Archive | inspiration

Just when I thought it would die….

29 Nov

it came back up like a wild fire that began with a single ember.

Love Nail Tree STORY: 6th Edition TheatreThe other month I posted about my feeling of defeat. The immense weight of a passion unfulfilled, of a passion no longer. It was an existential crisis of sorts, what do I do if I don’t act? How do I organize my life without the one thing that has been my driving force since I was seven? I got dangerously low on that fuel gage. I let the empty light flash for quite a long time and I was going to let it just… run out of gas and die on the side of the road. I didn’t know how I’d get moving from there but I didn’t care. I’d just let it run its course.

But then something saved me. I reluctantly kept submitting on Actors Access, LA Casting even though my heart wasn’t in it. I’d get auditions, call-backs and then the road would end there. I was like call back queen and it started to get on my nerves. One such project was a random theater gig in Downtown LA. I didn’t think much of it as I attended the audition and then, a week later, the call back. In my defensive mode, I wrote it off– yet another gig I wouldn’t book.  Whatever. Who cares anymore. I even let my Actors Access account expire. A couple of weeks past. See, I thought, figures. I was proved wrong. I got the part. However, I still wrote it off as a meaningless project. I belittled it, but what I was really doing was belittling myself. I even debated whether or not to accept it even though the last three months was a string of no-shows when all I wanted was to perform. Fortunately, I said yes. Luckily, it was the exact experience I needed at  precisely the right time. I was able to re-fuel.

The theater project, produced by a cool LA-based indie clothing company, involved devising six short plays from conception to script to stage. The five of us “collaborators” would meet three times a week for three hours every week for seven weeks, brainstorming, improvising, writing, directing and creating this brand new show from scratch. I felt like a kid again, reminded of the simple joys in acting– the invention, the play, the camaraderie. This is why I fell in love with theater in the first place. Why I was hypnotized by a high school production I happened to see years ago, and why I decided to pursue this crazy passion despite all the fears I had surrounding it. After seven weeks of working together with an ensemble, playing stupid games that anyone outside the world of acting would find embarrassing or crazy or both, writing parts for ourselves, stepping into multiple characters’ shoes, I fell back in love with acting. By the final night of our brief four-night run, I realized that I do love acting, that I am good at it, that it’s worth doing. DUH.

I’m awake now. I have drive. I’m writing like never before. I have a new idea that I’m itching to get off the ground. I’m in a kick-ass theater company.  I renewed my account. I have an awesome manager.

The fire’s still burning…


19 Aug

IMG_3323This past week has been hard. Very hard. Like, wallow in your own self-pity and can’t move your muscles to get your ass out of the apartment hard. I’m not proud of it. There are people dying every second in this world and here I am feeling sorry for myself. I hate feeling like this. But sometimes I sink into dark holes and can’t get out. And it’s sort of strange I’m feeling this after what was an amazing three-week cross country adventure. Usually trips make me more centered, invigorated, inspired. Instead I feel inspired… to give up. I’m sorry, I know y’all were probably expecting a positive post. But once in a blue moon I just can’t muster up the energy. This is how I’m truly feeling.

It’s no secret that this shit is hard. Maybe impossible. There is no guarantee that one day I will make a living acting (which is the ultimate dream) and I used to be okay with that. But recently I’m finding I’m not. I don’t know. I’m still working it out. Perhaps I am just speaking from a place of fear and, well, exhaustion. I’m tired. I’m tired of continually putting myself out there with no return. I’m tired of the constant unknown be it when’s my next paycheck or when’s my next play. I’m tired of scrambling to find jobs to support this crazy habit I have. I’m tired of stressing about money. I’m tired of having nothing to look forward to. I’m tired.

There are of course a lot of ups and downs with this pursuit and I’ve had my fair share (as I’m sure many of you have). However this last down went to particularly low depths and so it has been a lot harder climbing back up. What if I just left LA? What if I did something entirely different? But the crazy part in all this is, though just last week I was seriously considering giving up entirely (and that idea still sounds very appealing) I’m not. I can’t. Yet. Call it crazy, determined, delusional or whatever, I cannot think of what that other thing would be. What would I put all my heart and soul into if not acting? And so, although I feel defeated and I’m still climbing up out of the last fall, I am not defeated.

The Power of Movement to Move

8 Jul
dance studio at one of my favorite places to move, The Sweat Spot

dance studio at one of my favorite places to move, The Sweat Spot

The past month I’ve had an increase in movement in my life. I started taking a sparring class, and though my knuckles are raw and my muscles are sore, I feel fantastic. I’m honing in on my power, gaining confidence, and building strength. With my awesome theater company, The Vagrancy, our last actor workout was a devised theater piece mostly based on physicality. I’ve also been taking this incredible acting class with Steppenwolf, which is mostly based on the Viewpoints technique. The class is opening myself up in ways I never thought possible and it’s blowing my mind! All this has me thinking a lot about movement and the power of movement to move you.

Movement is not thinking, it’s doing. Movement is inherently visceral. It taps into your core. I’ve always been a believer in the connection of the physical and emotional. If I’m not in a good place emotionally, it’s no surprise to me that this feeling will manifest itself in a sore throat or stomach ache. When I’m feeling in really good shape, or just got out of a killer dance class, I also feel incredibly happy! It’s all one and the same.

And so it is with acting. I think it’s really important to be in touch with our bodies, not just to be fit and healthy, but to be able to convey moments, scenes, characters more truthfully. You could tell a whole scene without its text and it could be just as powerful, if not more. You can discover new things about your character through movement. Movement shakes shit up– yeah, literally, but also inside. I’ll find myself tearing up within in the first five minutes of a Viewpoints exercise just because it’s loosening all that stuff in me, in my core, that is typically bottled up to get along with my day to day. But acting isn’t day to day. It’s pivotal moments. It’s conflict. It’s ordinary made extraordinary. It moves you.

Tell Yourself a New Story

24 Jun

IMG_1630A couple months ago I had the pleasure of hearing Shelly Gillyard (Senior VP of talent at Nickelodeon) speak about that pesky little guy, fear. Of course fear is something we battle with constantly as actors– fear of not getting the job, fear we are not good enough, fear that success will never happen, and on and on. But perhaps we battle that demon because it’s the only story we’ve been telling ourselves. At some point in our life, we failed at something we really wanted, or our parents told us we’d never make it– something however seemingly small or insignificant was the beginning of that story we have been telling ourselves ever since: fear. Shelly brought up a great point– why not tell ourselves a new story? It’s just a story after all. It’s not the truth. I do not have to take fear on and internalize it only to fight it constantly as I navigate this crazy career. And we all know how powerful language is– we’re actors after all– so why not use that power for good? Why not tell ourselves a new story of success and happiness and worth and positivity?