feel like I can’t breathe.  But I have to do it.  Because we all know what happens if you forgo surgery when you need it.  So it’s time to put it all out there, everything on the table.  Stop editing and cut the crap.  Mix my metaphors and go.  Sure, the procedure is a risk, there’s always a risk.  But they say the reward is greater, don’t they?  Or is that the other way around?   There’s only one way to find out.

Today I was on the subway, changing trains, and I noticed myself in my usual closed off, tuned out state: book in hand, ear buds in ears -- typical of so many New Yorkers in transit.  I decided to take a moment to open up, to really look around me and breathe life in, and a man running down the stairs slammed right in to me and almost knocked me off my feet.

There’s my poetic justice.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Maybe I'm back.

Oh look.  It's January 3rd and I am recommitting (or something) to writing a blog.  HOW ORIGINAL.  I don't actually have a plan here, but I do know that I like to write and I think doing more of it in 2013 may help me to be less of a crazy person.  Or more of a crazy person on the page, and therefore less of a crazy person in my head.

Even though it has been over a year (and one more blog-starting attempt) since I've written here, this feels like the right place to pick things back up again.  When I started this blog the August after graduating from college, I had subtitled it "a post-grad story."  Now, after a year and a half of being "post-grad" in the "real world" (or so they call it) my life is exactly the same.  Except that's a lie.  My life is totally different.

In 2012 I shot my first commercial, made my first appearance on a television show, and worked on my first project with a multi-camera setup.  (Most of this was less fancy than it sounds, but still, it happened.)  I was also going to say I voiced my first cartoon but that was so 2011 it hurts.  I ended my first real grownup relationship while continuing to sleep in an Ikea loft bed.  I traveled to Bermuda and Israel almost for free and rode camels in the desert with a bevy of gay 20-somethings.  I got my NYC sightseeing guide license and failed to begin work as an NYC sightseeing guide.  I went to Kathleen Chalfant's house, had drinks with Celia-Keenan Bolger and rekindled my love for the [title of show] crew when I saw Now. Here. This.  I discovered anti-gravity yoga, went to my first friend-wedding, and worked (...and got wasted at...) my first pet industry trade show.   I got paid to dress up as a large banana, and as Super Mario, to teach people how to play snake, pass out fliers in a prom dress, pose as a secret agent, dance with Pop-Tarts mascots at a Gym Class Heroes concert, and to get stepped on by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.  I was so busy it hurt and so not busy it hurt.

In 2012 I struggled with a lot of things that I think I may write about here in 2013.  Or maybe I will write them somewhere else.  We'll see.  What I know is that I like to write, and not in journals, because my brain thinks in a narcissistic 21st century 20-something thought catalog kind of way.  Sometimes I think in blog posts while I'm walking to the train.  I need to start carrying a notebook because I always forget them by the time I get to my destination..  Actually, I am writing in a notebook on the train right now.  Or, I mean, I was, until I got home and typed this up.  I know it's self indulgent and self-indulgently, I don't care.

So anyway, here goes.  Let's see what happens 2013.  I think we're off to a pretty good start.  I rang in the new year in style with an appropriately, but not overly, messy party at my abode, ate lots of seafood noodle soup and saw Water by the Spoonful and The Event of a Thread (both great) with old friends.  Tonight I'll be checking out some improv and tomorrow morning I will be going off to work as a banana.  I guess things can only change so much in a year.

January 6th, 2012.
"Does this banana suit make me look fat?"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sometimes it's good to write down your dream as soon as you wake up because someday you might want to adapt that

This morning when my first alarm went off, as is typical, I reluctantly rolled over, climbed down my loft bed ladder and pressed snooze (aka reset the alarm for 15 minutes later because snooze is only 5 minutes and that's too short...) However, as soon as my head hit the pillow again, I realized, I needed to get this shit down.  So here it is, re-checked for post-coffee (ok mid-coffee) coherency:

Last night I dreamt that Tim Ostrander taught me how to levitate hovercraft style with reddi-whip, except that I was running late to a performance at Looking Glass so naturally Jenny Tindall was going to kill me.  The reddi-whip levitation was supposed to get me to my call time faster than the elevator or stairs... but naturally took much longer, made a mess, and while ultimately I did levitate, that did not get me to the theater.  (Highly insignificant detail: one can of reddiwhip was fat free, one was regular... anyone want to try this with me sometime? ... )  I think it's possible the performance I was running late for was God's Ear.

