#Nunsense #selfie #costume #goodhabit
#Nunsense #selfie #costume #goodhabit
I am in the midst of participating in a 3-day audition intensive workshop that required us to bring fifteen headshots/resumes. I didn’t have enough prints, so I went out and bought some photo paper, and printed out my own headshots. They looked great. Ok, so the paper was a bit too glossy for my taste—I prefer a totally matte photo—but I mean, it was on sale for ten bucks at Staples, versus a couple hundred at Reproductions with a minimum two-week turnaround. And my inkjet printer is about as good as home printing gets, which is pretty damn good.
But then came the hard part…finding the time to trim these photos to 8x10s, and then cutting my resume to fit them and staple to the back.
Mind you, I didn’t use scissors. I have been notoriously and irreparably incompetent with scissors since childhood. It killed me on my kindergarten report card…sure, I could read at a fourth-grade level and memorize songs and poems better than most adults, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to fucking hold a pair of scissors. To this day, I wrap Christmas presents hideously, I maul any fruit I attempt to properly core, I rarely cut anything into even pieces, and cutting in a straight line is just completely out of the question. Sometimes, in life, you have to accept your limitations, and since my limitations seem to involve anything remotely sharp…I invested in a paper cutter.When I have to affix headshots to the back of the 8x10s that Reproductions printed (and even THEIR dimensions aren’t always exact), I use the cutter, and it works great. To have to actually cut pictures to their “proper” dimension was going to be more challenging. I had to decide which sides to crop, and all 4 of them needed separate and unequal crops. I made small marks with my pen and tried to approximate as best I could, but still, the first shot I took cut off part of my name. The second started off crooked, didn’t make a clean cut, and ended up too short.
And then, a thought hit me. That thought was, “WHY?”
Seriously, WHY? Why is acting the ONLY profession in which we are expected, even obligated, to NOT use normal-sized paper? No one makes 8x10 paper…trust me, I’ve looked. It’s certainly not something you’re going to be able to grab at Staples if you need a bunch of new headshots and you either can’t wait for studio prints or, like 11 out of 10 of us, you aren’t in a position to spend the equivalent of a month’s rent to get them printed.
The response I get is, “oh, but it’s the industry standard, they won’t take you seriously if you don’t conform to it.” Oh, okay. Because apparently the filing cabinets in every casting office are one and a half square inches smaller than filing cabinets everywhere else, and the only way you can secure a space in those files is to have a headshot cut to accommodate those dimensions. Because apparently having a good picture and a solid resume and a solid audition will never book you the job if you have an extra one and a half square inch of resume space. GUYS. COME ON.
When did this become important? In what universe is it worth it for me to spend hours of my time painstakingly cutting paper and photos down to a size that serves no purpose and has absolutely no visual or practical advantage over the 8.5x11 paper that everyone else uses for every other profession?
I’m writing about this because I think it’s one small example of a somewhat obsessive-compulsive mentality that seems to plague us as performers. A certain, “did I sit right, did I stand right, did I blink the right way” attitude that distracts ALL of us from the aspects of the business and the craft that actually matter. The twenty minutes I spent trying to fix two photographs could have been spent doing any number of other things. Time is precious, and our well-being is precious.
So I made the apparently very bold choice to NOT CUT MY HEADSHOTS. To walk into a workshop full of Broadway casting directors with 8.5x11 headshots affixed to 8.5x11 resumes. The edges were clean. Nothing was crooked or missing.
And the result was…the director of the program did notice, but she then agreed with me that cleaner was better, and admitted that the arbitrary rule was stupid anyway. And no one else said anything about it, even though she said they might. I’m not less talented, less professional, or less employable because of it. In fact, I’m better off. Because instead of scrambling for scissors and cutters and staples, I’m focusing on my performance. Instead of worrying about walking or shrugging or blinking the way Bigshots X, Y and Z want me to, I’m focusing on being my best self.
And guess what? That’s what they all say they want. And they mean it. They aren’t the big bad enemy. They aren’t the rulers of the kingdom that we have to marry into. They’re people doing their jobs, and by and large, they view us the same way. They like us a whole lot more than we think they do. They are rooting for us because they want us to make them look good. And they can all live with the extra square inch and a half.
I really should not have had to write this. Honestly.
THE BACK STORY: When I was a college sophomore, my parents suggested that it might be a good idea for me to double-major in something that wasn’t musical theatre. Mostly to humor them, but also because I thought it would be something I might actually enjoy, I decided to try Communication. Had I started a bit sooner and planned a little better, I might have finished the major; needless to say, I was never exactly an academic superstar…but I digress.
The point is…I took Intro to Interpersonal Communication with the marvelous Professor Meredith Marko (now Harrigan), and for our final project, we had to pick a movie, and analyze the interpersonal communication concepts occurring within the film. We had to treat the film as reality, and explain, as a communication adviser, how certain situations might have been handled differently if the film were real.
