Work.

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My body has decided that now is the time to overthrow its master.

The last eight months of my life have been incredibly stress-riddled and my immune system had graciously been granting me an easy time of it (with the exception of a few migraines and a thrown out back).

The day I signed off and signed out one final time, my throat started to feel kinda funny. I tried to brush it off as “dry air” and maybe sleeping with my mouth hanging open directly in front of my fan (no AC, hello LA heatwave).

But then my nose started to leak a little bit…and then a little bit more…and now I feel like a dam is about to burst and the citizens living in the valley need to evacuate.

The fog that’s currently obscuring my mental vision is keeping me from writing anything truly fancy or inspirational. Honestly, this blog post is just an excuse to have a pity party that I know at least 3 other people may read. THANK YOU THREE PEOPLE.

BUT–and that’s a big ol’ “BUT”– I swore to myself that when my last job ended, I would hustle even harder than before to get words on paper, to start creating and making, and generally force myself to stay on the grind.

With that in mind, I purposefully parked my car in a zone that required me to move it within two hours of the moment I parked there. I set my alarm for 1 hour and 55 minutes and then promptly sat down to watch Netflix.

PRODUCTIVITY (?).

When I saw the remaining 30 minutes on the clock slowly ticking down, I wrenched myself out of my chair, and pushed my body into the shower.

Growing up, I was always the kid in the family who refused to get into the bathtub. My poor mother would beg, cajole, and then eventually threaten me to get in. I’m assuming I thought baths were a waste of time and I had more important things to do like play or read or makeup songs on my kiddie-keyboard even though I didn’t know how to play it. Good personal hygiene was for the weak.

Whatever it was, I despised this basic and necessary daily ritual. When my mother finally got me in and wrestled me like an alligator to wash me, I would then refuse to get out of the tub. I would stay in playing with my toys and with my washcloth until the water became ice cold and my mother had to drag me out.

Nothing has changed.

Today was the same.

I ended up snatching myself out of the shower after only 20 minutes (miraculously), threw on some clothes without even really looking at what I was adorning my body in, and left my apartment.

AND THEN–

Lo and behold, a golden parking space of opportunity shone forth: a parking spot with unlimited time and RIGHT in front of my apartment.  These babies pop up only once a millennium, or so it feels like. Could I waste this moment and ever recover emotionally?

“What if,” says me, “I park in that spot, go upstairs, wallow in my oncoming disease, and take a nap.”

“No,” came my short response.

Well that settled that.

I got myself over to that coffee shop and here I sit–I’m making a writing schedule, sending off emails, responding to texts that it’s taken me an egregiously long time to respond to, and wondering why the guy sitting next to me at the community table must sit so damn close IT’S A HUGE TABLE, MISTER.

Hold me accountable, y’all. Time to work.

 

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This Lavender Chai Latte didn’t disappoint!

 

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Greetings, from the Doldrums!

Well, hello there.

It’s been while–how’re things on your side of the screen?

Me, oh, you know, same old same old.

The weather’s been really great in LA, lately. And by “really great” I mean “very typical”. We’ve got a drought here, I don’t know if you’ve heard. I think we’re going on year 4. But they’re promising a very wet El Niño season this year, so maybe there’s an end in sight.

What’s that?…how’s the acting going?

Oh, well, no call back from that network audition which was QUITE the bummer, but there’s always next year. No great accolade’s from this year’s writing competition’s either, so that’s another bummer.

And we’ve got the short we made all finished–just need to sync the final score to the final cut and we’re shipping it off to short festivals for the coming year.

Other than that, this place resembles the Doldroms, as popularized by the children’s novel “The Phantom Tollbooth”.

I was super pumped about my finance series, until I wrote a really excellent blog post, relied on WordPress’ “autosave” feature, and had my brilliant musings zapped into the interwebs, without promise of retrieval. I should really get back on that cyber-horse, but my complacency has kept me from doing anything worthwhile or important on that level.

It’s easier to whine about becoming stagnant than it is to actually do something about it.

I’ll get back to it this week…maybe…or maybe I’ll slip into a lethargic puddle of mush. Watching time tick by and praying that I’ll have more time to make up for the time I’ve wasted.

Until then, have a great weekend, kiss the kids, and send my love to your mom.

XOXO,

Short and Feisty

PS send ice cream and/or chocolate. Netflix bingeing isn’t the same without confectionery refreshments.

For When Your Heart is Willing but Your Brain is Dead

I swore that when I found a 3-day-a-week nanny job, I would bust my butt writing EVERY SINGLE DAY that I had off.

I had fanciful ideas of waking up the morning after my 72 hour shift (some of those sleeping hours, I should mention) hitting the shower, getting dressed, grabbing the laptop, and typing away until my fingers were cramping and bruised.

Sadly, that’s not been the reality these last few months.

Once upon a time, about a year ago, I was able to punch out the first draft of a feature length script in a week. This is while I was working 50+ hours a week with a 2 hour round-trip commute. I literally had “little to no time” but I knew what story I wanted to tell, I identified so deeply with the characters that the dialogue just spilled out onto the paper, and I felt no pressure to get it done.

Now that I have 4 solid days of the week that could be almost entirely dedicated to writing, I should be producing more.

I have a handful of excuses I’ve bandied out to justify my lack of creativity, some are as follows:

  • By the time I get off of work on Monday evening, my brain is so fried and frazzled that it takes several days to recover. Not only is nannying physically exhausting, it’s mentally and emotionally tiresome as well. So many tantrums, so much whining, so many emotions and angry words are hurled at you in that profession. I’m not sure how nannies keep their sanity. Mothers HAVE to love their kids, but us, we’re a rare [read: insane] breed of people that are capable of loving someone else’s spawn, even when they launch insults at us.
  • I’m switching my focus between writing and acting and this is prime time when it comes to finding an acting agent for the unrepresented.
  • I’m tired. Like, REALLY TIRED.
  • No one’s going to read this shit, why am I even writing it??

