Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Toe in the Water

There is a term used in the theatre world, and probably in the world at large, it's called the "talent pool" or sometimes referred to as the "casting pool."  I like to imagine a bunch of artists stuck in a large pool and the trouble they might cause in the process, but thankfully this "pool" is merely metaphoric.  Obviously the pool in NYC is quite large, and I would venture to say the biggest in the country, if not the world.  LA certainly runs a close second, but they are so spread out  there in the West, here in the land of Broadway everyone is crammed onto one tiny island (and a few surrounding boroughs).  New York is full of talented people, all wading in the water just waiting to be plucked out and put onstage.   I am ashamed to admit it, but I have been a mere spectator sitting in a lounge chair in the shade ever since I moved out East.  It wasn't all my fault, as I made a deliberate decision not to worry about any career stuff until the new year.  Well, that has come and surprisingly I found it harder to dive in than I anticipated.

Ok enough with the extended metaphor's already.

I have never been one to really waver when it comes to career advancement. From a young age I have been very ambitious and have had no trouble putting myself out there when it comes to auditioning, networking and even creating work for myself.  For the most part I have always been focused and driven and relatively unafraid about the whole scary world of Showbusiness. However, when you take a little break and then try to throw yourself into an unknown scene, with new faces and names to learn, it's tempting to curl up under the covers and never come out.  It surprised me, this hesitation and trepidation.  I wasn't afraid to try, I wasn't even afraid of failing.  If anything my feelings were bordering on apathetic, which is even worse in my opinion.  I felt out of sorts, and unlike myself.  Was it New York that was doing this to me? Was the city already hardening me to a point where I couldn't muster up the energy to pursue my dreams?  I shuddered at the thought.

I kept thinking about some words of wisdom my friend Jenn shared with me: "Blair, you have to just put your toe in the water. You can't look back on this experience and think that you didn't make the most of it."

Just put my toe in the water....(ok more water symbolism...forgive me)

I kept thinking about this phrase, for days on end, and I slowly realized that what was holding me back was a sense of slight discouragement.  Discouraged that I still haven't found an agent (more on that at a later date..), frustration that I have to adapt to a new system when I had grown comfortable with the old one, and even a bit doubtful about my own abilities as an artist.

Thankfully after a very affirming voice lesson, and some more encouraging words from friends and Jürgen, I decided enough was enough.  I needed to do just that, put my toe in the water.  By no means did have to dive headfirst into the deep end, no I could wade at my own pace, but I had to start somewhere, and today I am pleased to report that I took my first step into the New York City Talent Pool.

Ok I am all about the water metaphors today!!!

And I am pleased to report that I lived to blog about it! Honestly, it was quite simple.  It was for an Off-Broadway play here in the city which I new next to nothing about, and truth be told I am not totally convinced I am even right for it, but it was a way to put myself out there and stop hiding.  Thankfully they provided scenes to read at the audition, so I didn't have to perform a the much maligned monologue, and the casting director was very friendly.  After I was done, she said "I love Chicago actors, they have such a reality and intimacy about them."  I appreciated her sentiment, most definitely.

So there you have it, my feat for the day, with hopefully many more to come.

In the meantime, please ponder these words "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."
(which wise fish said that?)


  1. So glad you have "taken the plunge" and decided to "test the waters" in the Big Apple! I am sure things will go "swimmingly".. and soon "waves of applause" will be headed your way!! ....just may take some time...For now...just "go with the flooooooooow"...and enjoy the journey, little fish!! We love you and are very proud of your dedication and commitment!! Momma

  2. Thank you for stopping by and enjoying, my food blog is kind of my toe in the water as well (showing everyone I know how utterly obsessed with food I am! Scary!).

    Best of luck to you, as a former actor (who lost interest in college), I know it's tough, but you seem to have the right attitude.

  3. Dory was a wise fish (: I'm working on a business right now and sometimes anxiety keeps me up at night, but each day I wake up and try and tell myself to do at least one or two things that will progress me towards my goals - like you said - get my toes further in the water. In the end, it is our individual journey and how we feel about it and how we are able to enrich the lives of others that remain. Your writing is honest and real and it sounds like this comes through as an actress. Best wishes.

  4. What a nice compliment from the casting director!

    Good for you, keep at it!!

  5. Great metaphors! Reminds me of "Fish is fish". Every journey starts with one small step. Easier said than done, but keep at it. Proud Papa.

  6. Thank you all for the words of encouragement!
    @ liz and Laura: thank you for visiting my blog! loving your blogs as well!

  7. *high five* to us chicago gals! ;) love this post and sentiment...who knew water metaphors and toes could mean so much!?! kudos to you!!