Super excited for this post. It’s my first go at video!
In the beginning stages of an acting career, you might need to get a supplementary job. Some call it a “survival job” or “day job”. This, like most things, comes with pros and cons. A major con is you can find yourself sucked into this “side: job, and your acting career falls by the wayside. Before you know it you can find yourself working 40 hours a week as a waiter/nanny/sample-hander-outer/whatever, and you end up not even having time to audition!
My go-to supplementary job has always been child care. And I have always managed to make it work beautifully with my acting pursuits. But it’s not without a few tricks. Here are some of my big tips for balancing nanny gigs while still giving yourself enough time to audition and focus on the big goals.
Oh WOW. The summer has flown by a little bit. I have to catch you all up on everything because I completely fell off my blog schedule and I feel all kinds of shitty about it. But I think the best thing to do now is just move forward. You know the feeling right after you had an out-of-balance weekend? Guilty, stuck, embarrassed, ashamed, blah-blah-blah. That’s how I feel about going off the radar. Well, the best thing to do is accept it and continue on.
So HELLO BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS! I AM BACK!
I opened my play in The Bay Area. It is SO exciting but I’m also freaking out a little bit. This is the first theatre production I’ve been in since graduating from NYU. I didn’t realize how weird it would be to act with people who aren’t my classmates. At NYU, I was in shows with people who I already had all my classes with. So there was a level of security in knowing that everyone knew me and knew my acting habits. If I had an off day in rehearsal, I knew that everyone could tell that it was just an off day. It’s weird not working with people who know me inside and out. There’s definitely more of a pressure to “prove” myself.
My twin sister and I just booked a show in the Spring back in New York! Eeeek!!! It has literally been a major bucket list item for Sierra and me to rock a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and IT’S HAPPENING!! Set those goals, y’all. Set them. The full story of how this came to pass is another blog post. But it was such a beautiful combination of planting seeds, patience, and preparation. I also literally CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS how excited I am to live in NYC for a couple of months with my sister. I knew I wasn’t done with that place ;-P.
“If you could be happy doing something else, don’t go into acting.”
I have. Lots of times.
There’s a long-held belief in the acting world that in order to be a successful actor, you have to be so passionate about it that you would rather cut off your foot than even consider doing anything else in your life.
And while I understand the message, I completely disagree with this “all or nothing” mentality.
So, I’m officially going on the record to say YES. There are other things that I can imagine myself doing career-wise.
I’ll read articles about what it’s like to be a nurse, or a doula, or a therapist, and I’ll think, “Wow. I bet that’s really cool! I feel like I would be really good at that!”
And then I’ll look over my shoulder to see if anyone heard me.
“No Lauren! Don’t! If you Google child psychology programs the acting gods will be angry and smite you!!!”
I understand the sentiment. The acting world is really freaking hard. But my interpretation is more along the lines of “Hey. This is going to be really tough. So chances are you’re probably going to drop out of the race, unless you literally can’t do anything else with your life.” And I think that’s fair.
So to be honest, I think it’s kind of badass to be pursuing an acting career in spite of the fact that I could totally love being a lawyer/therapist/teacher/lion tamer. What it means is that I am continuously choosing to pursue acting. It’s a choice that I am making every single day. I don’t have to act. I want to. And that’s enough for me.
No better feeling, y’all. I was in the car with my dad, I got the email, we laughed, we cried, we bought ice cream, flowers, and fancy beer.
I was thrilled, excited, and pumped. But primarily, I was just freakin relieved. After months of feeling like I was just treading water, I finally have something to show for it.
So. I figured it was time to crunch some numbers.
Get ready, y’all. CAUSE I’M ABOUT TO THROW SOME STATS.
After combing back through my inboxes on Backstage and Actors Access, I’ve found that since moving to LA 16 weeks ago:
I’ve submitted myself for 397 projects (LOOOOLLLLLL).
Yep. Almost 400 “Hi my name is blah-di-blah, I’d love to be considered for what’s-her-face. Here’s my headshot and resume.”
Of these submissions, I got 39 responses (about 10%).
The vast majority of these were asking me for a self-tape (aka record myself doing a scene and send it in to them). A few were actually in-person auditions.
Of these 39 responses, I actually went in to only 10 auditions that I can account for.
