Friday, April 29, 2011

What would I do without take out?

Reason #273 to love Long Beach: I can walk a block, pick up an exquisite veggie and sausage pizza from Pizza Pi, and go home to eat and vegetate with pictures of Windsor hat madness.
How can so much fun be so exhausting?
Day two was more learning of music, hammering home harmonies, practicing singing to the track. (Man I miss orchestras. Someday there will be actors who have NEVER sung with a live musician. And that would suck)
I met our fearless leader today, Nick DeGruccio, it's my first time working with him and I am delighted to find that he is funny, kind and quick.
Design for my costume by Soojin Lee
After a design presentation, (No matter how many years I've done this, costume and set presentations always knock me out. The fabrics are incredibly rich! And the set! For to die.) We plunged into our first read/sing through. Always scary when you JUST learned the music, but we got through it with lots of laughs. Nick threatened us with a week of table work, but he was kidding and we started a quick and dirty blocking.
I wonder if the audience ever realizes how goofy early musical rehearsals are: We are in a room that isn't even a quarter size of the stage, we have books in hand and (I at least) are schmacting furiously while learning choreography and set dressing, blocking on the fly. While trying to imagine the size of the clothes, so you don't bump into anyone. While trying to remember the harmony. And the layout of the set. And finding a brand new character. And smooching on someone you barely know. And erasing everything after he re-blocks it.
Now I will eat my 2 slices of pizza (more and I won't fit into my corset) woodshed my harmonies, read to, bathe, and put Lionel to bed, and collapse with my script on my chest.
Criminal fun.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Music Mash

How is it possible that sitting on my bum learning music for 4 hours leaves me so tired that I need a nap? Perhaps I'm out of practice.
That's what we did today, we got ushered up to an odd little room, given a welcome speech by John Glore, the TYA guru at SCR, I got measurements taken by the ladies of the cloth, Kat and Bronwyn, then threw myself into learning music.
I am not the worlds best sight-reader. I always try to learn material as soon as possible and try and have it down cold by first rehearsal because I have this THING about perfection. Slightly problematic. Anyhow, I decided to try and be zen and come into the room and test my newly acquired sight reading skills (I acquired them by putting the score to Caddie Woodlawn into Sibelius. It was MONTHS of on the job training. Seriously, for the amount of time I put into that @#%$! Sibelius, I should've gotten a Masters in music theory.) So there I was naked and exposed (That's going to be fun for the googlers) and I think I did OK. Learning to let go of my music anxiety is a big thing I am working on.
We sang through almost the whole score. (I am loving the iPhone recording app, so easy and great sound quality.) Then we did company business, picked a deputy, (sorry Alex!) signed contracts and were let go early. Easy peasy. But it's only the first day. TYA world is taking it easy on us, because it's about to get much, much harder.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Caveat Emperor!

Well I guess it's official. I've joined the cast of Emperors New Clothes at SCR! I think I'm going to do a day to day blog, describing the process of putting up an Equity show from an actors point of view.
South Coast Repertory is a great place to work, especially in the light of all the recent season cancellations and theatre closures.  One thing that has been especially hard for union actors is the fact that due to budgetary constraints most places like to do very small cast shows. Sometimes it seems like SCR is the only game in town, and the competition is fierce. I had the very great pleasure (for a scaredy-cat like me) of not having to audition for this show. I was asked, and was able to accept. I think that is the position all actors strive for, but it's so rare to have something offered. Feels very sweet.
I'm always astonished at the organization of this machine. I have already been asked for and sent in a bio, was contacted by contracts and have been given my schedule in a clear concise manner. And my first rehearsal is tomorrow! It's going to be especially crazy because the building is humming and full to the gills with actors in the Pacific Playwrights Festival readings,  two fully produced shows, the youth and adult conservatory with its hundreds of students and the studio series Burley-Q queens(!)
It's a small bustling city, and it's a dammed exciting place to be.
Tomorrow: Music, and fittings and contracts, Oh my!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SPS: An update

I am quite pleased and frankly amazed to report that my Loan Modification came thru and is everything I wanted and more. Re-reading my frankly hysterical last post, I wish I could hang my head in shame, say "Aw, Gee, silly me!"... But.  Big But... Bigger than any big butt you could imagine...
It took me a year to be heard and understood. A year. I was on the phone with people for hours that I wish I could bill for. And what was I asking for? A ridiculous bail out, for my foolhardy spending habits? A government handout? No dear reader, no. I was asking for a conforming loan, a non-adjustable rate loan, to leave my horrible interest only loan behind. A loan I deserve because I am a good risk, have excellent credit and pay on time. I can hardly believe it has come to pass, but it took contacting the Better Business Bureau and the company's Ombudsman to make it happen.
I am nothing if not dogged. Actually I am a terrier. I will snarl and snuffle and worry something until I get my way. Fair warning.
And if anyone out there is dealing with trying to get a loan mod,  find out who the ombudsman is and get that person to help you. Don't be defeated by the foot soldiers, the people who reject you on the front line. If you are an actor, or any kind of self employed person, it is going to be YOUR responsibility to educate the loan people. They don't know how to deal with you, so you must do your research and have the answers.
1. Learn what a profit and loss statement is. Make one now. Keep updating it.
2. Keep ALL your pay stubs.
3. Document all the places your income comes from. You are going to have to explain the concept of "residuals" several times.
4. Get ready to explain why you have w2's and 1099's. And why so many
Get smart about your finances. No one is going to bail you out except yourself.
And for anyone wondering why I had one of those horrible, recession causing, market destroying loans in the first place, I did it because no one would rent me an apartment because I had no rental history, so buying was my best and only option. But I ALWAYS paid into the principle, and I knew what I was getting into and I also knew I needed an exit strategy.
Feel free to ask any questions. I will help if I can.