Sunday, April 15, 2012

Outlines: For College Papers Only—Not for real life use.

Today’s Quote:
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”—Woody Allen

The Dream:
After a long talk with mi padre, I think it seems fitting to make my dream of the week a bit simple compared to previous dreams.  This week, I dreamed about doing something … and being insanely happy while doing it.  

What did I “DO” to move forward?
I did my taxes, played with my dog, signed up for Denver Center Season Auditions, and got a smartphone.  Not a bad week.

Any of you who have been waiting on the edge of your seat, waiting for my weekly blog installment to drop every Sunday night, have probably noticed the lack of consistency on my part.  I’ve been a bad blogger.

I guess the problem with writing a blog that is focused on inspiration and go-get-em-ness is that if the writer is feeling down, he might slack off. 

This spring I’ve had the incredibly difficult problem of an abundance of life choices.  Every day, I get pumped up with a combination of life choices that are never the same between two days.  Apples one day.  Oranges the next. 

As I said earlier, I was talking with my dad recently and he at one point asked me if I had taken any time to simply calm down and just ‘listen’.  I hadn’t.  I hadn’t done that probably since before graduating college.

I’m so grateful for the fact that I have parents that remind me to do things like, “Calm down and listen.”  I just closed the show that I had been performing in for the past three months and I have over a month till I start my summer job.  That’s a good chunk of time to calm down and listen.  I’m not expecting to have any particular answer over the course of that month, but I expect that I’m going to be a lot happier than I am now. 

Running around, making contacts, making friends, doing auditions, and practicing the craft will do wonders for an artist to advance in his career.  Making ample opportunities to calm down and listen for what he really needs to hear will do wonders for an artist to increase his happiness.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today’s Quote:
“If the other actor isn’t giving you what you want, act as though he were.”—Michael Caine

The dreams:
This week is a nice marker for me.  Until this week, I was honestly dreading one part of moving to a new city:  Having to make a whole new list of friends and contacts after spending a year making friends and contacts here in Denver.  It was hard to not view some of my growth here in Denver as a waste because I would have to start from basically zero wherever I go next.  I’m not worried about that now.  I’ve been dreaming about all the new friends and new ‘business partners’ I’m going to be making when I move.  It’s a good dream; I love people … especially ones I’m just meeting!

What did I “DO” to move forward?
I started working more on my music writing and performing.  I used to be a pretty good dance music DJ and while I’ve still got the technical skills, I’m re-learning some of the art to it.  I’m also still working on building some auditions and contacts in Seattle.

Patience … Not a subject for a single article. 
Over the past few weeks, I’ve found a lot of uses for patience in my life.  I’ve been very grateful for seeing these moments as they’ve come along and I think it’s going to help me in a huge way, as I get closer to ramping my professional efforts up even more.

The first place I have been taking on some patience from is my booking schedule.  I’m currently not in a show until September and that is unusual for me.  (Hah, I’m sure some of you are cursing, “Oh, Poor Erik doesn’t know what it’s like to not constantly be in a show.” Get over it!)  Non-the-less, I’ve had the temptation to think this lack of shows is signifying a harder road than I wanted to deal with. 

It is harder than I thought it would be—and I thought it would be really freaking hard.  But I am reminded: every day I work at it and every time I watch my friends who are also rocking out in this world it shows that it is still very possible.

Another lesson about patience I’ve been learning is specifically for the actors out there.  We all know it is annoying as hell to have to act across from someone who is a blank wall or someone who has his or her own thing going on and is not responding to you at all.  It sucks!!! 

Those of us who have even the slightest bit of humility in themselves will remember that we also (at one time or another) have been the actor who gives nothing and receives nothing; the actor who is as fun to act with as a chair.  So, lets not get pissed off every time we have to work with someone who needs more acting classes.  We should love them for being there and trying.  After all, we all could use some more acting classes every once in a while … always.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In My Own Little World

Today’s Quote:
“The camera doesn’t have to be wooed; the camera already loves you deeply…  you have never known such devotion.  –Michael Caine

The dreams:
I just day-dreamed about remodeling a kitchen to be perfect for every one of my cooking fantasies.  Mmmm, food.

