Wow. I guess it’s time for an update, huh? The last time I wrote something on my website (Oh hey, I have a new website) I was one week into exploring New York City. Now, almost 6 months later, here I am trying to think of how I could possibly recap what I’ve experienced.
Well, let me start with; “Thanks for feeding me.”
Allow me to explain;
I made a life change. A BIG life change, and like every other Millennial- my finances are dismal and #adulting seems impossible. But, after filming a horror film last year, I was stuck in a rut. I didn’t feel like I was growing as an artist and I needed a change. If I wanted to further my career, I had to get out of Philadelphia. So, I took a chance and thanks to my friends and family– I was able to make this decision a reality.
My support system encouraged me daily, but more importantly… they fed me.
This past winter I bounced from house to house, sleeping wherever I could and eating whatever meal was given to me. The hope was to save enough money to take care of myself in New York City. My awesome family regularly put food in my stomach, and made sure I had a comfy place to rest my head. My friends even took the liberty of feeding me when I was having a particularly stressful day. I cannot even begin to explain how much this meant to me and how grateful I am. Being a nomad is depressing and good food is my prozac.
Now, when I say “Thanks for feeding me.” I’m not just talking about food. 2016 may be a difficult year, but when it comes to creativity– I do not feel malnourished.
New York City provided me with a regular diet of creativity, humor, and inspiration.
UCB is everything I need. I love being a student. I really do. Taking two classes this past spring did more than formally introduce me to improv…it helped knock my creative block loose. Usually, actors see a fellow thespian as a threat–not me. I don’t see the point. Instead of focusing my energy on competing with my fellow artists, I was inspired by them.
Since taking my classes at UCB, I’ve written shorts, sketches, and a web series. And it’s all thanks to the characters I met during my time at UCB. Everyone is funny, driven and unique and I couldn’t ask for a better mob of muses. UCB’s approach to improv also helped me to discover ways to present my comedy in a more universal way. Their formula is pretty solid, and if you’re an OCD control freak like me– UCB’s methods will help cultivate your madness.
I hope to return to classes in the fall. I’m still trying to decide between taking Improv 301 or starting Sketch 101. Hmmmm. What do you think I should do?
I’ve always had an infinite amount of respect for stand up comedians. For years, I watched comedians like Sarah Silverman and George Carlin use humor to point out the oddities of society or make people uncomfortable with the sad truth. Stand up is a delicate balance of writing and performance, and I’ve always been drawn to it’s possibilities.
After college I wrote jokes secretly in a small notepad, but it took years to muster up the courage to tell any of them. While living in Philadelphia, I occasionally appeared at a Monday night open mic to see if the medium was for me. Unfortunately, I never got into the swing of it. I’d wait for hours to tell 5 minutes to a room of 4 people. I didn’t see myself progressing at a rate that left me satisfied. I had a hard time finding my voice, and stand up just wasn’t doin’ it for me in Philly.
Then I get to New York City. A place where you can hit 6 different open mics in one evening. I was blown away by the amount of comedy that went on, and I knew I needed to get back in the game. I went from “maybe” hitting up a mic once a month in Philly to doing 3-4 mics a week in NYC. Now, while it’s nowhere near the amount of work needed to perfect the medium, I do feel more comfortable. I even found my voice!
More importantly, I learned that stand up is a form of therapy, and the New York scene definitely fed my inner demons. I don’t know if that’s a good thing…. but it’s good to know if I can’t afford a shrink next year– there’s always stand up!
I also discovered a whole slew of hilarious people. Noah Lethbridge showed me the ropes around town. Lauren Krass and Kambri Crews welcomed me with open arms to Q.E.D. Astoria. I met a bunch of comedians like Chris Gersbeck, Angela Cobb and Billy Prinsell who are killing it, and will continue to slay until the end of time. Keep your eye on them. *Update* OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO MENTION DAVEY MELCH.
I’d like to thank those people, and all the other sad lonely comedians in NYC, for making me feel right at home telling weed jokes to a dark room with a blinding light in my face.
THE PENNY TEMPLETON STUDIO
I started this whole journey because I made a horror movie in 2015 with a bunch of my friends. While making the film, for the first time in my adult life, I felt present and satisfied. I actually worked hard and I cared about what I was doing.
I don’t think you understand…Millennials don’t feel fulfilled about anything. Acting made me feel like I had a purpose. I needed to feed this passion and learn how to harness my craft. While I was in Philly I took online acting classes taught by Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey–but I knew the lessons told through my computer screen couldn’t push me to grow. I knew that if I wanted to do anything substantial with my acting training I had to be in a physical classroom.
I wanted to find an acting coach while I was in NYC. All of my talent so far has been a mixture of handed down charisma and luck. I needed to find a method. I wanted someone to guide me so I could make unique choices and create memorable characters. I was also feeling a little lost when it came to “the business” so I was looking for an acting oracle of sorts.
Then, I found Penny.
I sat in on one of Penny Templeton’s sample classes and fell in love with her approach to teaching. She’s a soft spoken woman, but her passion runs deep. The first time we met we were gushing over Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in, oh I don’t know, ANYTHING– and I knew this woman got it. More importantly, she got me as an artist. Not many people can wrap their head around my unique characteristics, but Penny embraces them. In fact, she encourages them. In a world filled with viral YouTube stars and Hollywood reboots, Penny is the voice of reason. She helps her actors adapt to the fast paced technologically dependent state of production while incorporating traditional techniques that stay true to the craft of acting.
Working with Penny has satisfied my long awaited hunger for an artistic education. This is the most delectable creative meal I’ve consumed thus far.
I’ve been spending the past few months living with my parents in Avalon, NJ and under studying at Cape May Stage for their run of Barefoot in the Park. Summer has been a relaxing and educational one, but I can’t get into that now–this blog post is already way too long.
I will be returning to NYC in the fall, ready to dive right back in. You didn’t think I would spend 4 months in NYC and that would be it, did you? No way! That was just the appetizer. I’ve unbuckled my proverbial belt buckle, and I’m ready for my second course.
I can’t wait to see what’s for dessert.