That's right folks, yours truly now has cred on IMDB. (It's for Evolution Creek, the indie movie I had a small role in a few summers ago, which is in post-production).
Let me tell you, this place is locked up tighter than Fort Knox. In order to enter my own birthday on my own page, I had to link the the url of an official court document identifying me! Shoot. For that, you can believe I'm any age you want.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Let's face it--there's a lot to hate about trying to make a living as an actor (or dancer, or writer, or artist). Fear of rejection, 65 hour weeks with no overtime, breaking out from wearing cake makeup a few too many nights in a row...you know, important stuff.
Then there's the other stuff. You know, the little inane things that for some reason make you disproportionately irritated. At the top of that list for me is the program bio.
You're in the rehearsal sweet spot--past the getting-familiar jitters and before the off-book deadline--when comes the dreaded email. "We've got the ASM/House Manager/my mom putting together a program for us! If you could just jot off a quick bio to add that would be GREAT! KTHANKS!" Seems like such a small request. Yet when first asked to do this, I immediately wonder if there isn't an urgent priority I need to attend to right away. A ringing phone, or a fridge full of moldy food that needs cleaning out, perhaps. Then invariably I receive a follow up email a few weeks later with the not-especially-scary threat that anyone who doesn't turn in their bio TODAY will NOT BE IN THE PROGRAM! Then I feel bad (even though, honestly, how horrible would it be if I wasn't in the program?).
In order to combat my serial procrastination, I finally starting collecting bios into a document as I write them, to cull from later. This was working out pretty well, until the devastating loss of my thumb drive (and all the data on it) earlier this year. So when faced with the prospect of writing another one (entirely from scratch this time!), I thought it high time for reflection. It would seem that the root of the problem is solidly planted, as so many are, in judgement.
Performer bios generally fall into one of several categories. A few notable examples:
Broadway: Miss Saigon. Touring: Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown. Regional: Tibalt in R&J at More Professional Than Yours Repertory Theatre.
Most often seen at the Alliance and other sundry "real" theatres. Has the distinction of being both envy- and yawn-inducing.
I first became interested in theatre when I played Gabrielle in High School Musical 5 at Somekinda Academy. I take voice lessons, piano lessons, tap lessons, and private acting lessons at Sucka School of Performing Arts. See you on Broadway!
Believe it or not, this bio type appears for more than just school plays. Painful in both its syntax and naivete.
The Non Sequitur
Jeff recently came off a stint of battling the arch super villain Nefesto and his band of Wily Ninjas on the Planet Portojax. Besides saving the world, he also enjoys Rollerblade streaking and making model bridges out of miniature snow globes.
My husband's preferred style.
The Heavenly Shout Out
Thanks to mom, daddy, my agent Randy (you rascal!), and most of all, to Jesus. Mighty is the Lord who bestowed upon me so many gifts and talents! PRAISE HIM WITH SONG.
A regional flavor.
But even more so than judgement, I think it really comes down to perfectionism. It's like if I can't write a bio that comes off as both impressive and witty, I have to turn in my actor and writer cards.
What do you find oddly annoying?
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Over the past six months, there's been a lot of hopping back into various and sundry saddles that I'd temporarily abandoned. Exercise, sex, not eating two helpings of dessert come to mind. Oh yeah, and work. (I know, shocking how quickly one can get used to not having a job, right?)
But one of the hardest things to get back into is my creative extracurriculars (the resurrection of this blog was the first step). Going back to work was emotionally the biggest hump, but the blow was softened by the necessity of doing so. I need a paycheck to keep us fed and clothed. Frolicking away at rehearsals for a pittance--if I'm lucky!--not so much. The mother part of me felt selfish for even considering doing a show. Not while Tennyson is so tinyhelplessneedy....and us apart for most of his waking hours too! I mean, can I really abandon someone who both thinks the sun shines out of my ass and is incapable of wiping his own for several extra hours a week? This is the girl who used to have problems leaving the cat alone for more than two hours.
Patrick doesn't see it like that. He thinks that doing our own thing sets a good example for Tennyson. While I remain skeptical that's he's getting much out of our "good example" as a tiny baby, I can't argue his second point: it's only going to get harder. Plus, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss that part of myself.
