"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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poor Planning on My Part

I was so excited to see Casting Director Billy DaMota's discussion panel tonight. I'd been looking forward to it all week.  I gave myself 30 minutes to drive 6 miles and brought a notepad and books to while away the time I'd have before it started.

BUT, this being LA, I did not plan well enough. 30 minutes is not enough time to go 6 miles at 7pm on a Tuesday night. It wasn't even enough time to go THREE miles! I was amazed.

I think I was at Broadlawn and Ventura when I finally admitted defeat. I noticed Broadlawn went up into the mountains, so I figured, well, if I go up, I'll eventually be able to head East back home. And I did! I passed by the Universal City Overlook (Thanks for the picture, Travelin' Local!) and eventually made it all the way back to Laurel Canyon and got home safely.

Sorry I missed you, Billy. Hope you had fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Heart My Agent and His Business Savvy

Remember when I posted James J Jones' memo to his clients a few months ago? Well, after seeing his predictions come true I said to myself, "I Need to meet this guy!" He's now my agent, repping me theatrically. He sent the following a few days ago and it's incredibly comprehensive. Read it and understand that for all us Struggling Actresses, it's important to be working on our other creative side projects so we don't go crazy waiting for the auditions we are not getting again this year.

2010 Pilot Season Memo
c. James J Jones/Premier Talent Group

2010 Pilot Season – The “NAME” GAME RULES
As Marc Hirschfield recently said in the Hollywood Reporter, “I think this is probably the most competitive pilot season in about eight years ….” (HR, March 9, 2010). There are fundamentally three reasons for this being one of the most competitive pilot seasons on record:
1. Market Competition I: Film Stars Flock to Pilots
2. Market Competition II: Limited Number of Projects
3. Market Competition III: Complications of “Second Positioning” on Pilots
The 2010 Pilot Season has been marked by yet another strong paradigm shift in the industry. Film Stars are coming over to Pilot TV in droves. Dustin Hoffman (who hasn’t done TV since 1967) is just one of many FILM stars or film’s leading men/women who have found their way over to Pilots. Here is a non‐comprehensive list of a few who have:

