Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Side Note from a Chronic Navel-Contemplator...

This is it! Home stretch for the agent showcase this Saturday... nervous? Yeah, sure. But I'm trying to get myself in the mindset that being nervous is a good thing, and try to turn it into a tool to work in my favor.

Of course, my pride says I want to perform the monologue perfectly. I wanna really nail it, and leave the place stunned. But the other part of me won't mind if I flub it here or there... from what my instructor says, the agents that attend these showcases, looking for new talent, don't necessarily want to see highly-polished perfection. In fact, it's more informative to them when they see a small flub, and then see how the actor handles it. If I make a verbal misstep, will I break character, come out of the scene, get angry at myself and/or flustered, apologize like a tool? Or will I simply pause, stay in character and in the moment, gather myself and continue forward, maintaining the momentum and the rhythm? If I can handle missteps like a pro, they'll be much more interested in the possibility of signing me.

But if I handle it poorly, then that's a big red X, so to speak. So, yeah, I want to nail the monologue... but I also want to demonstrate craft and ability to focus and maintain.

If that makes sense.

By the way, here's the monologue I'm performing... it's from my favorite all-time book, Gates of Fire (Steven Pressfield). It's the speech King Leonidas gives the the 300 right before they leave their city for the several-day march to Thermopylae, to their deaths. The rest of the Spartans -- and the entire city -- has gathered to see them off, knowing they won't be returning.

Death stands close upon us now. Can you feel him, brothers? I do. I am human and I fear him. My eyes cast about for a sight to fortify the heart for that moment when I come to look him in the face.      
Shall I tell you where I find this strength, Friends? In the eyes of our sons in scarlet before us, yes. And in the countenance of their comrades who will follow in battles to come. But more than that, my heart finds courage from these, our women, who watch in tearless silence as we go.      
How many times have these twain stood here in the chill shade of Parnon and watched those they love march out to war? Pyrrho, you have seen grandfathers and father troop away down the Aphetaid, never to return. Alkemene, your eyes have held themselves unweeping as husband and brothers have departed to their deaths. Now here you stand again, with no few others who have borne as much and more, watching sons and grandsons march off to hell.      
Men’s pain is lightly borne and swiftly over. Our wounds are of the flesh, which is nothing; women’s is of the heart – sorrow unending, far more bitter to bear. Learn from them, brothers, from their pain in childbirth which the gods have ordained immutable. Bear witness to that lesson they teach: nothing good in life comes but at a price. Sweetest of all is liberty. This we have chosen and this we pay for. We have embraced the laws of Lykurgus, and they are stern laws. They have schooled us to scorn the life of leisure, which this rich land of ours would bestow upon us if we wished, and instead to enroll ourselves in the academy of discipline and sacrifice. Guided by these laws, our fathers for twenty generations have breathed the blessed air of freedom and have paid the bill in full when it was presented. We, their sons, can do no less.      
In six hundred years, so the poets say, no Spartan woman has beheld the smoke of the enemy’s fires. By Zeus and Eros, by Athena Protectress and Artemis Upright, by the Muses and all the gods and heroes who defend Lakedaemon and by the blood of my own flesh, I swear that our wives and daughters, our sisters and mothers, will not behold those fires now.

It's about 2:30 long, and I think very cool. I plan on video-taping myself doing the monologue, for practice's sake, before Saturday. If I think the clip is worth watching, I'll post it here..

By the way, I finally got a professionally-shot photo head shot done this week. My Narcissism has reached new heights, lol...

Feels so weird, looking at myself like that. But not as weird as looking at the website where the rest of the passable shots are arranged in a gallery... if you're feeling intrepid, take a look at this link. Some of the shots are good... others not so good. Some of the shots where I'm "serious" are laughable... I want to punch myself in the face when I see them, lol...

The photographer pointed out something I hadn't thought of... since I'm actually trying to become a real, paid actor, I can deduct all kinds of stuff from my taxes. The costs associated with the classes I take, the headshot costs, craft-related books, travel to and from classes and auditions, and even meals, if my travel is over 100 miles total (like, say, to an LA audition for example). Stuff to think about.

Anyway, it's sort of surreal, the whole process. I'm getting my resume together tonight, listing all the stuff I've done. A little of everything, really. It adds up - here I felt I'd have a bare resume. But I've done plays, short films, voice work, even a set of TV commercials (which I wrote and did the voice work for), and all listed out, actually seems solid.

Anyways, we'll see how it goes. Maybe nothing will come of it at this time, and life will proceed as usual. Or maybe not. I'm still fearful that my having braces will be a problem. I'm prepared for that. Really, I wasn't going to try a showcase until next year anyway, when the braces would be off and I'd have another year of training under my belt. I'll try to be prepared for anything.

I know -- lots of more important stuff going on in the world and in the lives of people I know. In a way, all this acting nonsense is unimportant. Still, it means something to me at this time, so I hope you don't mind that I hopped on here to unload a little of my accumulating angst.

lol, thanks for listening.

Dave the Wannabe Thespian


logankstewart said...

Awesome, man. Best of luck dude.

Anonymous said...

Solution to your perfect/flub dilemma: practice a perfect flub. ;)

Ah, that's a great head shot, Dave. And don't stress about the braces. A little reality in your acting. ;)

So proud of you for taking this big step, and praying for the best. And you thought you had no courage. Pshaw! Go forth and act!


Anonymous said...

Oh, I just checked out the gallery. You look positively Shakespearean in #12, and like a crime novelist in #24. The man can work the camera!

(PS Can't even notice the braces.)