Friday, October 17, 2014

Be Careful How You Speak To Yourself

I'm trying to be kinder to myself. How I think, act and speak out loud regarding my appearance and my abilities.

Sometimes I forget that other people will always compare themselves to others, just like I compare myself to others.  And I need to stop. Because I am uniquely and beautifully me. I am not getting any younger...or thinner, really. And that shouldn't matter. But I am starting to learn that when I call myself names, other people can sometimes consider that a knock against them as well.

If a person just so happens to think I am attractive, but I say I am not, I am indirectly calling them wrong and stupid. Or what if this other person has worse self esteem than I do? What if they think they are uglier than me? Then I totally just called them a troll.

It's a lot of pressure to think that my own negative self views can be hurting other people, but it is all about the energy we put out into the world. And I am soon entering the fourth decade of my life. So, I should have myself in order by now.

I don't, by the way. But I know I need to treat myself a little better and learn to love my "flaws." Having a little belly isn't a crime. Turning down a free cupcake IS a crime.  NO ONE has perfect skin. NO ONE. Only air brushing can make that happen.

The world needs to start seeing beauty in reality as well as the painted up images of magazines. There's nothing wrong with models, either. They are selling a fantasy. Who doesn't want a little magic and fantasy in the world? But when you demand the perfection of a magazine upon your fellow real life inhabitants, that is when things go wrong.

I want to be kinder to myself. I am a size 8. I will never be a size 4 again...maybe a size 6, but size 4 is the younger me. A just as worthy me. But a different me, nonetheless. And there is no need to mourn her passing. Instead I need to celebrate the amazing woman she is becoming.

And not feel guilty that I eat nachos for dinner while watching America's Next Top Model.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Actor's Lament

Every time I post about a job I book, I always get a lot of questions.

How did you do it?
How can I do what you do?

I have a few answers, but I don't think you will like any of them.

The Simple Answer:
I auditioned.
I went in to an audition, just as a bunch of other people just like me did. I was nervous, didn't REALLY count on getting booked. But this time it panned out. Go figure. It's a crap shoot. Every time. You HAVE to go on auditions. Even if you think you don't really fit the part they are submitting you for, GO. Sometimes I book a role I didn't even read for, but showing up is half the battle. You don't have to compromise your morals. I am not saying that. But I am saying you don't get a chance if you don't take a chance.

The More Complicated Answer:
I've been at this for over THIRTY YEARS. Only in the last few years have I even been getting AUDITIONS from my agents. You have to be persistent and you HAVE to be patient. Keep reminding your agents that you are alive, in town and looking for work. Call to "check in."  All you have to say when you call is your name and that you are calling to check in. They likely won't have anything for you at that time. But they will hear your name and remember to call you next time, hopefully. In Michigan, our agents represent a LOT of talent. They can't remember everyone. MAKE yourself memorable. I signed with one agent when I was 15 years old. They called me for one audition and never again until I happened to wander in to the office with my boyfriend (now husband) who was one of their favorite people. They took my headshots and resumes and started calling me here and there. When I started to book, they started to call more often. This took almost a decade from when I signed with them. But 1) I was NOT persistent and I was too shy to "harrass them." 2) The "movies" didn't even come to town til I was in my 30s, so there wasn't that much work to go around anyway.
I signed with another agent when I was 21 and again didn't start even getting calls until I became persistent (the urging of my boyfriend, now husband) and even then it took almost 12 years after signing with them. The head agent even attended my wedding. I thought "he's seeing me at my best, he will definitely start calling." Nope. It was all on me to get in front of their faces.
Send them demo reels. (audio, video) Do NOT make them 4 minutes long! The first one I sent was that long. It was ignored.
Check my reels page (yes, reels...that's how you can get them to see everything you want them to see...LOOPHOLES!) to get an idea how to start. The audio demo is at the top.

Again, I am NOT an expert in any of this. I have just been at this for a VERY LONG TIME. I show up at auditions, just like you, and pray for a positive outcome.  It may have took decades, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then, right?

How do you GET an agent?
Ask other actors what agents they have, find their websites and look for their submission policies.
I am with a few agents because in this market, being exclusive can likely only block me from other auditions.
If you are in a bigger market (then likely you aren't even reading this blog) you will have different rules I am sure.

