"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Need Your Help

Hi!

I need your help.

I have been writing this blog, helping new actors get their bearings in LA and understand the Hollywood system, for free as a labor of love, since 2009. That's 8 years. 8 years of sharing my struggle, my insight, my advice, without taking any of your money, just because I wished there was a resource like this when I came out here.

I've written a pilot. It's good. It's also sexy! And a friend of mine with a development deal (with two celebrities attached, so you know, he's kind of a big deal) liked my pilot so much that he offered to help me create a presentation for it and use his contacts around town to help me pitch it to studios.

I Need Your Help to Raise Money for the Pilot Presentation.

Please check out my Kickstarter page.

If you would like to thank me for helping you navigate Actors Access, or how to take great Headshots, or even how to audition for the CBS Diversity Sketch Show, and want to donate a few bucks (or you know, a thousand; no judgement!), I would gladly take it and give you a big virtual hug, as well as whatever incentives you got.

Include a message in the notes section that you're donating because you saw this post and are thanking me for helping you.

I'll thank you right back.

with love and gratitude,
Lira

Friday, July 28, 2017

Self Tapes

You guys.

I've been concentrating on television writing, taking classes, reading books, studying my little heart out to really understand the craft so that I can keep working as a storyteller.

Wrote a pilot and sent it out to friends for notes, and OH MY GOD. One of my friends with a development deal at Sony (with two celebrities attached, so you know, he's kind of a big deal) liked my pilot so much that he offered to help me create a presentation for it and use his contacts around town to help me pitch it to studios.

Is that weird? Yes. Yes, it is. Because it always feels like that's how the other half lives. But now, I'm living that life too. And I'm in pre-production, gathering up crew and locations, and making sure my director, DP, and Production Designer are ALL WOMEN, and will all GET PAID. One of my male actors (a recurring on Silicon Valley) has even offered to waive his fee so I could put that money towards my women crew. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Oh, and my producer friend? Also doing all this FOR FREE.

You know why? Cause they believe in me. And that feels fucking awesome. Because even though I've been writing this blog, helping new actors get their bearings in LA since 2009, and even though I wrote a freaking book, I still sometimes don't feel like a writer. It's weird.

I gotta get over that, you know?

Oh! And I had one actor email me that he read my post on how to audition for the CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase, and he got a Callback and wrote to tell me thanks! You're welcome, Rene!

Anyway, the Point of this Post

Right. That.

You ready?

For my pilot presentation, I put out 3 different breakdowns on Actors Access, asking for self tapes.

Here's what I found learned that I think you may find helpful:

Some actors, for some reason I could not understand, did not find a scene partner, and just recorded themselves saying their own lines.

I'm really not sure why they thought that was a good idea. Acting is reacting. So when you just read your own lines, you're already eliminating half your scene. And I get it, the other character had a few chunk of lines, but as a casting director, I needed to see how you reacted to what he was saying. I needed to see your disbelief, your disgust, your intrigue, all within the six seconds he was talking.

Some actors went for 'realism' and went on location.

One of my sides took place in the doorway of an apartment, so two different actors took their cameras and recorded themselves doing their scene in the doorway of their own apartment. Don't do that. It's distracting. You're showing me that you care less about your performance, which is all I care about, and more about location. How many times did you have to redo your tape when a neighbor walked by?

Some actors used a blank wall while others didn't have one so I saw their entire apartment. 

And you want to know what's interesting? The actors who've studied their craft, the ones who created a character, the ones who were really good; they had my whole attention. The ones who were still new and green? I checked out their place. Ooh! A bookshelf. Messy clothes.

Because that's the thing about self-tapes: I only need 5 seconds to judge you. If you don't wow me in those first 5 seconds, I can move on! So the lesson here, is to make sure your first 5 seconds are really, really good.

What does that mean?

Well... that's what class is for. Audition technique is really something you need to learn.

Another thing you should learn?

80% of the tapes I received were 'good enough.'
I thought, you know, I could work with this person. I can tell they're good enough that I could direct them to give me what I want. They're fine.

But for each role, I had my top 3, and what struck me was that I only had ONE person per role who fucking NAILED IT and had everything I needed in regards to what I was looking for in the character. That's it. ONE.

