Wednesday, February 29, 2012

153. Your Essential Nature

This is what I picture my soul looks like...my essential nature.

(By Hiram Fernandez Lopez a.k.a. hiramf)

"Practice allowing your essential nature to shine by not enforcing judgments on yourself that were imposed by others. Remind yourself that you don't have to do anything: You don't have to be better than anyone else. You don't have to win. You don't have to be number 1 or number 27 or any other number. Give yourself permission to just be. Stop interfering with your unique natural being. Lighten the burden you carry to be productive, wealthy, and successful in the eyes of others..."The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone"...The air, sky, clouds, grass, wind and flowers...nothing natural that you see is undone, but nothing is taking place to work it all out." - Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

The above is exactly how I have NOT been today. Hope you've been faring better than I.

Gotta get back to my essential nature...and stop stressing-out about doing non-essential stuff.

Just be.

Loves,
V

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

152. Any Word From NYU?

"Sooooo...any word from NYU?"

I keep getting asked this question. And the answer has been "no" for quite some time...Much longer than I'm comfortable with.

And though "no news is good news" has been a comforting thought for me on these long winter nights...I finally lost my taste for patience and emailed Jonathon Ward, NYU Grad Acting Department Administrator. I sent him a short/sweet email simply inquiring about the status of my application.

I have friends that have received a "rejection" email already and another that has received a phone call inviting them to the final callback weekend.

Me? I've heard nothing...nada.

Don't mean to be pushy...but just wanted to make sure they didn't mis-type my email address into the system for that rejection email.

:-)

And Jonathan kindly replied back to inform me that I have not received an email or a phone call because I am in a pool of people that NYU will be contacting if they aren't able to assemble a class of 18 from the group of 50 actors they invited to the final callbacks...a.k.a. I am on the "wait list"...again...just like last year.

Good news: I have not been "cut." I am grateful to still be "in the running."

Bad news: I am essentially a "back-up" option. (Psychologically, this is not exactly a confidence-building way of viewing oneself.) Also, Jonathon didn't mention in his email how many people are in this wait-list "pool," but if it's anything like last year...there are probably about 250 of us wading around in it.

I mean...I'd LOVE to be NYU's FIRST choice, but if I make it in the end...I suppose it doesn't really matter if I was the "first choice" originally or not.

So we'll see how it goes... I'm not going to hold my breath though.

(Photo by L-Netz)

How's that for a sunshiny positive attitude? LOL!

I will probably hear back from NYU again the week following the callback weekend...so that's...I don't know...some time after March 20th probably.

Soooooo there will be mooooooore waiting in limbo.

Loves,
V

Monday, February 27, 2012

151. The Future

Ahhhh...Where we've been...and where we're going...it's all soooooo unpredictable...

...but truly...the future turns out even better than we used to imagine.

(Future by Canon in 2D)

"Where will I be five years from now? I delight in not knowing. That's one of the greatest things about life-its wonderful surprises."
- Mario Thomas

Sodontworryaboudit.

Loves,
Virginia

Sunday, February 26, 2012

150. You Are Not Alone

I've been getting some incredibly inspiring emails from readers and friends over the past couple of weeks. I want to share one with you today (with permission of the author, naturally). I will name her Ms. Anonymous for privacy purposes.

A little background... Ms. Anonymous is an incredibly talented friend of mine. She decided to apply to just one grad school this year (American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco) and has been following the AcceptanceProject blog over the past several months.

Ms. Anonymous and I both share the perspective that the process of applying for grad school is a valuable one, in and of itself, because it forces you to get really focused and specific about who you are and what you really want for your future. It's an incredibly personal and introspective application process. And therefore, even if you're not "accepted," you're walking away with some valuable self-knowledge about what you really want for your life. And because you've gained this new self-awareness you will naturally be drawn to make changes and explore avenues to improve your situation and get you moving in the direction of your dreams.

I believe that, almost universally, the desire to apply to grad school comes from a place of dissatisfaction in our current situation...We see a need for improvement in certain areas...career, training, mentorship, community, location ...whatever... SOMETHING is not working...and we know it...and we're hoping that perhaps grad school will help bridge that gap between where we are now and who we seek to become.

I wanted to share Ms. Anonymous' email with you...because stories like hers are the PRIMARY reason that I wanted to start this blog....To remind her that she is not alone. That I am not alone. You are not alone.

We are not competing with each other. We are in this together. Not just in the pursuit of grad school acceptance, but in the pursuit of creative growth. We are all searching for our right path and the place where we can find guidance to reach our greatest artistic potential.

I hope you will feel the camaraderie expressed in Ms. Anonymous' email and know that (though you may not know them personally) there are thousands of others out there sharing your journey this year and thinking the same thoughts you've been thinking and sharing the same fears you've been feeling and still pushing through and going for it anyway!

Here is Ms. Anonymous' email of February 18, 2012...


Hey there beautiful lady!!!

I just read your blog about Julliard. BIG bummer. They truly don't know what they are missing, despite the fact that they are choosing precisely what they want!!

I am SO grateful that you are sharing your experience with this whole process, including your first two years of auditions [NYU & Yale]. It's interesting... I was so hoping that with all of this energy you are putting into the universe that you would TOTALLY get in to ALL THREE schools! You are so focused, and diligent, and selflessly sharing it all with the world... to me that means you should get what you want and deserve =). Alas, that is clearly not how the universe works. Not exactly, anyway.

So, I did not get past the first cut at ACT. It was seriously one of the best auditions of my life. I sort of blew myself away with the depths I was able to reach, the effortlessness of creating both characters back to back, and just how much fun the whole process was. And NOTHING!!!!! I seriously stood there looking at the list making sure I hadn't missed my name, wondering if it had somehow fallen off the piece of paper. I wondered if they were going to call me later and be like "oops! We totally meant to call you back!! Turn around and get here quick!!" I mean, I didn't assume I was going to get in, but called back for the first round? REALLY??? One of my concerns about my viability for the program was my age. The average age of the ACT MFA student is 24. I am 33. The other is my ethnicity. ACT is very PC and most of the people chosen will be of some ethnicity other than white. I would have been totally happy assuming that I was just too old or white in their eyes, and that it had nothing to do with my work. Except that there was a white woman who certainly looked older than 24 called back!!! So I can't blame it on that either. I just simply didn't get selected.

So what does that mean? Am I not as talented as the people chosen? Am I not supposed to be an actor? No, no, no, and no. I'm just not supposed to get my MFA right now. And one of the reasons I know that is because you have shared your journey. It's hard to take an accurate appraisal of myself because I can't actually SEE my work. But I KNOW you. I KNOW your work. I KNOW your resume!!! You are brilliant, talented, stunningly beautiful, and a nice person to boot! And you do the work.  You do the work on yourself, and you do the work for your characters. You are a professional actor, and a conscious human being. And who the heck knows why you or I weren't chosen, other than we just weren't!! With 1500 aplicants (most of whom are probably pretty darn talented if they're even applying!), it's got to feel like they are throwing darts at a dartboard in their selection process. Which for me brings it down to the "Je ne sais quoi" of the universe. The unknown guidance system that moves us like chess pieces through this crazy game of life. I AM talented. I AM a professional actor. And I AM ambitious. I WILL work... I just don't know where or how or why. I just have to keep putting myself out there and see where I end up!! It may not look like I think I want it to look. But I have a gift to give, and I believe gifts are meant to be given.

Personally, I took this immediate rejection as a sign that I need to continue doing what I'm doing- film work, especially commercials (DEEP acting required there), musical theatre, and keep going with my song writing. I was given a voice... I should be using it =). I don't need a masters degree to do those things. I'm good enough all ready, and I'm ready to work. I AM working!!! I just want more work =). (I am also grateful that I don't have have to needlessly fill out the financial aid forms ;). ) 
Love,
Ms. Anonymous


Thank you, Ms. Anonymous, for sharing your story with us! You are RIGHT, you are incredibly talented and have some major gifts to give the world. You touch the lives of all those who know you and inspire them to greater creative heights! (I know..because I am one of them.)

I am grateful for your taking the time to write, expressing yourself with such openness...and letting me post your words on the blog. You are very courageous. Your insight is valuable and inspiring. Best wishes for you with your next creative steps.

