Today, I’m inaugurating a new feature on the blog called A Day in the Life, in which I will be talking to various indie theater artists about what a typical day in their busy lives is like. As you know, artists in general can be notoriously good multi-taskers, so this ought to be good. Hopefully, A Day in the Life will shed some light on how indie theater artists go about achieving their goals (and managing their obligations) from day to day.
So, I’m kicking this thing off with a little piece about my friend and colleague, Timothy J. Cox. He is a self-professed journeyman character actor, much in the vein of his heroes Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Gene Hackman, and William H. Macy. Tim writes a blog of his own, in which he chronicles a seemingly never-ending parade of positive career developments. After you read his remarks below, you’ll see why. Tim is the kind of guy I call “a gamer”: in sports parlance, this means that he goes out and plays hard every night, and always works tirelessly towards getting better at his craft.
Tim recently found himself working on two projects that overlapped a bit: a revival of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, produced by Well Urned Productions, and a revival of William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker for Hudson Theatre Ensemble. Six Degrees ran at the Access Theater in Tribeca, while The Miracle Worker performed in Hoboken, NJ. I should mention that Tim works in Manhattan, and lives in Brooklyn. Are you exhausted yet? Me, too. But, I wanted to know how Tim managed it all (if you read his blog, he makes it sound so easy), and this is what he told me. Check it:
When you’re a character actor or a supporting actor, you like it when you’re working constantly, so you can imagine how excited I was when the chance do both Six Degrees of Separation and The Miracle Worker (two plays I have always wanted to do) at the same time presented themselves. In Six Degrees, I played Larkin, a bit of a stuffed shirt; an emotionally unavailable husband and father whose temper goes from 0-10 in a matter of seconds, while in The Miracle Worker, I had a great time playing the very kind and sweet friend of Annie Sullivan, Mr. Anagnos. These characters were so dramatically different from one another and that made it fun for me to play them.
With rehearsals and performances taking place in the evening, I spent my days working as an administrative assistant for a firm in midtown. An average day for me would be that I arrived into work an hour before my shift was scheduled to start. I used this time to check emails, hit casting boards like NYCastings, Backstage, Mandy.com and many others. I would submit my headshot and resume to things that interested me. I’m always on the hunt, I guess. I also used this time to update my blog with news on rehearsals, film projects, upcoming auditions and articles/quotes that interested me. As you know, I update it almost every day. It’s a nice thing for my family in Maryland to read. During all of this, I would also run lines in my head for whatever play I was rehearsing that night. It never hurts. By the time I finished that, my work day began and I focused on my job duties. My employers knew that I was an actor, so they were very supportive of all my artistic endeavors.
Six Degrees rehearsed 2-3 times a week at a church in Jersey City and Miracle Worker rehearsed at the Hudson School in Hoboken , only once a week for me since I was in one scene. The commute for both shows was not daunting at all. I jumped on a bus at the Port Authority and got where I needed to be in fifteen minutes usually. I always had time to eat, call my girlfriend to say hi and get the day’s drama out of my system before I focused on my work for rehearsal. We also rehearsed Six Degrees on a few Saturdays, yet all in all, I was still able to take on a few small film and commercial projects and have a social life with my girlfriend.
I prefer juggling a number of different projects at once.
It all depends if you have directors who are willing to work with you as far as scheduling goes.
This time around, I was very lucky.
Lucky, indeed. But, do you see what I mean? Tim makes it sound like a walk in the park. He’s a gamer to the core.
I would love to share more stories from other indie theater artists. Hopefully, by sharing each other’s success strategies, time management tricks, and cautionary tales, we can inspire each other to rise to the heights we each aspire to. If that sounds a little “up with people,” well, that’s just how I’m feeling today. So, let’s exchange ideas, thoughts, and tips. Tell me your story.