Day Job

Summertime Blues


How appropriate that it's raining right now as I write this. It's been over a week since my last Fringe adventures in Toronto. I was just a patron, but I still felt like I belonged. Over at the New Ottawa Critics, Brie MacFarlane pretty much hits the nail on the head:

What is it about the Ottawa Fringe that feels so, for lack of a better word, magical and inclusive for ten straight days? And why are we all so dang sad when it’s over?

There's a reason many of us keep coming back year after year. I've finally come to the realization that Fringe isn't the thing I do and then go back to my real life once it's over. Fringe is my real life. The rest is just the stuff I do in-between. I try to take solace in the snippets of film I get to see from last year's tour while I finish off a few grant applications.

After almost two months of various guests coming and going, my apartment feels empty and quiet. Too quiet. I'm grateful for the flexibility I get in working from home, but it can become very isolating. I feel lonelier than I have felt in a very long time and yet it takes incredible effort to go out there and meet with people. I've forced myself to start working out with people, otherwise I just won't bother going to the gym.

I've consciously stopped drinking. It's been 10 days (only 10? feels longer) since my last sip of alcohol, which may be a new record. I don't know how long I will keep this up, but for now I'm telling myself just one more day.

I've been battling with fear, depression and learning to trust that I am on the right path. I'm meditating everyday now and walking more. Trying to enjoy my own company. I'm in transition. I know that and it's not a bad thing.

It hasn't been easy to shift gears into a slower pace. I'm learning to embrace it. The world is going to speed up soon enough anyway.

Photo Credit: caruba via Compfight cc

2012 in Review

Oh 2012, we had some good times didn't we? I realized that I have a tendency to focus on what's missing in my life instead of focusing on what I've accomplished so end of the year introspectives are a great way for me to remember all those things I actually got done. And man, did I ever get shit done in 2012!

But other than regaining my financial independence, let's see what else was worth celebrating:


A lot of firsts this past year: first time to NYC, Vancouver and my first ever cruise, which coincided with my first ever visit to Bermuda. Oh and let's not forget my first trip to Swift Current & Saskatoon, SK. Travelled twice to Moncton, NB to visit family, which is once more than my annual Christmas visit and, of course, spent plenty of time on the train between Ottawa - Toronto - Montreal.


If someone had told me a few years ago that most of my income would come from Twitter, I... probably would have asked you what Twitter was. In all seriousness though, I'm really impressed at how quickly my skill set in web & social media grew this year. I learned how to use Dreamweaver and taught myself HTML. I got into podcasts and created a series for the Ontario Arts Council that is still up and running today. I currently produce, host and edit the whole thing from my laptop. I figured out crowdfunding and how to leverage my social media networks to make it successful. I also hired a great guy to create a website that really represents me and what I do. Because if you're going to work in social media, you damn well better have a web presence to back it up. Oh after a few years of knowing each other online, I finally met social media maven Rebecca Coleman in person and she let me speak to her class on my experience. That was pretty darn cool.


Well the year was off to a slow start, but by March I was present for the beginnings of Toronto's only French improv league, Les Improbables. The team has grown tremendously in the last few months from the cramped space on the third floor of the Fox & Fiddle, to bi-weekly sold out shows at the Supermarket in Kensington Market, to having our own professional style jerseys. If you haven't checked us out already, you really should!

In April, I got to perform in another one-women show, the terrific Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, which got some lovely recognition over at The Visitorium's Big Stoopid End of the Year Post.

Still trying to turn this into a meme...

I got invited to perform Roller Derby Saved My Soul in Swift Current for the Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival, which lead to a one-off performance in Ottawa that sold out. Oh and speaking of RDSMS, it was nominated for FOUR Les Prix Rideau Awards and actually won for Outstanding Fringe Performance. And there was the little Indiegogo Campaign That Could where I raised well over my $5000 goal. I learned a lot from this campaign and I look forward to a wonderful opportunity that's come up where I will get to share that knowledge with people. But more on that in an upcoming 2013 post.

I also booked three commercials: one for Manulife Financial and one for Comcast in English and one for the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities in French. In all of them, if you blink, you might miss me. The one for Comcast is below.

And there was also a a couple of cool little student film with some folks at Humber and also Niagara College that I'm looking forward to seeing.

In addition to all that, 2012 was a year of preparation in my acting career. I took plenty of classes, got some new headshots, put together a demo reel, set up this swanky new website and found myself a new agent. All things that make me feel like I will be hitting the ground running in 2013!

Oh and let's not forget the podcast interviews! One with 2AM Theatre and one with Off Stage; both of which I'm very proud of.


I completely gave up any semblance of working out around the time of Mary Mags because if you're going to play a homeless alcoholic, why bother going to the gym? A theory that totally bit me in the ass when I got asked to do RDSMS shortly thereafter. I was completely out of shape and I knew that could be very detrimental to my upcoming performance so I hired a personal trainer who really turned everything around. She challenged me in ways I didn't even know were possible.

I've come to the realization that working out is actually a lot of fun when you find what suits you and have goals. For me, it's fitness classes and Zumba in particular. I've enjoyed it so much that in November I got my Zumba teacher training certification and I am now working towards additional accreditation, as well as a CanFitPro Fitness Instructor Specialist Certification, which I will be completing in 2013.

Not only did it affect me physically, but mentally as well. It forced me to take a good long look at what I've come to realize are some pretty major self-image issues that have contributed to a lot of depression and anxiety in my life. (For a very insightful read of self-image issues, I highly recommend my pal Kris Joseph's blog post dealing with this very matter.) With the encouragement of my wonderful support network, I have now been seeking professional help for these issues and I am moving my life in a new direction.


Speaking of support networks, I may have hinted at it a few times in this blog, but I met someone this year. In these pages, he's known as the DB (for Dear Boyfriend though he recently pointed out that it could also stand for Douche Bag, which Oops!) He is handsome, funny, talented and incredibly kind. We communicate like grownups but play like little kids. He believes in me, supports me unconditionally and frequently reminds me that, in his own words, I am a "smoking hot babe."  Sometimes when I wonder how I got so lucky, he'll turn around and tell me that I deserve good things in life... Yeah, I'm not letting this one go anytime soon.

So, who's up for 2013?

Freedom 31

ColoursCreative Commons License Camdiluv ♥ via Compfight

I've always been a big fan of the Til Debt Do Us Part lady, Gail Vax-Oxlade. I'd watch her show with my sister  (because I still don't have cable) and read one of her books. One thing she talks about really struck a chord with me was that to get out of debt, you need to do one or two things: 1) spend less money and/or 2) make more money.

It seems really self-evident, but it's a practice that has taken me well over two years to put into practice. If 2011, the year of Hobo Kenny, taught me anything it was that I could live very frugally. 2012 though was the year of make more money. For the entire year, I typically worked 2 to 3 full-time jobs at a time, putting in many 16 to 18 hours days. Of course, the main difference from my usual schedule of working multiple jobs at the same time was that this year I was paid for all of it.

And I am proud to say that for the first time since however long I've had a credit card, I am finally FINALLY out of credit card debt.

Now, I don't know your financial situation, but this debt load I carried oftentimes felt crippling and resulted in my borrowing money and leaning on the generosity of a lot of very amazing people for a very long time. It is an absolute f'n relief to know that I am through that tunnel.

It wasn't easy. I am tired, burnt out even and in desperate need of a vacation.  But the work I've put in has allowed me to set other things in motion. Things that will grant me the opportunity to lessen my "joe job" workload and focus on the career that really matters to me: Creating, Performing, Entertaining.

Big things are in store for 2013 and I look forward to moving through them with a clean slate.

How You Do The Things You Do

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Do you make to-do lists? I never did. In fact, I never wrote anything down. True story. If I've got one task or another to accomplish, I just remember. It's all up in my head. Though I've tried to make to-do lists in the past, I've never managed to keep it up. It just seemed illogical to me to spend time writing what I had to do instead of, you know, just doing it.

That said, since becoming fully self-employed and working a variety of contracts in order to make ends meat, I've been finding it harder and harder to keep everything straight.

Recently, possibly after the billionth time I complained about feeling scattered and overwhelmed, my Dear Boyfriend (DB) suggested I make a to-do list. I wish I could say I was very gracious at the suggestion and gladly took to this task, but that would be a flat out lie. A big giant wall of resistance can up at the mere thought that my working methods could be wrong and I turned into a stubborn child about the whole thing. DB, somehow channeling the patience of a saint, put up with it all and encouraged me to try it anyway.

And you know what? It's really helped. Though it can feel like a lot to actually see everything you have to do in the coming week, there is something incredibly satisfying about crossing something out when you're done. Plus, I feel like my productivity level has gone up because my "work time" has become more focused and not bogged down "what should I do now... maybe just check Facebook real quick" type thoughts. It also allows my down time to be relaxing instead of stressed out about something else I think I should be doing right now.

I haven't perfected this system yet by any means, but I definitely feel like I'm on the right track. To all you multi-taskers out there, feel free to share your work methods in the comments below.

Write blog post.


