Fun Facts About William Shakespeare

Of all the facts about Shakespeare, one of the oddest of all is that, although he is considered as the finest writer of the English Language that there has ever been, Shakespeare did not actually write all the words of some of his plays. In fact, some people say that William Shakespeare did not write…

Of all the facts about Shakespeare, one of the oddest of all is that, although he is considered as the finest writer of the English Language that there has ever been, Shakespeare did not actually write all the words of some of his plays. In fact, some people say that William Shakespeare did not write any of his works at all and that William Shakespeare was merely a pen name that was used by some other writers of his time. Whatever the truth, many of Shakespeare's words and phrases are still used in the English Language today. Here some more William Shakespeare facts that you may not have known.

We do not know how to spell Shakespeare's name

It is thought that Shakespeare's name is derived from the old English word 'schakken', which means spear, or to brandish. What we do not know to be a definite Shakespeare fact, though, is how he actually spelt his own name. This is due to the fact that the famous poet used different spellings of his own name and he often used abbreviations of it as well.

All the words of Shakespeare are not his own

It is a fact about William Shakespeare that he was a prolific writer. He wrote 154 poems and sonnets and 38 plays, but not all the words that are accredited to the bard of Avon were his own. It was quite common in those days for writers to delegate some of their writing to others and Shakespeare was no exception.

Shakespeare never intended his writing to be works of art

Today, people study the works of Shakespeare and they try to understand all the hidden meanings in his plays and in his poetry, hundreds of years after the death of the author. Shakespeare, though, had no interest in saving his plays for future generations; he was interested only in plays that would be popular in his day.

He was not loved by the critics

Even though his plays became extremely popular and he could count royalty among his many fans, the literary critics of the time were far less impressed by the writing of William Shakespeare. The man who is now known as the greatest writer of all time was called an “upstart crow, beautified with our feathers” by a critic of the time, Robert Greene, who believed that Shakespeare was nothing more than an upstart actor who was trying his hand at some writing.

Shakespeare acted in his own plays

Many facts about Shakespeare a little unclear and one such fact is exactly when and how he came to prominence in the world of theater. We do know that Shakespeare was an actor, as well as a playwright, and he did act in a lot of his own plays as well in the plays of other playwrights. He also disappeared for a period of time between the years of 1585 and 1592 during which time it is believed he may have been acting in London under an assumed name.

His own children were illiterate

One of the stranger facts about William Shakespeare is that it is believed that his own children could well have been illiterate. It is known that his father signed with his mark, rather than his signature, and William Shakespeare was probably the only person in his family who could read and write.

The Overwhelming Benefits of Supporting the Performing Arts

When budgets are cut in schools and communities, the first thing that takes a hit is the performing arts. While singing, dancing, and playing instruments might seem like a colossal waste of time to community leaders, they are some of the most important activities that you can have. If you are still on the fence,…

When budgets are cut in schools and communities, the first thing that takes a hit is the performing arts. While singing, dancing, and playing instruments might seem like a colossal waste of time to community leaders, they are some of the most important activities that you can have. If you are still on the fence, here are some reasons you should lend your support in your area.

Strong Communities

Performing arts are central to building a cohesive community. An area that has a vibrant community of music, dance, and drama allows kids to partake in things that are not just pop culture. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, communities that embrace the arts have higher child welfare, lower poverty, and higher civic engagement.

Cultivating Creative Industries

Creativity is an industry, and without performing arts, that industry can not exist. In an analysis by Dun and Bradstreet, around 756,700 businesses in the United States are involved in the creation and distribution of art. These businesses employ nearly three million people, representing approximately 2.17 percent of the workforce and 4.14 percent of all businesses. These businesses include museums, films, theaters, and symphonies.

Local organizations spend money within their community and are considered the cornerstones. It is estimated that consumers spend approximately $ 166 billion annually visiting museums, theaters, movies, and musical performances. These companies generate tax revenues of approximately $ 30 billion a year.

Local Merchants Benefit

When your communities have events like ballets, concerts, and plays, local merchants also benefit. Patrons spend an average of $ 27 on things like parking, babysitting, and meals the night of the event. If the attendees are non-local, meaning they live outside the area, they are likely to spend twice as much during their visit. This is a good thing for the local community.

Academic Performance

There is truth in the saying that those who participate in a performing arts program in school have better grades. Schools that ensure a rich program have students with higher GPAs and lower dropout rates. Their students learn memory skills and develop better attention skills, making them perform better at math and science.

This also translates into better SAT scores. Students who participate in school-based programs during their four-year high school career average 100 points higher on their SAT. This applies to all areas of the test: math, reading, and writing.

Workers

Even though the performing arts programs are usually first on the chopping block, having experience in these activities is important to employers. They want employees who can come up with creative solutions to problems, and having a degree in college arts can be essential. Even if the employee does not hold a degree, things like music, drawing, dance, and creative writing are skills that employers are interested in.

When you take away music, drama, and drawing to focus solely on reading and writing, kids are not going to have anything to read and write about.

How to Do Duo Tricks in a Lyra Hoop

In duo tricks, one partner is the person who holds onto the other person in a trick aka the base. The base must be strong and capable of holding their partners weight. The other role is the flyer, the person who tends to be smaller yet still strong and is being held while doing a…

In duo tricks, one partner is the person who holds onto the other person in a trick aka the base. The base must be strong and capable of holding their partners weight. The other role is the flyer, the person who tends to be smaller yet still strong and is being held while doing a trick. A couple of important notes: first, anytime a partner is climbing on to the top of the hoop the other partner MUST be holding onto the side of the hoop or bottom resisting the hoop to flip up or else your partner CAN get injured or fall out , secondly, when getting out of tricks wait for the flyer to call a “hup” indicating that they are back onto the hoop and holding on to otherwise if you try to come out of the trick before they are stable you might drop them. Both partners need to be flexible, strong, and have COMMUNICATION .

Praying Mantis

• Base

o Climb up to the top of the hoop and get in sitting position.

o Once your flyer is in the back balance position you can get into a double knee hang.

o After your double knee get in pencil position with one leg on each side of the hoop.

o Then arch your back and push through so that your face is in the same direction of your flyer.

o Then push your back leg into the hoop for support of your split.

o Your other leg will drop down into split so the flyer can wrap their ankles around your ankle.

o To come out of the trick wait for your flyers “hup” then go back into a double knee hang.

o Once partner is off, proceed to climb off.