It DEFINITELY feels like I’ve been on more, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more and I just can’t remember all of them.
Also, I’ll not ashamed to say that I was discerning when it came to what projects I actually went in and auditioned for. There were a couple of opportunities where I could have been “Bikini girl #3” for no pay…which just isn’t really my cup of tea.
So of the 10 auditions I actually went to:
I got called back for 3
And I booked 1!
This biz isn’t for the faint of heart, y’all.
Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz
City Lights Theater in San Jose, CA
Running 9/24 to 10/23
Oh and PS! A super fun website, TheatreNerds.com, reached out to me about writing a weekly column for them! Check out some of my goofy musings by clicking here!
You are cooler and smarter and deserve more than you think. No, really. It’s science. And we have to talk about it because it’s effed up and it’s keeping us from being the powerful, sparkly, luminous, dazzling, goddesses that we are. It MUST be stopped.
women would apply for a job position only if they meet 100% of the requirements listed. Men, on the other hand, would apply if they met 50%.
in negotiating salaries, women ask for 30% less money than men do.
on self assessments, women would consistently rate themselves lower than men, even though the performances did not differ.
when offered an opportunity to participate in a competition, 71% of men said yes, while less than half of women agreed.
One cause of this “confidence gap” is a psychological phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is a feeling that any success that has come to you is somehow undeserved. That you somehow “fooled everyone” into getting to where you are. And guess what? Imposter Syndrome is most prevalent amongst high-achieving women.
Let’s all let out a collective groan, shall we?
Okay. So how can we stop this utter garbage nonsense?
Here are some strategies to combat Imposter Syndrome:
1) Write down all your accomplishments, compliments, good reviews, love letters…
Keep them in a binder or journal. Review regularly. Really internalize the messages. They are not lies. They are truth. Repeat them again and again and again.
2) Stop trying to achieve perfection, and apply for jobs even if you aren’t “perfect” for it.
Remember, the boys are applying to jobs where they meet half the requirements. Own this level of ballsiness (no pun intended). Even if it’s a “fake it til ya make it” kinda thing.
3) Look at others objectively.
It’s so easy to idealize those around us, but realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And one person’s strengths are not better than your individual, unique talents.
4) Remember how hard you have worked.
You did not get to where you are because of luck. It was hard work, determination, and knowing when to seize an opportunity. Maybe you were in the right place in the right time. But luck is the moment when preparedness meets opportunity. Own the fact that you were prepared.
5) Confidently ask for help when you need it.
The key to this is asking in a way that is UNAPOLOGETIC. You aren’t born knowing everything. You are going to have to ask for help. This doesn’t mean that you are a stupid-”I’m so sorry I probably shouldn’t even be here”-loser. It means that you are a person. And asking for help in a confident, nonchalant way will only downplay the already “not such a big deal” thing of asking for help.
My playing small does not serve the world. I have the courage to live the life beyond my wildest dreams.
No one is perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes.
My unique set of skills and knowledge are an asset.
I am worth it.
I deserve to be where I am.
I deserve to grow.
I deserve to win.
So shine on, y’all! Move forward with confidence and ownership. You deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.
They’re great, right? You’re still in competition mode, you’ve got that fire in your belly, and yet you also know that you’re on the right track! The soul-sucking “Do they like me? Do they like me?” brain chatter is eliminated. Yes. Love. 10/10. The crowd goes wild. You’re so close you can taste it. But now what?
You want to do everything you can to tip the scales in your favor.
So let’s think about this. The casting director saw 50 people at the auditions, and something about you on that day made them want to see more. Key phrase: You. On. That. Day. Your essence is a combination of so many different things: your voice, posture, gestures, mannerisms and, yes, your outfit. The CD doesn’t know who you are in the rest of your life, they just know who you were in that 2 minute window. And THAT is the person they want to see again. So don’t go around changing it!!
If you were going straight to your Chekhov audition from the gym, and your dress spontaneously combusted and you were forced to rock Masha in a pair of Lulu’s and a sports bra. And they called you back. Don’t be showing up in a dress and heels! “Dress and Heels gal” is not the version of you that they wanted to see again. It was spandex and sneakers you. Bring her.
AKA. Whatever you wore to the first audition, wear the EXACT same outfit to your callback.
Ding ding ding! There it is folks.
