Catching Waivers 1
After many years of doing background work in between poetry tours I am happy to report, I have earned my SAG card. I am extremely grateful I was able to make a living (primarily) as a poet performing in colleges and theaters these past 10 years with MayhemPoets keeping me grounded, humble and whole and thankful for the generosity afforded to me both on the road and while on sets.
I’ve had some memorable experiences and some easily forgettable ones, where I was simply fed (and paid) to listen to podcasts, write sonnets and read obscure non-fiction I didn’t quite understand.*
We are all aware of the elitism that often comes from SAG toward Non-Union and the frustrations of 10 sometimes 12 or more hour days spent swimming inside a segregated pool of the waived and unwaived. Sometimes catching one on the right day is a stroke of luck and sometimes a stroke of genius. Just know Union or Non, many of you are ridiculously talented. Don’t you forget it, your butterfly will reach the sky!
Others, who may be crawling along at various points in any of the above lanes, learn how to stay in the pool and stay afloat, hopefully engaged in some other semi-related aquatic sport (especially when tides are low).
If you choose to leave the water, let’s say move to a land-locked country cabin with the love of your life, shoot to be each other’s star and capture the most picaresque moments for yourselves. And if you still feel the need to soak yourself in stardust, there’s always the community pool.
Perhaps as time passes you find yourself hovering round the kiddie pool, cheering on your Lil Louganis before he or she reaches a new Age of Aquarius. Be supportive, but let your budding Summer Sanders find her own lane, build her own castles. It’s okay to keep your feet wet, but try and keep your Hair out the water while your son or daughter catches breaks.
And to those goggley-eyed, chlorinated clueless newbies, some fortunate enough to ride the big kahuna to the starry shores, you may have somethings to teach, but you still have lots to learn. There may be no lifeguard in live theater, but double take your time if you have to, remember to breathe, then dive in when you are ready from head to toe.
Back on land if you have 12 hours to spend with strangers, sure, make friends but also work. If they don’t want to or have yet to use you, use your time to finish that web-series, polish that screenplay, rehearse that monologue. Take hold of holding and fill in the gaps with beautiful creations all your own.
*Read about some of my on-set experiences in my new collection of stories and poems, “6 Piece-Chicken,” coming in April. (This is a first draft of a longer post)