Flyer

o Hold hoop while base is climbing to the top.

o Get onto the hoop in a double knee hang.

o Get into sitting position.

o Move into a back balance.

o Wait, while your partner pushes them face through to the same way you are.

o Once they drop their front leg down you may wrap your feet around their ankles. Squeeze your legs around their ankles.

o To come out of the trick grab back onto the hoop by your hips, call your “hup.”

o Go straight into a Birdsnest, then get back into a double knee hang.

o Climb off but make sure you keep holding on to the hoop even when you're off it so that the hoop does not flip up on your partner.

4 Types of Stage Lighting

Whether it is a professional or amateur production, lighting is an essential part of the set-up and based on creative inspiration and logical decisions. The stage lights are part of many different categories, such as those related to beam quality, shape, and size. Here are four of the most popular types of stage lights: Flood…

Whether it is a professional or amateur production, lighting is an essential part of the set-up and based on creative inspiration and logical decisions. The stage lights are part of many different categories, such as those related to beam quality, shape, and size. Here are four of the most popular types of stage lights:

Flood lights

The quality, shape, and size of the beam emitted from flood lights are rigid with no option to make adjustments. It is a popular choice for illuminating skies or backgrounds, but not so desirable for highlighting the actors. Flood lights can operate as a single light or combined with three or four other lights to provide a color mix. Most come with a reflector to make it easier to provide an even wash across a large space.

Soft spots

Soft spots are easier to control with the ability to adjust the beam shape and size. The quality of the light emitted is soft and even edged, and has minimal light spill outside the intended area. This type of light is more practical for the short throws, and is generally unsuitable for long throws.

Profile spots

The use of profile spots is suggested in the areas of stage lighting that needs precise control. Profile spots can be combined with shutters (hard edge) and iris diaphragm (round edge) to help create the desired shape and size. Also, purpose-made masks can be applied to help build the more unique shapes. Plus, the quality of the edge is adjustable by making changes to the lens setting.

Profile spots can vary from the standard beams to variable beams. A variable beam profile is helpful for those productions that intend to use a lot of edge qualities and beam angles. Also, the ability to make adjustments is more efficient and faster when using the variable spots.

Other options include the profile spots with a cool beam feature which has the ability to increase the output of light and lower power use.

Beam lights

Most of the stage lights are designed to emit a conical beam which means the light distances wider the further it travels. But this light remains consistent with a beam that remains parallel no matter the distance it is thrown. Plus, this light emitted from this type of light is a lot brighter than a spotlight of comparable strength. Beam lights are great for throwing deep colors because the light creates a deep haze in the air.

Finding My Way Back

When I was 5 years old I got my first drum, a tom tom given to me by a neighbor for Christmas. It came with a small wooden mallet that had a round, blue, rubber tip. A gray, rubber skin, tied down with thin course rope, kept the drum skin in place. I beat on…

When I was 5 years old I got my first drum, a tom tom given to me by a neighbor for Christmas. It came with a small wooden mallet that had a round, blue, rubber tip. A gray, rubber skin, tied down with thin course rope, kept the drum skin in place. I beat on that drum head night and day until my mother, who was not blessed with patience to begin with, stripped of it. I was not a happy camper when I found out that my one and only instrument had been unceremoniously terminated. Stricken with sadness and frustration, I pestered my parents to replace it, over and over but it was not to be. There would be no winning this battle so I gave up the fight, but my love of drumming was imprinted in my brain for all time. Over the years my fascination with drumming grew exponentially. As I entered adolescence I began to work on my parents in the hope of wearing them down. My father insured that I play a “nice” instrument like the piano or violin. “Every drummer I ever met was crazy.”, Was the psychology he used to try to derail my love affair with the drums. I never bothered to ask him how many drummers he had actually met that was playing the drums, but I had met more than a few people who were not playing with a full deck that got there without ever playing a paradiddle.

Flash forward a few years. I'm 19, in college, and after putting it off for an eternity, I tell my parents that I've found a good drum teacher, a job and I'm going to pay for my lessons and drum kit on my own. This time victory is mine.

Over the next 15 years I developed some skills and in spite of my acute fear of failure and rejection I started to play semi-professionally; bar-mitzvahs, weddings, rock bands, jam sessions and an assortment of freelance gigs. The problem was I lacked discipline and focus. I wanted instantaneous results. I yearned for fame and all its trappings. I had zero understanding of process. If I could not “master” something the first time out it was because I was incapacitated, lacking in talent, and / or intelligence. I did not understand the time, energy and effort it took to master any instrument. When I did practice I neglected all the things that presented me with difficulties. There were specific elements of my instrument that required my full attention, but when faced with any challenge I retreated to that safe and extremely unrewarding place called limbo. Sometimes the rejection got the better of me and I folded my hand and cashed out.

Over the years regrets were mounting and I knew in my heart I was living an unfulfilled life. I was now traveling down a road that was filled with compromise with no room for dreams. I opted for jobs that were “a means to and end”. But there was no end. The trip was always the same. I paid my fare and ended up in the same place with the same predictable stops along the way. The clock was ticking. It was time for a life-altering change. I was headed to no man's land if I failed to confront my flaws and limitations and learn the importance of self-awareness as it pertains to all the relationships in my life. A new and exciting journey was in front of me. If I wanted my life to change. If I wanted to find meaning in the things I did I had to change myself. No one could do it for me. And that's exactly what I did. Like anything in life it was not always a day at the beach but there were important lessons to be learned and I was learning them. Every aspect of my life was improving. In college I became a part of an improv group. I was writing and acting and living and loving every minute of it. Occasionally I participated in an underground TV production called “Video Madness”. After encouragement from my wife and fellow actors I went on to formally train with the amazing Tim Phillips. By this time I firmly understand what it means to focus and persevere. To achieve any success I would have to work hard and understand that success would not be handed to me on a silver platter. Sam Goldwyn said, “The harder I work the luckier I get.” I was going to have to work hard to make some luck of my own. Now when I took a job I did so with a sense of purpose. No full-time jobs for me. Every job I took was in support of my dreams. I was not going to back down or give up. I was not going to succumb to an unfulfilled life. I had chosen my path and I was going to stick to it. And I have.

