Friday, March 5, 2010

Writing My Own Opportunities

This blog is about my writing... which means this blog, at the moment, is about one of the only things that is keeping me sane at the moment.

See, when I'm not being a student at college, my life is mostly focused on being an actor. Besides the fact that I'm studying acting at school, a good chunk of my free time is spent looking for auditions, preparing for auditions, going on auditions... and then waiting. The waiting doesn't really bother me because I know that's how it works most of the time. But usually, something comes of that waiting, namely a job. And lately... it's just not happening.

This very frustrating to me because when I was in high school (a mere year and a half ago), I was always in a show. Most of the time I was in two at once. I was by no means the lead in most of them, but even a chorus role made me happy because I loved being at rehearsal. When I wasn't at rehearsal, I was at auditions. During performances, I sat at the dark edges of the wings and did my homework by the lights of the stage, quickly stuffing it away when it was time for my entrance.

Last year was a little slower than usual, but I chalked it up to the fact that I was in a new town. I went crazy for one showless semester and then I got the biggest show of my life so far- a wonderful Equity show where I played a fun, constantly-crying character in a little-known but fantastic play. The small cast was the best I've ever worked with, and the same goes for the crew.

This particular show has been on my mind a lot lately, for two major reasons. A) In two days, it will be the anniversary of its closing after an extremely successful run and B) I have been showless for eight months. EIGHT MONTHS.

I wish I could say it's because I've been lazy or busy. I have been loaded down with schoolwork and stuff, but I've been auditioning constantly... and gotten nothing. I had an audition at the beginning of last month where I knew the pianist, who kept me updated on what was going on behind the scenes. For two weeks I heard nothing but "You're in the top two" "The director loved you", etc. etc. Wonderful, encouraging things... and then I didn't even get a callback.

My acting teachers have assured me that this is all "fine" and normal. And maybe it is... but I can't help but feel restless to the point where I will do anything for a show.

So how does this relate to my writing? Well, as I've mentioned before, I'm part of a film crew. I became involved with them when we were all in eighth grade. Now we're nineteen and twenty and still working together. While I started out playing bit parts in their short films, I'm now their go-to actress (the rest of the crew are boys) and writer. I've written two feature films for them- one that we shot in the summer and fall of senior year and another that we're doing this summer. I've been cranking out shorts for us to do in between feature shooting and the aforementioned Stuart (director, writer, actor, and friend) has asked me to write a series of shorts that follow the same storyline, something I've never tried before.

This is all wonderful for my writing. Writing shorts, especially, has given me a freedom I've never experienced. I'm mostly a novel/feature-length screenplay writer, and working a plot, or part of a plot, so that it fits into a certain timeslot is a new challenge for me, and a really fun one at that! So far this semester, I've written about a brother and sister on a killing spree, a long-lost romance rekindled in a coffee shop in the wee hours of the morning, an odd and comical encounter at a funeral, and the return of a prodigal sister. This is stuff I'd probably never get to touch in a novel, and maybe not even a screenplay.

As good as it is for my writing, it's just as beneficial for my acting. As I said, this is all stuff I would probably not normally write about. It's also stuff I wouldn't usually act in. I'm generally cast as the sweet (sometimes overly-emotional) teenager (case in point- in my school's musical theatre club, I just got cast as Leisl in Sixteen Going on Seventeen.) I adore playing these characters because they're very close to me and I love them. But I won't be able to play them forever. While I'll probably always look young for my age, I won't always look sixteen (even though I'm beginning to sense that I'll always feel sixteen inside.) Writing these crazy parts is an interesting process because, as the only girl on the film crew, I know that most likely, I'll be the one playing the female parts. I could take the easy way out and only write the sweet girl characters. I could, but that wouldn't challenge me as a writer or as an actor. My teachers are school are working to stretch my range (one of them loves to cast me in roles for class where I scream and rant a lot), and I want to figure out how to do that myself.

So I'm going to continue to audition- you bet I'm going to continue- but I'm not content to sit around and wait. I'm going to keep writing and acting and practicing and maybe one day, it will all work out.

1 comment: