Friday, November 23, 2012

"Professional Viewing" and why I need to do more of that...

As an actor, I have slowly but surely gotten to the point over the past almost-year-and-a-half of living in the Boston area and being able to only depend on my work for a living.  Of course this also means that I am a very frugal person and am constantly finding ways to save money.  I would post a blog about the little things I do during the week to save, but I will save that for another time.  Instead, today is one of those days where I was going through some receipts and thinking about taxes, how I spend on my career, and how this ties into the holidays coming up.

I have been kicking myself about not going to enough shows and seeing more plays should be on my agenda.  I'm an actor, I should be watching other actors!  But sometimes I just feel very unmotivated to do so, and my number one reason wasn't even directly in my mind, my boyfriend just said it perfectly and off-handed one night.

He said, "When I was just out of college, all my friends were in plays. And after a while, I had to stop going.  I just couldn't sit through one more bad Shakespeare play."

So how true is that?  Am I not going to things because I'm not confident that they'll be any good?  Well, yes and no.  I do agree with the Shakespeare part, it's really hard for me to go see those things because it's not often that even the best actors I know can probably rock Hamlet's socks off.  And then there's the fact that most plays in Boston are between $15-$25 to go see.  That's about what I spend per week on groceries, and I've been trying really hard to save money.  However, one of my good actor friends has recently given me the best information:  you can write off half of that ticket price under what is called, "Professional Viewing".

The idea that I can write off things for my job has been known for some time now, but what I didn't realize is what I can write off a lot more than I thought because I do freelance work and worked as an actor on paper at the museum.  Here's a list of some other things I can write off on my taxes that I had no idea about:
1. half my cable bill (professional viewing)
2. internet bill/phone bill (emailing and calls is how I have to communicate)
3. movie tickets (sometimes, moreso when I'm doing films for a more consistent living)
4. MAKEUP (I need it for shows)
5. gym membership (actors have to be fit most of the time)
6. transportation (certain percentage of my subway passes)
7. manicures/pedicures
8. dental visits/teeth whitener
9. costume pieces I buy for myself
10. meals during a show, or when I have a work-related meeting
11. haircuts

The list goes on.  Basically anything that I need to look good is under this list, it's incredible.  But of course this brings me to my next point.  I was wondering what I would do this year when family members asked me what I want for Christmas.  Honestly, I am for want of nothing (to throw in an old phrase).  However, I do need a few things.  I don't feel comfortable asking for frivolous or material things that I can just go out and buy myself.  My main goal is to ask for things I really do need, so that my family can feel as though they're supporting me being an adult, instead of supporting me being a brat at Christmastime.  So I put together this list for viewing in a handy video I made for Santa Claus (and my family).

Of course there was one more thing that I didn't put into the video, but only because it's nothing that I truly need as much as new socks or a nice pan.  I have been working with a dinner theater company called Mystery Cafe, and hope to work with a local company called Pastimes World.  Pastimes sends actors in period costumes to corporate gigs and things similar to that, either by themselves or with other actors, in costume to do... well, pretty much anything such as mingling, talking in character, answering questions, singing, etc.  The reason why I would like to do this is because it's so much fun to be in costume, and even more fun to be at these gigs.  From my work in dinner theater and at the museum, I can tell you that people eat this shit up when they see someone in a colonial dress and they can go up and talk to them.  It's like they get the feeling back of when they used to stand in line to see Santa at the mall as kids.  But what's even better is when you become someone else and you see the sparkle in their eyes as you start to speak in an older tongue, talking as though John Hancock and Samuel Adams were real people that you might actually know, and the inner child of your audience comes out without their knowledge.  So I'm asking that anyone who doesn't check something off the list from the movie (using scribbless - see details at the bottom of this post)  and you still feel the need to get me a present, then the money I get this year will go towards a few dresses from this ebay store you can see by clicking the link below:

**VictorianChoice Ebay Store**
My favorite is this one ^

But from my friends and acquaintances who read this blog, I don't really want anything from you aside from Christmas cheer, and for you to come to my Christmas party.  The best way to celebrate the holidays is with family and friends, yummy food and some tasty adult beverages.  I am for want of nothing, as I have money to pay my rent, feed myself, and participate in the occasional frivolities of being 20-something. Happy Holidays everyone, and God Bless you.

**Any family members who were directed to this blog post and are attempting to see my Christmas wish list, please email me or message me your email address.  I have a checklist on a website called "Scribbless" that I will invite people to, so they can check something off if they bought it already.  You have to be invited via email to look at the list and edit the list.  This is to prevent from getting the same thing two or three times over.  If you need help explaining how to do this, I can attempt to walk you through it but step 1 is to confirm that you want to be invited so you do not delete the email that scribbless sends you.**

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