Are you that ONE? Sometimes you will be. Most of the time, you won't.

Sometimes you'll kill it in your audition but then the role gets taken by someone the producer knows. 

That is a fact of life, and it sucks. For instance, one woman was sooo good! And even though she was in that character's age range, I couldn't cast her because she'd look too young around the other actors I had already cast.

And then, after much discussion, my producer convinced me to take the role, because then we can tout me as the creator/writer/star; the next Mindy Kaling.

And if anyone is like, "We love the idea, love your writing, but don't think you can lead a series and we really want Amber Riley in your role," I'd be like GO AHEAD.

In fact, that was actually something I talked to my cast about: the chance of me actually selling this show is 2%. And of that just 2%, the likelihood of my original actors getting to keep their roles is .3%. That's the damn truth.

No matter how good of an actor you are, no matter how much I would want to keep you, Kylie Jenner could want to star on a TV show, and you'll get pushed out because you don't have millions of followers on IG.

Hollywood can suck.

I wish I could message the ones who really impressed me.

I was sort of struck by how I wanted to reach out to a few of these actors and say, "You know what? I get it: sending self tapes out into the ether is fucking awful because you don't ever get a response and it'd be nice to hear someone say, "that was really good," like they do in a first call audition. That little bit of validation can go a long way.

I wish everyone held callbacks like I do.

Because mine were the best. I called back only the people I wanted to cast. I sent them emails saying they were 1 of 3 actors called back, and then, after spending time with them in the room, offered the role to them right there. Told them they were my top, number one choice this whole time.

That was fun. :)


Thursday, May 4, 2017

So True

"Los Angeles isn’t a city that will make you. Los Angeles is a city where you will work if you can survive a very slow climb and outlast confidence-shattering lulls." - Cameron Esposito

Read the full article here.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

How to Audition for the CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase

So last year, I submitted a sketch I wrote to a group looking for Diverse sketches to perform at iO West. Mine got accepted and it was performed. One of the actors wrote me and said, "Hey, you should submit a sketch package to become a writer for the CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase."

Since I had two sketches I liked very much and felt highlighted diversity and inclusion, I sent in my materials. I got in!

And as a writer, I got to see the auditions of the actors who got into the program, and I want to share some information I learned.

This is Completely Unauthorized!!!

Full disclosure: I could be completely wrong about this. I could even recommend things that will not work for you personally.

But the program is AMAZING for actors and the Diversity team at CBS doesn't just launch you in a show and then say buh-bye; they actually really care about you as an actor. Your success is their success. And those (mainly women) in charge of the program know their shit.

So, if you want the VP of Casting at CBS and the Diversity program directors on your side rooting for you (and you do; they're super lovely people!) Read on. (understanding that my advice is most likely garbage.)

1) If You Auditioned Before and Failed Hard, They Won't Remember. 
They audition over 2,000 actors of color, those who identify as LGBT, and those with disabilities, and they will remember you if you are GOOD. If you had a great audition last year, I guarantee they will be happy to see you audition again. So if you've already done it and thought, nah, there's no way they'll have me come in again, submit anyway! We had, I don't know, like 15 actors who had auditioned for the showcase the year before? And most everyone had auditioned already in the past.

2) BE FUNNY.
This is tricky because I know the audition is basically like, 'come in with three characters' or whatever it is, and it's like, characters doing what? Characters doing funny bits. Write some funny jokes into your monologues. Come up with something familiar but original. One actor said, "Here's my impression of Aladdin, but he's really afraid of heights." He started singing, "I can show you the--world--" and then he looked down at his 'carpet' and said, "Wow." And he built his fear of heights  into the next line, and we all thought it was hilarious. So put jokes into all your characters.

3) If you Sing and Dance, DO THAT too!
For the love of God, show off what makes you shine! But! Don't just sing a song, write a PARODY of 16 bars of a song. Love Hairspray? Can you absolutely kill the song "Can't Stop the Beat?" "This is my impression of Tracy Turnblad if she was a vegetarian," And then you sing the song as if it was "Can't Eat the Meat." (I wrote that sketch, btw, so...you know, don't steal that.)

