Preparing for an Audition Call

insta summer (3)Receiving an Audition Call is the most exciting thing to happen to an Artist. It is an opportunity towards getting selected for your dream role. A very few percentage of Actors get selected for Series like “Big Bang Theory” and “Friends” where they become household names, and even few get to become Acting Legends. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. The first step to this journey is an “Audition Call

Audition calls come suddenly and it is important that an Actor is ready. When you do get that call, you need to be prepared with the essentials in your bag:

  • WORK DEMO: If you have done some work previously, its always great to carry a short demo with you of your best work so the Director or Casting Agent can be familiar with your work. Carry it in your phone. If someone asks, you can immediately whastApp it to them.
  • Photos & Resume: Always carry a set of Pictures of yourself and your Resume. Be familiar with what is in requirement in the Industry. Have a set of Ethnic, Western and Casual. Or whatever genre it is that you intend to audition for. A Close, Mid and Long gives a reasonable idea of you. Keep the pictures and the Resume pinned together. Always ask if the Director would like a copy of your resume and then leave it with them. Don’t just thrust it on the table. Some like it whatsApped, emailed, hardcopy. Everyone is different. Let those photos reflect the best you. If you are going for a Wedding Themed Audition, don’t leave Swim Suit pics. You want to be Selected, right?
  • Prepare: Always have a few Monologues and Acts prepared previously. Updating them regularly. Some Casting Agents send monologues in advance and some give it to you on the spot.  You cannot Audition without being prepared. Don’t waste the Director’s time. Show respect and build a reputation for being a prepared actor. Even if you didn’t fit the bill, but made a good impression, the Casting Agent and Director will remember you. So, be Honest and forthright. They are good judges of character and can spot a fraud miles away.
  • Know Your Genre: Many Actors go for auditions without knowing what they can do and what the Director wants. Be clear about what you are prepared to do and what you wouldn’t do at all. If it is a role of an 80 year old, and you could play it but you don’t want to do it because you think you would be stereo typed. Don’t go. If the Casting is for a 6 pack Boxer or Martial Artist and you are a one Packer with no Boxing background except that you watched Ali last night on Netflix, Don’t go. Many Actors line up randomly in Mumbai for all the auditions without understanding what their working characters are. You don’t need to go for all the Auditions, you need to go for some important Auditions.
  • Be Flexible: Don’t Argue. Casting Directors and Directors are looking for a character in you. They might watch your performance and give you notes and advice on how you could improvise and present again. If they do that, then it means they find potential. Listen to them and incorporate the feedback into your performance. They know what they want for their Casting to go right. You might have practiced the part many times in front of your roommate but your roommate is not Casting you. If you argue, it means you are stubborn and unwilling to improvise. Directors don’t want to work with Actors who can’t listen, improvise and apply.

Don’t forget to come in for an audition, early, it allows your nerves to relax and know your surroundings. Oh hey… remember to be confident and positive; and most importantly carry a happy smiling face. Goodluck!

Conscious Corporate Gifting

From the month of October to January, Corporate Gifting is at its peak. Corporate Gifting happens in companies and includes Schools, Colleges, Communities, Families and the likes. A compulsion to show thank you through gifts. A lot of thinking goes into deciding what should be given, budget is allocated and then long painful discussions happen in meetings about what should be done; and of course the Corporate Gift Company suggest ornaments and readymade boxes which they sell on discounts. Budgets allow for only so much and include more waste material than the gift itself.

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There have been occasions when I have received Mementos, T-Shirts, Candles, Pen Stands, Pens… etc. They often only occupy space in my wardrobe.
Gifting creates waste. I am appalled with the money spent on this without any constructive outcome except that money allocated was spent; target achieved. Energy wasted, and after a year, all this collected and dumped in garbage or sold at the second hand store. It is quite a useless exercise unless it means more than just a gift.

CONSCIOUS GIFTING” maybe an alternative to the never ending cycle of what to choose. A complete redo in the Gifting Styles adds value to the Employees, Customers and Clients. It lets your people know how much they mean to you instead of how much the gift is worth. Here are some tips on How to add Meaning to your Gifts and Create an Environment of giving without hurting the Environment.

  1. Be Inclusive: When a Client, Customer, Vendor or a Partner Company wants to gift your employees; speak with them before hand and request them for a collective gift for the company; a gift which will make working easier for your employees. Something you had been planning to buy; a PhotoCopy Machine, Air Conditioner (just guessing) a Van to ensure transportation for the safety of employees… If the budget of the Vendor is small then contribute some cash yourself or ask the Vendor to get something useful within the budget. When you inform the employees that the Client they had been catering to was so impressed with their hard work that they decided to gift them something which will make their working easy, and you have decided to contribute to it as well. Imagine the cheer!! Add to your Asset.
  2. Gift a Lesson: Make it a lifetime of learning. Individuals who are stimulated with new experiences and skill based knowledge often do better than others. When people receive a gift that speaks growth it means more than materialistic gifts. It says you are valuable to me and I am willing to invest in you. This gesture is enough for an employee to know you care for their growth. It also contributes to peer Service Industries and their Businesses. Gift Dancing Lessons, Martial Arts lessons, Music, Pottery, Theatre, Origami.. Yoga Courses like Inner Engineering where people come together for community spiritual growth.. create an atmosphere of creative and spiritual learning and make the Office talks more than just the Company, Targets, Vision and Marketing. Watch how interactions become Positive Engagement. We are creating a community here.
  3. Organise Programs: Invest in their performance. I’m not talking about Company Annual Days when they learn choreographies and perform for each other during event based functions. No. Organise a Theatre Program and hire a production company or director from the outside, where they contribute and set up a Professional Production along with the employees for the General Public. Invest in sponsoring the event and watch them shine on stage, donate the proceeds to your people’s favourite cause. This will change the way employees work. It will make them responsible, fun, and creative at work. They will learn more from being directed and working under another production company in a short span of time. What better way to get them to exercise team work, learn how to act and react and find solutions to problems while becoming sensitive and conscious in developing skills.
  4. Plant a Tree: ISHA FOUNDATION organised a campaign called “Cauvery Calling” where each individual can donate Rs. 42 for a tree. Now imagine if a company donated Rs. 42 for each employee it has towards the environment; because we care about our children and their future, we invest in the world for your children. How beautiful it would be and the kind of impact it will have on them. It will empower the employees and inspire them with your act.
  5. Sponsor an Animal or a Forest: Organisations like VOSD – Voice of Stray Dogs , Welfare for Animals in Goa, Animal Lives are Important work tirelessly to take care of our Animals. Taking a day out and commit with your employees to help them build infrastructure, donating in cash or kind, medicines will go a long way in building compassion and empathy in employees. This will create an inclusive environment and build bonds stronger than just living pay check to pay check. Help them become larger than their work. your employees will thank you for it.
  6. Contribute to Music Concert, Theatre, Film: SOLD OUT!! Are nice words to any Creative Artist. What if you bought an entire performance for your employees and their families?? Have them experience a program of Yakshagana, meaningful Film, Socially relevant Play, Entertainment or Live Music Show, Traditional and Indigenous performances. Many Film Screenings are done by Cinemas where they allow companies to buy entire shows, support Independent Films by buying their tickets, Theatre Production Companies by buying their Performances. Surprising employees by taking them out for a show will not only encourage Performing Artists but also expose your employees to Creative Stimulation.
  7. Make it Useful: Don’t be cheap!! Don’t buy something your employee won’t use. Instead, a Fruit basket, Traditional Craft, not only get consumed but says we care about your health. Gift them a Gym Membership or a sticky pad, notebook… think out of the box and Make it useful.
  8. Let your Ego be under your Feet! Have you seen those Corporate Gifts which scream company… the logos are so huge, they could be seen from outer space. Don’t make yourself Stupid. You don’t need to make Festive Occasions an all out Marketing Campaign for your Company. Your people are there because they already know you. Many Individuals and Companies go on a Self- Praise Spree. While its good to be confident and know who you are, campaigning too much can make you look Vulgar, Cheap and Indecent. Everything with your name on it screams I gave it to you and you have it because you work for my Company!!! Make it about Appreciating the employee not You.
  9. Gift a Trip: A Culture Trip, Trekking, Camping…. you name it. It doesn’t have to be to an expensive place. It can be meaningful. Combine learning with patriotism, Have you been to a museum lately??? Your country will thank you for this. Your children will thank you for this. Invest in ecological, traditional and cultural sites by buying that ticket and learning more about the locality you stay in. Instead of a one day trip at the Resort where the MC talks crap, plays meaningless games with disinterested employees and instead want to get wasted with a belly full of beer.

