Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Day in the Life of a NY Actress

Something I've discovered about acting in NY is that it feels like you're part of a community. Everyone you meet is doing something to make their dreams come true, and I've been so lucky to meet people who, as Bonnie Gillespie says, "share their toys."

I recently took a seminar with Bonnie about Self Management for Actors, and through that workshop, I met some incredibly motivated people who formed a Facebook group and have been sharing knowledge, experiences, and other "toys." :)

One such actor is Tanya Perez (pictured below right), who recently penned this awesome article for "Ms. in the Miz." In it, she chronicles her day in the life as a film actor in NYC.

This reminded me of friends and family who've asked me what my daily life as an actor is like, so here's a glimpse into my daily groove:

It usually starts with visiting Actors Equity and Actors Access to see which auditions are happening when. This gives me prep time, so I can work on songs, scenes, or monologues for each audition. Preparation is key. Even if I'm going in for the cold reading of a new script, I research the author's previous works or find reviews about a previous productions/readings, so I have a sense of the style of the piece.

Now, as Tanya pointed out for film / TV, we usually don't get the script until the day or night before the audition, so then it's time to cram and jam!

This happened for me a few weeks ago when I was called in for the role of a News Anchor in the independent film, Child's Play. I got one page of a script and had to "fill in the blanks" for the character, so I could fill her shoes. It was a blast, and I got the gig!

With plays and musicals, if I don't get an appointment ahead of time, I go to the "open" Equity call. That means getting up at 6 am to go wait in line at whatever studio is hosting the audition. Aasif Mandvi recently talked about this in an interview with NY1 about his book, "No Lands Man."

You wait in line with a ton of other actors and hope to get a timeslot to audition later in the day. I have this down to a science:

6-something AM: get up, shower, pack breakfast and lunch and audition materials, including clothes, shoes, makeup, hair tools, music or monologue, headshot and resume.
7-something AM: take the train or walk to the audition studio. If it's a major open call, move everything up by an hour and get there EARLY!
Hang out and wait until 8:30 or 9 AM when the sign-up begins. Hopefully get a slot around lunch time.
9-9:30 AM: go work at my support job
Anywhere from 11:50 - 4:30: get hair and makeup done, go back to the audition location and wait to go on.
Audition time = about 2 minutes.

If it's possible to hit more than one audition, I do.

As Tanya wrote, it can take about 10 hours (or more) to prep for  a 2 minute performance, but if you book the gig, it's worth it!

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