Here.

4 months!?

Has it really been 4 months since I sat down to type something on this thing?

I guess it has–and it’s no coincidence that that long drought of words coincided with my bout of full-time unemployment.

One would THINK that with all of the time afforded by not having steady work, one would be able to crank out some impressive prose.

Alas, I have found that when one is stressed about such trivialities as rent money and scraping enough together to resist the ever present threat of car repossession, one’s brain isn’t quite ready to dive into writing the Next Great American Novel/Screenplay.

So what’s happened during what I am now dubbing “The Great Silent Period”? Here are some bullet points I’ll hopefully get to over the next few weeks.

  • I found a nanny job–my “unicorn nanny job”, in fact. I won’t be going into detail about the kids or family, but it’s a nanny job with a 48 hour shift starting at 9am on Saturday and ending at 9am on Monday. This schedule is AMAZING for writing and auditioning and I’m already setting myself up to take full advantage of it.
  • I got my first root canal. It was as horrific as you would expect it to be, can’t wait to share the details with you.
  • I took some beginner magic lessons at The Magic Castle and it was awesome.
  • I went to SUNDANCE 2016! It was all sorts of amazing and awesome and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you here.
  • I survived the last few months panic attack free, which is probably the most significant feat of all. I had plenty of opportunity to completely lose my marbles, but I held it together through the grace of mid-day napping and Netflix.
  • I witnessed my first drug deal while apartment hunting.
  • I went in for a nanny interview with a celeb and came out with a PT writer’s assistant position. There won’t be a ton of detail on this one, either, but I will regale you with the tale of our serendipitous meeting because it’s honestly something out of a movie.
  • I finally got the wherewithal to sit my butt down and update this blog. So get ready for some wild stories.

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Shondaland is Set on My Destruction–With an Open letter to Shonda Rhimes, Herself

You read that right–Shonda Rhimes, Shondaland, and everything to do with that Magical Mistress of Television Hits are set on reducing me to a puddle of aspiring actor/writer tears.

You may think me overly dramatic (in this case, probably a “pro” since Shonda and I seem to teem with drama in our writing) but take a minute and hear me out–and if someone can save me, please answer my call.

As an actor in Hollywood, especially one of the ethnic variety, I recognized pretty early on that the breakdowns on the casting sites weren’t calling my name. Viola Davis makes note of this in her most recent acceptance speech for her Emmy win. It held true when I first got here in 2012 and still holds water today.

SO, armed with an English and (undeclared) Theatre degree from a prestigious university, I set about writing several pilots in which a character would expressly fit my age, nationality, acting range, etc. If the parts for women of color didn’t already exist, I would MAKE THEM EXIST.

Inspired by nearly 1/3 of my personal circle of collegiate friends skipping off to law school, I sat down to write a dramedy surrounding a group of students and several teachers. I interviewed an astonishing amount of my friends over email and over the phone. Hours went into my research. Days were spent outlining, writing, drafting, and writing some more. I had just polished what felt like the 6th draft of my show entitled “1L” when “How to Get Away with Murder” was announced.

GRR. AND. ARGH.

My first foray into writing a pilot was now worthless. Not to mention that I hadn’t been able to convince the Gate Keepers of Tinstletown to allow me even a toe in the door, let alone a whole foot.

I retuned to celebrity nannying full-time, licking my wounds and working on my next project. I had my first foray into celeb travel nannying by journeying to NYC, I learned to translate preschool-speak into English,  I learned what it means to balance a day-job that’s both emotionally and physically draining and still convince yourself to stop making excuses and CREATE. I battled ferociously with poop, Poop, and more POOP. I created an alter-ego-nanny that highlighted the absurdities of child rearing and childcare, in general, through the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram account of Judgy Nanny.

And then a lightbulb went off.

OMG SHORT AND FEISTY WRITE A PILOT ABOUT NANNYING. Make it about the intricate and delicate balance between working with someone else’s children without posing a threat to their parental instincts. Write it about toeing the line with OCD employers, about teaching little hellions how to be civilized tiny people, about avoiding the nanny cams when you need to change your clothes in a room other than the bathroom! ABOUT BATTLES WITH POOP.

