Well, every actor experiences the dreaded downtime. That space between projects – when you’re excited about the possibilities and maybe have something coming up in the future but until then you’re trying to stay busy and motivated. What to do?
Well, a friend of mine, Nikki Renee Daniels, (currently one of the stars of The Gershwin’s Tony award nominated show Porgy and Bess and all around amazing person) inspired me a while back. She said that she tries to volunteer and take advantage of all of the free things NYC has to offer when she is between gigs. That has always stuck with me. So today I followed her example. I didn’t have any auditions scheduled today which to be honest – had me a little bummed. So I got up and forced myself to get out of the apartment. I did full hair and makeup (not show makeup, just everyday makeup 🙂 ) ran some errands in the theater district, checked auditions and visited my voiceover agency to take care of some business.
Then I went to visit the Strand Bookstore. I’ve lived in NYC for 10 1/2 years and have NEVER been there! Shame on me! I LOVE to read and (bonus) I found some GREAT audition resources there – in the $1 section. Yay!
After my triumphant job related shopping trip to the Strand, I headed down to the very first neighborhood I lived in as an adult – the West Village.
Wow – it was amazing to get back down there. Memories flooded back as I walked toward Perry Street. I passed the 9/11 memorials, the now vacant St. Vincent’s hospital… I remember the confusion, as I had only been a resident of NYC for 2 days when it all happened. And I remembered how generous my neighbors were in helping me get set up after learning I had just moved in. And that dreaded mouse that chose to infiltrate my sublet during that first week in NYC and my friend Josh helping me catch and dispose of it. Passing Magnolia Bakery, I smiled as I was reminded of counting my pennies so I could get one delicious cupcake to enjoy. Then when I ran out of pennies, I’d change my route to the 2,3 train so I wouldn’t smell the baked goods that I could no longer afford. This evening walk around my neighborhood was both nostalgic and cleansing. I really gained some perspective as I multi-tasked and worked on audition material during my walk. I considered who I was then vs. who I am now – and the amazing opportunities I’ve had since. There is ever so much to be thankful for – and today I’m counting my blessings. That gave me the extra kick I needed to remember that no matter what the circumstances, God has it under control. If I didn’t have faith that God had a plan for me, I probably would’ve left New York as soon as the travel ban on residents below 14th street was lifted back in 2001. But I felt like I was supposed to be here. Had I left, I never would’ve made my Broadway debut…or met some of the most incredible people I’m blessed to call my friends. If I had looked at the current circumstances and not had faith in what I couldn’t see…imagine what I would’ve missed out on.
So if you need some inspiration…hang in there. Take a walk … count your blessings…do something for someone else…You’ll come back energized, incredibly focused and you’ll probably interview and/or audition more successfully.
And if you’re an actor of color, a wise woman recently said to me – Our people went through slavery. Life is hard. It’ll all work out.
That put everything into perspective.
It’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to. 🙂 Get out there and do your best.