my thoughts on dear Evan Hansen: the movie

Hello, friends!

Last night, I got the opportunity to watch the Dear Evan Hansen movie. It was absolutely phenomenal, and I feel very compelled to write a post about it. I have heard so many conflicted reviews on it. Some people love it, some people hate it, and so I wanted to share my thoughts on it.

(this post will contain spoilers, read at your own risk.)

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ways to build your acting skills at home

Hello, friends! I’m back with an acting related post for you all. Now, I know most of my readers aren’t actors, so some of you may just skip this post, but I thought I’d write it anyway, just in case it’s useful to someone!

So, to start off with, as of now, I’m not going to be doing any theatre this semester (which will probably add up to around six months of no theatre). Which is absolutely crazy, because I’m usually in a show or two or three every semester, adding up to 4-5 shows a year. It’s going to be really weird to not be in a show. I’m excited to try some new things, like getting a job, doing college research, and joining an American Heritage Girls troop, but I’ll miss theatre.

Just because I won’t be in any shows or classes doesn’t mean I’m not going to be working on my acting skills. So, in light of that, I decided to compile a list of all the ways you can work on your acting skills at home. 🙂

Here we go!

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How to rock your audition ~ audition prep

Preparing for an audition is, of course, extremely important. You can’t just show up to an audition without having done some work. (Well, I guess you can, but I wouldn’t expect to get cast.) Today I’m going to share with you how I prep for my auditions! I’m currently working on all of these, as my theatre just announced auditions for Guys and Dolls Jr, giving us precisely one week and two days to prepare. *screams*

(Future update: I failed miserably.)

                                                 

1. Read the audition notice. Twice.

This probably seems like a no-brainer. The audition notice should tell you everything you need to know about your audition. Is there going to be a dance call? (If it’s a musical, the answer is probably yes, but some characters might be exempt. The audition notice should tell you that.) What audition materials will they want you to perform for them? Do they want you to wear a certain article or color of clothing? Will there be an accompanist? 

If the audition notice doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, make sure you’re not missing something. Did an email with more details end up in your spam inbox?

If you’ve searched and searched for more information and still can’t find the piece you’re missing, get in contact with the theatre and ask.

2. Do your research 

This is the handiest part of my audition prep, and hands down the most helpful.

Most of the time when a theatre announces auditions, they will include the name of the writer (or adaptor) of the play or musical. By doing a simple Google search of the name of the show and author, you will probably be able to find a synopsis of the show and even a sample of the script. It’s incredibly helpful. Here’s some of the things I try to find out about the show before an audition:

  • How many characters are in the show
  • Who the lead roles are
  • What time period the show is set in
  • If any accents are required for any of the characters
  • How long the script is
  • If the show is more dramatic or comedic

3. Select and learn your audition pieces

For a musical audition, you will most likely be asked to pick a sixteen bar cut of a song of your choice, or you will be provided with a cut from the show. When picking an audition song, there are many, many, many factors to consider, and I won’t go into that here because that’s enough for a whole post (and that will be coming soonish).

When picking a monologue, there are also many factors to consider, which will be coming in that post. But if you’re asked to pick a one minute monologue, time yourself performing it as you would for the audition, several times. Don’t go over three or four seconds more than the time you were asked to perform.

4. Pick an audition outfit

I pick my audition outfits at least a week in advance. And I put a whole lot of thought into it! But again, there’s going to be a whole post on that soonish.

5. Get into shape 

Before a musical audition, I try to stretch every day for at least two weeks. Every part of an audition is important, and while I usually focus more on my singing and acting skills because my dance skills will never be adequate until I get professional training, stretching does help improve my dance audition (at least minimally).

6. Update your headshot and resume

Make sure your headshot looks like you! If you’ve cut or dyed your hair since your last audition, you’ll need a new headshot. And make sure to add the last show you did to your resume.

