Sunday, September 15, 2013

Physical theatre totally kicks my ass

Sunday, September 15, 2013
I feel like everyone has that moment where you get motivated to work out again. You aren't in the best of shape, more lumpy than you would like to admit, so now's the time to be proactive about it. You were super in shape in high school, doing sports and running like 36 miles a day. You may be older, but you have the mental stamina to make it last! You go to the gym, run on the treadmill, lift some weights, swim a few laps and think "This ain't nothing! I CAN DO IT ALL!!!"

Then you wake up the next morning feeling like all of your muscles weigh 200 pounds and you will never be able to walk let a lone move again and now's the time to write your final will and testament because you are just going to die right then and there on that bed.

Thus was the introduction to my most recent show.

Based on the callbacks, I knew this was going to be a movement heavy show. Just within the 5 minutes I was there, we were experimenting with movement, pacing, levels, etc. I had a blast and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I went in thinking, "Hey, I'm not the most 'in-shape' actor, but I'm fairly flexible and have pretty decent stamina to make it through a 10-minute show."

Oh holy mother of all things holy was I wrong.

Day 1, I think I was on the floor crawling or on my knees more than I was standing up (tehehe). Sprawled out, slithering, running, rolling around, just constantly moving around. I was having a blast, until the next morning when my body reacted with "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME ARE YOU DOING, WOMAN?!?!?" All muscles in my body turned into bags of sand that I had to lug around for the next week.

It got me thinking about a lot of things. First: I didn't know it was possible to climb stairs without actually bending your knees. Second: My idea of "theatre in shape" vs "in shape" vs "what shape I actually am in" are just all thrown for a loop. I've known this for a while now, but my "in-shapeness" has been going downhill since I quit sports (when I was able to run 36 miles a day eat 5 dozen eggs). And of course, now that I approach the "beginning of the end/all downhill from here age" (kidding, of course), it's something that I think should be addressed. Thankfully, with this show, I've been able to slowly get back into shape through theatre and acting.

Which, by the way, I am loving this show/rehearsal process because
A) I'm getting back into shape
B) All of the people involved are kickass
C) It's completely different from any show I've done
D) For a 5 minute play, it is challenging as hell
E) I get to play a character that is way off my spectrum

It's been a great process so far. My character is "Guilt", with two other actors playing different aspects of the main woman's psyche. It's crazy because everything we were taught about how not to play emotions is just tossed out because...well...we are emotions. We have to play them! But finding the different levels of guilt, how guilt is experienced/expressed by the person feeling it, how it interacts with the other's all so fascinating and fun! And I'm having a blast because I usually don't get to play this type of "emotion". I'm sly and angry and manipulative. I don't get to play characters more on the evil side. It's kickass! I'm sad that the play isn't longer, but if it were, all of us would be emotionally exhausted each week. It's pretty intense. I can't wait to get it into the space and in front of the audience. The rehearsals have been nice, but I'm getting antsy to be in front of an audience again.

But first, I need to get in shape...blerg

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One-Year Chicago-versary!

Saturday, July 20, 2013
It's been officially one year since I moved to Chicago, so I made this to celebrate!

Sorry that it's so long. I tend to ramble. And say phrases repeatedly. Ah well.


Windy City Vlog 1 from Christina Jones on Vimeo.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Die Vampire, Die!

Monday, April 29, 2013
I've been fairly decent about posting updates at least once a month, and since I only have 1 and 1/24 days left in April (and I have been awful about it as of late), I figure what better day than the last day?

I, Christina Jones, am stuck.

I think that's the best way to describe my situation right now. A lot of really spectacular things have happened to me recently. I finally found a job working as a barista downtown. It's still a bit soul killing, but more on that later (a post in the near future). And, honestly, what day job for an actor isn't? But I'm thankful that I have a job and thus have more than $11 to my name. I also was offered to understudy for a show that my most recent director is working on. Paid gig and everything. So, I should be happy, right? I'm grateful. I truly am. I'm just in their weird limbo of not really knowing what to do with myself. I'm living the full adult life of waking up, going to work, and coming home. Repeat x5. And I really hate myself for it. I keep reminding myself of all these goals and resolutions I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I've been just meh with it all. And I just want to kick myself in the proverbial nuts about it.

