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“The Warner Loughlin Technique” Quotes

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

I recently read “The Warner Loughlin Technique” by Warner Loughlin. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Master the character first, and then put the character in the circumstances of the scene.” (19)

“That is how you make a strong choice. Give it an emotional reason to exist while making sure that it is both appropriate to the character and the story.” (57)

“Unless the screenplay lays out for you the events that happened in the character’s life, you will want to invent them. You can’t truly know someone unless you know their ‘life story,’ so to speak.” (57)

“The darker the material and characters are, the darker your choices can be… Let the life events you choose be dictated by the material.” (63)

“Choose excellence, vow to practice it consistently, and soon excellence becomes habit.” (88)

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” -Frank Outlaw (91)

“To oversimplify: The Base Human Emotion is an emotion caused by an event that leads the character to perceive the world in a certain way. When he perceives the world in a certain way, he then reacts to the world in a certain way.” (97)

“The interesting thing about Base Human Emotions in characters and in real life relationships is that people will often choose a partner who soothes their Base Human Emotion.” (98)

“Here is where a child will make a choice. He will choose a behavior in order to cope with the situation and his emotions. Will he choose to stay away from those awful bullies and bury his head in the books so that at least the teacher will like him? Or will he choose to be the class cut-up so the other kids will accept him? Choosing a behavior determines a path. One of these chosen paths could produce a world-class physicist. The other might produce a stand-up comic.” (100)

“A character’s behavior, particularly patterns of behavior, are the best indicators of what the Base Human Emotion might be.” (103)

“When your imagination is in full gear, you are drawing from an infinite well, as it were. When we limit ourselves to our own singular experiences, we draw from a finite and limited well.” (105)

“Create events and scenarios, placing yourself – as the character – n this moment and experiencing this event in the present time. Avoid creating the event as if it’s a character memory. Instead, you, as the character, are living in this moment, experiencing the event as it unfolds and all the subsequent emotions that arise from it. You’re not watching this movie – you’re in it.” (106)

“To begin creating the character’s world, start out small and expand. I find it helpful to start out imagining an object that the child is holding in his/her hand. Then my imagination will justify why “I” am holding this object at this particular time.” (110)

“Create for your character fresh, new and imaginative details that are not exact copies of the details from your personal life experiences.” (118)

“Don’t command yourself to “feel” something. Just live in the Emotion with Detail, moment to moment. It’s only then that you will feel. Don’t try to chase the emotion. Anything you chase flies away.” (126)

“We never want to “play at the scene.” Instead, we are able to create nuance and texture in a character by building the life, experiencing the life and then dropping this fully formed life into the circumstances of the scene. Just like real life works.” (193)

“For auditions, read the scene as if you have all the time in the world and are not in fact panicking. Read it from an objective viewpoint, avoiding at all costs thinking about how you’re going to play it. I know that’s hard, but you can do it. Determine what kind of scene this is and what is central to making it work. Is it a relationship scene? A break-up scene? A fight scene? A deep revelation? What’s the relationship that lies at the core of this scene? Is it with a lover? Brother/sister? Parent? Friend? Take time to do some quick Hows of Behavior to determine specific character traits, paying attention to patterns of behavior that emerge. From those patterns, quickly pick a Base Human Emotion, and stick with it. Then build a loose and quick Core KNowledge. Create several brief Emotion with Detail events that explore the central elements you’ve identified.” (199)

“For auditions, ask yourself, “Why did casting choose this scene? To show what aspect for the character? What books this job?” Then choose those aspects of the character to focus your limited time on.” (200)

“Find the emotional differences at the top of the scene versus the end of the scene.” (201)

“Remember that when you are acting, you must be thinking character thoughts rather than personal thoughts during the scene.” (201)

“Take care not to memorize your lines before developing your character.” (201)

“When you memorize lines in a rote fashion, without emotional fuel behind them, prior to character exploration, you are forcing your brain to store those lines in the rote memory section of the brain. This is a different section of the brain than the section that stores images, concepts, and memories to which you are emotionally connected.” (201)

“When you anticipate an emotion, chances are you’ll rarely feel it in the moment.” (204)

“In a Prior Instant, you are literally switching off a personal thought, and switching on a character thought. You can’t think two things at the same time. The Prior Instant is comprised of the precise thoughts and exact words the character is thinking in this moment, as if you’ve spoken the thoughts out loud, yet they are silent. I call this exact character thought, in the character’s own words, a “hard” inner monologue.
If you know exactly what your character is thinking, your mind and body will follow. A Prior Instant gets you out of the gate, so to speak, in exactly the way you need. Just make sure you are not anticipating what is about to happen in the scene; the actor knows what is about to take place, but the character does not.” (205)

“Don’t strive for the perfect take. Just be willing to go on the journey of the character.” (208)

“Think a character thought about anything, and you’ll be back in the scene. You cannot be in two places at one time. So choose to be in the character’s mind rather than in your own head beating yourself up. Seeking to have character-related thoughts at all times during your scene is hugely important. If you think it, camera reads it.” (210)

“All of your research and character work should be done before you set foot on the lot or location… having the character deeply inside you allows you to mold, shape and change on a dime according to what your director says… There’s nothing you can’t do if you have a firm grasp of your character.” (212)

“There is no right choice. Simply give the object an emotional reason to exist. This will help ground you in the moment. For example, the ruge is not just a ruge; it’s the rug your beloved dog used to sleep on at the foot of your bed. Or perhaps it was handed down to you when your sister’s room was redecorated; yours wasn’t, and you resent it. When you give objects an emotional reason to exist, they become clearer in your mind. You have made them specific.” (227)