I hope we can all take a lesson from Ms. Anonymous and move forward with confidence...knowing that we're on the right path.

Loves,
Virginia

Saturday, February 25, 2012

149. Sick In The Head

"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses." - Hippocrates
The past three days have been something of a blurrrrr. Fever, coughing, chills, hot/cold flashes, awfulness, ickyness, bleh, bleh, bleh.

As I have been dealing with this nasty flu virus that has taken over my body and realigned all of my current priorities, (Breathing has suddenly become #1...and is currently taking the most effort.) I have been aware of how negative my thoughts have been as well.

We're talking...DISASTER SCENARIOS...imagining myself in total calamity-mode...you know the kind of thing...dying alone...being totally physically incapacitated...losing everything I value...losing everyone I love...

Fun stuff, right?

And in my fever/illness/insanity all of these negative imaginings seem REAL to me. I mean, how can my body tell the difference between a "real thought" and an "imagined thought"? It can't. My body reacts to these emotionally devastating thoughts with elevated heart-rate, sweating, anxiety and depression as if they were REAL. 

Fight or flight...It ain't no joke.

But it's NOT REAL, Virginia! It's just brain static...like the radio coming through with a weak signal and you can barely make out the true voice on the other end through all the NOISE.

It got me thinking...Am I sick and therefore having negative thoughts? Or have my negative thoughts been contributing to my sickness?

The mind/body connection cannot be underestimated.

So where did I turn for answers? Naturally, I went straight to our modern-day oracle of universal knowledge: Google.

This is what I found...

Negative thinking can do more than just give you a bad attitude. Some researchers believe negative thinking may actually block impulses being transmitted to the brain from the central nervous system. The breakdown in communication could cause the body to receive information on a delayed basis. Negative thinking may even prevent the body from producing certain hormones in the body which could affect the immune system. These interruptions in the body’s functions could result in fatigue, higher susceptibility to illnesses, and trouble sleeping. 
The premise that negative thinking can interfere with the body’s function may still be just a theory, but there are certainly adverse physical effects associated with a chronic negative thinker. Rates of depression are significantly higher in people who regularly entertain negative thoughts. Depression has been proven to result in physical ailments such as tiredness, headaches, and upset stomachs. Negative thinkers are generally less happy people which has also been proven to have a similar effect on a person’s health as one who suffers with depression. 
Negative thinking will only bring misery and suffering to both the mind and body. Negativity serves no productive purpose. Those who are chronic negative thinkers are generally less happy in life, work, and relationships. And unhappiness in any, and especially all, of these facets of life will only serve to harm your health. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of situations, try to find the positive in it. Even the worst situation you endure can be considered a success just because you survived it.

Yet another incentive to change my negative thinking habit. It's damaging my immune system and making me more susceptible to becoming physically sick!!! Now, that's just not cool.

What's the old adage?... Mind over matter. 

There's a lotta truth in that.

Get your brain healthy, Wilcox...and then your body will get a clue.

:-)

I will kick-start the healing process by expressing some gratefulness...
1. For friends who see me in my weakened, deliriously sick state and go out of their way to make an effort to care for me...soooo comforting
2. For free sunshine and fresh air...soooo rejuvenating
3. For my body's ability to heal itself (in spite of my negativity)...such a miracle!

Feelin' better already.

Be well, everyone...in your thoughts and in your body...and don't forget to appreciate your breathing!

Loves,
V

P.S. Still no word from NYU.  :-p

“You can set yourself up to be sick, or you can choose to stay well.”
- Wayne Dyer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

148. Cold

"You ever wonder why you get a cold
Look at the word - spell it - C-old.
C-OLD
You're pulled over by the reaper for a warning
He says,"I clocked you thinking 80"
You know you're not that old
You've been worried about the darkness in the morning
Well, I'll give you something to worry about, he says
And he flips open his ticket pad
Appreciate your breathing
I'm gonna write you up a headache for those thoughts
Now why you been so worried
What have you been reading
And why do you have to tally all you've lost
I'ma write you up a head cold
It comes on like bad weather
So maybe you'll appreciate the warming
See it gives a new perspective
Soon you'll be feeling better
I'll let you off this time
With a warning
He says, But take it easy, alright
People live around here
You won't see him in time
What I'm trying to say is
You'll miss him"
David Wilcox - Cold

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

147. Light Up The Sky

Even
After
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe
Me.”
Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole
Sky.
~Hafiz

The past few days I’ve been wrestling with some questions…

What is the point of the Acceptance Project if I never ever get accepted to grad school? Is it just that I have to accept the fact that I’ll never be accepted?

Why did I do all of this blogging…this record keeping, anyway? What’s the point of it all?

And why am I struggling so much with the idea of failing AGAIN to get accepted to grad school? Even though I know that my past two failures have been a catalyst for such amazing personal growth...and have brought sooooo many unexpected blessings into my life!

Haven’t I learned yet to trust that everything happens for my good?

I’ve been struggling with this uncomfortable feeling that the Universe must OWE me something…

I’m like… “Look, Universe…Don’t you see all the work and love and time that I’ve put into this grad school thing…Don’t you OWE me some success at this at some point, here? I mean…HONESTLY, what gives?”

Then I read that poem by Hafiz this morning (above)…and it was as if I was struck by lightning while staring at the page!

“OMG! Virginia!!! Nobody owes you ANYTHING…and certainly not the Universe.”

When my heart is I the right place and I’m able to step out of my own ego…I know that I am REALLY doing this Acceptance Project to “light up the sky” in my own small way...because I can.

Wayne Dyer gives a great explanation of this poem in his book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. I’ve quoted him below…

“Imagine if the sun needed attention and demanded accolades for its efforts – it would shine only where it felt most appreciated or when it received payment for that life-giving energy! Soon the world would be partially shut off from the sun’s magnificence, and ultimately the entire planet would be covered in darkness as wars erupted over ways of appeasing the “sun god”…Seeing yourself as important and special because of your artistic talent, for instance, is walking the path of ego. Walking the path of the Tao means that you express appreciation for the hands that allow you to create a sculpture...Change your life by consciously choosing to be in a state of gratitude.”

Sigh.

It’s sooooo good to be reminded of these things.

GIVING!!!…THAT’S THE POINT…and being grateful that I have something to give...I am super grateful for that every day.

So go…Go “light up the sky” in your own unique way. 

No one else may notice…but you’ll know you're adding your light to the earth…and that’s what matters.

Loves,
V

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

146. Personal Statement 2012 REVEALED

Hey peeps!

Since all personal statements were completed and submitted for the Fall 2012 applications a while back...I figured it's probably about time that I post my personal statement...for the record.

I had almost totally forgotten about it, but I think I promised that I would post this year's statement...and I like to keep my promises. So HERE IT IS!

If you're interested in seeing the progression of my personal statements over the years, you can read my 2010 and 2011 personal statements for NYU by CLICKING HERE...but this time, just to switch it up...I'm posting my personal statement for Juilliard.

See below...

Virginia Wilcox - Personal Statement - Juilliard - 2012

Actors give a truly important service to society. As storytellers, they mold the collective mind and spark social change through the spread of ideas, backed by the passionate fervor of an audience’s shared emotional experience. Great acting requires bravery, discipline, and passion. These are the same qualities that make up a great human being. The more you are willing to be a fully present, loving, generous, courageous person…the better you will be at empathically embodying the experience of another. I look to the journeys of actors like Laura Linney and Daniel Talbott who have blossomed from their training at Juilliard, followed their own unique passions, and boldly serve with their work, and I think, “That’s the kind of artist I want to BE!”
Right now, at 30, I feel I have no more time to waste in becoming my dream. I must remove the barriers that are holding me back from becoming the gutsy human being and actor I’ve always known I can be. I am taking action to face my fears, changing unhealthy behaviors that undermine my strength, and transforming my life in preparation for the transformational work ahead in grad school. This year I changed my eating habits and am back in my ideal body, deepened my yoga practice, left a two-year relationship that was no longer healthy for me, adopted the Tao te Ching as my spiritual manual (my favorite audiobook for subway rides), obtained a fantastic day-job in the middle of the recession (and though the job has protected me from financial ruin, it has also given me clarity that acting is my true profession), and last, but not least, I have taken two personal finance classes at The Actor’s Fund and am on track to eliminate my debt by 2012. (Cannot wait!) Overcoming my fears and taking action, I feel a great sense of accomplishment with both. With courage and persistence I have proven to myself that I do have the power to change my life and become a stronger human being and a stronger artist. Barriers be gone!
After suffering last year’s disappointment of not getting into NYU or Yale (for the second time), I knew that for 2011 I could not depend on acceptance to grad school to kick-start my artistic growth. I was going to have to do something on my own. So I decided to address what I think is my greatest obstacle as an actor: my fear of being open and vulnerable in front of others. I came up with the idea to write a blog as a forum to test my fears, publicly documenting my process of preparation for applying to MFA acting programs. The blog has a two-fold benefit: I get to practice being publicly open and vulnerable through my daily writing, while motivating others to bravely pursue their dreams as I boldly pursue mine. To me, the idea of blogging was absolutely terrifying…and that’s exactly why I did it.  On my Facebook page I publicly committed to write 180 blog posts from September 5 to April 1, and invited everyone I know to follow. The blog has been the greatest confidence builder of all. An online community of like-minded folks have rallied around me in support. Each morning I send out an honest snapshot of my life, with all of its ups and downs. I am discovering that those flaws and idiosyncrasies that we fear others will condemn us for are often the very things that draw us to connect with one another and remind us that we are all innately human. www.AcceptanceProjectNYC.blogspot.com  has already made me feel like this year’s application process has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
I have a deep desire to create art that inspires others and that is why I am driven to do this work; because of the “Artist as Citizen” ethos, Juilliard is my first choice for my MFA. None of the other schools “walk the walk” like Juilliard does, not only in addressing the question of how we can make work that will be significant to our communities, to our society and to the world at large, but also in taking action. We are all the creators of our own experience. I want to collaborate with other artists that share the same values and commitment that I have in doing this great work. And these artists are at Juilliard. What might I be capable of contributing to the world if I was given the opportunity to be mentored by the best teachers, inspired by the most committed fellow students, and surrounded by the most passionate arts community in the country? That is the question I cannot stop asking myself and the question that has kept me coming back to audition for graduate school, and finally, Juilliard. At last, I have found my community! Juilliard feels like home to me, where I know I’ll be safe to take risks and realize my life purpose. I hope that you will support me by welcoming me in as a valued member of the artistic community at Juilliard. I cannot do this alone! Help to guide my path, challenge me to continue to remove all barriers, give me the time and tools to build my strength as an actor. My heart beats to be of service to others and to passionately practice my greatest love: acting. I have so much more to give. 


Whah-whah...Didn't get in this year.

:-(

But that's okay...I'll just keep on giving it anyway! Can't think of anything better that I'd like to do.

:-)

For other posts relating to the Personal Statement writing process this year...check these out...
#59 Juilliard Personal Statement Draft
#65 Powerful Questions
#66 My Bucket List: Personal Artistic Goals 2011
#71 Inspiration Is IN
#74 Speak Your Truth


Please Note ***Applying to MFA acting programs really ISN'T about the Personal Statement...It's ALLLL about performing kick-ass monologues on the audition day. (For more about my philosophy of choosing monologues click HERE and/or HERE.) Acting happens LIVE...monologues are what will get you IN (or so I hear) ...not your literary skills. So don't stress if you're not particularly comfortable with writing. Just be true to your heart...and write about what you are really passionate about...because that will be unique. Do not write what you think they want to read...because it will come off completely generic and end up sounding exactly like huuuuuuundreds of other essays that they've been snoozing through for years.***

Best of luck to allllll you allllll writing personal statements out there...now and in the future.

Be courageous. Be you. Write your truth.

Loves,
V

Monday, February 20, 2012

145. Still In Love

"Isabel: It's no good, Mr. M, I've got to face it: I'm a bad loser. Got any advice for me? 
Mr. M: On how to be a good one? 
Isabel: Ja. How to lose graciously. With dignity. I mean it. I really wish I could."

-- My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard, Act 1, Scene 5

As many of you know. I did not get accepted to Juilliard this year. However, before I knew that...I had already made reservations to see the 4th year's (Group 41) repertory performances.

Sooooo last night at 8pm, in spite of my recent "rejection" from Juilliard...I was back at the school, climbing the stairs and taking the elevator to the 4th Floor to see one of my favorite plays of allllll time My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard.

I have a very personal connection to this play because I had the privilege of playing Isabel Dyson at Solano College in CA when I was 18 years old...and it was one of the greatest theatrical experiences I have had to date. I even won a local award for it...a North Bay Arty Award...which, to youthful me, at the time, felt like winning an Oscar.

And considering my whirlwind journey through the audition/callback day, it is especially meaningful for me to be seeing this play at Juilliard.

The lovely, smart and incredibly talented Virginia Veale played the role of Isabel Dyson absolutely beautifully in this production. (Yes, her name is Virginia also.) She is incredible to watch. Amazing presence. I cannot wait to see what her future career has in store!

And her performance was well-matched with the buoyant intensity of Sekou Laidlow as Mr. M and the grounded focus of Jeremie Harris as Thami. The play could not possibly have had a stronger cast.

I love, love, loved the show. And being there at Juilliard to see it...felt triumphant to me in a strange way.

As I was sitting in my seat at intermission, staring up into the rafters and letting myself breathe in the moment and enjoy being in this theatre space that once held such HOPE for me...I felt a twinge of sadness knowing that though they have not selected me for their Final Callback Weekend...that my feelings about the school have not changed as a result...I'm still just as in love with this place as I was last week and the week before that and the week before that.

Sigh.

It was sort-of like meeting-up with an ex-boyfriend and after spending a few moments in their presence...you realize that even though it's over and you know you can no longer be together...that you are still in love with them and cannot help but appreciate all the many details of their wonderfulness...all those little things that made you fall in love with them in the first place.

That was the experience of seeing this show at Juilliard for me.

I cannot deny it. I am still in love. And though I know that I will not be attending the school in Fall of 2012...it doesn't stop me from appreciating the valuable gift they're giving me tonight...The opportunity to experience this great story...being presented on stage with great actors...in this great city of New York...free of charge.

(Tickets to the drama school's student productions are free, BTW,...free!)

I love what they do here and I love the WAY they do it. It's just an awesome place to be.

So...even though I must admit...I was scared to come and see this show...(I thought it might be toooo crushing for me to sit in the audience and watch a show at a school that has just rejected me for admission)...I had to prove to myself that I'm not a "bad loser" and just come support the show anyway.

And I am reeeeeallly glad I did. Because, it made me realize that I can still be a part of this community at Juilliard, in my own small way, even as an audience member. I don't have to be "accepted" to do that. And, if their shows continue to inspire me and make me feel like I want to try again and audition there next year...I CAN! (Juilliard currently allows MFA applicants to audition for the program twice only.)

Or...if Juilliard is really not meant to be part of my life's path after all...I can still love the program.

Once in love, always in love...That's just the way I roll, I guess...with ex-boyfriends and graduate schools alike.

:-)

Still, there could be another lover, just around the corner...ready to sweep me off my feet!

We shall see how things end up with NYU this year. Still waiting to hear back from them.

But the most important thing that I keep reminding myself to do...is to stay open to what feels like the best future path for me. If that's grad school...as I have hoped and have been dedicated to preparing for...for soooooo long....then FANTASTIC. But...if all this preparation and blogging and learning and growing and maturing leads me to some other acting-related pathway...then, I suppose that all of this will have been a valuable and non-linear pathway to my future.

Ain't that always the way life goes anyway?

The process of preparation for these grad school auditions...has given me a great sense of purpose in my life...a concrete goal to work towards. So, even though the outcome at Juilliard this year hasn't turned out the way I had hoped, I am still glad that I auditioned...because the value that I've received from the journey is a gift that I will always have...and this blog, chronicling the whole journey...has been an education unto itself...like no other.