Not speaking for all, but for some I know, it's a bum time right now. Theatres are finishing up their seasons and postings haven't gone out for next year's auditions. Acting classes are slim because of the summer break coming up. And not having any sort of show lined up is a bit terrifying, to say the least.

I'm finding it hard to stay motivated. To keep on keeping on. And what's funny, when talking with other people, I'm usually the biggest cheerleader for getting out there and getting shit done. I like finding auditions for other people or helping with monologue choices or whatever; yet, for some reason, I can't channel that toward my own career.

I know why. There are a bajillion reasons/excuses/whiny things that I tell myself.
I'm tired.
I don't have time.
I have work.
I just want to hang out.
I'm scared.
It's not worth it.
I can't do it.
I'm not right for it.

It pisses me off that I do it. I came here to do something; to be somebody; to be the best actor that I can possibly be. And the fact that I'm in a slump right now shouldn't stop the process. No matter how much that vampire keeps nagging at me.

Something's gotta change.

So, I may not be able to do much right now, but one of the biggest obstacles in my life is about to be officially addressed. This week I'm taking steps in the right direction to (hopefully) overcome a lifelong struggle. Sorry for the vague-y-ness. It's just a very old yet very open wound. BUT, I'm tackling it head on, which is all you can ask for.

Oh baby, you must escape 
and grab it by the nape 
of its neck, by the trachea
fuckin’ break it, 
go on drive a stake in, 
Yeah there’s no mistaking, 

now you’re shake and bakin’

Die, you motherfucking vamp

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's a GIF update!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
So, for the life of me, I cannot go to sleep. I want to update, but I don't feel like typing out a long ass post. And, I have been addicted to for a solid 2 weeks. This post is a result of all of that...enter at your own risk....

My Life Right Now As Explained by gifs

Not a lot going on in my life right now

Except that I’ve been watching WAY too much TV…

I’m still jobless, which sucks because I’m broke as a joke

But, sometimes I get randomly awesome gigs, like being in a focus group for juice life is odd sometimes...

My parents are coming into town this weekend! I haven’t seen them in 8 months!

But they don’t believe in drinking…


But I still love them anyway.


It’s. Still. Winter.


I’m getting back at auditioning again this weekend.


And I get to celebrate my first St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago!

It’ll be fun! At least, what I will remember of it…

And I realized I should probably be cleaning my apartment rather than doing this post…

Jesus, I need to sleep...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Booze and wimmin...wimmin and booze...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It's the day of the show, y'all!!!!

Anytime I get an excuse to #1 Use "y'all" and #2 Quote "Waiting for Guffman" is fine by me.

Tonight is officially opening night for my first kind of bigish-time Chicago show! I am thrilled beyond words to open this bad boy to the public. We've already had 3 previews, and minus one matinee (because I mean honestly, who enjoys matinees? Actors hate them, audiences hate's always lose/lose) the show has been fantastic. I think I can speak for myself and some of the cast when I say that I had no idea how the audience would react to this show. It's a world premiere of a brand new script based off a NYT best seller/movie/TV show. I mean, I know it's good, and the cast/crew/director knows that it's good, but there is always that worry that the audience won't latch onto it. That they'll sit there in awe of how awful they think it is.

Thankfully, that hasn't been the case (at least thus far). We've had a great reaction from the public and realized that this show, while dramatic, has a lot of funny moments in it. Like, funny moments that we didn't even know were funny. And now, going into opening night, I feel confident that this show will get the reaction it deserves.

I haven't updated much on the process of rehearsals for this show, but I will say now that I feel like I've been ruined forever by how much I've enjoyed working on this show. Going in, I really didn't know what to expect, but in the back of my mind I thought "There's 15 actors in this thing. There is bound to be some tension/divas/fisticuffs or whatever that is going to happen at some point." But, I have had such a grand ol' time doing this show. Everyone has been a joy to work with, onstage and off, and they have pushed me to become a better actor. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to work with actors who consistently talk about character relationships and back story and story arcs. I guess I worked in educational theatre for so long where people treated classes and shows like chores (and I am guilty of this a time or two, as well) that this process has reminded me why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. And I could go on and on about how much I love my director, not only because his sailor mouth is worse than mine (which I adore), but because he's pushed me to discover who my characters were and how I could portray them in the best way possible. He exemplifies what I enjoy about working with directors.

