Cutting back the distractions to get to my heart.

I feel an increasing need to be genuine, sincere, and honest with myself.

Perhaps some of this could be due to the fact that Eric and I will be expecting a baby next February. I have a new urgency to clear out the clutter of distractions keeping me from creating my own work and depending on my own creations to move me forward in my career. And I hope to be a good example to our future child. Following my heart and doing what makes me feel alive and happy even if it seems to go against what everyone else is doing.

For me, this means no longer going to casting director workshops, mailing out postcards, or other type of mailings. Not spending time looking at and submitting on casting websites. I even removed myself from a couple actor groups on Facebook. They made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough and I never seemed to have anything to add to the community. Hacking away at these distractions.

Now of course this is not to say that these things don’t work for other actors. I have seen them work for friends many times and a few times it even got me some great auditions, but no longer does it make my heart happy to be running down all these avenues. I’m not sure it ever did, really. I felt like I was constantly on a hamster wheel getting little to nowhere. I may have gotten somewhere eventually but I don’t feel like waiting it out. I’d rather get off this crazy spinning wheel and stand still long enough to figure out what I really want to do.

Being home for a month helped me do that. I rediscovered my love and passion for performing to a live audience and for entertaining people with my own work. I also discovered how much I love directing and coaching. So I’m very excited to find more project to direct – whether it be my own or someone’s project I love.  More solo shows and more directing, that’s what I’m looking at.

Now don’t get me wrong! If I get a call from one of my agents about an audition I’ll be very happy to go and still hope very much to book the job. But no longer do I give the phone power, or anyone else out there. I am not just waiting to get the opportunity to maybe possible perform for someone. I’ll be busy at home writing up new works and busy on the weekends filming and performing. I would much rather “be discovered” busily working on my own projects. This gives me time to really work on my craft and I trust much more that the right doors will open at the right time. The right person will see me doing the right project and a new door opens. I just can’t seem to find time to work and knock on every possible door out there.

These are new thoughts as I begin working on a new role  – “mother”.

So we’ll see how these thoughts and revelations evolve…

What an adventure.

Danny-Kaye-

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Setting Dear Hollywood Aside.

I’ll be performing Dear Hollywood one last time this year. August 29th at iO West on the Main Stage. 11:30pm.

I’m excited to perform this show one more time and then set it aside for awhile. I’ve been working on this story for about 5 years now. First with the silent film and then over this past year with the solo-show. I’m ready to move on a create new work and stories. I’ve got a few up my sleeve that I’m ready to let loose.

It has been such a great experience doing this show and seeing how it has transformed. I am proud of all the hard work I’ve put into it and so thankful for those who have come out to watch and support. Special thanks to my awesome husband for all of his support and the many re-writes we’ve worked on together. We make a good team.

Ok, so for ticket info click HERE.

And here’s a little taste of the show for you:

Dear Hollywood: Live – Highlight reel from Julisa Smith on Vimeo.

 

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There and Back Again

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I was so happy to be able to take my solo show to my hometown. The support and love I felt from my friends, family, and the locals I didn’t know quite as well, was overwhelming. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. A heartfelt thank you.

The month flew by rather quickly. I had a blast teaching at the theatre camp with the kids. Teaching improv and a bit of filmmaking as well scene and monologue studies. I learned probably just as much as they did, if not more. I discovered a joy in teaching (and also the frustration of competing with cellphones and the younger attention span). But overall, I could see myself doing this again. I love sharing the knowledge I’ve learned over the years. I laughed at hearing myself say things I had had other teachers say to me. One day it was my high school director coming out of my mouth, another day it was my college director, and yet another day would be me spouting things I had heard from my LA acting coaches. It was great. Glad to know so much has stuck with me.

July was a perfect month to get away from LA for a little while. Refocus on what I want and then be able to hit the ground running once I returned.

Today I signed with a new commercial agent. In two weeks I’ll be shooting the movie I’m directing. I’ve sent out e-mails to local theatres to see where Dear Hollywood will go next.

I look forward to the coming months. There’s a lot I see before me.

Let’s go!

 

(I’ll miss you Pacific Northwest. Until next time!)

 

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Beginning of the New Adventure

This first week back in my hometown has been a great one. Week one of teaching and I’m loving the kids. I’m not too surprised by how much I enjoy teaching improv to them. And to be able to share my passion for theatre with kids who are just at the beginning of their own theatrical journey is quite inspiring and rewarding.

Of course it’s not all easy. This is quite new territory for me. Every day I’m challenged to find new improv games and figure out how to build upon what was taught the day before and also at what speed to go. Also, how do I keep a middle schooler’s attention for longer than 5 minutes?!!

I had no delusions that this would be easy. I knew this would be a challenge and I’d have quite the steep learning curve, but I like challenges.

On another note of being back in my hometown, it has been really great getting to show my husband around the Pacific NorthWest. We went up the north side of Mt. St. Helens one day and then yesterday I took him to the south side so we could hike through the Ape Caves and Lava Canyon. I hate the idea of having to drop him off at the airport tomorrow.

But this month already seems booked up. Teaching in mornings, rehearsing my one woman show in the afternoons (I will hopefully be performing Dear Hollywood here in 2 weeks), and then prepping for the film I’m directing when I return to LA. I’m hoping to throw in a few more workshops for adults while here, but nothing is set yet.

I look forward to the coming weeks and I look forward to reporting my adventures with you.

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.

Cheers,
Julisa

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Next Big Adventure

 

 

I’m heading to Longview, WA for a month!

 

Starting in July I’ll be back in my hometown teaching at a theatre camp for middle school and high schoolers (details here) . I’m pretty darn excited about this. I started going over my old notes from all my improv classes and shows and such. Sometimes I forget just how much I’ve learned in the last 6 years.

 

It may be selfish, but I look forward to learning a ton while teaching. I don’t really know what to expect but I look forward to the challenge and the adventure.

 

It will be nice to take a step away from LA for a bit as well. It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in the biz and forget to take a moment and listen to my heart. I look forward to being home. Visiting the places that were so important during my groaning up. And the little things like walking the lake and reading on our front porch swing in the evenings. I love it.

 

Slow down. Share what I love with others. And see what’s to come next.

 

 

porch swing

 

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Embracing My Own Path

I sat at the computer ready to write some sappy “I feel sorry for myself because I’m an overwhelmed and confused artist” and then I watched this video:

What a great speech. I love Charlie Day and his show and his path that he took.

Seriously though, I sat at the computer this morning feeling overwhelmed with this LA world and feeling like there is a never ending list of things you “must-do” to become a successful actor in LA. I got up to pour another cup of coffee before writing and it was like I had walked up and out of my weird sappy mood. I looked behind me and couldn’t help but laugh.

Who is this girl who feels sorry for herself? Boo hoo, you haven’t booked anything in a year. So you haven’t gone on an audition in quite a while. Etc.

Wake up! I have a lovely home with an amazing husband. I just wrote, produced, and starred in my first one-woman show. I get to teach theatre for a whole month back in my home town this July, and in August I’m directing a friend’s short film.

Sure, I get overwhelmed sometimes (a lot of the time) with all the amazing things I want to do and learn. The list of classes I want to take is endless. That’s part of never wanting to be done learning. That is part of being an artist. And, yes, I wish I was part of something bigger. Part of a creative community. Ok, so I need to get off my ass and go participate. It will mean sacrificing some of my evenings but in the long run will pay off.

I don’t want to knock the tough times. I’m just acknowledging and admitting that I have been in it lately and now I’m making a choice to try and get out. Hopefully get a glimpse of the bigger picture. Breathe. I am on my own unique path. No need to compare myself with anyone else or where they are on their path. I release my need to prove myself to everyone else (this is a daily thing to remember).

And I could not be more excited and happy to be teaching in my hometown in just a little over a month. I’ll write more about that later.