Today I am fully involved in my acting studio that I started in 1988. Two years ago I began studying the drums again with the remarkable Dave Meade. I am back on track do the things I love and need to do to maintain balance in my life. I know and understand that life is always going to present me with challenges but rather than shrink from them I welcome them as opportunities for growth and change. I would not have it any other way.

The Road to Being a Professional Standup Comedian

In comedy one of the worst things you can do is create a group of friends who you only hang out with or do shows with. Because every time you do a show, you will always use the same people in your group. I have seen hundreds of good rooms get destroyed by new comedians…

In comedy one of the worst things you can do is create a group of friends who you only hang out with or do shows with.

Because every time you do a show, you will always use the same people in your group.

I have seen hundreds of good rooms get destroyed by new comedians who start a great open mic room. The first month, everything is great and the room is always packed. However, the following month they start losing people, and they can not figure out why there is nobody in the room anymore or why the restaurant owner has become fed up and stopped the comedy.

The number one room killer is comedy groups, in which the same people keep trying to tell the same old jokes. Perhaps they have gotten so comfortable that they do not even care about writing funny material anymore; they get on stage and bullshit their way through their act and bore the audience.

When starting a new room, I have learned to always make sure you get a lot of comedians involved. For instance, you can host the room and maybe rotate your friends to host.

New comedians with new rooms, we love to host our rooms because it's our room, but sometimes we forget to be original and write new jokes every week. When hosting a weekly room, sometimes it's hard to come up with new material every week, and you do not want your small fan base to memorize your whole routine. It's not like you have a team that writes for you like nightly shows such as Jimmy Fallon or Trevor Noah.

Once more, do not have a group of friends that you only work with. As a new comedian, spread your wings and work with everyone. You never know who may point you in the right direction when the time comes.

But also in the comedy industry, do not do something good expecting something in return. Some of these comedians do not know what reciprocity means; they just want stage time from everyone but will never call you back or even remember to put you on anything. It's all about themselves.

When hosting your own room, always be aware of the fake friends too. People will smile and be so friendly to you and act close to you just to get stage time, but if someone asked them, “Why do you like the host?” they would not know how to answer, because it's all fake smiles.

Be aware of these fake friends with fake smiles. The same people want your room. They want your room, and they will go behind your back and try to talk to the club, bar, or restaurant owner to replace you because they noticed your weakness and want to replace you by fixing it. So they mention it to the venue owner or manager instead of sharing it with you.

Travel for open mics. You do not want to be the funny guy in one city and end up just a funny guy in one city, and every time you tell a joke it's about your city, it ends up sounding like an inside joke.

Example: You live in New York and all of your jokes are about the NY subway, NY homeless people, NY tourists, and NY location … sometimes those jokes may not translate well in Oklahoma.

If you live in NY, go to Philly, DC, Baltimore; go do some stage time, find groups and rooms via social media and invest in yourself if you want to make comedy your career.

You can catch a bus from DC to / from NY for $ 40.

Be aware of NY open mics. Most of them do bringer shows for new comedians. You have to invite your friends and family to the show, so it becomes very limited, and by the time you do 2-3 open mics, all of your friends and family have memorized your routine. I'm not sure yet how bringer shows started … I have not done any research about it, but it could be because the host has aborted the crowd by putting 20 comedians in one show, or maybe NY only has so much to offer .

Most of these rooms are done wrong. As a new comedian, you approach the venue owner excited and despaired and you end up negotiating some shitty deal. Most of the rooms that I hosted open mics for, I have gotten something out of the venue: $ 50 or more and free drinks for comedians that are performing. You have to remember, if you host a good show and people are coming to see you, that means the venue is making money. Even new comedians sometimes should at least get one free drink; instead you end up inviting 10 of your friends who pay $ 10 or more each and all you get is five minutes of stage time … What a rip off.

Then you have Los Angeles, full of talented comedians and a lot of bitters. A lot of comedians, as soon they start making a name for themselves they rush to Los Angeles to make it big: for 20% it works out and for 80% it does not. And what you are left with are bitter comedians that have been doing comedy for over 15 years and are still trying to make it. As a newcomer with less than 10 years, trying to move to LA can be career suicide. It's like starting a new job and getting promoted to supervisor while someone who has been with the company for over 20 years is your new protégé.

My suggestions, once you have gotten your strong 45 minutes, you should get together with 2-3 other comedians (mix it up: female, white, black, Indian, Chinese) and form a tour.

In the beginning, make sure you have a flexible job that pays your bills, unless you live with family. But make sure you can afford to travel here and there … Anyway, I have many more stories on how to travel as a new comedian, but I can not cover everything in a single post.

Successful Actors Have These Things in Common

Why do some people succeed in the acting world when others do not? Is it always down to talent or do you find that, sometimes, there are actors who have completed three years at prestigious drama schools and are outstanding talent, who are stuck in a rut, or even give up, while a new actor…

Why do some people succeed in the acting world when others do not? Is it always down to talent or do you find that, sometimes, there are actors who have completed three years at prestigious drama schools and are outstanding talent, who are stuck in a rut, or even give up, while a new actor with minimal training and mediocre skill is flying to the top?

This does sometimes happen! Why? Have you ever watched a TV series or soap and thought to yourself “There are many more talented actors out there, how did they book the job?

No! They are not lucky.

Being successful has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with attitude. To stop being ordinary, we need to do things that ordinary people do not do and think in a way that sets us apart from the rest. Do we need talent? Yes! But having talent alone is not enough. We need to have the kind of people that others will want to work with and the sort of attitude that means success is the only option, regardless of how many knock backs we face on the way.

Successful actors have certain qualities in common. If we want to follow their path, we need to mimic their behaviors consistently.

Here are some things that successful actors do differently …

They are passionate about acting

In an industry where there are more more players than there are jobs, it is essential for us to have passion for our craft. Those that are in it for fame, fortune or whatever else will not last long term- they tend to get bored and give up when they realize how hard they actually have to work.

They have a lot of strength and determination

Not many people can take rejection after rejection, brush it off and carry on but that is exactly what actors constantly need to do. It takes strength and determination to keep going after each knock back, it takes guts to put ourselves out there as actors to be critiqued by the public and it takes courage to keep stepping out of our comfort zones to move forward.

Patience

As the famous saying goes, it takes ten years to become an overnight success. This is real life, not a fairy tale, we are highly unlikely to be spotted by Steven Spielberg when we're at Tesco's doing the weekly shop. It will not happen overnight. It takes a long time to build relationships and a good reputation in the industry. As with other jobs, we start at the bottom and work our way up.

Confidence

If we do not believe in ourselves then why should others believe in us? We have to believe in our skills and believe in our ability to succeed. Our confidence needs to be stronger than our fear for us to be able to put ourselves out there without fear of failure, and of people's opinions holding us back. We need confidence to be able to say yes to new challenges, and no to the things that will not benefit us. It's confidence that will keep us moving forward and testing our limits.

Positivity

Positive actors see the best in everything and as a result, are happier and more motivated. Instead of dwelling on problems, they think of a way around them.

The actors who have a positive attitude make others around them feel good- it is contagious! Who would you rather be with on set- the actor who is moaning that they are tired, cold, hungry and bored or the actor who is having a great time despite being up at 4am and being outside all day in the middle of November?

Willpower

Are you able to resist short term temptations for long term gain?

You've had a hard day at work all you feel like doing is crashing in front of the TV. Do you still go to your acting class?

You had set aside an evening to start preparing your role in a film you have been cast in but a friend you have not seen in months calls to invite you to the pub for a few drinks. Do you go?

After a crazy few weeks, you are really looking forward to a day off tomorrow and have planned a day of relaxation. Your agent calls you to tell you that you're booked in for a commercial audition, 4 hours away, at 9am that day. Do you go?

It's easy to talk ourselves out of doing something we do not feel like doing at that particular time but to get ahead, we need to be consistent with our efforts.

They get on well with people

I have known many instances where an actor fit a role perfectly but was not chosen because they were not easy to get on with. It's simple- nobody wants to work with a diva or someone who is argumentative, and word does get around.

They look after their bodies

Healthy body, healthy mind. Enough said.

They realize that there is always more to learn

We should always be driving to learn more and to improve. Why settle for mediocrity when we can continue learning to be the best we can possibly be?

They follow instruction well

Follow instruction carefully. During a scene, on set, at an audition, when applying for jobs … All of the time! It shows professionalism and that we will be easy to work with.

Self-reliance

We are in control of our own futures- do not rely on anyone else. Have not booked a job for a while? Instead of blaming your agent / the industry / producers / your pet dog, take a look at what you could be doing to help yourself. Do you need new headshots? Are your CV's and online profiles up to date? Are you applying for your own work? Networking?

Take control of your future, be consistent with the above and see how your career changes for the better. Do what others refuse to do and that's what will give you the edge!

Beauty and the Beast: Our Favorite Childhood Story

There are various forms of depicting art and very few can match up to that of musicals. Very often we get bored while watching a play with monologues and loads of drama. Now if the jig is in musical form, it definitely gets more interesting. At certain plays, each and every dialogue is in the…

There are various forms of depicting art and very few can match up to that of musicals. Very often we get bored while watching a play with monologues and loads of drama. Now if the jig is in musical form, it definitely gets more interesting. At certain plays, each and every dialogue is in the form of songs and that is quite entertaining. Also, the more soothing the music, the better. The audience also has to pay more attention at musicals and at times they may not gauge the dialogues if it's sung too fast.

Now who has not heard of Beauty and the Beast while growing up? It's been one of the most popular stories for kids and is loved by one and all. It told us the story of a merchant and his three daughters of which two were extremely selfish and rude while the third, Beauty was kind at heart and found happiness in small things. Even when her father leaves for work, she only tells him to get a rose on his return while the sisters ask for jewelery.

Once the merchant leaves his home, he ends up in a house with a beast. On her father's return, Beauty goes to the house and meets the Beast and after repeated marriage proposals from him, she still refuses. She only realizes her love for him when she returns home and sees him fall down. Now will he be her prince charming and will they live happily ever after is what forms the rest of the story.

There is also another version of Beauty and the Beast where most of Beast's part is changed. While the original claimed that the Beast was formed due to not helping a lady at her time of need while the other states that he was turned into a beast by an evil fairy who seduced him in the form of a queen.

Even though there are two versions both of them are really fun to watch and read about. Also, there have been many adaptations of the story. From television shows to theater play to feature films, the Beauty and the Beast story has been everywhere. In fact Disney is planning to release a film on it in 2017. We're sure this film will meet with an incredible response as kids love watching films that are based on their favorite story books. This year also saw the release of Cinderella, a film based on the book and it starred actors like Cate Blanchett and Richard Madden.

Working With the Inner Critic

Being an actor looks like the most fun job in the world. You ostensibly get to “play pretend” for a living. But sometimes for myself, and perhaps for you, it is not fun. When my inner critic gets involved, it can suck all of the joy out of the process. I spent a few years…

Being an actor looks like the most fun job in the world. You ostensibly get to “play pretend” for a living. But sometimes for myself, and perhaps for you, it is not fun. When my inner critic gets involved, it can suck all of the joy out of the process.

I spent a few years solely teaching and not acting because putting my ass out there was too scary. This thing I used to love stopped being fun because my inner critic got so loud that it might as well have been called my “inner bully.” Recently I've come to realize that avoiding acting (or whatever your creative craft is) does not make the fear go away, it just shows up in other aspects of your life – creative or otherwise.

A few weeks ago, I started taking an art class. I used to love painting and I thought it would be fun to take a figure drawing class. I was having a great time doing gesture drawing when the teacher came up to me and made an innocent comment: “Do not go over that line you just drew.” I froze up. The pleasure of creating went away and that seemingly innocuous statement activated my inner critic. “You do not belong here.” “It was a mistake to sign up for this class.” “You do not know how to draw.” “You're the worst artist here.”

Then I got mad! How dare my inner critic show up here! This was something I was supposedly to be doing purely for fun. Is my inner critic going to show up and steal my pleasure and my joy every time I do something creative?!? That's not fair!