So, basically, I guess I am saying, I don't KNOW how to get you cast in stuff.
But I will say, find an agent. Don't expect anything to happen right away. Audition for EVERYTHING. Be available. That's the hard part. But if you aren't available, they will stop trying after a while.
If you don't have experience, DO extra work. Learn the business. But do NOT throw your name on imdb as "uncredited." That doesn't do ANYONE any favors, least of all you.  You just look silly. Seriously. The extra work is for cash, getting your face out there, and preparing yourself for when you are the one with lines and the focus of the camera. It would be embarrassing if you got a job and someone told you "back to one." and you had NO CLUE what that meant.
Ask questions. Be polite, but don't be afraid to ask anyone questions if you don't understand. Better to learn now than to look like an idiot later.
I am more than happy to answer questions. But I am NOT an expert. I just have a lot of my own personal experiences.

So, yeah. There is no magical formula. If there was, I would have my own series by now. It's just racking up experience points and making connections that work. Don't burn bridges. So and so may really irritate the piss out of you, but keep it professional...especially on facebook...that stuff stays there forever and people WILL judge you on it.
This is a new era of technology and whether we like it or not, people are judging us by the emotional vomit we put on our facebook pages. It's true. It CAN keep you from a job. It HAS kept people from jobs. I can attest to that.

I was always talented. I am not bragging. But if I didn't get myself out there, no one was going to know. I made my own projects and shared them with agents, too. I just kept putting myself out there.

And guess what? Pretty soon, I will be unsuccessful again. Because that is the nature of this business. It's up and down. Highs and lows. And you have to be able to roll with them and have the hope and knowledge that the low WILL end soon...for me it took a decade or so, but I never gave up. I may have cried and gnashed teeth thinking I would never work again, but I never stopped auditioning anyway.

Also, I started in this industry as a child. I did a few small local tv things very young. I did a LOT of theatre. A LOT. Ask my poor parents who had to drive me to it all. I started before the "Michigan Film Incentives" tripled the amount of work here.
I honestly believe that, even though I got NO film work through those incentives...yeah, I haven't done a SINGLE film brought in from the incentives...I think the incentives helped me. I believe all the people who were booking all the commercials I couldn't book before, moved up to the film roles leaving the commercials available to little old me who had been ready and waiting in the wings...for decades. Again. Persistence. Never give up.

Sorry I don't have a magical formula. I wish I did. But then again, maybe that would be the ONE secret in this industry I WOULD keep to myself.

I hope this gives those of you who have been asking me these questions a little perspective. And feel free to ask me more. I am happy to help when I can. I am happy to GET people actual work when I can. That is just how I roll. But I didn't "magically" get to this position. I have been at this, pecking at this, since I was a little wannabe star at the age of 8.  Hopefully it won't take you as long as it took me. After all, there are far more opportunities here now.

And if you want to know why I never moved out of state. Well, that's a story for a different day. I did live in Austin, Texas for a year. Did some theatre there. But home always calls me. And why leave when I have finally started being successful in a market I have been trying to infiltrate for so long?
I'm not out to be a star. I just want to be wonderful :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

De Tox! De Tox

3 days after the failed detox plan.

I am still down 5 pounds.

My stomach has shrunk to the point where I WANT to eat food, but I am lucky to eat once a day before I am painfully full...

How long will this last, I wonder, before I am back to the bloated beast I was before I started this thing?

Also, I didn't poop until 3 days after the detox was over...and I have been pooping. all. day.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dr. Oz gave me the blahs

So, I decided I was fat, gross and disgusting and wanted to try the Dr Oz three day detox.

The grocery list was somewhat intensive and our specialty health store didn't seem to even carry exactly what we needed.  So, we improvised and still had a bill of nearly $100...For three days of liquified food?!  Really??

The first day wasn't too bad. Tea was great. But I've always loved tea.
Breakfast shake wasn't bad.

Then there was the mess to clean up.

Then the lunch shake. Which was massive.  And only passably palatable.
I could drink it if I had to.

Then there was the mess to clean up.

Snack shake? Hell no! I was still trying to finish the lunch shake.

Eventually I made the dinner shakes, so that Jeff could take his to go. Mine went in the fridge.

Then there was the mess to clean up.

I barely finished the lunch shake and I think it was already 9:30pm!

