Sorry I haven’t had the chance to write to you all in a while. I (like so many other actors I know) am an idiotic masochist. I decided to take on five projects at once. I looked at my calendar and realized that there were all these holes in it so i filled them.
Then I tried to schedule times for me to sleep and I realized that I had just filled them with extra projects. Oh…and I discovered that working 18 hours a day for four weeks straight leads to some major laundry issues. Not for me…I’m used to the clothes by now (I’ve been wearing them for the last week)…for everyone else (except for this one girl I know who lost her sense of smell in a tragic, childhood swimming accident).
But I was working! I was a working actor…who wouldn’t get paid til December. Oh dear. Now I needed metro fare to get to all the different jobs (because they obviously weren’t paying for transportation) so I got a day job (just until I get the checks from the other jobs I’m already doing). I’m fine. Don’t worry about it…there’s plenty of time to…what? Oh I have to move out of my house? Sure…I’ve got twenty minutes on Thursday. Yes, I’ve been conditioning my hair, why do you ask? Oh this? My hair tends to fall out in chunks recently…I’m sure it will grow back. Did I just fall down? No, I’ll be fine. Just let me lie here for a moment. Cup of coffee will do me just fine….(snore).
Welcome to the second part of being a crazy actor. The insanity we bring upon ourselves as we continually overbook our lives. Let’s take a moment to discuss what needs to happen in order to make sure things don’t get out of hand (ok…that’s unlikely).
So when things do get out of hand (much more likely) remember to breathe. Sometimes if you stop breathing you fall down. And sometimes you don’t get up again (typical for those who stop breathing). And then you become known as “lazy” (because dead people are totally lazy).
Now there are some things you can do to avoid the whole issue. Ok…there is one really, REALLY important word to remember. Most actors don’t use it ever (especially at cast parties) because they think they will miss out on something. Many actors don’t use it ever (on most first dates) because they have been trained not to do so in order not to destroy the momentum of an improvised scene. And many actors don’t use it ever (except when asked if they have any conflicts over the next few months) because they are insanely scared of confrontation. That word is “NO.”
Don’t be scared of this word. I totally understand that if someone offers you a part your first instinct is to take it, no matter what, and make it work. But if you actually look at your schedule you’ll realize that it won’t work (and that you’re about to piss everybody in the project off because you can’t attend any rehearsals before dress).
I was recently offered a part and managed to turn it down, but here was the thought process: I could totally do this. I would only have to call the job I recently contracted for and ask to change from Wednesdays and Thursdays to Mondays and Saturdays (I’m sure they’ll give me a key so I can go in alone on the weekend [I’ve been working there for two weeks…that’s plenty of time]). I could tell my other projects to push back the beginning of rehearsals a week (people in theater are understanding). And that will leave me at least 4 shifts each week that I could work at the restaurant. I will go to bed at 2 am so I can hang out with my friends for half an hour each day and wake up at 5 am so I can shave and shower before. Wow…I can’t actually do this project. Should I just accept it and hope it falls into place? Maybe? No. Maybe? Maybe? No. Damn it.
Remember this: you aren’t the only one who can fill the role. And if the role is that important to you personally (or for your career) then give up something else so you can do the project justice. Otherwise you’ll look like a cheap handbag onstage because you haven’t slept for a week. And, sweetie….there’s not enough MAC in the capital to cover that second hand luggage under your eyes (I need to stop staring at the mirror while I’m writing [god damn egomaniac]).
So say no…and if you really want to be nice, find someone for them that will work. You come out smelling like a rose. Take it from someone who hasn’t done laundry in two weeks: That’s important.