Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Logistics of the Show: LOST edition

So, over at Artistew (the conglomerate blog of artists I contribute to), it's LOST week.  So, today, we'll hit a little bit of a LOST vein.  Also, if you're not reading Artistew, you should be, it's way more interesting than this guy, because there are mutliple personalities running around in there (mine included). 

If you are a LOST fan, you no doubt noticed the lack of certain characters in the ending.  This irked the bejesus out of me.  What about Walt?  His dog was in the episode, but no Walt.  Remember waaaay back in Season 2 when Mr. Eko was building a church on the island?  Helllloooo?  Parallel to the church in the finale? I think so.  Then why no Mr. Eko?  Those I've talked to have their various explanations about these character's irrelevancy to the others, etc, but i still think it's lame.

MY instinct was, "Maybe all the actors weren't available."  I was told that this was indeed laughable, because LOST had more money than god, and could get ANYTHING they wanted for the finale, but it brought up the question to me, "What about the rest of us?"

What about those of us working on shows that don't have million dollar budgets?  We make sacrifices to our vision and have to re-write scenes and intentions to accomodate for the limitations of our budgets and the constraints of live theater.  Who is the better artist?  The one who sticks with their initial intentions, can afford everything they want and preserve the complete original integrity of their vision?  Or is it better to be the artist who can adapt a piece to a community and a budget? 

Some of us will find ourselves on a journey where we must adapt early in our careers and as we build our credibility and success we'll have the luxury of sticking to our guns, but will that make us better?  Aren't we always growing and improving when we're faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge and find a creative solution? 

So here's my conclusion to the LOST effect, clearly we had some really genius and creative people involved.  And they had some crazy ideas that turned into a black cloud monster/man in black/body snatcher of sorts (that turned out to be reallly cool), but because they could have WHATEVER THEY WANTED, we were also presented with polar bears, and characters who were kind of swept under the rug as they tried to tie up all the loose ends.  So kudos, LOST for presenting us with a fairly satisfying ending, in spite of the missing pieces created by your overindulgence.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why you have to put it in writing

I don't know about you, but I've got a pretty good memory.  Unfortunately, not everyone remembers things in the same way, or with the same terms.  We all know how vital it is to sign contracts for rentals, jobs, agreements, etc.  If it isn't in writing, it didn't happen, right?

So why is it that we make deals with ourselves all the time that we don't put into writing.  What did you tell yourself you were going to do this week?

"I'm going to eat healthy.  I'm going to see 3 shows.  I'm going to submit to 12 auditions.  I'm going to follow up with a potential investor.  I'm going to call my Grandma on her birthday.  I'm going to get 7 hours of sleep a night.  I'm going to write 4 blog posts."

Whatever it is that you put on your plate this week, I bet you didn't do it if you didn't put it in writing.  Putting menial, yet necessary tasks into your calendar and on a to-do list will skyrocket the likelihood that you get it done.  We're busy people, and if we don't build our priorities into our schedules we'll find something else to do, and before you know it, it's Sunday night and you've accomplished nothing you intended to accomplish.

(this photo from totally makes you want an android, no?)

I'm going to eat healthy into, I will purchase healthy items at the grocery store on Sunday at 3pm to prepare meals throughout the week.

I'm going to see 3 shows to, I'm seeing X on Tuesday at 7, Y on Thursday at 8, and Z at 2 on Saturday.

I'm going to submit to 12 auditions to 15 minutes every morning to browsing auditions and submitting (put it in your calendar, make it an alert on your alarm clock)

I'm going to follow up with a potential investor by calling her on Monday during my lunch break.

I'm going to call Grandma at 4pm on Tuesday.

I'm going to sleep 7 hours, Set a bedtime alarm and a morning alarm on your cell phone.  Lock it.

I'm going to write 4 blog posts to I'll submit my posts on Mon-Thurs at noon.

If you're anything like me, you'll see this and think, "I can't live my life so structured!  Things come up, I want to have room to be spontaneous!  I don't keep a calendar."  But I promise you, if you start scheduling your priorities, not only will you accomplish more, you'll find more time in your life.  More time= more opportunity to be unstructured and spontaneous.  Get the things you need to do out of the way by structuring them, and you open up the rest of your life to do whatever you want.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Karma's a Bitch

As luck would have it, I wrote an article about staying healthy and promptly got a cold.  Epic fail.   

Since I'm feeling congested and lazy, I'm throwing you a link this week:

It's the Emerging Leaders section of Americans for th Arts, ArtsBlog.  If you're not subscribed to their feed you should be.

Photo borrowed from

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Your Career v. Your Health

(Photo Borrowed from
 Have you ever gotten sick over tech week? Had to battle a cold on opening night? Most of us have experienced the, “I’m too busy to sleep, or eat, or exercise because I’m in “launch the show” mode”. This will inevitably leave you exhausted or sick, which decreases your personal efficiency and means you have to spend even more time getting everything done than you would have had you remained healthy. Actors tend to be better at this because, well, their bodies are their instruments and maintaining it is part of the job. Those of us on the production and business side of things tend to neglect our instruments. In order to break the vicious cycle of overworked and over-scheduled, here are a few tips to stay opening day healthy.

1. Start taking a multi-vitamin as soon as rehearsals start and continue until the show closes. Better yet, just take a multi-vitamin all the time since you’re probably too busy to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day.
2. Stock up on virus-fighting staples before shit hits the fan. Oranges are great because you don’t have to wrap or refrigerate them, just throw a couple in your bag and go! If you have a fridge at the theater, stock it with berries, pre-cut veggies and some probiotic yogurt.
3. While the rise of super-bacteria will probably make this null and void in a couple years, for now anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and a can of Lysol are pretty useful. Stock your office, the theater, even carry one around with you.
4. If you’re lucky enough to have an office, or a locker, or a corner to call your own at the theater, leave sneakers there. When you take that union mandated 15, power walk around the block a few times… make it staff thing, production meetings on the run! (kidding… sort of)
5. Make a priority list of your life for the next week. Cross of the bottom three items, replace with sleep. If you can’t cross anything off your list, and do you really need to go to your best friend’s wedding anyway, then cut commuting out of your day, pack a week’s worth of clothes and a sleeping bag and sleep at the theater.
6. In all seriousness, the best thing you can do is to make healthy lifestyle changes when you’re not busy, so that they become habits, then you’ll be better able to incorporate them into your life when you’re under fire.