I sound like such a cheeseball, but all of this is true. I'm not blowing smoke up anyone's asses (except if it works, then I will grovel til the cows come home!). My first 2 forays into Chicago theatre were fine, but this experience is why I moved here. And even if the critics rip us a new asshole, I'll still make weird Kathy faces and slutty Betty dance moves with pride. I'm proud of this show and what the cast has accomplished. For anyone a part of the process reading, I thank you.

A good scurvy to all, and to all some good socks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a 6-monthaversary, Charlie Brown!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Wowzers, how time has flown by. I've made it to an official 6 months of living, breathing, and shitting in Chicago. It's the most successful relationship I've ever mounted, Chicago and me. It seems like only yesterday that it was a bajillion degrees outside, and I was sweating balls whilst typing out my first update in a Starbucks because my apartment had no internet. Ah, those were the days!

I guess it's really now that I consider myself a part of this city. I don't know why. I've done a lot of shit since moving here: got a job, lost a job, 1 and 1/2 shows, countless auditions, many a sleepless nights. Maybe it's not until you're here for a substantial amount of time that it feels real. Or maybe it's not until you get a free cab ride home with a taxi full of Asians...I feel like I can call this place my home now.

And so much has happened in these past 6 months. SO. MUCH. Good and bad. Life stuff and theatre stuff. Growing up quickly and yet still acting like a kid at some moments. I don't want to say that I have completely changed and have become this cosmo-uppety-bullshit whatever woman now...because I'm not. I will always be the classy broad that eats 2 day old Arby's and will order the cheapest beer possible so I can drink on a budget; I've just learned so much from the new people I've met here, the people I call my family, and even myself...sometimes. 

I have to elaborate on one of these learning moments because it is my top moment of the past 6 months. Of course, getting cast, doing shows, seeing shows, holidays, etc. have been amazing and definitely moment worthy, but one night in particular just...I don't know...enveloped me, is the best term I can think of. 

I really didn't elaborate on the first time I was fired, except that my boss was a dirty twat nugget. When I was walking home, I texted one of my friends about it, and he told me to meet him at the theatre he was house managing at. So, I hopped one of the trains to his work. I get on, and it's just me and this guy hunched over at the end. The train starts, and the man just starts projectile vomiting everywhere. 

I immediately jumped up, and ran to the opposite side of the car, and did everything in my power not to punch him in the face and vomit right back at him. But, of course, it couldn't be that easy. Because of the angle of train travel, the vomit just started sliding down the floor towards me like lava. Disgusting, chunky, corn-filled lava. At that moment, I felt like I was in an episode of Louie just because of the sheer tragi-comedy nature of it all. I just got fired for some bullshit reason, I'm on the verge of tears, and I have a river of vomit rushing toward me. I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous it all was. Even typing it out now, it's one of those moments that could never be in a movie or play because people wouldn't think it could happen. But it did.

So, I finally get to the theatre, and I am waiting in the lobby for the show to let out. The audience leaves and my friend just tells me to pick a seat and wait for him. I go to the balcony and find a seat in the front row and just sit. It's just me and the empty theatre. It was a beautiful theatre, too; pretty big by Chicago standards. And in the quiet of the moment, I was just enveloped by it all. It's what I think church must be like for some people. It was my sanctuary. My friend then walked in and sat next to me, and I told of my firing and the journey in through puke filled swamp of CTA, all through my tears and expletive filled laughter. 

Then we had one of those roll your eye worthy actor talks. But, you know what, you need one of those talks every now and then. It's so pompous and self-congratulatory and "actory", but you need it every now and again. Talking about what your doing, why you love theatre, what you do to put up with it, and why you moved a bajillion miles to a place you've never been to do it. And in that moment, I definitely needed a reminder of why I'm doing this. And I got it. And I love my friend for it. And that moment was just beautiful.