What did I “DO” this week?
O.K. So I guess it’s more like, “What did I do these past few weeks?”  I do apologize for my absence.  I had a bit of a spring-break and have been away from the-ol blog for a while. 
As you remember, I was submitting to agencies last time we talked.  I had an audition for the best agency in town and they basically liked me, but said I was not ready for camera work.  I was expecting that, but I admit: it took a while to get out of the pit of “I SUCK!!!”  I took it as a hint and in the last few weeks I’ve lined up some acting classes to try out and I got a plane ticket to see my friend’s wedding in L.A. (A good place to look for a workshop maybe?)  I also submitted auditions to some theatres in the mountains for summer.  I also had an "Extras" cattle-call audition for a Johnny Depp movie being shot in Colorado this summer.  Cattle-calls are silly ... just ... silly.   In general, I’m trying to re-open my eyes to this business and what I need to do next in it.

“In My Own Little World” is the title of this article and it is basically to say I need to be there more. 

These past few weeks have been hard because I think I’ve gotten very caught up in the lives and emotions of others in a way that hurts my life and emotions.  I think the practice of being in our own little world is about developing a thick skin, not just to our own failure and rejection, but to our friend’s and family member’s failures and defeats. 

I’ve been getting a lot of reminders to say to myself, “It’s their life.  Let them live it.  They WILL be okay.”  I’m sure I could say that about myself a bit more too…

What if we started every day with that simple statement or something like it (Perhaps the Lord’s Prayer, or Mrs. Eddy’s ‘Daily Prayer—For those of you who know it.)  It would be so great for us to remind ourselves… AND FULLY BELIEVE; This is our life.  We should just LET ourselves live it.  We will always be okay.   More than okay.  GREAT! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Filling the VOID

Today’s Quote:
“Take your job seriously, and then you’ll be hired to do the fun stuff!” – Auditioning and Acting for the Camera by John W.Shepard

This week’s dreams:
I dreamed most about perpetual motion this week.  Starting last Sunday, I was working almost from wake-up to bed time on my craft.  I had tech rehearsals for a show that opened three days ago, “Six Degrees of Separation.”  Meanwhile, I had kid shows during the day.  I was having drinks after our opening night on Friday with some people who saw the play I was in and one of them asked me what else I did for a living.  With out an instance of hesitation, I said, “I’m a full time actor.”  That is a big thought change for me:  To un-questioningly affirm myself as a full time actor is awesome!  This week, I dreamed about keeping that affirmation going.

What did I “DO” this week?
I started re-submitting to talent agencies in Denver.  I’ve heard enough of some actors saying they can’t get any work from their agent while other actors say they are getting plenty of work to know that if I had an agent, I would do very well!  The result?  I’ve got an audition this week for the (arguably) biggest and best talent agency in Denver!  I started my month of using public transportation instead of my car and I love it.  I’m getting a lot of acting reading done on the bus and have a better handle on my schedule and how to effectively use my time.  It was a very good week.

So…As I prepare for the possibility of being represented by a talent agency, I’ve started grabbing hold of the fact that the majority of equitable work in the area is in commercials. 

I’ve noticed that commercials can have a bad rep with actors who are focused too heavily on “the art” of our work.  However, I’ve long accepted that I am going to have to do things that are more about the money than the art.

Lets play would you rather:
Would you rather do commercials and feel your artistic soul be challenged while working on your craft in thee commercial.  Then also be able to do shows and films that are the ‘good’ work a little later…
Would you rather work as a temp and get a job as an envelope stuffer at a Blockbuster distribution center, act in shows that are artsy, but don’t pay well (or at all) and be so tired and sore and drained from your day job that you can barely focus on stage?

I did the second option…for about three weeks.  I HATED IT!!!  And that second option sucks so much, I will never believe the work of commercials or industrials are beneath me.   At the end of the day, it is still acting…Warehouse jobs, waiting tables, and making lattes isn’t. 

I’m not saying these above jobs are bad jobs.  They just aren’t the jobs to have if you want to have a conversation with a stranger and say, “I’m a full time actor.”  Which, believe me, is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever been privileged enough to say.

I think what I really learned from this week is that there is (regardless of your life purpose as you see it) enormous value in being totally comfortable with your identity to the point that your job, your actions, and your words all radiate that awesome identity.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Back Up Singers

Today’s Quote:
“The greatest wisdom is to realize one's lack of it” - Constantin Stanislavski

This week’s dream:
I’m not sure if this is a ‘dream’ per-se, but I was thinking a lot this week about that thing people say about how in the arts you need to be fully committed to what your doing.  Committed in the sense of, “If you are willing to do something other than your art for work, you won’t be as successful as you could be in that art.”  I’m not sure I buy that as an actor.  I think the more diverse my life is, the more I can bring to the art.  Look at Donald Glover!  That guy does so much!  This week, I dreamed about keeping my identity as a renaissance man.

