Block 288: December 18, 2013


Yesterday wasn’t a good day.

Date: December 18, 2013

Crane: 288

Days Spent on Project: 305

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Kate B.

Kate was another Acting Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville during my second season there. She shared an apartment with Abby W. that year.

Bubbly and outgoing, she was a lot of fun to hang around with.

For Halloween that year, she dressed as Britney Spears, if I remember correctly. That meant she wore a plunging denim vest and matching denim pants.

Oh, the early 2000s and their questionable love of denim everything.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’m on a Fort Fairfield kick today. Listened to Zob Am Funkturm quite a few times.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m having a difficult time this morning trying to put my thoughts together.

Yes, I was up all night. Sitting in bed, I finished a few magazines and couldn’t shut my mind off.

I had the unfortunate experience of being offered a job that felt, frankly and honestly, strangely insulting. The fee was set at $400 for a Shakespearean play. There were 12 actors, 21 characters, minimum of 30 outfits to make the play “work” (as in every character is dressed, period, nothing more or less)… all for a budget of 300, which breaks down to $10 per outfit.

Oh, and there’s no wardrobe person to maintain or wash the clothes for a month of performances.

So, any money for laundry or dry-cleaning should come out of the $300.

I was so shocked, my jaw dropped and the meeting stopped while I couldn’t manage to say anything. Yes, I’ve done a few “shows as favors” for friends this year, so I’m not above under-selling myself and my experience. But… this? I won’t go so far as to say it was insulting, but I don’t know what to say about it. I finished up the interview as best I could, trying to figure out ways to make the director’s vision happen, but I couldn’t. I explained that I wasn’t financially able to spend my own money on another project this year and that I didn’t know how to design or work with no resources. I thanked them. I left.

The first week of December, remember how I interviewed with a designer whose work I admire? He told me, during that conversation, that a job interview is an interview for all parties involved. I shouldn’t walk in with the idea that the interview is controlled BY them and FOR them; I have to allow myself the power to interview THEM as well. After all, working with their company, on their show, with their team, it might not be a good fit for me. He said it’s okay to say no, if you don’t feel like it’s a good fit for you.

Granted, he’s farther along in his career and financially comfortable, but I get it.

There’s no need to walk into and start a relationship with a production when alarms are already starting to go off.

As empowering as it was to “just say no,” it left me pretty upset. Why bother getting an MFA? Why bother trying to do your best with nothing? Why is this normal? Why do I have to accept this?

In an attempt to start show-hunting again, I sent my resume and website out again in a series of emails. One person emailed directly back, saying “Jumbled and uncategorized.”

WTF. Pardon my French, but WTF.

We’re all told that when a door is closed, a window opens, right? I’m trying to be patient here, but when is a window gonna open? Even just a little?

One thought on “Block 288: December 18, 2013

  1. Your crane so reflects your mood… for some reason makes me think of George Ohr, the potter who in 1893 took 60 of his pots from his home in New Orleans to the Chicago World’s Fair. They averaged $35 each. He didn’t sell one, so took them all back home. Today, Ohr’s work sells for thousands and thousands. He knew what his work was worth… as you do yours. Stick to your guns, my man!

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