My Audition: Bold Moves, part 2
Movie clapboard.jpg

I'm making more bold decisions than I used to.


In December I auditioned for a casting agent/director who directs plays and also gathers local talent for Hollywood movies being filmed in Cincinnati. 

To my west coast friends, auditioning may be par for the course. But for a Midwesterner who has old dreams of stardom and current habits of stalking celebrities who come to town to make movies—this was a big deal!

Background: The director was having open auditions for anyone—previous experience or not, those signed with agents or not—as part of an effort to collect donations for a local food bank. So I sent an email on a whim and got an appointment.  

Practice: Since I was now committed, I read the requirements & then went to Google tips on auditions. Ha. I'm a total newbie!

• First, I needed a monologue. They said the agent likes modern. Because I didn't love the pieces I found online, I figured I could memorize my own words better. So, against some people's online advice, I wrote my own monologue. It's what I love to do anyway. I ended up liking the dramatic 2-minute piece I crafted, with the bit of snark I was able to incorporate. So I could go in with confidence.

• Second, I needed a head shot, and thankfully Steve has the skills. (The result is posted now on my About page.) 

• Third, I had to create an acting resume. With limited experience, mine was filled with all the dramas I've done onstage—mostly in churches throughout my adult life. Plus I added in some storytelling, speaking gigs, and online interviews. I tried to depict any kind of stage presence I've had.

Results: I decided to just be myself—own up to my no paid experience yet be confident in my ability to communicate. I did my piece, noting out of the corner of my eye that the director and two others at the table reacted nicely to my bit of humor and my surprise ending.

The director said, "Powerful. Sad." (I never told her that I wrote it, but she seemed to like the content.) We discussed how my dramatic experience had been in the nonprofit world, striving to tell stories to kids and adults alike. She didn't seem deterred by that fact and was all smiles and encouraging words. She asked if I'd like to do background work. (Being an extra is what I'd hoped to snag!) She said there was an upcoming period piece that was filming in Cincinnati, and they'd likely call me.

So we will see. That was just before the holidays, maybe something happens this year. I hope to at least remain on her potential list.

Thoughts: Most encouraging to me was having such a positive reaction to what I wrote, what I performed. I've always enjoyed writing and performing. Yet I've never had the guts to put myself out there. Unknown to many, I remain a closet dreamer, on stage in my mind, in some alternative time line. So this moment was huge. I needed to try. It was validating that a professional person reacted well and thought I had some skills. It may not lead to anything, but the process was important.

God has ways I can continue using these skills to lift up others and Him. (I did a little storytelling for an entire elementary school just the other day!)

In the meantime, this felt good.  


Find out my other three bold moves: my tattoo, my writing, my project
Kelly Carr
My Tattoo: Bold Moves, part 1

I'm making more bold decisions than I used to.

Perhaps my new decade has given me more confidence in who I am, what I can do. I keep telling my friend, "This is 40." lus why not try new things before it's too late? What is there to lose? 

In these next few posts, I'll share a few places I've boldly gone lately:

tattoo mine.jpg


I always thought I'd get a tattoo. A long time ago, I said by age 40. I didn't have some huge list of goals to do before 40, but this remained in the back of my mind. As my birthday approached, I went with it. 

Background: My younger brother has a bunch of tattoos. As does his wife. They've befriended a guy in Lexington who does amazing work. I've seen the evidence on their skin! So I figured I'd go with a guy I trusted. And then I could get my tattoo expert of a brother to go with me.

Design decision: Decisions aren't my forté. So I've always put off getting a tattoo because I couldn't decide. I often thought I'd choose words. But problem #1—I like a lot of words. How do I narrow it down? Problem #2—I'm wordy, so how could I edit enough to fit the words I want on a small space of my body? Problem #3—I like a lot of words, so how do I give preference? 

Therefore it dawned on me—an image of a writing utensil could represent words for me. All the words I want to say. All the words I've ever written, spoken, edited. It could remind me to keep creating words. I chose a feather quill as the writing utensil for several reasons, one of which is my maiden name, Birdwhistell. 

Still undecided: Everyone asked if I was worried about the pain. No, I was worried about if I made the best design choice. Even up until the day of my scheduled tattoo, I was deciding—I found a new feather picture that morning and liked it better, so I showed that to the tattoo artist. When he put the design on transfer paper to determine placement on my wrist, I still freaked out with indecision—is it too big? does it look OK there? My brother just smiled and shook his head at me. He's had so many tattoos in so many places, my indecision was amusing to him. I quickly FaceTimed with Steve, and he liked the potential placement and size. So I felt better. 

Moment of truth: Since it was a small design and black-only line art, it went quickly with little pain. (Perhaps a larger one would've been a different story.) I LOVE how it turned out! And I haven't gotten tired of it yet! (Notice how I said my "first" tattoo? Now I may want more!)


Find out my other three bold moves: my audition, my writing, my project


Kelly Carr
Who Tells Your Story? a Hamilton experience
Hamilton stage.jpg

I imagined this post so much it feels more like a memory . . .

Indubitably, I have put off crafting words on this subject for months. I feel need to express it. Yet I know not where to begin. The weight of perfect prose bears down on me. 

How can I aptly describe the changes wrought in my life from the music, words, and live stage production that is Hamilton: An American Musical?

It's no exaggeration to portend that my world will never be the same since Hamilton. (If nothing else, because its words will forever be imprinted on my brain!)

For an entire year, my life has been captivated, even motivated, by Hamilton:

  • First was the cast album: It trickled across my attention at first, in the background of a busy day. Then in focused measure, I began to listen straight through, nonstop, from opening number to closing notes. For months on end, Hamilton prevailed on my playlist, each cadence cascading down my thoughts at all hours. 
  • Second was the change in my thought patterns: Everyday words suddenly triggered rap lyrics, and normal conversation twisted into Hamilton tunes. When the songs weren't enough, I sought out a podcast to dissect the details. 
  • Third was the inspiration: I was at a crossroads in life. A decision had to be made. And, silly as it may seem, I kept thinking to myself, "All my life I've waited for it. I've been Burr. Yet is it time to be Hamilton and not throw away my shot?" I took a bold course of action. And while obviously God, family, and friends gave me wisdom and support, I felt bolstered in a small way by the words and characters that had imbedded themselves in my life.
  • Fourth was the trip: Thankfully, I am in good company. My friend Susan and my daughter, Kaelyn, have journeyed into Hamilton along with me. (Even Steve hasn't come away unscathed.) We trio of ladies traveled to Chicago to witness the musical onstage. (Though it is coming to Cincinnati this fall, we were past patiently waiting.) June 7, 2017 it all went down. If you have seen us since then, you will note—we are different now.

Story has power. Music has power. Add to that live drama, and you are enveloped. With tears in our eyes and adrenaline coursing through our veins, the three of us were enraptured. I can't wait to see it again.

Some may shake their heads. A musical about a founding father who died in a duel—what's the big deal? It's so much more. As previously noted, I cannot give it full due here. But simply put:

Shared history + raw relatability + catchy musicality + Lin-Manuel Miranda's wording wizardry = infatuation probability.

I claim to be a Hamilton victim—ensnared. I'm not even sad about it. 

And if you don't know, now you know.