"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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Student

I really, really like this picture because it reminds me of my friend Tanya. And I miss her. But yeah, Me, Tanya and JenIsIris and Glow all need to karaoke more. Especially Tanya. That girl, who's like, 4'11 on a good day, has the most amazing voice! Angela does too. That's it, more karaoke on Tuesdays!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sophisticate

Don't you love driving in expensive luxury cars? I know I do.

I also love receiving diamonds.

Don't I look totally respectable? I love this photo! I can't believe I look so fancy. That's a necklace my sister gave me, which, if you rub your teeth against the pearls, are grainy and therefore real! And if you rub your teeth against the dress, it's real too! Great bridesmaid dress choice, Sarah! I wore it again!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are Actor Drops Worth It?

Oh you know the story: you're a struggling actress and someone tells you to mail your headshot or postcards to casting directors you've never met - perhaps they'll call you in!

So of course I tried it as well. In fact, there are even headshot drop services, where they'll bundle up your headshots and drop them for you! Save thousands of dollars in postage!

And after two months of that, I still got nothing.

So in got me to think, What would I Do If I Were a Casting Director? Well, I'd throw them away. Because most likely they're from actors who don't have the credits and talent I need. And I've got relationships with the best agencies anyway. I don't even have to open these!

I heard an argument from another actress that she does this and she HAS gotten auditions from them. But you're sending them to casting directors you've booked with, right? I had asked her.

So hey, I asked a Casting Associate who has works on True Blood and In Treatment if Actor Drops were a big ole waste of resources and money.

And here's what he said: Most of the time those don't get looked at. Miracles happen occasionally when we're really bored or desperate. Drop-offs should be your last strategy after class, workshops, plays, personal friends, agent, manager, etc. I'm not saying don't do them. Just do them last.

So there you go. You can be optimistic. Go Forth, my friends. Especially if you have a bunch of old headshots you got in bulk and don't use anymore.

Trustworthy Young Woman Next Door

Hey Guys, let me tell you a little something about car insurance, cause I've been in the business a long time.

Note my folded arms. This means I know what I'm talking about.

Today I pick up a proof book, meaning all my thumbnails from my headshot shoot in 2x3 glory, all together in a booklet so that my agent can take a look at all 598 photos to pick out his favorites. I'll let you know which ones he picks.

Oooh! And the trailer for Haunting of Winchester House came out. Blink and you'll miss me, but hey, still fun!

Friday, September 25, 2009


So commercial headshots used to be the actor smiling. Back in the day of only having 72 exposures to make sure you "got" the headshot, actors were pretty limited. Nowadays, thanks to digital, we can delete the blinky shots or the ones where we're in the middle of talking, and we still have HUNDREDS to choose from.
And Agents especially love this, because insrtead of just haivng one smling, "commercial," shot, now they can ask for Characters! So hey, in homage to Laura Wise, I'm gonna show you a different character each day.

Here, Glow and I were going for "Natural, granola." See how the zipup says "Loves natura hikes!"? No? Well, it does. And I like how I look my age here. "Want to go to Disneyland, 8 and 10 year old kids?" Cause Disney LOVES doing commercials where the moms are in their late 20s and their kids are half their age.
At any rate, I was walking around the mall the other day, THANKING GOD that I don't have to deal with the junior's department if I don't want to. Now I can wear all that older lady crap. Being hot and trendy and stylish is just too much work, you know? Throwing on a zip up and looking mom-ish doesn't seem so bad.
So here I am, looking mom-ish. Like, oh! There's mom playing Wii-sport! Oh, there's mom pouring orange juice! Oh, there's mom mopping the floor!
Although, if you took a look at our floor in our apartment, you would be very grossed out. Antne complained the other day that he walked into the kitchen bare-foot and stepped on several things. Well, I had replied, that was your first mistake. Always wear shoes in our kitchen. Actually, don't go in our kitchen. Ever.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Heart Glow

Glow is my friend. She cuts paper for a living and goes to the Oscars to work, and to the Emmys to win award certificates. She designs things.