In exactly one week, I will be done my work at the Ontario Arts Council. Though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't counting down the days, I have to say it still has been a pretty worthwhile experience. I learned a lot of new web-based and social media skills, managed to save up some money and pay down some debt, and, of course, met some pretty amazing people. A few months ago, when I had just started in my position, I had the opportunity to sit in on a theatre panel in order to observe the process. One of the members of this panel was, and still is, a pretty prominent Toronto playwright and actor who is originally from Ottawa so we had lots to talk about.  Fast-forward to April and opening night of Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety. Turns out that he was in town and good friends with my director so he came to see the show. Afterwards, he let me know, in his own words, that I was "fucking brilliant". Upon my return to Toronto, we had lunch and he asked if I would be interested in working together in the future.

Gee, let me think about that for a minute.

Which brings me to today, where I am one of half a dozen performers who will be getting together this afternoon to workshop a new screenplay he wrote.


And to think, none of this would have happened if I hadn't had my day job.

New Beginnings

So, here it is: the new website! Do you like? I like! First of all, a big thank you Jeremy Crittenden of Critty Design for getting this baby out of my head and into the interwebs.  I'm still uploading content, so feel free to check back frequently to see what neat new things I might have in store. But this isn't my only new beginning. This week, I quit my day job. After almost 9 months, I will be leaving the Ontario Arts Council at the end of July.  Let me tell you, it was not an easy decision to make. I have gone from having nothing to becoming accustomed to a certain level of comfort. But my arts practice has suddenly picked up and I'll be damned if I'm not going to ride that wave.

I've got new headshots, a new website and a heck of a lot of inspiration from some pretty amazing acting classes I've been attending since last September. Roller Derby Saved My Soul was invited to take part in the Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and I'll be doing a special one-off performance in Ottawa before I head off.  I've been working my butt off for the past month to get back into Derby-show shape (as opposed to alcoholic homeless woman shape which was much easier to achieve).

And although I didn't get a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (not because it was a bad application but because they only funded about 12% of the 200 people who applied), I set up an Indie Gogo campaign to help me redevelop the piece and take it on tour next year.  I'm simply floored at how well that has taken off, raising over $1000 in a day. I would be very grateful if you could take a moment to support the campaign, either through a contribution or by sharing it with your friends. Please know that every little bit helps.

I'm ready to commit to this art form once more. Join me for the ride, won't you?

Choice & Possibility

If I had to say I had a mantra this week, it would be "choice" and "possibility". Earlier in the week, I came to the stunning realization that I COULD quit my job tomorrow  if I wanted to, but I CHOOSE to go in everyday.  I'm not trapped, I'm not stuck, I go there because I have decided to go there.   I can't tell you how that little distinction really changed my perspective and made work so much more enjoyable.  Suddenly, everything looks different.  A bunch of my classmates are heading down to L.A. in a few weeks.  At first I felt depressed because I "couldn't" go because I have a job/not enough money/nowhere to stay, ect.  But by understanding that those are only excuses and by simply by rephrasing it to I choose not to go makes me feel so much better.

Because there is a reason I took on a full-time job when I did. I have certain goals that I want to accomplish. I want to get out of debt and, right now, that is the most important thing for me. Being in debt and homeless stresses me out. When I'm stressed out, I'm not working well as an artist, so I took a job (or two) in order to remove that stressful barrier from my life, get out of debt and save up money so I can afford the initial fees for a Fringe tour next year.

A friend mentioned to me how lucky I was to be going to New York. I told her luck had nothing to do with it. I chose to go.

And because I am making choices for myself suddenly everything feels possible.

Growing up as a chubby kid, I never would have imagined that I could be an athlete. And yet here I am today, in probably the best shape of my life doing things like swinging myself up onto a circus trapeze for the very first time.  It wasn't beautiful, it wasn't graceful (and I've always wondered who was the idiot that decided 'Nancy' means 'the graceful one'), but I did it on my own.  Let me tell you there is bigger rush (rush of blood to the head?) than realizing your abs actually work as you hang upside down and flip yourself up to grab the bar.  In that one little moment, I felt like a superhero and everything seemed possible.

I choose. It is possible.

I choose. It is possible.

I choose. It is possible.

Patience, Grasshopper

Last night, I had coffee with a friend that really put things into perspective for me.  This friend is a working actor based in Los Angeles who was up visiting family for the Holidays.  He's appeared in many of those procedural shows you see on TV (the CSI's, the Cold Cases, ect.), as well as a regular guest sport on a popular HBO TV show.  If anything, this guy is living the dream, right?  But when he first started out, he was going to school full-time, working in a restaurant, and taking acting classes as much as possible.  Laying the groundwork for what was to come because it was never a matter of if, but when.  It wasn't that long ago that he was finally able to let go of the serving job, but these days he's wondered if he might have to go back. This got me thinking about another friend who's a Dora Award-winning actor.  After winning his award, he told me about how he was living in his parent's basement, working part-time as a janitor to make ends meat.  Another friend has been a regular company member of the National Arts Centre and a staple in the Ottawa theatre community, and we've worked together on a number of little promotion jobs in order to get by.  And another friend has been cleaning toilets for less than minimum wage and then stays up all night editing videos she's created.