You see...I'm just tryin' to figure out what to do with my life...and these creative impulses I've been given...Don't want to waste my life doing something I don't LOVE. And I KNOW I love acting. So I'll keep moving in the direction of my dreams...of becoming the best professional actor that Virginia Wilcox can possibly be.

Gotta have faith that the BEST possible future outcomes will naturally occur as a result of my continued heartfelt efforts.

Soooo I'm staying open to the possibilities,...loving the things I love,...and trusting that following my true heart is always the best way...even if it doesn't make logical sense.

Thank you, Juilliard.

Warmly,
Virginia

"Isabel:  ...You gave me a little lecture once about wasted lives...how much of it you'd seen, how much you hated it, how much you didn't want that to happen to Thami and me. I sort of understood what you meant at the time. Now, I most certainly do. Your death has seen to that.  
My promise to you is that I am going to try as hard as I can, in every way that I can, to see that it doesn't happen to me. I am going to try my best to make my life useful in the way yours was. I want you to be proud of me. After all, I am one of your children you know. You did welcome me to your family. The future is still ours, Mr. M."

-- My Children! My Africa! by Athol Fugard, Act 2, Scene 5

Sunday, February 19, 2012

144. Acceptance Project Mixer - March 14, 2012 - Walnut Creek, CA

YOU ARE INVITED!!!

Hey, West Coast peeps!

I'm going to be heading out to Northern CA to visit my family in March. And I thought it might be fun to have a little "Acceptance Project Mixer." LOL! This will be super fun. I would love to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones! So if you are in the vicinity...PLEASE COME BY AND SAY HELLO!

ACCEPTANCE PROJECT MIXER
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2012 
7pm to 9pm
(Just tell the host you're there with Virginia's group)

No need to RSVP
Stop by any time after 7pm

Location:
Stanford's Restaurant & Bar
(925) 944-0895
1300 South Main St.
Walnut Creek, CA 94596



If you even have the remotest desire to come and visit with me and other AcceptanceProject blog readers...PLEASE COME. You are wanted and welcome to attend. Don't be shy! 

If you're scared that you won't know anyone and won't have anyone to talk to...bring a security blanket...I mean...a friend. ;-) Or if you want to be suuuuuper brave...come ALONE and test your abilities in turning small-talk into REAL conversation with someone NEW. OOOOOoooooo...scaaaary! (YOU CAN DO IT!)

One of the reasons I started this blog was to create a sense of community for myself in this very personal process of applying to grad school. And a community has gathered...and I have the wonderful privilege of hearing from you guys all the time (YOU ARE ALLLL SUCH GREAT PEOPLE!) and I would love for you to have the opportunity to MEET EACH OTHER...and to connect...and share your experiences together. 

For many of you that have been following the blog from the beginning...my story has become part of your narrative this year too! And I know how fun it is to share stories with each other...and laugh...and drink...and eat snacks...and be INSPIRED by other people's journeys. We've all got the shared experience of the blog to spark conversation...and who knows what that conversation could lead to...a new friend...a professional connection...a creative collaboration? You'll never know...unless you overcome your fear of silly social awkwardness...and SHOW UP! You'll get over it in the first three minutes and then you'll be soooo glad you came...Because you'll be actively opening yourself up to the possibilities that new interactions can bring...Don't miss out on the opportunity to be in a room full of fun-loving, creative, smart, compassionate, open and like-minded people!

Oh....and I will be there too...to introduce you around to other awesome folks...and to have the thrill of getting to chat with you and get to know you better myself!

So, don't hide behind your keyboard...No excuses!!!...If you are in Northern California, please come out to Stanford's on March 14th and hang out with me! 

Please note: I am an actual, real, live, human person...not just words and letters on a screen! Would be great to meet you.

Mark your calendar! See you then.


Loves,
Virginia

P.S. Feel free to forward this on to anyone you think would be interested in attending!!! The more the merrier!

"Where can we find support for our reinvention? To make a true break with the past, we need guides who have been there and can understand where we are going. Reaching outside our normal circles to new people, networks, and professional communities is the best way to both break frame and get psychological sustenance." - How To Stay Stuck In The Wrong Career by Herminia Ibarra, Harvard Business Review (Dec 2002)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

143. The Juilliard Door Closes

I did not get invited to the Final Callbacks at Juilliard.

:-(

Kathy Hood sent out an email that said that out of the 1387 people that auditioned for Juilliard this year... they asked a record number of people to stay for the End-Of-Day Callbacks during each audition day, over all of the days, this added up to 157 people in total. I was one of them.

From that group, they selected 40 people to invite to the Final Callback Weekend. (Congratulations to anyone who made it this year!) However, I was NOT one of them.

I am sad. Very sad.

I LOVED my Juilliard audition experience. It was seriously one of the best days I've had...ever.

The tough thing about these MFA auditions...at Yale, Juilliard and NYU...is that they never give you feedback on your audition. It just doesn't work that way. They never tell you why you weren't chosen...or what you could do to improve your audition for next year. 

I completely understand why they do not offer this information. It would be overwhelming to deal with those kinds of correspondences for hundreds of applicants. It's just not realistic or advantageous for the school to do that. I get it.

But the nature of this "lack-of-feedback," as to why you didn't get chosen and someone else did, can be very confusing. 

My brain naturally goes to the thought, "Is there anything that I did to sabotage myself? Is there anything I could have done to improve my chances?"

However, the conclusions that I come up with, as answers to these questions may have NOTHING to do with why I ACTUALLY wasn't chosen. So really...I just end up making myself crazy. 

This year...I am very confident that I did EVERYTHING within my power to give my best possible audition...maybe I went a little overboard, actually. 

All well. 

Ultimately, I will never know the real reason I wasn't chosen. And that's okay. I guess I don't really need to know...Because I am who I am...and I don't want to be accepted to a school where I'm not wanted. That would suck! So if I'm not wanted there for ANY reason, then it's a good thing that they've let me go on my way this year.

Is there anything I can do now to change the outcome?... Nope. What's done is done. So the only really healthy option for me is to be grateful for the opportunity that I had...and move forward with the new learning that it's given me.

What have I learned?...I am still processing that. And I am sure I will be discussing those ideas in future blog posts.

But before I wrap up this post...just wanted to share with you a few details about yesterday...

1. I think I may have checked my email every 3 minutes yesterday...Allllll day long...It was hilarious! I was totally obsessive compulsive about it...Until I finally received the email from Juilliard around 4:30pm...Then...whah-whah...sadness.

2. Also received my "official" rejection email from Yale yesterday. "Way to coordinate with Juilliard, guys! Nice timing! Double-whammy of rejection!" I mean, I knew about the Yale outcome already, but still...that was icky to have to receive both of those emails within hours of each other. It was as if the Universe was teasing me..."No, MFA for you, Wilcox...It doesn't matter how much you care about this...or how close you come...You ain't never gonna get it...So let me just confirm your inadequacy by these "official" rejection letters in your inbox." Thanks, Universe...I know you know what's best for me and I don't, but...the mocking? Is that really necessary? Ugh. Bleh!

3. I got "the email" while I was at work. I was proud of myself...because I didn't cry. In fact, I'll bet my bosses had nooooo idea that anything out of the ordinary was happening for me. I am a professional. I do not share my personal drama at work.

4. After work, however, I made a phone call to my teacher and friend (also the person that wrote my recommendation letter for Juilliard) Mr. Robert Parsons. I left him a voice mail telling him about my disappointment at not making it to Final Callbacks at Juilliard this year. He called me back later, but I couldn't answer at that time, so he left me a voice mail in response...I have included it below...If I could figure out how to export the voice mail from my phone, I'd put it on the blog for you guys to listen to, but since I am not that technically saavy I've just typed it. (I hope you don't mind my sharing this with everybody, Bob!) His words meant a lot to me and are a great comfort.

Feb. 17, 2012, voice mail from my teacher, Robert Parsons:
"Hey, Virginia...It's Bob calling...Oooooh, boy...Got your message...and ahh,...I'm really, really sorry. I'm so, so sorry...that you didn't get called back...and I am also really, really surprised. I thought you definitely were...were IN this time. But, uh, regardless, it certainly does not diminish your brilliance, because you are... you're just, you're f*#king brilliant. I mean, reading your blog and just the way you think through these things and I know it leaks into your work as well,...so nobody can take that away from you no matter what obstacles appear. And though it's not Juilliard this year and it's not Yale this year...but, I guess NYU is still a possibility, so hold on to that one...But I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you and I feel like, you know, whatever this means...it's just gonna make you stronger, ultimately, and...yeah, something good is gonna come for you, at some point, whether it's this year or whenever...It's gonna happen, so just hang in there. And I think a lot of people are behind you and rooting for you, so keep it rollin' girl!...Um, I'll try and get back to you or you call me. I've got a show tonight...But if you feel like calling, I should be around. Alright, you take care. Bye."

THAT's when I finally cried...Listening to Bob's voice mail...Standing on the corner of 37th Street and Broadway in Astoria. (Why wait until you get to the privacy of your own apartment to lose your s#*t, when you can do it standing on a street corner in full view of the passing public? LOL! Ridiculous me.) Thank you, Bob, for your compassionate words! It feels good to know that you believe in me...even though...even though...I didn't get in to Juilliard.

Anyway, yesterday wasn't allll tears and disappointment...I joyfully reconnected with my friend Jordan last night. He just moved to NY recently. We had a nice sushi dinner and had a blast at the Astoria Art House Salon...where I got to sing a couple of songs and Jordan played the piano. It was lovely. So the day certainly ended on a positive note.

And, yes...I am still in-the-running at NYU...but I am feeling like...I don't know...like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, ya know? At this point, I'm kind-of anticipating the rejection letter from them too...'cause...I can't even make it to NYU's Callback Weekend even if they do invite me.

Sooo maybe this really isn't going to be "my year" for grad school acceptance after all.

Still...I'm going to complete this Acceptance Project...in the best way I know how. So gonna keep on blogging until April 1st, as promised, and I am excited about it too, because I've still got some cool posts hiding up my sleeve for you all to look forward to...a couple of interviews waiting in the cue...and some other fun surprises in store...So it ain't over yet!

Don't worry about me. I haven't lost hope entirely.

Maybe I'll try for Juilliard again next year...Got really close!...I don't know yet. We'll see.

The door at Juilliard has closed for 2012...but there's gotta be a window in here somewhere...

:-)

Loves,
Virginia

P.S. If anyone who has been invited to the Juilliard Callback Weekend would like to write a guest post for the blog, even if it's anonymous, I'd love for you to contact me and we can discuss! Email me at via virginia wilcox at gmail dot com. Best wishes and break legs!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

142. The Impact Scenarios

Tomorrow is the day that Juilliard will be sending me an email to either...
A. Invite me to the Final Callback weekend in March and I'll be a contender for the first ever MFA class at Juilliard
OR
B. Tell me that they will NOT be inviting me to the Final Callback weekend in March and I will know that I am no longer under consideration for acceptance to the program for Fall 2012

Now...one might think that considering my feelings about my wonderful audition experience at Juilliard, that (in my mind) the below equation might apply...

Getting Invited to Final Callbacks = GOOD
Not Getting Invited to Final Callbacks = BAD

However, it's really not that "black and white," now is it? Most situations are "shades of gray," and this one is no exception. We've all been in situations where a certain outcome could have a MAJOR IMPACT on your life and the lives of your loved ones.

And to an outside eye it may seem like a no-brainer, simplistic Good vs. Bad scenario, but to you...you know allllll the ramifications that an outcome will have on your life. Other people can't know all those things, only you know them about your own life and your own mind.

Success is sometimes just as terrifying as failure...and often times MORE so.

So to really understand the complexity of any situation, you've gotta analyze the IMPACT of that outcome on your life...on every area of your life that matters to you. There will be both a positive and negative impact...no matter which outcome happens. It's just a matter of which one is worse or better...according to your own values, life situation and personal preferences.

Do I want to get called back at Juilliard?

Yes.

Will it mean that my life will be perfect and happy and simple and easy if I get called back at Juilliard?

No.

So in anticipation of being overwhelmed by the actual outcome tomorrow...which I will have to be dealing with very soon...I'd love to take this opportunity tonight...To rationally think this through...as objectively as a can...before things get C-Ra-zY.

"In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst." - Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

So..... here are my impact scenarios for both outcomes (as best I can imagine them right now... hypothetically.)


PRETEND LIKE I GET INVITED TO FINAL CALLBACKS AT JUILLIARD...
... the POSITIVE impact could be...
  • Emotionally: Joy!!! I love this school.
  • Spiritually: I feel like I am on my "right path."
  • Sense of Purpose: I am dedicated to becoming the BEST possible actor that I can be in this lifetime and using my gifts to have a positive impact on the world. This is the next step on that journey.
  • Way I See Myself: I feel like I am the luckiest person on this planet.
  • Way Others See Me: They might feel excited for me and get excited about keeping on working toward their dreams too!
  • Friendships: I will get to make new friends at the Callback Weekend.
  • Personal Life: I feel great about where I'm at right now. Glad that I'm single...whilst I embark on this very personal journey.
  • Job: I could possibly have a new job soon: "Full-time Acting Student."
  • Career: This could lead to a great big huge growth spurt for me that could lead to some incredible creative collaborations with awesome artists that I am yet to meet in the future.
  • Financially: Will inevitably have a positive impact on my future prospects for being able to make a living as an actor.
  • Physically (my body): I could have the opportunity to get up and MOVE everyday at school...vs. the sedentary sit-at-a-desk-all-day-and-stare-at-a-computer-screen job that I currently have.
  • Physically (my home): Juilliard is in New York. So if I were to be accepted there...I could stay in my apartment in Astoria probably.
  • The Blog: I'd get to write about the Callback Weekend experience and share it will all of you!!!


...and the NEGATIVE impact of being invited to the Final Callback Weekend could be...
  • Emotionally: Fear. I am terrified that after getting this close...that I will still not be accepted into this year's class and I will be crushed.
  • Spiritually: I lose all sense of gratefulness and become a totally egotistical a-hole.
  • Sense of Purpose: I lose my sense of acting as a "service job" and become completely self-serving in my pursuit of "winning."
  • Way I See Myself: I start to see myself as a person who must be accepted by others in order to be able to accept myself.
  • Way Others See Me: They may choose to see my success as "uppity" and "snooty" for me to want to be accepted to a school as prestigious as Juilliard.
  • Friendships: I might lose some of them because people may react differently to me now.
  • Personal Life: I could possibly be kissing my chance for a personal life good-bye. Who has time for a boyfriend in grad school?
  • Job: I have to say goodbye to the comfy, familiarity of my day-job. (And I will miss hanging out with my bosses 5 days a week.)
  • Career: N/A. (I cannot even pretend that this would ever have a negative impact on my career.)
  • Financially: I could be looking at taking out some MAJOR student loans to attend this school. That's veeeery stressful.
  • Physically (my body): It's going to be extremely physically demanding potentially.
  • Physically (my home): School might be too much of a commute from Queens. If I got accepted I might be looking to move. Ugh!
  • The Blog: N/A. (Can't imagine a negative impact on the blog. This is allllll part of the process. And the blog is about examining this process. So it couldn't be negative for the blog.)

Anyhoo, the over-all outcome of getting invited to the Final Callback Weekend at Juilliard (weighing both the positive and negative impact) would be exciting, scary, disorienting and destabilizing...but, over-all...GOOD.


PRETEND LIKE I DO NOT GET INVITED TO FINAL CALLBACKS AT JUILLIARD...
... the POSITIVE impact could be...
  • Emotionally: I won't have to open my heart up to the emotional investment that one has to give as an actor. I can stay in my comfy-safe-normalness as long as I feel like it.
  • Spiritually: I will keep hope alllll this has been worth it in terms of my spiritual growth and that I've had a positive impact with the blog, at least,...and that even though I may have failed to get in to Juilliard...that my sharing of the whole process has been good for others to read about.
  • Sense of Purpose: Is tested...and re-assessed...and will become stronger as a new direction appears.
  • Way I See Myself: As someone that tried...even when there was no guarantee of success...and may try again next year as well!
  • Way Others See Me: As someone that keeps going in spite of failure.
  • Friendships: My friendships are deepened, because those who care will communicate their support.
  • Personal Life: I might actually have time to have a personal life now.
  • Job: I will get to continue to build a stronger foundation of security, build confidence in my skills as an assistant and continue to get training to learn more about building databases. Sounds like fun, right?
  • Career: I will continue to be a self-starter in my oddly-laid path to finding a way to be a professional actor full-time.
  • Financially: I will definitely make more money at my job than I would in school.
  • Physically (my body): I can still have time and flexibility to take dance class or continue yoga outside of my 9-5 hours at work.
  • Physically (my home): I get to stay right where I am.
  • The Blog: I get to write about how it feels to get so close...and then...not get it...and how the hell does one deal with that psychologically? 


...and the NEGATIVE impact of not being invited to the Final Callback Weekend could be...
  • Emotionally:  Whew...REALLY painful. Will be suuuuuuper dissapointed.
  • Spiritually:  I feel like the Universe has forsaken me. How can this be true?
  • Sense of Purpose:  I lose my sense of momentum and give up hope at this loss.
  • Way I See Myself:  I see myself as someone who ALWAYS gets close...and then loses in the end.
  • Way Others See Me: They may see me as a person who may be able to do other things well, but that I will never be successful at the thing I really care about...acting. 
  • Friendships:  They pity me...or worse...keep telling me to believe in myself when I've lost the desire to have that belief.
  • Personal Life:  I don't have a personal life. Prospects are not good.
  • Job: I will stick with the one I've got foooooorever...even though it's not exactly creative.
  • Career: Juilliard will not be the next step of my career path. Back to the drawing board
  • Financially: I will continue to make a living from something other than acting (and way less awesome) for the foreseeable future.
  • Physically (my body): I still get to look forward to sitting in a chair all day.
  • Physically (my home): N/A
  • The Blog: Do not get to write about the Juilliard Callback Weekend experience. Will have to try my best to find someone willing to guest-post...but no guarantees on finding someone willing to be publicly transparent...like I am crazy enough to be.

(Okay...so some of these negative responses are a LEEEEETLE extreme. But I think it helps to write it out... and disempower even the shadow of those ideas in my mind. Makes it less scary. 'Cause when I read them on the page, they just seem silly sometimes.)

So here's the REAL equation...

Getting Invited to Final Callbacks = GOODBAD
Not Getting Invited to Final Callbacks = BADGOOD

Yay! That's a WIN/WIN!...Sort of.

Now...if only my my logical mind will be able to help my heart deal with the emotional aftermath of the outcome when I open that email tomorrow! We'll see how that goes.

(Whew! Writing this post was exhausting! Sorry it was suuuuper long, but it's been a complicated journey in my mind....How am I feeling about all this? Honestly? I think I'm totally overwhelmed...but rather than going out and drinking and numbing-out...I write lists...still it leads to a similar numbing-out sensation. Weird, right? LOL! That's just me, I guess.)

;-p

Wishing you love in analyzing your own impact scenarios this year.

It's alllll goodbadgoodbad, isn't it?

Loves,
V

P.S. Super grateful to even be HAVING these kinds of dilemmas. Truly, I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to audition for Juilliard this year.

P.P.S. No blogging on Fridays. See you Saturday, guys! I promise to let you know what happens then, okay?

P.P.P.S. I can't believe that I just posted all this online. I mean...who does that? All well. It's definitely been part of my process. Yikes! ... If you've gotten this far...thanks for reading. :-P

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

141. The Learning Spiral

Learning is not a linear process in my world. I wish it looked like the chart below. But, for me, this is not exactly right.


(Photo Credit: synapse9.com)

The above is allll logical and makes sense and everything. And maybe it works for some people this way...but for me...My learning curve is a spiral staircase.

(Photo Credit: Andrew Hazelden)

As I take action in my life to learn a new skill...like blogging...or...eating healthy...or...working on a new monologue...or lessons I'm learning in life...like being more patient or... listening more...or being more focused on being present with people in the now...(These are all things I'd like to be better skilled at)...I've realized that I set myself up for a lot of self-loathing if I expect myself to be able to follow the learning curve rather than the learning spiral.

Thinking of it as a spiral makes me feel good about learning!

What's the difference? You ask?

Well, I see it this way...As I climb up the spiral staircase...I can feel GOOD because I am...
A. Moving forward toward my goal
B. Moving upward (improving) toward my goal
and 
C. I am constantly coming back around to the same lessons that I have learned before...only THIS TIME...I am learning them at a higher level (because I've been doing A & B all along)

If I use the learning curve as the model in my mind...I get frustrated because I feel like once I've learned a lesson or accomplished a part of my process...that I SHOULD then be able to "check it off the list" and be "done with it" and I'll never ever revert back to needing to learn that lesson again. So when I (inevitably) have to remind myself of lessons I've "already learned" in the past...I end up feeling bad about myself...like..."Oh, I should have known better"...or..."DUH...That was stupid. What's wrong with me?")

I have realized over the years that there's no reason to try to change the way I learn. That's just the WAY I LEARN and that's OKAY. Beating myself up about it does not help me learn any better. It just makes me feel bad. And I like to feel good about learning. So I will allow myself to love my learning spiral!

I am constantly learning and re-learning the same lessons in life over and over again...and just when I think I've "MASTERED" something...I discover how I can improve it. This is both wonderful (because it means learning is a life-long process and I'll never get bored) and it's also frustrating (because I sometimes think..."Why-can't-I-f*%<ing-LEARN-this-thing-already-and-get-it-over-with"...in my mind).

So to be more SELF-LOVING in my learning process. I have officially adopted the spiral staircase as my learning model.

For example, I was re-learning a lesson this morning...I woke up and I was thinking about imagination...and how important it is to have a strong vision for what I want my life to be...but imagination is equally as important as action...because without action, then all of my imaginings will only just be dreams...but there's another component that's suuuuuper important for me...and that is motivation...because when I'm really motivated to do something for a really strong/true/right/powerful/fun reason...then you best believe I'm going to find ways to make it happen...because I will throw all of my time, smarts, and love into it.

Imagination + Motivation + Action = Moving Up The Learning Spiral in the Direction of My Dreams

For me...the step that I MISS most often (in the above equation)...is the action step. I feel like I've got a strong imaginative vision of what I'd like to become...and I've got a TON of motivation to want to do it...but then...I get distracted by things...or I over-exert myself and get tired...and I realize that I'm not taking the ACTION necessary to really make my dreams a reality.

“Your story (that you tell yourself in your head) is the person you really want to be. That’s how you’d like to view yourself. Your actions, of course, are you! You can’t define anyone but by their actions. You can BE great. But unless you DO great, no one will know that. Think about that today…Let’s make our actions follow our story.” – Adam Gilbert, MyBodyTutor

And back to the LEARNING SPIRAL and how that relates to my issues with taking action...this is not a new concept to me...I blogged about it last November. CLICK HERE TO READ THAT POST.

So I'm still deepening that learning...Reminding myself to take action is going to be a constant life-long learning spiral for me. True story...So I might as well love it...and love myself through the process.

I'm not a linear learner...I'm a SPIRAL LEARNER. And somehow...knowing that and being able to label it...makes me feel good about it. Because I know I'm learning in the right way...the right way for me, that is.

So I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself constantly on this blog...That's just because I'm walking up my spiral...blog post by blog post...Learning and re-learning the lessons that the universe has to teach me. 

I'm no expert. But I'm learning...and getting better!

Thanks for walking with me. It's fun sharing the journey with you!

Loves,
V

"Expertise requires routine consistency, if only to elevate the level of growth in a short period of time. Schedule practice consistently...freeing you up from worrying over other things." - Marc Johansen, BeHyped




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

140. My Job

I already have a job.

My job is to be a JOYFUL ARTIST.

No one can give me this job. No one can take it away from me.

It's mine.

And no one can DO this job quite like I do it...And I can chose to do my work where ever I happen to be. I love it when I do my job reeeeeeallly well.

Oh, and the pay?

The pay is goooood. I am very well compensated. 

You see...all the effort I put into this job, comes back to me multiplied by millions!!! Sometimes I will receive actual money, but that's not the kind of pay I seek with this job...

My compensation for my dedication is...a sense of greater purpose and fulfillment beyond measure.

I love my job. And, best of all, I've got job security.

This job allows me unlimited potential for growth. And I will never retire.

(Though I might give myself a gold watch at some point...that might be fun!)

You've got this job too! How awesome is that?! So get to it!!! I am wishing you a glorious day of joyful creation. 

Work it!!!

Loves,
Virginia

"The trick to blending work and play lies not in what you do, but in how you view what you do. See work as play and see play as important -- super, very...way a lot." - Mike Dooley, Tut's Universe

Monday, February 13, 2012

139. Yale Drama Audition 2012: Part Three (The Five Stages)

(This is the third post relating my audition experience at the Yale School of Drama 2012. CLICK HERE to read Part One. CLICK HERE to read Part Two.)

There were four names on the "End of Day Callback List" from the morning session of auditions. FOUR NAMES.

I'd already gotten further this year than I had in the past two years.

No big crowds of people hovering over the list this time. Just me and a few others...I got close enough to read the names. I scan the list for mine.

No Virginia Wilcox.

I read the names again.

Still no Virginia Wilcox.

If your name is not on this list, Wilcox, you are no longer being considered for admission in Fall 2012.

Oh dear.

C.r.u.s.h.e.d.

It's over. No Yale for me.

(Uh-oh, Brain...Here we go…We are about to begin the K├╝bler-Ross Five Stages of Grief.)

"The Death of a Dream"
by Virginia (the rejected) Wilcox


STAGE ONE: DENIAL
Wait a minute…This can't be right. What if this is the wrong list? What if this is the hourly callback list?

So I turn to the girl standing next to me… “This is the “End of Day Callback list” from the morning session, right?” If I was about to walk out that door and leave New Haven, I wanted to make SURE there was no mistake and I was looking at the right list. “This is it?”

“Yup.” She nods.

“Oh.” I sigh.

I step back slowly.

No amount of staring at that sheet of paper will make my name appear.

STAGE TWO: ANGER
Damn. This sucks.

Why is auditioning for grad school so freeeeeking competitive?!

Ugggggh!

STAGE THREE: BARGAINING
If only I had done my OTHER contemporary piece…Maybe they would have liked that better? Or perhaps if I had worn the other shirt I brought. Maybe I’m not pretty enough, not tall enough, too tall, too skinny, too Caucasian, my hair is too short, I'm too old…Oh, if only I were a man! There are always waaay more girls auditioning than boys...I should have eaten a bigger breakfast this morning…I should have worked-out more the past few months...Dyed my hair...Taken another acting class…Something…If only they had worked with me, given me an adjustment, then they would have seen that I can take direction and that might have changed their minds...It was the Shakespeare! Had to have been!...If only...If only...If only...

STAGE FOUR: DEPRESSION
Dude. I suck. I am not talented enough to get into Yale. How many times do I have to get rejected from this school for it to sink in to my thick skull? Who was I kidding? The odds are IMPOSSIBLE anyway. There is no point in trying. Maybe I should just take this as a sign that I'm not meant to do this acting thing anymore...not professionally anyway. 

That angry girl that called me a "second rate cruise ship actress" a couple of years ago was RIGHT...I'm never going to be a REAL actress. I'm just a fake. A "wanna-be." I should give up now. 

Annnnnnnd I have to confess to everyone that reads the blog that I FAILED AGAIN. Soooooooo embarrrrassing. I am a loser. Ugh. Argh. Bleh.

STAGE FIVE: ACCEPTANCE
Deep breath.

Well, it's time for me to gather what remains of my dignity and self-respect and head for home. Thank goodness I have a life that I like to go back to. Glad I tried. At least I won’t ever have to wonder what would have happened. 

Who knows? Maybe I'll try again next year...And REALLY nail that Shakespeare monologue!

(As of 2012, the Yale School of Drama has not set a limit for how many times you can audition for the Acting program. FYI.)

Done...with all those thoughts.

Done...with my Yale audition.

Whew!

It's allllllll done. That was my third and final audition for the "season."

I took a breath. And felt a surprising sense of relief as I walked out the heavy red door and out into the crisp New Haven air.

Have to give myself sooooome credit...'cause I did it. I auditioned AGAIN...and it was a waaaaaay better audition than I've ever given at Yale. And I got farther than I've ever gotten too! That's progress!

Am I disappointed that I didn't make it to "End Of Day Callbacks?" OF COURSE I AM!

But am I devastated? No...welllllll.....no.

I am going to allow myself to have a leeeeeetle bit of a pity party on my way home though...Only natural...all part of the mourning process...

This is how I party...pity...party...

Cue: Sad violin solo

As I walked back to the New Haven train station. I thought about all the restaurants in New Haven I'd never get to try,...the cute little apartment I wouldn't have to look for,...the other Yale students I wouldn't get to meet,...all the awesome classes I wouldn't get to take,...all the shows I wouldn't get to see,...the Ivy-League boyfriend I'd never fall in love with,...and the student loans I wouldn't have to take out. 

:-p

Kidding aside, I can't lie. No Yale for 2012...does make me sad.

But I have to believe that I am needed elsewhere.

There are soooooo many other options out there...I could get accepted to another grad school this year (still in-the-running at Juilliard and NYU)...or maybe this isn't "my year" for grad school after all (there's always next year)...or maybe there's some other creative job or opportunity in store for me in 2012 that's even BETTER...something incredibly wonderful...not yet seen or anticipated.

I mean, after got rejected from both NYU and Yale last year...I NEVER THOUGHT I'd be writing a blog about auditioning for grad school for a third time. And this has been the most fun and challenging project ever! Sooooo it's good. It's alllllll good.

What happened at today's audition was exactly what was SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. (Mediocre Shakespeare monologue and all!)

Rejection is God's protection, right? So Yale's not the right place for me right now. And I have to trust that...as much as it may hurt my ego in this moment...I mean, everybody wants to "win the prize," right? To be the favored one...To be selected out of the massive crowd! 

But when you're not selected...you have to reflect...and ask yourself...Am I sad that I didn't get into Yale because I really wanted to be there...Or am I sad just 'cause I didn't WIN? 

Sometimes I just wanna win,...ya know?

Can't get down on myself for not "making it." I know I did my best. I have no control over Ron and Walton's personal preferences. (Jack Plotnick has an awesome article about how to deal with it when casting people "don't like you." I highly recommend that you CLICK HERE to read it.) 

Deep down, I know that I've still got a lot to offer the world as an artist and I'm excited about being able to give my love, my passion and my creativity to a community of people that will want me as a collaborator. So I'll stay open to those opportunities...No matter where they may come from!

Annnnd when I want a little after-party-pity-party...It's nice to take comfort in some familiar things...Like a strong shoulder to rest my head on...listening to Jason Mraz on my iPhone...writing in my journal...emails and FB comments from supportive friends like YOU...who have been cheering me on and encouraging me allll along the way...and will love me no matter what happens at the end of this project...grad school acceptance 2012 or no. That's comforting.

For today, I am allowing myself the time to mourn the loss of my Yale dream.

I'm allowed that. It's only natural.

But I do know (from past experience)...that I will survive...and in retrospect...I will probably look back on this and say, "Wow. NOT getting into Yale was the BEST thing that's never happened to me."

Sending you all big love for 2012 and beyond. Onward and upward!

Loves,
Virginia

P.S. I would love for someone to volunteer to do a GUEST POST ABOUT YALE CALLBACKS. So if you or anyone you know makes it to the final callback weekend at Yale, send me an email at via virginia wilcox at gmail dot com, and we can discuss a guest post opportunity. I would LOVE to be able to feature your Yale experience on the blog! (You could even do it anonymously, if you're shy.) It'd be sooooooo awesome to have an account of Yale Callbacks to "round-out" the Acceptance Project! Spread the word! Thanks for your help, guys!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

138. Yale Drama Audition 2012: Part Two (The Waiting)

(This is the second post relating my audition experience at the Yale School of Drama 2012. CLICK HERE to read Part One.)

