How to be a ferdydurking great audience member

So you’ve made the decision to go and see some theatre, good on you! You’re about to engage in a tradition dating back bajillions of years, allll the way back to when cavemen probably lined their mates up along the wall and acted out their mammoth hunts by firelight.

Things are a little more advanced these days, but that relationship between storyteller and audience is what keeps the magic and theatre alive- unfortunately in this day and age, sometimes the real world wants to shimmy into that relationship too and¬†that is what we’re talking about today.

A disclaimer before we begin: Acting in any performance is an absolute privilege. Anyone on stage in a large-scale production has probably trained for decades and fought through countless rounds of auditions against hundreds of equally talented people to earn that spot. Performers live transient lives,  sacrificing holidays and time with family because they LOVE what they do.

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Speaking as a performer¬†and as an usher, ¬†here’s a few tips to make sure that you’re being a ferdydurking great audience member the next time you head to a show:

  1. Phones

Phones. For the love of all things, phones. Do not text. Do not update facebook. Do not pull out your phone ‘just to check the time’. DEFINITELY do not photograph, film or decide that¬†the soaring ballad is a good time to take a phone call.

Why:¬† Remember all those times you’ve fumbled with something late at night and had the brilliant idea to use your phone light to illuminate the situation? Bingo. Any time that phone screen turns on, you’re effectively shining a torch into your face. Annoying for your fellow audience members and distracting for those on stage. Not to mention sitting next to the person waving their giant glowing screen around!

CT  CT 070611-ENT ent-0706-texting MJW

What you can do instead:¬†Enjoy the moment. I think that we can all agree that theater tickets are ridiculously expensive these days- consider that an investment in some quality time out and enjoy the chance to unplug. Your instagram likes will still be there at interval, and that email won’t be any less urgent in an hour. Relax and enjoy what’s happening in front of you. If this sounds like an impossibility, you may want to join me in my two-week challenge here.¬†If you do suddenly remember that you left the door unlocked/forgot to water the houseplants/urgently need to rebook that flight to Switzerland and it definitely can’t wait until the next break, just step outside! A lot of theaters have a live feed to their foyers so you won’t miss a moment, and you can haggle with your stock broker to your hearts content.

2. Wrappers

Werther’s Originals lovers, I’m looking at you. For some reason having some nibblies during a show seems to have become an integral part of the experience (and I’m so into that. Bring me my choc top!). The frugal among you may even think ahead and bring your own treats to avoid those sky-high prices at the theater kiosks. And I applaud you for that, think of all those savings!

Why:¬†The REAL reason your friendly ushers hate you smuggling those illicit bags in is that inevitably, you’re going to want to unwrap them. One by one. During that boring but oh-so-important bit of dialogue.¬†crinklecrinklecri…nklecrinkle…….



I can guarantee you’re the only person in the entire theater who’s enjoy that sweet.

What you can do instead: Prep, baby! Just unwrap any noisemakers before the show starts, problem solved (protip- don’t then proceed to dump all of your wrappers on the ground. Don’t be that person, just don’t.)

3. Hot Food

I get it. You’re running from work, traffic was hectic, you meant to grab dinner beforehand but there just wasn’t time. You’re plagued by a powerful hunger & that chinese takeaway next door will hit the spot nicely.

Why: That smell that is making your mouth water is also wafting deliciously through the theater. Much like hot food on public transport, there’s a bit of disagreement about whether this should be considered bad manners or not, but as far as I’m concerned, if your food is more fragrant than a pack of salt & vineger, then it’s not appropriate for a space that you’re going to be sharing with hundreds of other people.

What you can do instead:¬†It might not be the most appealing option for some of you, but this is the time to make like you’re back in primary school and go for your packed-lunch classics. Think sandwiches, fruit, nuts – anything you can slam down quickly to fill the gap without leaving a lingering odeur de tuna. Save the main meal for a post-show feast where you relax with some great food & talk about the incredible performance you’ve just seen.