Now I must pour another cup of coffee and begin to watch my show that I filmed and work on making it better for next time.

Happy Wednesday, dear friends.

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Remembering Why I Do What I Do

I can’t watch this without smiling from ear to ear.


I love both Danny Kaye and Luis Armstrong. Their pure joy and love of performing and entertaining is contagious. And both of these men were at the top of their game. Always improving and a force to be reckoned with. I hope I’m that someday. A force to be reckoned with. Not in a weird conceded way but just always playing to the top of my ability and constantly working and becoming better. I hope to inspire others to do their best as well. Every time I get an opportunity to perform (auditions included) I want to exude an air of this is what I love, let me share it with you.

It’s a challenge. What I would like to do is just sit around, watch inspiring movies, and wait to be handed something on a silver platter. The problem is is that I won’t be ready to take whatever is given to me by just thinking in my head I have talent. I need to work on it daily. There are days when that is really really REALLY tough. And some days I succumb to just sitting on the couch watching movies or t.v shows I wish I  was working on. Some days I have to push through and make myself write something or practice working on a script of some sort. And a few days it’s a breeze and I make huge strides in my work. Like I said, it’s a challenge. But when I’m resisting something the strongest it usually is an indicator of where I need to go.

I am constantly reminded that fame is fleeting and is only sometimes a byproduct of pursuing and working on  your craft. The true joy (hopefully) comes from working on what you love. If it isn’t, maybe it’s time to reassess what’s going on and what you want.

I want to be great. I want to continually be getting better. To inspire people with my art. Grand scale or small, as long as I give it my all 100% of the time. That’s what I want.

 

Happy Wednesday, my friend.

 

Oh! And my show goes up again this Saturday. Just FYI

Dear Hollywood 4.26 (c)

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Happy Birthday Charlie: Year 6

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I love that the anniversary of my moving to LA coincides with Charlie Chaplin’s birthday. It makes it’s doubly special.

I am so very grateful for these past 6 years. I’ve learned so much and am very happy that so many of my first LA friends I still call friends today. I may not have accomplished all the things I had hoped by now but through the years, the tough times and the smooth times, I have let go of some plans, made a few new ones, and better yet – hung on strong to the goals that I really desire. Somedays it all seems a bit fuzzy or overwhelming. I wonder if I should give it all up. But those thoughts quickly vanish. I would much rather keep plugging along. Letting the little victories come as they may.

Last year was quite a doozy. I look forward to this next year. I have my hopes but I look forward to the surprises even more.

Thanks for following me on this journey.

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The Challenge

Just a quick post for today.

I’ve challenged myself to read one play a day. Not sure for how long though. A month? A year? I think I’ll just start month by month. There are so many great plays out there and I’ve read or seen so few of them.

My hope is that it will somehow magically sink in and help my writing and acting. By reading different styles and falling in love with a wide variety of characters I’m sure it will have some positive effect.

This challenge is also in response to that haunting feeling that I missed something by not continuing my schooling. We’ll see…

My friend Caitlin has also joined me on this challenge. It’s fun to have someone else do this with me and also keep me accountable.

To follow my daily posts you can check out my Twitter or Instagram to see what play I’m currently reading.

 

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I’d love it if you would like to join me. #1PlayADay

 

Happy Wednesday, friends.

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Dear Hollywood – from page to stage

Whew! I did it!

And no way could I have done it without all the amazing support from my husband, family, and friends. Thank you.

It feels good to finally get the show up on its feet. Now it’s on to refining, adding, subtracting, and booking it at another venue. This is the fun part. Thanks to my friend Dustin for filming it I can go back and see what worked and what didn’t. I’m ok that it’s not perfect. It will continue to get better the more I do it. Besides, this is my first solo show attempt.

I am very excited to see how this will evolve over the next year.

Here is a little highlight reel for those who weren’t able to make it.

Thanks again!

 

Dear Hollywood: Live – Highlight reel from Julisa Smith on Vimeo.

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