I have about 0.3 seconds to get over the shock of making it to the "preliminary callbacks" for the 10 o'clock hour on my audition day at Yale Drama. I have no time to prepare. I am about to be ushered back into the audition room to do my monologues for a second time this morning...Only, this time I will be presenting them to both Ron Van Lieu and Walton Wilson.

It must be crazy for Ron and Walton to think about their jobs and the power that they have to help to change the entire trajectory of people's lives in an instant. I mean, what may seem like a small decision..."Let's keep this actor...Let's let this one go..." has MAJOR future implications for these people potentially. 

I mean, imagine if Meryl Streep never attended Yale...would she still have the career that she has today? Or would her life have taken a totally different route? Was Yale the catalyst that young Meryl needed to set the foundation for her future artistry? Who knows? But her training at Yale certainly didn't harm her career. That's for sure. And if Yale did have something to do with Meryl's success as an actor, I for one, as an audience member am verrrrrry grateful that the faculty at Yale accepted her into the program. Because, now we get to benefit from watching her work and experiencing the many incredible performances she's given!

I digress.

Anyway, I'm no Meryl Streep...but I do want to be accepted to Yale Drama and have the chance to be trained and stretch myself beyond what my current limitations as an actor are now! So the next step is... this preliminary callback for Ron and Walton. 

Deep breath.

Sheria ushers me into the room.

I smile and say to Ron and Walton, "Wow! This is so awesome guys! I've never made it this far before. Thank you so much. It was the thrill of my life to see my name on that list."

They both looked slightly amused and perhaps a little bit startled.

Oops! All well...What can ya do? I was being honest.

I asked Ron if he wanted to see the same two pieces. He said yes...and he told me I could start whenever I was ready.

My Goal: I DO NOT want to recreate EXACTLY the same experience as the first time I did these monologues. I may not move in the same way or sit at the same point or gesture in the same way. It's a monologue. I can allow myself the freedom to make it new. I mean it will be the same words and the same given circumstances, but I am different in this moment than I was before, so I want to allow the choices to happen to me naturally in this moment...and still be able to tell the story of this character's journey.

Now I know I am taking a RISK by working this way. But it is a calculated risk, and I will tell you why...

The risk is...that I will come off looking like I'm an "inconsistent" actor...meaning, that I am incapable of recreating a performance with the same blocking as before...that I'm a "loose cannon."

Now, I know from my own work that I actually have the OPPOSITE problem. I am an EXTREMELY consistent actor...so much so...that I can get into a rut where my performance can become "canned" and "lifeless."

So...for me to grow as an actor...I really want to be able to investigate working in a new way...and exploring this kind of spontaneous variety in my work (within reason) is something that I MUST be able to feel I am allowed to try in whatever grad school I eventually end up attending.

So I am going to work in this fashion right now...in front of Ron and Walton as a sort of...test...for them. Because I want to be accepted to a place that will encourage me to explore these "risky" areas in my work as part of my creative growth...and if I can show the willingness for this kind of exploration now...and they are excited by that and see the value in it and want to help push me further...Then FANTASTIC! Let's do this thing!!!

But, if not.... if they look at me, working in this fashion, and think to themselves...What the hell is this girl doing? 

Then I know I'm not in the right place for my own growth as an artist. So by being true to "where I am "at" right now"...I will make sure that I'm ending up in the right place. 

I will only have time to get ONE MFA in Acting in this life. I want to make sure that I'm getting it from the right school for ME. 

I cannot be anyone other than myself, ultimately...So my job in this audition is to be courageous enough to show them my true artistic self, my true creative spirit and show HOW I work...just like I would like to be able to work in class...and then they can decide if they are interested in spending three years with me.

Make sense?

So, back to our story... I launch into my Shakespeare piece.

Yet again...it is mediocre...All well. That's what it is for now. Really did try my best.

Note to self: learn to love Shakespeare more.

Took my time with the transition into the second piece...but not tooooo long...

Start up my contemporary piece.

I. am. flying. 

I totally looooooved every second of doing that monologue for them. So much fun. So spontaneous. Surprised myself. Hit all my emotional moments, but in NEW ways. Felt. Fantastic. Best I've ever done it, perhaps.

Success.

When I was finished I said thank you...They said thank you and reminded me that the "End of Day Callback List" would be posted at 1pm and to come back and check the list then.

I floated out of the room and into the hallway.

I thanked Sheria and told her I'd be back later to check the list. She smiled at me and wished me luck.

I grabbed my stuff from the waiting room where all of the 11 o'clocks were simmering in their nervousness. I felt for them...and was relieved that I could exit the nervous soup and get some fresh air.

I met up with my friend J for lunch. We chatted about the audition and then he talked to me about football...a subject I know little-to-nothing about. It was fun to hang out with a friend and be distracted from waiting, waiting, waiting...to see if I'd make the next cut.

Finally, 1pm rolls around and I head back to check the list...When I arrive, the list has not been posted yet. They're running a little behind. So I plop myself down in an empty chair in the upstairs waiting area and pull out my phone. I'm checking my email and Facebook and trying not to look at the clock every 3 seconds...all the while keeping my ears peeled for any announcements regarding the "End of Day Callback List."

Then a sweet young female voice wakes me from my phone-checking-trance...

"Excuse me?"

I glance up and a pretty brown-haired girl sitting in the chair next to me asks, "Is your name Virginia, by any chance? And do you write a blog?"

I blink in disbelief.

"Yes...and yes, I do."

"I thought you looked familiar and I realized that I've seen your picture on the blog...I read it, you know. This is my first time auditioning for grad school and I went to that MFA information session at Juilliard a while back...and you were there and I remembered how you spoke up during the Q&A and told us about the blog. I went home and searched for it online, but I couldn't find it right away. I found it finally, though. And I've been following. It's very inspirational. Thank you."

"Oh, wow! Thank you!"

I could not believe this was really happening. My heart was about to burst with joy!

We sat and chatted a bit and I was so honored that she'd share her experience with me like this. What a gift!

"Your blog makes me feel like I'm not crazy for doing all of this." 

I said..."Oh, my gosh! I am so glad it's been helpful to you! That's why I'm doing it! My first year auditioning for grad school, I felt soooo alone. And I had noooo idea what I was doing or why I putting myself through all of this hard work...on the very remote chance that I'd be accepted to one of these super-competitive programs. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me...And, oh dear lord, that Juilliard Q&A was MORTIFYING. I cannot believe that I spoke up that day about the blog...in front of everyone. I felt like a total idiot...I felt like everyone would think that it was soooo foolish, what I was doing...But I HAD TO SPEAK UP that day and tell people about it...because if someone else had started a blog about auditioning for grad school during my first year...I would have loved to have subscribed to it...It would have been so good knowing that somebody else was going through all of the same doubts and fears that I was going through...but that they were still taking action to pursue their dreams too! I would have kicked myself if I hadn't said something just because I was a big 'ol scaredy cat. I still worry about looking like a crazy-person...But now I am really happy that I didn't let that stop me that day, because you never would have known about the blog otherwise...Wow. Thank you."

"Thank you." She said. 

Then "the list" for her hour was posted and she headed downstairs to check to see if she'd make it to her "Preliminary Callback."

"Bye, Virginia. Best of luck with your auditions. I really hope you get in this year." 

"Bye! You too! Please email me and let me know how things go for you! (I really hope that she does.) Thank you, again!" 

And she was gone.

Oh. My. God.

I sat in my chair and stared at the floor. 

That really just happened. 

That happened.

Really.

Whoa.

I started feeling the tears welling up in my throat. 

Just goes to show...Sometimes the greatest thing you'll ever do in your life...is getting over your own fears of looking foolish. Because by speaking up about that thing that you are most passionate about...you might actually be able to make a positive impact on someone else's life...even in a very small way.

Whew. Breathe. Breathe Wilcox.

And I hear a voice calling out from down the stairs... "The End of Day Callback List has been posted for the morning session."

Oh, boy. ~gulp~

I'm either about to go home...or I'm going to find somewhere to curl up and take a nap until 5pm...because I am EXHAUSTED at this point.

I step lightly down the steps toward the door where the list has been posted. Even from far away, I can see that there are only four names on the list. FOUR NAMES.

Will mine be one of them?

Find out tomorrow...in Part Three.

Loves,
Virginia