4. Loud Noises

This¬†falls under the same loose category as Point 1 AND 2. If you’re not in the show, now is not the moment to try and claim your spotlight.

Why: It’s always important to remember that everyone else in that theater has probably also paid to see the performance, and¬†while your witty observations are probably¬†hil-ar-i-ous, there are people who might find them a little distracting.

What you can do instead: Save those for your post-show debrief (see above)

Important exclusion! If you’re enjoying the show, don’t be afraid to react.¬†Laugh if you find something funny, hoot & hollar during the applause if you feel it’s deserved (heck, cry if you feel that you need to- that’s what theatre is for).¬†The same goes for¬†any show where the performers are clearly looking for a reaction (think comedy, panto, some cabaret). That’s the time to let your light shine! These events are definitely not the moment to be bashful- make that performers day by leading the audience in a hearty series of responses!


Think of your theater experience like this adorable little muggin:


  1. No bright lights (or loud noises)
  2. No (hot) food
  3. ¬†…don’t get it wet? (Actually, definitely don’t get too wet. No-one likes sharing an armrest with a messy drunk)


Easy as that! Keep these simple tips in mind and you’ll keep your performers, usher¬†and fellow audience members happy.

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Did I miss anything? Am I way out of line? Let me know! Theatre is constantly evolving, I would love to hear what you think on the matter.

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

How to be a ferdydurking great audience member

Time to face the (digital) reality

I have a social media problem.

There’s literally no denying it. I start my morning flicking through my twitter & instagram (and Acorns¬†#addict). Throughout the day I’ll be casually touching base, chatting with followers or replying to messages. At night I’ll normally do a last blast of commenting on pictures that catch my eye, stalk some friends on facebook or tweet a reminder about a new blog post. I would be the first person to say that the amount of time I spend with my phone in my hand is reasonably unhealthy, but I’ve always been able to justify my social media time by heaving a sigh and going ‘I know, but it’s really for my career’.

That’s not a complete lie. I was never into the insta/twitter obsession when they first started. I’m not great in front of a camera and I could probably count the number of selfies I had taken on two hands (and maybe a foot). They were the realm of people who drank smoothies and pranced around on beaches (without ANY sand sticking to them, I call bunk). But then I heard a story from a friend of mine who had gone in to audition for a short-term music theatre gig- the audition had gone well and she was invited back for a callback and¬†then she was asked for all her social media account so that her follower numbers could be checked.


Since when has someone’s insta-fame affected their ability to entertain a group of child-spawn? But the story stuck with me and I figured if that was the way the industry was going, I had better get on board.¬†Cut to about three years later and Google Play (the android version of the apps store, for all you mac addicts) suggests that the app I really need in my life is ‘Antisocial’.

I was procrastinating, so of course I downloaded it.

“Do you find yourself constantly checking your phone? Finally discover and track how addicted you are to your smartphone with AntiSocial!”


Exqueeze me? I am not addicted. I can do just fine without my phone. I don’t even ‘gram my food, I can’t be addicted.

BUT it is a new app, and I love new apps. AND if I’m honest, that love of apps robs me of so much time every day that maybe¬†it could be¬†time to get this beast under control.

So how does it work?

“Once installed, AntiSocial works in the background of your phone without you even knowing it. After 2 weeks, it accumulates all of your activity and delivers an easy to understand report.

More importantly, you will be able to learn whether you use your phone more or less than everyone else. Knowledge is power, and from there it‚Äôs up to you whether you want or need to take action. The app offers the ability to manage, block and restrict usage but again, this is entirely up to the user.”¬†


I have a feeling that I am about to discover more about my most-definitely-not-addiction than I am ready to face.¬†I’ll update at the end of my two week ‘assessment’ and then I suspect things are about to get very embarrassing as the truth comes out…

Want to join me? Grab Antisocial and we can face our results together РI promise to let you gloat when yours put mine to shame.

