I'm blonde now

I’m blonde now, and it’s true I’ve been having more fun. I did it for a show! More on that in a few paragraphs. Hold on! God, you’re so impatient sometimes.

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mom and I think she was trying to understand what I DO all day. “So if you’re not at an audition or an actual job… what are you doing with your time?”

I didn’t quite know how to answer her except to say, “I work on a lot of stuff for my class… uh, and I spend a lot of time at the gym.” While those things are true, I realize now that a more specific answer is: I am literally making up memories that belong to the characters I’m working on. Sometimes I sit and meditate on them. Sometimes I write their biography, or even the biography of their parents. Sometimes I go up to my roof and I walk like them, and try to vocalize like them.

So, I spend a lot of my day bringing my imagination to life, and dissecting someone that doesn’t yet exist. And last week I FINALLY got to put it to good use on set. It was incredible.

I got cast in an episode of “A Crime to Remember,” which is an AMAZING reenactment show on IDTV. The episode was set in the late 50s / early 60s, and the sets, costumes, props, colors, etc are incredible. It’s really catchy show, and I had an absolute blast working with the producers and crew.

It’s not just a simple reenactment show, though. I had actually scenes and dialogue to memorize and actual thoughts in my actual head. Also, I was a serial killer. A blonde one! Yas queen! All of that time I spent making up a life for my character really paid off.

Does this all make sense? Basically, I get to live in a book. YES.

 

but is it art?

Just kidding, I’m not going to touch that question.

But here’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about since beginning classes with Anthony Abeson: Acting as an art form.

WHAAAAAAT.

Well, it is. And I never really regarded it as such. It’s easy to cast actors off as beautiful talking heads, and that’s because- most of the time that’s the case. I am realizing how many bad habits I’ve created since I’ve begun acting and auditioning in a commercial / comedic arena. I’m not knocking on that in any way, but it’s been easy for me to shirk having a real emotional life underneath the text because I haven’t been required to do so. Also, I hang around a lot of comedians who like to make fun of actors and inside me lives a little teenage girl who wants to be cool and not be an actor.

“You cannot be cool and be an actor.”

I had a college professor who always said that. Here is another quote of his I have doodled throughout the pages of my college acting journals: “Actors are lazy artists.” I never really understood what he meant. Now I’m starting to get it. A dancer wouldn’t get in front of an audience without proper training and technique. Neither would a musician. You nail it or you don’t. An actor can get away with a lot though, yah?

Discipline! Onward and out.

Ham Pants, Penis Palm

When I started auditioning my arms would go numb all the way up to my shoulders, and my hands would cramp into steady fists. I would leave the audition room and find someone to unfold them so that I could go to McDonalds and hold the McFlurry I was inevitably going to cry into. This happened for a few years before it got worse, and then got a bit better.

I have terrible anxiety, mostly at night. The kind that sends a wave through my body and shoots me out of bed when it reaches the top. I’m nervous all the time, but afraid to show it, and I feel like sometimes I come across as an overconfident bubble. I daydream about moving to my very own cave, as long as Seamless will deliver, and my therapist has said more than once: “I’m curious as to why a person who tries so hard to be invisible chose to be an actor.”

I’ve bombed so many auditions that I’ve conditioned myself to treat them like job interviews and do them “correctly.” Being poised, however, is reallllllly boring, and it’s just not who I am. I once pooped in a garbage can in someone’s dorm room because the girls bathroom was locked and I was too shy to ask for a key. Don’t worry, I was alone! Now the Internet knows my biggest secret and I am free at last.

I told my manager that I’m working on letting my personality shine a bit more when I audition, instead of freezing up and putting on my good girl face. She told me about a mutual friend of ours who is working on something similar. So a few weeks ago, before he went into his audition, he stopped by the bathroom and nestled a slice of ham into his underwear. Ya know. Around the boy parts. I mean… how can you take anything seriously when your scrotum is using deli meat as a hammock?

He booked the job.

Today I found myself battling my nerves before a meeting with a casting director and I remembered that story. I searched through my bag, but there was nothing that would fit into my pants comfortably. So I snatched a red pen and drew a penis on my hand. Because I am a 12 year old. It’s not a great illustration. It looks like a nail with a cartoon dog mouth, but it gave me a chuckle.

Tomorrow I have a callback for a very dramatic role. The character is “poised” and “elegant,” but I, Tory Flack, will have a penis on the inside of my hand, which will not be cramped in terror.

taking care of your inner clown

Clowning has seeped into my everyday life. I am doing my best to explore my de-socialized self, because being an adult is a long row to hoe, and I get really down sometimes.

Your de-socialized self is the part of you that existed before you turned 5 or 6, and had to start playing by the rules.

Here’s what kids think about:

-How do I get across the street without stepping in lava?

-Remember yesterday, when I had two scoops of ice cream? Woah.

-I can roar louder than Brooksie.

-I am going to put on a show about germs.

-If I step on a crack I will break my mother’s back

Here’s what kids do not think about:

-Who am I?

