Saturday, February 21, 2009

While auditioning for a season...

My last post was brought to you while sitting in the Les Miserables audition, and I’ve discovered that sitting at auditions are the time that I get the most downtime to write. Auditioning in New York is extremely brutal. This is how the Les Miz audition went:

I got at the studio at 8:00am and put my name on the list. I was number 284 only to be followed by 200 more girls asking to be put on the list. By the time the audition started at 10:00am, 500 girls had signed up for the audition. They did not want to type out so they broke the list into groups of 30 people and put people into a room and lined us up in three lines of 10. They taught us two lines of “Lovely Ladies” and then went down the line one by one singing as much of the 12 bars as he saw fit. Then he kept people as he saw fit to stay and sing some more. I got to stay and sing Cosette in the same fashion as before. 30 girls lined up learned two lines of her song and then kept. I got cut after the first call, but at least I got called. The ladies sitting next to me didn’t. I know they were being particular and I still have faith that my time will come for something. After all, this is just my 4th audition. I’ve been here four weeks. It’s going to take time.

In other news, I got a job. Actually, I got two. I’ve started this marketing internship for a known Broadway producer. I’m helping him get his start-up off the ground which is pretty fantastic. I can’t say much about the work I’m doing for it is a start-up and I have signed a NADA. Yet, I think this will be a great opportunity for me should it work out.

I also got my waitress job. I’m currently working at Fat Annie’s in NYC. It’s a great great great place to get some real waitress experience instead of catering only. It is a restaurant described as southern comfort style cuisine. Yesterday was my first day. Here are a couple of things I have to get used to: 1) Ketchup. 2) Standing on my feet 3) Getting out of my comfort zone. The smell of ketchup makes me vomit. I touch it and I think I smell like it ALL DAY LONG. I hate ketchup everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look and in fact if ketchup and mosquitoes disappeared from this earth, I would be a very very very happy woman. I would go as far as to say that those two things are the worst things ever. I mean ever. Everyone who works there so far is very nice and the work seems to come very quickly to them. Right now, I’m in training so my schedule is not on the books. I don’ t know what my schedule is. Everyday that I go in I just get put back on the schedule for my next training day. I’m working on memorizing the menu, but I got home last night and I wanted to collapse. It was 8:30pm and they put me on a double. I had been there since 10:30am on my feet. Serving is going to be fine. I think I will do fine.

And so begins the delicate balance between working for survival and surviving in the theatre; both a daunting task. Take today for example. I woke up at 4:30am by the sound of the battery dying in the carbon monoxide detector which I tried to sleep through but that didn’t happen. My alarm went off at 5:00am and I got changed and headed to the audition arriving with my roommate at 6:47am. I am number 123 and she is 124. This means that I potentially will not be seen before I have I need to be at work at 1pm to work in the marketing place for a few hours. Then I’m off to work the dinner shift at 5pm till closing. So I’ve been up since 4:30am and I won’t get home until 12am. Thus, I learned a very valuable lesson about open non-equity calls. You must get here at 6am. MUST MUST MUST. Well, if you want to be seen early then you want to be here at 6am. Something that is potentially disturbing me about waitress is that it is just as difficult to get to auditions if you’re working a lunch shift and need to be there at 10:30am. Then, if you are working a double, you’re there for 12 hours and forget about getting to any audition. If I wanted to work those type of days than I could get an office job from 10:30am until 7pm and call it a job. Flexible is hard to find and in this economy I should just be happy that I HAVE a job. It’s part of the reason these audition calls are incredibly brutal. Everyone is out of work including actors non equity and equity. 300+ people are showing up to these auditions to these open calls. All things I know and knew before I moved here but it sure is one thing to hear it versus experiencing it. I’m trying desperately to let it go. To know that whatever is meant to happen will happen. That all I can do is my very best before I burn out, and hope that all things will fall into place. I know this will happen but my mental energy is starting to get sucked up. How long will I be able to keep up working these 15 hour days with little to no rest? Don’t get my wrong. I’m not discouraged. I’m not complaining. I actually feel motivated and energized sitting here waiting for my chance to sing and surrounded by people who talk about their upcoming auditions. I love that. I’m living the life I dreamed about since I graced the stage in ’98. Now it is time to get out of these open call lines by getting my equity card and getting some gigs.

Can we talk about the audition room for a second? First of all, it’s so packed. SOOOO packed. People are sitting wherever there is space, and it’s difficult to even dream about walking through the sea of human bodies to the door to get to the bathroom. At the Les Miz audition, I got called to sing, and I stepped on someone’s foot to get to the table. I felt terrible about it, but really I thought it was her bag. I had to step SOMEWHERE and the floor was covered. The room is also like a wannabe red carpet room. You should see some of the things that women wear! One of the girls was wearing a purple dress that you could see her boob from her profile. Really? What on are these woman thinking? I would never wake up and think – let me put on no clothes. Ok, I have to go and focus on what to sing. I need to start focusing on this audition and seeing if I can wiggle my way to be seen before 12:30pm.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Day in New York

In the last two days I discovered why people often type New Yorkers to be rude, mean and inconsiderate. New Yorkers are not rude, mean and inconsiderate; other people here lack common sense which is very difficult to tolerate.