What did I “DO” this week?
I say a show yesterday.  I signed up for some auditions for shows in the late spring and for some summer stock theatre.  I set up a game plan for getting an agent with in the month.  On an ECO note, I got a bus pass!  No commuting to work by car for the month of March!

What a mean trick I pulled last week!  I mentioned my future-not-yet-scheduled skiing trip with Johnny Depp on my facebook post and I got more hits on that blog post in a day than any of the other posts got ever!  Maybe I should always mention celebrities in this!  But, seriously, that trip’s gonna happen—I’ll let you know when we finally schedule it.  After all, Depp and I are both busy men, he is terrible at picking up his phone, and I don’t like texting back and forth.

I’ve been performing in a great kid’s show for about a month now.  I’m a supporting character in the show—most of us are.  Something that I’ve started noticing about my performance and the dangers of kid’s theatre and extended show runs is that I am tempted to cheat my audience out of my best performance. 

This comes in two forms:  First, I am tempted to wait for my cue.  Second, I am tempted to let outside influences affect my show.

What do I mean by waiting for my cue?  I’ll give an example.  In the show’s script, one character is listing all these things he does in his life as a kid.  The pirates listen to this, and at the end of the list the boy mentions that he plays soccer.  The pirates all speak in unison, “Arg…Soccer?”  That’s what’s written.  But, is it all that is happening on stage.

If I’m doing my job right, I should have an opinion about absolutely everything that goes on within the world of the play while I’m on stage.  This doesn’t mean that I have to make vocal ad-libs that are not in the script.  I should at the very least have a thought. 

A supporting actor, if he/she is truly professional, will be focused enough to give themselves wholly to the world of the play and to their character’s opinions about that world.  It shouldn’t matter if the play is a Tony winner or the crappiest script ever.  I believe that doing this one thing could bring an actor un-told success in this business because the audience will look at that character and see the full story—and they will love you for it.  If done right, you won’t have to worry about pulling focus either.  (I think a blank face in an actor on stage pulls my focus as an audience member more than anything)

About the second thing:  I think one of the cruelest disservices I can do to the audience is to bring my outside day onto the stage with me.  We actors love to commiserate back stage.  We LOVE to share the things that make our lives suck the most.  When one actor enters the dressing room and announces that they woke up with some phlegm in their throat, the flock gathers to agree that there must surely be some new illness floating around.

Imagine how good our shows would be if we refused to commiserate:  if we let go of our fetish for sickness and instead we couldn’t shut up about how awesome our world is.  After all, our world IS awesome.  Our job is SO COOL!!!  So, stop whining! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tough Guy Huh!?!

Today’s Quote:
“Work that you loathe will taint your entire being.” – Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers in How To Be A Working Actor

This week’s dream:
Well, this past week being Valentine’s Week, I found myself thinking mostly about my girlfriend.  We are in a long distance relationship and have been since the beginning.  I’ve been dreaming of the day that I can make it no-longer long distance.  The day where I’m successful enough to allow us to actually be part of each other’s daily lives.  (Awe!)

What did I “DO” this week?
This week, I submitted a video audition for a role in a feature film to be shot this summer.  (Thanks to my brother for reading the other parts, and Matt for donating time and a camera) 

I have a theory about success with an agent that I’ve developed over the past few weeks after talking to several individuals.  The theory is:  Aside from having the right look (which might not matter as much as you think) one’s success with good agency is directly connected with one’s work ethic and how effectively someone uses their talent. 

I was talking with a professional in town who has done several commercial spots over the years in the Denver area.  He works more than most, but less than he could.  Something that stood out to me from what he said is that Denver actors in particular, have this sense that they can go into an audition or even the shoot and wing it.  Some, no doubt, get away with it; but most don’t.  Agents hate this! 

What I deduced from this is that: even if there are twenty guys working with the best agency in town that look exactly like me, maybe three or five of them get regular calls.  Why is this?  Those three to five actors are the ones who show up to work like professionals.  They are easy to work with, prepared, professional, and they deliver…every time.  What are the other guys doing?  (This may be harsh—especially since I’m a friend with some of them)  They are probably not doing the above things and they are probably griping at home or in the dressing room about how little work there is, how hard the Denver market is, and how they hate that they look like twenty other guys at their agency.

I think, in the acting world, there is no such thing as an, ‘easy market’.   Some markets have more work than others.  Some are more saturated with actors.  Some have the more desirable work of film and television, while others have better options in commercial and industrial videos.  Every market is hard as hell though!  So, what do I need to do? 