I had thought my inner critic only came out to play when I was acting. Now I realized it will rear its ugly head no matter what the creative endeavor. I've been giving fear way too much power in my life. It's been dictating what I do and do not do. And the more power it has, the less joy I experience.

The inner critic is always going to be there looking for the right moment to strike. If I can not get it out of my head completely, how can I work with it so it does not control me? I have a few ideas:

  • Recognize it for what it is. It is the voice of fear; it is NOT your true voice.
  • Treat it as something separate from yourself. Imagine your inner critic as a friend who sits next to you. Would you let someone speak to you the way your inner critic does? I would not! Say to your inner-critic, “Thanks for the input, but I got this!”
  • Acknowledge the fear is there. Do not deny it. Do your creative work anyway. By not practicing your creative work, you've shown the inner critic that it's powerful, that it can control you and can prevent you from being creative. Instead, “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
  • Take time to journal. Writing down what you're inner critic says can be so helpful because when you see it on the page, you can call it out for the bullish * t that it is. Writing it down will help you discover what is underneath the critic and that is a huge step towards quieting its voice.
  • Take time for stillness every day. Meditate or go inward in a way that works for you. Meditation has a cumulative effect that will start showing up in other areas of your life. When you meditate, you're a more centered human. And when you're centered in yourself that voice is not going to be nearly as loud. Plus, you'll be able to recognize the “inner critic” more quickly (rather than falsely identifying the voice as your own).

Feeling Alive

Last night I was fortunately enough to participate in a monthly meet-up with fellow Miller Voice Method teachers-in-training. The meet-up was overseen by Scott Miller, head teacher of the Miller Voice Method. Another teacher and I led the exercises for the evening. It was really inspiring to be in a room with other like-minded teachers…

Last night I was fortunately enough to participate in a monthly meet-up with fellow Miller Voice Method teachers-in-training. The meet-up was overseen by Scott Miller, head teacher of the Miller Voice Method. Another teacher and I led the exercises for the evening. It was really inspiring to be in a room with other like-minded teachers and artists. After a long slow August, my soul was yearning to be filled up with movement and inspiration. I found that at last night's meeting in spades.

It got me thinking how important it is for us artists (and indeed for all humans) to seize opportunities to feel fully alive. I do not know about you, but when I'm not doing things that make me feel alive it turns my whole world gray. And yet it's incredibly easy to fall into a place of complacency where we stop exercising our creativity. Sometimes we feel like we want to experience aliveness but no one is giving us the opportunity to do so. The truth is we can always give ourselves that opportunity, we do not need to wait for anyone, such as a casting director, to give it to us.

As actors, we experience connection to our aliveness when we are acting. It's usually a big part of the reason we started acting in the first place. But what happens when we have not booked work in awhile? Or we have not been on an audit in three months permanently being submitted constantly? Many of us despair when this happens. We beat ourselves up or decide it's time to give up and find a “real job.” But the healthier option would be to connect to our aliveness. I would almost guarantee that it will bring you out of despair and remind you why you started acting in the first place.

What do I mean by “connect to our aliveness”? I mean doing things that make you feel 100% alive and present. Connecting to your aliveness is about doing things that you love. It's about being open to what's happening in the present moment. It's akin to the feeling of skydiving out of an airplane and trusting that your parachute is going to open so you allow yourself to enjoy the journey back to earth.

How often have you wanted to take an acting class but did not because you did not feel like you had the time? Or the money? Or sometimes you talked yourself out of doing something because you could not be sure that you would like it. Our brain has a lot of tricks and rationalizations that often talk us out of making a move. It's good to not over-commit yourself and to weigh your options, but sometimes our brains work too well at impulse control. This can cause us to feel “stuck” as artists. And since our artist is such an integral part of who we are, we not only feel stuck as artists, but also as human beings.

As actors, we often have to do other things aside from our art to pay the rent. That's why it's so important to nurture our inner artists so that we feel happy, fulfilled, and alive in our personal and professional lives.

I encourage you to make a move to connect to your aliveness. It does not have to be taking an acting class; it could just be inviting a few friends over to read a play out loud. It could be something unrelated to acting or what we think of as creativity, such as getting out in nature or taking a great yoga class or an art class or going dancing with friends. There are so many options that will take you out of your “stuck-place” and put you right back into your passion. And when you're connected to your passion, your creative tank gets refueled and your inner artist comes back to life.

I Know What I’m Doing – Not Likely

Most young people entering the entertainment industry have a myopic view about the paths to success. These preconceive notions are often laden with misinformation and false assumptions. Such thinking limits opportunities, narrows the possibilities to learn ones craft, connect with industry people, and promote one's self. So convince they know the way, they attempted the…

Most young people entering the entertainment industry have a myopic view about the paths to success. These preconceive notions are often laden with misinformation and false assumptions. Such thinking limits opportunities, narrows the possibilities to learn ones craft, connect with industry people, and promote one's self. So convince they know the way, they attempted the same approach repeatedly and the result is a stagnating career.

It's almost a religious belief that their way is the only way and no one is going to change their minds. Their undying faith is testament to their confidence and determination; however, when their thinking is erroneous bad things happen. Let me give you a few examples:

One assumption is that graduating from a leading acting or writing school provides special entry into the industry. The huge numbers of well-educated artists that fail to get a foothold in this industry demonstrates such thinking is faulty. They end up subsisting on low paying jobs while waiting for their big break. The same applies to studying with prominent drama and writing instruors.

Another assumption is that getting representation is the key to being successful. This too is a fallacy, as having an agent or manager does not guarantee jobs. Emerging actors and writers spend huge amounts of time and money trying to attract recognition from reps only to be disappointed with the results.

A great promotional package is another assumption. Thinking that great pictures and a classy resume are the answers can likewise lead to a dead end. Attracting recognition this way is faulty because it sidesteps the key question, can you do the job? Approaching your career in this way can not only be disappointing but also extremely expensive.

Probably the biggest mistake is assuming entry into the union will put one on easy street. Statistics by unions discount this assumption in a brutal way. Of the 165,000 players in the SAG-AFTRA only 20% are estimated to be working at any one time. Scott Frank's mid 2012 article “How Many Actors Are in LA,?” calculated the number to be 108,640 union actors. One has to rise above this competition. And that figure does not include the many non-union and student actors looking for work. SAG-AFTRA does not release earning figures of its membership.

