I have to give a big hand to the folks at The Cast Station for being so pleasant and efficient amidst a myriad of unexpected technical challenges today during an on-camera audition they hosted at the Vagabond School of the Arts. I also owe another big hand to all the talents for patiently and professionally working through the sudden changes today! Because I was called back to re-audition due to recording issues caused by nearby construction and in sight of my leading a fight rehearsal for He-Manlet in the same building that evening, today quickly turned into an all-day affair at 4001 N Ravenswood. But with all the talented people I get to spend time with and the fun things I get to do, I cannot complain for one second!
I never like turning down projects - especially ones that particularly excite me. Even with my extensive skills in time management, I have limits and must know when to walk away from an opportunity. This week, I had to decline three projects I was interested in because I had already committed to other jobs. I find it's necessary to say 'no' sometimes because I would rather give my absolute best to a project than overcommit and give anything less. With that, I'm nothing-less-than-thrilled by the projects I am working on! I hope to see you on opening night!
FIGHT NIGHT: The Spy Who Fought Me! -One Night- Sunday, May 7th
The Incredible Hank - Opens Friday, May 19th
The Chiraq Wall - Opens Thursday, June 29th
I jumped into an interesting adventure recently! I decided to indefinitely abstain from the imbibition of alcohol and coffee. It's been over a month since my last indulgence in either beverage and I'm leaning towards continuing on this path. I chose to carry out this experiment for many reasons. First and foremost was for health purposes - I wanted to see what positive effects I could gain from these limitations. More energy? Sharper focus? Slower to fatigue? I also wanted to see if I could break through a couple of social norms - on a very small number of occasions, I found myself drinking alcohol or coffee in a social setting whether I specifically wanted to do so or not. (The same concept could apply for social snacking or shared meals but that's a broader topic.) For me, consuming either drink was never an issue to begin with, so in my case, what the experiment questions is "are they necessary at all?"
Since I started in February, the feedback I've been getting has been overwhelmingly positive! I've been finding people are incredibly interested in this topic and generally have strong opinions towards it! (virtually everyone in favor of it!) One thing I've been hearing a lot is "well, isn't it hard?" It really wasn't difficult at all. It's partly because I already monitor my intake of any substance pretty well, but really, I just had the idea to do it and then backed it up with action.
An actor I have a lot of admiration for, Jim Carrey, took on a similar challenge by eliminating coffee, drugs, alcohol, and antidepressants from his life because "life is too beautiful." While disregarding prescribed medications is a controversial topic, there's a lot to be said for the desire to live life without crutches or blinders.
Because I don't yet have any definite results to report, I'm uncertain how much longer I will continue with these restrictions. So far I haven't experienced any negative side effects and ultimately, I'm undertaking this challenge as just one more way I can look after myself so I can better look after other pursuits! For the time being, it's going strong so I'll leave it at that!
What an incredible couple of weeks! I've been fortunate enough to have been called in for a huge array of auditions! Most of the work has been for on-camera jobs but last week I booked and recorded a voiceover for an interactive children's audiobook! I had such a great experience during the session and the client was very fun and easy to work with! It had been some time since my last professional voiceover job but luckily my experience in ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) for film and new media projects allowed me to jump back in on the technical side with ease! I've been occupied with acting and fight design opportunities quite consistently since last spring so this quick excursion into voiceover was a welcome treat! I hope to find time for more projects like this!
I had another on-camera audition today and later this week is an acting audition for an original play that I'll also be fight designing! Also this week, I'll be making the introduction of a new colleague who has attended a master's program that I've applied to in order to learn more about the program from an alumnus' frame of reference. As the program is audition-based and my scheduled audition is coming up quickly, I've also arranged to meet with a mentor and former professor of mine to gain another perspective about my audition pieces. It's yet another busy week but I wouldn't have it any other way!
I cannot believe I have just returned from a two-week-long excursion through Europe! And what a time to be traveling! I was in Paris during the anniversary of last November's horrific shootings, during the results of the American presidential election, and in London during the turbulent process of Brexit. Amidst all the turmoil and contention I happened to have a series of amazing cultural experiences and am beside myself in witness of the support and thoughtful exchange of ideas I was afforded during my time abroad.
Traveling on Halloween day, I visited London with my family where we piled into two small hotel rooms just outside Paddington Station. The rooms themselves were quaintly "efficient" and perhaps the most festive part of the accommodations was the daily breakfast service complete with typical "bad English cuisine" like toast and beans, basted egg, ham, and a banger of unknown origin. If you could beat the jet-lag and rise by 7am, the downstairs breakfast hall was your oyster!
I had six days to experience London so I sought to learn and experience as much as possible! I started with a Big Bus tour to get an overview of the city and gain my bearings for the time to come! Yes, the bus was red. Yes, it was "hop-on-hop-off". Yes, it was a double decker. This proved to be a great way to see the city and the audio tour was especially helpful in gaining insights about the city and its history.
One of the first places we stopped was the National Gallery, a free museum located in Trafalgar Square showcasing a wide range of world art. The "Beyond Caravaggio" exhibit was currently on display so for a little extra I got to see the works and derivatives of this very influential 17th century artist who sparked an international phenomenon in the art world. Common themes in many of his paintings are deception, dishonesty, and the moment before a physical confrontation might take place. Needless to say, they make for some very captivating pictures!
