Happy House Manager Appreciation Week 2013! And as your house manager blogger, I feel that House Managers definitely deserve your appreciation – here’s just a short list of all the work we do!
- I guarantee you – House Managers are the first to arrive and the last people to leave the theatre.
- We multi-task. Last week, I took over 1200 tickets for a Black Friday-sized crowd coming at me in two different lines, all impatient to get to their seats! Meanwhile, I’m watching out for wheelchairs that would need to use the lift, anyone who might ask for a hearing aid and for any ushers with a confused look on their face.
- I also work with the ushers, telling and teaching them what to do. Unless they don’t show up – then I have to do their job too. It happens more often than you think!
- We know directions. If asked, we can tell you the nearest available exits, where the bathroom/water fountain/coat room/restaurant is and what is the quickest way out of the theatre and to your car. Just ask.
- We are medically-trained! And if there was ever an evacuation, who do you think is responsible for the audience and theatre? Read more…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I want to go as an actor.
I am not doing this for money, nor for fame (though I would welcome both), and I want to balance performing with the other important things in my life like my family and my job. I realize that if I did want to be a full-time professional actor, I would have to radically alter my life, and the odds would still be long. I do not want to do that — I love my life, in part because I’ve been lucky enough to balance all these important things.
I like working with professional companies because of the quality of the work and of my peers, but I do not want to limit myself by staying away from non-professional companies that also do exceptional work. I am currently doing my second show with a non-professional theater that is more serious, and have better facilities, than some of the professional companies I have worked with.
Basically what I want to do is quality work in interesting plays working with talented people who take theater seriously. If money is part of the deal, that’s great, but it’s not essential. The hard part is finding out which non-professional theaters are serious.
photo credit: shutterstock
The special skills section of my resume has always been my favorite part. And not just because when I was a newbie professional actor right out of college, it was the only section with anything worth bragging about
No, I always loved the special skills section because it’s the only part of your resume where you get to really give a taste of who you are as a person. The roles you get cast in most frequently or the school you chose to attend don’t really give a full picture, you know?
I’ve always taken pride in trying to be an interesting and pretty well-rounded person, so I think the special skills section on my resume is particularly fun. It includes things like:
- Ran 2013 NYC Marathon
- African Drums
- Dog Trainer and Handler
- Beginning Fencing
- And my personal favorite: Sarcasm.
It’s a great chance for casting directors and theaters to get to know you in just a short little paragraph list.
But beyond that, it’s an even better way to get you cast.
Embarrassing stories as so much fun to hear. Last month I wrote my most embarrassing post to my personal blog. Today, I share with you my most embarrassing story for Green Room Blog.
Quick back story: I’ve made lots of progress with my goals since college. I moved to a new city, my resume is better than it’s ever been, I have better headshots than I’ve ever had, and I’m taking classes that are progressing my acting skills. I’m proud of all of this. However, there are some areas that I haven’t improved. I still can’t cook, I’ve never been able to keep my room clean, and…I’m still awkward around girls.
Okay, story time: A short while ago, I met a girl. She was attractive. We chatted briefly. It was fun. Naturally, the thought of asking her out came to mind. I knew I was going to see her again in the near future. And when I did, I told myself that I would do it. The night finally arrived. There were plenty of drinks to go around and I was surrounded by good company. Everything was set up perfectly. But the thought of pulling her aside terrified me. So I kept waiting for the perfect moment where I could get her alone. Unfortunately, it didn’t come. The evening continued, and we all moved to a bar. Again I waited for that perfect moment. And it still didn’t come. Some of us headed to the train after. She did too. But asking someone out on the train is far from a perfect moment. It didn’t come. Three of us switched trains. She was one of them. There was now just one other person with us. I was so close to that perfect moment.
“Joy Dewing Casting provides efficient, creative talent solutions for theatrical, dance, musical, commercial, & industrial productions in an atmosphere of mutual respect & dignity” – Joy Dewing’s Twitter Bio. I just love the “atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity” it speaks so much to who Joy is!