7. Take a break from dairy

For a singing audition (or a performance), it’s really helpful to stop eating or drinking any kind of dairy product. Dairy produces mucus (tmi?) and that can mess up your voice. I try to stop eating and drinking any dairy product two days before an audition. (However, I love milk and yogurt and ice cream, so it’s hard and sometimes I don’t have enough self restraint… whoops.)

8. Take care of yourself 

Confession: this girl is not great at taking care of herself most of the time. So before an audition, I make an extra effort to get enough sleep, drink more water, eat three square meals a day, give my skin some extra love, calm my anxiety, and exercise. It’s sometimes really hard, so I try to take teeny tiny baby steps. And it does help!

                                                
So there you are! Hopefully this will be helpful to someone someday. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Love, 

How to rock your audition ~ finding places to audition

Hello, my friends!

So, I’m currently without a show to  perform in, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start talking about a very fundamental part of acting: auditioning. There are so many topics to cover when it comes to auditioning, so each aspect will get a post of its own. Today’s post, as you can already tell, is about finding places to audition. If you don’t have an audition to attend, you’re probably rather stuck. Thus, I’ll be sharing with you how I find auditions, and also a couple of things you can do if you can’t find a show to audition for. 

Here we go!

                                               
1. Do a Google search

Perhaps an obvious one, but the most helpful. Try searching “auditions in (insert your town here)” or “theatres in (you town)”. If that turns up nothing, consider how far you’re willing to drive. I look for auditions in four different towns, which are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour’s drive away. This is something you’ll need to consider very carefully. Should you get cast in a show further away from you, you could have rehearsals several time a week, and they could start early or end late. You might not get a lot of sleep, and you might have to spend a fair bit on gas.

2. Talk to people

If you take voice, dance, or piano lessons, try asking your teacher if they know of any upcoming auditions. Most people in the arts are involved in the theatre community in one way or another. If you know someone who takes any of the above mentioned lessons, ask them if they’re willing to ask their teacher for you. And if you know any theatre kids, ask them to tell you if they find any auditions.

3. Sign up for local theatre’s newsletters

Unfortunately, a lot of theatres are currently putting their seasons on hold due to COVID-19. I have been lucky that my theatres have kept operating, but I know that other people are not that lucky. So, if the theatres around you are in hold or are in the middle of another show, see if they have a mailing list and sign up for it. Most places announce their auditions in their newsletter. If they don’t, just try checking their website every so often.

4. Try dance studios and recreation centers

One of the theatres I currently work with actually focuses more on dance (though their shows are AMAZING). And my first acting class was at a recreation center! While shows at a place that doesn’t focus solely on theatre may not be as professional or well done, it’s definitely a place to start. Something is always better than nothing!

5. Ask at local schools

I know several people (mostly homeschoolers) who have performed at local high schools and I’ve performed and auditioned at local colleges. Now, because of COVID-19, schools in your area are probably not doing shows. And even if they are, they might not be open to people who don’t attend that school. But it’s always worth a shot. 

So what if you’ve tried everything to find a local audition but there’s nothing around? There’s still a couple of things you can do to be involved in the theatre world.

1. (Or should this be 6???) Put on a show of your own

Gather up some friends and siblings and do your own show! I’m currently in a show with all the neighborhood kids because several of us are theatre kids and we’re all waiting for an audition in March. So, one of the girls wrote her own script and invited us all to audition. Fairy tales are fairly simple to adapt into a play, and there are some free scripts online. You could also do a variety style show, with skits and songs. Or try starting an improv group.

2. Take classes instead

Even if you can’t find any auditions, you may be able to find acting classes. This will likely cost more money, so it may not be a plausible option, but it’s worth considering. If there are no acting classes and you really want to improve your musical theatre/acting skills, I would suggest looking for online acting classes (there’s several these days), or even a dance class or voice teacher. Again, these will probably cost more money, but are worth considering if at all possible. And there are of course ways to improve in your acting on a low budget, a topic I’ll be posting about at some point.

