Archive | March, 2012

What Else?!?

19 Mar

Ever have that nagging, restless, unsatisfied feeling where you’re just sitting in your living room by yourself, having just closed your lap top, tapping your fingers on the sidetable (not coffee table, cuz you still can’t afford one) not knowing what to do with yourself? Well, I did, just last week.

I was up-to-date with all my submissions (submitting by the hour, sometimes even more often!), I designed my postcard, I followed up on networking emails, I signed up for all applicable upcoming CD workshops (within my budget- again, poor), updated my CD target list with all pertinent info, researched new TV shows that might be right for my type, worked on memorizing my script for an upcoming play I’m in, did some character work for the play, met with my writing partner for a final round of edits on our screenplay, read some actor blogs… and… and… what else? What else can I do???

Of course I know an actor’s work is never done. That’s the cool/annoying thing about this career, there is always something you can be doing. But, what? I found myself at a standstill, not being able to think of anything, not knowing what to do with myself. The real reason I was feeling so unsatisfied, as my boyfriend thoughtfully pointed out, is I  was unrealistically waiting to see the fruits of my labor– right then and there! Silly, I know, but he was right! It was this feeling of, “Okay, I’ve put all this work in, now let’s see what I get!” But I know that’s not how it works. I know that! And yet, there I was, sitting alone in my living room (subconsciously) waiting, hoping for something to happen.

Fortunately, I got over it. I had rehearsal the next day, an audition the day after, performances over the weekend… Again, I have a lot to feel grateful for. Coincidentally, I did come across two helpful posts from actor-friendly sites, which were rather timely. So, I thought I’d share:

1. What Can I Actually DO…?

I came across this as I was stumbling through actor blog posts on various topics. This topic, of course, is exactly what I’ve been talking about. I talk about many of the things on this list throughout my blog, like making your own work- something I tout often, as the blogger Ben Whitehair does throughout this list of things you can actually do.

2. How to Stay Sharp During Down Time

This one came by way of my boyfriend, as it was just too perfect to my issue that day. Dallas Travers, “actor advocate”, often gives great, concise pieces of advice. In this quick video she goes over some things you can do in the down time between gigs, to keep sane and motivated.

Top 10 Ladies I Love (In Entertainment)

12 Mar

Last Thursday was International Women’s Day, March is Women’s History Month, I’m currently in a production of the Vagina Monologues as part of a women’s theater festival… Needless to say, I’m feeling love for the ladies right now. Going along with this theme, I’ve compiled a list of 10 awesome women in entertainment I’d be honored to work with one day.

1. Parker Posey (duh)

All-time favorite actress. Long-standing “indie queen”. Powerful on-screen personality and distinct style: makes every character her own. The original “quirky girl”. Killer at comedy. Scene stealer. My dream is to one day get to work with her.

2. Amy Pohler

Funny, of course. Amazing in Parks & Rec. I absolutely adore Lesley Knope. But beyond comedic talents, this woman stands for something. Smart Girls At The Party, a smart, entertaining and clever show, Amy’s original webseries, is geared towards young girls but is entertaining for all.

3. Meryl Streep

How can you NOT love this woman. She is insanely talented. Has had a long career that is still going strong. Plays kick ass parts and embodies her characters flawlessly. Never plays into the media hoopla. Goes for big budget or low budget, just wants to act in good projects with good roles.

4. Mila Kunis

So underrated. First off, she’s a working actor- doing TV, voiceover and film. Natalie Portman got all the attention, but, personally, I think Mila stole the show in Black Swan. She is a fearless actor but displays vulnerability beautifully. Would love to work opposite her one day.

5. Geena Davis

Not only a talented lady, she is incredibly thoughtful, sensitive and driven. By making use of her position in the entertainment world, she has done extensive media research through her own Institute on Gender in Media, trying to change female portrayals and gender stereotypes in children’s media.

6. Miranda July

Performance artist extrordinaire. She does it all- narrative film, short stories, installations, sculpture, video, voice over, you name it! And across all mediums, she maintains her very distinct voice making our ordinary every-day lives extraordinary, revealing the nostalgia and bittersweetness of it all.