I need to be as tough as my market.  If there are twenty guys in my agency who look like me:  I need to be a better actor, a better professional, and a better person to work with than any of them.  (Not in a snooty competitive way—in a mater of fact way)

In the ‘business’ world of the normal people jobs: People move quickly up the ladder by putting in the extra work, being the best player, and talking to the right people.  Why do we actors think our job should be different?  If you’re in a show that has eight performances a week, are you going to be working hard?  You bet!  Is that enough if you want to keep moving up or be more stable financially?  HELLZZZ NO!!! 

Maybe I need to pull a few more eighty-hour workweeks for the next few years.  Then, when I’m drinking hot cocoa with Johnny Depp at a skiing lodge in Austria, then I can finally sit back and whine about the one time a director didn’t hire me because I didn’t quite look right for the part.

I wonder what Johnny Depp’s favorite hot-drink is.  Does he like it spiked, or not?  Something creamy or some kind of tea?  I guess I’ll have to ask him in a few years when we go on a buddy-buddy ski trip.  Does he ski?  If not, I can teach people how to ski…I’ll teach him…(The thought of seeing him ‘yard-sale’ on the side of a hill and laughing my head off as I help him dig snow out of his goggles makes me really hope he doesn’t ski much)  Johnny, I invite you to a skiing trip in Austria…chance of a lifetime for you buddy!  IT’S  AUSTRIA!!!  That’s some James Bond shit right there!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Writer's Block ... AS IF!!!

Today’s Quote:
“Endeavor to penetrate the psychology of persons around you toward whom you feel unsympathetic.”  -Michael Chekhov

Today’s Song:  L’idolo Di Oro by Erik Siegling THAT’S MEEEE!
A little off the format, but I had a dream last night while I was sleeping about some actress.  She was flying from one gig to another.  First, a commercial shoot, then a photo shoot, followed by a rehearsal, and a talk show appearance.  Busy gal right?  The thing is:  She’s ‘working’.  That is the kind of effort needed in this career.  Thanks dream!  Good reminder!

What did I “DO” this week?
I met with an alumnus from my college for coffee and we chatted about what he knows about the acting industry.  He gave me some good reminders and some awesome tips.  I’m working on a video audition for a role in a feature length SAG film to be shot in Colorado this summer.  And I bought enough groceries to fill the pantry and the fridge, just so I stop getting down on myself for not having food in the house…Winning.

House Keeping:
I’m thinking about changing the blog format.  What do you (the reader) think?  Stanislavski wrote his acting books like a sort of 1st person novel narrative.  I hated reading that style, but I thought it might be cool to try.  It could flex my writer’s muscle and pay a little tribute to the acting pioneer.  Also, I’m thinking of including actor’s exercises for readers to try at home.  Comments!  Make them!!!

Ok, I couldn’t help myself.  I’m submitting an audition this week for a western feature length film and I thought it’d be fun to throw down some western pazaz for the song of the week. 

Anyone who keeps a mild eye on my facebook knows that I’m pretty diligent about posting news articles that have something to do with politics in America today.  Sometimes I even get feisty enough to post some political comment.  Well, I guess it was only a matter of time till that bled onto here.

All I want to say about it is this:  We’ve gotta start listening to each other.  If there’s anything we are proving by meticulously arguing our points to each other, it’s that not a single person or ideology has got it totally right or totally wrong. 

As actors, (you know who you are), we have this incredible occupational hazard associated with our job.  If you look back at the Chekhov quote at the top of this post, you’ll see what I’m talking about…  Any actor who is worth their salt should be able to flex their empathy muscle at any given moment.  Acting is not about finding out what is similar between our character and us; acting is about truly understanding what makes the character one unique, whole being. 

And that is how actors will save the world!

But seriously, a good example is one of the button issues of today:  economic philosophy.  There is this great divide about full capitalism versus socialism in American society.  Both sides are really good at finding what’s wrong with the other side and how it could never work.  Socialism takes power from people and puts it in the hands of government, (Dangerous).  Capitalism takes power from people and puts it in the hands of the corporation, (Dangerous Again!). 

What if both ideas work.  Seriously!  What if there could be happy countries that use different methods to attain social equality?  The thing is, there are.  Sweden evens out social equality through taxation and the re-distribution of wealth.  Japan does it through a more capitalist approach.  Both countries have half the social inequality of the United States (whom currently has one of the largest in-equality ratings of the already developed world) Sweden and Japan both have thriving and productive cultures and are moving forward.  So, maybe we should stop fighting about which philosophy is right or wrong.  Our country is too impossibly big to figure that out anyway.

