How I got my “HELL YEAH” back.

So I have a renewed sense of HELL YEAH!

It’s come to me in a few different forms since last I blogged.  Let me break it down.

-Deana’s Educational Theatre. OK so I have always been grateful to be a part of this since I was hired into the company in 2008.  But 2011 in particular has been really important to me.  I have done many “Yellow Dress” shows, as many other actors in the company have as well, and I am amazed at the courage and strength of so many women I have met throughout New England this year.  They share their stories with me and others they trust to seek help, to feel better, etc.  To me, that is  the most joyful part of working for DET.  We help people to sift through their fears and stories to become stronger people, and to me, that is one of the best things you can do in life. SO HELL YEAH I love that job!  And HELL YEAH I am making a difference!

-DANCING.  Okay.  So  I haven’t had any formal training in about 5 years.  So when my boyfriend started suggested things we should try together, I was a little surprised when he suggested dancing. (Note: He’s in the army.  I KNOW he’s amazing, right?)  Looking back, I loved dancing in college.  We usually had three classes a week from 2 hours anywhere to 4 hours a day. It helped me relieve stress, feel confident, and of course, stay in shape!

To be honest, I wasn’t good at dancing at first.  I would see all the steps and freak out and try to count and my brain would fry and I would fall over my feet.  It literally got to the point where Christine, our dance instructor pulled me aside and said “CASEY. STOP thinking. Stop.  Just feel it.”  That was at the end of the year.  So when I came back Senior Year, I remembered her words, and I guess she was right. Muscle memory kicked in and finally I could dance without thinking.

Anyway, back to the present.  My old fears started kicking in.  But I couldn’t say no.  So I said, “PSH, sure boyfriend, let’s take lessons.”  Panic started simmering below the surface, but I held it at bay.  After the advice of another dance instructor, Miss Jean, I decided to do what she said…”Let Go, have fun and let loose, you’ll be fine!”

Well. We went to our first dance lesson with KATYA and oh my goodness whaddya know I knew what to do without really thinking about it.  She showed us the moves, and we were able to do them.

SO HELL YEAH I DO REMEMBER HOW TO DO…STUFF!…LIKE DANCE!  SO THERE…ME!

Back on set.  Not that I haven’t been on set. I just haven’t done background  in some crazy amount of months.  So when I saw all of my old friends (and new friends!) on set of “Here Comes the Boom,” I was so happy!  I love hearing about what everyone else is up to in life.

But on set this past week, I had some interesting moments of clarity and well..what I like to call “HELL YEAH” moments.  Here is a sampling:

One person said to me, “Casey.  Keep doing movies. Okay?” as we were walking outside after wrapping.  I fumbled with my glasses, shoved them on my face whilst walking to the shuttle and said, “Yeah, okay!”  And he said, “Just keep doing it. You’re gonna make it.”

Me, with a smug "Hell yeah" type face.

Totally out of the blue and it was just the gas I needed to feel even more empowered and ready to kick ass.

Another friend of mine was talking to me about auditions and the biz, etc.  And he said, “It doesn’t matter.  It never matters.  Everything you need to succeed is in you.  Don’t label yourself.” It was the strangest moment because I realized that even though I consider myself levelheaded and able to handle auditioning, I have still been in the mode lately of judging / grading myself with auditions.  NOT ANYMORE!  Another crystal clear moment for me.  He also said, “Remember, we’re all the same.  No one is better than you, we’re all equals.  You can do anything you want.”

Now these particular quotes may seem like the typical “Go get ’em, sista!” type quotes, but to me they meant a lot.  I really believe that I needed to hear these encouraging words this week.  Just what I need to keep pushing on.

In regards to my yellow jacket and purple sunglasses, my friend Jim Powers said to me, “Casey, you dress like a star.”

To that I say

HELLLLLLL YEAH!

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CPTV vs. Auditioning

So this week I thought I’d tackle two very different parts of my life.

Working at CPTV vs. Auditioning

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to find some deep, hidden truth in two completely different areas of my life.  I am just amused at how very different they are.  In fact, I’m not sure I can find any similarities at all.

*Insert time lapse here.  Like 20 mins*

First, let us look at a few contrasting elements.  One area symbolizes job security, while the other embodies securing a job.  Of course, there will be some differences inherent from the get-go.

CPTV

1. I answer phones

1a. I get yelled at sometimes by people who don’t know me.  See previous blog entry.

2.  I snack all day long.

3.  I dress business casual (I usually interpret this as jeans and converse.  On Friday, my friend Alissa noticed I wore heels and was very proud of me.  That should give you an idea about how serious I am about wearing jeans and converse to work).

AUDITIONING

1.  I don’t answer phones. In fact, my phone is on silent or off.  But I do experience something called “hurry up and wait.”  Symptoms include: rushrushrushing to audition, and waitingwaiting…waiting to get inside the room and perform.

1a. I don’t get yelled at, but if I’m doing a monologue where I yell, I suppose I’m kind of yelling at the casting director, right?

2. I cannot. eat. before an audition.   My body rejects all nutrition until after I am done performing.  The only substance it will accept in advance are liquids in the form of coffee, espresso, or water.  This is probably why I always have to pee really bad when I’m done auditioning.  It also explains why I’m ravenous afterwards.