She is amazing. I had a headshots session scheduled for yesterday, and she came over a few days prior to go over my pitiful wardrobe (18 items of which are tank tops) in order to help me pick outfits for each of the 10 characters my commercial agent wanted pictures of. When I say help, she didn't help. She directed. She picked things out that don't go together, put them together, and voila, awesome, trendy outfit! How did she DO it?! I don't know!!! I wish I did! I wish she helped me get dressed every morning! I loved being her barbie doll!

So I owe her a ton of compliments because the photographer kept saying things like, "I love this look!" "I love this character!" "Great choice!" and he got really excited about my clothes for a straight man.

At any rate, I was not excited to take new headshots. I love having my picture taken, but I was nervous about a few things: 1) the pressure of having to do 10 characters, cause geez, that's a lot. My first headshot session consisted of 72 film exposures and 2 looks. in black and white.
I also had never met this photographer before hand, which is something I tell others to ALWAYS do. AND, I was not hiring a makeup artist. I've been doing my own makeup since I was 16, and I've finally gotten pretty good at it.

My photographer, Robert Kazandjian , actually played with me for a few of the shots. And at the end of 10 looks, he wanted to play some more! He wasn't sick of me yet! So we played for a few more looks. In fact, we played for 598 shots. Awesome!

So, Thanks Glow! You made me look super pretty!!!! And thanks Rob, for catching the pretty!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Just Doing It

So in the last month, I had four people tell me that I was wasting my talent and time by not writing. And all I could think in response was a whiny "I know...but WHAT am I supposed to write?!" In junior high, in high school, in college, post college, I wrote when I was inspired! I wrote when I was bored! I wrote when I was told to for a grade!
After graduating from school, the first thing I missed wasn't my friends. It was writing essays. That stamp on my forehead reads NERD, I know, but it's true. I even stole my boyfriend's homework just so I could write it! Oh, the putting of words to Word and pressing 'Control P'!

And yes, I'm on my 17th journal, AND I have this here blog, but it's not the same. It's not as disciplined (which I am aware is my own self-inflicted fault), not as finite. It's just not the same.

And yet, within the last month, I was given a 12 episode webseries writing assignment and I'm finally ready to tackle my first book that I have to research for (the nerd in me is squealing in delight!)

So where am I?

In the webseries: Episode 1 is finished. I'm working on a major arc point for episode 2 and finalizing minor characters as well as establishing their subplots and peccadilloes for my series bible.
For my Mom's book: First page is written (and what a first page, if I do say so myself. Friends, email me if you want to see it.) I've got Motherless Daughters and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and I'm going through them slowly, highlighting passages I like and will probably refer to in my own book. (footnotes! bibliography!!!)

I am excited.

I am writing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adventures in Mommyhood

Antne and I are having a fantastic time with our ward Robin. And what's frightening is that she actually appreciates our sense of humor and makes jokes with us. And they're hilarious, which means that we are indeed 14 ourselves.

Anyways, I'm taking my ward role very seriously. I enforce bedtimes, I make sure she bathes, I make sure she has lots of food groups in her lunch (almonds, apple, turkey sandwich, cookies, granola bar AND fruit leather!) and has not only a napkin, but a wetnap just in case, too!

I even helped with homework. And coached her on her sides!

That loud clicking you hear is my biological clock.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How To Relate to 14 Year Olds

So I'm like Batman this week where I am hosting a 14 year old and it's been fun having my very own Robin, teaching her my wily ways.

Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," is one of her favorite songs, and she was singing along to it while checking her facebook yesterday.

"I was sixteen, he was twenty-one
Rode with us to memphis
And papa woulda shot him if he knew what he'd done"

She paused the music and turned her young face to me. "What does she mean there?"
"That they did something they should've waited til college to do."

I thought I was pretty cool.

Until I was driving my Robin to her class and we passed the CVS at Santa Monica. "Hey Robin!" I said, pointing, "that CVS has a special place in my heart because one time, standing right behind me was Ginger Spice!"
Robin turned her young face to me. "Who's that?"

Ugh. I am old.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It's been a whirlwind of a four day weekend and there's a lot of stuff that I happen to be in the middle of, but let me just say (and still giving privacy to where it is due) that I am like Batman and have a ward for the week.