“Walk into that audition room to give something – never to get something.” (227)

“Think of auditions as collaborative meetings.” (227)

“When it comes to homework on your character, it is most important to know how he or she responds to the other characters in the scene and to look for patterns. Is there a type of person that seems to tweak your character’s Base Human Emotion repeatedly? Or perhaps a certain behavior on the part of another character is always a trigger.” (229)

Like the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “The Warner Loughlin Technique” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“On The Technique Of Acting” Quotes

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
I recently read “On The Technique Of Acting: The First Complete Edition of Chekhov’s classic To the Actor” by Michael Chekhov. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. As always, if you like the quotes, please buy the book here.
Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 6.07.16 PM“When criticized that his notion of Kobe was not what the playwright intended, Chekhov replied that he went beyond the playwright and the play to find Kobe’s true character.” (xii)
“The idea that an actor can “go beyond the playwright or the play” is the first key to understanding the Chekhov Technique and how it differed from Stanislavsky’s early teachings.” (xii)
“Chekhov’s performance was based not on recapturing the experience but on a feverish anticipation of the event.” (xiii)
“Chekhov’s Technique dealt primarily with images, especially visceral ones, that short-circuited complicated and secondary mental processes. Instead of telling the actor “to relax,” Chekhov asked him “to walk [or sit or stand] with a Feeling of Ease.”” (xvii)
“We soon find that we have only to consciously illuminate two or three light bulbs before a chain reaction begins and several more light up without our ever having to give them special attention. When a sufficient number of these light bulbs are shining brightly, we find that inspiration strikes with much greater frequency than before.” (xxxvii)
“This longing for knowledge makes the real artist brave. He never adheres to the first image that appears to him, because he knows that this is not necessarily the richest and more correct. He sacrifices one images for another more intense and expressive, and he does this repeatedly until new and unknown visions strike him with their revealing spell.” (6)
“When one hears an artist say, “I have built my art upon my convictions.” Would it not be better for an artist to say that he has built his convictions upon his art? But this is only true of the artist who is really gifted. Haven’t we noticed that the less talented the person is, the earlier he forms his “convictions” and the longer he tenaciously clings to them?” (6)
“The real beauty of our art, if based on the activity of the Creative Individuality, is constant improvisation.” (19)
“People often want to experience something other than that which they need to experience.” (21)
“The audience became for Vakhtangov the transmitter of public opinion. He listened to it and kept pace with his time, but was never subservient to it.” (22)
“Do the Psychological Gesture and the acting alternately, until it becomes evident to you that behind each internal state or movement in acting is hidden a simple and expressive Psychological Gesture that is the essence of the acting.” (65)
“The nonactor reads the play absolutely objectively. The events, happenings, and characters in the play do not stir his own inner life. He understands the plot and follows it as an observer, and outsider. The actor reads the play subjectively. He reads through the play and by doing so he inevitably enjoys his own reaction to the happenings of the play, his own Will, Feelings, and Images. The play and the plot are only a pretext for him to display, to experience the richness of his own talent, his own desire to act. The nonactor reads the liens while the actor reads between the lines, sees beyond the characters and events of the play.” (71)
“Choose two simple contrasting psychological moments. For instance, one of them can be the word “yes,” pronounced with wrath and power. The other can be the word “no,” spoken softly and full of pleading. Pronounce this “yes,” and then continue to act without any previously thought-out theme, knowing only that your final aim will be the pleading “no.” Allow your soul to make a free and unbroken Transition from one pole to the other.” (73)
“All the lines, all the situations in the play are silent for the actor until he finds himself behind them, not as a reader with good artistic taste, but as a n actor whose responsible task is to translate the author’s language into the actor’s.” (77)
“As soon as the actor becomes aware that the Psychological Gesture is an incessant movement and never a static position, he will realize that its activity is inclined to grow and its Qualities to become stronger and more expressive.” (81)
“Each character on the stage has one main desire, and one characteristic manner of fulfilling this desire. Whatever variations the character may show during the play in pursuing his main desire, he nevertheless always remains the same character. We know that the desire of the character is his Will (“what”), and his manner of fulfilling it is its Quality (“how”). Since the Psychological Gesture is composted of the Will, permeated with the Qualities, it can easily embrace and express the complete psychology of the character.” (90)
“The actor should never worry about his talent, but rather about his lack of technique, his lack of training, and his lack of understanding of the creative process. The talent will flourish immediately of itself as soon as the actor chisels away all the extraneous matter that hides his abilities – even from himself.” (155)
“Chekhov would then being to ask questions; the first was always “Is this predominantly a ‘Thinking’ character, a “feeling’ character, or a ‘Will’ character?’” (160)
“When acting, it is quite valuable to know whether you are working with a character who has strong Will forces and relatively little intellectual power or one who has a strong Feeling life but little ability to take hold of his Will forces.” (160)
“Chekhov would further inquire, “What kind of Thinking does your character have?” Thinking can be cold and hard, like a little black rubber ball, or quick and brilliant, traveling in flashes. It can be fuzzy, light, slow and ponderous, sharp, jagged, penetrating – the types and qualities of Thinking are almost unlimited.” (161)
“The same holds true for Feelings. “What kind of Feeling does your character possess?” The character can have a Feeling life that is intense and passionate, lukewarm and lugubrious, or basically bitter like a lemon. The character can have predominantly heavy Feelings that drag it down, or light sun-filled Feelings that easily radiate to all other characters. The variety is endless.” (161)
“Mischa was also very insistent about our knowing at every moment what our characters wanted. He often said, “Art is not like life. Art cannot be like life, because in life most people do not know what they want. But the actor must always know what the character wants. The character must always have clear-cut Objectives!”” (161)
He said, “For the actor, it is not enough ti simply have an Objective – nor even to feel a tepid desire for something. You must visualize the Objective as constantly being fulfilled. For example, if your Objective is ‘I want to escape from this room,’ then you must see yourself escaping, perhaps in many different ways – through the door, through the window, etc. It is the vision of the Objective being fulfilled that creates the impulse for a strong desire. This is what will bring your role to life.”” (162)
“Chekhov consistently encouraged me to discover the differences between the character’s personality and my own. “it is the differences which the actor must portray, that is what makes the performance artistic and interesting,” he said. “The similarities will be there by themselves!”” (162)
“Don’t try to mentally justify it. Just do it.” (163)
SHORTCUTS FOR PREPARATION AT HOME (167-168)
Read the script silently as many times as possible
Describe the plot of the script to a friend
“Baptize” the emotional sections
Make a list of your character’s physical activities
 
