Sunday 9 August 2015

Why aye man!, what accent are you doing there?

So, I have been wracking my brain to try and come up with something interesting or, at the very least, mildly amusing for you lot to read and, I have to say until now, I have been drawing a blank. You could say I am overthinking things.

The last week has been quite exciting for me but ended, inevitably, in despair (that sounds far more dramatic than it actually was). I won't go into specifics, as you don't need to know them, but I was involved in the audition process for a new musical. Audition-wise I have been on a roll recently, thanks to my new(ish) agent, Keddie Scott Associates. However, in amongst the auditions to be part of the 38th cast of Wicked or the 95th cast of The Phantom of the Opera (don't get me wrong, I would love offers from either), was this gem of an opportunity I was afforded last week.

As you have probably guessed things did not go my way but, before I bring you all down with doom and gloom, I am OK with it. For the first time in ages I REALLY wanted to get a particular job, and I did get very close. Closer than I have got in a long time. It was a very positive experience in many ways. The feedback I received suggested I did nothing wrong, I just did not fit the "jigsaw". This is all good until you know what the criteria was; they were looking for women 40 or 50 something who could sing and do a Yorkshire accent. Hmmm:

40+ ✅
Can sing ✅
Yorkshire accent ✅ (native so it should go without saying)

Don't worry, I am not complaining. When I mentioned all of this to my agent he told me to "stop overthinking". He was absolutely right and the rest of this diary entry is not a woe is me/what did I do wrong?/why don't they like me? post. It is more about the ridiculous way I constantly overthink everything, and how, when I overthink, I will inevitably land on the negative side of things.

I have been a little obsessed with classes at my gym recently and over the weekend 4 people I don't know have come up to me and said "wow, you've lost loads of weight". This happens quite a lot at the moment and it always makes me happy. I say "thank you" and smile widely but a small part of my brain can't help thinking "gee I must have been the size of a (small) elephant before I started coming to the gym". A classic example of how I overthink everything, and normally negatively.

This overthinking thing spills over into my professional life in all sorts of ways. For example, as I get older I am being asked to audition for more things that do not require me to sing. This pleases me greatly, not because I don't want to sing, I always want to sing, but I worry I am not up to the task and, more specifically, I worry that I am not versatile enough in the accents department.

On my Spotlight CV (for those who don't know, Spotlight is kind of the Holy Grail for casting directors. A place to find the talent they need) I do not have a long list of accents that I can pull out of the bag. I can do some accents if I work on them but the thought of being asked to do an accent in an audition just because it is on my Spotlight CV terrifies me as I doubt I could do many of them without having time to think about it and work it into my voice. I had Geordie on my CV for a while as I was up for Billy Elliot a while back. Now, my Geordie is a work in progress but, as my flat mate will attest, it is almost there. However, it terrified me so much that someone would ask me to do it on spec that I had to take it off (my flat mate will also attest that my attempts at the Welsh accent is a constant source of mirth to him).

So what to do for the best? Do I add the Geordie, Liverpudlian, Cockney, Somerset accents I know I can do if I work at them or do I leave it as it is? I suppose it comes down to confidence. I tell myself that I would be lying if I put them on but I'm not really. Accents have always fascinated me so perhaps it is time to stop being lazy (laziness seems to be a theme in these diary entries) and do some actual work on them so I have the confidence to legitimately offer them on my CV.

The overthinking part of my brain enjoys setting me up for failure so perhaps it is time for a spot of reprogramming. Stop telling myself I can't do things and just get on with them. Bite the bullet and have a go. A friend of mine, on her Facebook page this week, posted a couple of quotes from the wonderful comedienne Amy Poehler that resonated with me. The first was:

"There's power in looking silly and not caring that you do."

The second was:

"Great people do things before they're ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they're proven right."

I doubt that second quote would apply if I were trying out my Welsh accent but both apply to me in other ways. Overthinking doesn't normally stop me doing things but it will delay the moment I choose to finally do them and perhaps if I could turn down my overthinking switch a little, as many an X-Factor contestant might say, my journey would be more interesting and a much more exciting adventure.

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