May 5 is a touchstone of sorts, a measuring place to see where things are in terms of creative activities.
I am the kind of person who never, ever gets enough stuff done. I am never satisfied. And several things have happened in the past year to really slow down the creativity and affect the creativity. So, on the surface, I’d say it’s been a slow year.
But, then I started building a list. What have I accomplished? What gifts has the universe given me? What has happened? How much further am I towards the goal of “making it?”
Even after all these years, I’m still not quite sure what “Making it” means. Success? Money? Fame? Recognition? Accomplishment?
All I know is: I’m not there yet. Things are happening, and happening rapidly.
So… the Year in Review:
Recorded music is happening. The first goal was to have good quality demos. Well, over half of my published catalog is demoed. That’s huge, and it’s been years in the making. Once I have demos in my arsenal, then the next level is full instrumentation, recorded, mastered tracks. And THAT is happening (thanks to the talents of a great engineer!). I have managed to make my own home studio work, for the first time ever. So, I will transition to doing demos there, and save the big studio for mastered tracks.
This is huge. I really can’t believe it’s taken this many years to pull this together.
I started a YouTube page, with me as the artist, and now when I say, “I’m a musician”, then someone can find the youtube music and there’s actual _proof_ that I can do what I say I can do.
When I was tiny, little, and just an imp, 3 years old or so, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer: I want to be a country-western singer.
I sang all through school, at every program and choir opportunity. When I was 16 or so, I went to one of those novelty studios, and recorded a couple of songs. And I discovered I couldn’t sing worth beans.
So, I started working on my singing, but it was a challenge. When I was in 6th grade, I took 4 singing lessons. That messed me up for years. I mean: years! I knew I had something unique. But, when one is trained to sing, an outcome can be….one loses all individuality. I knew I had “something”…something different…something that made me stand out from the rest. So, how could I learn to sing, without taking the risk of losing that again? Finally, when I was 28, I found someone who helped me. I learned the mechanics of singing, without losing the talent of individuality (thank you teacher!!).
Recording audio isn’t just about singing. You have to learn and know everything. Instruments, music, math, arrangements, dynamics, songwriting, marketing, computers, communication, etc.
So, finally, after years of trying, it all starts to come together. I have no idea where it goes from here. Mainstream, terrestrial radio, and contemporary conglomerate-driven record companies have no use for a forty-something, glasses-wearing, non size-0, woman.
So, here we are in 2013. Where are we? People have said things like:
“You sang the living daylights out of that song!”
“You have ‘the voice’ and you know how to use it.”
I discover that I love singing. And somewhere during this year, I put “Amanda the singer” back on the table as some sort of possibility. There are markets out there. Finding them is hard. As hard as the road to getting here?
I guess we’ll see.
Other Cinco de Mayo accomplishments:
Huge inroads in photography.
Saw myself on the movie screen for the first time.
As playwrights, our first play was produced.
Acted in two movies.
3 books published.
2 book covers (one photography and one graphic design).
I am an author, for crying out loud. All those book covers on the right side of this blog? I wrote them!
All in all…it hasn’t been a bad year.
The week in review.
I’ve been puzzling over how to talk about this latest movie job. It was last week. They were adamant on ‘no photographs’, so I honor that, and I’m not going to tell details. My main ‘take away’ from the experience was: exhaustion. It was a super long day. I was on set from 8am (actually, before that, because I am always early) to 9:50 pm. Most of that time was in holding. This was the least amount I’d done on set, with the largest amount of time in holding. That’s fine, but still, I have to ask myself if it’s worth it. I spent a day there, when I could have used this precious day off to further any number of my own projects. Is it worth it? I enjoy these movie experiences. Given the fact that I’ve talked about it to many people, after the fact (and they find it fun and like to hear the stories)…is it worth it? Does the ‘marketing’ aspect of being an actor, make up for the fact that it’s only just “for fun?” Acting as an extra isn’t really going to further my goals of “making it?” is it? I’m a realist. I’m too old to break in to acting (on someone else’s project), on any sort of big scale. Now, if I work my own project and cast myself, I do have chances there–completing a finished movie or tv series, and having that finished project to sell/market. That is much more realistic.
So, the latest movie job. There were three actors there–names you’ll know, and names I can now add to my game of “six degrees of separation”. One is an actor I’ve dreamed of working with for years now.
Movie acting can be fun. If I’m on set, actually on set, I’m not bored. I want to watch and learn and observe. Unfortunately, the types of people you work with can really affect the experience. The predominant ‘not fun’ types are the ones that bitch and bitch throughout the whole experience. Fortunately, there weren’t any of those there.
What there were…were the chatterers. I used to say that I took these acting roles in order to be around people like me. (People who like the spotlight and like to be seen. And like to entertain.)
Well, that is true, but I don’t hog the spotlight. I don’t bother people when they are working. I respect the job that working people are trying to do.
So, the ‘chatterers’ on this set, for some reason, really seemed to bug me this time. When you are in holding, and you are subjected to people who have to tell you EVERYTHING they’ve done in acting; when they tell you everything that happened on the last movie they worked (I was there too, I already know this story); when they stop every assistant and PA and AD, and want to talk….that really grates on me.
But the kicker was when they are actually on set, working, and they want to chatter. I managed to keep my cool, but it was quite irritating. I want to observe. When they call “picture up” or “action” I want to be on my mark and ready. When they are setting up lights and blocking and any number of things, I want to observe. I direct, for crying out loud–I want to learn from these talented people…not chatter with another extra, who has to tell me how important _he_ is.
So, I’ll close with a sunray photo. I love these. Gives you hope for the future, you know?