Dustin Hoffman (Luck)
Dermot Mulroney (Rockford Files)
Jon Voight (Midlands)
Claire Forlani (Episodes)
Forrest Whitaker (Criminal Minds II)
Sam Shepard (Tough Trade)
Beau Bridges (Rockford Files)
Tom Selleck (Reagan’s Law)
William Shatner (Shit My Parent’s Say)
Nick Nolte (Luck)
Eugene Levy (Hitched)
Virginia Madsen (Scoundrels)
Mary Steenburgen (Southern Discomfort)
Treat Williams (Boston’s Finest)
Donnie Wahlberg (Burgess/Green)
Keri Russell (Wilde Kingdom)
Brittany Snow (Kindreds)
Kathy Bates (Kindreds)
Charles Dutton (Uncle Nigel)
Stephen Rea (Chaos)
Brian Keith (Midlands)
Janeane Garofalo (John Wells Untitled)
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five‐O)
Rob Morrow (Truth)
Robert Patrick (Edgar Floats)
Jason Biggs (True Love)
Dennis Farina (Luck)
Brian Dennehey (Criminal Minds II)
Adam Arkin (Who Gets the Parents)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Event)
Jason Ritter (The Event)
Ben Chaplin (Kindreds)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike and Molly)
Carey Elwes (Tough Trade)
Neal McDonough (Scoundrels)
Lea Thompson (Uncle Nigel)
Bill Pullman (Nathan vs. Nurture)
Gary Cole (Uncle Nigel)
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats)
Damon Wayans (Happy Endings)
That coupled with the sheer volume of NAMED TV actors who also are signing up for Pilots increases the competition even further for non‐NAMED actors. Here again is a NON‐COMPREHENSIVE listing of established TV leading men/women who have signed on with Pilots:
Micheal Chiklis (No Ordinary Family)
Debra Messing (Wright vs. Wrong)
James Belushi (Defenders)
John Schneider (Back Nine)
Leah Remini (Defenders, Takes a Village)
Jimmy Smits (Wilde Kingdom)
Sarah Chalke (The Freshman)
Kristin Kreuk (Hitched)
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
Donald Faison (The Odds)
Blair Underwood (The Event)
Michael Imperioli (Detriot 187)
Jane Kaczmarark (Who Gets the Parents)
Jeri Ryan (Body of Evidence)
Jerry O’ Connell (Defenders/Rex is not your… )
Jean Smart (Hawaii Five‐O)
Allyssa Milano (Hall Pass)
Skeet Ulrich (Untitled John Wells)
Dylan Walsh (ATF)
Jay Harrington (Nature vs. Nurture)
Ana Ortiz (True Blue)
Tom Cavanaugh (Edgar Floats)
Eric Close (Chaos) Daniel
Dae Kim (Hawaii Five‐O)
Poppy Montgomery (True Blue)
Wayne Knight (No Ordinary Family)
Elisha Cuthbert (Happy Endings)
Traylor Howard (Dana Gould Project)
Kellie Giddish (Chase)
Kurtwood Smith (Hitched)
Laura Prepon (Awkward Situations for Men)
Nicolette Sheridan (Ant Hines‐Untitled)
Becki Newton (Love Bites)
Katee Sackhoff (Richard Hatem‐Untitled)
Will Arnett (Untitled Mitch Hurwitz)
Laurie Metcalf (Strange Brew)
Jere Burns (Strange Brew)
Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family)
Christina Applegate (Hall Pass)
Goran Visnjic (Boston’s Finest)
Molly Parker (Quinn‐Tuplets)
Tony Hale (Awkward Situations for Men)
Rob Morrow (The Whole Truth)
As an agency, PTG has seen strong positioning of our actors for Series Regular roles. We have had 44 actors go out for Series Regulars in these pilots. That is a very strong showing. However,I have spoken with many of my peer agency owners, and we all have had the same experience this pilot season: we have concluded that most of these auditions are what I call ‘insurance auditions.’ Insurance if the actors who been offered the role do not take the role.
I have pitched to at least 50 CDs this pilot season who all said something along the lines of ‘yes, this client might be right‐on for the role, but the studios/networks are saying STAR NAMES ONLY, and we have an offer out.’ This goes for both my ‘named’ and heavy ‘working actors.’ And for the rest, unfortunately, the days of developmental and semi‐working actors getting a shot at a series regular or recurring role on a pilot are long gone (please see below in market competition II).
Unfortunately, the days of shooting hundreds of pilots are long gone. This paradigm shift occurred due to the WGA strike which allowed studios/networks to restructure how they do business in developing and producing new shows. Shooting a pilot is a very expensive proposition, and now the number of pilots are limited to those which have a great chance of getting a green light or have already been green lit for the fall season. In short, last year there were 69 pilots and this year 83 (including pilot presentations). This year the market will probably end up at around 65‐70 real pilots shot.
SIDENOTE: Furthermore, the WGA strike also allowed the studios/networks/cablers to provide for pilots year round instead of the primary pilot season as we had all come to know and expect. The good news is more pilots to come throughout the year;. The bad news is that the exclusivity provisions are no longer in place so named actors can do multiple pilots a year if they so choose, instead of being limited to one during traditional pilot season and thereby opening up roles for other non‐named actors. In short, more competition with Top Named actors!
Doing the Math: So, if you calculate that there are 70 pilots being shot this year, with an average series regular cast of 5‐7 (some shows are going to as low as 4 series regulars to save costs), we are talking between 350 and 440 ‘job openings’ in Hollywood this pilot season for top roles. Above, I have already listed 85 roles taken, and that was far from an exhaustive list. To complicate things even more, many strong series recurers and established TV actors with heavy credits from TV shows are vying for the 250‐300 roles that are left. For example, everyone formerly on ER has found a pilot. Finally, what I am hearing from CDs is that even named actors and VERY STRONG working actors are doing Guest Stars on these pilots. So again, the days of a developmental or semi‐working actor finding a spot on a Pilot is highly unlikely.
To make matters worse, some actors with current shows are doing pilots as second position. For example, Allyssa Milano, who is currently on Romantically Challenged, has signed on for Hall Pass as a second option. Kyle Bornheimer, also on Romantically Challenged, has signed on for the Bays/Thomas Project. Rob Morrow, of Numbers fame, is currently second positioning on “the Whole Truth.” The entire lead cast of Better off Ted also was confronted with this opportunity. The show, not performing highly in the ratings, found each one of these actors being offered and accepting second options on pilots.
While this has gone on for years in Hollywood, the rise of competition for named actors/actors currently on TV has led many Casting Directors of Pilots to aggressively pursue currently employed actors. Also a few actors such as Jerry O’Connell have been able to do two pilots as exclusivity provisions did not apply. Again, this just shows that there is a strong demand for named actors/actors on TV, and the networks and studios want established names to push for advertising money up front.
SIDENOTE: Do not forget, the Up‐Fronts, while again having gone through a paradigm shift of their own, are still an imperative positioning place for networks. And network executives obviously feel that TOP NAMED actors will allow them to secure as much Up Front advertising dollars as possible. We are talking billions of advertising dollars committed at these Up‐Fronts and it seems as though NAMED actors are what is selling that ‘Up‐Front’ dollar right now.
Final Thoughts from James J. Jones*
I send this pilot report to my clients in order for them to fully understand the business nature of this – the 2010 Pilot Season. While the trickle down nature of this pilot season (top named stars getting series regulars, top working actors getting series recurers/guest star, guest stars doing co‐stars, etc) is fairly bleak for developmental and semi‐working actors, it is not permanent. The prospects for scripted television on both cable and networks, as well as the increase in new media and feature film production bode very well for the actor. For my developmental and semi‐working actors, please be realistic about your expectations and focus on your craft and getting me the marketing materials I need to do my job. For my ‘named’ and heavy working actors, please understand the level of competition, and be patient… breakthroughs are undoubtedly coming for what should be a vibrant 2010. In short, hang on – work your craft – and stay positive! Good things will happen!
*James J. Jones is the owner of The Premier Talent Group. PTG is a SAG‐Franchised Talent Agency offering representation for commercial and theatrical actors. This report was written on March 21, 2010. ©

