i woke up yesterday and finally had a day off from work. for those uninformed, ive been working (legally) at school as a production assistant. this entails going for coffee, lifting sets, taking down notes, and painting various objects used for sets of plays.
anyway, with the day to myself, i decided to do some touristy stuff (i guess). so before dropping a headshot and resume off with a mate dan… i set off to enjoy an adventure in down town LA with alessandro and liz… with everyone leaving over summer, there’s not a lot of people left. may as well make the most of my friends while they’re still here. so we went into down town, and its the first time ive been down that way. holy shit though, the place looks just like sydney’s CBD, it’s scary. very different from hollywood and santa monica where ive spent the majority of my time. just the atmosphere with the tall buildings, the office lunch crowd going to the street level delis and cafes… it was nice to hang out with liz and alessandro and ride the subway. some homeless dude came up to us and correctly guessed that not only were we actors, but that we attended the american academy of dramatic art. with his lack of pants, decent personal hygiene and shoes… we believe we correctly guessed he had lied about being a writer/director and being named “radio”… even so, i proceeded to tell him i was american, liz was english, and alessandro was french. he probably just wanted to fuck alessandro.
you know one thing i noticed… i didn’t say goodbye to anyone at the end of the semester. most of them dont realise im probably not going to be coming back. i didnt want to make things awkward. and i believe im in denial over having to return to australia.
anyway, i followed my trip downtown to seeing jimmy kimmel live. free tickets for the win. with my lady friend athena we lucked out and ended up sitting in the front row smelling jimmy kimmel’s socks. being an audience member is hard work. they have guys coming out telling you when and how to clap, laugh and react to guests and jimmy’s jokes. you think it’s just like sitting at home laughing at the show… nope. i guess they have to lay out the ground rules because really, they cant have you heckling jimmy and his crew. was a funny night though, it’s interesting to see how things are done. watching him get his make up done between commercials, and switching faces with the coming and going of the lights…
just quickly… im finding im getting awfully sensitive to bits and pieces of my day. i know where it comes from. times running out. classic, just like always. i guess i shouldnt complain, everyone else deals with it. i think about what i was doing this time last year. if i go back in september… what do i do? just hop back into the coke car and sell coke? become an account manager again? though this time without a bigger goal and dream? i cant really complain, lots of people would kill for that kind of job…
im proud of myself. im no longer the person that runs around with the insatiable desire to tell eveyrone he acts so he can prove to himself its something he wants. im in a different place where i know what i want and need. and i know what my talent is. and i can quietly go about it because its for me. (mind you i do this on a public blog, im aware of the irony of this paragraph).
i wonder if my being happy here… is like the person who goes on holiday travelling around the world, and forever looks back fondly of his trip. loving every step and adventure, he never wants it to end. but eventually he must return to reality and get back to real life… it was the novelty of doing something else, doing something new, that appealed to him… is that me? or am i happy in my day to day life because i love what im doing? is this what life is supposed to be like? or what i was doing before working for coke? am i just escaping reality and responsibilities? and do i need to wise up? or like alex billings and ms bohannon would no doubt tell me, im closer than ive ever been to being genuinely alive?
this really isnt supposed to be philosophical.
i saw an… acquaintance in a play a little while ago. and i remember enjoying his work. whenever i do so, i always go out of my way to tell them, and be specific. i guess its just a habit ive developed. i figure when an actor does something well, its always nice to get genuine feedback. anyway… after the show, i told him what i thought, and the title is what he had to say. id be lying if i said it didnt piss me off a little. its just so annoying that some characters feel the need to react that way to a compliment.
along the way on my acting journey, ive often been criticized for being my own harshest critic. ive brought this up before im sure. in acting, there are lots of actors who have a form of reverse psychology when it comes to reacting to compliments to their work. “boy i sure sucked tonight”, “nah, that was terrible”, “nah i can do so much better”, etc are not uncommon phrases.
this does two things. one, people won’t compliment you in future. by saying things like this, you (whether you want to or not) tell the person “you don’t know what youre talking about, but thanks” and insult their judgement, and two, for the people who understand the mentality, it can sometimes seem like arrogance. “if you think THAT was good, wait till you see me on a GOOD night, im SO much better than that”.
i understand sometimes its difficult to take compliments, because you never want to seem like that arrogant actor who loves his work, but the above is no less tiresome.