SHORTCUTS FOR PREPARATION ON THE SET (169-170)
Make friends with the set
Make friends with the camera
Make friends with the audience
“Read the script silently as many times as possible.
Resist the temptation to say your lines aloud for as long as you can. Do not try to analyze or even consciously think about the script or the part. This allows your creative unconscious the greatest possible freedom in bringing forth a truly original interpretation of the role.” (167)
“Baptize” the emotional sections.
This means to find successive sections in your script and name each one according ot its principal emotion, feeling, or sensations, so that from the emotional point of view each section will differ form the next ones.” (167)
Make a list of your character’s physical activities.
Include those that are given in the script and those that you may wish to invent for this part.” (168)
“Chekhov believed that it was important for actors to be aware of how much they really need and love their audiences. He said that when actors are not conscious of this love, or are ashamed of it, they are in danger of becoming jaded and patronizing toward the audience.” (170)
Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

The post “On The Technique Of Acting” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Last night I did my show at the Metropolitan Room. It was a success. I had a decent crowd, and everything went well. Yeah, it almost killed me. I felt like Rocky Balboa after a fight. My DVD is going to be good. One of the oldest friends I have in comedy, Eric Alexander, filmed it. Ron Barba opened for me. Matt Bailey did some magic. Choomassi serenaded us. And of course Steve Ryan was Pot Roast, Meatloaf's disinfranchized brother. I did well. There were some spots where looking back I could have done things differently, but I did very well. This has been a dream of mine for ten years. I did it.

However, after the show I was speaking to the sound man at the Metropolitan Room and we had a very insightful conversation. A gentlemen from France, he is a jazz guitarist and married the sister of the famous singer he played for. They now have a thirteen year old daughter. Anyway, the conversation turned to comedians. He said, "Comedians are weird cats. The comedians who come in for the open mic sometimes come with their heads down and are angry. They are negative." He hit the nail on the head, comedians are not positive creatures by habit.

And then he said it best, "They make excuses for why they don't have the career they want."

So many times I have heard comedians crap on someone else who is making it. If it is a woman, she must have slept with a lot of people. I can't tell you how many people it is rumored I slept with. Hell, if I got Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and Rosie O'Donnell in the same room they probably slept with more nonexistent people than I have. (Rosie's nonexistent people are men too btw). If it is a dude, the other male comedians slam him as a douche bag. Maybe this is true, but he is a hard working douche bag which is more than I can say for your ass. In comedy everyone has a strike or two against them. The only thing you can control is being funny. Why not concentrate on that instead of what everyone else is doing?

One comedian mentioned in a post that when a comedian does well onstage and the next comic afterwards rips on their act, they lose the audience. She pointed out that they do this out of sheer jealousy. She's correct. Instead of being themselves, doing their act, and focusing on themselves, they blame everyone else. I have seen this several times in my comedy career and it is eekworthy to watch. Once May and I did well, and this idiot who was on Letterman once and has been washed up ever since followed. He ripped on us and the audience went silent. He had a hell of a time winning them back. I thought he was going to apologize afterwards, but he didn't. Of course, he only does certain shows and released a comedy album no one cares about. He wanders the scene looking for the meaning of life. I am garnering a following and filmed a DVD people already want to buy. He can rip on me all he wants, I am not only funnier but now I have the better career.

Yeah, it is easy to blame others when you don't get what you want. Maybe you aren't working hard enough. Or maybe you don't have the skills. Melissa Robinette, a wonderful actress and President of Actor's Equity of the East Coast and founder of The Biz of Show is from a circus family. She explained when actors find out they lost the job because they wanted a tap dancing leading lady, they put down the the other actor. Melissa said that circus folks learn how to tap dance so now they have that skill, and they can never lose that opportunity again. Bottom line, losers make excuses. Winners dont.

Also, every opportunity is not for you. A college chum scored a role in a Tyler Perry movie. As a black actress, that was her gig. Another was in Spiderman on Broadway, and she has a voice I could only hope to have in the next life. Same with my other college classmates in Hair, Wicked, etc. At the same time, if a horror movie with the lead being a female ventriloquist is casting, it probably won't be something they are up for. You get the picture. If it is yours, it will be yours. If not, their loss.