And the list goes on...

Let's be perfectly honest here.  I have been bitter about having to take on a day-job recently to get by.  Even though it's a really great job, I'm learning a lot of new skills (looking forward to my HTML workshop in January!), and getting behind-the-scenes access to the Ontario Arts Council, part of me still felt like a failure because I didn't manage to "make it" work solely as an actor.   But having this coffee-talk with my friend made me realize/reminded me that this is part and parcel of the whole deal.   And if the job I'm doing is going to allow me to live comfortably while taking lots of acting classes, getting new headshots & checking out lots of great art where I can meet and network with some awesome people?  Then so be it.

Which is why I'm feeling much better about being able to say now that I am going to have a second job to help me achieve my goals and lay the groundwork for my acting career.  As of January 4th, you'll be looking at the new Community Manager for Via Rail - fancy title that says I'll be monitoring the company's Twitter account on evenings and weekends.

Those of you who enjoyed my #hoboKenny phase are probably wondering what took me so long to get a job with this company since I definitely took the train enough to warrant working there.  This job came about through Twitter.  I happened to be following the current Community Manager when I caught sight of  a Tweet: "Interested in Community Management? Drop me a line about an opportunity! It's going to happen quickly, so act now and tell your friends!"  I asked what it was about and the ball was quickly in motion after that.

It's the perfect job for me because I can work from home or on the road, needing only to check in periodically and answer any customer questions or concerns that may arise.   If everything works out, by the time my contract is done at the OAC, I may be in the best position to have an income coming in, along with access to a multitude of travel vouchers (drool), to support me in my primary career, without having to resort to getting a minimum wage job...

So, patience, grasshopper.  It's not a matter of if but when.


In the words of the immortal Krusty the Clown, "have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a Krazy Kwanzaa, a Tip-Top Tet, and a solemn and meaningful Ramadan. Now, over to my god, our sponsors."

Meaning if you would like to sponsor me for future runs of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, please do so by clicking the Paypal link on the right or email me directly at nancyjkenny at yahoo dot com for additional sponsorship package details.

Good cheers & love!


The Best Things in Life are Free...

... said the guy who probably never had to pay condo fees.  

After just over two months at "the job," my pay checks have finally started to fill up the large gaping hole of debt I've built for myself, but I remain cautiously optimistic.  I've built up a lot of debt over the past few years and it's going to take me a while to bring it all down.  To be honest, I'm actually seriously considering a second job in order to bring it down faster and still be able to afford my expensive acting habit.  But more on that later.  Right now, it just feels so surreal to look at my bank account. Like, "What do you mean I have more than $37.00 to my name?"  I know this is how "normal" probably people live, but to me it still feels odd and unaccustomed.

I  went out and bought my family some Christmas gifts, which I actually didn't think I'd be able to do.  I recently threw out my favorite pair of jeans and some boots because I had completely worn them out and, if I wanted to, I could go out today and buy some new ones.   But I'm not going to. Not yet.  Though I know I am signed on to work until November of next year, part of me is too worried that if I spend that money now, there might not be any more coming in and then I'd be really screwed.  And I still owe money to some very patient people, so it just doesn't feel right spending anything on myself just now.

Though I find it hard not to be involved in the arts as much as I would like to right now, I'm trying to be more focused with the ones I've got.  The first draft of my English to French play translation is almost done and I've got a dramaturge ready to look at it.  Just in time to apply for municipal project funding.

And hopefully I'll be able to pay off my debt in 2012 and save enough to rework and tour Roller Derby Saved My Soul across the country in 2013.

So, like I said, I'm cautiously optimistic.  Now if I could just find some patience to go along with that optimism, I'd be golden.


Oh my poor neglected little blog. I'm afraid I'm going to have to neglect you for a bit longer. You see, here I am in Toronto and, after weeks of searching, I have found myself a job. You are looking at the new Interim Bilingual Online Communications Coordinator for the Ontario Arts Council. For the next 13 months, I will be back to the 9 to 5.

As you can possibly guess, I've been through a gamut of emotions about this ranging from joy at finally being able to pay off my credit card and learning about an important arts granting organization from the inside to sadness at the "does this mean I am no longer an actor" thoughts that keep running through my head.

Working for this organization means giving up on putting aside a lot of things for a year as I cannot directly be involved with groups who receive money from the OAC due to perceived conflicts of interest. That said, I've decided to take this year to study consistently (now that I will be able to afford classes), make connections in Toronto, and explore the film and television scene with more dept (like the student film I'm shooting this coming weekend). Oh and I will still be able to work on a play I have been dying to do since I first read the script in April 2012 in Ottawa since the project is not getting OAC funding.

