Friday, December 20, 2013

Things are slowing down for a while - what do we do in the meantime?

Well, the holidays are upon us and most things show business-wise are going to slow way down until after the first of the year. In fact, since New Years Day is on a Wednesday, our business (auditions, workshops, classes, etc.) probably won't get into full gear until the week of Jan. 6th. So the question is – what to do in the next couple of weeks? Below are some possibilities for us in show business. Some of the answers are great for those who are away from family as well. Maybe you're in New York or Los Angeles and your family is back in the mid-west … or perhaps you're in London, doing a holiday show at a theatre and your folks are in Scotland.

Wherever we are and whatever our situation, it's easy to feel a bit down if we haven't accomplished everything we wanted in 2013. But, like the advice I give about learning from an audition mistake, take a look at what you didn't do, why you didn't do it, and resolve to take charge of your career in 2014.

As for the rest of this year:

Read. Yes, read – a few plays, a bio, that novel you've wanted to read. Get away from reading the trades for a couple of weeks – life isn't all business.

Be creative: Make some homemade New Years cards for a friend or two (yes, you can do it on a computer, but it's better if you get your hands into it). Imagine a friend or relative's surprise at getting something like that!

If your library has a DVD section, borrow a few great old films and watch them. You can do an internet search for the best films of the last century. There are some incredible performances in films like The Days of Wine and Roses and Tender Mercies. If comedy is your taste, check out Young Frankenstein or Some Like It Hot. In fact, if you're into doing comedy, you might want to check out the old masters, like W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and Laurel and Hardy – there's a lot to learn from their comedic timing that still works today.

Or maybe a weekend of noir films – almost anything with Humphrey Bogart. How about some films about show biz like The Player or Waiting for Guffman? The idea is to get away from the biggest and latest films at your local theater and find the wonderful gems from the past. After all, if you perform in a film, don't you want people watching and enjoying it many years from now?

All of these suggestions will help us inspire our creativity and give us a boost going into the new year. I've got my reading material and films lined up (okay, I am going to watch a few new films that my union sends me, but I'm also going to dive into my film library and re-watch some great classics).

One last thing I'm going to be doing (after a good dose of inspiration) is to be thinking about a project that I want to do next year and how I'm going to put it together. We can't just wait around for someone to give us opportunities, we need to make some of those for ourselves. So, think about a sketch you and a few friends could shoot and put up on Funny or Die or YouTube, or a play you could put on, or a song you could record.

Now is the time for us to review the last year and recharge our batteries for the year to come. Listen to your heart and then express what's there through your creativity.



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