I took a couple sips of the dinner shake(caliente!), then decided I would just go to sleep.  No energy for the bath...worried I might drown.

The next day I was down 2 lbs! That's kinda cool.  Had the tea again, feeling pretty good about myself.  Made Jeff and my breakfast shakes. Put my breakfast shake in the fridge so I could try to finish last night's dinner shake.

It was dinner time by the time I got through the dinner shake and went to the breakfast shake.  These were way too filling for me, I think.  I made Jeff his dinner shake and saved mine for later as I was working on the breakfast one still.  Skipped lunch as it was just way too much for both of us.

I finished the breakfast shake.  Had a good cry watching some comedy videos online...yeah, that happened....took a shower and went to bed...dinner shake still in fridge.

Day 3, I am now down a total of FOUR pounds! Crazy...but I haven't really eaten anything.  And to top it all off, no poop!

Every other blog I read about this, people were visiting the bathroom like an old friend.  I totally expected to be doing the same.  Maybe I needed all four shakes a day, but 1.5 is about all I can do.

I have a massive headache. I am shakey, and even after taking a sleep aid, I still can't sleep.
I was fine for 2 of the 3 days.  But I think I officially quit now.

I have breakfast and dinner shakes sitting in the fridge, but the thought of them makes me nauseated.
And if I smell almond butter ever again in my life, I WILL puke...and it takes a LOT to make me puke.

I dropped four pounds, but really, I haven't been able to eat ANYTHING.
As I type this, I have eaten a couple handfuls of un-processed, totally whole, totally delicious blueberries.

Perhaps detox just wasn't for me.

I am embarrassed to give up on day three...But I did drop weight...though, on a detox, that technically isn't the goal...I just wanted to get rid of the bloat.

Perhaps it isn't a good idea to do a cleanse while you are on your "period" either. But, you live and learn...

At least I tried...And did dishes three times a day for two whole days...

Yeah, I won't do this one ever again...Gotta be honest. But I am glad I tried...

Looking forward to EATING the fresh fruits and veggies in my house instead of drinking them!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Town America is alive and well!

Hey, I know it's been a while since I have mentioned SMALL TOWN AMERICA to you guys! Do you remember anything about it? Did you get the swag you ordered from our indiegogo campaign? Did you take a picture of it and share it with us?  There's still time to do that, you know! Here's the page to post it on:

But that's not what I am writing about today.  As many of you know I am currently in a production at The Detroit Repertory Theatre.  You still have 9 more weekends to catch a show! I am leaving in an hour to do my 8th performance in front of an audience tonight! If you go, let me know so I can hurry out of the dressing room and find you in the lobby after the show! Trust me, we'll both need a hug after!

Since I have committed to this show, however, the big premiere of Small Town America has been announced.  Friday, February 1st, in Portland, Michigan. And I, of course, cannot attend.  I was tremendously bummed.

But I was given a special sneak viewing. I received a text with a secret link that allowed me to view the pilot episode and I have to tell you, I am amped!

This show really has a future! There is so much this show can do for small towns and their commerce! I hope someone else sees the potential as well!

The editing really blew me away, as did all the original music.  The shots looked lovely and it was fun to watch Jeff and I, paddling down the Looking Glass and Grand River in our dress clothes, praying we didn't fall in! And from so many different angles!

I hope you all get a chance to see this show as well as many more episodes! Maybe we will start shooting again in a town near you?  We're open to suggestions! We also like baked goods!

Just wanted to remind you all that Small Town America still has legs and we are still fighting the good fight!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What? Are you chicken?

Amidst the current controversy regarding Chick-fil-a and their stance on "traditional marriage," I guess I have a few questions.

What really is "traditional marriage?" I don't think my husband and I have one.  We don't sit down to dinner together.  We rarely see each other.  But we love each other and what we have works.  Does that mean we are challenging the moral values of society?  Or is it okay, cause our marriage doesn't "gross people out?"

Also, why is it not an issue when atheists get married?  I mean, lots of people get married outside of a church. At a justice of the peace, in banquet halls or fancy houses.  Even outside in the cheap, showy-ness of nature.  But this, too, doesn't seem to upset a certain faction of society as much as two people of the same sex getting married.