Earlier that day (that dream?) I had been walking down 57th street to Looking Glass and down Broadway to my left I (somehow?) saw that they were putting the finishing touches on the new World Trade Center (with a big old hammer on top, very Mario/old school video-game style).  Naturally, I started to cry and run down the street (still towards the theater, not towards the World Trade Center, mind you) after the balloons that started to float down from the sky.  I also saw some fireworks off in the distance, in the daylight.  Suddenly, I realized my hat was gone, and I ran off left looking for it - to find it and snatch it back from atop someone's head.  They were not pleased, but I ran off again, back towards the theater, but I noticed the hat was now very heavy.  This was because there were five beautiful blue eggs, like robin's eggs, but very speckled, and the size of chicken eggs, nestled under some sort of covering on top.  The eggs were also still warm.  I ran into a little boy who gave me a basket which seemed to be made to hold them just so, and also contained a little pink satin tooth fairy pouch which clearly had something inside.  (Do you remember those pouches you would put your missing tooth in before putting it under your pillow?  Yeah?  One of those.)  I put the eggs in their special little spots in the basket and carefully continued my dash to the theater, where I arrived just in time to monitor (aka wait outside of?) the final audition.  I definitely talked to/saw one of the directors (maybe Katherine) and maybe some of the interns upon arrival but for some reason I never did get to look inside that tooth fairy pouch.

THE END.  or THE MIDDLE.  sort of.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A True New York City Morning

October 1st.  Fresh, crisp, fall.  I head to Union Square and am greeted by the sight of police, barricades and chanting girls clad a variety of creative and bizarre outfits ranging from "Hot Topic" to "Hair."  It was the SlutWalk aka, as so eloquently put by a friend of mine, "every NYU lesbian's ex-girlfriend parade." 

(...Actually, when I was in Ithaca last week, Cornell's slut walk also passed by me... the sluts are following me?  At the same time they happened upon a group of 80 year old alumni taking a campus tour... after which the fratty male tour guide found himself forced to attempt an explanation of the situation...)

Anyway, I head away from Union Square, as the "sluts" stream towards me, and head to my audition, one of the only logical reasons in my mind to be up and at 'em before noon on a Saturday.  I arrive at Theater for a New City, a cool (and large!) space, which appears to have been pulled right out of RENT, that I must have passed by a number of times in my life but never really noticed.  I walk in and am greeted by a younger Johnny Depp rocking this look (and I dare say, pulling it off) minus the facial hair, who of course turns out to be the director of the film I'm auditioning for.

oh hey.

But wait!  Minor major snafu!  The e-mail with the audition information, which was slightly unclear to begin with, only went out the girls... who were supposed to read with the guys... so this is going to be a "practice" audition... and we'll have the "real one" sometime next week.  Ok...?  Out of 21 girls invited to audition during the vague time frame of "noon-5" (apparently narrowed down, along with 18 guys, from a pool of 650+, as we were so informed in our e-mail...) only 5 of us are there by 1pm.  One of them is not a day under 35 (though she resembles a taller Kristin Chenoweth) and another, while also super cute, has an exotic foreign accent (and I do believe the type here was supposed to be all-American girl next door, age 20-28, but hey, I'm not one to judge!)

oh hey.

I have my "practice audition" and the adorably sheepish director who clearly has no idea what he is doing gives me a high five and compliments (at least, I think that was a compliment... was that a compliment?) my "obvious" theater background.  Then he makes note of some possible line edits and asks if I'd like to read again in a bit or if I feel ready to come back in next week to read with "the big dogs" or "hot shots" or some other cliched term.  I choose option 2 and exit with a friendly smile and a wave. 

Back to Union Square where I pick up a not-as-healthy-as-it-looks lunch from the Whole Foods salad bar and the fall air inspires a clearly very necessary pumpkin cookie to go with it.  I pop on the train to Herald Square to spend my in-between audition time hiding out at my mom's office, a convenient resting spot for those awkward chunks of time where the upper east side seems far to far away, but killing 3 1/2 hours at a Starbucks seems entirely unappealing.

As I exit the train, I feel loud music wash over me, and what's this?  More barricades, police, and a gigantic red and yellow clad Asian-marching band?  Oh good, it's the tail end of the "Korea Times Parade."  Well then.  After a bit of crowd-darting and an elevator ride in which a student who appears to be moving two floors blocks me in the elevator with her cart, I am safe and sound, finally quiet and at peace... where instead of hunkering down to learn lines and review sides I plop down in front of instant netflix and determinedly write this blog post despite the fact that firefox crashes three times before I can finish.  Thank goodness blogger saves drafts.

Barely 3pm, it's pouring now and I have two more auditions and my final monologue coaching session spread out oh so conveniently (note the sarcasm) in time and space before this day ends.

Happy October New York.

P.S. I was thinking of holding on publishing this post on the off-chance that someone (perhaps even Mr. Depp Jr. himself) were to come across it before the completion of the casting process for this film and it were to hurt my chances. However, I decided to take the risk. If you are reading this Johnny Jr. I hope you will disregard it or look on it favorably, as something charming that perhaps a witty and sarcastic character, such as Kaitlyn herself, would write, and know that none of it was meant in an insulting manner. I would love to work with you on your super cute film and think that if you want your Kaitlyn to be 22 years old, I'm your girl ;) Also, If you're still having trouble with the dog's name, I think simply "Murphy" is much better name than "Mr. Murphy Lee."  I think the kind of girl that names her dog "Mr. Murphy Lee" is probably really annoying. Thank you. That is all. I think.