I had just gotten through Act I last Friday. I was feeling good. I was so certain that my knowledge of children/childrearing and my talents of acting/writing would meld into one big ball of “Television GOLD”.

And then a friend messages me with this link from Deadline Hollywood:

‘Scandal’ Stars Kerry Washington & Katie Lowes To Produce Nanny Dramedy For Shondaland & ABC

Another posts this link to my Facebook from A.V. Club:

Kerry Washington to produce a Shondaland dramedy about nannies

And then a third friend messages me with this article from Variety:

‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington & Katie Lowes Producing Shondaland Nanny Dramedy

If y’all could see the chunks of hair I ripped out of my head in frustration, you would kindly advise me that I needed both a haircut and new headshots. I had both a metaphorical heart attack and stroke. I died, re-read the articles, and died some more. My life had turned into a twisted episode of The Truman Show!

So I sat down and wrote this blog. Here’s an open letter to my own personal Television Muse and Goddess:

Dear Shonda, 

STOP SPYING ON ME. I love that you and I are on the same plane of what is hot and what is NOT in Hollywood or what would make for excellent television programming. It boosts my ego and makes me feel a little more confident in my abilities as a writer and an actor in Los Angeles to know that we’re seeing eye to eye. But for the love of Pete, could you please stop producing my ideas before I can even get beyond the parking lot of La La Land? Better yet, how ’bout you and I talk it out over a cup of coffee and with the promise of a free night of babysitting, no matter what. Because this show is basically going to be ABOUT MY LIFE and I really want “in” on it. I would say have YOUR people get in touch with MY people, but I don’t have any people in LA, so here’s my email ohpear248@gmail.com. See that play on words of “Au Pair”–another form of childcarer? YEAH. AGAIN with this show being about my life!

Smooches,

Short and Feisty. 

Photo Credit | TheOdessyOnline.com

Photo Credit | TheOdessyOnline.com

For When You Need a Little Perspective

Wake up, ready to start the day. Lay around in bed until 7:30am (wow, that’s late for the person with an infallible internal alarm clock that thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to be up at 6:15am every morning).

Roll out of bed and peer into the empty refrigerator. “I really should put some effort into grocery shopping.”

Grab a juice box, hand delivered by the mailman from an Amazon order. Shopping made easy.

Open up your laptop, pull out your (gifted) iPad, and somehow lose two hours of your life to clicking and scrolling.

On Netflix, sink into a BBC series that you’ve seen a million times. On Facebook, notice several friends have achieved some career/home/life accolades and make sure you feel SO BEHIND.

The facebook encounter will get you in a tizzy, so much so, that you must immediately seek out an edible item made primarily of chocolate to soothe your case of the grumpies. You make it to Starbucks, pay for a chocolate croissant and smush it into your face in the time it takes to inhale three solid breaths.

Then, feel guilty because you’ve started today with sugar and carbs instead of healthy, non-dairy, non-gluten, non-taste-organic, “Los Angeles typical” fare.

Spend too much time in your day fretting over the submissions you’ve made to various entertainment festivals, fellowships, and competitions. It’s not un-like waiting to hear back on college admission. You submit. They take way longer than you thought humanly possible to decide, and either accept or reject you with a short note mentioning how steep the competition was and how everyone can’t make it in.

You putter around, wasting gas, but feel ok about it because it’s improving your overall mental state. Plus, you drive the Prius so can be a tiny smug about sending less emissions to float over our heads in the smog-ridden-valley that we call home.

You recall that this Sunday, you’ll be nannying so that your bosses can head to the Emmy’s and you wish YOU were going–you’re tired of watching the industry from behind the diaper bag. You want to be a PART of it beyond keeping the kids of the actors and agents and producers safe and sound while THEY work.

You brainstorm ideas for a new film project while you drive, but lament the fact that you can’t write anything down because TWO HANDS ON THE WHEELS, PLEASE. And buying a tape recorder to talk into would just feel silly.

Half the day is wasted away, so you start to feel guilty about that, too.

Why does it always seem like the walls are falling in and you’re not getting the opportunities you need in order to break into your chosen field?

Why is life so hard?

Why can’t it be easier for YOU in particular?

WHY YOU?!