So, this had nothing to do with writer’s block, but I figured the title would get folks to click on the link to this blog.  Oops.  Sorry if you were looking for more art stuff, but hey, we artists could be the ones to get this country moving on to the happy train of mutual understanding! 

Yesterday, a friend asked me if I was reading any good inspirational books of if I was just getting high on God.  Honestly, both.  God is awesome!  The books I've been reading are proof of that.  The books are:  "The Four Agreements" and "Think And Grow Rich" Good reads.  

Screw writer's block!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Professional Advice: Go see a play!

Today’s Quote:
“I love my job.  I love my job. I love my job!”—Benjy S. 

Today’s Song:  Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford and Sons

Dreams:  Last week, I won some swag in a raffle at the SAG viewing party downtown.  One of the prize items was a notebook with the Screen Actors Guild emblem on the cover.  I decided that I wont use it until I am a SAG member.  I have it placed right in front of my keyboard at my desk and I see it every day and dream of the day I can start taking acting notes in it.

What did I ‘DO’ this week?
I auditioned for one of my favorite directors in town (brown nosing to get the part? … Maybe.  But seriously, he’s awesome)  I auditioned at the local film school to be an actor in this semester’s movies at that school.  (I need to get some camera classes, I totally theatre acted for that audition and IT WAS AWKWARD)  I started today: injecting happy into my veins VIA hockey and dog walks.  Finally, I took eggs out of one basket and moved them more firmly to the acting basket.

DAMNIT!  I missed the Sunday deadline again!  So, I’m going to do some extra posts on Thursday and Sunday.

Tonight, I saw a production of Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet.  Regardless of what you might think about his writing style or his philosophies about the craft, there is some incredible genius there.  Seeing tonight’s play does what most plays do to me.  They throw fuel on the fire inside me that wants to do this work.  The play doesn’t have to be exceptional to do this, but when the play is exceptional (like tonight) then I feel like the flame got rocket fuel sprayed all over it.

So, tonight I reaffirmed the importance of seeing shows.  If you’re an actor/director/writer/etc… and seeing work does the same thing for you as it does for me:  Seeing plays and movies, and reading scripts and books can be one of the most important things you could do for your career. 

Seeing a play is like getting a motivational pep-talk, a cerebral enlightenment session, some good entertainment, and a how to (or how to not) seminar all at once.  AND it’s tax deductable…(Only if this is your profession…I love my job!).  Knowing that and all it can do for you mentally, why wouldn’t you go see a play?

This is going to be a good spring.  OoooH  it’s going to be a good spring!

I love my job.  I love my job.  I LOVE MY JOB!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping the Pace (A Runner's Analogy)

Today’s Quote:
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

Today’s Song:  Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim

Dreams:  I’m really gunning for getting my first union card.  I recently got a notebook that has the ‘Screen Actor’s Guild’ logo on it, and I decided that I won’t write in it until I am a SAG member.

What did I ‘DO’ this week?
I attended a SAG Awards mixer party in downtown Denver.  It was a stellar way to meet people and find potential film projects to be a part of this spring.  I won the SAG notebook in a raffle…I never win raffles!  I also made a little goal tracking poster for myself, so I have a daily reminder of my goals and how close I am to them.

Okay, I know, I know:  I’m late in posting for last week.  So, you know what that means!  Two posts for this week!   I WAS spending valuable blog time, making that poster.  But, hey, no excuses!

In fact, since dropping the ball on my usual Sunday deadline, it’s been really hard to make myself write the dang blog.  So, I thought I’d write a blog about keeping the pace you set, even when you find yourself wishing you had set a slower pace.  After all, first it’s the blog, then it’s me not looking up auditions, and then I become a waiter at Old Chicago…forever.

Several years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I was a member of my high school’s Cross Country team.  I spent the entire season trying to get to the varsity level (the top seven runners), but I never could quite make it.  Every practice, I could keep up with the others during interval workouts.  Nearly every practice, I would fall back for at least one interval, but I always came back.  I was in varsity condition, no doubt!

I remember one practice, we were running one thousand meter intervals through this hilly area and I was hurting.  Hyperventilating, I barely finished the distance, I fell over, and I struggled to breath while my face turned purple.  People were worried, and I ate it up.  I fed on their pity and concern.  I was struggling and everyone saw it…except for one person.  My coach looked at me straight in the eyes and said something to the effect of, “Get up Erik, you got twenty seconds before you need to run again.”