It should also give me time to write a French translation of a play I would like to produce at some point in the next few years and polish things up on Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

But for now, I've decided to shut this blog down for a bit. Probably until the new year, maybe sooner, maybe later, I don't know... If I didn't need it for work and if it wasn't the only way for some people to reach me, I'd probably get rid of Facebook and Twitter too.

I just want a clean slate, you know? To start fresh and anonymously in a new city, to go out and do things for myself without the usual pressures I put on myself, to just live...

Until next time.

The Death of HoboKenny?

Oh my poor neglected blog. Where have I been? All over it seems. After two weeks of moping (did I spell that right? I don't mean I spent two weeks cleaning floors), I got my batteries recharged through two intensive weeks of acting classes both in Montreal and Toronto. 5 days a week, 10 hours days of the kind of hard work that makes me happy to be alive. I learned a lot in those two weeks, much of which I'm still processing today.


And in between all that, I did media relations work for the Great Canadian Theatre Company (Amelia: The Girl Who Wants to Fly on now), kept looking for work, did some auditions and, oh yeah, moved.

Yes, after over a year of couch surfing, I've finally settled down in Toronto. I've got a beautiful place and a beautiful roommate. I couldn't ask for more even though change sometime feels like dying. Though I guess that's because it is.

Of course, that does not stop me from travelling, as the folks in Ottawa realized this past week. And I don't think I'd have it any other way. The hobo/gypsy/bohemian spirit is just too strong inside me. It's just nice to finally have a place to call my own, with a closet and a bookshelf and a couch that I can offer to other weary vagabonds like myself.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I do see multiple paths spreading out in front of me. Which one am I going to go down? Well, we'll see.

Down in the Dumps

I haven't written much lately because frankly there hasn't been much to write about. "Today I got up, made some oatmeal, cried a little, watched a few episodes of Fringe, sent out more resumes, cried some more, ect. Latter. Rinse. Repeat."

Fascinating stuff, I know.

Job hunting, pardon my French, sucks. I get why people who already have a job when they are looking for a new one have a better chance of success than those who are currently unemployed and looking because they are not as desperate. And boy oh boy have I been desperate these days. I reek of it. Money has been a huge stressor to the point where I just don't leave the apartment at all in order to avoid spending any of it. Of course, this leads to some pretty bad cabin fever, which couple that with some graphic Sci Fi television, and I'm having weird dreams all around.

I had saved up for this acting class over the summer that starts on Wednesday. I think working on a specific project will do me a lot of good, even if it's just to get out of the house.

Now that the show is over, I feel like I'm at this weird crossroad. I think the next couple of days will be critical in figuring out what the hell I'm doing with my life.

We'll see.

Temporary Lifestyle

You may not know this because I didn't really talk about it much (and I found myself in Ottawa again quite a few times) but I moved to Toronto. I'm currently staying with friends until I find a permanent place of my own, but in my mind, this is where I live now. Though I've been pretty busy with the Hamilton Fringe Festival, I've had two days off where I've been looking for employment. Just something to get myself a bit more established here and to pay my bills while I pursue an acting career. I've had a few bites that look promising and many friends have suggested I sign up with a temp agency. I've worked with temp agencies in Ottawa before and things looked really good when I got a call immediately after sending in my resume about a potential position.

That said, here are a few of my pet peeves when looking for employment:

  • Most agencies will not tell you whom the potential employer they are suggesting you for is.  I understand that there are probably confidentiality agreements and the agency doesn't want people to go behind their backs to meet with an employer. However, there are certain companies/sectors that I do not feel comfortable working in and so wouldn't it save us all a bit of time if I could cross it off right away?
  • Many job postings don't indicate what the starting salary will be.  Anything below $15 an hour (and even that's pushing it) and I'm not interested.  Now, this is not me being greedy, this is based on my level of education and work experience, as well as comparable marketplace demand. So, if I knew your starting salary was too low from the beginning, I would not have bothered applying in the first place.
  • I wish I wouldn't get ask to rewrite what was on my resume every single time.  I know it's to make the employer's life easier, probably by granting them access to an easily searchable database, but then why also ask for a resume?
  • Which brings me to what's actually on my resume: marketing, communications, promotions, event planning... though I can fill in some short term administrative positions, do you really think this is the best use of my skills and time?
So what am I looking for? Temporary Contract or Part-Time work in the fields of Marketing (preferably with regards to Social Media), Media Relations, Promotions or Event Planning that allows me the flexibility to pursue my acting career.  If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comment field below.

Reflections on 2010

2010 has come and gone and here I am alone in my condo reflecting on the time that has gone by with the Simpsons/Family Guy marathon that seems to be continuously  on Global on Saturday afternoons playing in the background. January 2010 was a pretty dark time for me. After months of no work, I was starting a new job at the Great Canadian Theatre Company and feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. My finances were a mess, my heart was broken, I was experiencing panic attacks... I was feeling utterly and completely lost.