                                             
Well, this was a shorter post than I had hoped, but truth be told, if you boil everything about finding an audition down to one sentence, it would this: look hard and look everywhere. Theatre is at a standstill in many places right now, so don’t get discouraged if you’ve looked everywhere and can’t find a thing. Theatre can’t be shut down forever. There’s too many theatre kids out there. I will open my own Broadway if I have to, musicals are my life….

Hopefully some of this was helpful! I love you guys, thanks for reading. 🙂


Question of the day!

What’s a show you’d love to audition for?

A day in the life of an actress ~ Hood: the musical (1-9-2021)

Hello, friends! Today I’m going to be sharing a day in my life with you, both because I hope it will be decently interesting to at least some of you, and also because I would like to remember it myself but am atrocious at journaling.

On this particular day, we had two shows, and I was at the theatre for ten hours. It was amazing, but also extremely, extremely exhausting. I intended to take more photos, but I ended up not having the time to do that. Also, most of the times I mention are approximate since I also didn’t have to time to note exactly when what happened.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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Why I’m pursuing acting as a career

Hey, friends! 

Today I’m going to be talking about something I get a lot of questions about: why am I pursuing acting as a career, especially as a Christian? Every time I mention that I want to become an actress, I’m met with mostly disbelief. So I thought it would be a great topic to write about. 

But before I start, I’ve got a question for you all. In my last post, I talked about my 2021 goals. But I’ve thought of another one. I’d like to master two accents. I’ve got a decent British accent and a pretty good Australian accent, but honestly nothing else. So, what two accents do you think I should try to learn? I can’t decide on my own. XD

                                              
The two points people bring up when I say I want to act as a career are “how are you going to earn money” and “but the acting world is so immoral”, which are both extremely valid points. In the acting world, you don’t usually earn money until you’re famous, which might never happen. And if you do become famous, you’ll be even further surrounded by immorality.

Why would I want to pursue a career that’s immensely hard to succeed in without good looks and toms of training? Why would I want to pursue a career that could very well leave me broke for years?

Because I love it. And I would rather be poor in a career I love and live for than rich in a career I hate. If  I don’t earn money from acting itself, I’ll get a side job. I have no problem with working hard for a living. Sure, it would be great not to break my back to survive. But something inside me tells me that I’m willing to do that if I can act.

I don’t know for sure why I have such tremendous love for acting. It’s a love that I can’t even put into words. But I do have a suspicion as to why I have this love. I believe that my acting is my God-given gift. 

I’ve always heard that people each have a gift from God inside them, an idea that I truly adore. But for the longest time, I thought that I must be the only person who didn’t have one. There is almost nothing I’m good at, not by most standards. I can’t draw. My dancing is awful (something that I’m working hard on to improve). I’m clumsy. I can’t do sports. That was really awful for me when I was younger.

But as I have grown, I have realized that it doesn’t matter that I’m not great at the things other people are. Because there is something I’m good at, something that I love. That thing is, of course, acting. 

Last year, I started to ponder more over the idea of God given gifts. I decided to try to find a logical explanation for my love of acting. So I thought, and I thought. And there just wasn’t any explanation. Not all of my theatre experiences have been gold. Theatre people can be cliquish, and I get very lonely very quickly. But none of that has deterred me from my love of acting. I didn’t know why, because in most cases, being lonely or shunned in something makes me never want to do that something again.

And so finally, I came to the conclusion that acting must be my God given gift. I don’t know if that’s true, but no matter what, I’m so grateful for the love planted in my heart.

But what about the immorality of the acting world?

I’m lucky to work with two theatres that want to honor and worship the Lord. Their acronyms show this. One of my theatres is called ARTS, which stands for Arts Revealing the Son, and the other is called STAGE, which stands for Speaking Truth and Glorifying Emmanuel. These theatres are helping me learn how to act and also how to honor God in the process. And I plan to attend a Christian acting conservatory to help me grow in that area even further.

What if I make it to Broadway or Hollywood or something else like that? 

Then I intend to make it my mission to spread light in the darkness. That might be hard, but I like a challenge. I hope that no matter where I end up, I’ll be able to help make the world a little bit brighter.