I honestly don't get it.  Truly.  I need someone to explain this to me.  I am speaking as a wide eyed innocent who isn't very biblically educated, but I do consider myself a Christian.  Does this fact about me also challenge the moral right?  I don't know? I am an unarmed conservative, Christian, liberal...That is confusing, so it must be wrong...

I agree, every citizen has a right to an opinion.  That is what makes America great.  But, I do find the "freedom of expression" of certain groups, like the Westboro Church nutjobs a bit cruel...Oh, was nutjob too cruel a word?  Freedom of expression.

I don't recall anywhere in the new testament where Jesus condemns the homosexual, but, like many other people, I might just be reading exactly what I want to out of that book.

The old testament is very violent, as I learned from the little bit I watched of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.  I admit, my research is a bit shoddy on this subject, but I've been busy lately and I just want some quick information that google can't provide apparently.  But in the old testament, aren't we supposed to shun menstruating women from our homes and such?  Probably a good idea, actually.  Menstruating women have a lot of opinions.  They might challenge morals or something.  Also, a lot of things that we can't avoid doing in today's society, like working on Sunday, were punishable by death.  It sounds almost like those rules were written by a menstruating man.  But I digress.

So, I mean, I always figured that no one else's marriage could challenge my own marriage.  What other people do in the privacy of their own homes is none of my concern, unless they are building a nuclear weapon or recording a new Nickelback album.  Unless their affairs threatens the very lives of others, let it be.

I mean, if we defined everyone by what they did behind closed doors, we would all be pretty gross, wouldn't we?  But only one group gets defined by this, because their "love gets shoved in our faces" when they leave their houses, holding hands or calling each other "baby." Even, gasp and drool, adopting babies!  Those babies would be better off in orphanages!  CHRISTIAN orphanages.

Seriously, I am confused.  I mean, I've eaten at Chick-fil-a, and I am impressed by their strong moral values and the fact that they aren't open on Sundays to allow their employees the Lord's day off.  That is awesome! But when they make a huge portion of the population feel like second class or even 0 class citizens, that can't be right.

In their defense, apparently they only stated that they SUPPORT the traditional family.  And support is a good word these days.  But unfortunately, the gay community has heard every kind of buzz word that is basically a hidden condemnation of their lives, they are a bit gun shy right now.  And rightly so. I have many friends who are gay AND Christian, but they can't find a church that will accept them.  That doesn't sound very Christian to me.  So, these people already feel like outcasts and to have someone in charge of a business say that they don't like them either (I know, I know, he DIDN'T say that, but unfortunately, the words he chose pretty much implied just that) what are they supposed to do?

They fight back, of course.

And I love a good chicken sandwich or a peach shake.  And if I am ever very hungry and near a Chick-fil-a, I will probably still go there.  But I want to encourage gay families to go there, too.  Dine in.  Bring your kids.  Don't make a big deal about it.  Just let them know, that you accept them for who they are.  They are clearly very isolated and lonely.

Yes, I am straight and will always be straight.  After all, I know women, I am women, and we can't be trusted to not twist every word you say into some emotionally based battle.  We're crazy.  And we use that crazy very well.  But just because I think sleeping with women is icky, I am not going to say you can't do that.  If you are both consenting adults, do what you will.  Just don't invite me to hold the camera or tell me all the sordid details about it.  It's gross.  I also think watermelon is gross.  But hey, to each his own.  And you eating watermelon doesn't threaten my future fruit eating endeavors.  That's your seed spitting future, not mine.

So, again.  Go ahead and think homosexuality is icky.  That is your right.  But don't deny that these people are still people and deserve to have every right you do.  Whether they got married in a church or by the hands of some untrustworthy elected official.  They won't force you to watch them sit on the couch in their underwear because its laundry day, if you don't want to.

This is America.  And I feel like chicken tonight. But now I'm scared to eat it....

Monday, July 16, 2012

A good story or just a dream?

Yes, I dream long detailed stories...and I am rarely in my own dreams...depressing...But this last one, though the moral may be old and tired and the format it is in is even more old and tired, is it worth persuing as a more fleshed out story, play or screenplay?  Just a thought as I copy this from my dream journal:

Once there was a maiden whose beauty was so great she never had to work for anything. Her beauty worked for her. Men would fall over themselves to do things for her and women were afraid to challenge her for fear of the men calling them jealous or cruelly compare their beauty to hers.