And then…you get this text message from the other nanny at your new job:

Can you please come to work for me.

(…)

I  have to go home, to Guatemala.

(…)

They killed my nephew, his wife, their child, and I’m taking the next flight out.

Your body goes numb but you text back that you’re on your way and you jump into your car. You guide your fancy hybrid car onto the street. You lift that over-priced cup of coffee out of the cupholder and note that your belly is full. You turn on the music through your bluetooth feature from your expensive iPhone. You note that, though you live in a city with a history of crime and gangs, it’s possible to walk down the street in your part of town without the threat of getting shot. You note that your family and friends are safe and sound in suburbia or in other big cities–still safer than in 90% of other countries in this world. You listen to the music, realize that you have a wonderful and privileged life, and can’t believe how fitting the first song you hear is:

Would you please take me away from this place
I cannot bear to see the look upon your faces
And if there is some kind of god do you think he’s pleased
When he looks down on us I wonder what he sees
Do you think he’d think the things we do are a waste of time
Maybe he’d think we are getting on just fine
Do you think he’s skint or financially secure
And come election time I wonder who he’d vote for

Ever since he can remember people have died in his good name
Long before that September
Long before hijacking planes
He’s lost the will he can’t decide
He doesn’t know who’s right or wrong
But there’s one thing that he’s sure of this has been going on too long

Do you think he’d drive in his car without insurance
Now is he interesting or do you think he’d bore us
Do you think his favourite type of human is caucasian
Do you reckon he’s ever been done for tax evasion
Do you think he’s any good at remembering people’s names
Do you think he’s ever taken smack or cocaine
I don’t imagine he’s ever been suicidal
His favourite band is Creedence Clearwater Revival

Ever since he can remember people have died in his good name
Long before that September
Long before hijacking planes
He’s lost the will he can’t decide
He doesn’t know who’s right or wrong
But there’s one thing that he’s sure of this has been going on too long

Ever since he can remember people have died in his good name
Long before that September
Long before hijacking planes
He’s lost the will he can’t decide
He doesn’t know who’s right or wrong
But there’s one thing that he’s sure of this has been going on too long

It’s Time for an Update

It’s been a million years (really 2 months) since my last blog post, which calls for some updates.

1) Me reaching my lofty goal of finding an agent by June 1st didn’t quite happen. I did, however have two agent meetings (a feat that I don’t think I would’ve accomplished without having set that goal in the first place). One was an “invited open call”– something I had never even heard of before I stepped into their office. Essentially, it’s like an open casting call for people that’ve reached out to them that fit the demographics they are looking for. You go in, perform a prepared monologue, and do a cold read of another piece and that’s it. Kind of a let down because you don’t actually get to talk to the agents, it’s more like a traditional audition for a show.

THEN, my other meeting was a legit agent meeting with a boutique agency that I didn’t think meshed well with what I’m looking for. In short, the owner was a little too eccentric and we didn’t even discuss my prior experience or projects…the owner made some sports analogies along with providing some personal anecdotes and offered me representation. I know the old adage “beggars can’t be choosers” but it didn’t feel like a good fit!

I’m seriously hoping that I made the right choice in moving on from that one, but I’m beginning to feel my leg rear back to kick myself in the pants.

Hmmm, what else.

2) OH! The short film I shot to get out of my “woe is me” rut last March is almost completely finished. I always wondered why projects took so long in post production and I’ve finally figured it out: if you don’t have a motivated enough producer, shit doesn’t get done.

In this case, that producer was me.

I opted to have the film professionally edited and scored, which added time to the overall production, but not so much that it took that insanely long to finish a 3:30 short.

At least it’s almost done, so put away those judge-y eyes!

3) I spent the last month nannying for two families at once. Though the financial boom from this decision will certainly help this nearly-starving artist, my productivity in the creative realm hit an all-time rock bottom. Not one blog was written. Not one script was researched or typed. Not one audition was had.

Not to mention I nearly went insane forgoing days off for three weeks. I had a nice little panic attack and cry-fest. Really “cleaned out the emotional system”. Not to mention that it unclogged my stuffy nose.

So maybe I won’t do that again.

