Friday, July 17, 2009

Embrace Your Assets

One of my best friends is in the midst of interviewing for a job, and he was talking last night about writing a thank-you note to a company who had called him back for a lengthy 2nd interview.

He said, "I'm thinking of saying, 'Even though I don't have the full skillset you're seeking, I can learn quickly and am very personable,'" which of course, he is. But it bothered me that he should point out his lacks, and I suggested he ditch that intro and play up his assets.

I know him as an actor, writer, director, and a corporate survivor. Any task he's been assigned - technically or otherwise - he completes with success and goes at it with 150% focus. He seriously learned a new computer program in one day! So I suggested instead of stating his negatives, he should highlight his assets.

And that reminded me to do the same.

I recently updated my resume with all of my improv experience. Why I left this off in the first place, I have no idea, except that I'd been given so much advice as far as what I "should" have on my resume, focusing on NY and regional theatre, film and TV, and so I didn't think including my improv experience would assist me in booking a job. Boy, was I wrong!

Last month I booked a giant comedy/improv gig because I had worked with a fellow who was producing it and who knew I could do comedy, but he also asked that I send him a resume that included my improv work. As I reconfigured my resume, I discovered that I had at least 12 improv characters under my belt!

My first paid acting gig out of school (my actual first paid gig was in "Annie") was with the PA Renaissance Faire. They had hired directors from LA - David Leong and Chris Villa - and wanted part of their Shakespearean improv troupe to be from LA as well. It was the only year they did this, and I was quickly hired.

I enjoyed the Faire and its seasonal shows so much that I stayed on for 4 years, creating a plethora of characters! I played everything from a scruffy young rogue (Polly Pickalittle) to historical court lady Penelope Devereaux, struck-by-lightning-gravedigger, Spanish innkeeper Freida Synne, and even Queen Elizabeth herself!

For the Fall show I played the Ghost of Virginia Poe (Edgar Allen Poe's wife), Mimi Leroux (wife of Phantom of the Opera writer, Gaston Leroux) and Mary Shelley, among others.

When I left the Faire and came to NY, I ended up working in some murder mystery events, playing everything from a wise-cracking assistant DA from Brooklyn to a German psychic.

So when my Kaboom co-star, John Di Domenico, asked about my improv experience, I realized I had a TON, and it was so great to unearth it! So I updated my resume and ended up booking a very nice gig because of it.

So like I was telling my job-interviewing friend, we have to realize all the great stuff we can bring to the table and lead with our assets! :)

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