Setting Goals for the Future: Light at the End of Lockdown
I’m impatient. I like movies that are linear and have endings that are explained, and I tend to see things in black and white. I don’t do well with ambiguity. So this whole pandemic has been a real challenge for me owning and running a theater and not knowing when we will be able to come back, how we will be able to re-open safely, and what life will look like when we get back to “normal.” I try focus on what is under my control and stay hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as vaccines are rolled out in greater numbers and restrictions are eased.
I decided to approach these final weeks of lockdown with a positive spin: what do I want to get done? Instead of slogging through this remaining time, I want to take advantage of being trapped and set achievable goals that will make life easier in the future. Care to join me? Below is a list of ideas:
– Fix the small things you never have time for. You know the culprits! The shelf about to fall off the wall or the doorstop held on with one screw, or the messy box office that needs storage containers and paperwork filed into binders.
– Clean out that storage room and throw stuff away. At my comedy theater, Laugh Out Loud, this includes our storage room, green room, tech booth, and the rafters. There are a lot of spaces that can be decluttered so we will re-open tidier and more streamlined. Pick one area and tackle it – that can provide momentum for the next area.
– Paint that one wall. When you read that, you either immediately thought of the wall that needs it or you have a perfect theater. Maybe the load-in left a long scratch or the wall with all the old show posters is crying for a new coat. Make the space look a new and sparkly.
– Go through the chairs and fix or get rid of the wonky ones. Every theater has wonky chairs. If you’re one of the lucky ones that doesn’t, then you only need to scrape all the gum off the undersides.
– Get rid of that pile of papers (or if you’re like us, PILES of paper). There’s nothing like taking a year off to transform paperwork into garbage. Salvage and file what’s useful, toss the rest and unearth what your desktop really looks like.
– Read more plays. I started reading plays during the pandemic and they tend to fly by quickly and are quite entertaining. You will find some gems.
– Find a new monologue. While you are reading all those plays, perhaps you’ll stumble across one to add to your repertoire. Seek out something new, memorize, and rehearse it. It will make auditions that much easier in a few months when you don’t have to scramble.
– Tape yourself. Auditions were already heading this way, but the pandemic sealed the deal. You’ll have to record an audition at some point. Spend some time playing around with video settings, importing and/or exporting video, sound levels etc. Learn it now and your future self will thank you.
– Chip away at that project. You know the one you started in 2019 and haven’t touched in months? I started writing a web series with a colleague, and we picked it back up and have a weekly date to write for an hour. We are almost done and planning a table-read over zoom to shoot in the fall.
– Work on your packet. Whether you want to submit to an agent, a TV show, or just dream of both of those things, write some new stuff. Try some topical material to sharpen your brain, or even transcribe a show you love to get the feel for it.
– Generate a bunch of sketches. You can always play around with writing short scenes. Work with a friend and trade back and forth or start linking the scenes together into a full-blown play or theatrical piece.
Be proactive. Make the remaining time of the pandemic feel more manageable. Even tackling one small task will help you prepare for the world to come.
We’re so close! Our theater is opening the last weekend of every month for two shows with socially distant seating, masks, and safety protocols (LOLtheater.com), and select Broadway theaters have announced they will be opening for pop up events.
Also by Lillian Frances: