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GUEST POST BY SCARLET RIVERA: How Exploring Shakespeare Made Me Realize Being A Woman Is Important

March 4, 2016

Please welcome Scarlet Rivera to the blog today! Scarlet is is a performer, director, musician, producer, and co-founder of Letter of Marque Theater Company in Brooklyn. Today she’s sharing what she learned about being a woman from working on her company’s current production, Double Falsehood.

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HOW EXPLORING A LOST SHAKESPEARE TEXT MADE ME REALIZE BEING A WOMAN IS IMPORTANT

I didn’t expect that when my company chose to develop the lost Shakespeare play Double Falsehood, that through the power of process I would reconsider what it means to make theater and be an artist simply by embracing the fact that I was a woman. Looking deeply at the themes of Double Falsehood like rape culture, honor and privilege, I had to look at myself, my history, and my experiences of moving through the world as a woman. In the supported holy space of the rehearsal room, it dawned on me that I had more to offer. I had stories to tell that I never let myself share in fear of being perceived as weak or that identifying as a woman would cause me to be taken less seriously by men. My own denial of being woman was a way to ignore all the pain and degradation that comes with the identity. It’s hard for me to believe then that fifteen years after choosing theater as my life path, that I discovered that I am a woman.  Read more…

GUEST POST BY BAILIE SLEVIN: The Asset Trifecta

February 1, 2016

Please welcome guest poster Bailie Slevin of Entertaining Finance to the blog!

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Bailie has a decade of experience as a financial advisor, in addition to having stage managed, general managed, and produced on Broadway and Off-Broadway! Today she’s sharing her tips for financial stability, something we all strive for!

THE ASSET TRIFECTA

OK, miss smarty pants financial adviser, if you have all the answers, where should I put my money?? (I’m betting that’s what you’re thinking now.)

And, really, that’s exactly what you should be thinking! Not to be honest, I’m not actually going to answer the question of where YOU should put YOUR money because I have no freakin clue. I’ve never met you! And even if I had, it would take much more than a cursory conversation to advise you adequately on any financial decision.  What I am going to do is give you a way to think about where you want to put your money based on what you want your money to do. And I’m going to use pictures because that makes everything easier to understand.

The first way we are going to start to differentiate financial products is by how they are taxed. Now, I am not an accountant. I don’t want to be an accountant. And this is not accounting advice. But this is about tax. In the US there are 3 ways to grow your money:

Taxable, Tax Deferred and Tax Free. (This is the first level of The Trifecta.)

Moving on let’s see how each works.

 

Taxable

Money goes in after tax (for this I mean any money that an employer has paid you that you had income tax taken out of before you even saw it). The money sits in this bucket and hopefully grows. As it grows you get a tax bill on the realized gain (realized gain means the investment is now in some form of spendable dollar and a larger amount then you originally put in). If the money was in the investment for less then 12 months you pay Ordinary Income Tax on the growth (just like on your paycheck). If it was in that sucker for over 12 months you pay Capital Gains Tax which, as of this moment is 15% for people earning under $400,000 a year and 20% for those earning above that number. Check out the diagram. Some examples of this kind of account are savings, checking, stocks, corporate bonds, mutual funds ETFs, brokerage accounts.

Taxable.jpg Read more…

How to stay busy as a pregnant actor

October 19, 2015

Hey, all!

Long time no see. This has been the craziest year for me, and blogging has sadly taken a back seat during all of it, but I’m here this morning with a couple of hours to spare and I’d love to catch you up on what I’ve learned this year!

My year in a nutshell: I fundraised over $8k to shoot the short film CHOICE I wrote, took an incredible trip to Egypt with my husband, got elected to serve as a National Councillor of Actors’ Equity, shot my short film, launched Lady Plays podcast, and…got pregnant! Whew, what a whirlwind.

Showing off our AEA pride in the Labor Day Parade!

Scarlett and I showing off our Actors’ Equity pride in this year’s Labor Day Parade!

One of the things that kept me from starting a family for a long time was the fear that I would have to give up my career to have a baby. And while I haven’t yet started the adventure of actually raising said baby to adulthood while trying to balance an artistic career, I have learned a lot about how being pregnant affects your work and what you can do to stay artistically busy while your body is busy growing a human. Read more…

GUEST POST BY JESSICA LEIGH SMITH: Make Self-Producing Work For You

June 15, 2015

Please welcome Jessica Leigh Smith to the blog today! Jessica is an Atlanta-based actor and Mom, who has co-starred on One Tree Hill and Drop Dead Diva (both times while pregnant! you go, girl!). She shared some of her actor-mom wisdom in our post on the subject, and is back to talk self-producing, as she’s recently launched her own web series called Alyssa’s Tips for Easy Parenting.

Check out her self-producing wisdom and her awesome web series!

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Make Self-Producing Work for You

We’re a good 10 years into the concept of self-producing your own web series. And actors have been self-producing since the dawn of Hollywood (check out the origins of United Artists for a classic example). What could I possibly add to the discussion?

Honestly, all I can really add is my own experience. But I hope that my personal story of how my show came to be will inspire you to get yours off and running.

