Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This is starting to feel real... or a lot like acting.

Some things this week that are making me feel almost like a real author, with a real book coming out in - yike! - a month:

Real Author Thing Number One:. The Harrowing got a 4-star review from Romantic Times yesterday. OH, does that feel good! Not quite real, mind you, but really, REALLY good. Like one of those dreams where... well, all right, never mind that.

Real Author Thing Number Two: I had a radio interview this morning. Not my first, but it kind of felt like my first. It occurs to me that this interview thing is hideously like pitching, which I oh-so-naively thought I was DONE with when I moved into novels from screenwriting. "Pitching" is basically what you do to get a job in film writing. You go in to the studio, and face a firing line of producers and executives, and you tell your story, acting out the story and all the characters, preferably (I've found) with pictures and props, because, you see, executives don't read. And they watch your performance, and they say yes or no, and they either give you a big check or they don't. Lather, rinse, repeat.

When I moved from acting into film writing, I thought - "Well, hey! I never have to audition for work again!" How laughably wrong. Moving from acting to film writing just meant that I had to WRITE my audition piece, and then perform it on top of that, to get work.

So, now, here I find I am as an author doomed to the same things I hated about acting... the same things I hated about pitching. The stage fright. The distraction for days before a performance. The obsessive acting prep The Day Of: vocalization, a little Shakespeare recitation to get the old vocal cords working, physical warmup... an overdose of caffeine - oh, yeah, and did I mention writing and memorizing the script? And there's the same adrenaline rush as you're doing it, and the adrenaline crash after you're done... the deep desire for alcohol or mindless sex... preferably in combination and excess.

Crazymaking.

And now I find author interviews are just the same damn rollercoaster. And, just tell me the truth, I can take it... I am looking at a whole regular line up of them, incessantly, for the rest of my life.

Right?

You know what I really want to say? All you parents who are trying to discourage your young ones from the acting thing (You know who you are...)? Cease and desist. NOW. Acting is about the most useful class (major, training, lifestyle choice...) I've ever had. I cannot imagine a professional - profession - that would not be exponentially improved by acting training. You do not have to Go Into Theater to benefit from acting training.

LIFE. IS. ACTING.

The thing actors have over the rest of us is knowing how to fake it with more finesse. No less emotional trauma, but more finesse. This is gold, in life and in any business on the planet.

The trick is to get the training that will give you the skills that will advance your professional career - without picking up the addiction and craziness.

I don't have the answer to that one, because clearly I'm addicted to the craziness.

Or I would not be on this same damn rollercoaster, yet again.

Still, it was a good day, yesterday.

Almost - real.

And if not for the acting thing? I don't know how I would have made it.

6 comments:

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Congratulations on the four star review, Alex! I'm looking forward to this book!

elainesbrain said...

Congratulations on the four stars! But of course, you deserve that, and more.

On the acting thing... very interesting post. My Kundalini yoga teacher's training filled for me the same void. And since life is acting, teaching by its very nature is acting. (not to mention letting the Universal knowledge from the Golden Chain flow through you :)

I had a - well, let's just say, "disagreement" recently with an actor I know and there was the delivery of one particular word in their presentation that yanked me out of my misery and made me smile, "They're ACTING!"

I knew that everything would be okay once I cracked that one open.

Here's to many years more of your acting.

JT Ellison said...

Congrats on the 4 Stars! It will be the first of many! (I've read it, I know)
Bless you for writing this. I have my very first appearance on Saturday and I'm paralyzed with fear. I'll try to remember what you said and fake it.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks, everyone!

E, I think teaching is even better acting training than acting training - because by its nature you MUST be connected to your partner/audience/students - as aware of them as you are of yourself. That's a basic that a lot of would-be actors never seem to get.

JT, you will be FABULOUS, I guarantee it. Knowing you a little now I could never imagine you ever being nervous about anything - clearly you have the art of faking it DOWN. You are completely centered in yourself and you draw people to you with that easy confidence. So what's this first appearance?

JT Ellison said...

Funny, that's how I would describe you!
You are so sweet to say that. It's called Murder is Music City and is skillbuild http://www.semwa.com/.
We'll see how it goes, I'm hearing that it's going to be intimate, which should help.
I'm blogging about it tomorrow at Murderati, so stop by. I'm asking for shared embarrasing moments, should be fun.
We have Killer Nashville coming up too... I'm participating in that too. Hopefully with you by my side.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hah! Well, it takes one to know one. Of course, the Skill Build. I wanted to come but am in excruciating rewrites. I will definitely be at Killer Nashville, although will have to jump a plane for LA sometime Saturday to get to the West Hollywood Book Fair. This bicoastal life is starting to wear...

Murderati, tomorrow, definitely. Embarrassing moments, well! Where to start?