Tomorrow I am doing a test run for a sports app. My passions are football, boxing, UFC fighting, and sometimes baseball. Tomorrow will focus on basketball. I follow it,  but not as closely as the other sports. However, I am asking questions and getting informed. No one wants a stupid woman in the chat, right? Also, I referred my sports nut man comic friends. Why? Because they are passionate, funny, and I am everyone deserves a shot.

When I have worked with celebrities, they were positive. When I saw Alicia Keys interview, she was positive. A friend of mine on Broadway saw me on the street, gave me a hug and mentioned she saw me on TV with my puppets and was so proud. The sound man at the Met Room told me that the people he met that were the most successful were the most generous and had the biggest hearts. They also helped their friends out, too. It's because they don't have that insecurity and fear.

Bottom line, these people are positive. The fact they are successful is no accident. They are able to be happy for others because they are not focusing on what others have. Instead, they know what they have and don't have, therefore they can enjoy someone with a different skill or talent. They also have self-worth and that means they can be happy for others. Once you get that, you find there is no reason to be jealous.

If you are experiencing jealousy, why? Not everyone has everything. You don't know what someone has been through. Also, if you are on the receiving end, it sucks. However, know the universe might be teaching you a lesson on how not to act towards others. Yes, some muscle memory the next time you feel jealous because you are only human, right?

And if you want to give a jealous hater some shade, don't fight with them. It will only make you nasty, and that will piss people off that could help you. Instead, do you. Be good at what you do. Concentrate on your own game. That will make you rise above more bullshit than you could ever imagine.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com


I’m Ready for My Close Up

Thursday, March 6th, 2014
BEFORE MAC, AFTER MACWhen I got called in for a sitcom audition one of the things my acting coach told me to do was to find the M.A.C. store nearest to my audition and have them do my makeup. No, he...

Waiting For Guffman

Monday, October 7th, 2013
A lot of a career as an artist is waiting by the phone. When the phone rings, it is another hope. Did I get the job? Do you potentially want me for this job? Did you read my treatment? Do you believe in my dreams?

When the phone doesn't ring it is stressing. How will I pay my rent? How will I eat? Will my dreams come true?

Will I forever be an almost D-lister who sometimes get recognized by a fan? Or will my fans go away? Will I languish in semi-obscurity forever?

Lately things have been decent. I have been working a lot which means I have money in the bank and the bills are paid on time. At the same time, I am up for several projects. Two I pitched, one I am pitching, and of course one was just released and is not taking off as fast as I wanted. Two are in the works but still need t get on their feet. I was just interviewed for one and rocked it, never heard back. Someone was interested in my writing, never heard back. I know, it is still Monday.

I need the next break to come. I am starting to get momentum and am so scared of losing it. I had it years ago, lost it and I had to fight like hell to get it back. When I did, doors opened in ways I never dreamed. Now it is back and I am scared of losing it again.

I have a lot of people interested. A lot of people saying they will be in touch. No no's yet. No yes's. Just maybe's. A lot of maybe's. Maybe is a weird place to be, a gray area. Maybe it will never happen. Maybe I have seen my best days.

Maybe....

But maybe it might happen.

Yes it is raining. I am feeling better. Off of my Z Pack. My bills are paid. I am financially comfortable. They say God is never late, always on time.

Get here quick Big Guy/Girl.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of  a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com
Check out the first chapter of my audiobook https://itunes.apple.com/jp/album/i-came-i-saw-i-sang-ep/id704930346?l=en

The Importance of Being Happy For Others

Saturday, September 28th, 2013
The entertainment industry is competitive to say the least. You always have to be on top of your game. Someone is always prettier, younger, a better singer, a more skilled dancer, funnier, a more awesome wordsmith, you name it. That is why it is important to know who you are and have a good attitude. That brings me to another matter, the journey. You work for that moment in time. Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it comes slowly. As you sweat away at the odd jobs you wonder when will it happen?

As I said for some it happens quickly. Sometimes they are at the right place at the right time. Whether they have a certain look, are a part of the hottest ethnic trend (especially true in comedy), or just have the right connections it seems like it falls into their lap. Sometimes it happens slowly. There are people, especially character actors and comedians, who slave for years unknown in theatres and live on the poverty line until they are almost forty. Suddenly we talk about how awesome they are. Am I repeating myself? Yes. I am making a point.

When it happens quickly for some, or seemingly so, it can be easy to fall into the trap of jealousy. It not only denotes a lack of gratitude, but also takes away the focus from you and your goals. I remember several years ago, as it seemed everyone's career was taking off and mine was not, I found myself saying some awful things about others who were "making it" on comedian car trips. The convo started where someone brought up a guy who got something and we ragged on him as a good looking douche bag. We never talked about how we worked hard touring most of the year and was living out of his car. Or we talked about a hottie who wore next to nothing that was on TV a lot. We never spoke about her work ethic or the fact she never took no for an answer. We wanted to hate. It put the focus on them and took the focus off of us and our shortcomings.

Then things started to happen for me. Some of it was luck. Much of it was hard work. I found my fellows, people I once called friends, turn on me. Some showed their true colors by sharing their feelings about me anonymously online. Others would smile to my face but as soon as they believed I was out of ear shot they would gossip. Then there were those who stopped speaking to me in general. These were people I shared car rides with, or kvetched about how the business was giving us all the short end of the stick. Now they were strangers when they saw me. Finally, there were those who went right for the jugular. Once I came to an open mic and made an off the cuff comment and someone who had once been a friend bit my head off to the point where I was near tears. Another time I mentioned to someone I had too many facebook friends and she replied, "The more friends on facebook the less friends in real life." Another friend if you will. Suddenly I found myself alone, angry, and wondering why this was happening.

