Tonight a documentary I was involved in, 1971, is premiering at Tribeca film festival. It has already received rave reviews and while I'm ecstatic that tickets sold out so quickly, I'm also bummed I wont get to attend. Quick side note- I'm just a mere actor, not a celebrity, so I would have needed to pay to see the premiere. Sigh. Someday...
Anyway, after thinking about the Tribeca premiere my mind began to wander. "I hope some people start to recognize me," "I hope I was able to pull off all those vintage clothes." "Did they remember to use my middle initial in the credits?" "I wonder if my star-meter on IMDb will increase." "Maybe I'll get more twitter followers." Wait- WAIT- wait....what?
What. The. Hell. Twitter followers? Star-meter? Look, I know there is a necessary business side to this acting career, but have a let myself get so tuned in to the pressures of using social media to parlay success that I'm convincing myself that my star meter on IMDb, while sadly somewhat important to certain people in the industry, should be something I really give a serious shit about?
Now, in my past blog posts I've talked about my appreciation for technology and the outreach it provides. I stand by that. I get 98% of my work through online outreach. But acting work has been sooo slow since 2014 started that most of what I have to share on social media are films that are emerging from post-production to finally see the light of day. I'm not actually performing in anything (though I did finally book not one but four upcoming projects). Because of the unreliability of when my next job will be, I'm trying to constantly appear active with my fragile/budding career, which seems to have currently led me down an internet wormhole of self-promotion and away from the performance driven passion that has allowed me to survive in the industry for this long.
I guess I lied a little bit when I said I wasn't performing in anything at the moment. Aside from the exciting Tribeca news, I am also currently performing and producing a show through my theater company - J. Doe Theater. The performance factor of it all, however, has had to to take a serious backseat to the producer responsibilities. This is the third main stage production that I have helped produce, and with this particular show everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. It's taken a lot to just keep this show from crashing and burning to the ground in a beautiful explosion of yarn and early 90's clothing (the show is Theresa Rebeck's Loose Knit). Producing a show is what I imagine all the worst parts of raising a child would be like. You pour your time, finances, focus and all waking thoughts into keeping something alive and from spiraling into being something you'll be embarrassed about later in life. Does that sum it up, or will I just make a terrible mother? It's the stress talking... (it's going to be a great show and I love the team behind the production dearly.)
With the producing aspect comes the social media outreach and online crowd funding campaign, ticket reservation emails and press releases. Once again my time is spent with my face inches from a screen and my carpal tunnel expediting its imminent arrival in my wrist and fingers. All of this while balancing three (three!) jobs, rehearsals, demo-reel editing gigs, auditions, small film projects, trips to the laundromat and sleep (those last two don't get nearly enough attention). It's part of why I haven't written a blog in two weeks. I'm working my ass off, but most of the work is going into pixels and virtual reality. Instead of having lines to rehearse, I'm spending my time searching to find information and press on the work I have waiting to be released. I'm using Google to find inspiration, but what happened to creating my own? Am I that out of practice? Has the business side led me that far astray?
We all go through slumps. It's totally normal. But right now, I've never felt such a desire to unplug. I want to fall off the grid and let my brain slow down from the constant amount of information I have forced it to filter through in the past few years since virtual and social reality meshed. I was watching a beautiful short film the other day and I couldn't concentrate on the words or the story. All I could keep thinking about was how gorgeous the trees looked in the background. I don't see much of the tranquil side of nature here in New York City. I did see a man unabashedly straight-up piss his pants on the subway the other night. It was one of the funniest moments of my life, but I'd rather enjoy nature's finest in a non-gag-inducing way.
Until my show closes I am forced to continue using social media as an integral part of my life. Once my show is over, I will be taking an internet vacation. The Facebook app will be deleted from my phone and my priorities will shift from sitting at my desk to sitting on my fire escape. I need to feel like a real person again rather than an online presence. I'm happy I know how to utilize social media to advance in my career, but I'm also ashamed that I feel bored when I'm not staring at a screen with internet connection. We use to exist in one reality. I'm looking forward to remembering what that's like. I use to be more creative with my time.
Now it's time for a shameless self-promotion:
If you would like to see some affordable theater from a group of people who care deeply about independent artists and the honesty of a story, please consider coming to see or donating to our show. If you're an out-of-towner you can donate for some "Karma tickets," which we will use for audience members who may not be able to afford the cost of admission as well as our industry guests. You can find more information on our show and can donate/order tickets in advance at our indiegogo campaign. Tickets will also be on sale at the door the night of the shows - $15 cash only, first come-first serve. It would be nice to see you there and meet you in person, dear reader, not just through the soft glow of the screen you are reading this on.