Speaking of social media; if you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

Time to face the (digital) reality

The Paradox of Choice

In Melbourne we have this magical wonderland called Brunetti’s. Established over 30 years ago, Brunetti’s offers *ahem* ‘Italian’ style sweets, pastries & gelato. These are basically my three favourite things in the world, and their range is huge.


Seriously, this is about half of their range.

So why is it that despite the number of times I’ve walked into Brunetti’s, I’ve only ever purchased one (amazing) rum baba? It’s certainly not due to the lack of delicious treats available or to the scrooge factor, as they’re all roughly the same price.

To add to the story, my first rum baba was purchased when I had arranged to meet a friend for coffee & cake, and so was obliged to make a choice. The next (and only other time) I ordered something from Brunetti’s? After pacing the cabinet a number of times, I walked away with the rum baba again. Yes, it had been delicious, but I also could be fairly certain that I could throw a dart and it would land in something  that I would enjoy. So why the repeat?


There are just too many delicious options to choose from. I could be happy with any of them, but choosing one dessert means forfeiting a dozen others that I may like even more. How can I tell that I’ve made the best choice? It’s all a bit too much, maybe I don’t really need a sweet anyway…

Then I will literally walk away. Choice overload short circuits my brain, making me think that it’s better to have no dessert than to make anything less than the best possible choice. And I think we can all agree, no dessert is never the best choice.

According to Shah, A. M., & Wolford (and Wikipedia) in situations like this, ‘Making a decision becomes overwhelming due to the many potential outcomes and risks that may result from making the wrong choice. Having too many approximately equally good options is mentally draining because each option must be weighed against alternatives to select the best one.’

-ie. how can I possibly weigh all of these equally delicious options against each other? They’re like children,  I can’t possibly choose.

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Spending literally minutes obsessing over a dessert might seem minor in the course of a day, but spending hours or days obsessing over larger decisions can chip away at your brainpower and result in poorer decisions in the long run. In a consumer-driver society, those larger decisions are everywhere. What internet provider offers the best deal? What credit card should you apply for? What car insurance is best for you?

Frequently having to make calls like these can involve hours of research and dozens of computer tabs (at least if you’re me). Sometimes it will be an ongoing project, idly stretching across a number of days. I start using the hunt as procrastination, dropping an hour here & there to ‘just check out some other options’. They’re all so similar and companies devote big money to making sure that they appear the best on the market, so how do I know I’m making the best choice?

I don’t. I’ll never know that.

All I can do is decide what my needs are (cheap internet, no annual card fee…and I don’t own a car), and find a product to meet those needs. It might not be the best product available, but if it does the job I’m paying for it to do at a price point that I’m comfortable with, is it worth spending any more time on the problem than that? As Tim Ferris so aptly puts it “It‚Äôs deliberation‚ÄĒthe time we vacillate over and consider each decision‚ÄĒthat‚Äôs the attention consumer.” 

And in this day and age, how much attention do you really have to waste?

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!





The Paradox of Choice

Is your caffeine habit costing you millions?

I love coffee. As a Melburnian, I need that caffeinated magic like a sapling needs water. The problem is (as I’ve mentioned previously) I also love money.


(Reminder: accurate depiction of me with money)

And coffee costs money.

This is where the¬†Latte Factor¬†come in. Coined by financial author David Bach, the term refers to the small amounts of mindless spending that can add up to a small fortune over time. In Australia, this was briefly linked to the Smashed Avocado scandal that arose when columnist Bernard Salt blamed the millenial’s brunch addiction¬†for their lack of home ownership¬†(as you can imagine, that¬†went down well).

Both men have the same argument, although Salt approaches it in a fury of finger-pointing at the ‘younger generation’ while Bach restrains himself to diplomatically pointing out how much money can be amassed if these incidental spendings can be curbed.