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Today, my dear friend Phoenix is defining herself and her body with her first tattoo, with the word "Entheos," which means, everything moves toward God.

Ya'll want to know how I met Phoenix?

Phoenix and I met in our college Intro to Voice and Movement class. We were assigned dense and hard to understand Kristin Linklater's Freeing the Natural Voice which included Andre Slob's nightmare inducing illustrations of fat shapeless people with their heads floating away on strings. I read the book chapters, sometimes twice a night and still couldn't understand what the heck I was reading. All I knew was that if I stared at the pictures any harder, my brain would float towards the ceiling, requiring me to fetch it with a sharp stick, which was something I really didn't want to do, especially since a brain poked at with a sharp stick might lead me to one day not be able to write as wonderfully as I doaweouafawfhwoef. When we would be quizzed the next day in class about the reading, I would raise my hand and answer only to be told, "No," so the professor could call on someone else. The second time of being absolutely wrong, I made sure I sat in the very back and never raised my hand again. But to my left, was always Phoenix. While I sat in the back to disappear, she, tiny, blond, with a ponytail and glasses, sat in the back so she could observe.

It wasn't until our second semester of sophomore year that we felt comfortable with one another. We both took Religious Philosophy, a class where we got to learn the basics of the major religions and contrast and compare and philosophize them. We sat next to each other because we knew no one else in the class.

People who are survivors don't immediately recognize fellow survivors. We grow up to be cautious, wary, suspect. We are aloof.

I learned Phoenix was religious! My favorite kind, too! The ones who believe that love and tolerance should be given to all people, not just fellow believers, and she also never talked about it unless you asked! This tiny, blond, seemingly meek girl could also kick my ass if she wanted to. Under her too big shirts and holding up her jeans was a black belt! But, needless to say, she only used her powers for good.

We learned we had similar experiences, that we cared about the same things, that we had similar views. But my favorite thing about her then, and now, is how I'm constantly learning life lessons from her.

In our Philosophy of Religion class, I finally figured out a way how best to describe Phoenix. I took a lot of things I learned in the class into my heart, and left out a lot of things I didn't particularly care for. So here we go:

