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Confessions of an Undiscovered Star

Entries in actor's life (17)

Tuesday
Jan122016

Confessions of an Undiscovered Star - The Show.

I have started to research and write my new comedy cabaret show. Most of it seems to come to me when I'm driving or in the bath but the majority is formed at the most annoying moment, just as I'm wanting to fall asleep. 

My title is 'Confessions of an Undiscovered Star' which I have been using for years under different guises but it isn't as self indulgent as it sounds; the point I want to make is that we all, in many different ways, are undiscovered stars. Everyone has hidden talents that aren't appreciated for whatever reason but the biggest thing I have realised whilst writing the show are the talents we possess that are obvious to everyone but ourselves. For example: my Mum's friend is a WHIZ at dress making and alterations but massively under-charges as she thinks it's 'easy' and 'no big deal' yet every time I sat down at a sewing machine during my Textiles GCSE half course it broke! I have no shame in telling you my mum pretty much made my final garment (ok a bit of shame). 

I am just as much of a culprit: I make a lot of my income from teaching drama and I have to begrudgingly admit there has always been a feeling of "I'm failing" at the back of mind when teaching - that terrible old adage 'those who can't teach' comes into my head and every time I do my tax return and it's more teaching than performing money I feel a failure - justified or not. Then this Christmas I received a lovely card from the mother of three girl's I teach drama and thanking me for all I do for her daughters: "even my shy Maia can't wait to come every week". It choked me up a little, and this isn't even one of the students I have got into a drama school or a scholarship or even to pass a LAMDA exam this year - this is a child whose life has been made a bit easier through the confidence she gets from the arts.

I then started to think of all the children I have worked with over the years and how drama has probably helped shaped them; how during the two drugs awareness T.I.E. tours I have worked on I may have even saved future lives for all I know and yet all I had thought is "I bet people are wondering when I'm going to chuck this in as I'm not working - I hope they aren't feeling sorry for me, how cringey" - not because the work I was doing wasn't good or worthwhile but purely because it wasn't part of my plan or dreams. It's only it more recent years that I have realised most people are actually just thinking about themselves and don't care!

It's all about perspective and that's what my show is going to be about. We are all undiscovered stars, particularly undiscovered by ourselves.

Friday
Mar202015

'How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over'

I have taken to watching 'TED talks' in the bath - my phone is up on the windowsill I'm not insane. I love listening to uplifting, intelligent people educating and inspiring me. 'TED' is just so wonderful and if you have never watched a talk before have a search around YouTube to see what topics interest you - I like learning about subjects I know nothing about from a passionate professional.

Today I watched a great one by Mel Robbins that really helped me as I am definitely a victim of having tonnes of ideas but not enough time to do everything/I lose focus and go off and look at the next bright, shiny thing... This video isn't specifically bout acting, it really applies to life in general, but I think actors could get a lot from it.

Stop saying things are 'fine' and aim higher.

 

Tuesday
Mar172015

Confessions of an Undiscovered Star VLOG! #3 Golden Rules of Acting

Wednesday
Mar112015

Glamour, nothing but Glamour.

One day I may be giving my Lady M in Stratford but this is me giving my 'Miffy' in Stratford (the one in London):

I had to change in a fire escape; it was glamorous. 

The children loved it though - hope you had a good national book day. 

Sunday
Mar012015

All I Want is Ups! (And Advice from a Tiny Potato)

 

 Lucy: Sometimes I get discouraged.

Charlie Brown: Well, Lucy, life does have its ups and downs, you know.

Lucy: But why? Why should it?! Why can't my life be all "ups"? If I want all "ups," why can't I have them? Why can't I just move from one "up" to another "up"? Why can't I just go from an "Up" to an "upper-up"? I don't want any "downs"! I just want "ups" and "ups" and "ups"!

 

 

I didn't get a job this week that I really wanted. This unfortunately goes with the territory of being a performer - your fate is regularly in someone else's hands and there are so many other fabulous people out there going up for the same parts. 

But how do you stay positive with constant rejection?

Whilst watching a Dallas Travers vlog she mentioned that in America your chances of getting a job is a ratio of 1:1500 apparently??! (although there is a different system with open auditions for every Equity audition so you could in theory audition for lots of things that you aren't suitable for constantly upping the odds). I haven't brought myself to think that it is here in the UK but it can't be as high as most of the battle seems to be just being seen - it would take you years to get a job with those odds!!

The actress Julie Bowen (Modern Family/Weeds/Lost/Ed) puts a positive spin on this situation in an 'Emmy Round Table' interview:  

I like how she just says it is a 'numbers game' and each one you don't get just means you are closer to getting the next one. 

Obviously there are times you should give in and try something else - hello half the people that audition for X Factor - but when do you know if it's that time or if it is just the 'Fraud Police' as Amanda Palmer references in her book 'The Art of Asking':  

(But what if you ARE one of those crazy people on X Factor who doesn't know they are pants??! *Shudder*)

Another thing that resonated with me was Teri Hatcher's comment at the start of the 'Round Table' interview that "you aren't out of it until you quit". Her career had many dry spells and rejuvenations - many times where she thought her career was over but just as she did something happened. A lovely friend of mine had a similar thing happen a few years ago, she was about to turn 30 and her career wasn't going the way she wanted so she was ready to jack it in...and then she got a big West End show. Perhaps it helped that she didn't care as much any more, I don't know. 

Thankfully over the past couple of weeks some very exciting things have happened and in the pipeline so I won't be down for too long. If you find yourself feeling discouraged and like Lucy Van Pelt up the top of the blog don't forget what Ginger Rogers and a Potato have told you: