Survival Job: Christmas Caroling

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I dream of only making income as an Actor and a Coach, but if I can make some money performing I’ll take it.  In 2012 a friend reached out to me about a seasonal job Christmas Caroling.  I’m a huge fan of Christmas, and I love to sing, so it seemed like a perfect fit.

The pluses: I got a great reminder of my musical sight-reading abilities.  My voice was in GREAT shape.  I loved the people that I got to sing/blend with.  I learned a lot of Christmas (and Hannukah) songs that I never knew before.  Also, I got to meet and sing for Amy Poehler!

The Minuses: I had carry my Victorian costume with me wherever the gig was.  This could be cumbersome depending on the plans of the day.  Sometimes, we were singing for HOURS and outside, which would result in a tired voice and sore feet.  You have to spend a lot of unpaid time rehearsing to learn the music, but it’s limited and once you know the songs you are set.

Sometimes with survival work you have to weigh the pros and the cons.  This definitely is/was one of my favorites.  If you are looking for singing work this holiday season, or for some great carolers for your event check out The Yuletide Carolers.

If you are looking for a great singer/actor who knows a lot of Christmas Carols, feel free to reach out to me!

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Favorite Apps of 2015

My entire life is on my iPhone.  (iPhone 6 to be precise)  People actually make fun of how many apps I have my phone, but my God does it make life very easy.  Here’s a list of my most used, and favorite apps of 2015:

5. Body Space – I’ve tried many, many, personal training/fitness apps.  So far, this is my imgresall time favorite.  A) It’s FREE B) It’s customizable C) It syncs with your calendar and keeps track of all of your work outs.  You can even get updated emails on your progress.  You do have to set up an account on BodyBuilding.com, and deal with some of their advertising, (i.e. pushing products on you), but it’s the most user friendly workout app I’ve ever found.

4. Any.do – There are a lot of Task-Management apps out there and they all do a great imgres-1job of organizing to do items.  But this is my favorite, because every day you get to play a little game on it called any.do moment.  You click on the little dots in the corner and it leads you through an assignment game of your tasks.  You can schedule for the day, the week or for anytime!  I live on this app daily to organize my career. Check it out!

 

3. Evernote - Evernote has changed my creative life.  It’s THE most popular note app out imgres-2there for a reason.  My favorite aspect is that I can access it anywhere.  It lives in a cloud, so all of my notes are easy to find on my computer or my phone.  Whenever inspiration strikes, I can post a video, photo, or anything else into evernote, and it will live there forever!  Whether I’m producing or researching a role, this is a MUST HAVE.  I have still not unlocked all of it’s secrets.

 

2. Frozen Free Fall – I can’t make a list of apps and not include a Disney App.  This imgres-3FREE game is perfect for ignoring a subway car packed full of people. Or for killing time before an audition.  Don’t let Anna, Elsa, and Olaf fool you though, it’s not an easy game.

 

 

1. Word Swag – Finally, I absolutely love the endless creativity that WordSwag provides. imgres You can customize any photo/logo/quote you want.  I love to play with this app.  It’s perfect for creating original memes, and customizing your instagram photos.  I love to find quotes from playwrights or musicals.  It is a $3.99 purchase, but for what you get the possibilities are endless.  Get to creating.

 

I hope this helps you organize and upgrade your creative life.  Let me know what your favorite apps are.  By sharing with me on Twitter!  Or logon to the BRETwork to get monthly email updates from me.

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Going BIG in 2015

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I want to start this year off being incredibly open and honest with you:  Show-Business is hard!  Once about every six-months, I want to quit and go push people down Space Mountain at Disneyland.

It takes daily work to look at the glass half-full, stay empowered and prevent the disease of “Playing Small.”  That’s why I do daily gratitude lists with my friends, Morning Pages, Meditation and Yoga.  Right now I’m doing the Artist’s Way with an awesome group of friends, and the support makes a hell of a difference!

I started the BRETwork as a way to feel empowered in my Acting life and to keep in touch with the people I wanted to keep in touch with, people like YOU!

So, to start the year off I’m setting new goals for myself and I want to share them with you:

1) I want to book a principle role in a Broadway Musical or Play by 2016.

2) I want to book at least 3 co-star or guest star roles on a network television show like Blue Bloods this year.

3) I wantto grow my coaching business to support my collaborative-creative endeavors (also our adoption process).  We want to be Dad’s by 2018.

It’s important to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals so that we can see what direction we’re going in and make sure we are building the right relationships.

What are your S.M.A.R.T. Goals for 2015? Tell me your New Year’s goals, let’s go for them together!

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Grace Indeed.

keyartOctober 2014 has been one of the most unexpected months of my life.  I’m spending the month in Chicago opening the World Premiere musical AMAZING GRACE. This is an epic and stirring musical about the lyricist to world famous hymn.

I’ve understudied in big flashy new musicals but I’ve never been a Swing before.  It’s been a learning experience to be behind the table watching this incredibly talented creative team do their work.

The Associate Choreographer and I were pen pals in high school, but this is the first time we’ve worked together.  However, this job has been filled with a lot more synchronicity than that.

I was allowed a personal day to attend my twin brother’s wedding in Houston on October 11th.  It was a Saturday, and everyone at the show seemed to be healthy and fine to do both shows before I returned on our two show Sunday.

The wedding was fabulous!  Bart married one of my best friends and his high school sweetheart Audrey!  I was so grateful that I got to attend.  The night of the wedding I got a message that a large bell, part of the set,  fell on top of the head of our lead Josh Young.  It seemed that he would be ok and back in the show for both performances on Sunday.

I arrived from my flight at around 8AM that morning, and went to the theatre to help, I am Assistant Dance Captain, in getting Josh’s show to go on.  At around 1PM they mentioned to me that the matinee was cancelled, and that we were instead going to have a put-in rehearsal for the Understudy.  Josh would certainly be back that evening.  There are two of us that cover the role, but it seemed to be ME that was the easiest option as I have watched all of the rehearsals.

That afternoon we proceeded to do a run-through of the entire show onstage with set, lights, full company, and full orchestra.  This was the first time I had ever been on the set, sang the score, or spoken the words in the scenes.  After this four hour rehearsal they informed me that I would be doing the show in front of an audience that evening.  My brain went into total survival mode!  At first I was petrified, then I had to say to myself, “It’s just theatre! I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to do it.”

I proceeded to take one step at a time, and worked my way through the performance.  I carried script pages in the scenes so that I wouldn’t waste any of the other actor’s time, and could keep the show moving.  When we reached the pivotal moment at the end of the show where we sing Amazing Grace, I was filled with tears of gratitude.  It was only through the Grace of God that I was able to set aside my ego, and get through that performance. The best part of the whole night was that the audience went WILD!

The next day I had to travel to Fort Lauderdale for a potential job interview, and didn’t even think about the show.  I absolutely thought that Josh would return Tuesday night.  Alas, he was not back and I got thrown back in as the lead role again.  This time I was able to do the entire performance off-book!  Again, it was a power beyond me that gave me the guts to do it.  I give most of the credit to the amazing cast of 34 people who lifted me up throughout the night and gave me so much courage and support.

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with ERIN MACKEY

Since then, I have done two more performances, and Josh was able to get healthy and return for Opening Night.  I am so grateful for this experience as it has taught me a lot about courage, being of service, and commitment.  Always be ready and willing as you never know what the universe may bring.

Let’s hope that the show now gets it’s legs on Broadway because I can’t wait to see what more experiences may be on the way!

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DIStory: Villains, Fantasy vs. Reality

Disney always has a way of creating a story relevant to the time in which it was created.  That’s why so many Disney films are and remain classics.  Defeating the villains of the films helps us experience the happily ever after in our real lives.  Many times the world needs to know that the villains of reality can be conquered.  Disney films remind us of that.

1937 – Evil Queen vs. Joseph Stalin

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Much like the evil queen’s apple, stalin lured people into his political beliefs, and convinced them to take a bite.  Luckily, like the seven dwarfs, America and it’s allies gave Europe and Russia their True Love’s Kiss in 1945.

1959 – Maleficent vs. Fidel Castro

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Fidel Castro was put into power in Cuba and much like Maleficent turned that country into a sleeping town.  Still under communist rule, when will Cuba’s Prince wake her up?

1989 – Ursula vs. Exxon Valdez

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One of the most bizarre coincidence’s was 1989.  The same year we were learning how cool it was under the sea we dumped 120, 000 barrels of oil into it.

Are there any coincidences to reality and fantasy with your favorite Disney villains?

Share your thoughts with me on http://twitter.com/bretshuford

 

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