We have to go back seven years, to 2008. I had been acting for two years and had just finished devouring everything Bonnie Gillespie uttered in her blogs on Actors Access. http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/index.html

I was pumped, so I brainstormed with a friend on what we could do together. We created a new take on the odd couple theme set in a faux reality a la The Office, with a surprise ending.  Read more…

Theatre Resumes

May 14, 2015

We as artists have the hardest time not only finding work, but getting help finding work. Unless you are in college (and for some people not even then), there isn’t any place out there to help theatre artists get proper feedback and advice on the paperwork side of things like resumes, cover letters, artist statements, and more. Really the best way to change that around is for someone to stand up and do something about it. Therefore I’ve decided to start a small side business in helping theatre artists with resumes!

My business Theatre Epitome (greek origin for both “a summery of written work” and “a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type”) has the sole mission to help any and all theatre artists from actors to designers, new in the industry or has been working for decades, with Community Theatre credits to Broadway credits; create the best resumes they can. For $20 an hour I’ll provide professional feedback on any and all theatre resumes or other related paperwork you have! All I need from any prospective client a digital PDF of what you want feedback on ahead of time, then for you to provide a printed copy on the day and time of our consultation session (unless you live too far to commute to NYC, then we’ll do an online consultation).

As someone who’s currently entering her late 20’s, I’ve had interviews at Broadway and well-established Off-Broadway venues such as Manhattan Theatre Club, MCC Theatre Company, Atlantic Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and more based on my own resume. I feel very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the skills I’ve developed, so I feel passing them onward would be helpful.

Contact me if interested (and pass along the info to those that might be)! Anyone that has issues contacting me directly can directly contact “The Red Headed Actress” through Green Room Blog to get ahold of me.

How to Get Your Solo-Show Produced in NYC with No Contacts, No Referrals and Living Out-of- State

May 7, 2015

Would this change your life?

I was living in Sedona, AZ.

I volunteered to collect email addresses for Eve Ensler (the creator of The Vagina Monologues) when she was performing her hit one-woman play, The Good Body in Scottsdale, AZ.

I was a huge fan, and had recently performed as The Angry Vagina in The Vagina Monologues in Flagstaff, AZ. We raised over $20,000 in one night to fight violence against women and girls worldwide.

I didn’t expect anything from Eve. I didn’t ever think I’d see her personally after the show in Scottsdale.

There was a group of twenty people waiting for Eve outside the stage door which was about 30 feet ahead of me in the auditorium. If I had any hope of meeting her…that kind of sealed my fate…or so I thought.

Fifteen minutes later I watched as her fans walked away from the stage door and left the theatre all at once. As the last person walked outside and closed the door behind them, Eve came out suddenly, walking straight to me. (The way the theatre was set up she couldn’t see the people who just left. They were just gone)

Eve Ensler asked how it was going. I told her how many emails I collected for V-Day.  I complimented her show and told her specific moments from The Good Body that moved me and inspired me. I informed her that I had my own one-woman show called My Brooklyn Hamlet and how I might do some things a little differently because of seeing her in action. I told her I admired her boldness.

She did a long once over of me in my bright green top, purple jeweled skirt and purple suede boots and said, “I can’t imagine you have a problem with being bold.” My cheeks flushed as I chuckled. Read more…

Your Life. Your Story. Your Solo Show.

April 16, 2015

I am scared to death. I’m backstage at one of the top acting schools in Los Angeles. I am about to tell my story, my real story in an exercise called a personal monologue.

I’ve got the unloaded gun I borrowed from a fellow student on stage already, alongside my flute and just a couple of props. I’ve given the stage manager the cue for my music at the end of the scene and I’ve even enlisted a friend in class last minute to join me on stage for a final dance to close out the piece.

Why did I ask to do this? I felt inwardly guided and yet I am now sweating, fear gripping me, knowing that I may be judged severely and the truth will be known…the truth I’ve been hiding for years. My father killed my mother and married her sister just a few years ago. He shot her in the head, cleaned up the crime and then abandoned me forever. My life is a Shakespearean tragedy.

Lights up, curtains open, all eyes in this 100 person class are on me.

Something happens.

I am free. I am in the moment. I am telling my truth through story and music and movement and narration. I’m being seen as I really am, in all my vulnerability and strength. My secrets are out for the first time since that fateful night and in that reveal I am free.

That short piece changed my world. Not only did I get a standing ovation but several of my peers flew over to me during the break and through tears they shared their secrets which were heavy until then. A directing student wanted to direct me and I was off. I realized I could change peoples lives.  Read more…

GUEST POST BY SAM GARLAND: Why You Must Create Your Own Work

April 6, 2015

Please welcome guest poster Sam Garland to the blog! She’s here today sharing why self-producing is one of the greatest tools for actors that most people never take advantage of. And you all know how much I admire actors self-producing!:)

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WHY YOU MUST CREATE YOUR OWN WORK

There are many reasons why it’s important for actors to be creating their own work. (In fact, I just hosted a free training call where I delved into all of them. Plus, I shared some awesome-sauce ideas on how to jump in and get started with a project tailored to your talents. Want to grab your free copy? Click here.)

But I wanted to highlight one in depth for you today. Quite simply, it will make you a better actor.

Let me explain.

First, I have to confess that I am slightly addicted to acting classes. I love the safety, the support, the constant stretching. I love knowing that I’m growing, and working on my craft. And I love the high I get from being in front of an audience and committing to a role.

But the difference between acting in class and acting as a job is like — apples and snakes.  Read more…

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