I should have known that the last two days were going to be difficult when I woke up on Tuesday morning to discover my roommate's cloths strewn about the couch destroyed by the bleach at the laundry mat with notes from screaming WTF?!?!?! We sat on the couch for the morning commiserating about our lack of jobs, auditions and I tried to console her about her ruined clothes. Trying to find the comedy in our tragic story, I got a phone call for a hostess interview and I had to be on the east side by 2pm.

Great. I hopped in the shower and checked hopstop to figure out how to get there. It's tricky because I'm west and north of Central Park and getting to the east side takes two - maybe three - trains to get to that side. I had to take the D to Yankee Stadium and then transfer to the 4. Now, the B and D run on the same line. The A and the C run on the same line. If you're going downtown, these 4 lines essentially stop at the all the same stops but not if you're going NORTH. Well, I'm an idiot and I didn't discover that until I hopped on the C got off at 161 and discovered that this not a Yankee Stadium stop. So, I had to GO BACK to 145 and get back to the D.

Crap. I'm walking quickly to the station and this person in front of me was lollygagging up the stairs. Not only was she lollygagging, she was TAKING OVER THE SUBWAY STAIRS. I heard the train pull up and I'm doing everything I possibly can to get around her. I almost pushed her, but then I saw the train close the doors and go by. ARGH! ARGH! YOU MADE ME MISS MY TRAIN YOU LOLLYGAGGER YOU!!! It was the D too, so, I had to wait another 20 minutes for the D to arrive. I left at 1pm, and it's now 2pm. A whole 60 minutes to go two stops? I'm still in Harlem and it's been 60 minutes? Oh man where is that lollygagger?!?! The D finally arrived and I got to Yankee Stadium which was filled with lollygaggers. FILLED! MOVE OUT OF MY WAY I NEED TO GET TO THE FOUR PLATFORM!!!! Guess it's Murphy's law because I got to the top of the stairs just as the doors were closing for the 4. It just isn't my day. It's now 2:30. I'm still in Harlem and I was so supposed to be there at 2:15pm.

Yes, of course I called.

I get to the restaurant at 2:50 pm. Luckily for me, they really weren't honoring appointments. It was a free for all essentially and people just waited in line for a job. Already flustered I listened to the interview before me, and this girl with five years experience as a server was interviewing before me. I'm late, flustered and feeling defeated and they call me to the table. I interviewed like crap and decided to do some retail therapy. It didn't help because I have no job and I refused to spend any unnecessary money.

Yesterday, I went to an open call for a serving position. Over 100 people showed up and four people were shuffling through the applicants. My roommate and I met this amazing new friend Beau. The three of us each interviewed with different people. My interview went really well, and I think I have a chance at this job. She said she was going to call me on Friday, so, I'm not going to say anything until something is for sure. Until then I'm going to continue to look for a job!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Finally - I got to sing.

A Little Night Music in Florida held auditions in New York on Sunday. So, I sent in my headshot and resume in. A couple days later - I got an appointment!


I keep going to these equity auditions to wait for hours only to be turned away by a scoffing hand. Thank goodness for that paper EMC card - I'm going to laminate it.

Anyway, I got to the audition and they were running an hour behind. After waiting 5 plus hours to sing a measly 16 bars of music, 1 hour seemed like a drop in the bucket - a mere hour I happily waited through. I think I had been starving to sing for so long the anticipation started to eat at me a little bit and not in "I'm nervous way." My anticipation felt more like: let-me-in-there-right-now-to-sing-these-sixteen-bars-of-music-or-I'm-going-to-BURST! Luckily, I had all day to warm up slowly and practice my material. Thus, I finally felt warm and ready to sing when it my turn came.

I walked in. I introduced my song and sang the end of "If I Loved You."
He said, "That was fantastic." Did you hear that? He said it was fantastic.. fantastic...fantastic...people in NYC don't use that word. This was supposed to be the audition that spit me up and chewed me out. My first audition was supposed to make me question why I ever moved, why I ever even had the inclination that maybe just maybe I could sing for a living and none of that happened. He said, "fantastic."


He also said I was too old for the role.
That i was great to meet me and thanked me for singing for them today.

I'm NYC. Win some miss most, but he said it was fantastic. I am going to take that away from the audition because it pretty much is an amazing compliment. I keep saying it - my time is coming, and it IS. I just want it to come NOW! Ok fine, how about......... now?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My First New York Audition

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to call this my first NYC audition because I’m not sure if I’ll get seen since I am a non-equity at an equity call, and I did go to that West Side Story Audition. Ok, let’s call this my first audition since living here. I posted on my facebook today that I was going to auditions today. I’m so blessed to have this incredible network of friends and family that love me and support me because I got here and already had a million text messages showering me with love and confidence. I couldn’t help but wonder as I stepped off the subway at 6:30am dressed to the nines how long it will take to get old. By “get old” I mean, the thrill of auditioning, the getting up at 5:00am to get to an audition you may not be seen at, the constant waiting, the love and support – essentially all of it. Will I write on my facebook status- 702566788347 audition? Yes, I probably will. I love this room. I love this environment and I don’t mind the waiting.