The maiden was very happy.  The villagers were not.

Then one day, a great wizard came to town. He saw the people of the village and how they struggled day to day. This maiden truly was a vision, but she never knew hard work.

The wizard told the villagers that the maiden didn't belong there. She belonged in his castle, far up the mountain.

The villagers were surprised, but they were sad to see her go. Although they agreed a castle was a far more suitable place for a maiden such as she.

The maiden was very excited. She always knew a wish from the heart of one as pure as she would be heard and answered. She bravely accepted the wizard's invitation.

The journey up the mountain would be difficult, she was warned. This worried the maiden until the wizard assured her that this was a difficulty she would not be expected to endure. He would use his magic to send her to his castle and he would see her there in a short time.

The maiden was relieved to know her beauty would be spared the hardships of mountain climbing and she gladly accepted the wizard's magic travelling spell.

She felt she was gliding through a tube filled with warm water. It was the strangest, yet most pleasant sensation she had ever encountered.

She zipped and zoomed, feet first toward her destination.

When she arrived, she found herself in the gardens of a beautiful castle.  She immediately felt like she was where she belonged.

A young boy appeared in a doorway and waved her inside.

The maiden walked slowly up the stone steps, taking her time to enjoy the flowers and the bubbling water fall that went into the koi pond. She caught a quick glimpse of her reflection and noticed her hair appeared slightly mussed. She casually tried to smooth her hair as she entered the castle.

The tall ceilings were adorned with impressive tapestries, depicting stories she told herself she would study later. The maiden felt there was something off.  Something didn't feel quite right to her. But she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

Then it hit her. The boy. He had his back to her as he led her through the castle. He wasn't studying her like most people did. Somehow, he was not impressed. This was a strange feeling to her. It almost made her feel.........sad.

They came to a doorway and the boy stopped. He took a quick glance at the maiden, then looked away. His lack of interest in her appearance actually cut her like a knife this time.

Suddenly the wizard appeared through the doorway. He thanked the boy and welcomed the maiden to her new home.

"Now, let me show you what your duties will be."

"Duties?" the maiden croaked. This was not a word she was familiar with, although she did know what it meant.

"Yes of course." The wizard led her through the doorway that led to a long, dark, stone staircase. Down below, she heard an unearthly sound.

The maiden was a little nervous now.  Before they headed down the stairs, they passed a mirror. The maiden paused to give further attention to her hair and was terrified by what she saw.

Her hair was a dull grey. Stringy in some places, strawlike in others.  Completely untameable. But that wasn't the worst of it. There were deep, dark bags under her eyes and a large ravine of a scar that ran from above her left eyebrow, down her cheek and through the left side of her trembling lips. Her skin, once creamy and youthful, was now a horrifying greyish yellow.

The maiden cried out and began to sob.

"My dear, don't cry. You're still as beautiful as you always were. This is just for your own protection."

The maiden didn't understand or didn't care as the wizard took her by the arm and gently led her down the dark and winding stairs.

The unearthly sounds at the bottom of the stairs were now in harmony with the wails of the poor maiden.

"After all, dragons only eat beautiful young maidens."


"I need a young lady to feed and care for my dragon. You are perfect for the job. You haven't been overworked by back breaking labor in your village.  You are full of youthful energy. But this spell to hide your beauty will save your life."

The maiden didn't think life was worth living at all anymore.

The boy smiled at her. This time he really looked at her and it turned her stomach. What was her life to become?

Suddenly, she was face to face with a very large and very toothy purple dragon.

"Don't move," the wizard warned. "Let her smell you first!"

The maiden was rigid in fear. The only movement came from the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

The dragon was satisfied that she wasn't lunch and moved back to its nest.

Many handsome princes and knights would come to the wizard requesting spells and potions. Not a one would see a beautiful maiden. Just the hag that could retrieve ingredients from the beast downstairs.

The maiden feared her dreams would never come true now, looking the way she did.

This is as far as my dream went, but I kinda know where I would go with the story.  Its probably obvious.  But is it worth persuing and in what format?  I think I kinda like this story, but of course, in dream journal form it is far too simplistic...I also have a monologue I wrote years ago, that might could fit in here somewhere....I dunno....Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?