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Passage to the Bloodline

March 25, 2012

Here are the top five things I find myself slightly crippled without, as I navigate the waters of having an acting career:

  1. A Smartphone: The industry is moving at the speed of light and so should you.  Immediate Internet access to up-to-date info on auditions, reading Backstage online, enjoying the latest episode of Submissions Only (which is GENIUS), having your email handy at all times so you’ll know ASAP if you’re being called in for something that’s published on the web or electronically so you can read it on the bus en route to your dance class–these are just a few of the reasons why a smartphone is a vital tool in today’s jobbing-actor lifestyle.   Not to mention it can also be used as a phone (the hint is in the name), so you can call your mom when you get the big job.   Alternatively you can sport a phone that is only a phone, accompanied by some kind of iTouch technology that gives you access to all of these things as well.  But why weigh yourself down with extra objects?  Why carry around “paper bound” copies of plays?  Just to seem ironic?  How very hipster of you.*
  2. Spotify:  I.  Love.  Spotify.  Despite some controversy surrounding how much they pay their artists and how they determine to pay out, I think you have to give the devil its due here.  I have not found a better alternative for this vast online music database.  Need to quickly check on a song for an upcoming audition, but don’t have time to get to the library and would rather save the $.99-$1.29 from an iTunes download for the Ramen you’re going to have to subsist on tonight?  Don’t worry: you can probably find that song and play it for free on Spotify.  Create an account, and you can listen for free or choose to upgrade.  For the very reasonable fee of $9.99/month, you can become a “Premium Member” and sync the playlists you make on your account to your smartphone/object, allowing playback of your new-found-not-quite-paid-for-music in places where Internet access is hard to come by, like in a subway tunnel or remote locations where wireless do not exist.  Like Pandora, it will also offer requests of other artists/albums similar to what you’re listening too.  Unlike Pandora, you can request a specific song or album and actually listen to what you’re looking for immediately, instead of waiting through a lot of things that sound like it before you hit on the money.  And eventually when you can afford to eat more than food made by Nissin, you can also buy music from them, too.  If you really want to.
  3. Netflix:  As much as I hate admitting that I give money to Walmart (union busters!), I do use Netflix.  I had my own plan several months ago, but moved that money over to Spotify, and now split a monthly tab for a “Watch Instantly” account with my roommate.  It’s the best $3.995 I spend a month, and is one of the sources of the movie musicals I write about for This Very Blog.  It’s great for the same reasons a smartphone or Spotify is: if you need something–instantly!–you can have it.  You want to watch a film starring one of your idols, because you need a little inspiration and fortitude?  You can probably do that.  And you can figure out why that performance was so effective (so you can blatantly steal from your hero) by watching as many times as you want because it is UNLIMITED.  And you can do it ANYWHERE: your TV, your PC, your smartphone/object.  Hulu is a fair alternative, as well as Amazon Instant Video.  But Netflix was there first, so despite what I learned in Nickle and Dimed, this is where my money is going.  For now.
  4. My Judy Garland Signature Collection DVD Box Set: Speaking of idols: YES.  Judy Garland is (one) of mine.  Ever since I was a fourteen and saw A Star Is Born, I knew I was destined to become a great singer who only knew disaster in love.  I am satisfied to report that so far things are going according to plan.  But in all seriousness, Judy Garland has always been there for me.  Every day where I feel badly about an audition, or am worried about an approaching callback, or am so low I start thinking about giving out and giving up, all I have to do is watch a Judy Garland musical and somehow things don’t seem as bad anymore.  Is it the voice that holds the whole being of the performer in every note?  Is it her (sometimes surprisingly impressive) skills as an actress?  Or is it just a sense of hope that seems to be sewn up within the brutal mythology of her own biography?  I don’t know.  I only know I love her.  And she sometimes helps carry the weight I occasionally feel too small to bear.
  5. Friends (mixed with Alcohol): There doesn’t even really need to be alcohol in this equation, though it is often very nice to have.  Despite the impression I may have made with the first four items on this list, I do go outside and interact with living people, away from technology.  All too often we can get wrapped up in where we’ve been and where we’re going.  Good friends help you remember the past while encouraging you to grow into your future while having fun with you in the present.  My actor friends can listen to my woes with understanding and sympathy, while my non-theatrically inclined friends offer me perspective from outside the fish bowl.  All in all, these people help me stay balanced in a world that is anything but.  And I would like to thank them.  Over drinks.

*In actuality, I do not read any book or other publication in electronic format.  I believe in paper, and not because I’m a hipster.**  I write all over my books, and pens don’t work well on touchscreens.

**A hipster would say that.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 12:54 pm

    Your tools are definitely the most badass of all of ours 🙂

  2. March 26, 2012 11:29 pm

    LOL I write all over my books too, hipsterrr. And yes, couldn’t agree more about friends (and alcohol) but mostly friends (with alcohol) I mean just friends. FRIENDS. So important to keep you going. Recently, I’ve actually felt the need to work on the social aspect of my life and develop my friendships more. So important to keep level headed, especially among the shenanigans of this crazy city!

    • April 1, 2012 8:12 pm

      Writing on books helps me process the information and interact with it better. Plus it makes them more precious. If I could write on my friends, I’d do that to.

      Come to think of it, I probably have at some point.

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