                                                
There you have it! This might have been a slightly boring post to read, but I felt that I needed to say it.

I hope you’re all doing well, friends! I’ll see you again soon. 🙂

Love,

My acting goals for 2021

Hello, friends! Happy (almost) New Year! *trumpets and celebratory noises* *also confetti* I don’t know how this year is going to turn out (I mean, none of us do), but here’s hoping it’s at least decent, right?

Anyway, the title of this post is very self explanatory, so let’s get into it!

                                               
I’m so hoping that I’ll be able to grow spectaculary in my acting in 2021, so I’ve got a fair amount of goals which may not even be achievable. To be honest, quite a few of these things rely solely on how much money I can afford to invest in my acting, and how the whole COVID-19 situation plays out, as it has had a major impact on the theatre industry. Most of the local community theatres here have gotten up and running in different ways, which is amazing, but there’s still definitely road blocks.

My first and biggest goal this year is as follows:

Audition for a PROFESSIONAL show

I have a specific theatre in mind, and I truly don’t know if this goal will be achievable. For one thing, this theatre is about an hour or so from our house and I haven’t gotten my driver’s license yet, so I’d need someone to drive me. And with a professional theatre (at least as far as I’ve seen), there are many long rehearsals in a short span of time (meaning weeks). Also, the theatre I have in mind is an equity theatre, and I still can’t figure out how on earth the whole equity thing works. (*makes note to ask voice teacher*) Yet another variable: I’m still a minor and I’m not sure what this theatre’s policy on age is. And lastly, I don’t even know what and when their next show will be. I’m hoping for a show with not a lot of dancing, and that it’s in the summer.

Improve my dancing

Guys, I’m a horrible, horrible dancer. And that is NOT good for someone who wants to pursue theatre as a career. I’m planning to start off learning basic tap, ballet, and jazz skills from YouTube videos, and then I’m hoping to take lessons from my sister’s dance teacher and possibly attend a dance camp for beginners in the summer.

Train myself to make eye contact with my scene partner

I have social anxiety, and it can make some aspects of acting really tough. I am only very rarely able to make eye contact with anyone, and that’s not a great thing. When you’re doing a scene with someone, you’re supposed to know the eye color of your partner. I’ve never been able to achieve that. So this year, I’m going to work really hard on that. 

Learn to stage cry more convincingly 

I’m not awful at stage crying, but I really want to learn to shed real tears. So, onto this list it goes! I think I’m going to experiment with a tear stick. Let’s hope I don’t make myself go blind or something…

Read 12 acting books

This might be hard because the library doesn’t have most of the books I want to read, I can’t go into the library to browse other acting books because of a s t u p i d virus we all know about, and I’m broke. Here are the books I’m hoping to get my hands on sometime this year :

  • An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavsky
  • Building a Character by Constantin Stanislavsky
  • Creating a Role by Constantin Stanislavsky 
  • Know Small Parts by Laura Cayouette 
  • On The Technique of Acting by Michael Chekhov 
  • Your Breath in Art: Acting from Within by Beatrice Manley
  • The Intent to Live by Larry Moss
  • Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin
  • Sanford Meisner on Acting by Sanford Meisner
  • Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen

Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about any of these books or their authors. These books are all on lists of must read books for actors, so I’d like to try them, but I can’t yet recommend them. 

Theses books may or may not be the 12 I read, we shall see.

Improve my improv skills

I hate improv with a passion. I like scripts and lines. I do not like being thrown onstage to make something up. Thus, I need to improve on it, because currently, if a mishap happens during a show and improv needs to be done to fix it, I’m left there like a fish out of water.

Memorize four monologues perfectly (two comedic, two dramatic)

This shouldn’t be too hard, if I can find good monologues. Unfortunately, most good monologues that I’ve found have to be paid for, and again, I’m broke.

Learn six songs perfectly

This one depends on entirely on my voice teacher and how many songs she assigns me, so we’ll see. Here’s hoping!