Phoenix has been here before. She's done the Earth thing dozens of times. And God/The Creator/Whateveryouwanttocallit, said, "Hey P, can you do me a solid?"
And Phoenix said, "Um, totally! You are like, awesome and all knowing, and stuff, and I am totally gonna be your servant and serve you whatever you want!"
"Cool." G/TC/W said. "I like, need you to teach some really important lessons to people about forgiveness, acceptance, love, tolerance - "
"Oh, the biggies?"
"No worries! I got your back!"
"But P, listen, it's gonna be super hard this time. Like, for reals."
"For reals?"
"Yeah, take a look at this chart I made up of what this life entails."
And Phoenix took a look. "Shiiiiiiiiiit."
"That's a ton of heartbreak, G/TC/W. That is a TON of the sads I'm gonna have to go through. Wait. What're these two big hearts? They're close together."
"You'll see."
"Can I get a hint?"
"Well, since you'll forget everything once you're born, yeah. Here's a hint. They're both guys. And you're gonna teach them amazing, wonderful things. The first one is going to be super awesome and then, in the end, feel like a failure, but you gotta hear me out, it's so not. It's huge what you do here. Very important. And if it wasn't for the first heart, you wouldn't know the second, even bigger heart."
"What're all these colons and end parentheses?"
"Those are emoticons. They're smiling faces using punctuations."
"Oooh, totally trippy, but I get it. I got a ton of those all over this thing, dude. What do those mean?"
"Those, P, are all the people you're going to teach and touch in some way and you're gonna affect everyone for the better."
"How many are on there?"
"Well, now it's at 4.5 million, but it could grow."
"Jeez! I'm gonna touch 4.5 million? Hand sanitizer's gonna be invented by then right?"
"Most of them you're not even going to be able to physically touch."
"I love it when you speak in riddles!"
"P, I love you. You're one of my faves, like, for reals, so don't go tellin nobody. And you're the only one of my peeps who is strong enough to go this route. Now, I totally get it if you want to think it over. This is a lot of responsibility. This is tough. "
"Naw, man. I can do it. I totally got your back. That's what I'm here for!"
And they high fived. G/TC/W then pulled her into a hug. "I love you. Stay strong. Remember that I am love and I created people out of love and everyone comes back home because of all the love we share."
"Everything moves towards love. Everything moves towards you. Everything moves toward God/TC/W. Dude! I LOVE that! I'm gonna have to remember to write that down!"

And today, she is.

Happy first Tattoo, Phoenix! I love you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Date Night!

My work has not scheduled me on a weekend shift for the last 4 weeks, and I've only been given two shifts a week for the last two weeks. They're saying that everyone is going to be cut down, but the schedule is posted for all to see, and I just so happen to have two eyes. Infer what you will, but I get tipped very well by my customers, have rapport with repeat guests, and do one hell of a damned good job. So I am very confused.

So! If you hear of any jobs in the valley, let me know. If you need a proofreader/editor, I am so your gal. If you know Mindy Kaling, please pass on to her that I'd love to be mentored by her, as I'm pretty sure her management deleted my email. If you know of a studio who wants to be pitched a very funny racy television series, could you help me get a meeting? If you need a fun actress to be in your project, could you call me? I'm not that bad. I'm actually pretty good!

But now that I have my weekends free again, and Antne got a new gig (It's across the pond, so he's now an International Illustrating Genius!) we're going out on a date tonight! We watched an episode of Mad Men a few nights ago and Miss Holloway was eating Chinese food and we realized, Hey! We haven't had Chinese in a real long while. Good Chinese in LA is hard to find. In the Bay Area, walk to any strip mall and it's the most amazing cuisine. But here?

Then we'll go see How To Train Your Dragon. Now, because it's a cartoon, and Antne is an illustrator, he can write off his ticket as research!

Remember when I said that whenever I schedule a hike with JenIsBetterThanAndreaAnders, we get auditions? Well! She emailed me the other day saying she averaged two auditions a day all this week and is on avail for two! Keep your fingers crossed she gets both of them! I need to schedule hikes with her more often! ...We just gotta figure out what we gotta do to get her more theatrical auditions....

Oh, and for me too.

I went on my hike yesterday by myself and ran into none other than friend, fan, and follower, Kris! We've actually known each other for years, and he introduced me to his friend Amiee (they were walking her puppy,  the cutest ugly dog. seriously. paradox, I know, but Bella is the CUTEST ugly dog) and he said he had turned her on to this here little blog. They made me feel famous.

It's wonderful to see that even though LA has a 30 mile radius, and several million people, it really is such a small town.

Have yourselves a lovely date night too!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Feast or Famine

In this wonderful business, it's either a whole lot of driving, auditioning, rehearsing, booking, and acting, OR a whole lotta nothing.

The last few days were a whole lot of nothing. And then today: Whoosh! Today was a feast day.

Whenever I notice that auditions have slowed down, I just plan some one on one time with JenIsBetterThanAndreaAnders. Never fails. I even wrote her an email saying, hey! Let's plan for a hike so we'll get auditions! We planned for 11am at Fryman Canyon tomorrow. And she got a pop-up audition at 1 and I have one at 4. Perfect. Every time.