I was pissed!  “Couldn’t he see I was practically dying?!”  Well, I was so mad; I got up and ran the fastest I had run all day.  When I finished that next interval, I was barely winded.  All coach said, “Ok, now do it again.”  Dang.

Looking back, I realize now that this experience encapsulates why I never ran in a varsity race and why I never even broke a five-minute mile, even though I was easily capable of such a feat.  I cared too much about people seeing my struggle.  I had more respect for suffering than for success.  If I had stopped worrying about how well others thought I ran, if I just focused on running, pure and simple, I would have been in a lot more races as one of the top seven.

So, now I have a different thing I’m training in.  If I get caught up in the, “Poor me, I’m a struggling artist” mentality, I will constantly struggle and I will never achieve my best.  Some may even look at me and say, “Poor him, he’s trying so hard.  If only he could catch his break.”  But, the ones who really know the craft, the business, the sport of acting; Those folks will see right through me.  Hopefully, they’re as good as my Cross Country Coach.  Hopefully, they’ll say, “Get up Erik, you got twenty seconds before you need to run again.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

FAIL like a PRO!

Today’s Quote:
“Don’t make excuses, MAKE IT HAPPEN!”—Unknown 
            I don’t know who said it first, but I do know lots of people repeat it and it was on the back of a sports camp t-shirt I had in High School.

Today’s Song:  Shadow of Death by Emmanuel Jal

Today, in church, I daydreamed about opening a school similar to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.  It would be focused in Chekhov Technique, and would also have branches of education for every job that one could have in Theatre or film.  Hmm….

What did I “DO” this week? 
I did see a musical; Forum for those who care.  And I made some new friends in the industry.  I got wacked over the head with some cool inspirational ideas on Saturday at a corporate event (of all places).

First off:  About excuses…they suck.  I thought up of this little idea that I want to call a fact.  It might lose me some friends or gain me some friends…I’m not sure.  I think, “Any excuse, no matter how good of an excuse it is, is still just an excuse at the end of the day.”  An excuse, takes away our sense of responsibility for what we did or did not do.  It’s different from a reason.  Reasons rationalize our action or inaction in a way that we can figure out how to do better next time.  Reasons give us the ability to take responsibility.

So, I feel like this post is going to mostly be more quotes.  As I said, I just went to a corporate event for my mom’s business, and though I didn’t want to be a ‘corporate worker’ by the end, I did glean a lot of cool reminders for my journey as a professional artist.

Something that stood out most to me was the concept that, “Life gets really easy when you understand that what you really want in your life will be really hard to get.”  This isn’t a (life sucks cuz it’s hard) concept.  It just illuminates how resistance works.  This resistance gets a lot of us by hitting us where it hurts, in a way that makes us go for the next best thing.  Who’s ever gone on a diet, lost some weight, and given up when a few pounds come back?  Resistance tricks us spiritual types by making us thing, “If God wanted me to do so-n-so, then doing it would come easily.”  However, I don’t think God would appreciate it if a world full of his ideas just gave up every time they missed the mark…every time they failed.

That’s the other thing that I loved from what I was hearing yesterday.  “Failure is not an Option” Is a big concept in our society.  So, imagine how easy it would be to feel crappy if you do fail.  “Damn, I just chose the option that is SO BAD it’s supposed to NOT be an option!”  That sucks!  But, what if failing wasn’t all that bad.  There’s a reason the Phoenix is one of the most beautiful (albeit mythical) creatures ever.  “Failure is the foundation for a future success.”  Go out there and go as hard as you can.  You’re going to get banged up…a lot…and that’s half the fun, if you decide to look at it that way.

From the outside, it’s looked like I’ve been flying from success to success.  I have failed a few times.    I can’t say I’ve really been banged up, but maybe it’s because I’ve started to decide to, “Eat Failure for breakfast” if you will.  I get up, chew on it, and go about my day.  Of course, I do get hungry by about 11am…Side track.  I guess what I’m getting at is that doing what you love is the most dangerous thing you could do.  I heard once that love is very similar to insanity in a lot of ways.  Not everyone can stomach being willfully insane!  That is why going after what you want and love most in life is so dangerous.  You could get your heart broken.  When the stakes are so high, who in their right mind would go for it?  This also has the greatest rewards possible in life.  I think insanity is worth the ability to look back on life and know you did everything in your power to be the best ‘YOU’ you could be.