Post on this blog regularly 

Ideally, once a week or more.

Perform in four shows

This is another one that’s not really in my control. It all depends on how many shows happen in my area.

                                              
So there you have it! My 2021 acting goals. Now I just need to write them up and hang them in my theatre corner, which might be the hardest part because I’ll probably forget… 

let’s talk!

What’s your biggest goal for 2021 (acting or otherwise)?

Love,

My acting story (thus far)

Hello, lovely readers! As you read in my last post, this blog is going to become an acting centered blog, which I am honestly so excited for. (If you haven’t seen that post and want an explanation, click HERE). I have so many ideas, all of which I just can’t wait to share with you. I think I might have enough ideas to last me a year! My very first idea is the post you are about to read. I figured that before I share any knowledge, you should know more about my acting journey so far. (And let’s be honest, I also wanted an excuse to dig through my cache of pictures and videos from shows, rehearsals, and auditions… ah, the theatre kid’s nostalgia.)

Before I start, you should know that I am not, by any means, a professional actor. I am working hard to become one, and I have studied for hours on end to learn eveything possible. But there is still much for me to learn. I will share with you everything I know now, and in the future, I will share the new things I learn. Which means we get to learn together!

Now, let’s move on.

                                             

My voice teacher says that the best actors are born with the love of acting, a sentiment that I love. She also says I am one of those born with that love, which is probably the best compliment I’ve ever received. And for a while, I wasn’t sure if she was right.

But now, thinking back, I think she is. Because there has always been something in me that has drawn me to the art of theatre. Just about as soon as I could talk, I was singing. Little me loved to make up nonsense songs and I sung them without a hint of embarassament. I was also a dramatic child. I loved (and still do) reciting poetry with all the energy I could muster. And Shakespeare. Oh, how I loved Shakespeare, and that love has grown. 

Circa 2013

So, here’s the thing. I had never been good at any activity my parents enrolled me it. Ballet? Nope. Gymnastics? Uh uh. Sports? Oh gracious, no. So sometime around the time I was nine, they said “time for something new”. That something new was a musical theatre class at a studio in the mall. I LOVED it. Unfortunately, that studio went bankrupt, so…. there went that. Or so we thought.

Fall 2014

While reading a parenting magazine, 10 year old me discovered an ad for a twenty dollar acting class at the local recreational. Bonus: it was a homeschool acting class. I enrolled happily.

February 2015

My first ever show! I was the mama duck in the Ugly Duckling, and when I stepped out onto that stage, I wanted to experience that rush of exiliration again and again.


That’s me. For some reason, I look terrified in that picture, which you probably can’t see because I blurred part of my face for obvious privacy reasons. (But Chloë, you say. Don’t you want to be a famous actress? Won’t you have to show your face at some point? you ask. Yes, I do. And yes, I will. But if some creep comes and abducts me, I will never fulfill that dream, so better safe that sorry.)

2015 to 2017

I stay at the acting class at the recreation center, during which I play Little Red Riding Hood in Little Red Riding Hood and the mother in Hansel and Gretel. We also do two variety shows with skits like “Who’s on First”. My favorite of those are two skits about a really terrible restaurant. 


As you can see from only the first page, said restaurant is violating a lot of health codes. And their customer service is terrible, too. Would not recommend. 

Fall 2017

While reading another parenting magazine, I stumble across an ad for another theatre, a more professional one. And so I switch over there. I take their musical theatre class and production class, and in November 2017, I play Tessie and Drake (yes, the butler, we didn’t have a single boy) in Annie Jr.

(Not sure why that picture is a different size than the others….)

March 2018

I continue with my musical theatre class and audition for an ensemble role in a local college production of the Wizard of Oz. (Actually, I think auditions for that were December 2017, and the show was in March…)


(Gracious, these pictures are getting fuzzy. Apologies. I transferred them across three different devices.)