Went on a hosting audition for a pilot presentation where I'd be saying things like, "Here we are in front of this bar - here's some good stuff about the place that's really fun and here's some bad stuff that I'm twisting and joking about so that it's now funny and not as negative!" I felt I did well. But I talked too fast.
Then off to my rehearsal for the Happies. The lead actor was mistaken in thinking it was actually at 6pm instead of the actual 2pm time we had scheduled. But I went over some character stuff with the director and producer and then left to drop off my work resume to a place in Studio City that was accepting applications for a serving job. (It's called The Struggling Actress for a reason, folks!)
After that, I met the same director and producer of the Happies at my place and we talked FUTURE PROJECTS. The director is interested in having me write a piece for a project he's got started, and I printed out 4 pages of a little something I started to give him an example of what comedy is to me. I love 1940s style banter. LOVE it. I hate dick and fart jokes. I hate Chris -Farley -fat man -in -a -little -coat jokes. Maybe it has something to do with me not having a penis, but I just don't think that stuff is funny. And I have always considered myself to be an educated young woman with the mentality of a 12 year old.
At any rate, they loved the 4 pages I started.
I also sent an email to a friend of the producer who said, "If you're looking for a writing partner, you should talk to my friend." So I sent her an email with writing samples.

I wore purple tights with boots today!

A fun little feast after a few days of starving. I'll take it.

And I'll reschedule that hike to get even more auditions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Need Cheap New Headshots?

Wow. You chopped your hair off.

Don't worry, it'll grow back. No, wait, I meant, it's cute on you! I thought I'd hate your hair so short, but it looks kinda good. Um, not kinda, I meant really. Really good.

But since your hair is short now and all your headshots have you with longer hair, you probably don't want to spend another $600 on new pictures when in less than a year, your hair is going to grow back.

Hi Craig Calkins!

Craig is doing a super cheap "This Economy Blows for Struggling Actresses/Actors" deal!
For $175, you get him for One Whole Hour! As many looks as you can fit in! And if you need more time, he's just an email away for questions. He's only doing this for the next four weeks! Then his rates go back up!

Did I mention your Economy Blows for Struggling Actresses/Actors deal also includes light retouching on 5 photos for FREE!? And his rates after that are still super awesome!

You want proof?

These are a few of my favorites

See? No biggie! I had two other wardrobe changes and was still done in 40 minutes! Time to spare!

Let him know I sent you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Changes for the Better

So! Healthcare! Woohoo! (Read it in Plain English)

I'm in favor of having an additional 32 million Americans who cannot afford healthcare get it (with subsidies, etc), just as I'm a fan of having a public education system (yes, it needs work, but at least it's there!).

My cousin Brian is against the whole thing, as many republicans are, and on Facebook I told him that while we'd never agree on politics (our backgrounds in life are so different, it's amazing we're related) I still love him. He grew up on the East Coast and says "Ya'll" (a word I love, btw. Why Doesn't English have a plural you?) and I grew up near San Francisco and say "Hella." We'll never meet politically on the same page. I mean, he might even own a gun!

So, my dear cousin Brian, do not read the rest of this blog.

I want to save America. I love this country, where anyone with a dream and perseverance can flourish.

So! Let's legalize pot and tax the heck out of it. Just like driver's and alcohol education, we should have required videos about the effects of that too. If a cancer patient says, hey, this makes me feel better, less nauseous, gives me an appetite and relieves a lot of pain, shouldn't we make it available for her? We'll have the same rules as alcohol - no smoking in public places, no smoking and driving, etc, etc. Educate the public, make it available, and that's a ton of tax dollars going back into the economy.

So! Let's legalize prostitution. As long as there are men, there are going to be customers. Legalize it, create a sex worker's union to keep them safe and sanitary and to get the violence and pimps out of the industry, and bam! So much more money going back into the economy. It's called the oldest profession for a reason, so let's treat it like the business it is. A woman who starts as a sexual companion can eventually run her own company, build up her own brand, and become a very successful and intelligent member of society, instead of a woman on the street, unprotected, in constant danger and on some type of government assistance. I mean, imagine a bordello that's a classy hotel, with free child care for all its employees!

So! Let's effing fix our education system! All this money coming in from pot and prostitution can be filtered into our public education! Lets change the way kids go to school! Once you hit high school, you pretty much know what type of stuff you like. You like math/science, or you like English/arts. So let's create specialized high school! You've got your math/science school, you've got your creative/visual arts school, you've got your hybrid school, for all you lawyers out there. It's an education that specializes in the stuff you love and doesn't focus on the stuff you don't. Why I had to take trig/algebra II, I'll never know. And we have a COMMUNICATION class in elementary school, where we continually teach children how to communicate. We show kindergartners that saying "That really hurt my feelings," has more heft than physical retorts, to junior high, where we learn how to communicate our expectations out of one another as team members/friends, to high school, where it's all about getting our needs expressed/met in our personal relationships. No more men and women getting angry at each other for not being able to read the other person's minds. This will be a boon to America.