I’m going to be insane.  I’m going to fail every once in a while and get my heart broken.  That’s scary as hell.  I’m not going to make excuses.  I’m going to make it happen, and eat up my failures like little bites of WHEATIES until I attract success like a really big magnet. 

This is scary—I said that already—oh no, the insanity—it’s already started!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vanity In the Eyes of The Mirror

This is a long one.  If you really think you can't spare 5 minutes for inspiration, skip to the last two paragraphs.

Today’s quote:
“To Eric, with the heartbreak look!”  - Deryn Warren - Author of, How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love With You—This was the signature she wrote on the inside cover of the afore-mentioned book.  She signed it after a workshop I did with her a few years ago.  No, I don’t spell my name with a “C”, but I don’t think I felt comfortable correcting her.

Today’s Song:  Sexy Boy by AIR

Dreams:  Being able to invite my most loved friends from college to a ski trip and make sure they can come, even if money is tight for them.  I really want to hang out with people outside of shows again!

What did I  “DO” this week?
I started rehearsals for my biggest gig to date…until I land the next big one.  Not in an arrogant way.  Just in an optimistic way.  I had a big audition for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.  It was big for me because I’ve had almost no Shakespeare training and I felt really good about how I did in the audition even though I didn’t get called back.

Something I don’t get is how an awkward, smelly, nerdy teenager can grow up in the course of a year or so to have a “Heart Break Look.”  What’s more is that I had recently started wishing I were LESS of a heartbreaker.  (There are probably a few incredibly beautiful people that I have been in love with who also wish I was less of a heartbreaker…Sorry) 

The reason I wished I didn’t look like I do is encapsulated in the fact that the industry of film and stage is saturated with dudes that have “The heartbreak look.”  I recently heard about someone who is in casting who was told they should talk to me.  When I was pointed out from across the room the remark was something like, “Oh, of course he’s an actor.” 

I don’t think many actors are vain; not the good ones anyway.  I think our job security just relies on us looking a particular way.  But, I think the thing that we sometimes forget is that the ‘look’ that will work best for us is the one we already have.  And that ‘look’ is allowed to change as we mature and age and whatnot.  This isn’t to say that I wont be ‘hitting the gym’ in order to fit my role in my March show.  That extra work to have a more distinct body type has so little to do with wanting to look really good, and so much to do with dedication to my work:  Giving it by best effort. 

Along the same lines, I’ve wondered if it’s “Ok” to want to go big with this job.  To go to the Golden Globes (Which I just watched for the first time. tonight) is something that I’ve wanted for a little while now, but I’ve felt that I should be hush hush about it. 

I think my new thought about it is this.  I don’t actually care if I ever get to sit in that room for the Golden Globes or for the Oscars, as long as I know that I did absolutely everything in my power to get there.  I think I have that potential, but I’ll only find out if I try.

I’ve been reflecting recently on the great depression…I have no idea why.  (That was a joke)  I was noticing how much innovation in industry AND art there was during those times.  Those who came through those times on top, were largely people who dreamed big and tried hard to get those dreams.  Starting in the 50s though, after the depression, people were rewarded for getting a job and showing up to work from 9 to 5 and calling that good.  Now, I think the times are changing to that previous trend.

Today one of my favorite people remarked that this is the year of the artist.  I agree.  We artists have the amazing ability to dream bigger than most; EVEN THOUGH just surviving is harder for us than most.  Artists, true artists are the strongest people out there, and I think this year will award those who refuse to let go of dreaming big and trying hard.  After all, lots of people dream big and lots of people try hard, but few do both.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Case of "The Mondays"

Today’s Quote:
The Business of being an actor, whether you are employed or not, is a full-time job.  Serious pursuit of your career demands diligence in developing your talents, looking for jobs, being able to perform on cue, and packaging yourself correctly.  It really requires a total commitment.  How To Be a Working Actor by Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers

Today’s Song:  A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth) by College

My Dreams:  This week is the start of some yearly goal setting.  I’m doing something that lots of folks think is taboo.  I’m going to tell you how much money I want to make.  Weird right?  By August of this year (when my current apt. lease is up) I want to make at least $25,000 through performance work.  These are big numbers for a fresh actor, but, not impossible.  Besides, even if I get to half of this it’ll be more financial stability than I have ever seen.