Fall 2018

Fall 2018 was CRAZY. I start taking voice lessons from a professor at the college that did The Wizard of Oz (I’m still with her, and she’s helped me SO much), and she gets me a role as a villager and dancer in the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. I also join my theatre’s production class of Peter Pan Jr., and get cast as Mrs. Darling and a pirate. Peter Pan is put on in November.

And then, I find out my theatre is putting on a production of Little Women. I audition, and miracle of miracles, am cast as Amy March. (I’m still sorta shocked, even after all this time.)


December 2018

Amahl performances! And seven glorious runs of Little Women with three standing ovations. Later, I find out that we won three Broadway World awards in our state’s non-equity play categories: Best Play, Best Ensemble, and Best Director. (Fun fact: the Broadway tour of Hamilton won Best Equity Musical.)


Amahl bows!


(Recognizable faces blurred for my fellow cast member’s privacy)

Spring 2019

This time, my theatre’s production class is The Lion King Jr., in which I play Zazu. Fun fact: opening night was the day I saw Endgame and I was still red eyed from crying when I got to the theatre…. thank goodness for stage makeup!



Fall 2019

Due to some issues with my old theatre, I leave and join one of the two theatres I’m currently with. I’m cast as Agent 99 in Get Smart and start to seriously think about pursuing a real career in acting, and start to research that.

January 2020

Get Smart performances! Unfortunately, I get very sick the week before the show and thus don’t enjoy it as much as I could have. Guys, it’s absolute torture to play a main role in high heels when you would still like to be in bed. 

Get Smart was my first show being micced. I find out I would rather just project and not wear a mic at all. It was also my first show wearing a wig.


Notice the spilled fortune cookies. That was not scripted and, after awkwardly trying to pick them up, my scene partner and I decide it’s not worth picking the rest up.  

March 2020

I’m cast as Anne Boleyn in the musical Night at the Wax Museum. However. We all know what happened in March, and we resume in person rehearsals in May.

July 2020

We finally get to perform Night at the Wax Museum! We have a problem with the mics, and I’m deemed one of the three people that projects well enough onstage to not wear a mic for any of the shows, which is a great step for me, because I’m usually known as the quietest person in the cast, at least offstage.




September 2020

I’m cast as Felicity (one of Lady Marian’s ladies in waiting) and a Fahrenheit (basically a girl band singer) in the musical Hood. Performances are in January, and I’m hoping to be able to post all about that, depending on how interesting it turns out to be.

In September, I also found out about another theatre, which was putting on a different version of Little Women. Naturally, I had to audition, but I didn’t expect to get cast since I had never worked with that theatre before.

I got cast as Jo March, with double the lines of any role I had played previously, and only one scene was that I wasn’t in (out of approximately 26 scenes).

It was, without a doubt, the best and most challenging role I’ve done so far. I cried at rehearsal many times, and it was definitely emotionally draining. In case you don’t know, Jo goes from a rambunctious teenager to a young woman over the course of many hardships, and I got to portray that. It was amazing.

November 2020

Little Women performances! All three of my performances went really well, and I wish I could relive them over and over again. I wasn’t in the fourth performance, as that was an understudy show.


December 2020

I take an acting workshop from the theatre that put on Little Women. (That theatre is called STAGE, and I’ll refer to it by name, since I’m now working with two theatres.) I also sign up for STAGE’s acting class, which starts in January, and in March, I’ll be auditioning for their production of The Prince and the Pauper.

                                             
So there you have it! My acting journey in full, up until now.

What will I be doing in the future? I will keep auditioning for shows and taking acting classes. And in 2024, I’m hoping to attend Sight and Sound Conservatory in Lancaster, PA. To do that, I will have to work full time for two years. I’ll be graduating in 2022, so I’ll be taking two gap years to work and earn enough money. And of course, I’ll have to apply and audition to get a spot. 

Well, I hope this post wasn’t too boring for you! Thanks for reading!

Love,


Let’s Talk!

For my fellow actors, what was the first role you ever did? For those who’ve never been in a show, would you ever want to be in one?