I remember reading an article written by a casting director. After a day of callbacks, the director asked her “what happened to purple dress girl? Why didn’t she show up?” Spoiler alert: she DID show up. She just showed up wearing slacks and a blouse, and the director couldn’t recognize her as being the girl he loved at the first audition.
Does this make sense to you guys? The same can easily be said about your approach to character. If you brought in a major heart character for your audition, you should probably consider using a “heart” approach to your callback sides (since we’re already taking Chekov…). Read more here!!! I love love love this technique.
Okey doke! What do you guys think? I know some people think it’s silly, but for right now I’m totally down for this “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy.
First some business. I recently switched servers and as a result, Daily Ingenuity might be experiencing some growing pains. Previous url links might be finicky, pictures missing, etc. I think I’ve got it all pretty much under control, but just wanted to be open with you guys. If you notice anything funky, feel free to leave a comment and let me know! I would really appreciate it. 🙂
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen the viral video of Chewbacca Mom: a Texas woman overcome with delight upon purchasing a talking(?) Chewbacca mask.
So far, the video has garnered over 150 million views on Youtube, a celebrity-studded spin-off on The Late Late Show, and stories on NPR and The Washington Post. Casual.
When we audition, whether it’s in-person or self-taped, it needs to stand out. And the way it can do that is by allowing your humanity to reach across the room (or through the screen) and touch the viewer on the other side. Actors work so hard to make this happen. Meanwhile, there are people who throw a video on YouTube and gather millions of views in a matter of days. What are they doing differently?
So what can we learn?
1. She lives completely moment to moment.
Everything from the joke about the clothes being too big (“I know what y’all were thinking. Shame. Just kidding, ALL LOVE ALL LOVE”) to having to fiddle with the box (“Stay patient, people. Stay patient.”). She lives through each moment fully while working towards her uber clear objective.
2. She experiences her emotions fully,
I mean, talk about generosity right?? Her joy is LITERALLY flying through the screen and hitting us right in the gut. She gasps and chortles, finally getting out her grand declaration: “I’m such a happy Chewbaccaaaaa.” And we’re right there with her.
3. She plays.
She is being goofy, silly, and just having a damn good time. It’s obvious that she doesn’t give 2 cents what others are thinking of her. She even says it! “People are literally looking at me like I’m crazy. But I don’t even care!” Peace out, inner critic. Peace out. Major learning points here.
In conclusion, Chewbacca Mom is the hero we didn’t know we needed. May the force be with you.
Also, I’m putting together a bimonthly newsletter filled with delightful tips, treats, and stories. Join the party and sign up in the sidebar!
So remember like 2 months ago when I said I was sending out my agent mailers?
Well, I’ve got a confession.
They just went out today.
I know I know!! But in my defense, the postcards that I ordered came in and they were suuuuuper streaky and just plain bad. Something was most definitely up with the printer.
But, I called Vistaprint and they sent me new ones right away! Go Vistaprint!
Wanted to share an awesome tip when it comes to mailers. This one is from the fabulous Judy Kain, whose business workshop I took a few months back. She is AWESOME. Anyone in LA should definitely check her out.
She shared with us a tip that was a MAJOR lightbulb moment for me.
Basically, when sending out mailers, you’ve got to send them in disguise.
AKA. DO NOT send them in an 8×10” envelope.
Why? Well. Imagine you’re an agent. You get an 8×10’ envelope in the mail. Do you wonder “Hm. I wonder what this is! I’ll open it and take a look.” Um. Nah dude.
They think “Oh, another submission. I’ll just toss this on the pile of 50 other submissions and open them ‘when I get a minute’ ”…aka probably not for a long loooong time.
So, what’s a gal to do?
Send those babies in a greeting card envelope!
They’re bright. They’re colorful. They’re cheerful. And what are they the size of? A party invitation! Agents get invited to all sorts of events. They’re gonna open your envelope.
What does this mean? Well. It means you’re going to have to order postcard-sized headshots and cover letters. This is a little bit of a pain but, hey, wouldn’t you rather spend money on something that’s going to actually be looked at? I used the “Half Page Vertical Flyers” on Vistaprint.