What did I do to get there? 
Honestly, I dropped the ball a little this week.  I had a car emergency that soaked up a day and a half, but still:  I partied with a bunch of industry professionals at an annual party (yes it counts), I put my website online (still under construction) check it out - – give me your comments on the site.  What’s good, what’s not… I had an audition yesterday that went all right, and I finally got some balls and started calling up casting agencies.

Ok, so technically I’m a few hours late getting this in for my ‘weekly’ minimum update.  Shame on me!  I’ll write two at least this week to make up for it.  Boy do I have enough to talk about!

Tomorrow marks the start of something big.  I’m going to be working from 9AM to 5PM!  This isn’t at a bank, or a market, nor is it at box manufacturing company (LOST reference).  I am starting rehearsals, which will go the next two and a half weeks, followed by an average eight show per week run that goes from now through the middle of April! 

Tomorrow marks the first day of my life that I am fully supporting my lifestyle and all of my bills with my art.  This is a giant piece of awesome pie that many never even get to taste.  I am so grateful.  And I want to keep it that way.

I don’t get how one could ever want to have a job that makes them literally HATE Monday.  WHO DOES THAT!?  Why would you do that to yourself?  I think such a sentiment is a big indicator of how soon you should quit your job and start following your dreams.  If I hated Mondays because of my job, I’d quit … THIS Monday.  If doing this ends up not working for you, don’t blame me.  Just try again.

I think the other thing that I’m grateful for this Monday is that I have three weeks of that 9-5 work to get into a hard workin’ groove.  Once the show gets running, it’ll be tempting to call the daytime shows and the evening DJ gigs good enough.  But, I can’t imagine how much more reachable my fiscal and acting skill-level goals will be if I work a solid 8 hour day.  I’m gonna do it!

Unstoppable.  Tomorrow marks the day that I become UNSTOPPABLE!!!

I hope it’s that good of a Monday for you too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

“Don’t SUCK!”

Quote of the day:
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”
-From Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich

Song of the day: “Robot Boy” by Linkin Park

What did I dream about this week? 
Mostly, I dreamed about working on a TV project like PORTLANDIA.  And I dreamed about finally starting to film, edit, and post this really great, or really crappy idea I’ve had for a YouTube channel. 

What did I do to get closer to my dreams?
I got the home page of my website designed.  It’s super sleek!  Watched my new favorite TV show PORTLANDIA … yes, it does count as work.

House keeping…
Should I limit posts to a week?  I don’t think so.  Maybe, it should be a minimum of once a week.  What do you think?  Post a comment below.

OK…”Don’t SUCK!” …
Something I’ve thought a lot about recently since I got my Netflix account a few days ago and started watching Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s PORTLANDIA, (yes, I’m obsessed) is how crazed I can get about trying to be perfect.  It is a deadly killer in art, the desire to be perfect.  I suffer a lot from trying to be perfect and I could safely blame my ‘failed’ auditions on trying to be perfect or even trying to be good. 

I was talking to one of my best friends about Linkin Park’s newest album when it came out a while back.  We were riding in his car at something like 3AM to go to the nearest Wall-Mart (20something ridiculous miles cuz our school is in the middle of NOWHERE!)  He told me that the band had written and recorded over 100 songs in preparation for the album.  We listened to the album on the way home and by 4AM Linkin Park had a new fan…me.  The album was one of the best sonic experiences I have ever witnessed, even when the guy was screaming his head off!  But, it took over 100 songs to get to the 15 that made the album.

I was watching the behind the scenes for PORTLANDIA show today.  Fred and Carrie talked about it’s inception as a little website project where they would film these little skits, sort of like a “mixtape” of video clips.  The clips got picked up, pitched, and now they are going into their second season of the TV show.  Here’s a link:

What I love about this project is that these guys were not worried at all about their audience when they were doing these videos.  They were just having fun and let that run its course.

I spent so much time at school trying to be the perfect actor.  I wanted, so bad, to be the best.  I started letting go of that as my last term was ending, and I suddenly was playing this character that had become better than I could have ever made him on purpose. 

I think this art is a job of “oops.”  I think we can do ourselves a favor by doing something, regardless of if it’s good or not.  Each audition and performance should be the work of the moment.  The best that there is at that moment.  And sometimes that best is going to really really suck.  And that’s ok. 

In the end, I think what I’m talking about here is practice.  Practice, practice, practice.  I don’t know one actor who does it enough. 

I think what I need to work on in order to make some good strides towards doing this job well is to balance all the different things an actor must practice.  That’s the art, the skill, the business, and the personal/spiritual growth.

And I was worried about writing to little in my posts…oops.