Wow, so, I had a completely different plan for this post, but it ended up being this. I'll do my "list of things I've learned from 6 months here" sometimes later, I guess. Until then, I'll relish in this small victory and buy myself an ice cream cone.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christina's list of supafly actor resolutions for 2013...because normal resolutions are for pussies...just kidding...

Friday, January 4, 2013
WHAT?!?! 2 postings in one month??? It must be a 2013-new-year-new-beginnings miracle!

Well, we are only 4 days into the new year, and things are going swimmingly. My new show has rejuvenated me in ways I didn't know were possible. This might be my favorite actor experience to date, overtaking the #1 position held by "Children of a Lesser God". Of course, it could all go to shit in an instant, but right now I am in such a good place, that I have been inspired!

Whilst at work, it struck me that I really hadn't made a new year resolution for 2013. I've been fickle in the past about making them because I know that I never keep them (along with 90% of the world). I always have loved the idea of NYresolutions, though. The thought that as a new year begins, you're given this clean slate. A world of possibilities is at your fingertips, and you have so many opportunities. You have an entire year! 2013 hasn't even begun! It's such a wonderful thought, yet most of us don't take the opportunity to grab this big break and run with it. I know I don't.

But I am about to change all that.

Again, whilst at work, I was pondering how I could make resolutions that would be good enough to keep. Something that would inspire me so much that I would want to keep them. That's the key for me. I usually don't have an resolutions that I absolutely have to keep; it's just stuff I would like to do to be a better human being. And of course, I do have little personal resolutions that I'm working on to make me a better person, but what I really want to do is make resolutions that will help me become a better actor. The best actor I can possibly be.

And then my brain was all like "WWWHHHAAATTT?!?! That's it, you crazy bitch!"

I don't know why my brain took on a Cher voice, but it did.

Acting, theatre, and everything that goes with it is my absolute first love. Of course I love my family, friends, etc., but every decision I make in my life correlates with my acting career. How can I act more? How do I get better? Where can I go/Who can I go to to make me a better actor? It's what I want to do for the rest of my life; and while I've taken the huge step of moving to Chicago to achieve that, I want to do even more to help in this process of becoming the best actor I can possibly be.

So, my 2013 resolutions are all going to be actor oriented. Goals that I am going to set for myself to better myself as an actor. Some of them will be small/easy goals that I know I can totally do if I just focus on it. Some will be huge. Like, "big, black man!" huge. I might not even get an inch close to achieving it. But, one thing I like about myself is that while I may not be the best at things I try at, you best be sure that I will work harder than anyone you will ever meet. I want to set these goals because even if I don't get close to accomplishing them, at least I can have them fresh in my mind for 2014, 2018, or even 2033. Who knows?

I'll post my list here (because none of them are super secret personal stuff). And, if any of you readers out there, and I'm talking to all 3 of you, want to join in my journey, please do so! There are some resolutions I have that would be great to have a buddy or 15 to help motivate to completion. Most I will have to work on myself, but others are more than welcome. Just message me, or bat-signal me, or whatever. You get the drift.

So, here goes nothing!

Christina's 2013 List of Actor Resolutions!
**Note: I was also inspired by a blogger named Matt Newton, who is an actor/teacher in LA. He listed his actor resolutions for 2013, and I'll probably be stealing some since they are so good. Check out his blog. It's friggin' shweet.**

