Mar 27, 2015

Pics from CHOP at Tarrant County College

I was recently invited to perform CHOP at the college I teach at. It was sort of a faculty showcase project in the same way the music faculty plays jazz concerts throughout the year or the art faculty hang their works in the hallways.

Here's some photos from the week-long gig...

My "crew" of students who "work" on the show

Smashed cupcake

Mar 26, 2015

Book Report: Zen and the Art of Making a Living

It I had to choose one nonfiction book that has made the most profound impact on me, both as a person and in regards to what I do, it would be Laurence G. Boldt's Zen and the Art of Making a Living. Over time, I have dipped into the book again and again. It is more than what the title implies...

Though it is presented as a sort of career guide, the book is perhaps the closest thing to a bible I have on my book shelf. It takes into account the spiritual aspects of who we are when considering what we should be doing with our lives. It telescopes out and takes in a very wide-view of life. I consider it an excellent tool for living the examined existence.

The book provides inspiration, practical tools and presents good information in a very accessible way. A bunch of prominent thinkers' ideas show up throughout the book (a lot of Eastern philosophy but also Joseph Campbell, Nietzsche, Carl Jung, and a host of others). Many of these thinkers, whose work could easily be twisted to fit a shallow self-help book, are presented here to anchor several over-arcing themes. 

This book is essentially about finding one's vocation. Since I am a theatre artist primarily, with a secondary career as an educator, I have struggled in the past to reconcile the meaningfulness of the work I do with actually paying the bills.

Zen and the Art of Making a Living encourages the reader to align his or her work with inner values as much as possible and it is written from a spiritual perspective that is generally Eastern, but it does not actually push a particular worldview over any others. In particular, I really found the first portion of the book, with it's explanation of myth and zen, fascinating.

The second part focuses on choosing a career path best suited to one's talents and preferences. It not only covers the cocept of career itself, but whether one is best as self-employed, freelance or working for a company. It also helps with getting interviews and writing resumes. Throughout this section, questions and worksheets are provided so one can work out not only what job to look for, but also what one expects to accomplish when the job is obtained. Extensive resources and guidelines are provided.

The first part is inspirational, the last part is extremely practical.

If you have the discipline to work through this book (and it is long), you will learn a lot about yourself and the type of work that makes you most happy. It will also show you how to take what you most love doing and create opportunities to do more of it.

This is not a "quick-fix" career guide that one can just skim over and find the perfect job. It is a guide for looking within oneself to find the ideal mesh of talent and happiness and finding a job (or creating one) that suits one best.

Highly recommended. Get a copy on Amazon... HERE.

Mar 23, 2015

The Actor as a Freakin' Entrepreneur - FREE Workshop

I am teaching a special FREE workshop on Easter. Come and learn some stuff after you've gone to church and hunted for eggs that afternoon.

"The Actor as a Freakin' Entrepreneur"

A career as an actor is not the same as it once was. The contemporary actor has to apply fresh professional thinking to a traditional field. This new breed of actor is lean and flexible in his or her approach to carving out a career, as well as way more entrepreneurial in spirit.The contemporary actor is not merely an interpretive, passive artist but an active instigator in the industry and art form.

In this fun workshop Brad McEntire offers a short and sweet overview of the side of performing that is NOT performing (marketing, networking, organizing, email lists, web presence, playing to one's strengths, etc.). The focus will be on what will help you get both attention as an actor and help you begin to carve out your own freakin' purposeful career.

Where: S.T.A.G.E., 1106 Lupo Dr. Dallas, TX 75207 [map]

When: Sunday, April 5, 2015

Time: 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Details: w/Brad McEntire

Cost: FREE to S.T.A.G.E. members, $25 for non-members

Please call to reserve your spot... 214-630-7722

Info... HERE

Mar 21, 2015

CHOP at Tarrant County College

If you missed my solo show CHOP last month at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, you have one more opportunity to catch it. I will be performing the piece as a sort of "faculty showcase" project at the college I work at, Tarrant County College's Southeast Campus. It is technically open to the outside public. Info below. 

(click on image to see it larger)

Mar 20, 2015

Yeah I got skills... I run a theatre company...

[Credit: How to Playwright]

A friend on Facebook posted a link to an article recently. The article was about how high school students going into theatre programs in college actually acquire a hellalotta skills, regardless of whether or not they make it to Broadway (or to whatever level they assume means "success" in the theatre when they come out of high school). 

I was thinking about this today and I realize that not just studying theatre, but specifically running a theatre company has afforded me a skill set that makes me very competitive in the contemporary marketplace (and not just me, but anyone who runs a theatre group, big or small, in today's world).

For instance, as a person that runs a theatre comapny I know how to...
  • coordinate meetings, rehearsals, and appointments
  • handle the scheduling and managing of disparate personalities
  • dutchman a flat
  • program a lightboard
  • set up a microphone
  • find contact info on people who don't offer it up freely
  • research among vast reserves of theoretical, historical, philosophical points of interest
  • edit, format and post online videos, audio, documents, photos, etc.
  • design websites
  • maintain mailing lists
  • keep track of "brand" aesthetic
  • keep on message
  • accept criticism in context and, often, gracefully
  • Forge my own path of progression where none is laid out before me
  • enforce my own standards of excellence
  • communicate to the press and media
  • create my own press and media
  • write everything from blog posts, to tweets, to media pitches, press releases, and so on
  • get a physical object such as a set piece or article of costume from one location to another
  • keep track of countless details
  • be on time and prepared
  • be courteous in follow-up (including sending thank you cards or shout outs on FB)
  • work under pressure (Tech Week!)
  • rest when necessary, work harder when necessary
  • celebrate when necessary
  • grow a following
  • make something from scratch where it previously wasn't even imagined!
Notice these skills are up and beyond simply playwriting, directing, and performing... (that one can do that stuff and do it well is a given). 

Sometimes, because theatre is not always profitable in the cold economic terms of the marketplace, it is believed to be easier. The artists involved are sometimes thought to be "unfit" for "real work." Nothing could be further from the truth.

I run a theatre company. As a market force, then, I am actually something to be reckoned with.

Mar 19, 2015

Cyrano A-Go-Go wins Best of Fest at Out of the Loop

I am thrilled that my solo show CYRANO A-GO-GO was so well-received at the recent Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. Audience feedback was so positive and I recieved standing ovations each night. Here are some pics from the show and a link to the article outlining CYRANO A-GO-GO as well as the other Best of Fest winners... HERE

"Brad McEntire"