"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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Heart Martha Plimpton

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had no idea who she was when I was watching the now canceled Raising Hope, and when I looked her up on imdb I thought, whoaaaa. She's been in everything!

She has three Tony nominations AND three Emmy nominations, and she was my absolute favorite part of Raising Hope. Well, her and Garret Dillahunt's relationship (one of the few sitcom wife/husband teams where they still very much liked and loved each other!)

via by Ramona Rosales for Buzzfeed
Here is a fantastic interview on Buzzfeed by Kate Aurthur
about Martha and her extended career. A MUST read!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Should I Move to LA?

I know, I know, you're like, "What? Aren't you already in LA? Yeah, I am. I went to the beach today! Sure, I was wearing a sweatshirt AND a jacket, but still. I was at the beach!

Hi Lira
My name is Jessica, I'm 22, and I'm from a little big town in Kentucky. I'm interested in pursuing acting, however I feel like I'm not going to get anywhere. I have no experience other than a couple of features (which you have said doesn't count) and I live no where near a big city to do any acting! 
I have recently considered saving up money and moving to LA. I'm not sure how well that will work though because I'm doing good to live paycheck to paycheck, and my boyfriend isn't too fond of the idea either. He and I have been together for over 2 years, so it's not like I can just choose one or the other. He is more interested in living in the countryside instead of the busy city. He's also not too keen on me being an actress anyway because he is afraid he will never see me and I will be traveling a whole bunch. I love him but I'm afraid if I just give up on this dream, I'll end up at some desk job I hate just making money to get by. 
I have always felt like I was made for greater things. This is obviously no exception. I want this to the point it's all I can think about lately.

Is there any way I could try to get some roles closer that could get me my big break? Should I think about moving to LA? Should I just give up this too-big dream? I have always dreamed so big, and I know one downside of that is disappointment when they don't come true. I feel really lost when it comes to all of this. I think part of what's standing in my way is fear. I'm afraid to step out of my comfort zone and take off work for a few days and travel somewhere like Chicago or Atlanta to work. I feel in that way I will be losing money, considering the transportation and stay. I really just need a little point in the right direction, some answers to ease my mind. I'm sorry if I've rambled. I just really had a lot on my mind recently and I needed to get it all out.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and (hopefully!) respond to me.

Hi Jessica! Thanks for reading this here blog. Although I've answered several of these questions already, I like your letter because it touches upon a few things I would like to address. 
A LOT of communities do theatre. A TON of them. If not your city, then the neighboring town. Trust me on this. Google that shizz. AND THAT GOES FOR EVERYONE OUT THERE! I didn't get my first gig in LA - oh heck no. I did my first play in my hometown when I was 12 and did the drama club in junior high, and was in all my high school shows. If I had stayed in my hometown, I would still be acting! There's the local community college that puts on shows, there's regional theatre - you'd be surprised. There are always opportunities if you look for them. And if you swear there's not, You Make Them. 

I'm going to assume that your boyfriend has your best interests at heart even though he sounds selfish because he thinks he'll miss you from all the traveling you might be doing. There's facetime and skype. He could deal. And if he can't, and you know you'd be happier in place that doesn't serve his needs, maybe you both need to have a serious sit down and talk about your life goals. Because if they don't match up, better to know that now. Or maybe he doesn't know how serious you are about this. A sit down is a very good idea.

And then there's this: "I have always felt like I was made for greater things."
 Ugh, Jessica. Me effing too. And unfortunately, everyone feels that way.
I majored in pretend, and god bless all my school mates, but gosh darn it I knew, I knew, that this whole acting thing would work out for me. It was in the cards. It was in the stars! I was freaking named after a constellation!! Come on! I just knew it was going to work out for me and I would be working, rich, and super duper happy.

Am I? No. And I am going to say not yet, but I am fully aware that I could never make a career out of this. Auditions are slow and few and far between. I got sent out for things that were such a mismatch I wasn't surprised one iota when I got an email from my theatrical agency saying they were folding. 

What was I saying? Oh yeah. We ALL feel like we were made for greater things. It's something of our generation. But I'll get to this again later. You'll like it.

You say you're in Kentucky and want to know if there are roles out there for you. Have you heard of Louisville? HUGE regional theatre. 

I think you're so scared and filled with fear because you know you don't have the necessary training and resume to make it in LA. That is A-OK because you have everything you need Right In Your Own State. Stay close to your friends and family. Go to Louisville and ask if you can get a tour of the company because you're interested in auditioning for them. Auditions aren't for a few months? Ask how you can get a job or intern there. Get to know everyone there so they know you're serious. Network. Pick everyone's brain. Learn, learn, learn.

Is Louisville also still out of your comfort zone? Well, you can stay where you are and if there are no opportunities there, why don't you create your own theatre company yourself? Maybe you and a few friends put up an original show (I did that just last year!), or maybe you wrangle a whole bunch of kids and do a show! The possibilities are freaking endless.

You say you feel like you're meant for great things. And I do believe you are. I don't, however, believe that you were meant to do them in LA. 

So! Go forth! Explore what your community has to offer, check out other parts of the state, and if none of that satisfies you, create opportunities for yourself where you are satisfied.

In the meantime, check out some dance classes. That will make you feel creative and you get to act - set to music.

Good luck, Jessica, and if you don't have that, make it good yourself!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Struggling Actress Has a Cardiac Arrest and You Won't Believe What Happens Next!

Do you guys hate those overblown titles of Upworthy videos and HuffPo articles like I do? Cause I'll click on the link, read or watch the thing and be like, "I actually could believe that happened next," and then I get mad and tell myself to stop clicking on hyperbolic hyperlinks and get some shizz done.

At any rate, I almost died (no I didn't). Want to hear about it?