for me, ive been guilty of this. i am my own harshest critic (but naturally so, because you spend more time with yourself than anyone else… unless you are a siamese twin). so this semester, when people started telling me i was too hard on myself rather than look at it as a compliment (some people take it as though they’re on a never ending journey of perfection), i took it as something that i genuinely needed to keep in check.
so im going to take a bit of time for my next post, and go over what i felt i did well, and how im developing in a positive light for my journey. as ms bohanon and ms hensel would have me do.
and to the person i saw in the play… well ive aquired a voodoo doll, and intend to really curse him for his next gig. dick.
jonathan and i looked recently for a place to stay for a few nights. the deciding factor for us was price. most places were around the 90 dollar mark for accomodation. but then in an area right near the airport, was inglewood, which happened to be around 50 dollars a night. sounds pretty good right.
a few things caught our attention when we got there though.
1. you walk to pizza hut to order some pizza… and there’s bullet proof glass protecting the employees.
2. run down vacant lots, are surrounded by gun stores and liquor stores.
3. liquor stores have signs telling patrons they are armed
turns out inglewood is known as a gangland area. red vs. blue kind of thing… bloods vs. crips.
there were plenty of people in the hostel. and we were fearless. we survived so that’s always nice. and at least we saved 80 bucks.
my good mate jonathan came to visit me this week. it was nice to meet up with him again. it was a little different though this time, because for the first time i was able to chat to him as an actor in training this time; rather than just someone who was curious about acting as an interest. it was strange that id actually learned about the kind of theory id always discussed with him. looking back kind of allowed me to remind myself how much ive learned this year.
that being said, i now wonder about how much i can learn from another year at aada. i should get be able to secure a good scholarship on the basis of my performance this year. but staying another year would mean having to look for accomodation and work to support myself. this being the case, i wonder if the benefit would outweigh the negatives. people here all say second year makes first year worthwhile. i find that somewhat disappointing because to an extent i feel as though that undermines and undervalues the work ive done so far. it just seems condescending. “oh everything youve done isnt worth shit if you dont do SECOND year…”
i have a half eaten pizza from last night sitting in my car. im going to go eat it.
1.30am: went to sleep after watching the bits of philidelphia, lion king, death of a salesman that i felt would get me in touch with my vulnerability.
4.30am: woke up and ate a piece of pineapple.
7.00am: woke up to alarm and pressed snooze four times.
7.36am: woke up and realised id be late for the 9am show (damn)
8.00am: watched through parts of “of mice and men”… made notes on emotions, thoughts already being PRESENT in an actor and not being a place to GO; but instead something to dig OUT.
9.30am: showered, changed, ate (last nights left over pie) and a coffee
9.45am: waited for the 945 bus.
9.50am: waited for the 945 bus.
9.55am: waited for the 945 bus.
9.57am: cursed at a bus coloured as the 945 bus.
10.15am: began breathing again when 945 turned up. (bus driver was even sorry… dickhead)
10.55am: sprinted up la brea to watch friends (dan and dan, victoria a, ashley t, madeline, christina and devin) put together a great show…
12.01pm: wondered how i’d top that…
12.02pm: realised it wasnt a competition and let it go
12.40pm: began prep with music (oraanu by es.posthumus)
1.00pm: continued prep with group and focused on relationships… got into character early
1.10pm: took ten minutes alone to focus on family and friends, again with the vulnerability. found the joy and peace in my life, and focused on the positive. let everything go.
1.30pm: took in the actors and director around me.
2.00pm: engaged in the best performance of my life. even better than last friday.
i wrote this down cuz there are keys in here. some bits i can take as reference for the future… probably the pineapple at 430am.
ive been doing some great work on biloxi blues.
im worried about full of thoughts on how its going to go in the final performance tomorrow. then i remind myself that its not for anyone except myself.
i need to trust myself and trust all that ive learned.
do i feel vulnerable yet?
im working far harder on “biloxi blues” than i am on “dearly departed”. do i attribute it to me having a bigger part? is it that alex billings is directing biloxi? its strange because in “dearly departed” people are really enjoying the work im doing… but i still feel compelled to work harder for biloxi. trouble is im starting to put pressure on the performance. not unlike “schofield” barracks last year.
i have to ask myself though, people have told me a number of times this last week that im doing good work, yet im still not satisfied. ms bohannon has always accused me of being too hard on myself. i know she means that it gets in the way of me progressing. but as jonathan has always told me, you must respect a challenge before you can overcome it properly.