-What’s my purpose?

-Why can’t I fix this superabundance of problems that don’t really exist?

-Or do they exist?

-Do I exist?

-Ugh, I do not want to go to the Post Office.

Ewwwww!

So sing to your dishes! Roar at a train! Put your naked butt on a mirror and leave a smudge!

Fuck it all and go get the fun.

Lazyprov.

I’m a little worried that improv is making me lazy.

Here’s why:

-Arrive at theatre/bar with empty brain

-Make up a show

-Go to bar with friends and fill brain with gin

-Kiss everyone on the mouth to prove that you’re not afraid of anything

A friend of mine in Chicago said that they used to give Mike Myers a hard time back in the day, because when they were done with a show, he’d go home and write it all out. (Whereas everyone else did lots of cocaine? Just an assumption).

I practice characters at home. I work on voices and accents and physicality. I try to improvise a monologue for at least a minute to see what happens. And I try to write about this as much as I can.

It’s much different than “straight” acting. You memorize lines, analyze a script, and rehearse the shit out of it. Which, for me, is much more difficult. I’ve always liked to be in charge. Improv is a way for me to make it my own. That’s not to say that I don’t like to work on other people’s stuff. But I’ll always be a big sister, and I like to own things.

I am often VERY mad at myself for not cranking out enough work. It feels like everywhere I turn I meet someone who can’t sleep at night because they need to write everything that pops into their heads. Luckily, I have been there, and it’s a place I can feel myself getting back to.

But, discipline is really hard to find.

Lastly, and most importantly: Dust Strike has a show at UCB tomorrow. Here’s the info. Tell your friends.

And here’s a hype video we made!

 

Biography

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Pictured: Torry Flack, left: watching a burning building, seemingly amused.

 

1995- TORRY FLACK made her stage debut in a production of “The Outsiders” at The Black Hawk Children’s Theatre in Waterloo, Iowa. She proudly changed her character’s name from “kid in church fire” to “Becky.” Thus igniting an accompanying writing career.

1995ish-2010ish- (This entry has been removed and saved for a one-woman show about a hopeless little church mouse/Midwestern girl who struggles to embrace herself and her relationship with Art, her father. Dates and venue and script and guts and whether or not it will be a “Comedy” TBD)

May 2010- TRY FLACK graduated from The University of Iowa with a B.A. in English, Theatre Arts, and Maybe Teaching.

Aug 2010- TORY FLACTOR moved to Chicago and cried a lot and trained at the Second City and Annoyance theaters. The actor did some sketch comedy too, and did indeed teach a lot of theatre, but mostly cried into an out-of-tune 5 string guitar and stared out over Lake Michigan and wished she was a bird so she could just fly dammit.

June 2013- TRYS FLACKTING moved to NYC with her boyfriend and everyone was like, “oh she’s just following her boyfriend,” and so she decided to commit. Lots of training (Anthony Abeson, Movement Theatre Studio, The Funny School of Good Acting, UCB), some plays, a few commercials and a couple tv shows later, things have been going really well. She has a personality.

@flacktory is currently training with Anthony Abeson, auditioning for roles like “daughter with an opinion,” “vendor girl” and “young mom who either murders or gets murdered,” modeling for guys she meets in bars I guess, fashioning a scarf that will carry both of her cats at the same time like babies, and writing overreaching sentences.

 

WERK vs. WORK – you can do BOTH!

I ate too much pizza before I went to bed last night, so I couldn’t sleep. Naturally.

After combing through the emails I haven’t checked for 26 days and properly updating a bunch of unnecessary shit on Facebook, I realize it’s only 7:15am. Wow, I have the whole day ahead of me! Now would be a good time to catch up on that Mad Men episode I didn’t see last week.

But instead, here I am updating something more important! I’m learning! I’m really learning!

My level 3 Annoyance class just finished up this week. We’ve been going to this bar in Williamsburg called Redd’s after class. (DON’T tell anyone about this bar, it is too good for you)!

There’s a guy in my class named Brad, and a couple weeks ago he said to me:

“Do you want to keep doing improv?”

Yea of course!”

“Do you want to do it for real? Like, for real?”

Yea?”

“Well. I don’t think you’re ready to commit.”

(gulp)… I’m not?”

“To the practice, to the scene. It’s a huge commitment. I just don’t think you’re ready. I don’t think you’re doing enough work.”

Why did this conversation start?? I must have been doing too much talking about Game of Thrones.

I didn’t really elucidate the importance of the conversation, I know… But it was an important conversation because Brad simply reminded me that this is a city that hustles. All that time you spend watching Mad Men and telling yourself its research, other people are hitting the ground. And by “You” I mean “I.” (Me). And maybe “you” too.

Go home, Brad, you’re drunk. No, really, he was. However, the man had a point. I love it when people tell me what’s up. Thanks Brad.

I’ll end with a photo from the class. It’s a re-enactment of a scene in which two people just touched their butts together the whole time. This is Werk:

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