No worries, her parents are alive and well and she is happy.

Tonight we all head to Glow and P-winkle's to celebrate Antne's birthday. He doesn't know it yet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Focusing on the Positive

Hey Everyone! I'm back! I bet you didn't even know I was gone, thanks to the scheduling option on blogger! Yeehaw!

I went to Burning Man, a social experiment on temporary community, out in the middle of Nowhere NV, filled with alkaline dust and no vegetation and no bugs because alkaline is very basic and nothing lives in it. No ants, no flies, no moths, no shade, no flowers, no grass. No wait, a lot of people brought grass, but to smoke.

If you've never been, I can't explain it. It's an experience that is indescribable in its magnitude of how it changes you. How it opens you up. How it gives you a sense of self you didn't know you were.

One of my favorite parts of the entire music/arts fest was the Temple, a structure that is built at the beginning of the week and then burned at the last night. The Temple is a place for everyone to go and meditate on what they've gained or lost in the last year. It's an open air 3 story building with lacy patterns cut out of boards, very decorative, very beautiful, and they fill the place with Sharpies. You are to write whatever you want, and everyone writes what they wish they could say out loud. So many people wrote messages to those they were finally able to forgive, or to people they lost this last year and how much they miss them, and many write messages about how they love the person they are writing to.

I saw a Sharpie and uncapped it, writing the first thing that I've been meaning to say out loud and to others for the last few years:

"One day, Mom, I will write your story so that others won't have to suffer like you do."

There is a book in my head that I've been wanting to write about my mother, which has been whispering to me for the last few years that it's been patiently waiting for me to be ready to write it. "I'm here." It has whispered, "and I'm going to wait." "You're probably going to wait a long time," I've always said back, annoyed that it's making itself known again. "That's okay." it always says, "You will write me when you're ready."

There is so much pain surrounding my mom, not just with me, but with my Dad, my aunt, my sister, my brother, and this book is going to be a huge process, but I made a promise to myself that I will have a final draft ready by Burning Man 2012.

I want to put a face - a person! - on Schizophrenia. How it doesn't affect just one person, but extended families, so that people can understand it, so that people can care enough to demand a cure.

The first part is research, and I just started "Surviving Schizophrenia," a book I bought 5 years ago, knowing I would read it when I was ready.

Like I said, this is a long time coming. I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm finally ready.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Alone and Broken

I was alone. My family was upstate and my best friend who was studying at UCLA finished and moved back home. My other best friend had just broken up with me. My roommate was always in his room, and we weren't really friends as much as two people simply cohabiting. I had no one.

I had work. That at least gave me something to do. But I did it all on automatic, all on autopilot. I couldn't remember how to laugh. I was not capable of smiling. I wanted to sleep. I didn't want to get up.

My hunger was so strong I could even feel my stomach cramping as it grumbled, but as soon as I would open the fridge, nausea would seize me and I'd have to quickly shut the door.

And feeling hungry was good. Feeling hungry meant I could feel something other than sad.

I had to find the tiniest things to give me comfort. The fact that the down escalators at CityWalk reminded me of waterfalls cascading down huge cliffs in Yosemite was one of the very few things that kept me sane. And ripping colored magazine paper and pasting them onto cardboard was somehow a release.

I was a marionette whose strings didn't work to lift up my hands or legs. I was dragged along, motionless, useless. Broken.

I spent 8 months fixing myself into the woman I am today. And I have The Maple Counseling Center to thank. Sliding scale therapy in Beverly Hills. A Must for any Angeleno who needs to restring their appendages to dance happily onstage again.

Sometimes the world is incredibly daunting, lonely and scary. You have help available when you can't see all the love that surrounds you. Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Your Back To School Reading List

I heard that there are some actresses/actors who do not like to read.

SAY WHAT?! I don't only love it, I HAVE to read! If I'm bored, I'm reading something. If I'm waiting, I'm reading something, if I'm running in place at the gym, I'm reading captions. If I'm in the shower, I'm reading the conditioner ingredients. If I'm on the computer, I'm reading blogs, Twitter or Facebook. Oh My Gosh.

