"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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three Rules for Every Artist

There are three rules every artist (every person, rather) should follow.

And yes reborn bird of fire, this is especially for you, and for everyone else out there who doesn't know:

1) Take Care of Self

It's rule number one and probably the hardest thing to do. In order to be a good human, in order to be a good artist, you absolutely HAVE to take care of yourself. Take yourself out for a walk. Use a creative outlet like journaling. Say no to other people when your plate is so full you can't find 20 minutes all to yourself for you.

2) Take Care of Family

You are number one, and your family is number two. This could be your blood family members, it could be the friends you made into your family,  but yourself and family comes before -

3) Be Good at Your Job

Do you see that? Your career comes third! Third! Because if you need time for you, that's a bigger priority than work. It always is and will be. There are many days when you'll get up out of bed and you're feeling great! Your family is doing well! And you can devote the whole day to doing stuff for work!

But that is how you should be balancing things.

And I would like to add my own little rule, 4: Don't Work Everyday.

There are some people who say that you absolutely have to - MUST! - do something for your acting career Every Day! Every DAY!!!!!

And to them, I say,

Dudes, chilllllllllll.

Nine to Fivers get a weekend, and so should you. Treat yourself to the museum, a movie, a nice slow walk with a cherished friend. Because that's how you live and what you need to do to be happy.

And what the hey, I'll add another rule: Number 5: Go to Therapy.

Chances are you have some major wounds from the past. Talk about them.

The Maple Counseling Center works with your income on a sliding scale and is a great place to go.

I know. I went every week for a year. Rule 1 and all.

Take care of yourself.

Love yourself.

You deserve it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fine Tuning

I dare say that my short script idea is a pretty good one, and that my husband's notes and comments are brilliant. When we had another couple over for dinner the other night, I told them the very basics of the story, and a few scenes I thought were key in telling the story.

"It doesn't sound like a short," Carrie said. "No, this is definitely a feature." her husband Jake agreed.


I don't want to write a feature script! That is 90 effing pages and, and, like, months of writing and rewrites! That's too much time, too much work in a medium I never took a class in how to write!

And then my stupid brain, just an hour ago, whispered, "You know what, maybe this is your first novel."


And the whole thing is just so very, very strange because if this little thing was a book, I could easily write it right now. I know these characters, I know their story, and it's weird, because, well....

I write monologues. I'm used to it. It's a story that is taking place RIGHT NOW in a character's life, at a heightened moment or crisis in their life, where, similar to an essay, the ending ties back to the beginning.

I had written a small monologue that was kind of the jumping off point to this idea about, geez, over a year ago. It was just the RIGHT NOW of a wife's tremendous guilt. And after five minutes of writing, and probably even less than that, the monologue was done. I'm used to writing small things, small blips, that's it! It's done! I've no patience for things that take more than days to write.

But I think maybe I wouldn't mind spending so much time, a year, longer, who knows, with these characters, with this story.

But I keep telling myself, calm down. Finish fine tuning the short, send it to your friends, get their opinions after reading what you have and go from there. From there. Focus, focus, focus.

Fine tune for another few days and go from there. Because if I can just focus on the now, just focus on the small parts, maybe one day, a year from now, I'll have a novel. If I just shut up and focus on the now, and the small parts, maybe all that work and time won't seem like work and time. It'll be fun.

But who knows. Maybe I'm hugely overstepping myself and the whole thing is crap.

I told you I have terrible self doubt! ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Keep Going

Last week, at about this time, I had a breakdown. Sobbing, gut wrenching, curled up in the fetal position in my bed. "What am I doing with myself? Is this what I really want?"

I know the feelings of career high and lows are cyclical, but are they circular? Am I going in circles?

What do I want? What do I need?

"I need an idea!" I sobbed to my empty room, my empty apartment, my empty heart.

I went to bed that night exhausted, desperate, defeated. I'd been feeling creatively dead inside for a few weeks. I was hoping it was hormones; my moods were swinging like mad like ecstatic like depressed. Please, god, let it be hormones.

I fell asleep with wet eyelashes.

At 3:30 am that morning, I woke up. I had an idea. An older woman mourning the death of her husband. I can work with that, I thought.

At 8:30 I woke up again. It can't be an older woman. It has to be me.

I didn't go back to sleep. I couldn't. I was too excited. I spent the next three hours writing out the plot points, dialogue snippets, and images I wanted. At noon, I read everything to my husband. And with tears in his eyes, he said, that's great. And you should include this. And what about this?

I took his notes, moved some things around, and now finally opened up Celtx and started putting it into film script format.

And I know that once I start writing, and getting excited, I also start to doubt. Is this really good? What am I doing? Why am I pretending this is any good at all? and I have to battle myself and keep going, keep going, Keep Going.

Because if I don't, I am nothing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Congrats, Grad - You've Got It EASY

Hey all you theatre grads with BFAs in Theatre/Dance in the crook of your arm! You're an artist with a Degree!

So you do what anyone who wants to be in the moving pictures does - Move to LA!

The weather is great, the humidity is mostly low, and the rent is, wait. It's HOW MUCH?

But this post isn't about moving to LA. It's about being a recent theatre grad with no clear idea on how to get into Sag-Aftra, the actor's union for everything except theatre. (Irony!)

Anyways, (if you can't tell, I'm in a bit of a mood and feeling a wee bit loopy. I just ate some really frikkin spicy food and even my lips are on fire) you might think that the only way to get a good agent in this town is to be union.

Well, kiddo. Hold your horses! You JUST graduated. Agents are going to expect you (you who looks 18 to look younger) to not be union. And, BONUS -

COMMERCIAL REPS ARE LOOKING FOR NON-UNION ACTORS. (If you graduated years ago, are 40ish and still non-union, keep reading! This applies to you too!)

When Sag and Aftra members voted to merge, those who were only Aftra, but still going on non-union commercial auditions, are now suddenly Sag too.

The big talent pool of really good Sag-E/Aftra actors just shrank to a teeny puddle.

And there are still TONS of actors needed for the huge amount of non-union commercials being produced.

And that, my fellow thespian, is where you come in.

No, non-union commercials don't pay that much - but I've made more money on them than I did two Sag gigs. And if you're non-union, your commercial agent is going to submit you for non-union AND union commercial auditions. YOU ARE GOING TO GET SUBMITTED FOR EVERYTHING.

You've got it easy.

So don't worry. You're going to be FINE.

And welcome to LA!