What changes do you want? And Brian, if you're still reading, I swear I'm not a heathen.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Learning to Stand Up

I did a headshot session with a photographer/makeup duo when I had just graduated college. I was 21 and could still go out for 16.

At the shoot, I said to my makeup artist, "Isn't this too much?" My eyes were heavily shadowed, my lips were lined, colored and glossed, my cheekbones were highlighted, colored, and lowlighted. I looked like a transvestite after a $4,000 shopping spree at the MAC counter. "Oh no, honey," the makeup artist replied, "this will look beautiful on camera." I hated that she talked down to me, but this woman must've known what she was doing, right? I'm just a dumb, green 21 year old at my second headshot photoshoot ever.

My agent took one look at the pictures and said, "I can't use these!" The headshots I had taken at 18 and were four years old, where the makeup artist had only powdered me and added mascara and lip gloss looked more like me and my current age than the new ones did.

I should've called up the photographer team and said, "Guys, I need a reshoot," but I was so young (um, a year ago, hack, cough) that I was embarrassed; surely not getting the shots I needed were my fault. $500 GONE. A rather expensive lesson to learn, don't you think? If it feels wrong, trust your gut. Speak out. Stand up.

I did another headshot session and told this new makeup artist that I wanted heavy eye makeup with neutral lips, a "bad girl, kinda gothic, but not," look. (The bad girls are way more fun to play!) The makeup artist did a fantastic job but she gave me black lipstick. I said, "I absolutely love what you did, but this is a little too on the nose for me. Can we see what this looks like with a neutral or pink gloss?" The makeup artists did as I asked and this is what we got.

I knew what I needed, didn't get it at first, stood up for myself, and got exactly what I wanted. I've booked work off this photo, like I knew I would.

I recently came across another instance in my life where I needed to stand up for myself and what I want and wanted and failed. I failed big time. I failed miserably. I sort of pushed myself up, toddled, fell, and stayed down. I told my friends about it, and they were aghast. You? They all said, YOU didn't stand up for yourself?!

I spent $500 on a standing up lesson. You'd think I'd only need to do that once.

There's fear. The floor doesn't look so bad when I'm close up. And my, what intricate detailing in the grout work! But oh, there's some crumbs there. And ew. What is THAT on the floor right there? That stain?

I need to pick myself up, dust off my hands, and say, you know what? You are in the wrong. And you know you're in the wrong. And either we fix it, or we're done.

It's a lot easier to reach the stars when I'm standing up for myself on my tippy-toes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jessica Simpson: Your New Career Path

Just finished Beth Shea's blog about how everyone should do what they do best, and she mentioned Jessica Simpson needing to stop with the romantic comedies.

I agree!

But not because we hate her. On the contrary, we both really like her!

I LOVE Jessica Simpson. The girl can SING! And she has a square jaw line, (which makes me think of my sister, so I'll probably always have a soft spot for her) but I had so much respect for her on several episodes of Newlyweds when I saw that she was on camera with NO MAKEUP.

The girl is breathtaking!

I like the idea of her new reality show, going around the world taking a look at what makes people beautiful in different cultures. I love whoever designs her shoes. I liked her tasty makeup which was way too pricey for the market she was targeting.

I want Jessica Simpson to expand her brand to feeling good! I want Jessica Simpson to embark on some type of show/junior high/high school circuit where she helps young women build self-esteem. Everyone loves makeovers, but I want make-unders! Where we take the girl in the too revealing clothes and too much makeup and show her how to respect herself so others will respect her, and to prove it with still sexy, but modest clothing, and how makeup is best applied when highlighting one feature! Watch Jessica Simpson help sell Girl Scout cookies and explain brand marketing to fifth graders! See Jessica Simpson do what she does best: be herself! And then, cause she's so darn good at it, have her perform a song on each episode that can then be compiled into an album.

Jessica Simpson seems like your bubbly fun friend who learns something new on every adventure. She's down to earth, funny, and endearing.

Jessica, you're most winsome when you're yourself. Just be yourself! I'll watch.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Been suffering from some major backpain due to the glories of being a woman, (next lifetime, I'm coming back as a boy!) and it hurts to sit down for prolonged periods of time. Know what else hurts after prolonged periods of time? Standing!

I just can't win.

