Not Letting the Tinsel Tarnish

I was thinking about how when you read stories or memoirs of actors/artists it is after they are famous. They have made it to their goal. Success – no matter how long and hard the journey, it seems to have paid off.

I won’t lie. I’d like for this series of blogs to turn out that way some day. But if it doesn’t, perhaps I will provide a unique insight into Hollywood. The tales of a no-name actress. No fairytale Hollywood ending. A true Hollywood story. This town is full of so many talented people. So much of this is a numbers game. If I do stay an “unknown” for my life I’ve come to a pleasant acceptance of that. Fame is not what I seek. I’d like to work steadily. I’d like to get paid for my work. If I can achieve that at some point, I will be happy. I think the important thing is to just keep doing what you love – working on your craft and creating awesome stories.  Sometimes millions of people get to see it, sometimes just a handful.

Even those who are famous – or were famous, it hardly ever seems to last a life-time. I do not envy them.

So, Sunday is The OSCARS.

I’ve been pretty harsh on the Oscar nominated films this year. I know that it is rooted in the fact that I love filmmaking and good storytelling. But I just finished a great documentary-ish film from TCM, “And the Oscar Goes To…”. Made me fall in love with the event all over again.

At times I may spiral down the slippery slope of jaded judgement and cynicism. But there is still this little part of me that gets excited about the Oscars. When it comes right down to it, it’s just the Prom of Hollywood once a year. High school never ends here. But who doesn’t like to dress up and feel fancy? The nominated films are just an opinion. It’s just a vote. A select group of people decide what they like, that is it. Meanwhile in the darkness there are so many other talented amazing films being made with little to no one seeing them. That is Hollywood too.

On Sunday I look forward to greeting everyone who comes through the doors at the Dolby with my huge smile and probably some weird “how do you do?!”. It’s a special night for a lot of people and I am thankful I get to join in. I’ll still dream of one day being invited to the event, but for now I’m ok with being paid to be there.

See you on the red carpet!

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These are the tales of the no-name actor. 

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At This Moment.

Well, I didn’t book the play. Good thing we still have our new puppy, Dinah.
Puppies make everything better!

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Sometimes (a lot of the time) I’m reminded of how thankful I am for all the shows I got to do back home. Since moving to LA 6 years ago paid gigs feel so few and far between. Granted, I’ve been quite busy enjoying a lovely life and adventure and enjoying the company of amazing friends. But every once in awhile I get the Hollywood Blues. Those days when you wonder if you’ve been fooling yourself this entire time. It’s been so long since you’ve been on stage or in front of the camera that you just feel dusty. It’s not easy trying feel like an artist every day. Or even reminding yourself that you are one. Especially when you can get so wrapped up in trying to do the business side all the time and always trying to be a smart business savvy artist. When I get these Hollywood Blue days I take a look at what I’ve been doing lately. Usually I find that I’ve been working on digging deep into marketing, reading the latest Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, or Variety. Checking up on Deadline, IMDb, and casting websites.

I’ve found that sometimes I hide behind the biz so I don’t have to face the fact that my last silent film was finished over 3 years ago. I’ve half written a few ideas for the next film, but it is far from completed. I feel like a big bag of wind.

I know I write a lot about swinging back and forth between working on my craft and doing smart biz things. I think I may find myself swing back towards the arts side. I now know a lot more tools to getting word out and communicating about my work. Thing is, I need more work to talk about.

So perhaps it’s time to step back from the hustle and bustle of this tinsel town. Hole up in my office and create. If I were a painter I would paint everyday and not worry about commercial success. I’d just be a painter (who would hopefully get to sell a few paintings – that would be nice) but just being a painter. Not having to prove myself and my worth to the world everyday – which I feel like I have to do so often with being an actor in LA.

So for today, I let that go. I release my need to be seen. My need to be liked, popular, cast, booked, thought of as brilliant. I am a humble artist. Plunking away in my little office in Studio City. Surrounded by big fancy houses and cars. Ladies with big sunglasses clinking cocktail glasses.

I am thankful for what I have. It is enough.

I am enough.

And you are too.

 

Happy Wednesday, my dear friend.

 

 

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Puppies and Callbacks

Why not start out the new year with a little post about 2 wonderful things?!

#1: A puppy: photo-2

We will be picking her up and bringing her home this evening and we are beyond excited! We still haven’t picked a name since we’d like to spend a little more time with her and get a feel for her personality.