I got a worse dose of kharma. Someone who I had gossiped viciously about came to my defense and sought me out to tell me how proud she was of not only my career, but where I was going. Then it occurred to me. If I wanted people to be happy for me, I had to learn to be happy for others. Not only because it was good energy,  but I knew how it felt when people were mean and nasty in response to my success.

So here are some things you need to remember, and it will help you be happy for others.

1. You never know how hard someone had to work or what someone had to go through prior to what they achieved. Despite outward appearances, they may have a hellacious backstory. They may have escaped an abusive husband, terrible childhood, lived in a car. Or they might have worked hard, busting their behinds and working their fingers to the bone paying their dues in ways you could never imagine. So they might not just deserve this. They might triple deserve this. Envy is not only arrogant, but it shows a total lack of general awareness.

2. Say they did just get lucky. Luck eventually runs out. Just remember every dog has their day. And just as that dog is having their day, you will too soon enough.

3. Everyone's path is different. The way I explain this to young people is during the race everyone starts at the same place. However, eventually everyone goes to different lanes in the race. Some people continue performing. Others work behind the scenes. Some become writers. Then there are those who become managers and club owners. The beautiful part is, if you continue to run the race and focus on your own game, everyone who finishes the race ends up working together.

4. They may have worked for this particular thing. Yes, sometimes people get breaks and we are like, what! Well if they have been singing since they were little and get a record contract, they worked for it. If they have been auditioning for years for a Broadway show and book a role, they worked for that. If they have been slaving away in the comedy clubs for years and book a TV special. They worked for that. Yes, they earned it. This was their gift. Get over it and move on.

5. Not Every Break Is For You. While it would be awesome to be right for every job that comes your way, it just ain't going to happen. A few years ago a classmate of mine from college was in a Tyler Perry flick. It was cool to see her on screen. But also, there was no way in hell I was even going to be scouted for that job. Another classmate of mine did a stunt job. Wasn't getting that one either. Just as they probably weren't going to be called for the puppet stuff. So concentrate on who you are and what you are good at.

6. This Might Be It For Them. Back in the day a girl I knew graduated high school early and got a national tour. I was pissed. Why not me? My mom told me that I should be happy, because this girl was probably reaching her peak. Yes, my mom was right. Soon after that tour, she worked in Disney, met her husband and got married. While she now sings in a corporate wedding band with her husband, she did not have the big Broadway career she was touted to have. So be happy for them, this might be their first and last.

7. Hocus Pocus Keep The Focus. Yes, focus on your own damn game. The more time you spend grinding your teeth and wishing for them to break both legs in a car crash in time taken away from achieving your goals and reaching where you need to be. Their game is their game. Yours is yours. Focus on yours. That is the only way to win.

8. It's A Marathon. Several years ago, it seemed like several people got things handed to them. Well when things got hard they decided this wasn't for them and quit. I also ran into several women who decided the path was to be a wife and mother instead of an artist. Bottom line, while someone might run out of the gate quick it doesn't mean they finish the race. Part of success is staying in the game. When you continue to show up and play, it will pay off.

9. Use Their Success To Inspire You. After writing my book, I remember seeing at Brown I was on the bookself next to Junot Diaz. At NYU I was next to Ophira Eisenberg. One won a MacArthur Fellowship. The other has a movie deal. In the old days I would have said, "Screw them both." Now I flip the script and say, "Look at who I am blessed to share shelf space with. Maybe I could do these amazing things too if I keep up the good work."

10. Jealousy Doesn't Have The Outcome You Want. Yes, bad mouthing that jiggle bunny in the low cut dress feels good. Or spreading the rumor that she got her record contract because she blew some dude feels better. But you also look like a total tool. Or doing something to ruin someone's efforts blows up in your face. Bottom line, jealousy is a terrible color and makes you look like a vicious troll that lives under a bridge.

Hope I helped

Follow your dreams and your heart

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

The Responsibility to Be PosITive.

Monday, August 26th, 2013
When your career starts to take off, it is really exciting. I know because I am experiencing it now. Several times a week I am in front of a camera for ITTV. I have a taping for one project, a location scouting appointment for another, and of course a conference call for a third. Of course in there my audiobook is now ready for release and there is a musical to be written. Oh and I have a book signing I am currently scheduling in my hometown. Then there is something I am doing where I have to call on West Coast Time. If this were an oven, it would be hot. So needless to say at the end of a lot of days I am tired. 

Last week I was feeling crunched. When I feel crunched I start snapping at people. From the fat woman who doesn't walk fast enough to to the idiot with the baby carriage to the gaggle of kids talking too loud on the train I want to scream. Of course I then want to throw my damn phone because suddenly it seems everyone is in cahoots to shorten my lifespan. Then there is the snapping on the phone to my mother where I seem to hate everyone. After that there is the people pleaser where I apologize to the point of masochism, and the psychotic overachiever who says "yes" to everything. Then I wonder why I feel like I am drowning.