Still, when an email came my way asking if I knew any choreographers who might be willing to take on a kids' show, I balked at first. But after giving it some more thought, I took a deep breath...and asked for more information. And then a few good things happened. The directors of the project happened to be acquainted with my work and managed to scrape together a slightly larger stipend. I also discovered that the show is for none other than my old middle school. It seemed like a sign from the universe. And that is how I came to be standing in my carpeted living room with the coffee table pushed back, a pencil in my teeth and script in my hand, making up a hip hop piece to strains of Bach and baby snores from the other room.
I won't even attempt to deny that this has been a ridiculously stressful undertaking. On top of all my aforementioned misgivings (not yet conquered), I just survived another round of layoffs at my regular job, leaving me with seriously choppy waters to navigate and two people's worth of work to do for the same amount of money. Finding uninterrupted chunks of time to choreograph 12 (!) musical numbers has been difficult, and the rehearsals themselves are challenging (hello, middle schoolers). Also, it's Christmas (do I even need to qualify that statement?). But the moments of real satisfaction, contentment and pleasure that's come with my first little project has made it worthwhile. While I won't be admitting it to the hubs anytime soon, he's right--one day I think Tennyson will think it's really cool that his mom did her own thing. After all, how many babies already have a resume credit pre-birth--Tennyson played Shelby's in utero baby in Steel Magnolias. And I bet he'll think it's pretty cool that he contributed to mom's choreographic tapestry--in tummy and later in arms.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Just when you thought you'd gotten rid of me.
For those of you who know me personally (which I'd wager is everyone), my hiatus hardly needs explanation. About three weeks after my last post, I came down with the worst stomach bug of all time. Except it wasn't a bug, it was a baby.
Being a mom is a great gig. You might say the best ever. But does that mean I'm ready to chuck life as I know it off the deck with last year's jack-o-lantern and Christmas tree? Well, yes actually--if Tennyson wanted me to. But I know he doesn't.
Have you seen the cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas? (Of course you have. I bet there are some of you who have already watched it this year...I roll my eyes at you). Near the end, his heart swells so much it busts the xray window and he lifts a whole town's worth of Holiday decor over his head. Well, that's how Tenny makes me feel. I admit that when he was first born, and throughout my entire pregnancy, my primary feeling was terror. I was practically paralyzed; I can't quite explain why. So for a year, I did pretty much nothing but read a 50/50 split of terrible YA supernatual romances and consumer reports on baby gear. But as Tenny has grown, I realized that narrowing my world made no sense. Sure, lying in a crib like a starfish while your goofball mother stares at you for untold seconds is dandy when you're five months old, but eventually it will get old. One day soon he'll want his own adventure. And as the hubs says, nobody wants boring parents.
But I don't have to wait for Tenny to tell me that in so many words. When he was still just a tadpole swimming around in bellytown, I did manage to fit in one artistic endeavor between Baby Bargains and Sookie Stackhouse book 43. Gestation weeks 19-31 were spent choreographing a children's show loosely based on the Arabian Nights. It was during rehearsals that I first felt the baby move. Tennyson was a very chill fetus overall--I used to worry he wasn't moving enough--but my, did he love to dance. Whenever I stopped to take a breath (which was more and more often, as the weeks went by), Tenny would wiggle and jab as if to say "do it again!" He got bigger and stronger over time. Sitting in the audience on opening night, he heard the familiar strains of the opening number and bicyled his feet in excitement. And, considering he's Patrick's and my child, do I even have to tell you how he reacted to applause?
Which leads me to the point. I am not the same Janie Hitchcock who started this blog 31 posts ago. I've created in the most primitive sense of the word, and like food coloring in your Thanksgiving taters, Tennyson colors everything I do. So you might occasionally see, say, a Janie Young post rather than a Janie Hitchcock post. But you needn't worry that this will be one of those blogs that only a mother could love. I'm still an artist too, even if I now have spit up on my dance clothes. There's enough room in my life and my heart for everything.
My girl Emily Deschanel, fellow peformer-in-pregnancy
P.S. -- Stay tuned for not one, but two upcoming projects.