Now I’m in the lucky position of enjoying discounted coffees at most of my workplaces, so I basically never spend more than $3 on a coffee (when I’m at home I use my trusty french press instead- love you baby). That $3 is cheap(ish) by Melbourne standards, and as far as I understand, is basically free if you’re a coffee drinker in America. However according to¬†this¬†handy dandy calculator, even my four or so coffees a week means that over the next say…25 years, that $12 per week means that I will be¬†$21,790.24¬†out of pocket.




For the curious, that breaks down to $15,600 of actual money saved, and $6,190.24 from interest that I missed out on, assuming that I keep the money tucked away at my current savings rate of 2.5%.

If I were to keep saving for another 15 years (bringing me to approximate retirement age), that figure would be¬†$43,317.72.¬†I don’t know about you, but that’s seems like a sh*t ton of money to me.

But how do those numbers hold up if they’re broken down? Annually, the total figure¬†equates to $1083.


Just over half of what I spend on public transport a year. Or less than my monthly rent. Or about the same as my phone plan.

If I could double my phone bill in exchange for unlimited coffees, would I? Would you?

I think what I’m trying to get at here is that¬†any number can make a difference when accrued over that length of time and with the miraculous benefit of compounded interest. $2 noodles start to look like an extravagance if you calculate 40 years worth of them. But if something gives you joy (and coffee¬†definitely¬†gives me joy), is it worth $43k to me to live without it?

If you want to play around with the idea of saving via reducing your ‘latte’ factor, ¬†this¬†is the calculator I used for my figures. Scott Alan Turner also has¬†a fun tool¬†that allows you to choose from some popular vices such as daily soda, repayments for a car you could do without, or weekly Ben & Jerry’s (guilty).¬†Have a scroll through your bank statement and let me know if you spot an unconscious spend that could be costing you thousands! I’m off to have a hunt right now (I’m coming for you, lunch wraps that I could be bringing from home).



If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there. Many thanks to Kyle at Steward and Slave for reminding me about the Latte Factor with his great post!




Is your caffeine habit costing you millions?

The art of the hustle – How I do what I do

I’m a mid-20s actress living in Melbourne, which is apparently the most livable city in the world.¬†That unfortunately also makes it¬†one of the more expensive. I live in a ‘snug’ one-bedroom in an inner suburb because living with people turns me into a whimpering hermit who skips meals to avoid social interactions. And what does all this mean?

I had to learn the art of the hustle, baby  *snap snap*

The standard acting cliche is that we’re all waitstaff begging for tips by night and auditions by day.


While the hospo life worked for my first few years in this wonderful country, it doesn’t really bring me a lot of joy. The hours a long, the pay is low (-er than I can earn now), and you’re frequently either risking your hearing in noisy bars, or your sanity as you deal with yet another hungover Sunday brunch-er. No thank you.

However I still need money, and a job that didn’t mind if I vanished for a few hours for an audition or a few months for a shoot. Unfortunately (outside of every movie about actors ever) those sorts of jobs are difficult to come by. Most workplaces operate as a team, and they can feel understandably a little put out if a member of that team keeps whipping on the ol’ invisibility cloak and disappearing.

So if one job wouldn’t work for me… why not three?


Three jobs mean that I’m never in the same place for the full 40 hours per week. No one team relies on me overly much and if I need to disappear, each work place is only going to miss me for 1/3 of the total time that I’m away. Score! My rent is paid, my auditions are attended, and so far (touch wood) the emergency baked beans remain happily rusting away at the back of the pantry.

This may sound like a commitment-free dream to you or you may be getting a cold flush at the thought of it – YMMV.

BUT the key to living outside the 9-5 is¬†know your system. Doesn’t matter how you keep track of those many employers clamoring for your services; work out how you’re going to do it and then protect that system with the zeal of Taylor Swift protecting her last tube of red lipstick in a post-apocalyptic¬†wasteland.

So what do you think? Could you live with a diversified income stream, or do you think I’m a nutter? Is this something that you would like to hear more about? This gal wants to know!




If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

The art of the hustle – How I do what I do