#2: First callback of the year

Last night I auditioned for a play that I had done before – about 8 years ago. Same role but my view on the role has changed a bit over the last few years apparently. Nothing quite like reading sides from the play and realizing that yes, indeed, I have learned a few more things about the craft since I left my hometown 6 years ago. Phew!

I’m excited for the opportunity to possibly do a play again. It’s been quite awhile. The last play I did I wound up meeting my now husband. Crazy world.

As for what my general goal for 2014 is (in case you were wondering), I’m feeling like this is the year to deepen and strengthen relationships. Last year was a really great building-a-foundation year. Now that I have a lot of the ground work done I look forward to enjoying new friendships and building on the ones I already have.

Of course I have a long to-do list for this year as well, but for now….let’s just take another look at that oh-so-freakin-cute-puppppyyyyy!!!!!

 

Happy Wednesday, my friends. Be well.

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PS: I jumped through icy waters in Minnesota this Christmas.
Now I am officially a part of my husband’s family. Yeesh!

Ice Jump

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Thankful For Hard Work – And Trusting

I figured I would post a little something today since tomorrow I will be on the road heading up to Santa Cruz for Thanksgiving. It will be my third year going there and I could not be more excited.

This week I received a little boost of encouragement. I finally witnessed some of my hard work paying off. Without going into too many details I’ll keep it simple – There are two casting offices I’ve been trying to get called into/noticed by and this last week I had one audition for one office and called in to audition for the other once I get back from Thanksgiving. Hurray!

I was just at a point where I was wondering if what I was doing by staying in touch was working and if my laser pointed focus was a good idea instead of broadening my reach. Turns out, it’s working. I just need to trust in my own unique timing and unfolding of my career. Just keep working hard everyday and something wonderful will happen (Also, it’s nice enjoying the hard work everyday).

I’ll keep it short today. I know a lot of us have Thanksgiving on the mind. All that wonderful food! The great conversations with friends and family! And if you can’t be with family I hope that you find someone to share a little meal with. And if not that, I hope that Thursday surprises and blesses you just for taking time to slow down and breathe.

I am thankful for you and for taking the time out to read this and share a bit of my life with me.

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Balancing Work, Play, and Craft

Here we are finishing up November! Thanksgiving is next week. One of my all time favorite holidays. Lots of good food, friends and family spending time together, and no worries about buying gifts for each other.

Last week I took Lesly Kahn’s Triage to see if I liked her studio and to see about starting her comedy intensive class. I did like her and her studio and I’m very excited about starting class next month. I’ve been spending so much time on the business side of my career that I discovered I was letting the craft part slip a bit. Sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking: I trained in school and have all those years of theatre growing up that I don’t need to work on my skill so much now. FALSE! I went to a casting director workshop last weekend and I apparently mumbled my first line. The CD asked for me to repeat myself since he couldn’t understand me. Shock! Horror! Have I lost my diction?! Suffice it to say I have started a morning routine that I used to do back in college rehearsals. I warm up my body and voice every morning and follow it by going over my last singing lesson and practicing the songs I’m working on. Today I’m working on sides for an audition I have this afternoon but on days that I don’t have auditions I’ll work on a monologue or read a new play to find more fun things to work on. My muscles are a little weak and it’s time to get them working regularly again.

I’m still working on my silent film but it seems to be going slowly, so to give myself a project that only involves myself I’ve decided to finally put all my voice lessons to good use and perform a one woman show on my 6th anniversary of living in LA.  April 16th, 2014. Mark your calendars. I’ll figure out location and other details as it gets closer and let you know. I’m looking forward to doing this show. I already have half the songs compiled and worked on. Now it’s just adding a couple more and then writing the fun stuff in between.

But the point of today’s post is: don’t forget to keep working on getting better. That’s what keeps you in it. I feel like an actor when I’m working on a script or writing one or even doing my physical and vocal warmups.

Do the thing you love doing and push yourself a little further today.

 

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The Bechdel Test, etc.

Please forgive me for not writing the last two weeks.

Eric and I finally have gotten ourselves all moved in to our new home. Beyond excited to finally get settled in. I feel like I’ve been in transition for the last 7 months or so. Getting married, deciding to move back to LA, moving to LA, buying a new home, moving into the new home, unpacking… so much was going on and at the forefront of my mind that I would get frustrated when I couldn’t think very clearly about getting my own work done or what it was that I needed to do next. I love being organized and have things planned out but these last few months have felt so foggy.