Some excuses are more justifiable than the others, but HEY, I’m being honest, here.

I need to find a way to work through all of these roadblocks. A smart idea would be to set up a writing schedule with concrete goals and deadlines. Holding myself accountable is the dark-side to that new moon (I tried really hard to make that analogy work, right there. Did it?).

I could try to organize writing groups to motivate me and my writing pals.

Or I could just drive to Santa Monica, saunter into Dunkin’ Doughnuts, get a double chocolate doughnut and a strawberry glazed doughnut, drive back home, sit on the couch, turn on Netflix, watch as many episodes of Parks and Rec as my attention span will allow, cry because that show is done and gone forever, and wallow in self-pity.

I love having options.

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The Cure for an Actor Depressed

It’s inevitable.

Living in Hollywood and NYC and chasing the dream of being a paid actor has it’s ups and downs. And I’m talking “mountains and valleys” high-lows. Or, mountains and the Mariana Trench that goes 6+ miles below sea level.

It’s even harder when you’re surrounded by the successes of friends in your immediate acquaintance. You’re happy for them but you’re left wondering where YOU went wrong, or how you could have hustled harder. This feeling of acting inadequacy can shove you down so hard that you end up lying prostrate on the couch, elbows deep in a pint of peanut butter swirl ice cream (hey, at least it’s a delicious depression!).

The short term answer to helping get yourself out of the Doldroms is to distract yourself, but do so productively.

So here’s a step by step guide to get you back on those actor toes (completing this list should take 2 weeks or less):

  1. Put. Down. The. Ice. Cream.
  2. Finish that movie you’re watching and then watch one more. After that last film, it’s time to get moving.
  3. Shower. You probably haven’t done that for a while and today is most certainly a “Must Shower Day”.
  4. Brainstorm ideas for a short film. I’m talking super short. Three to five minutes tops. Keep it simple: Simple dialogue. Simple scene locations. No car chases, no explosions. The less characters/extras/props, the easier it will be to shoot!
  5. Look at your resume and update that baby. Are your headshots up to snuff or do you need to make an appointment for new ones?
  6. Write the short and make sure you’re the principle character. You’re doing this for your own benefit as well as experience.
  7. Google competitions to which you can submit the short. Make sure the deadlines haven’t passed and that the criteria for the competition is met through your short.
  8. Work your connections–talk to people about finding an editor/director of photography/sound tech/scorer/etc that are interested in working on a project you’re doing. Bonus points if they’ll do it gratis or for a “friend of a friend discount”. Does someone have a camera you can borrow (if you don’t already have one)? Maybe sound equipment? A house you can shoot in?
  9. Cast the short. Use LA Casting or Breakdown Express to hire other actors if you have decided against casting your friends (more on the pros vs. cons of that in another post).
  10. Once your cast and crew are set, pick a date in the very near future to shoot. Get the call sheet out to everyone and get your equipment locked down.
  11. Shoot it.

Now you’re in post-production. HOORAY! The timing for the next few steps depend on how fast you can get that puppy scored, the entry dates to the competitions, when your editor can take on your project (if you’re not editing), etc. But at least you’ve made something that showcases your writing/acting talents! Exposure is key. My personal downfall is staying on top of post production–I can get things “in the can” but revisiting them to finish is something I desperately need to work on. Having something to improve always keeps me from resting on my laurels!

How do you get yourself out of the doldroms? What projects help you to stay motivated?

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On Being Scared Sh*tless

There isn’t a lot that gets me shaking in my boots. I’ve got some amazing confidence and self-esteem (that I suspect, unfortunately, presents as arrogance sometimes) and I like to think of myself as being fairly brave.

Backpack in Europe alone? Check.

Move across country? Check.

Drink milk a day after its sell by date? Hell no.

But you get the idea.

However, when there’s uncertainty or even a hint of feeling out of control, I lose it.

And GUESS WHAT.

It’s about to get real uncertain up in this piece.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching and re-watching my all-time favorite movie: “You’ve Got Mail.” I can feel you judging me for loving a Norah Ephron film, but I’m not ashamed. One of my favorite quotes from Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly, a small business owner, is dripping with existentialism and is something I ask myself about every six months:

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

Earlier this month, I asked myself my own version of this question on the blog with a little more vagueness than I usually allow myself to type. I was in the throes of deciding whether or not I’d be brave enough to leave my cushy nanny job and go back to piecing together several paychecks in order to have the flexibility I need to pursue acting and writing in LA.

And then I remembered that I came out here for a reason, and it wasn’t to wipe tiny tushies and noses. It wasn’t to walk to and from playdates, and it certainly wasn’t to dedicate my time and energy to helping someone else achieve the exact same goals that I moved out here to achieve.

I moved Out West in 2012, but finances had me “off ramp” in 2013 to full-time employment and I’m (weirdly) thankful it happened. In the last 1.5 years, I’ve paid off my credit card debt, smashed through a majority of my student loans, and completed several outstanding courses in improv and sketch writing (which I wouldn’t have been able to afford, otherwise). I’m not at all rich, and I’m certain I’ll have bills to pay for the rest of my life (duh) but I’ve also learned that–

there will never be a “perfect” time to start living the life I want.

There will always be a logical reason to hold myself back, to not take risks, to not make myself available for something truly magnificent to happen. There will always be someone good-heartedly acting as “The Voice of Reason” trying to get me to see that I should play it safe forever.

I’ve come to the decision that, barring homelessness, those deterrents aren’t good enough to side-line me anymore.

It’s time to make moves.

Bring it, 2015.


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