The day before the SuperBowl, I had a long and busy day, and was going to have a long and busy night of partying. A bunch of errands followed by drunken reverie as we saluted a friend who recently got unengaged from her fianceƩ and we were taking her out to WeHo to celebrate being alive even when your whole heart is shattered.

I went to they gym, I called a friend, I went to a Grant Proposal meeting for a friend's art project for Burning Man, I went to the mall (Gap Curvy jeans, am I right!?), then I went to the grocery store, and at 4pm when I was finishing up some work emails noticed, hey, the right side of my throat really hurts all of sudden. Better check on that in an hour.

An hour later, it hurt even more. I texted our whole group that I was sorry I couldn't go out to WeHo and although they were sad about it (cause I'm a ton of fun AND I was the Designated Driver) they did wish for me to get better soon. What can I say? I have nice friends.

Anthony asked if he should stay home to take care of me, and I said, no, no! I am fine.

11pm that same night I am swallowing razorblades.

I wake up in the morning and feel weak, dizzy, and have a 102* fever. My ear also hurts. Oh eff. This is strep throat. I know it is. I've had it before. Gosh darn it.

I tell Anthony he needs to take me to the emergency room and we go at about 3pm.

Want to know the BEST time to need emergency care? Superbowl Sunday! Not even kidding. We waited a total of 6 minutes, if that, and most of the waiting was filled with filling out paperwork.

The nurse does my intake and checks my throat. At this point, I've been sick for less than 24 hours, so there are no white or gray spots on my tonsils just yet (that did happen later. gross.) but they could either give me a shot of a week's worth of penicillin or a prescription for 10 days worth. I said I'd take the shot because that sounded awful and awesome at the same time.

I'm prepped in one of the rooms after they go on and on about how thick the needle and fluid is ("it really hurts! the medicine is thick and gooey like pepto bismol!" they cheered. pepto dismal?). But actually, the shot wasn't that bad, it was just long.

"Alright, we're just gonna keep you here for ten minutes to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction." The doc is very cheery.
"I'll be fine," I say, "I've had strep and penicillin before." I'm sitting in a chair I think is rather uncomfortable. "But just in case, so I know, what does an allergic reaction entail?"
"Oh, just some difficulty breathing, and if that happens, just holler for us and we'll give you the antidote and you'll be fine." She smiled and left.

I'm fine. Seriously.

But four minutes later, I notice I keep taking deeper and deeper breaths without getting any air. "Go get the doctor," I tell Anthony, "I'm having trouble breathing" He gets up slowly and takes his motherloving. sweet. ass. time. "Hurry!" I say, and he goes.

I'm light headed cause of all the deep breaths. I know to keep myself from fainting I need to lie down. I slide down to the floor and put my feet on the seat of the chair.

Knock Knock!
"Hey!" The doctor is super happy. Probably because it's Superbowl Sunday and the place is deserted and it's an easy shift. "Whatcha doing there on the floor?" She is not concerned, and that puts me at ease.
"I felt faint," I replied weakly.
"Let's go get you a wheelchair and put you in a room with a bed, okay?"
"Okay," I agree.
What I should have said, though, is, "Do you mind if I have another few minutes on the floor, first? Cause this is feeling really good." But I didn't say that.

You Won't Believe What Happens Next!

Mainly because I had to have it told to me.

I remember getting up onto the wheelchair, and I remember thinking, "Man, I really wish this chair reclined." It didn't.

This next part of the story Anthony recalled for me. I took a step out of the chair with the doctor's help and then I collapsed right on top of her. They're calling my name, and one of the nurses is taking my pulse.
"Do you want me to help you get her on the bed?" Anthony asks.
"No, no, we're fine," the doctor calmly responds.
"I don't feel anything," says the nurse holding onto my wrist.
They pull my limbs out so I'm flat on the floor.
"It's been four seconds, I don't feel a pulse, call it." Says the nurse.
The doctor nods to another nurse who pushes a button on the wall.

Code Blue!

20 people (I think he's grossly inflating the number, but I wasn't conscious, so yeah) come into the room, and they start chest compressions. "Oh my god," Anthony told me he thought, "Did I just watch my wife die? Shut up. Don't think anything until you know more information. Shut up!"

I wake up on the third chest compression.

Have you ever taken a nap that was so deep that when you woke up you didn't know where you were? That you weren't sure if it was morning or night? Waking up from my heart attack was just like that. I was on the floor and people I didn't know were smiling and nervous and my immediate thought was, "They look really concerned about something. I wonder what happened?" I had no clue they were concerned about me. I just hoped that whatever happened, that person was going to be okay, because everyone was really worried!

"Hi Lira, you collapsed, and although we're pretty sure you're too young to have gone into cardiac arrest, we couldn't feel your pulse for four seconds. We're going to give you an EKG and make sure you just fainted, okay?"


They get me up onto the bed, and I'm shaking, cold, and tingly. All natural after effects from fainting. They give me an EKG and two blankets and I'm fine. A half hour later, I'm released.

I had a Vasovagal response, which basically means I was dizzy and fainted. They thought maybe I had fainted because of the needle in the shot, but I didn't see it, and I didn't watch them stick me, and it was a few minutes after that happened. I hadn't eaten anything that day ("that's what did it!" they all said) but again, I had a fever, so I wasn't hungry.

I did feel foolish, though.

When we got home, I went to bed, and even though if I just scooted to the right in my bed another inch I could have turned off my own lamp, I asked Anthony to do it for me. "Seriously?" he said. "I had a cardiac arrest an hour ago!" and we laughed and it became our joke all week long. "I can't do the dishes because I coded blue on Sunday!"

So yeah. That was my Superbowl Sunday.

Hey, who won?