And then someone very special walked into my life. Our time together was brief, but also incredibly illuminating. His lust for life was contagious and, as he disappeared back into whatever magic vortex he came from, he left me with a very simple: "Hey, life is awesome."

I'm very grateful to this person because my entire attitude changed after our encounter and every risk, every move, every dream I've dared to pursue to its fullest this past year can be directly traced back to the impact he had on me.

After that, things began to change almost immediately and 2010 was a very good year.

I had more professional acting gigs than ever before. It started out with this fun little number: [youtube=]

There was not one, but two jobs as a stand-in where I got to work alongside people like Adam Beach, Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence; a school tour with A Company of Fools (which I may very well be reprising in 2011) that lead to a one-off in Montreal and at the Lumiere Festival; a seven or eight week contract in Morrisburg at the Upper Canada Playhouse and a Fringe Festival run in Ottawa and Calgary; a workshop for Evolution Theatre's Little Martyrs as well as a reading of We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! for our five year anniversary party; a voice-over contract in French for a birth control website; and a bilingual gig at the Upper Canada Village.

All of this led to accomplishing two of my goals for the year: I became a full union member of ACTRA and CAEA (and got a few more credits towards my full UdA status) and found an agent to represent me in the Toronto market.

And if you're looking at that pseudo goal list I created at this time last year, my laptop died and I moved myself into the wonderful world of the MacBook Pro. I didn't schedule time to write, but I did finish a first draft of my Roller Derby script. I completed a 5K Race and I'm now working towards being able to run a 10K. I took a bunch of incredible acting classes in order to keep training with more consistency and, as many of you know, I traveled a whole heck of a lot.

As for my marketing work, I was at the GCTC where, among other things, I implemented a social media marketing policy and gave my first workshop on the subject to the staff. Since they're still going strong in this area now that I'm gone, I'd like to think I did pretty alright there. After giving a presentation under the banner Art as Business, Business as Art - my chosen topic being Branding the Artist - during the Ottawa Fringe Festival's brilliant Lunchtime Artist Series Ignite the Fringe event, I was approached by Odyssey Theatre to help them with their marketing and promotions for They All Do It. (Oh and I learned that I probably influenced at least one new blogger in town.) And I also ran a pretty successful publicity campaign for 'I', which took place at The Gladstone in November.

As I briefly mentioned above, my theatre company, Evolution Theatre, after a year of workshopping new shows, celebrated its five year anniversary, became a resident company of Arts Court and announced the two shows we will be producing in February and May of 2011 (which will be a whole other post in the ver near future).

And though I can't beat this guy, I saw over 75 stage productions - give or take a couple that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Oh and I became an auntie and a godmother to the most adorable little boy in the world.

It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops though: my grandparents passed away; I kissed a lot of frogs, but didn't find any real princes; I got sick, tired and depressed more often than I cared for; I never knew where I would be sleeping next or how I might be able to pay for my next meal; and, sadly, until I've figured out a more permanent home for myself, I've had to leave my cat, Winston, with someone else.

But Winston is being well taken cared of, my life feels like an incredible adventure, I've discovered that I have wonderful and generous friends, and there was making out. All in all, 2010 was pretty gosh-darn amazing!

I can't wait to see what's going to happen in 2011.

The Colour of Uncertainty - A Ramble

No one knows what happens next.  No one knows really where they will be 5 years from now, next year, next month, next week, tomorrow, 5 minutes from now...  But most people have something they can technically hold on to: a job, school, a partner...  something they can count on for next little while. I don't have any of that.

Class is done and I'm back in Ottawa.  For how long, I don't know. I've spent a long night on the bus and slept very little before going to do a short standardized patient gig.  But class was good.  Better than good.  I feel like I've grown as an artist, I feel better about upcoming auditions... you know, if there were any.  But I still have to be available for when there are...

I thought I would be working tonight, but the job got canceled. More uncertainty. More instability.

I've made a to do list.  I need money. And my iPhone back.  Sometimes I think obstacles get in the way because it's the Universe's way of asking: "Do you really want this? Do you? Are you suuuuuuuure? Ok, keep going then. And watch out for that tree."

Living the life you want can be hard. Many people won't support it or you.  You'll find yourself alone wondering why you can't just be happy doing what everyone else is doing.  You start to think you're crazy.  And you learn to make food out of variety of random things found in your cupboard, because eating fresh tonight is not a possibility.  It could be so easy to just settle into a full-time job.  So, so easy. I might do it again someday, who knows?

But you don't give up. You never give up. Because you want this so so very much. And you'd just hate yourself if you didn't try.