Make Corporate Gifting meaningful and exciting, not a target to be achieved and a budget to be spent. I have seen companies which just want to get it done with, they have a budget allocated and it has to be spent and thats it; its a very heartless way to approach gratefulness to individuals on whose shoulders the company stands. One thing is to being the fake Company which acts like it cares, and another to really care for the people who work for you.

How are you rethinking the value of your family (employees)? We must express gratefulness… Our gift must be more than just a Company Budget. Include your people to become less materialistic and more about contribution. How can we be more than just a Successful Company?

Life is fleeting, and before we know it, we end up with a retirement fund, alone in a retirement home or with children who have seen us working regular jobs… and they learn the same thing from us. How shall we tweak this cycle and how can we let our employee know their lives mattered. Let’s make our employees live Larger than their Lives!! They are valuable and we are grateful for them, aren’t we?

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Black Friday

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Black Friday,” the darkest day in the 365 days of the year. This is how I imagined it to be when I heard the two words on Radio for the first time and wondered about the Announcer’s excitement. They were offering discounts and providing attractive ways for people to spend money. I researched on the dark almost sinister words and realised, it referred to the day after “Thanksgiving” when the shopping season starts and people are looking forward to Christmas. A reminder that Christmas Eve would be around the corner; so you must BUY, BUY ALL YOU CAN!

Dig deeped and “Black Friday” has several origins…

ONE: The most plausible explanation would be when the words BLACK FRIDAY first found its place in the journal, Factory Management and Maintenance , in November 1951 & 1952. It was a terminology used by the workers to call in sick after Thanksgiving Thursday, to use this opportunity as a longer 4 day holiday. (Thursday to Sunday). The people flocked shops to purchase goods. A shopping frenzy resulting in blocked roads, accidents, arguments, parking tickets, and many vigilant Police Officers who had to put in extra time to manage the crazy people grabbing goods.

TWO: The Police Officers officially called it “BLACK FRIDAY” because of the troubles it caused them and the hustling they had to do. Enterprising on this, retailers provided lucrative offers to attract shoppers.

THREE: Companies who hardly made a sale throughout the year were profited during Festival Holidays. They would usually mark their accounts in “red” when they made a loss and “black” when they made a profit; and post Thanksgiving, they made a “profit”. Hence, supposedly called it BLACK FRIDAY.

FOUR: It is rumoured that before Civil War, the Americans celebrated Thanksgiving by selling off their slaves, new children born to slaves as slaves after Thanksgiving on a Friday to celebrate and was called, “Black Friday”. Although this is claimed to be a rumour. The Native Americans Suffered as well. Read: Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving

Regardless, the festivities are catching on in India. Americanisation sinking in and BLACK FRIDAY now becoming the official festival promoted by Radio Channels, TV and Online Media. But do we need to spend so much and create a festival of it? Is consumerism important? What’s the most sensible thing to do on a BLACK FRIDAY??

  1. If this is an excuse after Thanksgiving to take off for a 4 day weekend, I would much rather spend time at home with friends and family. Let’s extend it to Friday, Saturday and Sunday… eat a nice home cooked meal with them and spread love.
  2. Take a trip to an animal shelter, senior home, children’s home, if you are alone… and buy material which will be helpful to them; assist them set things up to get things going.
  3. If the shopping bug is compulsive in the nerves then making a list of all the things, eliminating those which are irrelevant and then picking up important items which would have otherwise been expensive after the discounts are done would be a good idea. Shop wisely. Shop for yourself, not for the market.
  4. Sleeping it out is a good option. I mean who wants to crowd around in a shop and be flustered; come home with something you don’t need? Instead, working on yourself, meditating, reading those books you wouldn’t otherwise pick up due to lack of time, is a good option. Writing, showering, if you haven’t in the last few days.
  5. Making that trip to the gym and buying a ticket to health.
  6. Fixing broken things at home, the stuff your peers, family have been pestering you about for a long time and you have been avoiding.
  7. Catching up with long distance friends… go to a library, the books will be thankful.
  8. Scavenging through your closet and removing all the discounted items you bought previous Black Friday’s and didn’t use. Donating it to someone who might use it.

Remember the kind of impact this spending frenzy will have on the environment and the waste it would create. The lifespan of clothes have been cut by 75% due to influx of new clothes lines every month into the market; with the constant pressures of being in Fashion, people are purchasing unnecessary accessories and clothes which not only burn a hole in the pocket but create garbage. Electronics create another big chunk of waste which cannot be recycled or are not because it takes too much investment to recycle. Products bought online, if returned are immediately trashed; why.. because its cheaper to trash than to repackage and sell. Imagine the waste in the packaging?? So if you have to then make your purchases wisely.

There is so many opportunities a Black Friday can open up if we decide to make it more than a shopping day. Of course, we could save up a lot of money because Discounts don’t Count. Ultimately every purchase you make with or without discount is money spent. Spend wisely. Do you really… really need it?? Or are you buying it because its cheap? Would you really want to be caught up with pulling and fighting with people for cheap stuff on the line, or getting smothered in doggie love at an Animal Shelter, or lounging in your pyjamas at home? Make a choice and Have a great BLACK FRIDAY… 🙂

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Life Rests in Death’s Bed

Why fear Death?
It sleeps with Life;
In warm beds,
Making Love,
Wandering in Time.

In the folds of seconds
Time finds pleasure;
One Part Life begins,
One Part Death consumes it.
Life awakens, Death sleeps.

Why fear Death?
It awakens Life;
In the smells of Coffee,
In the Songs of Birds,
Reaching for Life.

In the folds of Seconds,
Times finds rest;
One Part Death Sleeps,
One Part Life Waits.
Patiently, in Death’s Bed.

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Running his own Race

robin-sharma-articleThe power of great thinkers’ lies not only in empowering individuals but revolutionizing the power of thought. Robin Sharma, a 41-year-old author and public speaker has been an initiator of such a crusade. Robin’s books have sold over 1.5 million copies in the past five years and individuals such as Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Prize winner, Shimon Peres, Michelle Yeoh and Ricky Martin have embraced his books. Noted Self- Help Guru, Robin Sharma in conversation with Puja Goyal

Source: Vijay Times, Life : CenterStage- 3.
Copyright © 2005 Puja Goyal.

The transition from a lawyer to a writer: I was unfulfilled as a lawyer. It was as if I was leading a pretentious life. I had become a lawyer only to pose good in the society and over time it had lost its meaning. I wanted to know what was missing in life and therefore went on a journey of self exploration.

The books… self help or philosophy: Both! When you know better you do better. Tell me, if an accomplished journalist came to you and told you that if you followed these five points right now, it would make you one of the finest journalists… what would you do? These are simple philosophies of life put together for individuals in the form of a book… When people come and tell me stories about how my books have made a difference in their lives… I am moved and then I know that this is the right thing for me to do.

The concept of The Monk who sold his Ferrari: In my opinion individuals come to India in search for spirituality because it’s rich in philosophy, over here, people appreciate depth and the continuous pursuit of the inner meaning of life. This is what The Monk… is all about. The book featured the concept of imparting life defining teachings from a teacher to a student. Most people who have read the book think it is real and that the incident actually happened with me, but I’d like to clarify…it wasn’t me. The concepts in the book are my own experiences, but the set- up was imaginative.

Future Plans: My upcoming book is called The Greatness Guide which features ten best lessons life has taught me. I am also working on the movie version of The Monk who sold his Ferrari (expected release date 2006), in which I will be playing the main lead, don’t expect to see Brad Pitt in it (he laughs).

Inspiring lessons in life: When I was twenty- one, one of my mentors said “Run your Own Race” these are simple words but have had a deep and lasting impact on my life. It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, and easy to loose yourself in it. You have to live your life on your own terms because at the end of the day, when you are on your own death bed, the only person who is going to be with you is you. And the only person you are going to feel good about is yourself.

In my books I have also reflected on the importance of family. When one dies no one says he died surrounded by his golf mates or business partners, we say, ‘he died surrounded by his loved ones’. Similarly, when it comes to children, we have a very little time and opportunity to create a bond between them and us. Once those opportunities are lost, they will never be realized again.

A word For Indian writers: The world needs great ideas. Keep writing!! Don’t give up on your dream, sometimes you have to fail a hundred times to gain success. Are you up to it? People think that Oh! He is a great writer, he must have gone through no troubles, but I have had my share of failures in my life too, I have been through turmoil in my life, a difficult divorce, and am a single parent now… I had started of with ten boxes of self- published books in my kitchen. I would take The Monk… to stores and on the roads and sell it to people individually. My first book seminar was in front of 26 people all of who were my family members… so it hasn’t been a smooth ride… you have to learn to hang on.