In conclusion: I wish there was more to write, more updates to give, and more progress in the acting/writing career realm, but I’ve got nothin’. I’m as disappointed as you are, really, but them’s the breaks.

But I did see this incredibly cheesy quote floating around the Internets this week, and I’m hoping it’s prophetic:

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I Hate this City

Drag yourself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn because you have a 12 mile commute that needs to get you to work by 7:30am.

Walk into work to the nanny job to children yelling, “No, I don’t want [Short and Feisty] to be here! Go away!”

But it’s not the first time you’ve heard that and it certainly won’t be the last because who punishes their kids for being rude every morning, these days? Sure, they’ll recover in 10 minutes and start hugging you, but it doesn’t erase the shitteous start to the day.

Grandparents galore are in town so you’re routine is off kilter simply by them being there. Add in the fact that one of these grandparents enjoys rearranging the schedule with their preferences and their crappy ability to make you late for things, and your day is lining up nicely.

{Dear Parents: for the exact reasons why YOU don’t want to hang out with your annoying parents, your nanny does not want to spend 10 hours a day with them, either.}

You make plans only to have them interrupted by, not only the presence of the grandparents, but the fact that both mom and dad are home rearranging your plans as well.

WHY THE HELL DO YOU HAVE TO BE THERE IF THE ADULT TO CHILD RATIO IS OVERWHELMINGLY IN FAVOR OF THE ADULTS?!

Welcome to the world of high-net-worth nannies, where they can afford to just have you there sitting around twiddling your thumbs.

Oh, and one of your kids is a two year old. A raging, drooling, snot nosed, two year old who you alternate between wanting to shove in a corner and hugging. Because sometimes they can be so darn sweet and literally less than 2.5 seconds later and their screaming at you to “un-cut” the slice of bread that you cut in half…after they asked you to cut it in half.

You leave your job by sprinting out of the door and get in the car with three hours to get from the far West Side of LA to Hollywood to see a show for a sketch writing class you’re taking.

GUESS WHAT, THOUGH.

Just because you have somewhere to be that evening, every single solitary route you could use to expeditiously get to your destination is a bumper to bumper wall of solid metal and rubber tires.

You sit in the inching traffic, cursing your luck, and then you realize that the audiobook you were enjoying (Bossypants, again) only has about 10 minutes left while your GPS predicts you have an additional 90 minutes left.

Pull over for some food. Yum. Sit. Eat. Listen to that last 10 minutes of Tina Fey. Try and get BACK on the road. Attempt to stay awake, you’ve been up for well over 12 hours at this point.

Almost 2 hours of traffic later.

You pull up to the theatre of the comedy school you’re attending. You try to find parking but

  1. It’s dark,
  2. The signs on the streets of LA would confuse a WWII codebreaker,
  3. You can’t tell if the curb is painted red, or if it’s just the glare from some light.

While you’re searching for a space, your anxiety disorder comes out to play and you’re wondering why the hell all the comedy schools in this godforsaken town are located in the shitty dumpster parts of the city (cheap rent, most likely). You guess comedy needs an “urban/edgy” feel that you’re not going to find in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills (also, cheap rent).

Your brain is ticker taping the following: “You’re going to get shanked, you’re going to get stabbed, you’re going to get jumped, you’re going to be assaulted” all while trying to concentrate on finding some GD street parking so you don’t have to pay $5 for valet to have a stranger drive your car AND THEN TIP HIM FOR TURNING THE IGNITION ON AND OFF AGAIN.

You pull back around to the front of the theatre to see NO parking and several homeless people start to settle in for the night and a rather skeevy guy lurking around on his cell phone. Probably selling street pharmaceuticals.

STAY FOCUSED DON’T PULL OVER YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE AND GET SHANKED.

You pull onto a side street a second time just in time to see a sizable rat jump into the undercarriage of a Rav-4 in front of you.

Nope, nope, fuck that noise. I’m out.

And you hate this city and you’re tired of trying so hard to just end up treading water and you want to run away and–

shhhhhhh.

You’re going to go home, blog, eat some tortilla chips, sleep, and pray that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that makes all of the bullshit worth it. Because you don’t hate the city, you hate your circumstances and it’s up to you to change them.

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