Back on the Chain Gang

I'm back at work in an office today and I'm ok with that.  After a few months of craziness, it's nice to have just one thing to focus on... Ok, it's me we're talking about here, so I've got 2 or 3 things I'm focusing on, but that's still a much smaller number than before.  I've got a little over two weeks left at the Great Canadian Theatre Company before I fly off to the Calgary Fringe on July 27th. As much as I would love to consider myself a bohemian of sorts, I have to say it was nice to know exactly where I was going to be for a 6 month span of time and to get a regular paycheck.  Right now, I know I'm in Ottawa until the end of the month, then Calgary & Red Deer until I'm-not-sure-when... and when I get back, well, who knows?

I have some exciting meetings set up over the next couple of weeks that will decide my future prospects.  Stay tuned!

Why Twitter?

I often forget that there are a lot of people out there who don't use Twitter or other forms of social media. Some people just don't want to learn, but many simply don't see the use in it. It's for those latter people that I write this post. Here are the top 5 reasons I use Twitter:

Customer Service Thanks to a program like Tweetdeck, I track specific keywords related to my business and my day job. Thanks to this tracking system, I caught a conversation where someone said they used to be subscribers to the Great Canadian Theatre Company but hadn't been in years because they saw a "terrible Joni Mitchell play" that made them lose interest. This play was produced almost 8 years ago and a lot has changed at the theatre since then, including a move to our new location on Wellington Street.

I immediately got in touch with this person to offer them free tickets to opening night of our next production (which at the time was blood.claat: one ooman story). He was shocked that someone would actually take the time to listen to a complaint, gladly accepted my offer and had a wonderful time at the theatre with his fiancé.

Twitter made it possible for me to discover that such a complaint existed and do something about it.

First Hand News Coverage Though the information can at times be incorrect (see for example "Gordon Lightfoot is dead" hoax), for the most part Twitter has been a great place for me to get first hand, breaking news on a variety of topics. For instance, it was on Twitter that I first learned about Charles McFarland stepping down as Artistic Associate with Third Wall Theatre (I was also the first to Tweet it back) and how I found out about the City of Ottawa's Arts & Heritage Cultural Advisory Meeting, a discovery that has led to some very interesting research at work. Lots of events will also live tweet what's going on for those who cannot be there. That's how I knew all about the National Arts Centre's French and English Theatre season launches.

New Connections Twitter has served as an introduction to many theatre practitioners in Canada and across the world. Thanks to this introduction, whenever I've found myself in a different city like Montreal or Toronto, I've had the opportunity to meet these people and make new business connections. I've also been able to meet some great people in Ottawa as well. People like @suzemuse, @cherylgain & @snobiwan among others.

Stay Connected Many of my "real life" friends are on Twitter. This gives me an opportunity to stay connected and see what they are currently doing. This has led to easy spontaneous meetings for coffee or drinks. If you're not following them already, you should say hello to @patgauthier, @HMsurfacing, @nadinethornhill, @SterlingLynch, @evanthornton, @catrionaleger among many many many others. Oh and @krisjoseph is always good for a laugh, but you probably knew that already.

Contests There is always someone having some sort of contest on Twitter and sometimes a quick reply is all it takes. So far I've won movie & theatre tickets, Easter Brunch @CanadasNAC & free passes to @ottawafolk. and those are the only things I can think of right now off the top of my head.

Again, these are my own personal reasons for using Twitter. What are some of yours?

Working to Distraction

Feast or Famine right? Why does that currently present itself as my only option? Let's say you are hungry and you've been hungry for a long time. Suddenly, someone comes up to you and not only offers you ONE sandwich, they offer you FIVE sandwiches. And you are so hungry that you take those five sandwiches and eat them all up because DAMMIT! You will be so full that you will NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN!

And then you get a tummy ache.

That's the predicament I found myself in. However, I couldn't be happier now that I've realized the best way to deal with all of this was just to just say no. I've currently turned down two work opportunities and I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was stressing about how I was going to fit everything in, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore and found my focus incredibly lacking. If I spoke to you at the Rideau Awards, I don't remember. Not because I was drunk, but because my brain was somewhere else entirely.

Do I worry that by turning something down I may not have anything else coming up? No. I don't. I feel liberated by this new decision... this new philosophy!


(Ok, ok, so it's not entirely new. But we all need reminders, right? I know I need an inspiration reboot.)

I want to focus on what matters to me right now: my job at the GCTC & the performances I've got coming up. I want to write and I want to have some fun. By letting go of those time consuming projects, I can actually go to a festival in London I adored last year and reconnect with some old and inspirational friends.

So, who's ready to play?

2009 Les Prix Rideau Awards Results!

Being a publicist has it's perks. You've read it here first! Third Annual Prix Rideau Awards Winners Announced!