If you Dance, take some time to DANCE! They love actors, they love singers, but they absolutely freaking love Triple Threats! For, um, obvious reasons.

If you don't dance, but you do Martial Arts or Gymnastics, or something along those lines, USE That in a character sketch! Find a reason why a character would do a handstand or roundoff or whatever, and implement it. (and have a backup character in case you don't feel comfortable in the audition space cause there's less room than you thought, but DO mention you have these skills!)

4) Especially if You're a Person of Color, Do An Accent!
Maybe your Tia Gloria is hilarious, maybe Uncle Asad says words a funny way. USE THEM. Throw in some jokes about something and DO ACCENTS.

And I hear you, Aziz, you don't want to do accents, but you're showing the big higher ups at a frikkin Network that not only can you play American, you can also play other Nationalities. You can give the writers of the show something to work with. For instance, two of our actors were of Puerto Rican decent who could do the accents, and one of the writers loved West Side Story, so boom! A Maria and Bernardo sketch was born. What it basically translates to, is the VP of Casting thinking, "Oh! I know we have a show where we could put that person in!" And I'm fairly confident she's making calls like that on the actors' behalf. Make her job easy for her.

The accent can also be American Decade specific. For instance, see, if you know you're the bees knees at speaking in a 1920's radio lit, DO IT! 70's Blacksploitation? DO IT!

If you can do impressions, the Board seems to love those too. Like, if you can do a killer Ivanka Trump, don't just say, "Hello, I'm Ivanka Trump," you gotta make a joke. Like, "My father said if we weren't related, he'd probably be dating me. And he's right. If I was an 18 year old immigrant desperate for money with a penchant for blowing micro-dicks, I'd be dating him too!"

(Also, sidenote, if you're a white LGBT performer, the Board LOVES white trash characters. I'm not sure why, but they do. Go with that?)

5) Use the Space!
If you're not doing a little dance for them, try to find a reason for a character to be a bit physical. One actress had one of those Scared Straight characters, so she used the space and a bizarre physicality to get into character.

6) Don't be Married to the Time Limit
I'm pretty sure they even say in all caps that they'll cut you off after a minute or something incredibly short like that, but I'll tell you a secret about time limits that I learned in college, and is most likely very true here, If you're funny and good, they'll let you keep going. Now, they probably won't let you go too much longer after that, but know if they're laughing, they're listening, and wanting more.

7) Be Taking Improv and Sketch Classes NOW
You want to have good skills? You want to work with people who are already in the improv and sketch world who already know you and love working with you? Get into those iO West, UCB, Groundlings classes NOW.

8) Already Be Doing Cool Shit!
It is extremely helpful to already have a ton of followers on a social media channel. It is extremely helpful to have a shit ton of videos up on YouTube and Instagram. It is extremely helpful to already know how to write sketches because....

9) You Can Write for Yourself
Four actors wrote sketches for themselves that made it into Showcase. Those people got to meet with execs of other networks just for a general because everyone is looking for the next Aziz and Mindy and Issa. You could be next too. Actor/Writer Lucas Hazlett of the 2016 Showcase sold a show to a network, and he's starring in a pilot coming out later this year. Be the future's Lucas Hazlett. (He's also super supportive and came in and made friends with all of us and watched most of our rehearsals. Offered advice and guidance and any type of emotional support we needed. Seriously, be like him. He's wonderful.)

And all of the above advice I give you is because I realized the following, most important aspect of Showcase:

10) They Want to Feel like THEY discovered YOU.
So that means you are effing READY TO GO. You've had the training, you've taken the classes, you've booked some good things already, you know how to write for yourself, you know who you are, you are funny, you are likable, and (most importantly) you are KIND.

Their entire purpose and reason for the Diversity Showcase is to show the rest of LA that they went out and discovered the next superstars. So be that already. Make their job easy for them.


So there you go. I hope this list is extremely helpful. If you get in, you will be a part of a 70 person family, with 10 people at a Network seriously invested in helping you get to the top level.

If you don't make it at this year's auditions, keep applying. You want to be in this show.

xo

The 2017 CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase Writers and Actors









Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Best Monologue Book for Women Ever

Now, obviously, I'm a bit biased, but I do strongly believe that this book is superior to the other monologue books on the market because this one directs you on how to perform each piece!

