Tuesday, June 29, 2010

loving oneself?

OK, I need your help on this one. Comments are very welcome.

For years, I've heard the pop psychology phrase:
"You have to love yourself".But honestly, I couldn't. I wouldn't. I didn't know how.
 About 6 months ago I had a little epiphany. I could, at least, be lovING to myself. I'm loving to others. I love others. I know how to do that. And I was certainly NOT doing that for myself. I don't think most people I know are treating themselves well. I do something that doesn't go well, and I call myself names. I disappoint myself because I'm not perfect, and can't forgive myself. I make the same mistake twice and I go into a downward spiral of a prediction of a dismal future. Do I expect perfection out of others? No. Would I EVER call any of my beloved friends a bad name because they had a brief moment of forgetfulness? Never. In fact, I get upset seeing my amazing, beautiful, kind, funny, talented friends call themselves, "stupid, fat, lazy, etc.". They are not any of those things. They are human, like me.
 The jury is still out on whether or not I can love myself. I kinda feel like, "I'm here, deal with it." and I just don't have a choice about that. But I do have a choice what I say to myself.
  My friend, Nancy, on the first night I met her, told me that thoughts either help you or hurt you. And if they hurt you...drop them like their hot. And I do...95% of the time.
 Treat myself as I would expect any good friend to treat me. Be loving. So I challenge you to be loving to yourself. It's a start right?

love you. Tamar

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Q and A, How to Run an ensemble audition

2 years ago, I self published a book, “How To Run Auditions” which is available for purchase all over. It’s really a guide for film students on running effortless and efficient auditions. Today, I was asked the question, “How would you suggest that I handle an ‘ensemble’ audition. I have a number of people whom I think would do well individually as actors and actresses, but I’m not too sure how to find out if they would work well together. For ‘ensemble’ think of series like ‘diGrassi, East Side Kids, etc.’”
I thought that was a really interesting question, and perhaps you, also have that question. So here was my answer:
Partially, it depends on the type of project you’re doing. I think there are many options, here are a few ideas that come to mind:
1)If there’s a script with a scene that has lots of characters talking, then have a call back and use that scene. You can at least see if people look good together and hear how their timing is compatible to each other.
2)Play some sort of theater game with a group of people. An improve game (I can suggest a few if need be) that would use several people. But not everyone may feel comfortable in that situation, so it’s risky. Even Charades or Celebrity can show how people get along with eacher, listen and pay attention, and how creative they are. Or perhaps you know some fun games that get people interacting with each other.
3) There’s the Chorus Line option. Gather everyone, sit around in a circle, give each person 2 minutes to talk about themselves, and then open up for a discussion. Might be time consuming, but might be really interesting!
Also, depending on the project you’re casting, check the background/training section of each person’s resume. There may be overlaps from resume to resume that will give you an idea of how each person’s process will be.
The main thing is, talk to each person auditioning. Get a sense of what they are like as a person. If YOU like them and want to work with them, that’s really what matters. You’re in charge anyway and will set the tone of the working atmosphere. As long as everyone is respectful, responsible, and hopefully fun, then you shouldn’t have any major issues. Good luck!
Readers? Ideas? Questions?
buy the book, "How To Run Auditions"