7. Sandra Oh

I think  her character Dr Yang is the best thing on Grey’s Anatomy. She also does theater (a true actor! =) She is one talented actress who has a TV and film career at the same time. I’d love to follow in those footsteps…

8. Naomi Watts

Has been working her butt off for a long time. She finally got her break in Mullholand Drive but she’d been around a long time before that. She even produced and stared in her own film (make your work, make your success!) Never does she fall prey to tabloids and gossip, but just does consistently good work, interesting characters and versatile roles.

9. Mo Collins

So many funny ladies on my list, I just realized. But I can’t leave out Mo, who I’ve been watching on MadTV since high school. She fuckin rocks. AND…. I actually did get to meet her! (warning: tangent!) I was at a Muse concert in LA about 6 years ago and she was sitting in the row in front of me. When we all filed out after the concert was over, I worked up the nerve to say something. I told her that I love her work on MadTV and she was very gracious, said thank you, and then turned the subject to the band and chatted about the concert for a few minutes. So cool. =)

10. Brit Marling

I know she’s relatively new on the scene but she is so fuckin awesome and such an inspiration. Talented, driven, intelligent, creative….She pretty much made her career happen all on her own by writing and starring in her own films. Another Earth is such a creative, moving and thoughtful film and Marling carries the movie well.

Gratitude, an Exercise

5 Mar

These first two months of the year have simultaneously brought two things: opportunities & doubt. Seems a little contradictory, I know. I’ve seen the seedlings sprouting (this career is all about planting the seeds), and I’m trying really hard to ride the momentum and not get lazy now (i.e. let the fear kick in). However, on the same token I’ve been in a slump– an emotional one. I’ve been having a really rough time. I’ve had enough therapy to know that these two things could very well be connected. Fear of success, anyone? But it doesn’t make the feelings go away. It’s the usual actor-slump stuff (and probably the usual twenty-something slump stuff, too!): feeling lost, directionless, penniless, careerless, scared of my debt and no health insurance and the DWP bill that refuses to go away, afraid I’ll never be able to afford a home/puppy/wedding/family/ life! Sometimes I just want to say FORGET IT! I’m moving to the mountains, work at a cafe and make art. The end. But that isn’t my dream. Not now, anyway. That would be me running away.

And, the funny thing is, I am making progress! Things are happening. I’ve had all these opportunities and I’m taking all these steps. So, I wanted to write out all that is happening and why I should be grateful. Kind of like an exercise for myself to keep things in perspective. Perhaps this will help ease the pain of the slump while, in fact, I’m not in a slump at all…. I’m moving forward.

  1. I’m grateful for getting to be a part of important projects at the start of the year, sharing voices that don’t always get heard and telling stories that need to be told. Last weekend I closed Occupy the Heart at Casa0101 with an incredible cast, telling stories of the “99%” through plays and poetry, and without skipping a beat, next weekend I open theVagina Monologues and a new ensemble piece, “Voiced“, for Silverlake’s Women’s Festival at the Lyric-Hyperion Theater, also with an incredible cast, telling women’s stories through monologues (duh), poetry, and song.
  2. I’m grateful for getting into a casting director workshop studio. I finally scheduled an audition and got in, and now I’ve been signing up for agency and CD workshops to get myself out there more. I’m grateful that I finally feel ready to do this.
  3. I’m grateful for an incredible and almost serendipitous opportunity to work with the director of my favorite movie of ALL-TIME on a new project he is developing. I’m also grateful for the insanely kind words he shared with me at the end of that day, which was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m grateful he gave me the words I can hold on to now when I need to hear them again.
  4. I’m grateful for having day job(s) even if they drive me crazy and don’t necessarily pay all the bills. And I’m grateful that one of them actually relates to the work I want to do, working with young adults and helping them also create and tell stories. To teach them and encourage them to use theater, writing and poetry to express themselves and to change others.
  5. I’m grateful for having an awesome apartment, that I get to share with a loving partner and two crazy kitties.
  6. Finally, I’m grateful I have a dream I get to follow in the first place!