That's right! This book shows you where the emotional 180s are, suggests several different beats to play, and teaches you how to give your performance incredible depth.

Whether you're a high school student or a seasoned actress, this book is going to save you time and money AND help you learn how to make the monologues in your other books so much better too!

This is the book I wish I had.

So much so,
That this is the book I wrote for you.




Break the Rules and Get the Part: Thirty Monologues for Women not only teaches how and why to break the outdated rules you were taught, but unlike other "story monologues," each one-minute monologue in this book is written with a clearly defined active and emotional arc in the present. Each comedic, serio-comedic, and dramatic monologue is followed by Helpful Direction: key points that highlight character objectives and intents, several ideas on which emotions to hit, and how and where to hit them, and multiple comedic and dramatic suggestions that heighten an actor's individuality and personal essence. 


And let me know what you think!

So much love,

Lira
xo

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Validation

My whole life, I have been searching for validation. We all do.

But I'm not just an actress; I'm also a writer! That's a lifetime of constantly wondering, "Am I really any good at this?"

I was at a self-tape studio a few weeks ago and the owner asked how I knew my friend who referred me to him. "Oh, I met her in an acting class years ago, and after class ended that night, I went up to her and said 'I want to be as good as you are!' and instead of being creeped out, she was flattered! We've been friends ever since!"

He nodded, "You ARE as good as she is."

Whoa. Cause, she's really, really good. "Thank you!" I said.

He continued, "Where you are now; you know the craft. You know it. You now have to no longer think of yourself as an actress, but as an artist. You're an artist."

I inhaled as deeply as I could. "I will never, ever forget that," I told him, tears welling. Validation!

With writing...

Why did I feel like I couldn't? Why did I feel like I still mostly didn't know what I was doing? That I wasn't "really" a writer? I was 13 with my first writing gig as a columnist for our city-wide teen newspaper. I've been writing for years!

Where did my confidence go? Why did it go anywhere? Why did my struggles with one career bleed into the other?

But I wrote a book. And refined it. And made it better. Switched some things around, added more, added more, refined.

And I thought....you know what? I think this is GOOD. And if there was ever a time to fucking try something, then it was to see just what would happen if I sent it out to publishers. And that meant learning how to write a query letter, and learning how to create a book proposal. Which I did. (Thanks Studio City Library!)
Extremely Helpful!
I sent out my queries. Sure, I was writing an Original Monologue book, something no publishers had published in the last several years, and sure, the only Original Monologue books I could find on Amazon were all self-published. That was my original intention anyway.

But like I said, I thought my book was GOOD.

So off my queries went, into the electronic world of 0s and 1s, knowing full well I was going to focus on other things, and then figure out how to format my manuscript for self-publishing on Amazon a few months later.

And then, craziness:

Fifty percent of the publishers I submitted to said, "You're right. This IS GOOD. We know it will make us money."

I called my husband and read him the email from the first publisher saying they wanted to publish it. I choked up and cried.

Validation.

May your hearts all feel as full as mine right now.




Friday, June 10, 2016

The Whole Point

I'm still getting used to the blonde. Isn't that silly? Almost six months in and I still catch myself and go Whoa!

I did a play. In Studio City. I was the female lead with my own bow. We got standing ovations. Patrons waited outside, people I didn't know, to compliment me, to tell me how much I affected them.

I'm almost done writing a book. I'm currently researching how to write non-fiction query letters. You know what's exciting and terrifying? That! But it shouldn't be scary, because even if no one picks it up, I can always self publish. Like I've been doing here.

I'm in development for a web series with a story that makes my heart break in several pieces, but I still think is going to be funny in its poignancy. I even have an actor who recurs on Silicon Valley say he'll play the lead's Husband should his schedule allow.

I received an email from Marco thanking me for this blog, thanking me for sharing the ups as well as the downs, because that's what this actor life freaking is, you know? And that he hopes I'll continue to write it.

Well, Marco, thank YOU. Thank you for reminding me we're all in this together, that it takes a village, that it takes a community, and that we need it to thrive.