Sunday, June 6, 2010

A sense of community

   As a child, I was constantly asking questions. I didn’t take (and still don’t) a, “Because I said so…” as a reason. I want full explanations to convince me to see your point of view. For years, I heard people talk about schools, religions, clubs, organizations, and more, as, “Communities”. But I didn’t SEE it. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t make friends easily, because I was very shy, and yet, somehow, still very opinionated (even at age 5). As a child, most choices of schools, clubs, religions, were not my own, but my parents’ choices. I didn’t have anything in common with anyone I met, and I most certainly didn’t feel supported by my peers or leaders.
   As a young actress, I kept finding myself being pulled into theatre companies. But I’m an only child. I work on my own. I depend only on myself. I had no idea what the benefit of being in a company was! I was too young, too shy, too new to society to grasp the possibilities of having a group of people to brainstorm, to invent, to create, to support and grow. I didn’t know it took a village. In fact, I didn’t really know what that meant until recently.
  2 times a year, I would hear David Lyman (an educator, photographer, sailor) give a creativity lecture. The same lecture, 2 times a year, for almost 10 years. Every time I heard it, I learned something new, because of where I was in my personal development. He speaks of 3 kinds of people: the starters (the idea people), the do-ers (process people), and the finishers (producers). He says you can be 1 or 2, but most people are not both. You simply MUST surround yourself with people that balance you in order to get things done. Some artists will continually edit the same work and never finish, unless someone finally grabs it from them and says, “It’s done. We’re showing it.” I, personally, am an idea person and a finisher. I hate “process”.  I hate re-writes. I hate practicing. I want to think of something and just do it. So I have to surround myself with people that push me to improve my work. That’s team work. That’s…community.
    THAT is why people join clubs, companies, organizations, churches and synagogues. To find like-minded people to support you, encourage you, and HELP you to follow your dreams, while they follow theirs.
 As I said in my last blog entry, I have a community in my tap class in New York. I would not be ½ the tap dancer or ½ the person I am, without my friends. I also have a film community in Washington, DC. DC Dogs. A team of people who support and encourage each other to keep creating films. We compliment each other. I have a massage therapy community in New York and Los Angeles. I keep track of all the wonderful massage therapists I meet in each place, and use each other to heal, to get and give jobs, to ask questions, or to vent emotions on hard days. And, a few years ago when my parents in New England became ill, I was never more grateful that they had a community to help support them and me until they recovered. Every day I work on creating a community for myself in every aspect of my life.
  I think I’m just starting to GET it. I understand why it takes a village to do things. Because although we CAN do things on our own, it’s much easier as part of a team. In fact, it’s much BETTER as part of a team.
  So do it! Reach out. If you’re not part of community yet…start your own. And if you’re reading this…you’re in mine. So thank you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

tap dancing

I tap dance. Up until about 2 days ago I would say, "I take tap class." But as of Sunday night, I think I'm allowed to say, "I tap dance." I performed tap dance at Tap Extravaganza with 13 of my dearest friends. I performed in the same show as a bunch of the most famous, well respected tap dancers alive. That is pretty cool.
 I've been a dancer my whole life. My dad was a ballet dancer and did folk dance and could do ballroom when asked. So it's in my blood to be a mover and shaker. I feel very sad when I haven't been physical for a few days. I express myself in dance. I release negative emotions in dance. And in recent years, I've created a community for myself in dance. Tap dance. Growing up doing ballet and disco and jazz and whatever other modality I could, tap dance did NOT come naturally. Every teacher I've had could attest to that. I took a few tap classes at age 16, I took a lot from age 18-21. And then, after tearing everything in my knee, I took 8 years off. And then I found Lynn. My teacher. I've been studying with her for about 9 or so years.Taking from her is a little like a joining a cult. Us elders induct or reject the new recruits who come in. But if we like you, you'll be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to follow your bliss, eat hummus with us on a regular basis, and work your butt off in weekly tap classes.
 People ask me all the time why I take tap class. At my age. At this point in my life. Am I pursuing tap? Aren't I doing enough THINGS to keep busy? Do I think I'll be a brilliant tap dancer by the time I'm 60 years old? I love it. I love all dance. Even the kinds I'm not good at. But I found a community of people who love me, accept me, support me, make me laugh, and grow WITH me. Learning tap has been exciting, frustrating, moving, emotional, painful, and so much more. It took me years to relax my ankles. It's taken about 10 years to remember to breathe. It'll take another few years to get rid of other bad habits that snuck in. BUT, I've come a lot farther than I thought I ever would. And 2 days ago I performed, onstage, for a paid audience, with some REALLY good tap dancers. And that, is a huge accomplishment. Am I pursuing a career as a tap dancer? Heck no, that'd be crazy. My talents lie in other places. But I wouldn't trade the community of love and support I've joined for anything in the world. That's the gift. That's the secret to life. That's the joy in the dance. We were all onstage...together. And that's how we make it through life...together.
 follow your bliss.
love, Tamar

First post and welcome

hello! Thank you for reading the first post of my new blog. I've been thinking about doing this for quite some time. I'm happy to take questions about life, the Universe and everything. I'm pretty good at advice giving, and I do my best to take my own advice. So far, it's worked out OK...I'm still HERE, I'm still living, breathing, and doing my best to enjoy life. People constantly say to me, "you have the most exciting life!" And I always say, "look at the alternative!" Who wants a boring life?
 To be honest, the stuff floating around in my head doesn't make living easy. I was not a very happy child, young adult, adult...but I'm doing OK now. I always worked as hard as possible to get the most out of life, but "working hard" is not the best way. "going with the flow" is really the best way, and that's what I attempt to do now. I say attempt, because it could be another 10 years til I've really gotten into that habit.
 I have so many thoughts rushing into my head that I don't even know where to start. So welcome, and I hope you go on this journey with me, because we all need support. I'm here for you, so I hope you'll be there for me.
 love, Tamar