OH! And some of y’all may have already seen this on Instagram, but when sending out mailers PLEASE get a PO Box!! They’re pretty affordable and completely worth it. You’d never want your mailer to end up in the wrong hands. ESPECIALLY if it includes 1) a beautiful picture of yourself and 2) your home address. No ma’am. Horrible combo. Safety is always first!
Those who know me know that I love love love using crystals and crystal healing to stay balanced on the day to day. I love going to a crystal shop every few months and seeing which stones resonate with me. It kinda acts like a little check in with myself. It’s a time when I can reassess my goals and set intentions for the upcoming months. I truly believe that it helps, even if it just gives me an opportunity to meditate on what aspects of life I want to tend to.
Obviously, I wanted to give you all the lowdown on my favorite stones for actors!! Sometimes I’m literally carrying all of these at at one time (which I know isn’t the best technique…but I’m still learning). 🙂
Alright y’all. This is the badass boss bitch of the crystal world. I started wearing carnelian during my senior year at NYU when I knew it was time to get my butt in gear. If you’re ready to set some goals, take some action steps, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR YOU, carnelian is up for the challenge!
promotes personal power (YEEES!)
encourages timid speakers to be bold and articulate (Sing out!)
promotes confidence for stage performance (ding ding ding!!)
restores lost motivation (Remember your goals!)
stimulates creativity for new endeavors and pursuits (initiative is key)
fights envy and resentment (Good thing actors NEVER struggle with this…haha…haha…)
encourages ACTION! (Enough said)
fights procrastination, indecision, and sitting around waiting for things to happen to you. (The time is now! GO!)
You know those classes or auditions where you leave just feeling totally raw and unsettled? Sugilite will help you process and digest these feelings with grace and ease.
opens up visionary abilities and imagination ( #imaginarycircumstances #meisner)
supports emotional healing (aka life after Stanislavski. LOL. JKJK…Except not really.)
Provides the strongest protection from negative entities and attachments (ability to let it goooo after an audition)
helps to release stress (always necessary)
promotes groundedness and wisdom (Gotta feel your feet on the ground, amirite? )
protection from spiritual shocks (Ride those waves, y’all)
This pretty little lady has a history of being a talisman of warriors!! She is the stone of endurance and empowerment. Because an acting career is ALL about endurance and perseverance.
helps to build physical strength and energy (Your body is your only instrument!)
promotes stamina, focus, and determination (whuddup line memorization)
promotes setting goals and following through on completion (Yes!!!)
Y’all. This gal was my go-to for most of high school and college. She was definitely my first love in the world of crystals and will always hold a very special place in my heart. She promotes love of beauty in others, nature, and yourself. She is all about self-love, positive body image, and SHUTTING. DOWN. all that anxiety and negative self-talk. Um, yes please?
strengthens empathy and sensitivity (HELLO. Essentially Acting 101.)
helps you to accept a necessary change (Yes and. Yes and. Yes and. #improv)
promotes positive body image (preach.)
helps you to forgive yourself for past mistakes (You know those “remember that time you did that thing 7 years ago and looked like a total idiot?” thoughts? Well, it’s time to give them the boot)
stimulates the imagination (specifically with regards to art. UM. YAH.)
Amethyst is perfect when it comes to day-to-day challenges and general balance. You know those Sundays when you’re like “I’m going to have a GOOD week. I’m going to exercise every day and eat with balance and call my parents.” Amethyst will help give you the peace of mind and body to see those things to fruition.
promotes calm and balance on the emotional, spiritual, and physical planes (when is this not needed?)
alleviates impatience (excuse me as I refresh my email for the billionth time today)
is called the “sobriety stone,” assists in getting rid of addictions and destructive compulsive behaviors of all kinds (aka trying to eat less sugar, drink less alcohol, get to bed earlier…)
Also pictured is my chakra bracelet, temple bell, and goal setting candle. Each of the colors on the bracelet represents one of the 7 chakras. Wearing it reminds me to move through life with the intention of staying balanced (If y’all want, I can definitely do another more in-depth post on chakras, especially with regards to acting work. Lemme know!!). And the temple bell helps to loosen negative and stagnant energy, so I of course hung one right by the door of our new apartment.
BTW if you’re in Austin, you have to check out my absolute favorite shop, Crystal Works. It’s where I got every single stone in the pics above. And if you’re in LA, you’ve gotta go to House of Intuition (birthplace of my awesome goal candle).