I learned a couple of really important things:

I’m at an Equity call in the equity office. Equity is the union for actors and stage managers. If you are apart of this union, you are considered a professional actor. You no longer can audition for unpaid shows. Non-Equity folks can show up to audition, but you may or may not be seen. So I had been advised to show up first and early.

When I arrived at 6:30am, I discovered that four lists exist and you should find out what list you must sign up for before you get there. 1) Equity with appointments. 2) Equity without appointments. (alternatives) 3) EMC (Equity Membership Candidate) 4) Non-Equity. The class hierarchy is pretty much amazing. There is an equity lounge that is moniterd. Noone can pass the monitor unless they show their equity card or EMC card. In this lounge there are woman dressing rooms, pillars with mirrors, bathroom, comfortable chairs, plugs and information on other auditions – actors haven. If you’re non-equity, you’re sitting in the hall on these skinny little brown benches that make your butt go numb within ten minutes of sitting and you’re not allowed to use the bathroom.

No, I’m serious.

If you’re non-equity and you have to use the bathroom, you have to walk outside of the building and around the corner to the McDonalds. It really blew my mind but I’m not kidding you. It’s true.

Anyway, it just so happens I had to wait until 10am to go into the equity lounge because I had not picked up my EMC card yet, and the office didn’t open until then. Once I got my card, I thoroughly enjoyed my time sitting and waiting in equity lounge only to discover that at 12:00pm that EMCs will not, in fact, be seen.

It’s ok. I know it’s a tough market but what’s it going to take to be seen?! This is the second time I’ve gone out there and the second time I haven’t had a chance to sing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discouraged ALREADY! I’m just eagerly awaiting my turn. It’s coming. I know it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chapter 4 – New York, New York

The much-needed family visit was a success. Despite my misfit feelings I didn’t know I’d have to combat for as long as have and for as long as I currently foresee, I enjoyed spending time with my family. I never got to celebrate the soon-to-be arrival of Mr. Logan Joos, but with Ms. Lily Joos, I got to share in the joy of her almost birthday which is currently scheduled for March 12th.

Mom and I arrived in New York, New York on Monday, January 19, 2009. Eagerly anticipating my new apartment I had yet to see, we jumped into a cab and promptly gave him my street and the street crossing. It took at least three repeats for this cab driver to figure out where exactly we were going. This should have been my first clue.

My mom, four suitcases, a guitar, my cat and I arrived to my new apartment in Harlem at 10:30am and patiently waited for my roommate to arrive with my key. During the hour we waited, we managed to get into the “lobby” of my apartment complex which is about the space of two people standing in between two glass doors. Mind you – it’s snowing and we’re freezing. I noticed quickly that the bottom glass section of the door was completely shattered, so, I decided to check out the place. Well, at least see the front of my door.

I walked through the door and immediately suffocated by the smell of urine located – only God knows where, and I noticed the punched holes in the wall of the hall. My ears flooded with a screaming child, and a barking dog as I stared down at the concaved rock/marble/granite mismatched concaved stairs. Careful not to let any part of my clothing touch the now dirt filled walls, I walked to the third floor to see the door of what I would soon call home. My door is a metal door luckily enough to have a peep hole but slightly resembling the front of a single cell prison door. I half expected to see a police officer guarding the entrance. Feeling hopeless, I walked back towards my cat and my mom trying to shake the images of Basketball Diaries and my luxurious apartment in San Francisco.

Holding back tears and trying to safe face for my mom, my roommate arrived and handed me the keys to the apartment, and so began my journey in New York.

For the record, I am describing to you how I felt then and not how I feel now – 20 days later.

The apartment inside is so cosy and endearing. Yes, it is a hobbit hole. Yes, we call it the shire. Yes, we call my room “Fort Bev.” Yet, it is a home- my home - a home with all my stuff in it. I got to sleep in my bed, which I haven’t slept in for four months. It has a living room with two bookcases, a piano, a futon, a window. It has a little tiny kitchen with a half size stove that can only be opened when my bedroom door is closed. My room has my queen-sized bed lofted, but I can’t stand underneath it. The bed takes over the entire bedroom and one must “scoot” past the start of my bed frame that takes over 90% of my doorway to get to the closet and really the only spot in my entire room that one can stand up in. Seriously, I live in a closet with a bed in it. ☺ Despite my description, it’s really not that bad. I actually kinda love it. It’s small, cute, with a piano, a great roommate and my bed. It’s really just perfect for my first New York apartment.

The first week went by extremely quickly, I finally understood what “New York minute meant because a week went by and it felt like a day. My mind could not rest even at 4am in the morning because there was so much to focus on - to think about - to hope for.

It’s my time. This is going to take some time, but it is my time.