I cannot end this post without speaking about my favorite experience in London which was seeing "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. This is an absolutely spectacular example of English humor and physical theatre put on by Mischief Theatre. It is a non-stop farce that takes every element of clowning, physical humor, and stagecraft to the next level incorporating amazing set design (and malfunction), stage combat, ridiculous slapstick, quick witted dialogue, and precisely coordinated physical gags into an amazing piece of theatre. This show is what theatre is to me. I fell in love.
Having just settled back into Chicago, I have an incredibly busy week ahead full of auditions, rehearsals, and meetings but I will do my best to find time to catalogue more of my trip to Europe. Thanks for catching up with me! Cheers!
I made it! It's officially October and four of the five projects I was working on in September have wrapped today. It makes for a bittersweet goodbye but I don't mind at all because I've immediately started work on my next show which will take place this December! Remember when Robert Frosty Theatre Company won the Snubfest Comedy Festival in June? Well, the prize is a run at Public House Theatre where we have decided to mount the second annual Robert Frosty-original, fightin' holiday sketch revue, "'Twas The Fight Before Christmas"! As the company has greatly expanded since its inception, this production already has proven to be a lot of work due to the moving parts but in the end it will be all worth it! On top of it all, I will be visiting Europe in November which will cut into our rehearsals but knowing that prior, I've accounted for all the lost time in our schedule!
This simultaneous release of time commitments has also allowed me to vigorously catch up on necessary tasks that have been left unattended! I've taken advantage of this time to revamp my web presence (what do you think of my new site?! =D), create two brand new demo reels (check them out!), and submit for new talent representation (what a chore!) - all things I've been meaning to take care of but haven't had a spare moment! It's astounding how much you can accomplish in 48 hours with no distractions! I'm really excited for what October will bring! Here's to working!
This is not a drill! We nearly got swept up by the vicious tornado that passed through Indiana last week! We were on location, ready to begin filming a fight scene for The Pale Man in downtown Muncie, Indiana when tornado sirens began sounding and severe weather alerts began warning us to take shelter immediately. For respect to the safety of the cast and crew as well as the $15,000 camera among other equipment on set, we had to scrap the night's shoot and postpone. This is beyond inconvenient as I've booked another show this week for Robert Frosty and have yet another corporate gig swinging in the balance in addition to rehearsals for our shows at Elgin Fringe Festival and the Family Fringe event preceding it. This will surely prove to be a most trying two weeks ahead of me but if I know anything about myself, it's that in the pressure of time, I always rise to meet the challenge! That, and there will be plenty of time to sleep and eat in my 30s!
I have to say, this is something I have not done before. Tonight, I'll be hopping in between four different, back-to-back rehearsals to offer my expertise in fight direction and movement. Luckily, three are located in the same building and all four are located in Ravenswood and so I should have no problem popping into one and out of another. It will be quite amusing to transition from one show's vicious, dark, pathological violence to another's tongue-in-cheek, slapstick-style fight sequences, back to another racially charged, explosive fight, and to a martial arts-style kata phrase.
An article came out today that particularly resonated with one of the shows I'm working on so I shared it with the cast and director and opened the doors for discussion. It's about consent and theatrical responsibility - topics with which I'm very involved, working as an actor and fight director. Give the article a read and let me know what you think:
It's a good problem to have! I've been so busy this past month and a half, I haven't had any time to make blog updates! As my excuse, I'm currently working on five projects! I'm acting in three of them, directing one of them, producing two of them, and I am designing fights for all five! Because I'm fortunate enough to be working on artistically fulfilling endeavors that energize me and although I know my limits when it comes to time management, the most challenging part of being this busy remains the scheduling itself. I have to make every effort to ensure I'm able to dedicate enough time to each project such that I'm supremely confident in the work I'm doing and that safety is held in the highest regard during each process. I accomplish this using the long-faithful practice of keeping a pocket planner, a testament to the tried and true method of pen and paper! That's right, I use a physical calendar to keep all my appointments in order!
I get razzed every now and again about writing in my little black appointment booklet and I receive a fair portion of unsolicited guidance advising me to "live my life" instead of perpetuating my prolific portfolio but to that I say, "There will be plenty of time to act like a 20-year-old in my 30s! Now let me get back to work, you dastardly distractor! I'm trying to keep this economy alive!"
Learn more about why this blog occasionally becomes optional by clicking the links below!
Kings and Thrones and Sh*t
Sex, a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs
CAPITALI$M: A Cabaret Through Time and Space
Short Attention Span Theatre Fest V: Killer Instinct
The Pale Man
What a busy weekend! After getting together with my fight partner, Britain Willcock, this last Saturday, and attending my colleague and mentor, Mr. David Yondorf's intensive stage combat class, I received a Recommended Pass for my Broadsword Skills Proficiency Renewal Test! Mr. Chuck Coyl, the vice president of our organization, who has recently been honored for the second time with the President's Award, adjudicated our fight scene and awarded both my scene partner and me this distinction! I was very pleased with what we accomplished in such a short amount of time and it made for a great send off on my way to Baltimore the next day! Now I have settled into my aunt and uncle's home who are graciously hosting me as I prepare and fit in some sight seeing before the big day! I'm very fortunate to get to see them as they visit the Midwest regularly but it has been a short while since I last had the chance to visit them in their natural habitat! I'm excited to be visiting several museums, the Eastern Shore, and of course consuming my share of hard crabs!