The Writer's Guild is no better. Of its 8500 plus Guild members, only 55% worked in 2012, according to the most recent study. However, median earnings for all employed writers were quite high, around $ 120,000, employed being the operative work. When you take away the huge salaries of top earners, likely in the millions, the figures for emerging writers become less encouraging.

Another fallacy is thinking that social media exposure will attract industry recognition. Being on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn has little to do with your artistic abilities. In addition, the decision-makers are not likely to follow you on these sites. So your promotional efforts do not reach the people who would interview and possibly hire you. While having thousands of followers may tip the scales in your favor, it's not the ultimate hiring factor.

Newcomers to the industry have a linier mindset, certain that if they plan, do this and this and then this, they will have a successful career. While such thinking is comforting, it does not always provide results. If, however, they accepted the fact they might be completely ignorant about what is best for their career, it would open up their curiosity into the unknown. If you want to open doors, you first need to open the windows of enlightenment-a lot of windows. You need to recognize the limits of a structured education and come to appreciate that questions often due as much attention as answers.

People tend to think that not knowing is a bad thing, that ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Ignorance can be a good thing, especially when accepted. It creates a state of mind focusing on uncertainties and this fosters exploration and discovery. We then enter a world where questions are just as important as answers. We discover our inadequacies that we do not understand almost as much about our craft as we first thought. Instead of emphasizing the clarity of knowledge we enter a world of intriguing ambiguities, one where curiosity and discovery flourish.

In such an environment, what is the ultimate question, the one you should be asking? That question would be, “What do I need to know and do to work in this industry? What are the crafts, techniques, and abilities that will make you a successful entity?” These answers can come from anywhere.

Most entries into the industry were spoon fed knowledge and seldom had to fend for their own training. Writers and actors, to be truly successful in the long run, have to rely on a do-it-yourself education. It's not enough to take classes and workshops; one has to pursue ones craft as a life-long opportunity to continue improvement. Likewise, the styles and demands of writing and acting change and one has to be ready to adapt. Self-education is the most efficient way to stay up to date.

The first step in this DIY education is to acknowledge that you do not have all the answers, that you are too myopic to see the opportunities available. The next step is to seek out the knowledge you need and locate it. It could be in libraries, books, periodicals, movies, plays, DVDs, scripts, TV shows, Internet, classes and workshops.

But most important will be the guidance and input by industry professionals. For players, these professionals could be agents, managers, casting managers, producers, screenwriters, directors and accomplished players. For screenwriters, these professionals could be agents, managers, managers, script readers, story editors, producers, screenwriters and directors. There are numerous organizations that provide entrée to these professionals, some of which are free, others require payment. Television series such as Inside the Actor's Studio and Variety's Actors on Actors provide additional insights into this profession.

For writers, there's the Screenwriter's Foundation Meet and Greet, an event put on by the Writer's Guild. There are also teaser classes put on by various writing schools and instructors and most of these are listed on InfoList.com to which you should subscribe. I also find that the extras on DVDs likewise provide a wealth of information on the arts. A membership to Netflix.com is a worthy investment.

Parents, teachers, and fellow students influence those entering this industry; however this group tends to be conservative thinkers. Their platitudes of hard work, stick at it, and get a good education often lead newcomers in the wrong direction. It condones busy repetitive activity instead of a proactive focus on one's craft. It leads to a rigid approach rather than omnibus one, one exploring multiple pathways.

How one approaches career decisions is indicative of the success / failure ratio. Many take the path of least resistance, following the herd, doing just enough to get by. They fulfill class assignments, do their scenes, and subsist on meager accolades and shallow critiques. They go through the motions learning little in a small safe environment. They avoid venturing out seeking learning opportunities. In essence, they are kept up in the ruts of a well-traveled roadway, prodding along never unaware of their true potential.

One's attitude is also relevant. An ego driven approach typically results in failure as the focus is on self rather than serving the needs of a project or company. Here the inner mantra is “Hey, look at me, look at me,” rather than, “How we can make this work.” A more successful inner voice might be “How can I help you, or what can I do to make things better.”

The attribute of confidence is likewise overblown as it usually sets one off on a single path that if wrong results in failure. In addition, the authoritarian attitude shuts out counter views and opportunities to expand ones knowledge. A dabble of ignorance can be a blessing, especially if one is aware of it, as it promotes curiosity to question and find effective knowledge, things that actually works.

Many newcomers have this thing about keeping the dream alive, that letting it happen is better than doing something. Such thinking overlooks the fact that craft, techniques, and good old fashion knowhow jump serendipity. If you really want to keep the dream alive, why not take control of the process, of your career and be proactive. Instead of waiting for something to happen, get out there and learn what is required to do the job. When you spend more time learning than dreaming, wonderful things can happen.

Are you actually developing your craft or are you going through the motions of being a student, playing the role of a struggling actor or writer. Rather than bemoaning your fate, look for ways to develop your tools and skills. Such actions take control of your dreams and make them a reality.

In seeking knowledge, costs become a relevant factor. Newcomers are usually strapped for cash and instead of bargain hunting; one should seek the best value for funds available. Knowledge has no anchor. It can come from anywhere, from an instructor, a video, a book, or a clip by a proficient actor or writer. Likewise, if your first words are, “How much does it cost?” then you could be losing out on more effective opportunities. Quality and value should be your first considerations, what are you getting for your money. What useful skills, techniques, knowledge and critiques are you receiving in return for your funds?

The same goes for actor's promotional items such as pictures, resume, cover letters, and video demos. For writers, sample scripts and story proposals should likewise be first rate presentations. Before submitting these promotional elements, seek out appraisals by industry professionals. When these promotional pieces display your knowhow, your craft, your ability to do the job, then they have purpose. Then you will receive due consideration.

What assures success? What pathways provide the greatest opportunity for advancement? These are the questions neophytes should be asking. My answer to these questions is one trumpeted by many completed members of the entertainment industry. Learn what you need to know to do your job. Learn how to implement this knowledge and then learn how to do it brilliantly so people will hire you. Learn is the operative word and it's a process many newcomers avoid.