I chose Mean Girls as my film, since I thought it gave numerous opportunities to touch upon all points of the assignment in rich and interesting ways. Indeed, it ended up being one of the most fun and eye-opening experiences of my academic career, and was also extremely informative to me as an actress (as was the class itself). In fact, the hardest part of writing the paper was deciding what to leave out; I had pare it down significantly in order to fit the page limit.
For a while, I thought this paper was lost in cyberspace on my dead hard drive from college, but I recently uncovered it on one of my trips home, and was reminded of how much fun it was to write—and hopefully, to read. In honor of October 3rd, I’d like to share it with you now. So without further ado, here is…
Could not stop giggling at this. Yes, I’m a nerd.
…but Mara Wilson was, and we’re kind of the same person in a whole lot of ways (petite brunette actor/writer/New Yorkers who love Homestar Runner and Hyperbole and a Half and other geeky things) and I liked the questions, so I thought I’d steal them and pretend like I was interviewed because my writer’s block is that bad. So here goes my not-interview with The Guardian.
The brunette one still looks like me, but it’s from 2008, which makes a senior citizen in headshot years. The blonde one is from 2011, but I can only use that one when I’m actually blonde, and so it puts pressure on me to keep up with my blondeness, which costs money and shit.
I want a new headshot. One that will be so drop-dead gorgeous that I will be swept away into a narcissistic dreamworld every time I attach it to an email, one that will make the people at Reproductions thank their lucky stars for giving them such a wonderful job. I want the kind of headshot that will make me want to go on more auditions JUST because I have it, because I can strut into the audition space knowing that their first impression of me has already been “HOLY SONDHEIM WHAT A GORGEOUS HEADSHOT” and then lo and behold, it actually looks like me!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be pretty.
Or maybe that I wish so much of my chosen career path didn’t rest on the quality of one end-all be-all photograph.
One of those things.
In either case, I need some new headshots.
Pardon the somewhat dated meme, but seriously now.
Today, I came across an opinion piece on NPR.org by Maureen Corrigan that was, more or less, a scathing review of The Cuckoo’s Calling, the new mystery novel that J.K. Rowling quietly released last April under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I say “scathing” because the novel wasn’t deemed terrible, just mediocre—but considering the lofty standards to which most of us (Corrigan included) hold JKR, saying that anything she did was less than mind-blowingly amazing is indeed scathing.
To be sure, I have yet to read the book, but I’m calling bullshit on a few things straightaway—not only in defense of JKR, but in defense of basic reading comprehension and common sense.
First of all, Corrigan’s primary gripes with the novel weren’t really with the content itself (the worst that was said was that it was “formulaic,” but that’s not the worst thing any novel could be). Rather, the harshest criticisms were concerning the female protagonist, Robin. Corrigan writes:
Rowling tries to bring a more contemporary edge to this novel by featuring a beautiful biracial victim and delving into the demimonde of high fashion and hip-hop royalty, but the world here still feels curiously dated. In fact, the first time we glimpse Robin, the young secretary, she’s bedazzled by getting an engagement ring affixed to her finger by her stodgy fiance. Throughout much of the story she serves coffee to clients, makes cow eyes at Strike, and tidies up the office loo. The most intriguing unsolved mystery in The Cuckoo’s Calling is why, in this post-Lisbeth Salander age, Rowling would choose to outfit her female lead with such meek and anachronistic feminine behavior.
Um. Maybe because the character is supposed to be meek and anachronistic? Just because she came from the same brain that created Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley doesn’t mean she has to be like them. And here’s the thing I hate about feminists criticizing female characters…they’re being anti-feminist by referring to them as “female characters.” It’s the equivalent of “male nurse” or “female engineer.” People forget that characters aren’t necessarily supposed to be role models, nor are they supposed to serve as definitive, stereotypical representatives of their entire gender, race, age, ethnicity, or body type. They’re not even supposed to serve a purpose outside of the story that they’re in. THEY ARE FICTIONAL. Duh.
Furthermore, Corrigan follows this statement by saying, “No matter, Rowling is laughing all the way to the vault.” Like many others, she’s under the
suspicion assumption that the release of Robert Galbraith’s true identity was nothing more than a publicity stunt to increase the sales of this mediocre book. JKR and her publishers have stated repeatedly and vehemently that this is not the case, but if you don’t want to take their word for it, let’s ask a rather obvious rhetorical question: if the goal was book sales, why use a pseudonym in the first place?
Whether the book itself is good or bad isn’t really the point. The point is, JKR obviously doesn’t NEED any more money, and she probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the actual sales of the book. She wrote the book because she wanted to write it, and she published it under a pseudonym in order to receive honest, unbiased feedback that might help her—GASP—improve upon her craft and give her a new perspective to inform her future work.
She’s doing what every real artist dreams of doing—devoting her life to her craft for the love of the craft, without having to worry about money. It’s a truly beautiful thing to have that freedom, and even more beautiful that she earned that freedom through sheer talent, brains, and work ethic, not from famous relations or a reality TV show.
This is just one more reason why she’s awesome.
For Fawkes’ sake, leave her alone.
Spent #MusicMonday depositing my favorite paycheck. Go get my albums so I can have more. :-P
Pretty woman, walkin’ down the street…#lolno #selfie