An old classmate from kindergarten to sixth grade found me on facebook and we caught each other up. Talking about my mom makes me sad. Growing up, I was lucky enough to be showered with love by Cathy McCabe (an incredibly strong and loving woman who devoted her entire lifetime to children and had to return to do God's work up in heaven last year) and especially Sandy Jorgenson, a woman who calls me her second daughter and also had a mother with mental illness. Sandy proved to me my fears growing up were needless, as she was able to take herself and her young kids out of a very bad situation and raise them in a loving family of her own. She proved that just because my mom was sick didn't mean I was going to be sick too.

There's a lot of heartbreak in growing up with a person suffering from mental illness. It's a shameful thing no one talks about and the loved ones of those suffering feel so incredibly alone.

I sought out attention in the only ways I knew how, and although my mother had told me from the start that acting should only be a hobby for me, I have her to thank for my perseverance.

Why DO I act? It's a repeat, but it's a good one. 

Now, please pass the Midol.

image from maryvancenc.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thanks, Dad

I believe my dad struck up a deal with my mom to ease the anxiety of naming their first daughter. "You incubate her for nine months, I'll come up with a name." My mother, pregnant and chasing my 1 year old brother, was most likely distracted when she agreed.

My father, who received his masters in physics from the University of California at Berkeley (he even taught his grandkids at 2 years old to yell "Go Bears!" whenever they saw a football game) was often studying. In the 70s, when he attended, he was stuck in the library, his glasses sliding down his nose as he pored over books, while his peers were having fun experimenting with herbs and the occult. My father, who was a drummer all throughout grade school, middle school, high school, and I believe MIT as well, during his undergrad career, had probably experienced hearing loss. While his fellow students at Berkeley were into astrology and star signs he must've thought that they were into astronomy; the star signs they often talked about must've referred to celestial pictographs - constellations!

My father thought the constellation "Lyra" was one of the most beautiful sounding names in the, well, universe. My birth was a difficult one for my mother, and when she had finally delivered me, she was so exhausted, and my dad so harried from driving from the hospital across the Bay where my brother laid with double pneumonia, (a secret he kept from my mother so she'd be relaxed enough to feed me) that when he wrote my name on my birth certificate, he didn't bother to doublecheck his spelling.

Now, honestly, he had at least nine months to do this. Shame on him.

I am Lira.

He meant Lyra.

They are pronounced differently.

After introducing myself, I would always hear, "Like the money?" Yes, ::sigh:: like the money. Only once did I get "Like the constellation?"

This has never really been an issue, until I fell in love with Antne. He is a full blooded Italian.  His last name, Diecidue is hard to spell, and even harder to pronounce [dee-ETCH-uh-DO-ay]. But it's what his last name means that really sells my entire life living with a misspelled name.
Dieci means ten. due equals two. Diecidue. Ten-two.

Should I take his name when we marry, and visit his family in Italy, he will introduce me in his mother Sicilian tongue: "This is my new wife, Twelve Former Monetary Units of Italy."

Grazie, Papa.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Feeding and Feedback

The Happies, the pilot presentation I'm starring in, had a pot-luck meet and greet Friday night. I met the writers, a few other crew members, the girl my character is based on (super hip. I want her to dress me!) and we all sat around and did a reading of the entire full pilot. There were chills, there were thrills, there were plenty of laughs, and at the end, the writers asked everyone what we thought.

A writer's script is his baby. It is well thought out, it is labored over, and to have someone say, "hey! we welcome critiques!" is an invitation by the writer to hear comments from everyone else and then argue that everyone is a stupidhead and no one understands their creative genius which they defend and defend and everyone in the room is dreading having to work on the project.

This was not the case! I threw out a couple questions, a few suggestions, and the writers were very warm and receptive. I had to go home as I still needed to finish packing for my weekend camping trip, but I could not stop thinking about the project.

After going to bed around 1:30, I woke up at 5:45 unable to sleep. After an hour at failing to convince myself that sleep really is a good and wonderful and needed thing, I got up.

I wrote for an hour, with specific examples and questions and suggestions regarding the characters and plot points in the script. I had 8 very Looooong points, bookending them with how excited I am about this project.

The writer replies not too much later, extremely excited about my feedback. He said he had been worried about me, as he couldn't read my reactions in person to the script (when I think really hard, I screw up my face in what has been misread many times as boredom or disapproval). He agreed with a few points, was excited to incorporate a few suggestions I had, and explained to me other things he had going for the season and direction of the series.

This group of people really wants to make it the best possible product it can be, and they see my feedback as a way to help them get it there. I was the one who suggested that the meet and greet be a pot-luck where everyone brought food to feed one another. We ate food made by others, and enjoyed watching others eat the food we made. We were feeding and giving feedback. An unintentional but beautiful metaphor, don't you think?