Instead of pursuing the skills that employers want newcomers focus their time and money on representation, union entry, networking and promotional materials. They self-destruct with rationalizations. Some use the cop out stating, “I'm keeping busy.” I'm taking this scene study workshop. You'll note that only one of these activities has to do with improving craft. The rest have to do with promotion. It may be that promotion is easier to accomplish while craft requires a defect commitment, a sustained obsession to learn.

There is so much more a person can do to accumulate the skills and techniques required for one's profession. Formal education is not enough. Certificates and diplomas do not fulfill the need. Private coaching meets only a small portion of one's knowledge base. One must go beyond these traditional methods and pursue the skills and knowledge to do the job and do it brilliantly. And if you question yourself about what you are doing, that uncertainty is a good thing for it fosters a defect and wider pursuit into one's craft.

7 Ways To Make Use Of Your Time Backstage and Book More Burlesque Gigs

7 ways to make use of your time backstage and get rebooked for a Burlesque Gig Making the most of your time backstage before a show, can lead to more bookings not just at that show but at other shows. Steer clear of gossip – When the gossip starts to flow, tune out. You can…

7 ways to make use of your time backstage and get rebooked for a Burlesque Gig

Making the most of your time backstage before a show, can lead to more bookings not just at that show but at other shows.

  1. Steer clear of gossip – When the gossip starts to flow, tune out. You can try changing the subject or ask if your friend can tell you the dirt after the performance.
  2. Ditch negative attitudes – Do not spend all of your backstage time bitching about everything that went wrong that day. It's a huge time waster. It may be at the forefront of your mind, but your words of frustration may also be misconstrued by others.
  3. It's okay to be a diva, but not demanding – You can be goddess like, but know that you are not a god. You are not above anyone else backstage even if you are the headliner.
  4. Be a Giver – Head backstage with the plan of giving: give compliments (only honest ones), give hugs, give laughs, give pastie tape if asked, and give advice if asked. When you give, you will receive something. The exchange can be an excellent use of your time.
  5. Focus on the task at hand – Remember you are there to do a job. Focus on doing that job well. Every time I work with Apathy Angel or Essence Revealed, I'll see them steal away from the group, pop in some phones and go over their choreography. Take a moment to focus on your craft before hitting the stage.
  6. Express how you enjoy being a part of the show via social media – This is not the same as taking selfies or tweeting about your new costume. A great selfie would include a message about the show. For example: “So glad to be back at The Glamor Show with So and So. #bestburlesque” You just told the world where you are and how you felt about being there. You showed you wanted to be at the show. Be sure to tag the show! The producer will appreciate your comments and remember you as a person who enjoyed being at the show.
  7. Gratitude is a Great Attitude – Say thank you to the producers, the crew, your cast mates, and anyone who contributed to your success that night. Dolly Debutante once wave me a hand written note after a show. It always stuck with me that this performer had taken the time to do something so thoughtful. 4 years later I still have that hand written note.

Making the most of your backstage time can help you create magic on stage. Here's just a few ways that magic can lead to more bookings:

  • The happy audience gets on social media and compliments your performance, so leading to request from others for you to perform in their shows.
  • The happy producer will rebook you for your talent and pleasant demeanor.
  • The dancers you met backstage may become producers themselves one day and keep you in mind for their new show.
  • The venue manager may call you for a private event.
  • The happy producer may mention you to another producer in a positive way when asked for a booking recommendation.

Are Competitive Festivals Good for Amateur Drama?

It's a question which is often asked, why should those, who do this for fun, be judged or reviewed? Praised or criticized? The answer is that by receiving help and constructive critiques, suggestions and advice groups and individuals can improve their skills and then improve both their, and their audience's, appreciation and enjoyment. A Brief…

It's a question which is often asked, why should those, who do this for fun, be judged or reviewed? Praised or criticized?

The answer is that by receiving help and constructive critiques, suggestions and advice groups and individuals can improve their skills and then improve both their, and their audience's, appreciation and enjoyment.

A Brief Introduction

Drama festivals are held all over the UK and offer one-act plays or full-length plays and present many genres so there is something for everyone's taste. The best thing is they offer variety – Where else might you see a farce, a musical comedy and an extract from a Greek tragedy all in one night? Usually, for a very reasonable price.

Festivals can be a week-long, a weekend or even just a day. Many are affiliated to the two major festival associations – The National Drama Festival Association (NDFA) and the All England Theater Festival (AETF) There are similar festivals in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The AETF is a knock-out competition with preliminary rounds, quarter and semi-finals until the English Final winners meet the winners from Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland in the British Final. These are held at different venues every year.

The NDFA festivals winners are chosen to appear in a week of all winners at their annual final. The standard at both finals is of very high quality.

What do festivals need? A good organization and committee who work tirelessly to present an enjoyable event. Enthusiastic teams and of course plays! More and more groups are choosing to enter plays, often penned by their members or selected from one of the script websites available online which also arrange performance licenses but of course there are hundreds of published plays available to suit every taste and budget.

Finally, they need an adjudicator or team of judges who are usually qualified professionals. They mark the competitive teams for presentation, direction, acting and overall dramatic achievement (usually keeping to strict marking procedure set by The Guild. GoDA.) They can offer spoken or written adjudications and award trophies, medals and prizes, some of which have a monetary value.

New plays are being seen every year; some going on to win playwriting competitions. Teams now seem to want to try exciting new ideas including physical and experimental theater and festivals are a great way to try out new talent in writing, directing and acting giving young people and new members great opportunities.

The festival circuit can be exciting, enjoyable and challenging while presenting their audiences with both new and tradition theater experiences. Seek out a festival near you – you may be surprised to find there is a wealth of talent in your area you never knew.

5 Biggest Myths About Learning Burlesque

1. Real burlesque performers look like Dita Von Teese. Nope. Heather Sweet is gorgeous and she has styled her stage persona Dita Von Teese to look like a 1940's pinup. Take a moment to check out videos of dames from the Golden Age of burlesque and you'll see that the ladies came in all shapes…

1. Real burlesque performers look like Dita Von Teese.

Nope. Heather Sweet is gorgeous and she has styled her stage persona Dita Von Teese to look like a 1940's pinup. Take a moment to check out videos of dames from the Golden Age of burlesque and you'll see that the ladies came in all shapes and sizes. African American, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicanpite popular belief burlesque has always been melting pot with ladies of varying waist sizes. Yep, it was not uncommon to see a size 12 dress backstage.