The other day I was talking to an old friend of mine and talked about life then and now. Despite the craziness my life has become as of late, I realized something. When I was younger, hitting the mics and hoping every day and night things would start to happen, things are finally happening. I used to look at people who had big projects on the burner and would say to myself, "Someday, that is going to be me." Well guess what, it is finally me. I would pass newsstands and see magazines hoping to be in them someday. Well I was in the TV Guide already, and whenever I pass a magazine stand I see someone I have worked with or know. The other day I was in a cab and on taxi TV was Jane Pratt. I was on xoJane. Then I saw Arianna Huffington on the front of the Learning Annex. I have written for the Huffington Post!!!!! And then I walked past The Today Show and saw the people. I was on there. As a kid I was an on camera host in Pittsburgh, now I am doing that in NYC. I also wrote articles and won writing awards, now my book is available. Maybe I wasn't at the VMAs but Britney Spears plugged my book. My book was also on the shelf next to Juno Diaz who won a MacArthur Award and Ophira Eisenberg who just sold a film. I can do these things too. 

I used to dream of these things all the time. They seemed like they would never happen. And now they are finally happening. I am turning into that person, that "star" if you will that I have always wanted to be.

The other day I answered fifty fan letters I never realized I got. At first I cried about disappointing my fans, now I realize I am grateful and blessed to have them. As a kid, I used to dream about the concept of fans from everywhere. Now it is starting to happen. This is awesome. Sunday I woke up to two fan letters. I am on TV a bunch in Europe.

Yes, my work schedule is heating up. But on the flipside, I really work for some wonderful people who believe in me and have my back. Not only are they bosses, but they are friends. That is why for as crazy as they make me sometimes, I know they do it because they want to see my best work and want me to use my full potential. That is why not only don't I mind breaking my back for them, but it is an honor and a pleasure. Not to mention they value me not only as an employee but as a person. 

Yes, my mother is currently coordinating my book signing. Yes, she calls me in the morning when only God is probably up. But she is the best press person ever. My mom doesn't sleep and I am blessed to have her. End of story. 

Of course there is my assistant Masimo (Yes I have an assistant). While I am getting used to this, he is always on it. I hadn't called him this week because the annoying feminist part of me is used to doing things on her own. He called yesterday and asked, "Are you okay?" 

My boss at ITTV told me that I couldn't slack off on facebook. My fans needed me. 

My boss at the singing telegram company told me I had to stop apologizing.

My mother told me to start taking my vitamins. 

The other day I got a letter from a young woman who wants to be an actress. She told me how I inspired her to follow her dreams and how she looks up to me. I remember this letter came in the fifty I didn't know I had. I also got another fan letter from a young woman who was bullied. Another who had escaped an abusive boyfriend.

I remember having those dreams, growing up. Everyone told me they were foolish. I used to watch the television, knowing those people started foolish dreams too. I read about those fools as well. 

 I was that overweight, bullied kid who didn't have a TV. Now I have been on many of the channels I could not watch growing up. While I am not where I want to be quite yet, if I keep moving and grooving I will get there.

I dated that psycho who tried to get me to abandon my hopes and dreams. Not only did I dump him but found myself again.

Kids look up to me now. It's my responsibility to show them it's going to be okay. It's my responsibility to let them know that you should reach for the stars and settle for nothing less. It's my responsibility to let them know that for as crazy as life gets, it does get better. 

No matter how tired I feel, no matter how overwhelmed I get....

It's my responsibility to remain positive.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com
www.twitter.com/aprilbrucker






Acting Again…….

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
I am in a reading of the Hippie Playhouse tonight. I am excited, nervous, scared, and elated. It has been a while since I have acted, acted if you know what I mean. I graduated from NYU and all with an acting degree. I trained with some of what I feel are the best teachers in the world. I know what to do with a role. But since college, really haven't acted steadily or seriously.

The thing about life after college was I chased comedy more or less. I toured quite a bit, and I thought that was going to be my rainbow. The nights I kept were late and I was onstage constantly. I liked the fact anything could happen, it was in the moment, and I could create my own work. The thing about actors was, for as much as I had friends from college, a great number of them annoyed me. They were self-obsessed and everything involved so much prep. Standup you just did it. My plan was to tour, become a headliner, tour some more, and then get on TV a bunch. Instead I toured some, headlined a little bit, and got on TV more than I toured and headlined. The TV credits didn't do shit for me. And my so called "fame chasing" got me ousted in a way from my community. Well former community. Anyway, after an unfortunate chain of events I have shared about at length in past blogs, I found myself without a home club and shunned. But other doors opened for me.

I made music. I wrote and published a book. I was a talking head for a website. But I also started acting again. Really, my first year out of college I did a lot of dinner theatre and downtown stuff from time to time in Brooklyn, but nothing that ever got me anywhere. Most of the pieces I was cast in because of my work with puppets or my standup. I did some day player stuff and an art house film. But nothing that would make people scream, "Actress!"

In 2011, after everything went down and I really wasn't performing comedy anymore I made a movie, Death of a Dummy. It was my first time really acting, acting again. I thought it was a good experience overall, but it also made me realize how rusty my toolbox was so to speak. The whole thing made me want to take classes again and study extensively. It also made me miss my old acting classes where I could safely make wrong choices. It made me miss the gift of rehearsal and exploring. It made me want to go back to basics. I also shot a film in 2012 called the Lottery that is going to be on Netflix this fall.

So here I am tonight going back to the theatre. I have been wanting to act again. I mean, I dress in costume for my job. For months I have been agonizing over what is next for me. Now maybe the whole acting thing is. Who knows? I once had an acting teacher in college tell me for as crazy as I came across once I got breath control I would have quite an interesting range on me. Since that time I have lived a crazy life. You can read my blogs for that shit too. But maybe I have my breath control. Maybe I have my interesting character range. I am the most grounded I have ever been. Maybe I am ready to ride my horse and embrace my gift.

Either way, Carlos and UnCanny Works never cease to amaze me, and Leif wrote a wonderful play. Hopefully I will serve the script tonight.