I have constantly been using a library card since I was 7 years old. I was that elementary school kid in 3rd grade, hopping to the 6th grade selected library books. Reading was escapism for me. Plus, if I was reading, I wasn't getting into trouble.

Fast forward a few years, and now there's a huge market for easy female love life narratives dubbed "Chick Lit." And it is some of the worst drivel ever.
Are you Marion Keyes? Those two girls who wrote "The Devil Wears Prada?" or "The Nanny Diaries?" Go fuck yourself. Seriously, You. Should. Be. Ashamed. You write crap. CRAP!

But wait....if these are books that get young women to read....should I be happy that at least they're reading? Oh the dilemma! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT THIS!? Because every protagonist is a young lowly editor at a publishing house who hates but falls in love with their boss. UGH. I mean, man, Tracy, I hope you do a book report on Twilight, because trust me on this folks, Tracy's take on everything that is wrong with Stephanie Meyer is downright hilarious. Oh Hey, look what I found! Someone after my own heart! And read this follow up too.

So what to do, you ask? Well, I say, excuse me, I didn't quite understand what you said. Oh! You want me to recommend some books? Well, GLADLY!

1) I read The Color Purple by Alice Walker back in high school, and the entire book was so great, that as soon as I finished the last page, I flipped the book around and started right over again. Oh My! SO GOOD! This is a book told in first person by a young woman who is practically illiterate, so there is no punctuation throughout the whole book. The first five pages are a little tricky, but you will follow the natural pattern of vocal inflections and such in the narrative voice real easy. After that, go watch the movie, cause Oprah did great work in that. Then go find Erykah Badu's On and On video which is an homage to the book.

2) Cruddy, by Lynda Barry. I have Marley to thank for turning me onto this book. It's an antihero's coming of age from a cartoonist who contributes to the LA Weekly, so of course there are illustrations - really crude ones that add to the story.

3) I reread books I love. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most amazing novels you'll ever read. He pretty much invented magical realism and although the story is a little hard to follow (the book has a pedigree, but seriously, take notes on who's who to make it easier because there are, for instance 17 different Aurelianos) but the language, translated from Spanish, is some of the most amazing vivid prose you'll ever read. I should own this book. I really should. Chapman University has a hardcover copy filled with my green highlighter of the passages I just adored.

4) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (her debut novel, btw) is also a movie now starring Rachel McAdams. I am praying it's going to be good, because the novel is just so incredible. I cried at parts of the book. Of the book! The last time I cried because of a book was Where the Red Fern Grows in fourth grade! Absolutely marvelous storytelling which makes your brain hurt until it explodes because all the time travelling really could work out that way if you take the time to think about it, but don't bother. Just enjoy the story.

5) The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks. This is also going to be a movie, starring Sarah Michelle Geller. How are they going to do this book justice? I have absolutely no idea how they're NOT going to fuck up this book as a movie, so please, read, read, read it. It's written in such a way that makes me wonder if Banks had several different stories published in different magazines and put them all together, but it really does work. There's a lot that's written that isn't said by the characters. Read it.

Read Interview With a Vampire. I read the book after I saw the movie, and I have to say the movie did a really good job of presenting visuals and making them alive, because not all of us have an appreication of clothes and architecture in 1800s Louisisana. But still, a really good read.
Fight Club. The book had the perfect book ending, but there's no way you could do that for the movie, and the movie has the perfect movie ending.
The Ethical Slut. Moo ha ha ha!

What books do you recommend for me?

I Do All My Own Stunts!

A few weeks ago, when Michael Holmes and I were doing pick ups for The Haunting of Winchester House, we did a stunt where I had to pull and pull him into a magic circle. (Don't worry, it will sort of make sense when you see it.) We were shooting in a cement floored warehouse and I just didn't think to say "Hey, can we put down a furnie pad in case I slip?" And I did slip, of course, and got a rather nasty bruise and there it is on my wrist, in all its beige beauty.

And holy Jesus, my hand looks really big here, doesn't it? I wonder if I could cover my entire face with my hand....

Oh look, I can.