The easily obtainable...
  • Get new headshots!
    *While I like my headshot, I really need more variety and better pixel quality for sending to auditions. And the one I have right now is nice, but it just screams "commercial", which I have found out from talking with other actors and casting directors.
  • Get healthy!
    *"Healthy" qualifies for a lot of different things. I really need to eat better, because my diet right now is just all over the place. I want to work on my body as well, since it is a canvas to an actor. I need to start working out, toning up, eating better, and just taking care of myself in general.
  • Maintain my actor online presence!
    *I'm proud of myself for creating my actor website when I first moved here, but I've been bad about keeping up with it. I really need to make sure that it is constantly updated. And, at some point, I want to buy the rights to my website name so it doesn't have 52 extra characters before "christina jones". I also want to maintain this blog not only for an update about my theatre life, but to be a tool for those considering moving to Chicago. At least if I screw up, someone can learn from it!
  • See at least 1 show per month (that's not improv/sketch)!
    *I really need to see more theatre from all of the different groups in Chicago. I'm good about seeing shows, but the majority of them have been improv. That's not a bad thing at all! It's so easy to do since they play all the time. But, I'm here for straight theatre, so I need to see what else is out there.
  • Words! Words! Words! AKA Read a bunch of shit!
    *If I don't have time to take classes, the least I can do is read from actors/teachers whom those classes would be based off of. I have books that I haven't even touched. I need to read some Uta, some Meisner, and even some more Stan. I'm of the acting mindset that you pick and choose what tactics you like from the different ideologies, so this will be a good way to do that. I also want to read at least one actor related article per week. I feel like will be a great help for this.
The kinda harder, yet still doable...
  • Find at least 20 new monologues!
    *This one is a doozie. I know everyone says "I'm the worst at finding monologues! I can never find anything! Waaaaa waaaa waaaa!", but seriously guys, I. Am. The. Worst. I'm just waaaaayyyy too picky when it comes to finding ones that I like, especially comedic ones. But, I've been using the same monologues for the past couple of months here, so I really need new ones of all shapes and sizes. I've noticed it makes auditioning so much easier when you have your repertoire that you've worked on for so long and can just pull out if you find out about a last minute audition. This one may take the full year, but I'm going to do it, damnit!
  • Take classes!
    *This one is tricky. The problem I ran into when I first moved to Chicago is that, while classes are totally awesome, they tend to be at the most inconvenient times. I had to drop a class I was in due to too many audition conflicts, and eventual casting conflict. I know I need to take class, and I really want to, I just need to find some that work with my schedule. 
  • Do more film/get a reel!
    *I have had very little film experience, and that is one aspect of acting that I absolutely have to get better at. I would love to be able to do commercial work to pay the bills and theatre at night. But, to do that, I need to work more on student films, take acting for film classes, and just get all around better. I just have to.
  • Audition (or at least try to) for all the huge theatre companies in Chicago!
    *This one really doesn't depend on me as much. All the main theatres here have auditions for non-equity, but you have to submit for them to even think about letting you audition. of course eleventy billion people submit, so the likelihood of even getting an audition spot is slim to none, but I'm going to try at least. Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakes, Goodman, Wit, Lookingglass, Red Tape, Dead Writers, etc. I'm going for them all.
  • Get better at my weaknesses: singing and dancing!
    *Dude, everyone here can sing, dance, and act. And, the more time I keep putting off getting better at it, the more opportunities I will miss because of it. I'm not horrible at singing or dancing, just passable. If I want to be the best actor I can be, I have to be at least good at singing and dancing. So, I need to save up for voice lessons and dance classes.

 The "bahaha, no way in hell" goals...
  • Get an agent!
    *I would really love to get the chance to audition for commercials, TV, movies, etc. But, in order to that, I need an agent. And I need a good one. I can start submitting to the agencies here in town, and even invite them out to my shows! And, hopefully, someone will find me and like me enough to use me.
  • Work at an equity theatre/gain equity points!
    *....I know....I will never happen this year...but I'm a-gunna try!
  • Get at least one line in some major TV show or movie shot in Chicago!
    *Again, not happening, but oh well.

Ok, that's all I can think of thus far. If you 3 readers have any more ideas, please send them my way! I think this is a good starting point of what I want to do and where I want to end up. I'm printing this list out, posting it on my bedroom wall, and trying with all my might to accomplish every single one of those goals. If I do, I'm buying myself something a gold ring or somethin'...

Here's to 2013! The year of the actors!

I've thought of more to add to my list. So this edit is mostly for me. So, suck it!
  • Watch every Oscar nominated movie before the ceremony!
    *I know there are so many politics that go behind who gets nominated and who wins at the Oscars, but for some reason these actors/directors/movies get nominated for the highest award possible. I want to watch them, observe, and soak it all in.
  • Get better at remembering important names!
    *I have a photographic memory, so I will probably remember your face until the day I die. But for the life of me, I cannot remember names, even 5 seconds after they are told to me. I need to get better at connecting the faces to the names, especially now that I'm meeting so many people involved in the Chicago theatre community. It'll come to bite me in the ass if I don't.
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