4.  I dress up nicely for auditions. (People who know me ((for instance, my sister)) roll their eyes at me on my “days off” where I do nothing but wash my hair, let it air dry, wear no makeup, and walk around with my glasses squinting at daylight, dressed in what someone would only describe as something between what a 5 year old child and an emo hipster on the lower east side would wear).  I clearly take my appearance seriously.  Ahem.

4a. There IS no “4a” for CPTV, but I should mention that I’ve had to dress up very specifically ie “White Trash” or “Sexy French Girl” for certain casting calls, which is a whole another experience in  and of itself.  Here, the “dress nicely” rule doesn’t actually apply in those cases.  I should save this for a completely different entry.

List of similarities that is much longer than I thought it would be:

OK so I have found three items that these two different areas of my life have in common.

1. ACTING (DUH, CASEY. DUH).

I don’t think I need to explain acting when it comes to auditioning, but when it comes to CPTV, I have to speak to people on the phone, and email people online as though I have some idea of what I’m talking about, I must “find the love” in the phone call (the reason for me to not hang up even when people are very rude. In acting school it was called, “find the love in the scene” which to me is the same thing), I must be jovial and sweet even when I’m not feeling it “in the moment,” and sometimes, in very severe cases, I must “act” as though I am the Director of Create TV.  I will only further clarify if people ask:

www.createtv.com

2.  I have to talk to people I don’t really know.  At CPTV this is a daily occurrence happening anywhere from a dozen to a gross times a day. (Can I say “gross” times a day? Yep,just did).  At auditions, I talk to actors I don’t know, which seems perfectly fine, since well…psh, we’re actors, we must have SOMETHING in common.  Most of the time, this is the case.  Sometimes it is not and you have stage 5 clingers.*

*I once had someone follow me from (undisclosed location) all the way to (another far away undisclosed location) in a large city once we had wrapped on set because said person had “nothing better to do.”  I hadn’t learned the fine art of dodging uncomfortable situations like a ninja yet.

Anyway, most of the time talking to people I don’t know is a very enjoyable experience. I can talk weather, sports, or make self-deprecating remarks if necessary.

3.  TMI.

Sigh.  We’ve all been there.  For some reason, people on the phone feel that it is necessary to impart to you any of the following:

-family geneology, how old they were when they went on their first date, what they ate for breakfast, how much they have a crush on someone 50 years younger, their favorite animal, how they think your name should only be for boys, how many awards they won when they were younger, conspiracy theories, their favorite pasttimes, etc.  Too much information usually makes me laugh hard.  (Or silently laugh and slam my hand or head against the desk). Sometimes it makes me squeamish.  But it’s bearable.

TMI in auditioning is a little different. I often feel as though I am giving TMI about myself.  Stats.  You don’t give stats at the grocery store, the bank, at your job.  But every time I’m “securing a new job” it’s height, weight, clothing size, eye color, hair color, food allergies.  This doesn’t bother me, you understand.  I’d rather give TMI about myself than hear it.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve been an actor for so long.

I don’t know what I’ve learned, dear blog readers, except that being an actor comes in really handy with other work and life situations.

Perhaps to mix things up a bit, I’ll hold auditions in the POD at CPTV next week.  Watch out, Jennifer and Jerry.  I’m looking at you. *evil actory cackle*

A highlight reel, if you will. I’m an actor, so that’s a pun.

I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about this afternoon.

So this is going to be more of a HIGHLIGHT REEL of the past week…things that really “stuck out” for me.

  • People at CPTV trust me enough to let me train someone new.  Great new temp, really funny, a musician, wears bright orange on the same days as me: WIN.  Me having him log into the database all by himself and apparently breaking some sort of security rule: FAIL.
  • Pick up rehearsals are hilarious when actors don’t show up…I’m acting to an inanimate ghost-like space! I’m acting… acting like a MIME would if she could talk!
  • Not having a performance this past Friday night made me feel like I was getting away with something…like snagging a chocolate chip cookie from the cooling rack. (You know, at home. I don’t go around stealing cookies at local bakeries).
  • Saturday night I had to pretend to hug an actress onstage extra hard so I could reach around her back under her shirt and switch on her mike. Nobody noticed: WIN!
  • This last show, closing on a matinee, sort of made me hate matinees less. SORT of. By some kind of fluke, there was lots of energy and a great, attentive audience.  Don’t get any crazy ideas, future matinees in life.  I’m watching you.
  • I answered a phone call yesterday re: a WNPR broadcast that clearly upset a woman.  She LITERALLY SAID, “Let me tell YOU what I WISH UPON ALL OF YOU THERE, young lady. (intake of deep breath) I hope you all get sick when you’re old and no one is around to take care of you.”
  • During our second talk-back for Deana’s Educational Theatre today, fellow actor Tim Hoover asked the audience of second graders, “What was the character afraid to be called at school?”  The correct answer would be “Tattle Tale,” but one little girl answered with, “Easter Bunny.”

I am delirious on very little sleep, but I made sure to take a huge swig of Starbucks House Blend, so we’ll see how this works out.

P.S.  I love the Berkshires!  I miss my Berkshire Theatre Festival crew. 🙂

Below is a random photo from the CPTV vault.

Allegra Itsoga, myself, and Jennifer Pratt, getting our zen / swordage on at CPTV.

Be well, friends.  Have a highlight-filled week.