I was thinking it’s been a while since I wrote on just my general state of affairs. Then I looked at my entries and realized I haven’t checked in at all. There was some navel gazing, a bit of theatre and some silliness about loud music. What in the world have I been up to, what have I seen and what have I learned?
Well, as it happens the year so far is best explained by the theatre I’ve worked on, yet highlighted by some voice adventures here and there. As two posts from earlier this year show, I was the dramaturg for a one-act play called SEX & GOD by Linda McLean. It was part of a night of one-acts we called “Woman Parts” since the other one-act was also by a woman and concerned with a world seen through women’s eyes and experiences. When the show opened I changed roles to assist the stage manager. It wasn’t how I would have preferred life to go; working on a production always eats up a great deal of my time and energy until I hardly have anything left to give to other priorities. Furthermore, the pay is far from adequate so the only use for me was in making myself of service to my company.
I got far more out of stage managing our inaugural Solo Creation Festival this summer. I was exposed to a much greater variety of characters – real, live ones – and for three weeks straight through I had to stay on the ball and flexible in order to make it all happen. That was a brand new level of stage managing I don’t want to try again any time soon. Exciting as it was, it was also exhausting and the time demanded from me left absolutely none for any other interest, project or job.
The best and greatest forays into voice over I’ve gotten this year happened before “Woman Parts” got very busy. It was a mixed bag, auditioning via Voice123, beginning to attend the Voices Anonymous meetups, attending THE REELS, a workout group headed up Melique Berger, and lending my voice to a couple more walla sessions. It was mixed because the highs were very affirming and fun (meeting and chatting with some of my heroes) and the lows have persistently regarded money and the frustrating feedback loop caused by lacking it.
I still haven’t made any money in VO, and I’m not spectacularly bothered by this. It would be nice but I’m more preoccupied with getting my name known by more people and connecting with industry professionals so they know who I am and what I’m capable of. However, my progress is hampered by not having money. Without it I can’t take classes that are the best connection with pros, soliciting the advice of knowledgeable and successful actors, and, importantly, getting competitive home recording done.
Most of the time people new to the process are expected to have the cash to begin this career from non-acting work. Well, of course I haven’t had a non-theatre job of any kind for years now. Going back and getting one not only feels like a serious case of “taking my eye off the ball” but presents a number of huge obstacles all on its own. I’ve effectively been out of the job market for years. Explaining how stage managing skills might apply to a job in editing and proofreading is a very long walk that few employers are going to entertain.
So right now I’m trying not to give in to feeling too defeated. Every one has rough patches and increasing one’s resourcefulness is just another task for a mature adult. I do swing at opportunities when they show up – a part time gig writing facebook blurbs for a particular brand of tequila, another ASM gig – but I’m striking out at the moment. I sure don’t take it to mean I’m bad at writing or stage managing. Just… I really could use the cash. (Look at me not getting distracted by how weird it is to connect money with creative skills! Oh wait, oops…)
The cash I was going to budget into the career has gone instead to fixing the truck as it has desperately needed some repairs this summer. Absent those repairs I would be taking a few more classes before the year is out. Instead I’m scrambling to grab opportunities to talk to pros without going further into debt.
In a way I’m still waiting to hit my stride this year and I keep stumbling. Huge chunks of time have been given to projects that weren’t entirely mine and thanks to other circumstances I feel like I have little to show for it. If I put so much work into a job and it can’t help me make headway in my career then what was the point? So… that’s more or less why I haven’t written much.
But the beginning of the year really was pretty dang awesome.