Love
April
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
www.aprilbrucker.com

Rejection, Water Bugs, and Daddy Issues.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

I don’t enjoy rejection in any form.

Personally or professionally. Which almost makes no sense given the fact that I have been a performer most of my life: first a dancer then later as an actor and stand up comic. I’m a masochist. I know.

In the personal life arena, I think I hold the world record in falling for people who were totally wrong for me. And loving them madly despite it all only to repeat pattern over and over.

So clearly pain and rejection have always held special places in my heart.

I know many comics who are like “I don’t care what anybody thinks.” Umm, I’m calling bullshit since you stand in front of a group of strangers nightly to get attention and laughs.

Life gave me several opportunities this week to deal with this hurdle of accepting rejection without being devastated. Not saying it worked but here is how it went:

My agent sent me on four auditions this past week. That’s a lot since most time months will go by and I won’t get sent out for anything. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that as much of an optimist I am, I realize that I need to approach this as just a small opportunity to make some money and no big deal if it wont pan out.

That’s why I have a day job. Or actually the reason I have a day job is because I have three kids who have developed a habit called eating.

But still I am always hopeful. So I go on a commercial audition for Alieve, and do two readings-one in English and one in Spanish.

As I walked into the sign in space I heard a giant thud. I looked down and saw a water bug the size of a small child at my feet. I wanted to remain professional so I kept my composure as I screamed “How the fuck did this water bug jump down here?! This bitch was like scaling a wall like a bank robber and did some spider man shit and jumped down! KILL IT! KILL IT! SOMEBODY KILL IT! I’m a Buddhist I can’t!”

Wow, that moment brought me to myself. A deep awareness that I am a raving, profanity spewing Buddhist with a strong need to draw attention to myself. I think it’s all because my father moved to Florida when I was ten. (I also have very little accountability for my own actions.)

Always the professional, I prepared by reading lines with a nice older man trying out for the role of the announcer. This man took his acting career so seriously that he actually asked me “How long do you think our characters have known each other?” Umm, dude you are playing a spokesperson for Alieve and I am some girl who pulled her back placing groceries in her car trunk.

It’s not that deep. As a matter of fact a random person coming up and asking me to try pain reliever medicine in a parking lot is very creepy and in real life I would call the cops.

It’s nice to see more narcissistic and intense type A performers out there.

I didn’t get a first refusal (or as regular people call it a “call back”). I don’t know if it’s because of the water bug or the Shaksperian actor I was partnered up with. All I know is it cant be me.

I don’t like rejection. I really don’t.

#daddy issues #waterbugs #mom #audition #actor #acting

Leap of Faith: An Artist’s Journey

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

There are times when the path of an artist is dark. On a path one takes when their gift is playing an instrument, writing a riveting story, performing a moving monologue, singing a flowery aria, telling a joke, painting a beautiful picture, sculpting a lifelike figure, whatever…..it is unsure.

Parents often say, “You are so bright. Why don’t you just use this as a hobby?”

Friends will tell you, “I wish I were as brave.” And then silently feel sorry for you as they go home to their bed, and yes they own a bed, and positive balance in their bank account.

Lovers will say, “Listen, the dream isn’t real. It only happens for one percent of people.” And if you are a man the lover will admonish, “I want  a partner who will make a steady living because I want to have children.” If you are a woman your lover will jab, “Look, lets get real. You aren’t exactly Angelina. Your little hobby is fine but what about my needs?”

This bending over backwards for a world that doesn’t always welcome art isn’t easy. There are times when you are passed over because of the way you look. Because you are a woman. Because you are a man. Because you are black, white, brown, a Smurf. Sometimes you look at your bank account and scream and the skies get darker. Then you wonder, “What the fuck am I doing with myself!”

It goes through your mind. You should have listened to your parents. You should have really put more time into math class. The journey didn’t involve learning how to pour beer, do power point, or hand out fliers on the sidewalk. This is when it starts to get dark and it is easy to throw in the towel. Especially when some people seem to make it with no effort whatsoever.

There is an old saying: “Easy come, easy go.”

What I am trying to say is hang in there. Gene Hackman struggled for years as an unknown in theatre before he won Academy Awards and he is perhaps the most brilliant actor of our time. Not only is he talented, but you can’t take your eyes off of him. JK Rowling was living in squalor when she wrote Harry Potter and was piling up the rejection letters. Now it is perhaps one of the most read books in the world. Madonna was considering quitting show business right before “Everybody” became a number one single. I don’t think she would have made a very good Michigan housewife. Mind you she was so broke she was eating food from trashcans. Bette Midler had doors closed in her face because of her weight and size. However she was going to give up as well before someone suggested she do shows in the gay baths. The rest is history. Louis CK struggled for years as a comedian and actor in obscurity. The son of a single mother never gave up on the thought of reaching into the television and making the world better for the woman that raised him. Not only is he successful, but he is a standup icon. Those who had the breaks come easy during the times of those listed above, we don’t remember them.

One of my darkest times was around the time I was twenty four/twenty five. The market had popped and a TV show I had filmed was shelved. I did a daring television appearance that was daring, and closed some doors. Years later people tell me Springer was an idiot. Then it was cool to be on TV but other than that, not much else happened. I was broke and at the time a roommate of mine was having a nervous breakdown over a guy. A good friend of mine, who had been drug free for years, relapsed and we had a falling out. He lost his battle and I never told him that I loved him, not what he was doing to himself. When it rains it pours and the shit was coming down quick.