Finally the fog has lifted. This week has been the first week I have felt at ease and like I’ve finally slowed down enough to get into a regular routine.

This morning I had a lovely writers meeting with my friend Amy and I can’t express how exciting and inspiring it was. Recently (as in just yesterday) I was told about the Bechdel Test for women in movies. Here’s a little re-cap of what it is:

This morning I saw an article about Sweden now placing the The Bechdel Test stamp of approval on films at their theaters. See article here. It seems to be all over the place lately. I like it and its timing as well. Just as I get into the full swing of writing I am inspired to keep these 3 things in mind.
I also like this little test: The Mako Mori Test
I feel like my last silent film followed the Mako test and so does my next one. So that’s good.

There’s plenty more I want to write about and I look forward to writing more about writing, but now I must go write for realsies.

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

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Passing on the Torch

I’m sorry I missed last week. It was my birthday on Wednesday and well…we were in the midst of buying our first condo. We have the keys!!! First time homeowners!!!

Ok.. So, two weekends ago my husband and I went to go see “13” the musical production our theatre company, Big Bear Theatre Project, put on with the local kids. I’ll admit, I was surprised by how moved I was by the end. The lights were nothing fancy and it was a bare bones set but there was nothing lacking or bare in the heart of the kids performing. I had seen where they had started at the beginning and now to see them at showtime was amazing. And how neat it was to hear that the kids were hungry for more! Some had never done musical theatre before (let alone theatre in general), so it was such a great feeling to hear that we had gotten them “hooked”.

On the 15th I volunteered, through the SAG Foundation, to help the literacy and theatre program. For a couple hours that day I helped 5th graders write monologues. It was a blast talking with them and giving them a little nudge when they were unsure of what to write. Some were scared to write anything at all – worried they would write the wrong thing. What a great reminder to myself! There are no mistakes on a first draft. The key is to just write!! And it was  super fun giving ideas of where their imagination could take them. I left the classroom inspired to write my own material.

I’m excited to work more with the kids. I’m loving reading to the kindergarteners and first graders every Monday. I’m probably learning more than they are.

Maybe it’s due to my birthday last week but I feel a new urge, maybe even a necessity, to help the next generation be involved in the arts. I’ve been focused on myself and my own career long enough. I have a good foundation and I’ll keep moving forward but now it’s time to set aside some time to give a hand or an hour to ignite a little spark to the up and coming artists and patrons.

Happy Wednesday my friends.

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Making Time For Life

It’s easy to get caught up in the biz of things but I remember reading a great blog written by Jenna Fischer right before I moved to LA. She had some wonderful advice that I still hang on to. One very important thing is to make sure you still have a life. You can’t (or shouldn’t) cancel out on trips back home for holidays, weddings of dear friends, or seeing family when it is very dearly needed just so you can be in town in case you get called in.

What reminded me of this piece of advice is that right now my husband and I are in the process of buying a condo. It’s been quite the crazy few weeks as we have just moved back into the city. I was so eager to jump right back into getting my career to the next level. Meeting new people, getting my next silent film from story into pre-poduction mode, meeting with more casting directors, jumping onto an improv team…so many things! But the moment we moved into the city we started looking for a place to buy. My husband is busy working full-time and since I have the wonderful opportunity to be working only part-time I had to take on the brunt of house hunting/buying. My plans for jumping back into the biz were/are on hold.

But thats ok! Right now our priority is getting settled into our new home. What is important in the long run is having a great place to have as our home base. Our retreat and source of rest and creativity.

So maybe I missed out on the opportunity to meet that casting director who would have liked me so much they called me in for that small role that would then make a fan out of the director…blah blah blah. If we can learn anything from this crazy Tinsel Town it’s that the town keeps going. You may miss one opportunity but there are many waves to come. If you take care of your life first, you’ll have plenty more of yourself to bring to the table the next time opportunity knocks. And it will. Have your bags ready and packed by the door for when it calls, but make sure you’re still enjoying that cup of tea with a friend.

Speaking of tea with friends – one of my best friends is getting married to my husband’s brother tomorrow!!!

Time to sign off and be there for my friend who I will soon be calling family.

See you next week!

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