Winners have been announced for Ottawa's 3rd annual Prix Rideau Awards, which celebrate achievement in English and French professional theatre in Ottawa-Gatineau. The awards were presented during a celebration at L’École secondaire De La Salle on Sunday, April 18, 2010.

The winners for English-language productions are:

Outstanding Performance – Female Patricia Fagan, The Syringa Tree, Great Canadian Theatre Company Outstanding Performance – Male Paul Rainville, The Drawer Boy, Great Canadian Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design Jock Munro, The Syringa Tree, Great Canadian Theatre Company

Outstanding Set Design Ivo Valentik, A Midwinter's Dream Tale, A Company of Fools/Gladstone Productions

Outstanding Costume Design Louise Hayden, A Midwinter's Dream Tale, A Company of Fools/Gladstone Productions Outstanding Stage Management / Technical Award Donna Bourgeault, A View from the Bridge, Ottawa Chamber Theatre

Outstanding Fringe Production Countries Shaped Like Stars, Mi Casa

Outstanding Director Lise Ann Johnson, The Syringa Tree, Great Canadian Theatre Company

Emerging Artist Award Emily Pearlman, Creator/Actor/Writer of Countries Shaped Like Stars, Mi Casa

Outstanding Adaptation A Midwinter's Dream Tale, A Company of Fools/Gladstone Productions

Outstanding New Creation Countries Shaped Like Stars, Mi Casa

Outstanding Production The Syringa Tree, Great Canadian Theatre Company

The winners for French-language productions are:

Interprétation féminine de l'année Geneviève Couture, L'honnête homme/un one woman show, Poésie électrique Interprétation masculine de l'année Pierre Antoine Lafon Simard, L'Illusion comique, Théâtre la Catapulte

Conception de l'année Guillaume Houët-Brisebois, Éclairages, L'honnête homme/un one woman show, Poésie électrique

Artiste en émergence Emmanuelle Lussier Martinez , Interprétation, Le bout du monde, Le Théâtre du Trillium

Prix technique / de la regie Lindsay Tremblay, Le Projet Rideau, Théâtre la Catapulte

Mise en scène de l'année Marc Lemyre, L'honnête homme/un one woman show, Poésie électrique

Adaptation de l'année Cyrano Tag, Compagnie Vox Théâtre

Nouvelle création de l'année L'honnête homme/un one woman show, Poésie électrique

Production de l'année L'honnête homme/un one woman show, Poésie électrique

Les Prix Rideau Awards celebrate achievement in professional theatre in the region of Ottawa-Gatineau. The peer-juried awards program was initiated in 2006 as a result of discussion at an open meeting of the regional Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. This year for the first time, Les Prix Rideau Awards goes fully bilingual, with a full slate of awards being presented for both English and French-language productions.

For the calendar year 2009, 40 English and 11 French professional theatre productions were juried by two teams of local arts professionals (14 English and 8 French). Nominations were submitted by secret ballot and tallied by local accountants, Chong Pelot and Marcil-Lavallée. Complete details on award definitions, terms and criteria are available at

Having My Cake

In the feast or famine world of the arts, I've now parked myself in front of the buffet table. You're already aware of my stand-in work and I've mentioned the Improv (check out my next turn at a special "Ladies Night" Tuesday Make 'em Ups with Crush Improv) and Playback stuff before. Maybe you even knew about my stint with the Cube Salon? Well, things just keep getting better and better. I am proud to finally announce three other wicked awesome gigs that have come my way. First, Evolution Theatre has commissioned a translation of a Québecois play and I will be participating in a workshop and, later on, a public reading of the piece. This is a very exciting undertaking for us as a company on so many levels and I look forward to sharing more information with you about this very soon! Second, next weekend I start rehearsals with A Company of Fools for Shakespeare's Interactive Circus. This production will be toured in schools around Ottawa and Montreal during the last week of April and the first week of May. And thirdly (though hopefully not finally), after much perspiration, I have been officially cast in a production entitled The Amorous Ambassador which will be presented at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg this June. This incredible show will also mark my first steps into the Canadian Actor's Equity Association. All I can say is that it's about damn time.

For once in my life, my performer dance card is full for the next four to five months. I'm so happy I'm practically crying. To top things off, I'm still working full-time at the GCTC. Yesterday, I had a brilliant chat with my boss about my schedule and somehow we can make it all work. As I left her office, she had a big grin on her face and said: "See. You can have your cake and eat it too."

I don't know how I'm doing it. I'm pulling 75 to 80 hour work weeks at the moment, but everything gets done, I still manage to see plays, socialize a bit with friends, feed the cat, and keep a somewhat clean home. then again, hasn't my schedule always been like that? The only difference this time around is that I'm getting paid for every minute of it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Check out my Upcoming Appearances page for frequent updates!