2. Real burlesque is danced to big band swing music.

While classic burlesque is mostly danced to music from the past, the gals in the 40's were not dancing to music from 1910. They were strutting to the hot jazz beats that the house band played, the current music of the time. Today, burlesque is danced to songs from various genres including: pop, rock, country, hip hop, and R & B.

3. Burlesque is not really dancing. Just big costumes and shiny props.

Today there are a number of performers masquerading as burlesque dames, as they hide behind elaborate props and costumes. Can you imagine going to see an actor on Broadway only to find that they do not know their lines? That actor could only get so far on charm. Back in the 40's burlesque producers had in house choreographers who dropped girls from the Chorus line and trained them to move like a star. These ladies were not born with the gift of dance and they spent many hours learning to bump, grind, strut, and shimmy to please audiences.

4. Burlesque is easy. Anyone who can walk in heels can do it.

Getting started in Burlesque can be easy, but staying in the game is hard. Think of burlesque as a love letter. If you received a letter a day saying, “I love you” that would get pretty boring after a few days. Now if you received a poem one day, flowers the next, and a candle lit dinner the day after that, chances are you feel like someone really does love you (or at least wants your attention). Figuring out how to say I love you through burlesque is not easy, but then either is walking in high heels. With practice both get easier over time.

5. All burlesque performers get naked.

Nope. While some producers and audiences may only think of pasties when they think of burlesque there are many burlesque acts that do not involve stripping. Many states still have old cabaret laws that restrict the amount of flesh a woman can show in public. To remain in accord with the law performers would dance in flesh colored bras and full colored bottoms. Some even worn flesh colored body stockings. Many burlesque performers today still use these tricks during their burlesque acts.

The Best Job for Actors – HINT: It’s NOT Waiting Tables!

This is NOT your typical actor job post. I've read SO many of those it makes me nauseated … I'm not here to tell you waitressing or bartending, or whatever, is a good “actor” job. Because it's not. Have you ever been a waitress? Well, if not, I hate to spoil it for you, but…

This is NOT your typical actor job post. I've read SO many of those it makes me nauseated …

I'm not here to tell you waitressing or bartending, or whatever, is a good “actor” job.

Because it's not.

Have you ever been a waitress? Well, if not, I hate to spoil it for you, but it sucks. Some people are really good at waitressing. I was not one of those people. I admire those who work in the food service industry because that is one arena of hell I do not thrive in.

Let me tell you why waitressing is NOT good for any actor and can lead to missed opportunities and ruining your auditions. After my rant, I'll give you a solution.

First, waitressing is NOT flexible. Whatever what you've been told, it's anything but flexible.From my own experience, finding someone to cover your shift is a huge pain in the you-know-what. No one wants to cover your shift because they're already thinking their.

To make matters more frustrating, your co-workers are unreachable through the ever-annoying HotSchedules app that every restaurant seems to use. Plus, your boss / managers are not there to help you find someone to cover your shift. Without your manager / boss is an actual angel themselves, your on your own. If you can not find someone to cover your shift, tough bananas. Your working and not auditioning. (Without you want to lose your job) UH OH!

Lastly, finding someone to cover your shift is SO time consuming and mentally draining. By the time you find that kind-hearted-angel to cover your dinner-rush shift, you have wasted so much time and energy that could have been spent rehearsing your sides for your audition / shoot or class.

In addition, your gifts are “open ended.” THIS drives me bonkers. I want to know when the heck I can leave so I can get to auditions on time! Rathermore, depending on how busy it is, or what your side-work duties are, you are almost always stuck at the restaurant WAY past closing time.

Oh, you have an admission at 8AM on a Saturday? You worked eight hours the Friday before and got home at 3AM? Well, I hope you at least pushed some energy together to rehearse your sides … yeah, right. Sleep> preparation.

So those are the main (and detrimental) reasons why waitressing is no bueno if you want to pursue an acting / entertainment career.

Luckily, there is a solution.

The internet is a powerful, incredible database. It's worldwide and reaches billions of people everyday. Have you ever shopped online? How about connected with people in online communities like Facebook or Twitter? Of course you have!

Ever thought about starting an online business?

Did the light bulb go off yet?

Here's something to blow your mind: I majored in marketing communications from a great college in Boston.

During my years of very expensive schooling, no one ever focused on online marketing! We dumbled in the topic and learned how to advertise online (big deal. You can learn to do that in a Google search)

Making money online by selling your product or business (or other people's products / services you use) is so common sense it's comical that I've never thought of it before!

Making money blogging is amazing!

You share with people your experiences and passions. All while helping you and others build their own online business. It's a great system because it is community driven. FYI your not selling people “stuff” as spam, but you make money based off of other peoples success. (As just one part of the system. There are MANY ways to make yourself a successful online business entrepreneur.)

In all four years of my schooling, what I learned in college can not even compare to the valuable information I learned through Empower Network. I honestly wish I found this earlier and would have skipped my college years all-together. Instead of memorizing marketing terminology and sitting through classes that seemed repetitive from years before, Empower Network actually shows you step-by-step how to set up a successful online blog. Even if you know NOTHING about marketing! * Mind-Blown *

All in all, you are an actor, an artist, or someone who wants to pursue a passion that does not need to pay the bills (yet)!

So, instead of wasting your valuable time and energy catering to people who leave you crappy tips 90% of the time anyway, make your OWN money and be your OWN boss. The best part is it's all on your own time and from your living room couch!

The catch? Building a blog takes some time, depending on how driven you are and how much time you can dedicate to building it.

You need to be willing to learn and have the drive and passion to get your online business going. With any business, online or otherwise, requires building a network and learning new things along the way. But it's SO worth it if it means actively pursuing the dreams you have for yourself!

Please reach out to me with any questions! I'm in the same boat you are (or were) if you are reading this. And, if you read the entirety of this post, you are already pretty serious about getting your own online business started. Otherwise, you would not have taken the time to read this far! Am I right ?!

All my best future online-business folk!

Okay, okay, you must be ready to start!