Last year my brilliant, (and slightly OCD) husband started detailing and keeping track of his life. He added up all his stats and did a series of epic blog posts (read them here) which outlined everything he ate, watched and read for an entire year. He also kept track of every person he spent time with. (like I said - OCD)
Although all those stats were interesting to look at after a year, I wasn't inspired myself to know how many veggie burgers I eat in a month (I'm sure it's a lot). I was, however, inspired by the stats he kept regarding his career as a theatre artist.
So, in January 2013 I downloaded Mack's trusty Iphone stat app (Daytum) and started keeping track of my career. This included logging every audition, callback, acting gig and little step I made through out the year. It was not only incredibly satisfying, but also very encouraging, to look back at what I was able to accomplish in a year. And on those days (let's admit it, there are many) when I questioned my life choices, my talent, my drive - I could look at these stats and be bolstered by the fact that I had made little steps through out the year. And these stats I had logged were the benchmarks along the way.
So, in case anyone is curious what it looks like to be a 20-something actor in vancouver- here's what my year as a theatre artist looked like. I hope you'll find it encouraging, and might even be inspired, like I was by Mack last year, to keep track for yourself in the upcoming year - whatever you want to count - whether it be auditions, or cheeseburgers.
Part of the reality of being an actor is having frequent job interviews, or auditions. These auditions are not the only way to land a gig in this town, but for an emerging artist such as myself, they are necessary.
This year I had 26 theatre auditions with 4 callbacks and 6 film/ tv auditions, for a total of 36 auditions. I booked 3 of those auditions.
Out of the 26 theatre auditions - 6 were generals, 2 were for training programs, 8 were invited auditions and the last 10 were auditions that I submitted for directly. Out of the 4 callbacks, I booked 1.
Those stats might be sobering, but when I consider the depth of talent in this city and the few opportunities there are for young actors, especially for women - I am actually encouraged. I'm encouraged that I was invited, or called in directly, by so many companies. I also think it's a fairly accurate representation of how many theatre auditions a young actor could expect in a year.
Next year I would love to see my stats closer to 1 audition/ week. I know I got close this year with 36, but I think I can do even better. I'm hoping with my new agent I will be able to get in casting rooms more frequently to help up these audition numbers.
This year I had 22 acting gigs. I defined a "gig" as anytime I worked as a performer - so it could be a one day contract, or a three month play. I was paid for most of these contracts (huzzah!), with the exception of some of the short films. Here's what kept me busy in 2013:
The Foreigner (Pacific)
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe x2 (Pacific Tour)
Miss Shakespeare (Touchstone/ Arts Club)
Alone Time - Byron Lamarque
Edweard - Motion 58
Lucid Fear - Jovan Harmuth
Souls that Balance
Role Play/ Simulation Training:
Justice Institute x 9
Wolf Mountain Readings
Post Secret - Voice over
COSTUME DESIGN GIGS:
Picasso at the Lapin Agile, UBC Medplay Society
Us and Everything we Own, 20Something Theatre
Wolf at the Door, Otherwise Productions
Arts Club Actors Intensive
Audition Workshop - Katrina Dunn
Instant Theatre Improv Workshop
Jeb Beach - back to booking film classes
GVPTA Actors Symposium
Kitchen Table - Rumble Theatre emerging artists meet n greet
Playwrights Meet up - Arts Club
Interned with Electric Co for You are Very Star
Signed with Moving Pictures Talent
Got new headshots
Looking back on all these contracts, career moves and gigs I am certainly encouraged. If I'm being honest, at the beginning of 2013 I had a bit of a crisis. I had nothing booked and things were not lining up for me in my career. I questioned what the heck I was doing with my life. I was depressed. I cried a lot. Things weren't looking good.
And then after some soul searching and many conversations with friends, family, mentors and my husband I decided it wasn't time to give up.
Around the end of January, beginning of February, I began to focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn't. I took some classes and I said yes to every opportunity I could. That's when I started doing the film work and I discovered I really liked it. (I always thought I didn't really like film. What I've come to realize is that there is a big, big difference between sitting in a room with 30 supermodels hoping they pick me for the toothpaste gig vs. actually being on set working. I loved being on set working!) I got into the Arts Club Actors Intensive and I started booking things again. I learned something I already knew, but had to re-learn: this career is not a straight path. There will be glorious moments where contacts line up and things are booked six months in advance and then there will be moments like last January - where life is a big black hole of uncertainty and self-perceived failure.
This January I am in a similar position. I've got a few things lined up, but so far 2014 is looking pretty sparse.
Unlike last year though, I'm not in panic mode. Of course I'm disappointed at the opportunities that haven't come through - but I don't feel defeated. I actually feel eager to see what this year will bring. If only I could have told my 2013 self all the bad ass and awesome contracts and opportunities that were coming up I could have spent a lot less time crying and feeling sorry for myself.
Let me be clear that I believe it is normal and healthy to feel sad sometimes and to get bummed out as an actor. There is nothing wrong with crying. But this year I'm not going to wallow in that reality. This year I look at this blank canvas in front of me and smile expectantly and think, "what's next?"