After interviewing actresses, and filmmakers about juggling being an artist and mother, I thought it would be fun to explore the same questions with a Casting Director and was thrilled when Joy agreed to be interviewed. Check out her insights below and don’t forget to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter!
How do you juggle being a busy casting director and being a mom?
I guard my free time jealously. I don’t work weekends anymore unless it’s a real emergency (like when I had to work two weekends in a row to cast Soul Doctor because I only had two weeks to cast it!), and I don’t make any other plans over the weekend if I can help it — unless they involve my daughter. When I’m with her, I focus on her. I don’t check my phone (except to post pictures of her doing cute stuff on Facebook), I don’t work, I just enjoy her and make the time all about her.
Why did I walk offstage and stay there? I hear you asking. Okay well I don’t but I have been asking myself lately.
I started performing at age 6 and it was my life for 10 years before I even thought about the people behind the scenes that make it all possible. Even then I didn’t think anything of it; I wanted to perform and teach and that’s all I knew. But then I worked on a professional pantomime and it changed my life! So why did I decide this was the career for me?
I could do it. Sounds simple but stage management came naturally to me. It used my organisational and communicative skills I already possessed. I also knew how a production ran from the actor’s point of view so all I had to do was swap that round to make it run smoothly for the actors.
I can’t sing. I can’t – not well anyway. At this point in my life all I wanted to do was perform in musicals – plays didn’t interest me that much. And I can’t sing well in public and I wasn’t that strong of a performer, so when I found that I could be part of a production without having to perform and I could do it well – well I was sold!
So now that I’ve disappeared for a short amount of time, I’m back to talk about something that’s been on my mind lately for several reasons. For this, we are about to dive into my childhood mind (I promise it’s less crazy than my adult mind, but you’ll see the connection soon).
When I was a kid growing up in the 90′s, like most kids, I had my favorite cartoon characters that I worshipped and wanted to be like. One favorite of mine in particular would be Simba from “The Lion King.” As a little girl, I LOVED the idea of being like Simba, being that free-loving little cub, and growing up to be the king and taking care of all the others. Being that leader and defending all from nasty evil lions is something that I even still strive for to this day. But I never had any interest in being Nala. In fact, the only female characters I loved as a child was Lisa Simpson, Pocahontas, Mulan, and the PowerPuff Girls. Other than that, you name the cartoon, and I can guarantee than I identified more with the male characters.
Now for many years (and quite frankly, decades), I went through a mini-crisis in my own head in regards to this. I couldn’t help but wonder why this is the case. I questioned my own feminine nature along with my gender identity to a degree from this. Most of you may know that I’m not super feminine but I’m no tom-boy either. Along with that, as I’ve gotten older, I realized how much I love being a female. I’m happy and grateful to say that I feel very comfortable in my gender and my heterosexuality, while still loving everyone else for who they are too. But there’s still something that I didn’t understand for the longest time: why is it that even to this day, I feel like I can relate more to male characters in cartoons as oppose to female ones?
In the past week or so, I had an epiphany that gave me the answer.
Kirk and Michael Douglas. James and Josh Brolin. Henry and Peter Fonda. Donald and Kiefer Sutherland.
And now, me, and my son.
Less than two years after my stage debut, my nine-year-old son has joined me on the boards. From the time he was tiny, he watched me taking classes, then going to auditions, and became fascinated by it. About a year ago, we actively started looking for a show we could do together. And now, we are in rehearsals together for “A Christmas Carol” — suitably, with me as Bob Cratchit, and him as one of Cratchit’s children.
It’s an interesting experience from a parental perspective. He has appeared in three abridged Shakespeare productions with his homeschooling co-op — as Caliban, Oberon, and most recently Malcolm in the Scottish Play. All of these were directed by my wife, with my assistance. Now he is working for the first time with a director he is not related to, and with actors he did not already know. I find myself having to tell him to address questions to the director, not to me, and to listen for cues and instruction. I am trying to separate myself from his part of the process as much as possible, while still being his dad (and scene partner).