Two #Friends Start #Singing #JanisJoplin Songs at a Bar…Then Something #Magical Happened

Last night, my good  friend Sarah, who appeared on the first episode of Rants Reviews and Reels: Live!, and I  went to our local bar. We were avoiding the thunder and lightning by consuming some good craft beer in a very lively environment.  Whenever we get together, I find that I have some of the most profound and meaningful conversations about life. We were talking about things that make us happy; things we love doing, performing, the insanity of show business, everything. During our conversation, I had brought up the fact that music has always had a profound impact on my life. Like many, I have an innate visceral reaction to songs. Growing up, I was exposed to all types of music, and learned about an array of artists. I remember taking my first music  lessons on my Muppets-themed keyboard. Then, that transitioned to the violin, piano, clarinet, guitar, and in high school, vocal lessons. I listened to classical symphonies, I listened to my parents records of The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, and Frank Sinatra. I wanted to know everything there was about music in all its forms. There was even a program on Microsoft Encarta (remember that?)  I was obsessed with that showcased music from around the world. Music feeds my soul. Sarah and I talked about how we both have a deeper connection to music than anything else creatively. Not to say that acting and writing don’t fill spaces in our beings, but music is at a whole different level. There have been studies done on the benefits of singing. Both emotionally and physically, it has been proven that singing promotes community, releases the same endorphins as exercising, promotes learning in children, and evokes emotions.

When I was in high school and college, I sang nearly every day. Now, in my adult life, I find myself keeping tight-lipped, unwilling to bring someone into my vocal world. At theater school, we did this exercise which is rather simple in concept called “The Sound Exercise.” During the exercise, the actor starts to sing a simple song such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” only singing one note at a time.  As the exercise progresses, it actually becomes a very emotional experience because you are open and vulnerable. I try to use that exercise whenever I feel I’ve hit a wall emotionally during scene or monologue work. It’s benefited me greatly as an artist.

Last night, just like  acting class, Sarah and I sang our hearts out. We were vulnerable, emotional, and joyous. We sang as if we were the only two people in the room (we weren’t) and we didn’t care who heard us belting out “Me and  Bobby McGee.” we just sang.  We weren’t on a stage, there was no paying audience or accompaniment, but it was one of the most fulfilling artistic experiences I have ever had. We sang slowly at first, and it evoked memories of that sound exercise. At that moment last night, I was happier than I have been in a long time. By the end we had tears in our eyes, and we belted out more songs after that. Sarah told me to I should sing more often, which was really amazing to hear. Do yourself a favor, sing with someone sometime. The connection is more powerful than you might think.

Janis Joplin’s music has always stirred something deep inside me that I have trouble expressing outwardly, but I have always had a connection to her music. Last night was no exception to that rule. Through the music of a fantastic talent who was gone too soon, and one of the best friend’s a girl could have, I reawakened something inside me that I’ve buried deep for a long time–my voice.

Film, Theater, Television, New Media and Everything In Between: Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and honored to get to share my passion for the arts with the world on WordPress. There are a lot of blogs out there that deal with the topic of entertainment. However, I think that there are very few blogs  that come from the perspective of an actor. I’m not talking about your Hollywood starlet or your dashing leading man; I’m talking about your honest to goodness, work for the day and still has to audition every day-ACTOR. Technically, I’m considered an actress, but for the sake of clarity and to not get too gender-specific, I’ll use actor.

Now, for the introductions. My name is Stephanie Gould and I am an actor. I have union status in both theater (AEA) and film & television (SAG-AFTRA) and have been living and acting professionally in NYC for about 6 years now.  My goal with this blog is to provide my audience with a unique view of the industry and the craft itself. I’ll equate it to being in battle (in a sense, fighting for what you want) and reporting from the trenches.

I’m still in the trenches. I fight every day for my career. I want to keep nurturing it and grow from my experiences.  I also believe that in order to grow and thrive as an artist, no matter what the medium, there needs to be a community that is, dare I say it, supportive.  More often than not, I see other artists (especially actors) try to tear each other down and raise themselves up through gloating or a “know-it-all” attitude. I, at times, especially early on, was guilty of this too. But I can’t blame actors. It might come from the fact that we are really proud to achieve something, whatever it is, in an industry that prides itself on being very exclusive. It’s the big boys club. Like Frank Sinatra said of New York, “If I can make there/I’ll make it anywhere…” And it’s true. As an actor in New York City, it’s difficult.

The whole industry is difficult. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. That’s true of any profession. If being a doctor were easy, we would all be doctors. It takes a very special individual to realize their talents in a given field and pursue them. I have a talent for acting, I know that. I also have a talent for writing. In some respects, I’ve been writing before I could actually physically do it. Apparently, I would tell my mother stories and she would record them on either a tape recorder (old, I know) or write them down. I’ve been telling stories, whether fictional or not, since a young age both on paper and on stage.

I’m glad that I get to meld my two loves into one project. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper called the Crier and I reviewed films (mostly) and occasionally predicted awards shows. I want to use that as a jumping off point for this blog. Not only do I want to review films, television, theater and the ever expanding “new media” categories, but I also want to do it from a specific perspective. I’m an actor who is, in general, at the beginning of my career. I’ve only been considered a “professional” since I filmed the movie Dribbles in 2005.

I’ve been acting professionally for the past 8 years or so. And I’ve been in the unions since 2009. However, I feel I can offer enough of a daily insight to make things interesting. I’m not going to sugar-coat the truth.  I’ll relay the information about auditions (without mentioning specific casting people, directors, etc.) and even general frustrations and triumphs.

There is a blog that was acquired by the industry trade publication Backstage called Audition Update. And, while it’s a wonderful resource to use for audition purposes (i.e. where they are held, who is in the room, whether or not they are seeing non-union) it has it’s drawbacks. There is a specific section that rubs me the wrong way. It’s called The Bitching Post. Up until very recently, I was one of those people (although not active in the forums) who, for lack of a better word, bitched about anything and everything that went on in the industry. It’s not to say that one can’t vent their frustrations, but when it bleeds over into your everyday life and makes you a Negative Nancy, that’s when things have gone too far.

From the audition process to projects themselves,  I want to say, here and now, that a bad attitude, whether it is in jest or not, doesn’t help move things along. In a great many ways it hinders the growth of an artist because they are so hung up on faults and things that they might find irksome. The industry is hard enough, so why do we as actors make it even more difficult through self-deprecation and put-downs? I think the important thing to note is, the entertainment industry is a wonderful industry with artists who look at life from a different angle. Why not make it a positive one? Let’s take this journey through the industry together. Let’s review films, watch television, go to the theater and watch web series with gusto. Let’s learn from each other. Thank You for taking time out of your day to come and visit my blog.

Happy Viewing,


For more information on my career please visit my listing on: IMDB