So the above were and are my ups. I do have one big down: My pregnancy ended at 8 weeks. I told very few people about it as I was shrouded in guilt and shame and the after effects when a uterus sheds its contents. Sometimes I want to talk about it, sometimes I want to keep it a secret. Sometimes I don't know if anyone else can understand mourning and relief and how they can be separate but together, like the white doily backing of a red valentine. Sometimes I think about the life that almost was, but isn't.

And I'll think back to what my Lady of Awesome told me after I told her; that when she was younger, she was taken to a psychic for fun, and the woman told her that she would have three children, 'Maybe not children, per se, but three things that you will give birth to.' Ideas into Things. And how that was the absolute best response to what I went through. How I cried in relief over that.

Ideas into Things.

Because, isn't that the whole point of why we keep doing what we do?

Keep on doing it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Giant Dipper

I remember being a small girl, holding my dad's hand as we sized up the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of the biggest all wooden roller coasters in the state. I was finally tall enough to ride, and I remember the way the coaster would dip and then roll back up, giving me that adrenaline inducing dropped stomach feeling. It was scary in the beginning, but I remember loving it, loving the hills and valleys, and at the end, feeling so energized. I was wind-blown with wet eyes, and I wanted to ride it again.

2015 hurt me. 2014 hurt me too. I had a year and a half of being so frustrated with not booking, with not being able to find part time work that gave me joy, with my artistic creative self not creating anything of import. I pretty much stopped writing. I pretty much stopped caring. I pretty much stopped being happy.

But man, I hid it. I hid it so extremely well. I was such a master at hiding it, I convinced myself that everything was fine. I mean, sure, some friends knew I was frustrated, but they didn't know the deep self-loathing I was dealing with because I was fucking smiling and making jokes throughout it all.

I didn't even know I was depressed myself.

Not until my husband sat me down and told me, with tears on his face, that he didn't know how to help me. That I wasn't creating anything for myself, and that he knew I was miserable, and what could he do to assist me?

He told me he was terrified I'd be angry at him. That I would be hurt, defensive.

Instead, I was shocked.

I was miserable?

I was miserable!

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

And more than anything, I wanted my husband to be proud of me, but the past year and a half, I didn't have anything I was proud of myself.

And that had to change.

There are several things I've got going on now, several things I'm excited to announce over the next few months, one of them requiring a huge change to my appearance.


I love this photo over here. I shared it on Facebook on Dec 25th.

After a year and a half of feeling trapped, stuck, in a tight space that no longer fit me, that made my entire body ache, I find myself bursting through a cocoon.

It's the roller coaster all over again. I had my valleys, but I'm on the upswing. My stomach dropped. I'm having fun again.

2016 IS a year of magnificent transformation already because, guess what?

I'm blonde now.

My eyes are wet and my hair is windblown.

I want to ride life again.

I hope you do too.






Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to Drive in the Rain in LA

Don't.


Ha Ha! Okay, sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes you have to drive from the valley to Santa Monica at 3:30 in the rain. You can pretty much guess that this commute in dry weather takes about an hour and 20 minutes now, due to the road work on Sepulveda (why do I keep taking Sepulveda?!), but if it is raining, seriously, estimate another hour into your drive time.

I know, I know, but there's something Angelenos love to yell at one another while driving in the rain:

"It's Just WATER!!!"

To these distinguished gentlemen with their fingers extended, I would like to say, "Yes it is just water. Under a layer of oil."

When it rains in LA, you can be pretty sure that it is after several weeks of sunshine and possibly a wonderful heatwave of 80 degree temps in January.

The oils in the freeway are from cars slowly dripping them, and there are a lot of cars on the freeways at all times.

Fresh rainwater mixed with oil on the freeways make it very dangerous. It's not just water, dear sir, it's automobile salad dressing!

So if you're driving on the 101 in the rain, and you're at that part near Hollywood where the speed limit drops down to 55, really actually drive that slow, okay?

And when you're on side streets, and it's raining, and there are pedestrians waiting to cross, give em a break and let them pass. Like, if you're at the Target parking lot, even, these poor people are getting wet wile you're in your car, dry, with the heat turned on. Do em a solid and let them get to the store and their cars quickly.

Also, use your horn less. Your horn is loud. Really loud. And pedestrians, who are already wet and cold and irritated, have to listen to the eardrum busting blast. It's maddening. So if you can give the guy in front of you a full THREE SECONDS to look up and notice that the light is green (as opposed to the point three seconds we seem to give our fellow drivers) everyone will be happier. It's just nice.

If your car is not compact, do not park in a compact spot.

And remember, they are called blind spots for a reason. If someone changed lanes and cut you off, do not go ballistic on them. They probably honestly did not see you. They're not called on-purposes; they're called accidents. Try not to drive in anyone's blind spot. And if someone does something completely stupid, try to let it go. I know it's hard but retaliation is dangerous, no matter how awesome it may feel while you're doing it.

Don't tailgate. And if someone is tailgating you and you can move into another lane, do it. Douchnozzles also carry driver's licenses, no matter how unfair. If you can't get into another lane, you can do what I do (and it's rather effective!): I take my foot off the brake very slowly, so I'm slowing down a pinch, and I put my hazard lights on. That makes Douchnozzle believe something is wrong with my car, so he'll get into another lane to avoid being behind me.  Try it!

We have this entitlement in LA, where we believe if we are in a lane, that lane is now ours and no one else's! I spoke to a friend who learned how to drive in LA as a 15 year old, and her instructor told her to not even put on her blinkers until she was halfway through the lane already because otherwise, people will speed up to keep you from having a safe amount of distance to change lanes.
So, give people a break. Let them come into your lane. It's okay. Sharing is caring.

Be safe out there. Be friendly, be cautious, be awesome.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Helping Actors Build Tools For Today's Workforce

Have you guys heard of The Actors Fund? Nope? Me neither. So when a friend forwarded me a link
to check them out, of course I had to.

The Actors Fund was created back before tabloid magazines and society newspaper pages created actor celebrities. Actors were lowlifes; just as bad as gypsies, tramps, and thieves, and when they died, no one wanted to bury them in sacred grounds, cause, again, ewww! Actors. Gross. Also, they were usually broke (doing 99 seat theatre in LA? KIDDING), so they died with no money.

The Actors Fund was created to help bury the dead. And once it got going, people thought, you know, maybe we can help actors when they're alive too!

And they have, and they do, and they will continue to do so. They're a non-profit, not affiliated with Sag-Aftra, but have their offices in the Sag-Aftra building. Also - you don't have to be union to take advantage of their workshops - you don't even have to be an actor! You could have ANY JOB in the entertainment business - you could be a photographer, dancer, camera operator, editor, producer, stage manager, light board operator, etc. etc. etc.

Right, but what do they do? They help you get your materials current for today's workforce, for parallel and side jobs, and career changes.

They describe parallel jobs as jobs you work alongside your acting career, that also fulfills you. Side jobs are the jobs you do for the money as opposed to your passion, and they even have 'Oh Crap! Rent is due tomorrow and I need another hundred bucks!" emergency jobs. And maybe you're a person whose interests in the entertainment field has waned or dwindled, and you find other industries more exciting.

The Actors Fund has workshops! GOOD ones! VALUABLE ones! They have a Career Assessment workshop which helps you narrow down your skills, passions, and personality type, and which type of job suits your schedule, lifestyle, and desired pay. They have Resume Writing workshops, which I thought, pssh, I don't need, and was taken aback with how small tweaks majorly increased my value as a prospective employee.

Job Search strategies help you find jobs opportunities on websites that aren't Craig's List; jobs with benefits and salaries and reputable employers!

There's an Art of Interviewing workshop as well, that preps you on how to sell yourself in a positive light, and highlight your creative mind and skills.

These workshops are amazing. And best of all: THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY FREE.

You must attend an Orientation that describes their background, how they can help, how they've helped, and how they'll help you, and after your first workshop, you can sign up for their job newsletter that comes out every Friday with jobs that are especially suited for those in the Entertainment world.

Orientations are EVERY Monday from 1-2:30 in the Sag-Aftra building on Wilshire, and Sag-Aftra will validate your parking.

I highly recommend you check The Actors Fund out. Take a friend. Take advantage. It's a group that was created to help all of us.