Monday, March 22, 2010

The Year between

I don't know when I actually decided to continue on with my determination to get into grad school. If I had written this a year ago, I probably would know. I'm almost positive it was when I moved in to my new apartment and my third roommate was leaving in August to attend Florida State-Asolo to receive her MFA. She told me about URTAs and how she had auditioned there and received all these callbacks and offers and was having a hard time deciding which one she wanted to attend. Oh my God! 15 -20 schools watch you do an audition and the ones who are interested in you contact you?? That sounds perfect! In all of those schools, how could not one of them like me? I mean, I'm older, I've toured the country and world with two musicals, I do improv, I've done regional theater, tv/film, and have a tremendous amount of New York experience. I should have just punched myself in the face then. I spent that year just playing the waiting game. It was March and the auditions wouldn't be until January.
It was in that time that I met a girl who has changed my life and would become a huge part of this story as it unraveled. I didn't know that I was going to fall in love with her, and if the timing had been any different, I don't know how the auditioning, getting an offer, and moving would impact our relationship, if there would be a relationship to impact. But the Gods set it all up right so that by the time decisions were being made, we were really ready to move our relationship forward and talked about her coming with me. Let's call this "she" by a name: Jess. Jess was in NYC doing the actor/dancer stuff but didnt love the city as much as she thought she would. We were both in a rut of working too many hours and not being creatively fulfilled. As the URTA auditions approached, I was worried about what schools were auditioning and if they accepted me, would Jess be bored out of her mind or be able to strive in a some career.
Silly me, I thought there would be some generic website that listed all the schools that provided MFA programs and maybe more specifically, if they were accepting a class for the fall of 2010. If you're new to this, MFA classes are very small (4-12 people in a class) and the schools' focus goes on that class so they don't accept students every year, but every other year if not every third year. Now there are some schools that recruit ever year and I sort of had in mind which ones those were. In an internet that contains over a billion websites ranging from chemical makeups of metals to bestiality porn, do you know I couldn't find one simple website that had the information I needed. So after watching a couple hours of bestiality porn, I realized I had to call every single school and do the work myself so i could research the schools and be ready when audition time came. I had my own notebook. Listed every school I could find with an MFA degree and the phone number. And then started calling. I probably called 50-60 theater schools and found out one of the few things: 1) The school didn't have an MFA program 2) They did, but the receptionist had no clue what I was talking about 3) Yes to MFA, no to recruiting his year 4) Yes to MFA, auditioning at URTAs *ding, ding, ding! 5) Yes to MFA, auditioning independently (enter USC) 6) Yes to MFA, auditioning at SETC. Wa Wa Waaaah? What the hell was an SETC? So I did research on that and found out some grad schools auditioned at the South Eastern Theater Conference in Lexington, KY a few weeks after URTAs. Ah, hell, I guess I'll do that too. Its just a drive from my parents house.
From there, I registered for URTAs, SETC, and scheduled some meetings with independent schools. I met the representative from USC and had a great conversation and was really interested in the school. I guess I should describe what I was looking for in the school to help you understand better. First, they have to be on Playboy's top 10 party schools. Second, their cheerleaders have to be cute at football games. Oh yeah, and they have to have an MFA program. 1) I was leaving NYC for a reason. I wanted to be back on a campus. I wanted things cheap, space to move around, cheap, slower, cheaper, nicer, bigger place to live, and cheaply cheap. 2) I wanted to teach the undergrads 3) Good financial package, I'm sorry, great finacial package 4) a program with film technique and a place that they encourage student led stuff like my own work or forming an improv group 5) For it to just feel right.
With USC, the program was good, but I'd be living in LA and I'd be thousands of dollars in debt when I was done. I was realizing what was more important than the actual program.
So it was down to my URTA auditions. How could I fail? I'm a New York actor, I've toured.............................

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