I also had a series of fainting spells. They were scary because I didn’t know why I was getting them. I remember being afraid I had a brain tumor. My mom feared I was suffering from epilepsy that was an onset of an injury I had when I was younger. When I sat down and spoke to another friend about the spells it was revealed that I was harboring a lot of anger. Anger that it wasn’t my turn and that my dreams weren’t coming true. Angry at life. Angry at people. Angry at everyone. This friend suggested that I had to learn to accept people and things for who they were. But also, if I wanted to create my own work, why not do it? And while I was in that vein, why not have a better attitude? After that conversation when I began taking action, the fainting spells stopped.

Soon I started performing and produce my own one woman shows. I created an open mic to my liking where free speech was the rule and cliquishness not allowed. I got up wherever I could and pursued stage time like a junkie does a needle. I was still running with the herd though. That is when I met my friend Joe Cannava. At the time I got a job writing for a rag. My column was basically about the morons I dated. Joe, who worked as a celebrity personal shopper and was an artist told me the he had always wanted to be a writer. So I showed him my column. He called it drivel and told me I should have been writing about my job as a singing telegram person. Joe told me to write a book about it. My mom had wanted me to do it for years and I told her she was crazy. Joe wasn’t letting up though and I would lie to him and tell him I was chugging along on my book. One day I just decided to do it.

That summer, I wrote my book. I lived on the fourth floor with no AC in a cramped studio sharing it with someone else. She was having a breakdown over a man, yes the same man again, and I was writing. When I wasn’t typing away I was writing on scraps of paper during train trips to telegrams or gigs. I had been a writer all my life but had never written a book. Almost five hundred pages later and a shitload of typos, I had my first draft.

When I wasn’t doing that I found myself producing puppet webisodes where my guests included Michael Musto, Harmonica Sunbeam, Melba Moore, Diana Falzone, Jake Sasseville, Sabrina Jalees and loads of others. I found myself happy and most importantly, enjoying what I was doing.

Months later I got to do a television show with my puppet babies and lets just say the rest is history. I was asked to do the press tour which was fun. Some said I was crazy as a bag lady. Some said I was passionate. Either way, it seemed all the work had paid off and I was going to another level. The club I slaved for fired me. I panicked because no other club was picking me up. That is when I got a job with a web network and began producing content there. Oh and I recorded music and got a hit on the internet. So doors opened, just not the ones I expected.

As I rode the wave I found myself in some magazines overseas and getting lots of letters from young people. I found myself telling them to hang in there. That there dreams were worth it whatever they might be. I found myself telling them their thoughts were important. That is when I found the motive for my art changing and that showed not only in the redrafts of my book but in the final version. My motive was now to help inspire young people, to show them the journey as an artist was worthwhile and doable.

Since then the journey has changed in a good way. Has been much different than I expected, in a good way. I ended up publishing my book. Through the journey I ended up having my book featured on the Official Website of Britney Spears. In addition, it has been rated a Must Read by Mensa. My book is also in several bookstores and libraries. Recently, it became available as a paperback in Barnes and Noble. Through my travels and through the grace of something greater than myself such as the universe, I got a connection to a top notch recording studio and recorded an audiobook. That is coming out this summer.

As life stands I still work my day job, but I love my day job. It not only allows me to dress up in costumes and act crazy getting paid for it, but it makes me a better performer. The standup spots are getting better. Those that the career came easy to are now fading into thin air disappearing, and I am beginning to get the recognition I have worked years for. The difference is mine will last whereas theirs never did because it came easily. Yes, I still continue to bitch and moan about being a woman in comedy, but while I battle on I win the war. It is by making my mission about reaching others and not about pleasing myself.

Do I have waves where I panic these days? Oh yes. The panic always sets in when your phone rings. Julianne Moore even has that panic as an established actress. She spoke about it in an interview. However, these days I work through the panic in a different way. I take classes and have connected with some wonderful teachers. Through that network, I meet other people. In addition, I get onstage with my notebook. While it might not always be in front of people who can give me a job, it gets me unstuck. Chris Rock still does it. I also start on a new project, create my own work. But I also call on a network of not just friends but family members who are also artists: from my painter cousin Peter, my painter uncle Kent, my dancer cousin’s Lindy and Mara, or my musician cousin Bobby.

As of this weekend, I will be doing a book signing at Brown University Bookstore with my brother and sister, Bill Brucker, MD/PhD ’13 and Brenna Brucker, MD ’13 through PACE. PACE (Providence Alliance of Clinical Educators) is a nonprofit started by my brother to bring science education to under privlidged high school students. In their materials, they bring humor to science education through a series of educational comic books for children. While my brother and sister are not taking the artistic path, my brother was a cartoonist for years at Brown and my sister is published poet as well as visual artist. The event is a must for those who want to pursue a career as a writer, artist, or wants to use creativity through education. Either way, the three of us are using our gifts to make the world a better place in our own way.

I don’t know what will happen this weekend, or even after this weekend. Two magazines expressed interest in doing a story on my book. Another website wants to review it. My audiobook will be out soon as well. Who knows what is next. Either way, on this creative journey I must have faith. I wasn’t taken this far in order to be dropped
Love
AprilI
 Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback available on Amazon and 877-Buy-Book
E-Book available on Kindle and Nook
Audiobook available on itunes and Audible this Spring
www.youtube.com/aprilthestarr
Portion of proceeds go to Greenpeace

PS. Book signing at Brown Bookstore Saturday May 25 from 4-6. Be there or be square

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