I was already excited, and now I truly feel valued as a collaborative member of this very special creative group.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Breakdown of the Year

Just submitted myself for:

Feature Film
18th Century Fox

19 years old in 1795, shy, retiring, and bookish, but with hidden resources of steely nerve and a disciplined will to live, she is a spinster (with three diverse suitors), a woman with a secret: she writes novels. When her home town of Bath is attacked and almost decimated by an alien hunter from the future, who is determined to decapitate Jane Austen and add her to his list of Great Writers in History (he's already got Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Danielle Steel), Jane proves to be a tough, plucky heroine who knows how to go for the groin when she has to...LEAD; MUST BE WILLING TO WEAR A CORSET, BUT NOT FOR LONG. Prototype: A young Keira Knightley.

STORY LINE: Sexy spinster JANE AUSTEN learns she has to loosen her bodice and take up the musket if she's going to outfight a deadly alien. Jane's English common sense butts heads with the murderous sensibility of the Predator, and Jane realizes she'll have to use deadly persuasion in order to defeat the Predator's pride with extreme prejudice...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Take Care

Yesterday, after rocking the karaoke mike with Ke$ha's "TikTok," I went over to my friend Angela's apt to see her new puppy. I cooed and ahhed and oohed, and the desire to be able to take care of something more helpless than myself reared it's adorable little puppy dog head at me.

What IS this feeling? I can see a half dead succulant on my bookshelf, and my legs rival MoNique's, so if I can't take care of a plant, or shave my hairy legs, WHY do I think it's somewhat possible to care for something who needs me for everything?

Is it the hormones coursing through my veins? I mean, I'm only 22 (cough, hack!) so why on Earth am I feeling this way? I'm too young to feel this way! I still get pimples!

I just have to settle for living vicariously through others. And being thankful for the little things. Like not having to change diapers, or wake up early for feedings, or crate train or hear barking. I AM happy that Antne and I have our little uncomplicated life together, filled with last minute karaoke plans and why not mini camping trips. There is something to be said for enjoying the simple life together before we complicate it with starting a family.

I gave Antne the nickname "Puppy," four years ago. And really, he's all I need right now.

(It's okay. I threw up a little in my mouth too.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jeepers Creepers!

I used to HATE wearing mascara. It made my lashes crunchy and always traveled to under my eyes making me look like I lost an eye punching contest.

Thankfully, technology has changed. Leading beauty manufacturers realized there were a ton of women not wearing mascara. That's like, a $7 product that millions of women are not spending money on!

I LOVE L'Oreal's Double Extend Mascara. I really do. I can wear it three days straight with barely any smudging. You're supposed to add the white part, then add the black (you don't even have to wait for it to dry!) and somehow, you don't end up with gray lashes. You end up with fabulous, long, eye opening and eye-drawing lashes. Feathery frames for your peepers!

It works so well, in fact, I usually skip the white part.

The best part? How it comes off! The mascara is actually some kind of bizarre almost plastic like formula which coats each lash. When you want to remove your mascara, just put your face in your shower stream for about ten seconds. They come off in little tubules! They don't smear all over your face! They're intact!!

I am a huge, huge fan of this product. What products do you like?

Not paid to promote- I just really, really like it. L'Oreal, you can send me some if you want! I'll do a giveaway for my fabulous readers! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

What a Week!

Almost 600 people checked out this here little blog last Wednesday alone when the video went up on Sky News. Still kind of blown away.

I figured there would be a bit of a lull after it, but that doesn't seem to be the case. My friend Dan is coming over tomorrow to hash out script plot points for a feature, and he's going to give me a crash course in Animation voice over, as he wants me to work with him on a few small cartoons he's writing and producing. And this Friday I'm going to be meeting the writers and production team for the pilot presentation I'm working on. Wait, let me rephrase that: The pilot presentation I'm starring in.
Yes. That feels better. In fact, that feels pretty darn awesome.

Having the Best Week Ever last week let me catch my breath and appreciate everything that was happening. It was a lot of luck, yes, but if I hadn't been writing this blog for a year, if I hadn't been writing a webseries, if I hadn't kept putting myself out there, I wouldn't have had all these opportunities.

There is something to be said for those of us who create our own luck. And I say it in my new Backstage article. 

If you want something badly enough, you will find and create the opportunities to make it happen. Some people don't believe in luck, but believe in being ready when the opportunities come. Get a head start and make those opportunities happen yourself. You might just find the entire United Kingdom wanting to know more about you.